Please select your question.

 

James my 2003 BMW 320i oil light comes on when the engine gets up to operating temperature. I changed the oil sending unit replaced and I still have the same problem. I am scratching my head wondering, “Does this mean my engine is worn out?” Darrell

James, I have a 2001 Toyota Tundra with a 4.7 liter automatic transmission. It only has 60,000 miles on it and I don’t know if I need to change the timing belt or not. I have asked around and get different information from other shops. What do you say I need to do according to the mileage and age of my truck? Jim

James, why are gas prices so high? Denise C. Bogalusa, La.

Treating the symptom, not the problem! Dear James, I have had two water pumps put on my 2000 Mercedes ML320. The shop uses genuine Mercedes water pumps, and Mercedes antifreeze. Any ideas what might be causing this problem? Bob, St Joe.

Do you remember car repair in 1980? James Auto Center opened its doors in September 20th, 1980. Our mission was to take care of customer’s car service and repair needs. Things have changed a lot since 1980, labor rates were $22.00 an hour, and minimum wage was $3.10. Cars had points and condensers that needed to be changed every 3 to 5,000 miles. The most popular oil weight was 10w40 and 20w50. Carburetors needed to be rebuilt every few years to keep the gas mileage respectable. Cars rarely lasted 100,000 miles before they were ready to go to the salvage yard. Repair information for shops consisted of two or three service manuals (depending if you worked on "foreign" or "American" cars). A test light, dwell meter, compression gauge and vacuum gauge and volt/ohm meter were about the only diagnostic tools needed to diagnose and repair cars and trucks. Repair tickets were written by hand and collected sales tax was sent by mail to the state of Florida by the 20th of every month. Labor rates now are close to $100 per hour. Minimum wage is $7.67. Electronic ignition systems go 100,000 miles between spark plug changes. Fuel injection provides better performance and better fuel mileage. Two hundred to three hundred thousand miles on a car is common to still be on the road. Most cars over 7 years old have more than 100,000 miles on the odometer and still run well and are dependable. The proper weight oil to use now is 5w30 or 5w20. Information needed to diagnose/repair cars can be purchased instantly “on line". Diagnostic equipment consists of laptop computers, digital lab scopes, and special software with sophisticated programs. Sales tax must be submitted on line, so that it will come out of the business checking account instantly. Yes, there have been a lot of changes over the last 32 years. What has not changed is customers wanting to have a locally owned family business that is trustworthy and professional that treats its customers like family. On Friday the 28th of September James Auto Center @ 1301 E 11th Street Panama City, Florida will have an open house for all. From 11:00 to 1:00 we will be serving refreshments and demonstrating different kinds of diagnostic equipment we are trained to use in taking care of your car. Please mark your calendar and join us Friday, September 28th @ James Auto Center from 11 to 1 pm. We look forward to seeing our friends, customers and former employees to help us celebrate our 32nd anniversary. Peace and Prosperity to all, James Morris

Dear James, I have a 2005 Pontiac GTO with a 6.0 liter engine that makes no noise going down the highway. It only makes noise when I turn a corner or do slow speeds turns in a parking lot. I have had all the fluids changed in hoping this would fix the problem. I still have the noise and have no idea what to do next. RC, Panama City,

Dear Auto Advisor, I have a 1996 Geo Tracker with the 4 cylinder 16 valve engine. The engine does not want to accelerate. It seems to bog down and slowly starts to build up engine speed over several seconds. It seems that when the rpm reaches close to 3000 rpm it appears to have more power... The local Chevy dealer looked at it for 3 hours and could not find the problem. They tested timing, fault codes, compression, air induction, etc. The one item they could not test was fuel pressure because they did not have the adapter to connect a gauge. From what I learned about fuel injection systems it seems that a faulty fuel regulator may be the problem. Does this sound like a feasible answer? Do you have any suggestion? The fuel gauge also seems to be dropping faster than usual. The engine rpm at 55 mph is about 2100 and it feels quite doggy and does not respond very well. If I shift into second it again seems more responsive but then the engine rpm is high. Thank you for any comments you may have. J. Adams

Car Uses Too Much Oil, Why? Dear James, My 2010 Chevy Impala uses one quart of oil every 1000 miles. I have taken it back to the dealer and they tell me this is normal oil usage. Between oil changes I use 5 quarts of oil. This is way too much oil, I only have 8,000 miles left before my warranty runs out. What do you recommend I should do to get this problem fixed? Worried, Single Mom, Jan

Dear James, I have finally gotten a good job after a couple of months of being unemployed. The problem is, I can’t move my 1978 MG! The engine will start and runs fine. I just can’t put it in gear! I try pushing in the clutch and it just grinds the gears. I can start it up in gear, and it will move. I just can’t stop it with out killing the engine. I did not have any problem when I parked the car two months ago. My funds are limited and I really need my car to go to work. Any ideas what I can do to get it where I can drive it safely? R.P. Parker, Fl.

Black Smoke and Check Engine Lights, Oh my! Hi. I have a 2005 Avalanche with a 5.3 Vortec engine, automatic transmission. I went on a road trip from about 6300 feet and went to northern Idaho, thru mountains, and ended at around 1400 ft. (Up and down trip). Then on the way home, some 1200 miles later, my engine kind of stumbled at a gas station, at idle right before accelerating. I didn’t notice any reason for it, and runs super while driving. Now it is real bad! Blows black smoke, and stumbles badly. Check engine light is on with engine code of random misfire (PO300). What do you suggest I do? Jerry

Bad Luck or No Luck at All I purchased a New/Used 1998 Chevrolet S10 LS, with a 4.3L it had 87,000 miles it now has around 130,000 on it. Recently I had all my tail lamps except the one on top of the cab. While I was in the process of tracking down my taillight problem my fuel pump goes out "Bad Luck" I guess. I replaced the pump and it is pumping the fuel to the test port on the fuel rail and still the truck will not start! If I manually pour gas in to the Throttle Body it will run! What would you say the problem is? I have heard everything from airlock, the timing being off to the computer..... I think maybe the injector could be gummed up… Please help, Lost in Cyber Space

Pay a Little More Now, Or a Lot More Later!

Dear James, My 2004 Chevy 1/2 ton truck has a brake noise in the morning when I first apply them. It is a low sounding type growl like a metal to metal sound. As the day goes on they occasionally squeal a high pitch irrating sound. I have had the brake pads changed twice in the last 3 years hoping to stop this problem. It goes away for about 4 to 6 months then it comes back. Any ideas on how to stop this brake noise? Tom O. Callaway

I was driving my 1999 Pontiac Gran Prix GT on a 40 mile trip. Right when I exited the highway my car stalled. I tried to restart it and it ran very rough with no power and I had to have it towed home. I am getting a code PO300/Random/multiple cylinder misfire. I have checked the coil packs and the ECM and they seem to have fire and injector pulse. I also changed the spark plugs and it stills runs very rough and will not idle. I have to keep the gas pedal “feathered” in order for it to stay running. What could the problem be? The car ran perfect before this happened and I don’t know what to do next. Steve A.

Dear Auto Advisor, I am down in PC for my summer vacation and my older classic car has get up and go problems. My question is "How much mechanical advance should I get from my H.E.I. distributor?" The car I am working on is a 1974 Pontiac Trans Am with a 350 engine. I know that with the vacuum advance disconnected, I only see 5 or 6 degrees of advance when I bump the throttle. Is this enough? The weights and springs move and snap back freely inside the distributor. I hope this makes sense to you. Judd, Panama City

I would like to ask you a question about a problem with my car. How can you tell if a car needs a timing chain before it fails? And does the car need to be running to put it on a diagnostic machine? James, Berwyn, Ill.

James I have a starting (cranking) problem with my 1990 Toyota 4 Runner. It will crank when cold, after it gets hot and sits for 15 to 20 minutes, it won't. I had the starter rebuilt and it worked for a few days. Now it is back to the same "No Start" problem. Anything I can do or check to solve this problem? Mike B.

James, my 1999 Cadillac has a leak in the A/C system. I have taken it to a shop twice, and they charge it up. While they have it on the a/c machine they check for leaks and correct pressures. No leaks are found and the pressures are where they are supposed to be. Any ideas to where they should check next? William H. Chipley, Fl.

Dear Auto Advisor, I have a 2004 Dodge 4.7 L Durango with automatic transmission. My problem seems to be the oil pressure drops out to zero. I had a shop replace the oil pump and clean the sludge out of the engine. Yet it still drops oil pressure after 10 to 15 minutes of driving. The engine does not make any noise when the oil pressure drops. My question is, what could be the cause of this problem? James B. Bayou George

Dear Auto Advisor, I have recently purchased a 2005 Dodge 1500. All seems to be well except the a/c and heater. The A/C blows cold going down the highway, but blows warm when I sit at red lights. I have also noticed that when I turn the heater to hot, only slightly warm air comes out of the ducts. Any ideas where I need to start? BJ

Dear Master Auto Tech, I am having problems with my 2000 Cadillac Eldorado loosing coolant. Nothing leaks on the ground where I park my car. I don't smell coolant or see evidence that coolant is leaking. Yet ever month I have to add about a gallon of coolant. The car does not run hot or give me any indications of a blown head gasket. Do you have any ideas to get to the bottom of this mystery? V. Ellis

Dear Mr. Auto Tech, I do all of the basic maintenance on my vehicle and have for a long time. I drive a 2000 Chevy and feel comfortable doing it. That being said, I am considering buying a Mini Cooper and I am curious if I will be able to do the same maintenance without Hi Tech equipment. Thanks, Jeremy

Hi, James. I trust you're doing well. I'm glad to see you're still in the newspaper -- a lot of us can't say that anymore. I'm glad we were able to get you in print while I was at the News Herald. I have a car question. My wife's 2003 Mercury Mountaineer makes a clunking noise and the wheels grab the pavement when you make a sharp turn at slow speeds (for example, when you turn out of a driveway or in to a parking spot). A mechanic told us there's a technical service bulletin about this, and it calls for replacement of a rear clutch pack. Does any of this sound familiar? The work would be about $1,000, and we're not sure we want to put that kind of money into a car with 150,000 miles -- especially if it doesn't solve the problem. Thanks, Bubba V.

Steering Hard and Noisy Engine My 2005 Chevy Malibu turns easy to the right yet it is harder to turn to the left. I took it to a shop and they thought the electric power steering motor could be bad. Is there a test you can use to check what the problem really is, without guessing? James T.

Dear James, My 2005 Dodge 1500 with a 4.7 engine ticks in the morning when I first start it up. I did not by the truck new, I have no idea about the history of its maintenance. My technician says I need to change the lifters and see if that helps. The oil pressure is good and it stops ticking after about 5 minutes. Any idea how to quiet them down, short of replacing the lifters? Mark K. St. Joe

James, I have two questions, and the first is: For my 1993 5.7 liter TBI engine, I just replaced the radiator, water pump with belts and new hoses. I also replaced the thermostat. I believe the thermostat rated for this vehicle is a 195 degree And I put in a 180 degree. The engine still seems to be heating up more than I would like. Would I be hurting anything by going to a 160 degree thermostat on that vehicle? Secondly, The A/C is not working and I believe the compressor seals have popped. I don’t really Want to go to the new R134 system since I will have to replace the entire system which will be very expensive. Do you think there would be any chance of anyone being able to help me get my existing system going? Thanks for any ideas you have, Scott B.

I have a sound coming from my 3.3 Dodge Caravan that is not normal. I replaced the serpentine belt and tensioner. Still has noise, belt off, noise goes away. I have spun all the pulleys by hand and they seem quite and normal. What am I missing? Hollis B.

Dear James, Recently at my shop we changed the cylinder head on a 22 RE, 1994 Toyota Pickup. When it is cold it runs fast like it supposed to. When it gets warmed up, it really runs rough at idle and the idle speed goes up and down. I have checked for vacuum leaks with carb cleaner and none exists. Any advice would be appreciated to solve this troublesome problem. Old Joe in Panama City.

Dear James, My tires are wearing like they are low on air. (outside and inside of the tire is wearing faster than the middle of the tire) My tire pressure specification chart on my door says I should run the tires at 32. I hear you say I should run my tires pressure higher than what the manufacturer recommends. Will it be dangerous if I do run my tire pressure higher? Thomas D. Panama City.

James, I listen to your show on Saturday. I wondered how you know so much about the new cars. I figured as old as you are, the older cars you have experience with. I am curious how you manage to keep up with the newer technology? J. Smith Callaway

Auto Advisor, I need some advice, please. My 2005 Ford F-150 “clunks” every time I take off from a stop. I have taken it to a couple of shops and they can’t figure it out. Both are thinking something may be wrong with the transmission. Have you any ideas? Suzanne H.

Dear James, I have a 2002 chevy suburban 1500 with a 5.3 liter engine. Everything work on the engine with the exception of the cruise control. I took it to a local shop and they just scratched their head and said they had no idea why the cruise didn’t work. They said the brake switch was good and the on off switch was good as well. They suspect the cruise control servo but didn’t want to just guess that it was bad and replace it. Do you have any ideas that might be the cause of my cruise not working on my Suburban? Billy T. Wewa

Dear James, I have a 96 Toyota T-100 3.4L V6. My number six injector is not opening up and spraying fuel. So far I have put a new fuel pump in, a new fuel filter and fuel pressure regulator. I even put in new injector in it as well. I checked the injector connection and it has juice going to it, I also tried a friends computer from his 96 Toyota and it still did it work. I am out of ideas and don’t know anymore areas to look. I took to shop and they said the code is P0306 (misfire on cylinder six) Josh S, Lakeland Fl.

