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The "Ask a Mechanic" Thread


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I thought I heard that trucks are designed to get better gas mileage with the tailgate up. But I guess if you take it off it makes the truck that much lighter.

Yeah, that was on Myth Busters. One of those semi-crazy things that seems to go against common sense or at least conventional wisdom until you realize what's actually going on with all that pesky invisible air.

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An update on my car situation...I took it to a major auto repair facility. They did their analysis and concluded that one of my wheel bearings was bad. However while they were attempting to separate the hub to get to the bearings, they broke my steering knuckle. :doh: They claim it is a dealer only part and now my car has to sit in their shop until they can locate it. :chair:

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An update on my car situation...I took it to a major auto repair facility. They did their analysis and concluded that one of my wheel bearings was bad. However while they were attempting to separate the hub to get to the bearings, they broke my steering knuckle. :doh: They claim it is a dealer only part and now my car has to sit in their shop until they can locate it. :chair:

What kind of car was it again?

Also, it isn't unheard of for the bearing to wear into the steering knuckle or become frozen on the steering knuckle. If they admit that they broke it by accident, then that is good, at least they are being honest with you. It sucks that it happened but at least they didn't try and "take you on a ride".

It's very common for Ford Explorers to need knuckles, hubs and bearings when the bearings go bad. They become almost impossible to separate and often break the knuckles when trying to do so. Like I said, very common.

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What the hell. None of the mechanics here can figure this one out. At about 2200 to 2700 rpms,(no matter what gear),there is a stutter...a hesitation if you will in the engine. Nothing horrible. No lights come on and the truck keeps moving. Hasn't gotten worse. Happens somewhat regularly. Now while the truck is in 4 wheel drive,(last used that back in April),there is a very noticeable shake. Whole truck seems to just shake once and then keeps on going. I've been told O2 sensor,misfire in #5 cylinder,(Ford Ranger V6. Biggest V6 available for this model),4wheel drive,hell even a problem with the cruise control,(which I don't use all that often). Weird.

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What the hell. None of the mechanics here can figure this one out. At about 2200 to 2700 rpms,(no matter what gear),there is a stutter...a hesitation if you will in the engine. Nothing horrible. No lights come on and the truck keeps moving. Hasn't gotten worse. Happens somewhat regularly. Now while the truck is in 4 wheel drive,(last used that back in April),there is a very noticeable shake. Whole truck seems to just shake once and then keeps on going. I've been told O2 sensor,misfire in #5 cylinder,(Ford Ranger V6. Biggest V6 available for this model),4wheel drive,hell even a problem with the cruise control,(which I don't use all that often). Weird.

Is it throwing a CEL?

What kind of car, year, etc.

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PCS, had a dodge truck that did that at about 3500rpms...changed the plug wires and it quit.

Doesn't make a lot of sense though.

Yeah. I took it in to the dealership and they hooked it up and said that #5 cylinder had a history of misfiring. Interesting since the truck has about 75,000 on it and those things should last until about 100,000. That and a few others are saying "Now wait a minute." Thought about just changing the wires and plugs myself,but before I go out and spend a bunch of money,I want to be sure what it is.

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What the hell. None of the mechanics here can figure this one out. At about 2200 to 2700 rpms,(no matter what gear),there is a stutter...a hesitation if you will in the engine. Nothing horrible. No lights come on and the truck keeps moving. Hasn't gotten worse. Happens somewhat regularly.

I'd look at the EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) system for the source of this problem. If you don't have a check engine light stating that there is a problem with the EGR system, it could possibly be a build up of carbon in the passages.

Now while the truck is in 4 wheel drive,(last used that back in April),there is a very noticeable shake. Whole truck seems to just shake once and then keeps on going. I've been told O2 sensor,misfire in #5 cylinder,(Ford Ranger V6. Biggest V6 available for this model),4wheel drive,hell even a problem with the cruise control,(which I don't use all that often). Weird.

If this problem only happens in 4WD, I'd look to the front differential or transfer case first. I'd change the fluid on both of those units. If it only happens in 4WD, it sounds to me like some sort of driveline chatter. Make sure that the correct fluids are used in both units when they are refilled.

Could be a spark plug issue as well. It could be many things. I'd start with the obvious first though. You may want to check and make sure you have the same brand and model of tires as well. Tires with differing tread designs can cause an issue on 4WD vehicles.

