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Extremeskins

The "Ask a Mechanic" Thread


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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.

Did they check for damage to the power steering system after you hit the hydrant? It's possible that a power steering line could be crimped and not flowing the necessary amount. This would cause noise from the power steering when you turn the wheel because the fluid isn't circulating like it should.

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My saturn belches a blue cloud of smoke in the mornings...

or after a good 7+ hours of sitting still.

Is it DIY fixable?

Probably not.

The blue smoke is oil being burned. It's rather common in the older Saturns. You could try an oil additive the next time you change your oil, but I doubt it would help. Something that is specifically designed to target piston rings and valve seals such as BG RF7 would be the best chance you have.

Also, if you haven't changed the oil in your car in something like 5,000 miles, I'd recommend you do so now.

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It only makes the noise when I turn- sorta grinding, but also the stearing wheel feels tight.

Could be the tire rubbing the splash shield ect, since the alignment is still off.

Does it just do it in one direction?...if so look around under the fender liner for scuff marks.

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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.

Yea I understand what you mean and I think it is applicable to most parts on a car.

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Did they check for damage to the power steering system after you hit the hydrant? It's possible that a power steering line could be crimped and not flowing the necessary amount. This would cause noise from the power steering when you turn the wheel because the fluid isn't circulating like it should.
Could be the tire rubbing the splash shield ect, since the alignment is still off.

Does it just do it in one direction?...if so look around under the fender liner for scuff marks.

The noise was doing this before the Fire hydrant incident. However, it's not nearly as bad as before. The noise happens turning either side and it's almost like I can feel it in the steering wheel, it's like a squeeky door when you open and close it.

I'll have to take it in and I'll ask them to check the steering line.

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What fluids should I check (and how often) and replace to prevent over heating?

Antifreeze...how often depends on the driving you do..and how anal

Most vehicles have a reservoir you can simply look at to see if it is low,certainly check before any long trips.

Replacing schedule depends on what type fluid(usually determined by color)

Red/pink=extended life

Green=standard

rusty water = trouble;)

btw..oil ,while it has little effect on overheating, is the most critical to check often

Edited by twa
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What fluids should I check (and how often) and replace to prevent over heating?

I'll expand a little bit on the whole antifreeze thing that twa mentioned.

Antifreeze and coolant are the same exact thing. I just want to clarify that right now because sometimes I will refer to it as antifreeze sometimes and coolant others. Many people in the auto business do it. I find though, that sometimes, it will confuse people. They call it both antifreeze and coolant because it serves two purposes. It keeps the engine block from freezing up in winter and from overheating in the summer. The coolant/antifreeze has nothing to do with your air conditioning at all, neither does the thermostat. People often confuse the coolant/antifreeze and thermostat for things related to air conditioning, it's an entirely different system.

Now a brief history of coolant/antifreeze. When I got into this business and for many years before that, there was only one type of coolant. It was green and was a glycol (I think) based coolant. It used chemicals and was very earth unfriendly. It smelled sweet and attracted small animals such as cats and children to eat it, often causing harm. Sometime in the early to mid 90's, the automakers developed a long life coolant. The long life coolant is organic based, not as bad for the environment and longer lasting (none of them are permanent). The first long life coolant was orange and was used in GM vehicles. In my opinion, it cost them a lot of money because of unexpected failures (that's just my opinion though). Now, almost every automaker has it's own long life coolant.

Just a few:

Orange - DexCool, GM's trademark coolant

Red and pink - Toyota antifreeze

Pink - BMW and VW antifreeze

Blue - Honda antifreeze

Yellow - Ford antifreeze

Clear or yellow - Universal coolant (can be used in all makes and models)

Now, how an automotive cooling system works. As you may have guessed, and engine creates heat through friction and combustion. The cooling system is used to take that heat and maintain an optimal temperature in the engine.

There is coolant that runs through the engine, through the radiator hoses and through the radiator. When you start your car the engine and coolant are cold (or ambient temperature rather). The engine will warm up and the coolant in the engine will warm up with it. The coolant will warm up to a temperature high enough to open the thermostat. Once the thermostat is open coolant flows into the radiator so that the radiator can take all of that heat and let it escape into the surrounding area. While the heat from the coolant is being dissipated at the radiator there is more coolant that is taking heat from the engine. It cycles back and forth, to and from the radiator to maintain a specific temperature in the engine.

Now, you may ask, why coolant? Why not water? Coolant has a higher boiling point than water. It also has a lower freeze point than water. Also, it has rust inhibitors and corrosion protectors that will keep the cooling system, and thus the engine, in good condition internally. That said, approximately 50% of a good coolant mixture contains water.

All of that said, the question remains, when should I check my coolant?

You shouldn't have to. The cooling system is a closed system. It shouldn't consume anything. It shouldn't boil so there will not be any loss of coolant. It is sealed at all times.

Now the coolant should be checked periodically. Leaks can happen. I'd check the coolant once every oil change unless I suspected a problem. If I thought there was a coolant leak, I'd check it very often (once a week or more) until it was repaired.

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do you still work at a mechanic? I would love for you to fix my family's car.

Yeah, I still work at an auto shop. I honestly didn't start this thread to solicit any business. If you are located in MD, coming all the way to Springfield for auto service is a long way to go. I'm sure you could find somebody just as good as myself that could offer a quality service much closer to home.

If you did come to my shop, I wouldn't be working on your car. I am not an auto technician, I am a service advisor (like I explained in the OP). I get paid to know about these things and relate them to people without actually touching a car (although I do get my hands dirty whenever I can). Now, the mechanics that work for me are great, but I can't take credit for their hard work.