Dear Master Auto Tech, I own a 1995 Chevy Blazer 4.3L 4wd with 200k plus miles. It runs great, lousy fuel mileage. The problem I am writing about is the truck won’t start when cold. I changed fuel filter that helped for a while, but the problem came back. I changed filter again, no help. Fuel pump works (can hear relay click), idle air solenoid good. Now the only way it will start, hot or cold is to prime it with a squirt of gas to the throttle body. Once it starts, it runs great, but don't turn it off 'till you get where you're going. I have not performed any other diagnostics. I am a poor man. Where do I start to look for this problem? Charles E. Panama City

Dear Auto Advisor, I have a 2004 F350 Lariat dually with the 6.0 Powerstroke, the other day while driving to work the truck died while I was on the road. Before this happened, the truck felt sluggish and low on power (no throttle response). I tried to re start the truck but it would not fire. When I cranked the truck it sounds like it wants to fire off, but it will not start up. Both batteries are fully charged and I have checked the wiring for any signs of chafing and I have not seen any signs. I also loosened the fuel filter cap and cranked the truck to make sure the fuel pump was working and it appears to be fine. Do you have any suggestions what the problem may be. Thanks! Kenneth P.

Is Your Car Ready for 2012?

Honda Idle, Hunts for a Home Dear Auto Advisor, My wife has a 2002 V6 Honda Accord, the idle is not smooth and slow, it goes up and down, when I put the car in gear, it goes down the highway at 35 mph. This problem all started when I installed a new timing belt and water pump on my car. I have checked the timing marks on the timing belt 3 times and I know they are right on the money. Do you have any ideas on how to troubleshoot this idle problem on my Honda? Worried husband in the doghouse, in Wewa.

James, I read with great interest your article in News Herald Sunday November 27th regarding coolant problems with the 2005 Ford F-250 Powerstroke diesel. I have a 2006 F-250 with the 6.0L Powerstroke Diesel Engine. Does this maintenance procedure apply to my engine as well? Dennis B.

Dear Sir, My 1997 Dodge caravan has quite a few miles on it. All seems to work with the exception of my horn, cruise control and I have an air bag light on. I have read that the “clock spring” may be the problem. My question how much trouble is it to change a clock spring on my Caravan? Christina R. Ormond Beach, Fl.

Dear Auto Advisor. I look forward to reading your column every Saturday hoping I will find someone who has the same problem as I. My 2007 Cadillac DTS has been doing this weird problem since it had 15,000 miles on it. What it does is shift hard when it comes out of overdrive. It does not do it every time and sometimes I may go 2 or 3 days before it does this weird shifting problem. I have taken to the dealership and they have looked for possible updates for the transmission control module and none were found. I read in past articles that you have “fixed” other transmission shift problem by reprogramming it. Sadly this is not the case of my Cadillac with 58,000 miles. Any suggestions would be appreciated before I trade this car in and buy a new one. Mike R. Lynn Haven

Dear Auto Advisor, My 1995 S-10 Blazer was in a wreck to the left front fender. When I tried to start it after it sits for a while, I have to spray starter fluid down the throttle body for it to start. After it starts, it runs great, but when you turn it off it will not “fire up”. The motor is turning over, but it acts as if it can't get gas for starting. If I crank and crank for over a minute it will start and run. I know this can’t be good from my starter or battery. Please give me an idea where to look. Larry F.

Hubby’s repair makes wife complain My 2001 Chrysler T&C Van was showing signs of very slight fluid leakage on the auto transmission pan. I dropped the pan, cleaned up the residue in the pan, which did not look too bad to me, reinstalled the pan and added back fresh 5 quarts of Chrysler transmission fluid which is the same amount I drained out. The fluid level is okay when hot and car in park. Shortly there after, my wife complained about harsh downshift when braking for a stop. This did not show up when I drove the van around the block after changing the fluid. It only appears to occur when traveling at speed and starting to slow down (maybe at 35 to 40 mph?). Other shifts are smooth and seamless. I assume the fluid change had something to do with the change in the shifting. I had changed the pan fluid previously after about 4 years and at about 7 years I had the dealer do a fluid flush so I did not expect any adverse reaction to fresh fluid. Any suggestions on what I should do next. Thanks, Ross B.

Clunk that Stumps the Car Experts I read your section in the Lynn Haven Ledger and have a question that, so far, has stumped the car "experts". I have a 2003 Buick Century four door. Every few months I experience the following. I stop for a stop sign or signal and when I start off again it is like someone hit the car from the rear. Usually it is enough that I feel like I was hit by someone going 10 or 15 mph. It may happen once on a given day and then nothing for several weeks or months. It seems to definitely be in the rear but with front wheel drive the only thing I know of in the rear is the rear axle, differential, brakes, gas tank ??? If it happened every time I stop maybe the problem could be more easily isolated. Any ideas? Jesse B. Lynn Haven Florida I don’t know who the “car experts” were that you have talked to. So I decided to look for a TSB for clunk or bang from rear of vehicle. Sure enough, there is one dated August 2005 bulletin # 04-06-04-066A. It affects 2003-04 Buick Century, Chevy Impala, Monte Carlo, and Pontiac Gran Prix. The article states that customers may complain about clunk/bang type noise when a vehicle comes to a stop or during parking lot maneuvers, when the fuel tank is ½ to full of gasoline. The noise is due to fuel sloshing in the fuel tank and a broken baffle in the fuel tank. The correction is to replace the fuel tank with P/N 15141578 and re-program the computer to keep from setting a check engine light with an emissions code. This is why it is so important for car owners like you, to find repair shops that have computer databases for information. I have several information sources I use such as Alldatapro, Napafix and iATN.net. With this type of information today’s auto repair shops can get help to problems that used to take hours and sometimes days to figure out. So when you have a car problem with your vehicle find a repair shop that has access to this information. It will save you money and time, in this busy world we live in, time is money! Live long and prosper. James, I have two questions, the first is for my 5.7 liter TBI engine, I just replaced the radiator, water pump with belts and new hoses. I also replaced the thermostat. I believe the thermostat rated for this vehicle is a 195 degree. I put in a 180 degree thermostat and the engine still seems to be heating up more than I would like. Would I be hurting anything by going to a 160 degree thermostat on that vehicle? Secondly, The A/C is not working and I believe the compressor seals have popped. I don’t really want to go to the new R134 system since I will have to replace the entire system which will be very expensive. Do you think there would be any chance of anyone being able to help me get my existing system going? Thanks for any ideas you have, Scott B.

Hello James, My name is Colton, I live in Denver Colorado. I am going to high school and taking an auto class. So I’m very familiar with cars. I have had this problem with my truck ever since I got it. I have a semi-hot rodded 1986 Ford F-150. The only thing special about it is that it has a 302 1991 Ford Mustang EFI motor that was designed to drag race, it has true dual exhaust with 36 inch glass packs. The original engine for the truck was a 302 EFI system so not much of a difference. My problem is that I have two gas tanks, one is 16 gallons and the other is 25 gallons. I have been running off of the 16g tank ever since I got it which was a year and a half ago. Every time I throw the switch to start running of the rear 25g tank, it only runs for a couple min and then dies out as if it ran out of gas. I know it’s full because I filled it when I first got it and I put some gas in it to see if it was leaking but it would only let me put half a gallon in it so I know it’s still full. I have been told three things on what to do. I should go and replace the switch with a three way toggle or two switches, one for the 16g and the other for the 25g tank. Or the fuel pump is bad in the rear tank and needs to be replaced. And third, buy a separate fuel pump to pump gas from the rear tank to the front tank. I would really appreciate it if you e-mail me back soon so I can fix this once and for all because I’m tired of it not working right. Thanks Colton.

Dear James, I am writing you about a customers 1996 Chevrolet Camaro 6 speed standard transmission, I need your advice in handling this continuing problem. This Camaro I am describing appears to be ingesting water and bending the intake push rods. This Camaro has a hood scoop with a K&N filter and a large bore throttle body. In short this is a middle aged mans hot rod! This problem only seems to happen when he drives it in the rain. The customer says it has never happened in the past until recently. It now has happened three times in the last year and half. I have suggested he put the stock air filter housing and stock air filters back on that the car came with. The customer refuses to do this and thinks something else may be the cause. Now after another hard Florida rainstorm he has the same symptoms. His “hot rodding buddy's” say that there must be something else causing this “problem”. I just know it happened only when it rains hard, if I change the bent pushrods it runs fine till he drives in another hard rainstorm. All I can see that I think is not normal is an engine compartment splattered with mud and a K&N air filter covered with mud. I believe the hood scoop along with the fully exposed filter is causing this problem. I wanted to get your opinion on what you think the problem is. Bill N. Youngstown, Fl.

Dear Auto Advisor, My husband is a “do it yourselfer” and wants to fix my 1996 Cadillac. The problem seems to be that the battery goes dead when I need the car the most. So far this week I have been late for work twice, one more time late and I am unemployed. The battery is new and the alternator is working according to the parts store. Please tell me what I can do to solve this problem. Jackie O.

_________________________________________________________ Hello James, I have a 98 Nissan Pathfinder with 83K miles that is idling rough and seems to be missing. When the car is running above 2000 RPM everything is fine. However, the car misses at low RPMs and lower speeds. It will not pass an emissions test at this time. The hydrocarbon reading is 900 at idle speed and the max allowed is 220. The car is not throwing any codes through the ECU. I have replaced the rotor, distributor cap, spark plugs, wires and PCV valve. In addition I have run every type of engine cleaner through it. I also had a Nissan dealership look at it and they told me that the Oxygen Sensor and Air Flow Meter had the incorrect voltage but they weren't convinced that was the problem. They said that a compression test was needed to further troubleshoot. The cylinders ranged from 140 for a high to 100 as a low. Most cylinders were between 110 and 125. Some mechanic I have talked with seem to think that it is a valve problem while the Nissan dealership says an engine will run fine with a compression of 90. I have ordered an Oxygen Sensor and an Air Flow Meter and I hope that will fix the problem. However, I occasionally have no brake pressure when I first start the car. I have read that a vacuum leak causes the car to run lean but mine is running rich. Is there a possibility that I have a vacuum leak somewhere? What is the best way to detect a vacuum leak? Thanks! Doug in Penn.

James, what happens if you put the wrong fluid in your brake fluid? My wife topped off the master cylinder with power steering fluid. The brake light came on the dash and she added power steering fluid to the brake master cylinder. What can I do? Panicked in Parker

I have a 1996 Chevy Cavalier Z24 2.4 liter. I had a new engine put in, (a used engine, but new to the car). I have driven it for the past couple of weeks. All of a sudden I start the car to go to work and it is making a rubbing sound near the timing cover next to the A/C compressor. To me it sounds like it does when your compressor clutch gets stuck. It is a rubbing noise like a bearing or tensioner. Do you have any ideas what the problem is? Roger in West Va.

Dear Auto Advisor, What can I do to get better fuel mileage on my 2002 Buick Park Avenue? Pauline B.

Dear James, I woke up this morning to several inches of snow on the ground. On my way to work in my 2004 Ford Expedition I slipped off the road and had to be pulled out of the ditch. When I went to start my car the engine started and then died. All it will do is crank and crank. It is sitting on the side of the road till it can be towed to my shop. Any ideas on what might be the problem? Mary Beth in Atlanta

James my wife talked me into changing the timing belt on my Honda Odyssey. All went well until I started it up. It runs well with the exception of the “Check Engine” light coming on and the power steering pump makes a whining noise. I dropped by the local parts store where I bought the timing belt and the code says I am off on my timing belt alignment marks. I tore the engine apart again and inspected the belt marks and all is well nothing out of place. I clear the codes and the check engine light stays off. If I drive very slowly it stays off. Not until I get down on the gas pedal does the “Check Engine” light come on with the same code. Any ideas before I pull my hair out? Jim H. Callaway

I'm having a problem with my Jeep Wrangler, 2006 Sport, running hot. The radiator is new, the motor is rebuilt and the water pump is new. The heater core was removed. Could this probably cause the jeep to overheat? Thank you for any comments...Marie

Dear James, I listen to you show every Saturday and I have never heard this question before on a 2004 Ford Power Stroke 6.0 liter diesel. My truck has 146,000 miles on it and occasionally it will not take the “gas” when I push down on the accelerator pedal. There is a cloud of black smoke when this happens from the exhaust and the engine does not have any power. The truck will hardly pull off from a stop sign. If I stop and put the truck in park and rev the engine the problem clears up and it runs fine till it happens again. It seems to be no set pattern to acting up. There is not a “Check Engine” light on the dash either. My repair shop says unless it has a code that turns on the “Check Engine” light they can’t help me. What could the problem be? Brent in Apalachicola

The dealership has been doing my oil changes for 5 yrs. and I recently discovered they have been putting in more than the recommended amount of oil. They have been installing 5 quarts instead of 4qts. (With filter) I can see oil residue around the seal and wonder if the integrity of my engine has been compromised? Once, to my knowledge, they put in 6 quarts of oil. I would like your opinion before I consult a lawyer. I have A 2003 Dodge Dakota SLT 3.9L. If they are doing it to me they are doing it to others.