I'm assuming that you have two different problems as I split them up above. Just making sure.

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Yeah. I took it in to the dealership and they hooked it up and said that #5 cylinder had a history of misfiring. Interesting since the truck has about 75,000 on it and those things should last until about 100,000. That and a few others are saying "Now wait a minute." Thought about just changing the wires and plugs myself,but before I go out and spend a bunch of money,I want to be sure what it is.

Not so fast... the spark plugs are platinum tipped, yes. However, I see many, many times where platinum tipped spark plugs don't last until 100K as advertised. There are a number of things from dirty air filter to short trip driving to heavy carbon build up that can cause platinum tipped spark plugs to have a shortened life. I'd have to say that most platinum plugs don't last up to 100K.

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I first noticed it when I was running it in 4wheel drive. It was tough to miss. Did the works on the differential and transfer case due to just that. Still happened. And then noticed it was happening,(though it was,as I mentioned earlier,much more subtle),while just driving it around in 2wd. It's not like clock work and if you're not paying attention,don't notice it. Like I said. Weird. Exhaust system is what I'll check next and then maybe just go ahead and change the plugs and wires. Has to be done sooner,rather than later,so what the hell. Good way to maintain points on my man card. ;) And I suspected that on the plugs,but threw it out there to see if I would get called on it. That answers that question.

Edited by Park City Skins
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since you know which cylinder,it is cheap to buy one wire and plug to try.

$10?

Oh yeah. Matter of fact I'm leaning towards that direction. But since the fellows out here were scratching their heads,figured I'd try this out and see what you all could come up with. Seems to me you all know more about this stuff than they do. That and if you can't trust a fellow Redskins fan to tell you what's up..... ;)

Edited by Park City Skins
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What kind of car was it again?

Also, it isn't unheard of for the bearing to wear into the steering knuckle or become frozen on the steering knuckle. If they admit that they broke it by accident, then that is good, at least they are being honest with you. It sucks that it happened but at least they didn't try and "take you on a ride".

It's very common for Ford Explorers to need knuckles, hubs and bearings when the bearings go bad. They become almost impossible to separate and often break the knuckles when trying to do so. Like I said, very common.

2000 kia sephia...I don't know the specifics but I assume that they were trying to press out the hub using the knuckle as a brace. I've seen the part and it was a clean break at the points where the brake caliper connects. it was nearly impossible for them to say it was my fault given the say it was broken.

Edited by Leonard Washington
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I forgot to update about the wife's sebring convertible, that I was sure had a blown head gasket. After consulting with a service place called "Mostly Mopars" the owner told me that those motors rarely blow head gaskets and that he was certain it was a blown water pump that, because it's under the timing cover, dumps water right into the oil pan :nutkick: and the that the lifter that I thought I heard clatering was a rod knocking. Needless to say I didn't pour the blue devil gasket sealer in it. I sold the car as is for $2000 to a young ambicious mechanic. :D

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2000 kia sephia...I don't know the specifics but I assume that they were trying to press out the hub using the knuckle as a brace. I've seen the part and it was a clean break at the points where the brake caliper connects. it was nearly impossible for them to say it was my fault given the say it was broken.

It sounds like it was their fault. I'm glad that they admitted so. I'm hoping that they will take care of it for you. A good respectable shop would. Just remember, mistakes happen. It's an inconvenience for you but there are shops out there that could have tried to spin it another way. If anything, it shows good about the shop for admitting their mistake and not charging you a dime for their mistake.

I just thought I'd point something else out because of the wording that you used. This is just a general statement, nothing against you at all.

When it comes to auto repairs, it usually isn't the car owner fault. A vast majority of the time, it's the car's fault. Sometimes, something will break (or be damaged, lack of a better catch all word) during repair, usually that isn't the technician's fault either. While people do make mistakes and things can be broken by mistake during repair, I feel that people are very quick to jump to the conclusion that the technician (and by definition, shop) are at fault.

I hear this statement here quite a bit in my business. Important part in bold for clarity. Again, this is a catch all statement that has nothing to do with Leonard Washington's situation.

it was nearly impossible for them to say it was my fault given the say it was broken.

It isn't your (general car owner) fault. It hardly ever is. Even if the part broke because of extenuating circumstances, it still isn't your fault. May you still have to pay for it? Yes. Did you directly lead to a part breaking? Definitely not.