If you would like some help from me though, send me a PM. I'll do all I can for anybody here on ES.

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Nice expansion Springfields :)

I was interrupted by a daughters friends car overheating...wtf ..I look like a greasemonkey?:chair:....Women:insane:

Thanks. It's one of those long winded posts that I would be damned if I lost somehow. That said, I doubt anyone will read all of it.

As far as the greasemonkey comment... well yeah, it's the price we pay. When was the last time you asked your doctor friend to diagnose and repair you for a discounted rate? Just wondering. :silly:

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:cheers:

If I had a nickel for every free repair or advice

At least most are appreciative,and it's hard for me to turn a female away;)

Edited by twa
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I had all my brakes fixed at a place that I was suspicious of their work to begin with, and the reason i went there is because I had a credit card for their shop, and didn't have the cash, so I had them do my brakes.

Within a couple weeks, my brakes squeal every once in a while, when I apply them. Is this a clue they didn't do the work right ? And if so, what is the problem ?

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I had all my brakes fixed at a place that I was suspicious of their work to begin with, and the reason i went there is because I had a credit card for their shop, and didn't have the cash, so I had them do my brakes.

Within a couple weeks, my brakes squeal every once in a while, when I apply them. Is this a clue they didn't do the work right ? And if so, what is the problem ?

It's not really a clue that they didn't do the work correctly, I'd say it's more of a clue that they used inferior parts. Inexpensive (cheap) brake pads will work as advertised (read: they will stop your car) but can make noise just because of the composition of the pads. It could also be a sign that they didn't lubricate caliper slides or replace brake hardware also.

What kind of car do you have Mick?

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It's not really a clue that they didn't do the work correctly, I'd say it's more of a clue that they used inferior parts. Inexpensive (cheap) brake pads will work as advertised (read: they will stop your car) but can make noise just because of the composition of the pads. It could also be a sign that they didn't lubricate caliper slides or replace brake hardware also.

What kind of car do you have Mick?

It's a 97 Buick LeSabre.....inherited it from my Dad when he died, in case you'r wondering why I drive such a car.

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It's a 97 Buick LeSabre.....inherited it from my Dad when he died, in case you'r wondering why I drive such a car.

I never wonder why anyone drives the car that they do. No explanation needed.

You should go back to the shop though and tell them it's squeaking. That should be covered by they warranty that you have for both parts and labor. There is no reason you should have to drive a car with squeaky brakes when you just paid for all that money for them. You shouldn't be charged a dime to correct your problem either.

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I never wonder why anyone drives the car that they do. No explanation needed.

You should go back to the shop though and tell them it's squeaking. That should be covered by they warranty that you have for both parts and labor. There is no reason you should have to drive a car with squeaky brakes when you just paid for all that money for them. You shouldn't be charged a dime to correct your problem either.

Yea, it's still under warranty, so I'll bring it back. Thanks

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  • 2 weeks later...
Awright -

My 18 yr old daughter has a '99 Toyota Corolla. Over the past month or so, it doesn't want to start. Dash lights up and then when you turn the key we hear a single click, and then the dash lights go out.

Repeat - same thing.

It'll start eventually, but sometimes it takes fifteen tries. It's always worse in the morning. Generally works fine after the initial daily start.

Sometimes you can hear the starter - it will grab the fly wheel and turn it just a half a turn or so, then stop. This makes me think the battery was under charged.

I put a voltage meter on the battery and it read 12 volts exactly. I thought maybe it should read closer to 13 and a half volts. So I ended up buying a new battery. Installed it.

Next morning, same exact thing. I mean exactly. No difference at all.

****.

What do you think?

Thanks

Replacing the starter on those cars is easier than you would think. That one may be on the back of the engine. I can't recall.

I bet it's the starter. Just sayin'. :)

Okay - now that a solid 10 + weeks has passed, and the car is no longer reliable, I am trying to replace the starter.

This ain't no easy job. The starter is in the front, but it's halfway up with the intake manifold wrapped around it.

I have the Haynes manual. It sucks. It doesn't tell me ****.

Got the bottom bolt out. The top bolt is impossible for me to get to without removing something.

Found this:

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_to_remove_a_starter_in_1999_Toyota_corolla

But I don't know wtf removing the top radiator hose will do for me.

The link info seems to want me to remove the intake manifold. That's the four tubes running out of the side. I agree, that would help me get to the starter, but seems way involved. Haynes says I need to drain the radiator first.

What if I just removed the alternator? That seems much easier. But even then, I'm not super confident I can get to the starter bolt. But I figure it might be worth a try.

Part of me wants to say **** it and take it to the shop and pay the money. But I don't want to wimp out.

Below is a pic. You can see the starter in the lower right behind all those intake tubes.

Thoughts?

Edited by Mark The Homer
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lol

Of course. I got the bottom bolt out.

I think I understand now why the upper radiator hose has to come off. Otherwise the intake manifold won't come out.

How hard is it and how complicated is it to take the intake off? Anybody know? Those four tubes are all one piece, they're welded to the metal box to the right. So all that has to come out.

Edited by Mark The Homer
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lol

Of course. I got the bottom bolt out.

I think I understand now why the upper radiator hose has to come off. Otherwise the intake manifold won't come out.

How hard is it and how complicated is it to take the intake off? Anybody know? Those four tubes are all one piece, they're welded to the metal box to the right. So all that has to come out.

Not too hard if the bolts aren't froze....break one and a new adventure begins;)

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