I hear a lot of people tell me that they don’t make cars like they used too. They seem to like the idea of points and plugs and no computers to mess up on their vehicles. So let’s look at the reason most people long for the car of yesteryear. 1) They were easy to work on. 2) There was lots of room in the engine compartment. 3) There were no electronics to speak of. Here is the reality of “the car of yesterday” when I started working on them in the late 60’s and early 70’s. 1) They were hard to work on. 2) There never was enough room in the engine compartment. 3) Electronic ignition and vacuum lines was very complex. Looking back we seem to romanticize about our first car or our best friend’s car. In our minds eye they always seemed to run better and look better in our memories. In reality most American made cars were worn out by the time they reached 75,000 miles. It seemed like every time you turned around you had to drop it off at the shop for its 3,000 tune up and oil change. Plug wires and distributor caps were needed to be changed every 15 to 20,000 miles. As your vehicle points wore out the timing changed and your fuel mileage went down hill. If that wasn’t enough to upset you, the carburetor would flood out and leave you stranded. If you were able to do your own “tune ups” to keep your car running in tip top shape, then the cars bodies would rust out after just a few years. Now it was time to trade your car in and purchase a new one. Then in 70’s the Japanese started sending over cheaper, smaller cars that got great gas mileage. They ran and ran with very little maintenance and upkeep. These cars didn’t rust out like the American made cars and were a great value. Americans started voting with their wallets and purchased the foreign cars over the American made cars. The American car industry took notice and started producing better made cars, safer cars, and more fuel efficient cars. Of course it seemed to be too little too late. Out of the Big 3 only Ford did not file bankruptcy or take a “Bailout”. Americans continued to vote with their wallets, now Ford is taking the lead in sales over its competition GM. Maybe this is why Government Motors is tearing up their biggest competition, Toyota. It is uncertain that anything, anything at all, is wrong with Toyota's products. Yet the media and government are tearing at the company like a pack of wolves after an injured deer. How long will it be before Ford is in the crosshairs of Government Motors? If you can’t produce a better car then make up a story about how unsafe your competitions car is. President Lincoln said once during a debate; "if a cat uses its tail as a leg how many legs does it have?" His opponent stated: "five" at which Lincoln stated, "no, four. Just saying it doesn't make it so". Live long and Prosper, James Morris

Too charge or not to charge, that is the question?

Hi. I have a 2005 Avalanche with a 5.3 Vortec engine, automatic transmission. I went on a road trip from about 6300 feet and went to northern Idaho, thru mountains, and ended at around 1400 ft. (Up and down trip). Then on the way home, some 1200 miles later, my engine kind of stumbled at a gas station, at idle right before accelerating. I didn’t notice any reason for it, and runs super while driving. Now it is real bad! Blows black smoke, and stumbles badly. Check engine light is on with engine code of random misfire (PO300). What do you suggest I do?

Hi, I found your site (www.masterautotech.com) while searching for information on a problem with a 1991 Olds Cutlass Supreme (3.1 L engine). The car works fine around town, when driven above 40 or 50 mph the Service Engine Soon light comes on. The light stays on until the engine is shut off and doesn't come on again until the car is again driven above 40 or 50 mph. Since the light comes on, the car is rarely driven on faster roads, but when it is I haven't noticed any difference in the way it runs or otherwise performs. No other warning lights come on. I can start with a completely cold engine drive under a mile to a 50 mph road and by the time I reach the speed limit the light is on. Greg

Dear Auto Advisor. My 1989 Thunderbird the wipers will not go back to their home or park position. When I cut the wipers off they stop in the “up” position. What can I do to fix this problem besides replacing the whole motor assembly? Thanks for your help, Darrell

Hi James, I have a 1988 Chevy S-10 pick up with a 2.8 engine. When I first start it the engine spits and sputters and has no power until the engine gets to normal operating temp. This usually takes 15 minutes or so. I have changed the plugs and wires, the rotor button and distributor cap. I have changed the oil and air filter as well. Still runs terrible till it warms up. Don't know what to try next. Got any ideas? Thanks, Kathy

James, I HAVE A 1993 CAMARO V6. 3.4 . I’m having a problem with the cooling fans turning on too late. The fans do come on when the temperature gauge is almost in the red zone. Can you help me figure this out? Jose’ PC Beach

Last week a customer brought in a beautiful 1995 Jaguar V-12 that ran terrible when you put the “pedal to

Dear James, This winter has been a long one. While it my car stays parked more than it is driven the squirrels chew up my engine wiring harness, twice! I have put moth balls to drive them away as well as poison. So far nothing seems to work. Do you have any ideas to stop these “varmints”? Ester W.

Dear James, My 1996 Chevy truck has a brake noise in the morning when I first apply them. It is a low sounding type growl like a metal to metal sound. I have had the brake pads changed twice in the last 3 years hoping to stop this problem. It goes away for about 4 to 6 months then it comes back. Any ideas on how to stop this brake noise? T.O. Callaway

James: I believe the Fan Clutch in my 98 Chevy S10 is faulty because the fan is very loose and noisy. I took out the fan shroud, unscrewed the blade and Fan Clutch and released the special spring from notch (I am not sure that I am using right term or not) that sits front of Fan Clutch. I just do not know how to get it out. I can not get the answer from library books. Could you give me some hints? Thank you very much! Jimmy W Hyattsville, MD

James, Help me out on this I have a 1995 Mercury Marquis with air ride suspension. The air springs in the back were just changed because they were leaking. After a week the car looks like a jacked up race car. The rear end is way up in the air. What can I do to get this corrected; my wife is really upset about this. Joe, Crestview, Fl.

James, How can I get the codes out of my 1989 Plymouth Sundance without a scanner? Frank, Valdosta, Ga.

I hear a lot of people tell me that they don’t make cars like they used too. They seem to like the idea of points and plugs and no computers to mess up on their vehicles.

James: Recently my wife called the Nissan dealer to order the OEM correct antifreeze. The parts guy and service guy at the dealer tried to talk her out of buying the expensive Nissan OEM coolant (it is green) they said they use regular, traditional green antifreeze because it is cheaper. After listening to your radio show I decided to buy the correct Nissan coolant anyway. The other item that bothers me is the dealership uses tap water, not de-mineralized or distilled water when they change the antifreeze. The back of the Nissan Antifreeze bottle says to use a 50/50 mix of genuine Nissan antifreeze along with distilled water or de-mineralized water. My question is, “Why does the dealership use the old traditional type antifreeze and not the new type Organic Acid Technology (OAT) antifreeze? They are supposed to be experts on their vehicles.” Carrie T. Destin, Fl

Ask the Master Auto Technician www.masterautotech.com Dear James, I've been researching on best method of restoring my old R12 AC. I don't want to do an r134a retro since it has obvious problems such as being incompatible with mineral oil and grinding your compressor into scrap metal. I was thinking of just getting the leaking line replaced and having it charged with R12 (since your place does carry R12 and recommends it). But I ran across an article about a new refrigerant that is compatible with mineral oil, supposedly more efficient at removing heat than R12 and completely compatible with the older systems. So I figured I would ask you. Not sure if you covered it on your radio show, my schedule changed and I can't hear it as much as I used to. I like the older systems still. Too bad a newer R134a couldn't be retrofitted to use the old R12 or something better. BTW, my vehicle is a 1985 Buick Somerset Regal, 2.5L. You did a test drive on it before and some repair work. I trust your opinions on this the most and won't buy another car without your center going over it. And thanks for help eliminating the 20w50 heavier oil is better myth. Thanks, Daniel G.

My radio in my 1993 Ford F150 quit working. The radio has power to it but the speakers quit. I took the stereo (CD player) out and looked for a short or a disconnected wire to the speaker harness. Everything looks great. I disconnected the factory connector with the power (ignition on) and reconnected them together again and boom...the sound came on. Here is where it gets interesting. I turned off the ignition and turned it back on and NO SOUND! I only get the speakers to work when I disconnect and reconnect the connectors. What’s wrong? Please help me!! Luanne

James, I have a 2002 Mercedes all wheel drive SUV. My question is about my transmission fluid replacement interval. According to my owners manual it says it is “sealed for the life” of the transmission. There is no fluid change replacement interval. I have 130,000 miles on my transmission and would like to keep my vehicle running well for another 130,000 miles. What say you on the fluid and filter change? Larry, Manderville, La.

Why do cars last longer now than they used to?

James, I have two questions, and the first is For my 1993 5.7 liter TBI engine, I just replaced the radiator, water pump with belts and new hoses. I also replaced the thermostat. I believe the thermostat rated for this vehicle is a 195 degree And I put in a 180 degree. The engine still seems to be heating up more than I would like. Would I be hurting anything by going to a 160 degree thermostat on that vehicle? Secondly, The A/C is not working and I believe the compressor seals have popped. I don’t really Want to go to the new R134 system since I will have to replace the entire system which will be very expensive. Do you think there would be any chance of anyone being able to help me get my existing system going? Thanks for any ideas you have, Scott B.

Sudden Unexplained Acceleration, Fact or Fiction It seems lately every news story deals with Toyota’s accelerating for no known reason. So without knowing what might be wrong with the technical aspects of the vehicles. Let’s look at what we can verify. The Los Angeles Times has a list of 56 fatal incidents over 19 years involving unintended Toyota acceleration, the age of the drivers can be verified by public records. What was revealed was the average age of the driver turns out to be 60 — that is to say, half the drivers were that old or older. By comparison only 16% of all auto fatalities in 2008 occurred with a driver 60 years old or older. Whatever is causing Avalon’s, Highlanders, and Tundra’s to misbehave is largely bypassing drivers in their twenties and thirties and instead homing in on drivers old enough to remember the Howdy Doody Show and the Lone Ranger. On Wednesday there was a story of a man who frantically called 911 while his Prius ran away on a San Diego freeway. Before long observers started picking apart his story, and started looking at this mans past actions and his financial records. By Thursday newspapers such as the New York Times ran a good op-ed advancing the possibility that most of the Toyota cases will turn out to be the result of . . . driver error. As an owner of a 2004 Toyota Prius I was curious about the reports that the 2008 Prius ‘s would not stop when the brakes were applied and the car would not go into neutral when commanded by the driver using the shift lever. Another concern was the ignition On/Off button was depressed the car would not shut off. So I conducted my own experiment with my 2004 Prius. First I accelerated my car up to 65 MPH and held my gas pedal on the floor while I shifted into neutral. It took about two seconds before the car recognized the command to go into neutral. The engine RPM’s went up and down while I coasted over to the side of the road. Once the car was stopped I was able to put the car into park and stop the engine. Now I wanted to see if I could stop the engine if I was under heavy acceleration by depressing the ignition On/Off switch. It took about 2 seconds for the computer to recognize that I wanted to shut the engine off. The engine died and I safely coasted over to the side of the road (with a harder to turn steering wheel.) The final test was to see if I stepped on the gas pedal and the brake pedal at the same time what would happen? To my surprise the engine died immediately, proving to me that this little car is not the dangerous out of control car the media has portrayed. So when all the hype settles down, most cases of out of control Toyota’s will be nothing more than operator error or people wanting their 15 minutes of fame. Live long and prosper. James Morris

Tires: How Old is Too Old? Dear James, I’ve read your articles and you have talked about where the best tires should be on your car. And you have talked about putting a little more air pressure in your tires to get better fuel mileage. But what you have not written about is the age of tires. My question is: How do you tell the age of a tire and how old is too old for a tire? Bill B. Ottawa Dear Ottawa Bill, Well if you had listened to me last week on the radio or watched my show on Wednesday Morning I covered those question. So for you and others that may have missed my diatribe on tires, here goes. The best tires should always be on the rear of a vehicle regardless of being a front wheel drive or rear wheel drive car. Hear is the common sense and test track proven reason. When a front tire blows out or you start to hydroplane you will under steer the vehicle. This mean the car will continue to go in the direction you are heading. To correct this problem you take your foot off the gas until the car slows down and you can steer safely off to the side of the road. If a rear tire blows out or you start to hydro-plane you will over-steer and you may loose control of your car and flip over. Please go to www.tirerack.com to verify what I am saying and search “where should the best tires go”? Now about how do you tell the age of a tire? This can be tricky because it is only found on the back side of the tire on the DOT code. The last 4 digits of the code tell you the week it was made and the year. So if you see 4209 this means the tire was made the 42 week of 2009. Too many people have gone to discount type tire stores and bought brand new looking tires only to find out later they were too old to be safe on their vehicle. Case in point: customer comes into my shop with 4 “brand new looking tires” and complains of a “wobble” and vibration at low speeds. When we inspect the tires we find that two of the tires are separated and coming apart. When we look at the age of the tires we see only 3 digits instead of 4 in the DOT code. This means the “new tires” were made in the 42 week of 1999. So her “new tires” were 10 years old and she bought them two years ago when they were 8 years old. Tires that are older than 5 years old should not be allowed to be on the road, much less sold as new tires. The bad part is there is no law, Federal or State or local to protect the consumer from someone selling you “stale tires”. So be alert and when you purchase your new tires ask them to show you the DOT code and make sure your new tires are NEW, not old tires sold as “new tires”. Michelin’s Mascot “Bib” says it best: “There’s a lot riding on your tires”

Dear James, My dealership says that I must use their type antifreeze in my vehicle. Isn’t there universal type antifreeze I can use in my car? I read your column every week and I have not read anything about using the right type antifreeze. I know that years past antifreeze was green now it is every color of the rainbow. How come they changed from green to different colors? Joe in Panama.