I hear statements like the one above many, many times. The simple fact of the matter is that cars break. It isn't the car owner's fault that it broke, it just happened. In most cases, there isn't a damn thing that they could have done to prevent it either.

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I forgot to update about the wife's sebring convertible, that I was sure had a blown head gasket. After consulting with a service place called "Mostly Mopars" the owner told me that those motors rarely blow head gaskets and that he was certain it was a blown water pump that, because it's under the timing cover, dumps water right into the oil pan :nutkick: and the that the lifter that I thought I heard clatering was a rod knocking. Needless to say I didn't pour the blue devil gasket sealer in it. I sold the car as is for $2000 to a young ambicious mechanic. :D

:rotflmao:

I've never seen a Mopar that didn't blow a head gasket. That includes the one that I owned until about a year ago.

Either way, I'm glad that you got to unload your car to a good young schmuck (er, I mean, ambitious mechanic). :silly:

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It sounds like it was their fault.

I just thought I'd point something else out because of the wording that you used. This is just a general statement, nothing against you at all.

When it comes to auto repairs, it usually isn't the car owner fault. A vast majority of the time, it's the car's fault. Sometimes, something will break (or be damaged, lack of a better catch all word) during repair, usually that isn't the technician's fault either. While people do make mistakes and things can be broken by mistake during repair, I feel that people are very quick to jump to the conclusion that the technician (and by definition, shop) are at fault.

I hear this statement here quite a bit in my business. Important part in bold for clarity. Again, this is a catch all statement that has nothing to do with Leonard Washington's situation.

It isn't your (general car owner) fault. It hardly ever is. Even if the part broke because of extenuating circumstances, it still isn't your fault. May you still have to pay for it? Yes. Did you directly lead to a part breaking? Definitely not.

I hear statements like the one above many, many times. The simple fact of the matter is that cars break. It isn't the car owner's fault that it broke, it just happened. In most cases, there isn't a damn thing that they could have done to prevent it either.

Good points, but ironic since you start your reply with "It sounds like it was their fault. "

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Good points, but ironic since you start your reply with "It sounds like it was their fault. "

Based on his particular situation, it sounded like it was their fault.

The rest of the statement was a general thought I had because he mentioned the phrase "It wasn't my fault". I just felt the need to explain that it usually isn't the car owner's fault.

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Can't remember if I told you guys, twa and SS, but I dropped almost $1600 into my blazer.

It needed a new starter, fuel pump/filter, and I had an intake gasket leaking coolant that I've known about but I decided to go ahead and drop my tax money on it before it got too bad.

I should be good to go now for a while :fingersx:

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Can't remember if I told you guys, twa and SS, but I dropped almost $1600 into my blazer.

It needed a new starter, fuel pump/filter, and I had an intake gasket leaking coolant that I've known about but I decided to go ahead and drop my tax money on it before it got too bad.

I should be good to go now for a while :fingersx:

Good. $1600 isn't too bad of a deal for all of that work either. Let's hope that is the last of the work you will need for a long while.

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Good. $1600 isn't too bad of a deal for all of that work either. Let's hope that is the last of the work you will need for a long while.

I checked around a little too. When the truck broke down I had it towed to a nearby Midas and they wanted $1300-something for the fuel pump/starter and labor. Then I called a couple of smaller local shops and both totaled parts + labor at $950ish so I had the vehicle towed from Midas to one of the local places. Low and behold Midas was calling me back 15 minutes after I got off the phone offering me a cheaper rate. I stuck with the smaller garage.

I've always heard it's the opposite but I was glad I could pay some money to a small local business. The guy's shop I took it to was recommended by someone so hopefully he didn't eff anything up lol.

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1999 Toyota 4 Runner-approx 135k miles.

Way back I posted about a weird noise in the stearing area. Tried the stearing fluid, didn't work. Then in March I slid into a fire hydrant (posted a thread and pics). I didn't really drive it, maybe once to the store until I got it fixed. They "fixed" the front wheel bearing and joint and did the alignment. The mechanic said my alignment won't go 100% straight, and might have a bent frame. But the noise when I turn is still there.

ideas?

I'll add that they said the struts were fine (someone locally thought it was that). It only makes the noise when I turn- sorta grinding, but also the stearing wheel feels tight.

Edited by ljs
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