Ever Tried Solving Your Own Vehicle Engine Problems?

Discussion in 'Automotive' started by Cody Fousnaugh, Jul 6, 2021.

  1. John Brunner

    John Brunner Veteran Member
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    I agree...you got a great deal.

    I have a 2005 GMC Canyon. At some point a parasitic draw was introduced and drained the battery in cold weather if it went undriven for more than a day. There are a couple of fuses I pulled when I wasn't going to drive it for a while (radio/security system and the BCM.) I finally took it to the dealer and had them replace the BCM per my request. That did not fix it. They traced it to a short in the door/window control panel in the driver's armrest. It was fine for a few years, then the problem came back. I only drive it when I need a truck, so I'm back to pulling fuses. The problem (as you know) is that a trace on the fuse panel shows the draw is through the BCM, but it's not from the BCM.

    And to think I could manually adjust the kick in/kick out points on my Austin Healey's voltage regulator with an ignition gauge so that the dynamo properly charged the battery...
     
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  2. Lon Tanner

    Lon Tanner Veteran Member
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    I am not a Mr. Fixit for anything electrical or mechanical. I get the Pros to do it.
     
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  3. John Brunner

    John Brunner Veteran Member
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    I used to be better at car stuff, but then they morphed beyond my intellectual capacity.
     
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  4. Bruce Andrew

    Bruce Andrew Very Well-Known Member
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    [​IMG] I never had an old British car or motorcycle, but I know they did have their problems -- especially electrical.

    My Vette has a small drain which keeps something within the computerized systems working properly; I think most cars are like that now. If not driven regularly it can be a problem. So whenever mine is home it is always on a tender.

    To make that easier, I bought this magnetic connector a few years ago. Works great, don't have to lift the hood, open a window, or anything else -- so one tends to use it all the time where if it was more complicated to hook up, one might not bother sometimes.

    Connector that comes from the tender is in my hand, and snaps to its mate in the grill which is wired to the battery:

    Batt charger 002.JPG


    Get out of car, snap the connector on, and walk away:

    Batt charger 001.JPG
     
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  5. John Brunner

    John Brunner Veteran Member
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    THAT'S a good idea, provided it's not an easy place some idiot can shove a piece of steel wool while you're inside shopping.

    Here's one example of British electrical (Lucas) design engineering: the spark plug wires are not connectorized on the distributor side...it's a raw end. You shove the wire into the surface holes in the distributor cap (no nipples) and tighten down a pointed screw, which pierces the insulation, thus making the connection and retaining the wire.

    [​IMG]

    There is no seal on those wires, and they point straight up. So whenever it's humid out, or you go through a puddle, water follows the wires straight down into the cap and you stall out. Good thing there's no humidity in England, huh? /sarc

    My first J.C. Whitney order was as much as I paid for the car (it came with a hard top but I had to buy a convertible top.) Among those items was a Distributor Cap Condom. You stretched it over the distributor cap, and it had (4) rubber nipples you pushed the wires through so as to seal out the moisture. Problem solved!

    I'll have to tell you the story of fixing my wiper motor by using Sunbeam mixer brushes. Genuine parts were scarce...

    edited to add: Here's a pic of the distributor cap cover. I forgot, it came with a Coil Condom as well.

    [​IMG]

    It's no wonder we had to save their asses...
     
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    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
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  6. D'Ellyn Dottir

    D'Ellyn Dottir Very Well-Known Member
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    Given that I can't really even get my hood open, no. This is why the goddess made dealership service departments. :D
     
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  7. Bruce Andrew

    Bruce Andrew Very Well-Known Member
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    Ah yes, Lucas, that's the name and if memory serves, most of the British motorcycles used them also.

    Wow, that is a pretty lame distributor cap design. Had they not figured out yet that water runs downhill? [​IMG]

    Yes, back in the day, a lot of people (including myself) stayed away from foreign cars because of the spare parts problem.