NINE WAY’S TO KILL A “CAT” Before you accuse me of cruelty to animals I’m talking about catalytic convertors on your vehicle. The catalytic convertor or “cat” is important in keeping our air clean that we breathe. The automobiles of the past put 70% more pollution than the cars of today. Thanks to computers and emission controls we have cleaner air than we had in the 70's. Remember the smog alerts of the 70's in California? Now we have twice as many cars with less pollution of the past. This is due to the unsung praises of the “Cat” convertor. A Catalytic Convertor or “Cat” contains small amounts of Rhodium, Platinum and Palladium. (These metals are called Nobel Metals because they don’t change when different types of chemical molecules come in contact with them) Exhaust gases contain Oxides of Nitrogen or (NOx) that when it comes in contact with the sun produce smog. The purpose of Rhodium in the CAT separates the Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) into harmless nitrogen and oxygen. The purpose of platinum and palladium is to burn up fuel that may have made its way into the CAT from the engine BEFORE it goes out the taipipe. Listed below are the most common practices that “KILLS CATS”. (1) Removing or disabling the smog pump. This was real popular for the “DIY’S” that thought they were increasing there horsepower by removing the smog pump belt. (2) Fuel additives that contain lead or harmful contaminants. (Including the excessive use of injector cleaners) These additives can coat the metals in the CAT causing it to be poisoned and ineffective. That is why cars today require the use of unleaded fuel. (3) The wrong silicone used in installing valve cover gaskets can contaminate the oxygen sensor which in turn sends the wrong information to the computer possibly killing the Cat. (4) Secondary ignition problem such as worn out plugs and wires will make a CAT work its self to death. Possibly causing the convertor to glow cherry red and may cause the car to catch on fire or the area underneath the car. (5) Excessive fuel pressure from a faulty fuel pressure regulator or fuel pump can kill your CAT. (6) Anti-freeze from blown head gaskets will kill your CAT, making them ineffective adding insult to injury when you get the car back from the repair shop after the repair of the blown head gasket. (7) Running your vehicle out of fuel will superheat the CAT causing it to “Fuse together” restricting your engine performance and shifting quality. 8) Using the wrong type engine oil not designed for your car can kill your CAT causing the dreaded “check engine” light to come on informing you that your cat has died 9) And the number one reason that CATS die is due to the driver ignoring a BLINKING “check engine” light while they are driving. Here is the good news. Your Cat is covered by the manufacturer for 8 years or 80,000 miles. Just like your cars engine computer. So read your owners manual and be kind to your “Cat”

Hello James, How you doing? My question is in regard to the NEW Royal Purple oil filter I have seen on Horsepower T.V. show last week. They were saying real good things about it, will this be the next ultimate oil filter on the market as far as being the best top notch oil filter that I can buy for my vehicle........? John B.

Hello James, I have a 98 Nissan Pathfinder with 83K miles that is idling rough and seems to be missing. When the car is running above 2000 RPM everything is fine. However, the car misses at low RPMs and lower speeds. It will not pass an emissions test at this time. The hydrocarbon reading is 900 at idle speed and the max allowed is 220. The car is not throwing any codes through the ECU. I have replaced the rotor, distributor cap, spark plugs, wires and PCV valve. In addition I have run every type of engine cleaner through it. I also had a Nissan dealership look at it and they told me that the Oxygen Sensor and Air Flow Meter had the incorrect voltage but they weren't convinced that was the problem. They said that a compression test was needed to further troubleshoot. The cylinders ranged from 140 for a high to 100 as a low. Most cylinders were between 110 and 125. Some mechanic I have talked with seem to think that it is a valve problem while the Nissan dealership says an engine will run fine with a compression of 90. I have ordered an Oxygen Sensor and an Air Flow Meter and I hope that will fix the problem. However, I occasionally have no brake pressure when I first start the car. I have read that a vacuum leak causes the car to run lean but mine is running rich. Is there a possibility that I have a vacuum leak somewhere? What is the best way to detect a vacuum leak? Thanks! Doug in Penn.

Dear James, I have a 2003 Ford Eddie Bauer Explorer V6. Every so often while driving the truck it will just quit. I coast to the side of the road and wait a couple of minutes. Then truck cranks up and runs fine. It might not do this again for 6 weeks or several months. It has over 100,000 miles and I already changed fuel filter. And changing the fuel filter didn't have any affect on solving this problem. This truck is well maintained and I follow my owner’s manual for maintenance schedule. Do you have any idea what the problem is? Could it be the fuel pump? Someone suggested the electronic computer or ECM but I want to know for sure. Larry on the Internet

Dear James, I have a 2001 Ford Ranger w/ 2.3L engine. When cranking in the morning or after sitting for 4-5 hours, the oil pressure gauge stays at 0 until it warms up a bit. I would like to replace the oil pressure sensor, but the Haynes book I have has no mention or location of the sensor in it. Could you help? Dale

Dear Auto Advisor, I have a 2005 Subaru Baja Turbo sedan. There seems to be some kind of venting problem in the gas tank. And it is very hard to get gas to go into the fuel tank. It will only take 1/3 gallon of fuel at a time before it keeps “ clicking” the pump off like it’s full. What's could the problem be, and is this an easy fix?

I was driving my 1999 Pontiac Gran Prix GT on a 40 mile trip. Right when I exited the highway my car stalled. I tried to restart it and it ran very rough with no power and I had to have it towed home. I am getting a code PO300/Random/multiple cylinder misfire. I have checked the coil packs and the ECM and they seem to have fire and injector pulse. I also changed the spark plugs and it stills runs very rough and will not idle. I have to keep the gas pedal “feathered” in order for it to stay running. What could the problem be? The car ran perfect before this happened and I don’t know what to do next. Steve A.

HI, I TOOK MY 2004 F-150 TO HAVE THE BRAKES CHECKED BECAUSE I NOTICED A SCRAPING NOISE WHEN I SLOWLY APPLIED THE BRAKES.I WAS TOLD I NEEDED BOTH FRONT AND REAR BRAKES AND FRONT ROTORS. THE TRUCK HAS JUST PASSED 30,000 MILES. I WAS QUOTED A PRICE OF $850.00 INCL. LABOR. WHEN I ASKED WHY THEY WORE OUT SO FAST HE SAID THAT FORD USES GENERIC OR ORGANIC BRAKE PADS AND THEY WEAR FASTER. QUESTION 1- SHOULD THE BRAKES NEED REPLACING AFTER ONLY 30,000 MILES AND IS HIS BRAKE PAD STORY BOLOGNA? Q:2 IS 850.00 TO MUCH TO PAY FOR THIS TYPE OF WORK. I LISTEN TO YOUR SHOW ALL THE TIME AND I KNOW YOU WON'T STEER ME WRONG. THANKS FOR YOUR TIME. Paul S.

Hello James! I have a 1993 B2200 pick up truck with only 97K miles I start notice white smoke from the exhaust for short period of time. The engine is not overheat she run pretty good, but the PCV valve get a white grease that cause the white smoke. I cleaned up but couple days later get the same white grease again, also I notice the same white grease under the oil cap. I'm afraid that the head gasket can be bad. I was told that these pick up trucks are bad for head gaskets! Any suggestions? Jose

Great Q&A Forum on your website www.masterautotech.com , Thanks. Two questions: What affect does Ethanol have on internal components of today’s automobile engines? I have GM's Power Mgmt (V8) where 4 cylinders are not firing when a certain speed/RPM are reached. Seems to be a good system and you do not notice as they cycle off and on. But what about wear and tear on the firing cylinders? According to GM it is always the same cylinders that are shut down. In this day of electronic superiority I would think the cylinders could be alternated which would produce equal wear and tear on all. Thank you. Richard

Question I have a 2004 Expedition 4.6 Eddie Bauer with 90,000 miles. It has been hard to start for the last few months. I have changed my plugs, air filter and fuel filter. It seems to start great when it’s cool outside (like this weekend in the A.M.) but after it gets warm outside it is hard to start? My battery and starter are good, turns over fast, just won’t start the first try, usually the second try though…Any help would be appreciated…BTW, I just ordered a fuel pressure tester to make sure I don’t have a leaking injector and I also made sure I had no trouble codes…. Thanks Ron P.

James, I hear that today’s cars need to change timing belts on a regular basis. I have a 1999 Honda Accord and my owner’s manual says that I need to change my timing belt after 7 years or 60 thousand miles. My question is: What would happen to the engine if I waited till the timing belt broke or started making noise before I changed it? Wayne H. St Joe

Dear Auto Advisor, I have 2000 4wd Blazer that loses 3rd and 4th gear. When this happens the ABS light comes on and speedometer quits working... After driving in 2nd gear for a short time, everything begins to work properly. I was told the speed sensor on transmission is causing problem? Tom S. Charlotte, NC

Top 10 business practices that drive auto repair shops out of business 10) Not insisting the customer go for a test drive before you do ANY work on their vehicle. This protects the shop owner from problems undetected by the customer before work is done on the vehicle. By driving the vehicle before work is started, vibrations and noise issues can be pointed out as well as dash warning lights that may be on. Or safety items such as brakes or loose steering may be brought to the customer’s attention before your shop touches the vehicle. 9) A repair shop not having a computer data base for information with Technical Service Bulletins and current repair procedures. Books can’t keep up with the constant change of information. The internet is the best tool in the technician’s tool box. 8) Not providing FREE continuing education for their technicians to keep up with the changing technologies. 7) Not making it mandatory that all technicians become ASE Master Certified. As well as ASE Certified Service Advisors to handle customers needs. 6) Not completely inspecting all vehicles that come into the repair shop, missing opportunities for up sales. Possibly opening you shop up to liability issues of negligence in case of an accident after the vehicle leaves your shop. This MAY be grounds for a lawsuit by failing to spot safety problems with vehicles that cause death, serious bodily injury or property damage. 5) Not being involved in automotive trade organizations and local community organizations. Not having input on industry changes that can affect how your business is run. 4) Not actively educating your customers and the driving public about recommended maintenance and the correct repair procedures required on today’s cars. This can be done by speaking at local service clubs or on community service programs on TV or radio. 3) Using the cheapest parts/materials available that may not meet Original Equipment Manufactures high standards, just to be “cheaper” than your fellow shop owners. 2) Allowing the customer to tell you “patch up” the vehicle. No good deed goes unpunished, the vehicle repair MAY fail, then the customer will insist you fix it for free. Customers never like the cost of the repair no matter how much it costs. So fix it right, and charge a price that is profitable to the repair shop. 1) And the Number one reason Auto Repair shops go out of business is: NOT CHARGING ENOUGH TO STAY IN BUSINESS. An auto repair shop should make a minimum of 10% Net profit after payroll, parts and taxes are paid. It is the 10% net profit that allows the repair shop to take care of warranty issues and purchase new equipment and training for their staff. The average independent auto repair shop only nets only 2 to 3%. Automotive technology is changing daily in our industry. My question to you the shop owner is, “Are you ready to change the way you run your shop?” If not, then your customer will go elsewhere for their vehicle repair/maintenance needs when they buy that newer vehicle.

Dear Auto Advisor, My best friend says that the 2 new tires I bought last week should be on the front of the vehicle, not the back. Please let me know were to find this information and where should the my new tires go? He says it is just common sense to put the new tires on the front of a car. Peggy H. Arkansas

. James My headlights are yellow on my 2002 Chevy Impala. I have been told that it will cost several hundred dollars to replace them. I heard you say on your show that they can be buffed out. Mine look like they have been painted with yellow paint. My question is, can the headlights be made to look new again by buffing them out? Janet

James, My 2005 Avalanche blows hot air on one side, Shut off the engine and restart all ok. I have searched the internet and lots of these complaints about this problem on Google. But no one has answers to address this problem. By the way, great radio show on Saturdays. Vance

Dear James, My daughters 2001 Chevy Impala will not start sometimes. I first thought it was a bad battery, so I changed that. Then I changed the alternator, still it won’t start. If my daughter wants to start the car up she calls me to turn the key to the ON position at least 30 minutes before she need to start the car. If I do that, then the car will start. I have looked on the internet and some people say that the Pass-lock system is messed up. There does not seem to be a standard fix for this problem. My question is what steps are needed to correct this problem once and for all. Roy C. Panama City

James, My radiator cap was loose and my car engine ran hot. Once I tightened the radiator cap the car stopped running hot. My question is, why would a loose radiator cap cause my cars engine to run hot? Rick S.

Dear James, My 1994 Ford F-150 sounds really loud when I take off from dead stop. As I reach cruising speed the noise goes away. It all started when I had my repair shop replace my radiator fan clutch. The shop told me that there is nothing they can do to stop this sound. And that this is the way it is supposed to sound. I know that it didn’t used to sound like this. So what is the real story about this fan clutch making noise? Clarence C.

Dear Auto Advisor, Every Saturday I look forward to the automotive question and answer article you write in the paper. It is a lot of good advice and seems based on automotive common sense. I have been working on cars for years and normally I can get figure out what is wrong with them. I am writing you because I am stumped on this vehicle! The vehicle that is killing me is a 2001 GMC Blazer with a 4.3 Liter, code W with 101,000 miles. The symptoms are as follows: 1) When driving down the road the car will loose power and barely run. 2) Shut the car off for a few seconds and it runs okay for another 10 to 15 minutes. 3) I have gotten it to act up in my shop and if I spray carburetor cleaner down the throttle body it runs great I know it is starving for gas and I have changed the fuel pump and filter, the Mass Air Flow sensor, the O2 sensors (both of them) changed the cam and crank sensor. (I was able to take all these parts off another car and try them without having to charge the customer for them). Still this problem persists and after 40 hours of work on this car it still has me baffled. Jay in Panama

Dear Auto Advisor, I have a 2006 Ford F-250 super duty 6.0 liter power stroke diesel. My question is what weight oil and type is recommended for my truck? As well as what services need to be performed that IS NOT in the owner’s manual? I hear you on your TV show talk about services on vehicles that are not covered in my owners manual. Scott B. Youngstown Scott,

James, My daughter has a 2003 Ford Mustang with a 4.6 liter engine. The problem is one of the spark plugs has come out of it and there is no more threads to hold the spark plug in. This happened right after her boyfriend replaced the spark plugs doing a tune up because it had a miss in the engine. Now I am worried about it getting properly repaired. I have heard horror stories about these engines when this happens. What it the real story behind this repair? Stephanie. Bayou George

James, I just had all systems fluids changed and flushed in my 04 Buick La saber. My transmission worked smooth before, now it jerks and doesn't shift smoothly. Should I go back to the dealer or bring in to you to be checked out? Bill, Youngstown

James: Local Chrysler dealership fell victim to the recent downsizing due to Chrysler bankruptcy. Local used car dealer has a 99 Grand Caravan that had a bad BCM. He got a used one from the salvage yard, installed it, but the alarm is active (his 99 never had an alarm). So he took it out to the dealer, they said they can't program the used BCM with a new VIN, etc. because it already has a VIN in it. They say it has to be a new BCM or they are locked out. His goal is to change VINs, then turn off the alarm feature. Since you have the DRB III, what are the facts? Mark S. La Junta, Colorado

Dear Auto Advisor, The “Cash for Clunkers” is a great way for me to get a new car. What is the downside of doing this? James, Panama City.

Dear James. My 2001 S70 Volvo has an A/C leak in the evaporator and the shop looking at it says it takes over 20 hours to replace this part. I have asked them if there is another way to correct this leak and they say there is not. I overheard you talking about a special “Stop Leak” for a/c systems on your radio show. You said that not all a/c stop leaks are the same, and some can cause damage to your a/c system. My question is: can this stop leak really work without damaging my A/C system? Bill A, Lynn Haven

James my 2005 Dodge pickup one ton will not shift correctly. It is in “Limp Mode” according to the dealership and they think a fan clutch will solve the problem. My question is: How can I figure this problem out without changing the fan clutch? Walter in Lynn Haven

Dear Auto Advisor, My 2004 Jeep Cherokee has a shimmy or wobble at 45 to 55 mph. I have balanced the tires and made sure the front end is solid. I have read on the internet that this is called a “Death Wobble”. I guess this is because it is so violent when it wobbles you have to slow down to stop this from happening. I have taken it to a couple of shops and they don’t have a clue what the problem is. What words of wisdom do you have for me? Dave in Wewa

Tech tip: When having your spark plugs changed on your car always make sure the shop uses dielectric grease between the spark plug and the plug wire or coil boot. Failure to use this inexpensive product will cause you problems down the line. When you put two unlike metals together and you put electricity through them. They have a tendency to fuse together making it difficult if not impossible to get apart when the time comes. This corrosion is avoidable by adding just a little dab of dielectric grease on each end of the plug wire insuring a much better and longer lasting repair.

James, I have a 2007 F-250 and I pull a tractor with this truck. With the trailer hooked up the rear end really squats down. Should I put air shocks on to solve this problem? Dave in Youngstown

James, My 1987 Nissan pick up just had a new radio/CD player installed. Soon after I noticed I don’t have running lights in the front and rear as well as my tag light is out. I disconnected the radio hot wire and checked all the fuses. Everything seems to be okay. Is it possible that installing the radio caused this problem? Neil in St. Joe

I drive a '95 Honda Accord (4-cylinder non V-Tech) with 178K miles. It runs great and has no problems other than standard wear and tear and Honda problems (ignition and distributor both under warranty). - My question, is there anything behind all of the hype with "high mileage" products like high mileage oil, or oil filters, fuel injector cleaner, etc? - Also, the guys at “parts store” swear by Lucas oil. I have used Mobil fully synthetic in my vehicle for quite sometime, will mixing the conventional Lucas oil hurt or help?

My husband is a great back yard mechanic and tries to fix anything that goes wrong with my 2002 Ford Mustang V/6 with 190,000 miles on it. So far he has done a great job, until now! I have a check engine light on and the local part store read the codes for me. They told me I have a misfire code on cylinder #4 and an EGR code of insufficient flow. They want to sell me an EGR valve and new plugs and wires to fix this problem. Of course they can’t guarantee this will fix the problem. Of course it already has new plugs and wires in it and it still misses when I give it gas at 45 MPH. How can I get this fixed and what will it do to my engine if I leave it alone?

I have an 88 Sundance that currently is getting only 10 mpg. Additionally, while driving at about 40mph and 2000 rpm the car bucks like a mechanical bull. It feels like the engine is cutting out, but the rpm does not waiver. About a year ago I had the pick-up coil replaced in the distributor because the engine would cut out and stop running after it reached operating temperature.

Hi, I have a Chevrolet Caprice with a 305 4 barrel carburetor and I have oil on just one of my spark plugs! This particular plug seems to always have oil on it and will get corroded the worst in a short time (3 weeks). The car also seems to misfire on the highway doing about 65 mph. It will seem as an explosion occurs at this speed. I think the problems are directly related but not sure. My knowledge is not this deeply involved. If the problems are related or not what can I do to help fix it?

I have a 2001 Frontier and the clear headlight covers are cloudy on the inside. How do I remove them so that they can be cleaned if possible?

I ran across your web site during a search and figured I would ask you a question. What can happen if you replace the distributor on a 1995 Camaro but you didn't disconnect the battery terminal? I hope you can prove me right to my hubby.

I have a 2000 Chevy S-10 and the heater core is leaking. I have to use the vent in the truck because if you turn it off or turn up the heat the antifreeze smell is unbearable. What are the consequences of not fixing it? I only drive it on weekends for maybe 100 miles a weekend. It has 113000 miles on it.

My van has (3) dome lights a main center piece and a map light on either side of the main light controlled by an ON/OFF switch. The map lights work fine, but the center section stays ON and will not cut OFF unless the fuse is removed, which also controls the outside mirrors, sun visor mirrors etc. This started when I had the headliner replaced, the van was bought new and never had a problem like this before. By trial and error the headliner place and I have made them work for a very short time but then goes back to staying ON all the time. The headliner people has checked there work twice in fact the second time tore out the new headliner down to the metal checked the wiring front to back , everything looked good.

I have a 1998 Mercury Marquis with Anti Lock Brakes. My question is, “When I replace the front brake pads on this car should I open bleeder valve, before I press the piston back to allow for the new pads? Or should I just empty the brake master cylinder and let the fluid come back into the Master Cylinder when I install new brake pads.

I have an exhaust leak around the manifold that I am going to have fixed soon! I have been hearing a “new” ticking noise. My manifold gasket has been bad for about a year now but the “tick” is recent. What is the ticking and what is the chance the motor will croak on me? The truck has 130+ thousand miles 2wd no A/C. 4 cylinder extended cab...

I have 2002 Toyota Tacoma automatic with 92,000 miles. When I turn hard to the left I hear a squeaking noise. This happens more when the truck is warmed up. I also smell something after I have driven 20 plus miles like a fluid is burning. Do you have any ideas?

I have a 1990 Silverado and I want to swap the stock 350 to a 2003 6.0L Vortec engine. My question is, ”What parts do I need to swap over to do this job correctly?

I have a 96 Cavalier with approx 206K miles. It has been a reliable car with no transmission problems as I can tell. My family and I are evaluating what the better bang for our buck is. I understand the T-Tech fluid exchange is a much better fluid service, but what about the filter? I understand a traditional service would replace the filter but a T-tech service would not. Should the filter be changed along with the T-tech service?

What is the difference between a Re-call and a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin)?

Where is the fuel filter on my 1999 Dodge Neon? My owner's manual does not even have a maintenance interval to change the fuel filter. How come they don't have a schedule to change it?

I have a 1996 Chevy Tahoe, that isn't starting. I have changed plugs, wires, rotor, cap, crank sensor, and ignition control module. I still don't have a spark. Before the truck shut down, I could go 40 mph for about 15 sec. Could it be the fuel pump?

Please advise me on my 1997 Ford Ranger. I’m hooking up an after market tachometer and the instructions tell me to hookup the green wire of the tachometer to the ECM (Computer) The instructions say it is on the passenger side of dash?? The instructions say hook up or splice into the tan/yellow stripe wire pin # 48. Where is the ECM located? I can’t find it and what does it look like?? It really would help to know what I’m looking for. Also pin 48 what is this?

My 2004 Suzuki Verona currently has 6,897 miles and was purchase “New” in June 2006 with 46 miles on the odometer In August this year the car was driven to Tyndall AFB from Lynn Haven and stalled dead at a stop light and would not restart immediately after several tries. It was finally started and driven off the road to call for assistance. The A/C was on and no engine light or any other abnormalities were noted. The 2nd time was in my driveway after the car had been sitting for 3 days without running. It refused to start again…then after several tries it would run but stumbled and sputtered and the transmission shifted roughly. I took it to the dealer for a check out (under warranty). They stated there was nothing “wrong” that they could detect because the “check engine” light never came on. They reprogrammed the computer and checked for any technical updates and none were found. The car ran normally (very smooth actually) for about 2 weeks, then without warning, stalled while stopped in a left turn into traffic.

I have a 1993 Pontiac Bonneville. Here is the problem I am having. I am experiencing little heat output through all the vents including the defroster. When you turn the fan switch you can hear the motor go through the fan speeds. Could this low air flow be caused by a blockage somewhere? I do not overheat while driving and the heat is great. As I live in Colorado the weather gets pretty cold in the winter and my defroster can’t keep up with the wet snow that freezes to the windshield.

I have completed a cylinder head swap with reground cams on a 92 Mazda Protege. All new valve train, new head gasket set, timing belt, and head bolts. I have the car timed properly according to the repair manual. I even had my work double checked by another mechanic! And I still have zero compression in the numbers one and two cylinders. Firing order is right, good fuel, good spark, YET no compression.

I had a question that I thought you might be able to help me on. I just recently purchased a 2002 Oldsmobile intrigue and didn't notice until I left the lot that the inside light would not turn off. I called the person that sold it to me and he advised me that they would turn off once we started driving. I drove 5 hours all the way home and nope them suckers were still on. All the doors were closed correctly and I checked every switch to see if it would turn them off but nothing turned them off. I even tried to remove fuses and nothing worked. They stay on even if the car is off and no key is not in the ignition. What could it be?

What could be causing the heater in my 98 Chevy S10 to blow out the dash vents when I've selected the floor or defrost options? Or, to blow in those places as well as in the face?

At low rpm's my vehicle runs rough and check engine light comes on; plus the brake pedal becomes hard. I have run injector clean thru & changed underbody fuel filter. It will run really great for a day & then repeat this problem. When I stop the motor surges & acts as if it will die; then I shift into neutral to keep it from dying!

When my gas tank is empty and I put less than 10 gallons in it, the fuel gauge reads anywhere from 3/4 to 1/2 full. That's with a 26 gallon tank! During the first 20k miles my truck showed the proper fuel levels. Ford says it is normal and nothing is wrong. What might be the culprit?

I have a 1986 Ford FS Bronco 302 EFI....I ran great when I got it and then I had to go out of town for a couple weeks...so it sat un-started for about 3wks or so....Some friends and I replaced the valve cover gaskets in my truck when I got back due to some smoking...problem fixed. Now, I can’t keep my truck running and it’s hard to even get it started. When I do get it started, I have to hold the gas pedal down and keep the RPM's above 1800 to keep the truck running....when I take my foot off the gas, it dies when it gets down to idle speed....I have changed the fuel filter and the gas that drained out in the process didn't even smell like gas....could this be contaminated gas?

I have a 1992 Toyota 4WD PU with 250000KM on it. The front brakes began to engage on their own as the vehicle ran for about 20 minutes. When the engine was cold, the brakes were not engaged however after about twenty minutes after the engine had been on, the brakes basically locked the front wheels. Is it the master cylinder or brake booster that could be causing this problem?

I have a 2004 Expedition 4.6 Eddie Bauer with 90,000 miles. It has been hard to start for the last few months. I have changed my plugs, air filter and fuel filter. It seems to start great when it’s cool outside (like this weekend in the A.M.) but after it gets warm outside it is hard to start? My battery and starter are good, turns over fast, just won’t start the first try, usually the second try though…Any help would be appreciated…BTW, I just ordered a fuel pressure tester to make sure I don’t have a leaking injector and I also made sure I had no trouble codes….

I have a 2000 Toyota Tundra pick up with a V-8, automatic transmission. I have an idle problem with the air conditioning OFF. The vehicle idles too low and may shut off. It will restart with no problems. With A/C on idles with no problems. I have no warning lights or engine faults indications any time during this problem. Vehicle has high road miles about 190K.

I have a 1996 Geo Tracker with the 4 cylinder 16 valve engine. The engine does not want to accelerate. It seems to bog down and slowly starts to build up engine speed over several seconds. It seems that when the rpm reaches close to 3000 rpm it appears to have more power... The local Chevy dealer looked at it for 3 hours and could not find the problem. They tested timing, fault codes, compression, air induction, etc. The one item they could not test was fuel pressure because they did not have the adapter to connect a gauge. From what I learned about Injector fuel systems it seems that a faulty fuel regulator may be the problem. Does this sound like a feasible answer? Do you have any suggestion? The fuel gauge also seems to be dropping faster than usual. The engine rpm at 55 mph is about 2100 and it feels quite doggy and does not respond very well. If I shift into second it again seems more responsive but then the engine rpm is high.

I HAVE A 1993 CAMARO V6. 3.4 . I’m having a problem with the cooling fans turning on too late. The fans do come on when the temperature gauge is almost in the red zone. Can you help me figure this out?

I have a 1988 Chevy S-10 pick up with a 2.8 engine. When I first start it the engine spits and sputters and has no power until the engine gets to normal operating temp. This usually takes 15 minutes or so. I have changed the plugs and wires, the rotor button and distributor cap. I have changed the oil and air filter as well. Still runs terrible till it warms up. Don't know what to try next. Got any ideas?

My 1989 Thunderbird the wipers will not go back to their home or park position. When I cut the wipers off they stop in the “up” position. What can I do to fix this problem besides replacing the whole motor assembly?