    My tender connection: It is not very noticeable, and you'd probably be lucky to find 1 in a thousand people who even knew what it was. The arrow points to two metal dots, mounted in black plastic, seen zoomed in per my previous picture.

    003R.jpg
     
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  8. John Brunner

    John Brunner Veteran Member
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    I used to change the oil in my car and in my truck. I bought a new car 2 years ago and I just let the dealer do it. I've done this because the car is still under warranty, although I can't see me crawling under it to save the few bucks that doing it myself saves.
     
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  9. John Brunner

    John Brunner Veteran Member
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    Gorgeous.

    I worked for a guy who had a new Vette, late 80s. I had a pickup truck and he needed to borrow it for the weekend. He asked if I wanted to take his family wagon or the Vette. I just looked at him and said "Cough up the keys."
     
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  10. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Bruce Andrew

    As I said, it ain't all too terribly complicated. Yesteryear's TV system easily beats today's automotive systems inharnesses complexity, because today everything self-diagnoses itself, almost. However, poor design or manufacturing QC of peripherals like electrical CONNECTORS, only diagnose by the effects caused. These connectors are very state of the art, gold plated contacts and silicone rubber seal rings, waterproof, heatproof, they should NOT be a source of trouble.

    Yet, some are. I have occasioned to replace a troublesome connector by eliminating it altogether, soldering connections permanently together. Replacing connectors can entail hundreds of dollars since they form a part of harnesses.

    Frank
     
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  11. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @John Brunner

    My nephew bought his wife a new VW Beetle. He called me for my opinion: Wanting to change it's oil himself, he learned use of ANY oil other than VW-branded VOIDS THE WARRANTY! He wondered if it was worth the $20+ per quart VW charged for their "special"oil!

    Frank
     
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  12. Bruce Andrew

    Bruce Andrew Very Well-Known Member
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    I would double-check that. I remember reading years ago (probably in a car mag) that a manufacturer cannot require somebody to use their brand of oil. All it has to do is meet the SAE specs.
     
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  13. John Brunner

    John Brunner Veteran Member
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    That stuff's insane. I think many of those assertions have been negated by Federal law (Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act), just like the claims you cannot change your own oil without voiding the warranty.

    I bought a 2019 Mazda CX-5 with the 2.5L turbo in it. This is the first year they offered that motor in the CX-5. It takes a different oil than the NA engine, and I've read some people say you need to fill the filter with oil before installing it to minimize the dry running of the turbo (the Mazda turbo is always spinning a little so that it never kicks in from Zero.)

    To increase efficiency, the entire undercarriage is covered with plastic panels. I'm not gonna mess with it.
     
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  14. John Brunner

    John Brunner Veteran Member
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    I just read an Edmund's article on this. Some manufacturers do have their own specs, and some of those manufacturers license out the rights to companies like Valvoline to make a compatible oil. But the law I linked in the prior post states that the manufacturer must prove that such non-compliance actually caused damage...they may not offhand deny warranty coverage merely because a non-compliant oil was used. That applies to all oils, not just the custom ones...using the "wrong one" does not outright void the warranty if that oil had nothing to do with the problem.
     
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  15. Bruce Andrew

    Bruce Andrew Very Well-Known Member
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    I've always changed my own oil because I didn't trust anyone else to do it. I heard all the stories about stripping the pan threads, to not putting enough oil in, to forgetting to put the plug in at all, to leaks, etc.

    I bought a new 2017 Tacoma pickup and they changed the oil and filter for free the first two years. That was the first time in my life I never did it myself. The next year I paid them. Last year I did it myself, although I used my buddy's lift.

    I'm still doing it on my Vette although this fall is going to be tough, getting too old. I have to drive the front wheels up on homemade ramps and get on my back and crawl under it from the front. I just barely fit, and I'm 5'10" and 170 pounds, hardly fat.

    Car 003.jpg

    A little sexier angle of my car:

    Vette July 13, 2019.jpg
     
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