While driving my 1993 ford Ranger XLT4x4 to work I hit a pot hole and the lights, radio, brake lights all went out and the ABS light on the dash started flashing. First off, I don't have ABS so I am already confused. I pulled over and checked all the fuses both under the dash and hood but all were good. After about 15 min of looking around under the hood I slammed it shut, then all the lights and radio came back on. The bad news is the ABS light is still flashing. Later on my journey I reached over and turned the dome light on and POW, everything went out again. Sounds like a short but I don't have a clue where to begin. I do all the work on this vehicle but electrical issues tend to give me some trouble. What are you thoughts and thanks for you help?

97 F-150 transmission kicks out of over drive after it warms up. When you push the Overdrive Button on shifter it will not go back into overdrive. When I slow down and start moving again it shifts real hard from 1st to 2nd and from 2nd to 3d gear. I plugged in the “decoder” and the code PO755 is displayed, the check engine light is on as well. What can I do to fix this or do I need a new transmission?

I have a 2000 Toyota Tundra pick up with a V-8, automatic transmission. I have an idle problem with the air conditioning OFF. The vehicle idles too low and may shut off. It will restart with no problems. With A/C on idles with no problems. I have no warning lights or engine faults indications any time during this problem. Vehicle has high road miles about 190K.

When our Tahoe would not start after a couple of years of faithful service, a mechanic "friend" told us to never let the fuel tank go below 1/4 of a tank. We followed this advice and have never had a problem. Yet, on a road trip last weekend, it stalled out--simply quietly died without warning while showing a little less than 1/2 a tank of gas. (We knew this to be pretty accurate, too) Luckily, we were able to pull over and after a few minutes, it started --went a couple of miles, stalled and stopped, then re-started and ran fine. My husband did add a couple more gallons --just in case--when we made it safely home. We asked the GMC dealer about this problem and he told us we probably needed a new motor in the tank and that would entail removing the tank--and quite an expense he said. I have looked at the GM site for similar problems and recalls. We do regular maintenance and have never had any problem other than this one with the fuel tank!

I have a 1994 Toyota 4x4 with a 22RE engine standard transmission. The engine idles rough and it smells like it is running rich. When it first starts up it really runs rough for a few seconds then it runs some better. There is a puff of blue smoke out the tailpipe when first started up as well. Going down the highway it runs much better than at idle. My question is, “Where do you start to look for a problem like this on my truck”.

I have a 1992 Lexus SC400. The steering wheel is locked and I am unable to turn the key. I put the key in the ignition and the wheel rises a little and then it stops. I am able to adjust the wheel up and down but that’s it. I tried turning the wheel and the key at the same time but nothing happened. I put it in neutral and again nothing happened. I drove the car earlier in the day and everything was fine. I do not know what to do and do not want to get taken advantage of when I go for repairs, please help. Do I need a steering pump, ignition switch? I have a new battery and the alternator is about 3 years old.

My S-10 has a 4 cyl. 5 speed. . The question, that I have, is why does my truck jump and buck while going down the road? I have changed plugs, plug wires, fuel filter, and air filter. It seems to do this after the day has warmed up. It will not do this on the way to work which is about 10/11 miles at 5:00am in the morning (it never misses a lick this time of the morning). It idles just fine and will not skip a beat when the engine is raced in neutral (just going down the road is the problem). There is no service engine light on.

My 1999 Chevy pick up makes a knocking noise when I crank it up in the morning. It has a 5.3 L engine and I have heard this is a common problem. My mechanic thinks the engine may need to be replaced. I listened to your radio show every Saturday morning for the past 5 years and I have never heard anyone ask this question.

I have a 1995 Chevy S10 and it usually will not start unless I use starting fluid. Once it starts it runs perfectly at all rpm's, under load or not, etc. I can hear fuel pump run when I turn key, I can hear the fuel pump relay click after a few seconds when it "thinks" fuel pressure is right, if I turn key off at this point and turn it back on, the fuel pump doesn't run, indicating to me that the fuel system is holding pressure. My question is: would the motor run perfectly at ALL rpm's, on the highway for as many miles as I care to drive, with low enough fuel pressure as to cause it not to start? Could I be running in part off intake manifold vacuum and in part the weak fuel pressure the pump is still delivering? The check engine light is NOT on but could a sensor or something in computer be failing to let fuel into manifold? I really don't want start replacing things one at a time until I hit the culprit because it's so expensive!

Hi. I have a 2005 Avalanche with a 5.3 Vortec engine, automatic transmission. I went on a road trip from about 6300 feet and went to northern Idaho, thru mountains, and ended at around 1400 ft. (Up and down trip). Then on the way home, some 1200 miles later, my engine kind of stumbled at a gas station, at idle right before accelerating. I didn’t notice any reason for it, and runs super while driving. Now it is real bad! Blows black smoke, and stumbles badly. Check engine light is on with engine code of random misfire (PO300). What do you suggest I do?

I purchased a New/Used 1998 Chevrolet S10 LS, with a 4.3L it had 87,000 miles it now has around 130,000 on it. Recently I had all my tail lamps except the one on top of the cab. While I was in the process of tracking down my taillight problem my fuel pump goes out "Bad Luck" I guess. I replaced the pump and it is pumping the fuel to the test port on the fuel rail and still the truck will not start! If I manually pour gas in to the Throttle Body it will run! What would you say the problem is? I have heard everything from airlock, the timing being off to the computer..... I think maybe the injector could be gummed up

I have a 1993 GMC 1500 with a 4.3 and my AC compressor needs to be replaced. A local mechanic told me to go ahead and convert the system to R134A with a new compressor and dryer. Being mechanically inclined and doing most or all of the repairs on my own, I have never worked on AC systems before but I feel that I could possibly handle it, money is tight so my question is, would it be wise to let the shop do this work or is this something that I could handle with obtaining the proper parts in a day’s work and save about $300.00? If I do this myself by replacing the compressor and dryer, do I need to flush the a/c system? Are there any orifices to replace or add to this repair?

I hear you say that lug nuts need to be tightened with a “Torque Wrench” instead of an impact gun. I have my tires rotated every six months and they never use a “Torque Wrench” They do use what is called “Torque Sticks” Do they do they same job as a “Torque Wrench”?

I have two questions, and the first is For my 5.7 liter TBI engine, I just replaced the radiator, water pump with belts and new hoses. I also replaced the temperature thermostat. I believe the thermostat rated for this vehicle is a 195 degree And I put in a 180 degree. The engine still seems to be heating up more than I would like. Would I be hurting anything by going to a 160 degree thermostat on that vehicle? Secondly, The A/C is not working and I believe the compressor seals have popped. I don’t really Want to go to the new R134 system since I will have to replace the entire system which will be very expensive. Do you think there would be any chance of anyone being able to help me get my existing system going?

Here's a weird one! My 1995 Nissan Altima the motor starts and runs fine until warmed up. However, at EXACTLY 180 degrees coolant temperature, the ignition system fails and the engine stall every time. (Used laser thermometer to confirm temperature). The ignition system drops off line at this temperature with absolutely no spark from the coil until engine cools about 20 degrees. It also diesels a long time but I can find no audible or visible vacuum leak with the old "redneck starting fluid vacuum leak spray detector" method. EGR is confirmed good. It will then start and run fine when cooled down to an open loop temperature, at least until it warms up and the whole cycle begins again. It is the old two mode computer system. The green LED blinks consistently with no sign of quitting. Suspecting the ignition module or crank angle sensor? The Alternator test was fine at an output of 14.7v. The battery is new at 12.5vdc, but the black alt-bat fusible link is a little melted, but has continuity. Don't want to spend all of my time or my friend’s money diagnosing this. Is this a common problem?

My 1995 Camaro 3.4L engine cooling fan never runs. I tested the relay that controls the fan and it passed the test as described in the Haynes manual for 1993 to 2002 Camaros and Firebirds. I removed the relay and jumpered across to verify the cooling fan works and it did in fact work. I replaced the Temperature sensor adjacent to the thermostat – this I believe controls whether the cooling fan runs. I replaced the temperature sensor behind the power steering assembly – this I believe controls the water temperature indicator inside the vehicle. I replaced the water pump, the thermostat, the radiator, the two sensors I mentioned above, and the heater bypass tube (it had a pinhole). Is it possible that some other problem (e.g. a leak or a blown gasket) prevents the temperature of the coolant from being registered by this newly replaced sensor? The last thing I would consider for replacement is the computer after which I would have to conclude the problem is something major. One last item. When I experienced the pinhole leak coolant sprayed all over the engine before I could shut it down and replace the tube with the hole. I am experiencing a preponderance of white spoke (presumed to be burning off coolant) occasionally and not persistent. I did not experience the white smoke prior to replacing any of these components. I have no evidence of coolant in my oil and the car at 109k has never burned oil.

I hear you talk on your radio show about coolant exchanges using a 50/50 mixture of distilled water and antifreeze. My question is: 1) Why do you need to exchange your antifreeze instead of just draining and filling? 2) Why do you need to use distilled water instead of just tap water? The reason I am asking this question is that shops have told me that draining and filling is all I need to do to my cooling system. They say using a 50/50 mixture is correct but distilled water is not needed. Who do I believe?

I own a 1996 Chevy S-10 extended cab truck with the 4.3 V6 engine. It currently has just under 96,000 miles on it. I use it for rural mail delivery in the Southport/Sunny Hills area. I am a long-time listener to your weekend radio show I have heard you advocating putting in synthetic fluid, which should give you between a 7-12% increase in mpg (I am getting 13.1 - 15 mpg). I was told a while back by a good friend (who is a technician) that changing to a synthetic transmission fluid could cause me to start having transmission fluid leaks. I certainly want my vehicle to last as long as it can. I am diligent about keeping fresh fluids in the truck. Would I just be better off not taking the chance of leaks forming and keeping the same fluid in there? Also, I'm getting ready to change out the radiator, coolant recovery tank and water hoses (water pump is just a year old). Is there anything special I need to do to flush out the system to get as much junk out? My current radiator and recovery tank has that brown gunk in it (I believe the nylon 6.6 you mention on the radio). I know I've dropped a lot on you here, but this is all I'm worried about at the moment. I appreciate your show and plan on being a long-time listener.

I've been told not to change the Brand oil I use in my car. My mechanic says it will cause my engine to sludge up! Is their any truth to this statement?

My 1999 Chevy pick up makes a knocking noise when I crank it up in the morning. It has a 5.3 liter engine and I have heard this is a common problem. My mechanic thinks the engine may need to be replaced. I listened to your radio show every Saturday morning for the past 3 years and I have never heard anyone ask this question. Should I think about getting rid of it before it blows up?

I have a 1995 Mercury Marquis with “Air Ride Suspension”. Last week I replaced the rear air springs because they would leak down. When they leaked down it activated the Air Ride Suspension compressor to come on in the middle of the night. Now that I have changed the rear air springs the car looks like a “jacked up” race car. The rear end is way up in the air! It was okay for a few days and now it is all “jacked up!” What can I do to get the vehicle down to normal height? The only good news is the air spring compressor doesn’t come on at night. The bad news is my wife won’t drive the car like this. What can I do to correct this problem?

I have a Montana, 3400 engine. I'm having the following problems, all of which happen sometimes. When I start it, it idles fast. If I turn the key off and the on sometimes it idles normally, sometimes it continues to idle fast. When I'm driving and take my foot off the accelerator the car doesn't slow down and may even gradually speed up. From a stop it hesitates and bucks a little. On the highway the motor will suddenly rev for just a second then return to normal. Most strangely, twice in the last 6 months, on the highway, the gas gauge went from full to empty over a period of a few minutes. The first time it happened I got out and checked the gas tank for a leak. Again, these things only happen sometimes.

I have a question, my husband has been driving an 86 Honda Accord it’s an awesome car for being so old. It usually runs great except for the past 5 months it will dump oil all over our garage floor! My husband will add oil and it does fine and then bam, it will just dump all the oil and the oil light will start flashing! The car really isn’t worth that much and we would like to know if you have any idea what is wrong with it? Is it something simple to repair or is it going to cost more money then the actual car itself?? It’s a great car and my hubby only uses it for 2 miles a day to get to work and home! We don’t really want another car payment so we are trying to figure out if it’s something simple that will fix the oil leak or something major that will just cost too much money. I had a 96 Honda Accord a few years ago that dumped my oil everywhere and it ended up costing $500 to fix. WE DEFINITLY ARE NOT PAYING THAT MUCH TO FIX THIS CAR!

I have read one of your answers on your website where you diagnosed a running problem. Their problem was the engine would “buck” around 2000 RPMs. You suggested replacing the oxygen sensor and that repaired his problem. I thought that would repair my problem, I have replaced all 3 of my oxygen sensors. Yet, I still the same problem with bucking at Highway speeds. I have a 2000 Chevy Blazer, 4.3L. It runs great except at 2000 RPMs were the engine “bucks! I checked for codes and it is giving me a PO300 (random misfire). I also checked the fuel pressure at the rail, and it is fine. Is there any chance that it might be the air flow sensor? Is there any way to check it without buying a new one and replacing it?

My 1998 Chevy Camaro V6 will not go over 30 mph! It also takes way too long to shift and when it does, it really shifts hard! I was told by a friend of mine that the catalytic converter was the problem. And it should be replaced. My car was driving fine until the other day, when all of a sudden this problem happens. It was working okay until I stopped at a red light. When I took off, it wouldn’t go any faster than 30 MPH. And then when it shifted it just about threw me into the back seat. It has never shifted this hard before and I am thinking I may have a transmission problem as well. My friend says the converter can cause this shifting problem as well as the lack of power. Is this true or do I need to seek professional help?

I own a '94 Ford Thunderbird 3.8 V6 Super Coupe with approximately 148,000 miles on it. I have been experiencing rough idling, particulary with the brake on in drive. It is not quite as noticeable with the transmission in park or neutral. Sometimes the engine will completely stall, but always (at least until now) restarts easily. I was getting a fault code 6-9 months ago which turned out to be the cam position sensor. I have recently replaced the Idle Air Control Motor after attempting to clean it first as recommended by a Ford dealership mechanic (when cleaning it I believe the diaphragm cracked and I was idling at 2000+ RPM). I changed the spark plugs about 16 months ago, but have not changed the spark plug wires. I also have a slow coolant loss which I cannot track to an external source. I took the vehilce into the Ford dealership prior to 120,000 miles when they were checking 3.8s for potential head gasket leaks and they claimed there was none at that time. However, I have had a slow loss for years. I replaced the radiator, hoses, and thermostat approximately 2.5 years ago.

When turning the ignition key the car makes a rapid clicking sound. Lights work. Car does not turn over. Your insights are appreciated.

Well my 1995 Nissan Sentra has a brand new battery, but the car will still not crank over. The car’s interior lights come on and the radio plays and everything seems to work. When you turn the key to the crank position, it makes a click and then another click, but does not crank! The car does not even try to crank, so we have tried to jump the car, and when jumped, it barely cranks. Once the car is turned off and tried to be restarted the car tries but its does not then its does the "clicking thing"

My engine is making a ticking noise. What could be making it do this?

My track light is off and I want to know how will I be able to cut it back on? I have a 1992 Lexus SC400.

I have a 1994 F150 300 cubic inch 6 cylinder fuel injected. It runs good till you put it into a strain like when you start off. The engine misses and once you get up to speed and drop it into 4th or even 5th the engine spits and jumps. You can let up on the gas and it will stop, when you go up a hill the same thing happens! Sometimes you have to drop back to a lower gear. I have changed the fuel filter and checked the timing and it looks ok.

I have a 1989 Nova and have to replace the clutch master cylinder. What type of fluid does it require and what type of device is used to put the fluid in?

I have a 1997 Olds Silhouette that I had to remove the wiper motor and linkage to replace the alternator. When I put it back together the wipers don't work right. First, they hit as they were going up. I can adjust them to work some, but they won't go full range of motion and they don't park in the full down position. Did I do something wrong reinstalling them?

My 1995 Pontiac Bonneville has 103,000 miles on it and always been garaged. The white paint on the roof near the windshield has fissures which tend to rise slightly in cold weather. It’s as if the metal is shrinking but not the paint. Flakes from several peeled spots show the non-adherence to the base-coat. The Pontiac dealer's Body Shop says several white Pontiac's about the age of my car have been brought in with the same problem. It does not happen on painted plastic parts. GM's 800 number offered no explanation or help (surprise?). Is this a manufacturing defect? How can the bad spots be touch up painted without stripping the entire metal body and repainting?

I have a 1991 Mitsubishi Montero 3.0, standard transmission. While driving at 35 mph, the engine just stopped. It didn't sputter, it was just as if I turned the ignition key off. When attempting to restart, the engine turns over normally, but won't start. We have had the ECM checked and it's ok. The only other symptoms were that the brake indicator light would stay illuminated at times and on occasion when the car was first cold started it was sluggish for the first three or four minutes then ran normally. It’s been suggested the coil is bad, the relay is bad, or the fuse able link is bad or maybe the distributor is bad. We live in Mexico and their method of repair is just start replacing parts until they find the right one. What would be the logical trouble shooting sequence? Can you please help?

James, I own a 95 Blazer S-10 with 170,000 miles. It is a Great truck and has been well taken care of! Recently there has been a slight growling sound coming from the truck. My guess is the transfer case. My wife drives the truck most of the time. She uses the push button 4W when needed. My question, is there a possibility that it is hanging up between 2W to 4W? If so, how do I fix it? One other question, my Chilton book said to use Dexron III fluid in the transfer case. Is this true? I have never heard of such a thing? The Chilton book said to check the fluid because it may be low, which may explain the growling. I will check it tonight. I did a visual and did not see any leakage from the transfer case.

Hi! I have sent an email to you before and I got some real useful information. I now need to know some more information on my 1988 Ford Ranger with a 2.0 carbureted motor. I am having a problem with oil going into my water in the radiator. Could it be a crack in the block, or a bad head gasket, or a crack in the head? The truck is smoking white and it kind of smells a little like fuel and oil.

I have listened to your show and found it very interesting. Thanks for the good advice! Now I really need some good advice, I have a Pontiac Grand Prix 1989 3.1 liter engine. I was having problems with it starting. I thought it was the coils but someone told me about the crankshaft location sensor. So I tried to take it off( key word "tried") it broke off just below the o-ring! My question is how do I get the rest of it out?????

I have a 1999 Chevy Tahoe and the starter will engage when the vehicle is running. I then have to turn the vehicle off, then start it again and hope the starter will not engage.

I have a 2001 Olds Alero. My temp gauge seems to be stuck at cold. Is this the thermostat? If so, where is it located?

I have an 86 Ford Ranger, 2.8L carbureted engine. I checked my oil and it was like water, so I smelled it and it smelled like gas. My question is what causes the gas to go into the oil when driving or at an idle.

I have a 1971 manual shift Pinto. When I depress the clutch I hear "hissing sound ". Can you tell me what might be causing this? Is the clutch in anyway connected to the working of the brakes? What could this sound be or lead to?

I have a 1990 Acura Integra that I have been having problems with lately, I was hoping you could shed some light on the issue for me. It is surging every now and then when it is sitting and idling. I was driving the other day and my battery light came on and I had to replace the battery because it was completely shot. Now that I have new battery in the car it still surges. I took it in and had an electrical system test done where they hook up a load to my battery and check the system that way. They told me that it could be the alternator or it could be a bad electrical connection. I have done some diagnostics myself and found that sometimes the car runs ok when I disconnect the battery and other times it dies. Normally when you connect a voltage meter with the vehicle running you should see 14.4v, when it surges I am seeing anywhere from 14.4 to 14.0v, I don't know if this is a good indication or not because I don't know if my volt meter can respond as fast as the surges happen. Have you heard of this problem with this vehicle before?

I have a strange problem with my Dodge Avenger. I am having the symptoms of a fouled spark plug wires. When I replace them it goes away. Within a few months the kicking and bucking returns and I change the wires again, it goes away. I have done this many times in the past year. Changing the wires solves the problem temporarily. It can’t be the wires, they usually last years. I even went with better quality wires. No improvement. I found a TSB in reference to “intermittent plug misfire” but no info to correct. Can you make any suggestion?

I bought a used Toyota 4x4 1985 pick up 20 days ago when we were driving it, it just stopped no lights nothing, but the stereo still worked, it will start if we hot wire it. I was wondering what the problem could be. My husband thinks it is the relay but we don't know what the box is called to replace it. Do you have any suggestions as to what it could be?

I have a 1974 Toyota Land Cruiser that I have been storing over the winter to keep the salt off her (I live in Western New York). I went out yesterday to perform the weekly start and warm-up and found that there is NO clutch pressure. The clutch goes right to the floor. Any ideas to what might be wrong?

James, is there a way other than ripping the engine apart on a 3.8 to tell if the car jumped time? It has all the classic symptoms, yet with 60,000 miles I find it hard to believe it happened. The sensor brackets are intact, so I ruled that out, but without a distributor, I know of no way. I am assuming that using an ohm meter on the sensors you might be able to track this problem down.

I have a 1995 Chevy S10 and it usually will not start unless I use starting fluid. Once it even happened when the motor was still warm enough so that I could feel the heat rising off engine as I sprayed into air intake. Once it starts it runs perfectly at all rpm's, under load or not, etc. I can hear fuel pump run when I turn key, I can hear the fuel pump relay click after a few seconds when it "thinks" fuel pressure is right, if I turn key off at this point and turn it back on, the fuel pump doesn't run, indicating to me that the fuel system is holding pressure. My question is: would the motor run perfectly at ALL rpm's, on the highway for as many miles as I care to drive, with low enough fuel pressure as to cause it not to start? Could I be running in part off intake manifold vacuum and in part the weak fuel pressure the pump is still delivering? The check engine light is NOT on but could a sensor or something in computer be failing to let fuel into manifold? I really don't want start replacing things one at a time until I hit the culprit because it's so freaking expensive so please if you get a minute let me know what you think.

My 91 Nissan Sentra 1.6 fuel injected engine has recently experienced a fast idle problem. I have no tachometer, but I can tell its a few hundred rpms faster than it should be, like it's running when it's cold. Could this be my fast idle control valve? They are kind of pricey, so I want to be sure before I replace it. This car has been great and has 211K trouble-free miles on it. Any thoughts to what the problem may be?

I recently began having problems with my Sentra. It started to stall in heavy traffic and red lights. The dealer has replaced the EGR valve, Crank sensor, and the computer box housing. The car is no longer stalling but the RPM idling is starting to have an issue. When at a full stop the RPM gauge idles about 800 rpm but then all of the sudden it drops to less then 500 rpm but regains its rpm. I can not figure out why the car is doing that nor can the dealer. When they check the car it always comes up good and never does the problem in front of them. I would greatly appreciate your opinion on this.

When installing an aftermarket tachometer on a 1994 Nissan Sentra, the green wire should connect to the negative of the ignition coil...right? Well, should I use any types of resistance or fuses for that wire or directly to the wire is safe for my car and my Tachometer???

I have a 96 GMC 1/2 ton P/U. 2 wheel drive, 2 part drive shaft. 350 Engine, 4 speed Auto trans, 10 bolt rear end, 8 1/2" ring gear. I am hearing a kind of rumbling from the drive train. Not steady, but like something is rubbing on part of a revolution. Noise starts at about 30 MPH, does not go away, cycle of noise increases with vehicle speed, in or out of gear. No noise on deceleration, or with "hard" braking while at steady speed. Have done this: 1) Replaced rear wheel bearings and seals 2) Changed differential oil (Castro Synthetic 75-90) Inspected gears 3) Replaced "U" joints 4) Re-packed front wheel bearings. 5) Checked tires and wheels, no contact anywhere 6) Cleaned and inspected rear brakes. No obvious sign of a shoe dragging, The only thing I didn't replace was the drive shaft center support bearing, which turned smoothly and rubber casing was in good condition. Test drove - No vibration up to 90 MPH. Still have the noise. Any ideas, or something I may have overlooked?

I have an 88 Sundance that currently is getting only 10 mpg. Additionally, while driving at about 40mph and 2000 rpm the car bucks like a mechanical bull. It feels like the engine is cutting out but the rpm does not waiver. About a year ago I had the pick-up coil replaced in the distributor because the engine would cut out and stop running after it reached operating temperature.

Hi, I have a Chevrolet Caprice with a 305 4 barrel carburetor and I have oil on just one of my spark plugs! This particular plug seems to always have oil on it and will get corroded the worst in a short time (3 weeks). The car also seems to misfire on the highway doing about 65 mph. It will seem as an explosion occurs at this speed. I think the problems are directly related but not sure. My knowledge is not this deeply involved. If the problems are related or not what can I do to help fix it?

I have a 1989 Chevy 1500 Pickup that uses a hydraulic clutch. I have recently noticed that the clutch pedal has been feeling a bit spongy, so my boss decided to help me take a look. It was late when we popped the hood tonight and we noticed that the fluid was low. Before I could stop him, he started to dump pink fluid into my clutch reservoir. I said "Isn't that transmission fluid?", and he replied, "Yeah, It can be used as power steering fluid also... Bet you didn't know that." Now, I am not an expert on vehicles, but isn't DOT3, which is recommended for the clutch,” according to the cap on the clutch master cylinder” different than transmission fluid? Should I be flushing my clutch? If so, is this an easy process?

I have a 1999 Oldsmobile, Alero. On the instrument panel indicates "Trac off" light. Can you please tell me what does mean “Trac off” and what can I do for it.

I have a 1991 Camaro RS and the cooling fan only comes on when the AC is on. When the AC is not running, the car continues to over heat sitting still. I don't think it is the thermostat as the temp gauge also goes into the max temp zone.

We have a 1999 Olds Intrigue...and the heater/ac fan will only come on in high speed...it used to work on all speeds...where do we start to troubleshoot this problem?

I have a 95 Nissan Pathfinder with 83K miles that is idling rough and seems to be missing. When the car is running above 2000 RPM everything is fine. However, the car misses at low RPMs and lower speeds. It will not pass an emissions test at this time. The hydrocarbon reading is 900 at idle speed and the max allowed is 220. The car is not throwing any codes through the ECU. I have replaced the rotor, distributor cap, spark plugs, wires and PCV valve. In addition I have run every type of engine cleaner through it. I also had a Nissan dealership look at it and they told me that the Oxygen Sensor and Air Flow Meter had the incorrect voltage but they weren't convinced that was the problem. They said that a compression test was needed to further troubleshoot. The cylinders ranged from 140 for a high to 100 as a low. Most cylinders were between 110 and 125. Some mechanic I have talked with seem to think that it is a valve problem while the Nissan dealership says an engine will run fine with a compression of 90. I have ordered an Oxygen Sensor and an Air Flow Meter and I hope that will fix the problem. However, I occasionally have no brake pressure when I first start the car. I have read that a vacuum leak causes the car to run lean but mine is running rich. Is there a possibility that I have a vacuum leak somewhere? What is the best way to detect a vacuum leak?

I have a 96 Honda accord 4 cylinder (not a V-tech) engine I have an oil leak at the left side of the engine. It goes all the way down to the oil pan. The oil pans rear side is all wet like its also leaking but not the front of the oil pan. The leak is on the left seems to be inside the plastic cover. What can it be that is leaking?

I have a 2003 4 runner with a radio problem. I've owned the truck for 6 months and did not have any problems in the warmer months, but now I hear static thru my speakers for 3 to 5 minutes on cold mornings when first started. I cannot turn the radio, CD, tape deck on or off and have no control over the volume of the static. The static pattern is continuous for 2 sec, stops abruptly, and begins again repeating the pattern continuously for several minutes. The dealer replaced the radio thinking they fixed it. The next cold morning, I had the same problem. I'm making another appt for service. Does anyone know what would cause this?

I have a Chevy 350 stock engine. I am putting this engine together to put in my 4x4 full-size Pick Up. I wanted to know what would be a good camshaft that will have a little "lick to it". I have an aluminum intake with a 650 Holley carburetor. I plan on installing headers on it, also has Z-28 heads going on it. Everything else is stock; please tell me what would be a good camshaft at a reasonable price?

I have a 1993 Mitsubishi Eclipse. After shutting the car off, there is a ticking noise coming from under the rear wheel on the driver’s side. Whatever this noise is, it is causing the battery to be dead. Any ideas on what you think may be ticking? Any help would be appreciated.

I have a 1994 Nissan Sentra XE 1.6L car. I had the fuel pump replaced and now the gauge is only reading at about a 1/4 of a tank when full. Is it possible to damage the sending unit when replacing the fuel pump? I believe the sending unit has a float that extends out from a sealed unit. Could the damage result from the float lever being improperly handled?

My truck was in a wreck to the left front fender. When I tried to start it after it sits for a while, I have to spray starter fluid for it to start. After it starts it runs great, but when you turn it off it will not “fire up”. The motor is turning over, but it acts as if it can't get gas for starting. Any ideas that you might share?

I have a 1990 2.9L V6 Ford Ranger (Mazda engine). The truck dies at a stand still when engaged in Drive or Reverse. The tachometer drops to 500 rpm's and the voltage meter goes down. The problem is worse when the lights are on! When in Park or Neutral the rpm maintains @ 750 and the truck runs fine. The battery has been replaced, the alternator tested fine and all grounding contacts have been sanded and cleaned. Could this be the throttle position sensor or the transmission speed sensor?

I have a 1997 Nissan Sentra. Today I tried to start the car but I could not turn the key. It seemed that the switch was locked or "frozen". I tried another key and still could not turn the key either. Do you have any idea what might be causing the problem?

I own a '99 Oldsmobile, Intrigue and the problem is that on the two AC vents on the driver side don't release cool air; air comes out fine, but not cold air. The two vents on the passenger work fine. Also no air comes of any vent when I place it on the 1 setting. Can you please help me find this problem?

I have a 1999 Nissan Sentra that the heater and A/C fan only blows on setting number 4. The fan does not work on setting 1, 2, 3, only setting 4. I figured I would ask you before I took it to my shop for them to fix it. I want to find out if this is a serious problem.

I have a 1994 Nissan Sentra which appears to have a leak in the rear main seal and most recently has a slipping clutch (will barely make it up a hill). Is there any way to adjust a clutch or does it simply need to be replaced? Should these both be done at the same time?

I have a 1987 Nissan Sentra (carbureted California car) with 104,000 miles on it. It generally runs great. However, at idle it is very rough and sometimes stalls. Is the cause the throttle switch? Chilton’s Repair Manual says that the throttle switch monitors engine speed from between 1,000-1,700 RPM.

I have 1995 Pontiac Gran Am, 4 cylinder 2.3L. Originally the cooling fan was not working even when I tested it. I got another one and it works when I tested it. This time it would only work when I turn on the A/C. It does not work when I hooked the coolant switch back up. I changed the coolant temp switch and also the cooling fan relay. Still the fan does not work under normal driving conditions. Any Ideas before I pull my hair out?

I have a 93 Honda Accord EX with 130,000 miles on it. Recently, the top section (plastic) of the radiator blew out (put a 1x2 hole in it). The car was at idle and as far as I can determine, the car did not overheat. This weekend I replaced the radiator. The car seems to be running right. The upper radiator hose gets hot after a while, so I guess the thermostat is working correctly. However, the cooling fans are not running when the car is shut off. If I remember right, they usually ran after shutting off the car. The fans do work when the A/C is turned on. I was wondering, have you seen this problem before? Was this the result of an old plastic radiator blowing up, or is there something else that may have caused the radiator to blow?

My 1990 Mitsubishi Montero is making a ticking noise inside the top of my engine. What could be wrong with the engine making this sound?

My 1994 Chevy 4.3 liter V/6 is giving me a fit! I removed the distributor to replace the pickup coil. I am having trouble getting the distributor back in. I have tried a number of things. 1) I tried to reinstall with out moving the crankshaft. 2) I tried to reinstall after moving the crankshaft. 3) I have relined the piston #1 at TDC, and tried to re-insert the distributor. The problem is that it sits just a 1/2 to 1 inch higher than it should. I have been told to try several methods. I have left the distributor where it stops, and rotated the crank clockwise expecting the rotor to drop in place. I have tried rotating the oil pump shaft 'around the clock'. From the rotation of the distributor the seating of the oil pump shaft at 11 and 5 o’clock. I have tried to pull the rotor out and turn on gear at a time clockwise until the distributor seats. NONE of this has worked! I even put some grease on top of the oil shaft and lowered the rotor of the distributor. I see that the oil pump shaft hits the right side of the rotor as you look at the engine from the front of the truck. I have been told the oil pump shaft is not to be worried about but it seems that the shaft will not even allow the bottom of the rotor to drop. I even attempted to align with the pin inside the rotor that drives the oil pump. Is there a secret here I have not been informed of?

I have a 1996 Chevrolet V/6 4.3liter S-10 120,000 miles. My problem is that the car will crank and crank in the morning when I first try to start it up. Once it starts up, it starts and runs just fine all day long. The only other problem I have is the gas mileage is down 2 miles per gallon. Any ideas about how to get this trucked fixed cheaply?

My mother thinks that you only need to change your oil every 7,500 miles, like the owners manual says. I tell her that she is making a mistake by waiting this long, and that this may cause major engine damage. What can I tell her to change her mind?

I would like to find out if a radiator from a 88 Chrysler La Barron 2.5 will fit a 90 Dodge Dynasty 3.0

I just changed my windshield wiper blades 6 months ago and they are already skipping and streaking. What can I do to make them last longer?

James, I just put a 305 V/8 in my 1972 Nova. I'm having a lot of problems with this engine! It “pops” out the carburetor on right side, and pops out exhaust on left. I've disassembled this engine to the check timing chain. I've also ran a compression check all cylinders (all averaging about 122 to 125psi). Also pressure checked the intake valve and exhaust valves while heads are still on the car. I also checked to see if cylinder head gaskets were leaking from one cylinder to next. I checked the cam, lifters, push rods, rocker arms, valve springs. I have put 2 different distributors, new distributor cap, rotor button, wires, and spark plugs. I have replaced all components in distributor and the voltage to the distributor is (14.5 volts when running) I have even put 4 different carburetors on this car and still the same problem! I even installed a new intake manifold; every thing is new or has been changed. When I advance the timing it almost stops popping and runs good. When I do this the starter wants to drag when I try to start it up. I have noticed the exhaust smells like it is running rich. The battery is located in the trunk. Could this have a lot to do with my starter drag? The only thing I didn't do is check the cylinder heads for cracks. Can you help think of any thing I might have forgotten?

On your radio show, you discuss the importance of replacing the radiator on higher-mileage cars. My 1998 Toyota Land Cruiser has 90k miles. I approached my service advisor, at my Toyota dealership about replacing my radiator. He told me that the radiator used, by Toyota for the Land Cruiser, is a heavy-duty type, and did not need to be replaced, only properly maintained. Do you agree with this, or do you feel it is important to replace the radiator in my Land Cruiser? The car runs excellent, and has no cooling problems.

I am writing you about a customers 1996 Chevrolet Camaro 6 speed standard transmission, I need your advice in handling this continuing problem. This Camaro I am describing appears to be ingesting water and bending the intake push rods. The camaro has a hood scoop with a K&N filter and a large bore throttle body. In short this is a middle aged mans hot rod! This problem only seems to happen when he drives it in the rain! The customer says it has never happened in the past until recently. It now has happened three times in the last year and half. I have suggested he put the stock air filter housing and stock air filters back on that the car came with. The customer refuses to do this and thinks something else may be the cause. Now after another hard Florida rainstorm he has the same symptoms. His “hot rodding buddy's” say that there must be something else causing this “problem”. I just know it happened only when it rains hard, if I change the bent pushrods it runs fine till he drives in another hard rainstorm. All I can see that I think is not normal is an engine compartment splattered with mud and a K&N air filter covered with mud. I believe the hood scoop along with the fully exposed filter is causing this problem. I wanted to get your opinion on what you think the problem is.

I paid a local mechanic (I'm in California) $4400 to do a valve job on an '89 Mercedes 560 (V-8, overhead cam), during which he removed the heads and reassembled them, replacing the entire valve train. 900 miles later, the cams froze up. He accepts no responsibility because there is sludge in the (not previously removed) oil pan, which may have caused the oil pump to plug up. I don't know if the oil pump plugged up or not (there was pressure on the indicator when I stopped the car), but I figured that with sludge on the bottom end (the chunks are approx. 1/4" thick in the pan) that there would be sludge on the top as well. Other mechanics here have told me that they always see sludge in the top when there is sludge in the bottom. My question is should the mechanic have noticed the sludge and take responsibility for the damage? Will indicators of sludge be present in the top end of an affected engine valve train?

How can I get the codes out of my 1989 Plymouth Sundance without a scanner?

I believe the Fan Clutch in my 98 Chevy S10 is faulty because the fan is very loose and noisy. I took out the fan shroud, unscrewed the blade and Fan Clutch and released the special spring from notch (I am not sure that I am using right term or not) that sits front of Fan Clutch. I just do not know how to get it out. I can not get the answer from library books. Could you give me some hints?

Help me out on this I have a 1995 Mercury Marquis with air ride suspension. The air springs in the back were just changed because they were leaking. After a week the car looks like a jacked up race car. The rear end is way up in the air. What can I do to get this corrected; my wife is really upset about this.

My 1990 T-Bird, 3.8L SC Supercharged, Just stopped running while I was driving and did not make any noise! I can not restart it just turns over and over! I changed Fuel Pump, Coil Pack, Ignition Module, MAP Sensor, Temperature coolant Sensor. I changed spark plugs and wires about a year ago. The fuel and air filter are new as well. In fact everything is new or has just recently been replaced. checked the air filter, all seems to be ok I am getting good fuel press and still all is does is turn over. All I know is that I do not have spark when I turn it over. Please help winter is coming and walking is not fun up here!

How often should spark plugs be changed on most cars?

I just put a new fan clutch on my 1995 GMC Blazer. Now when I take off from a stop it sounds like a jet engine, till I reach about 35 MPH. The old one didn’t do this and I‘ve had the truck since it was new. Any idea’s about what the problem is?

Can you mix brake fluid types? I have been told that I must always use DOT 3 and I know DOT 4 has a higher boiling point.

I’ve been told not to change the type oil I use in my car. My mechanic says it will cause my engine to sludge up! Is there any truth to this statement?

I purchased a New/Used 1998 Chevrolet S10 LS, with a 4.3L it had 87,000 miles it now has around 130,000 on it. Recently I had all my tail lamps except the one on top of the cab. While I was in the process of tracking the problem my fuel pump goes out "Bad Luck" I guess. I replaced the pump and it is pumping the fuel to the test port on the fuel rail and still the truck will not start! If I manually put gas in to the Throttle Body it will run. What would you say the problem is? I have heard everything from airlock, the timing being off to the computer..... I think maybe the injector could be gummed up…

I hear you and your wife always telling people to have their radiators “rodded out”. Can you explain what you mean by that term “rodded out”!

On my 1992 Pontiac Bonneville with a 3.8 L engine it will go down the road and just shut off. When I check it, there is no spark, wait ten minutes and it starts up and runs till it gets hot and dies.

How can I test it to see if it is the sending unit for the temp gauge or the gauge itself?

I have had the fuel pump changed and all the filter along with plug wires and plugs. I have heard that this is a "pattern failure" What is the cure?

James, I've been told not to change the type oil I use in my car. My mechanic says it will cause my engine to sludge up! Is their any truth to this?

_________________________________________________________ Hello James, I have a 98 Nissan Pathfinder with 83K miles that is idling rough and seems to be missing. When the car is running above 2000 RPM everything is fine. However, the car misses at low RPMs and lower speeds. It will not pass an emissions test at this time. The hydrocarbon reading is 900 at idle speed and the max allowed is 220. The car is not throwing any codes through the ECU. I have replaced the rotor, distributor cap, spark plugs, wires and PCV valve. In addition I have run every type of engine cleaner through it. I also had a Nissan dealership look at it and they told me that the Oxygen Sensor and Air Flow Meter had the incorrect voltage but they weren't convinced that was the problem. They said that a compression test was needed to further troubleshoot. The cylinders ranged from 140 for a high to 100 as a low. Most cylinders were between 110 and 125. Some mechanic I have talked with seem to think that it is a valve problem while the Nissan dealership says an engine will run fine with a compression of 90. I have ordered an Oxygen Sensor and an Air Flow Meter and I hope that will fix the problem. However, I occasionally have no brake pressure when I first start the car. I have read that a vacuum leak causes the car to run lean but mine is running rich. Is there a possibility that I have a vacuum leak somewhere? What is the best way to detect a vacuum leak? Thanks! Doug in Penn.

Dear James, This winter has been a long one. While it my car stays parked more than it is driven the squirrels chew up my engine wiring harness, twice! I have put moth balls to drive them away as well as poison. So far nothing seems to work. Do you have any ideas to stop these “varmints”? Ester W.

 

 

 

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