Senin, 30 November 2009

Troubleshooting the Turn Signal Light on My Dodge Caravan

Troubleshooting the Turn Signal Light on My Dodge Caravan

If you flip on your turn signal and the indicator light blinks faster than normal, or if you can see that the turn signal does not come on, you have a problem. To determine exactly what the problem is, you'll have to troubleshoot. Start by examining the most obvious things first, like a burned out bulb or fuse; if that doesn't solve the problem, investigate further.

Instructions

    1

    Turn on the turn signal to blink on the side of the Caravan you would like to troubleshoot. Look at the indicator light on the instrument panel to see if it is blinking very quickly. If it is blinking quickly you have a taillight out. If it is blinking at its normal rate or not blinding at all, go on to Step 2.

    2

    Look to see if you have a blown fuse. There are two fuse boxes on the Dodge Caravan; one is under the dashboard on the driver's side and the other is in the engine compartment, toward the back and on the driver's side. Check the owner's manual to find the exact location of the blinker fuse and check it to see if it has burned out. If it has burned out you will be able to see that the little wires are not touching inside the fuse.

    3

    Check the turn signal light bulb to see if it is blown if the fuse was still good. If it is a rear turn signal you can get to the bulb by lifting the Caravan's back hatch and opening the light compartment on the inside rear of the vehicle. There is one on the left and one on the right of the vehicle. If it is a front turn signal, you can get to the bulb by opening the hood and removing the 3 screws that hold the light assembly in place.

    4

    Place a voltmeter on the leads to see if it is getting any power if the bulb is not burned out. If the turn signal is working and it is not getting any power, you probably have a short in the wiring somewhere between the blinker switch and the blinker bulb.

Steering Shaft Problems

Steering Shaft Problems

Driving a car down the road gives the driver the feeling of control, especially when it comes to the steering of the vehicle. But, if the steering has problems, such as with the steering shaft, driving can be dangerous.

Identification

    A steering shaft is the portion of the steering system that attaches the steering wheel to the rack system between the front car wheels. This shaft transfers the motion of the steering wheel into the steering system for movement of the wheels.

Considerations

    Steering shaft problems can arise due to the constant movement of the shaft. When turning the steering wheel, if the return of the rotation seems to stick, there may be corrosion on the shaft or on the attached couplings. Also, there should be no jiggling of the assembly. Loose shafts can hinder steering function and accelerate wear on the system.

Prevention/Solution

    The steering system can be inspected by placing the vehicle on a stationary ramp to allow access underneath. Have someone sit inside the car and wiggle the steering wheel so that any movement to the shaft under the car will be apparent and problems detected.

How to Tell When a Fuel Pump Breaks

How to Tell When a Fuel Pump Breaks

The fuel pump is a vital piece of car equipment. It pumps fuel to the motor and, if it malfunctions, your car will not run properly. Cars are complicated machines and if something is amiss, you might be unsure whether the problem lies with the fuel pump. However, it is possible to diagnose this problem without the help of a mechanic. If you think your fuel pump has broken, take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible to get it fixed or replace the pump yourself.

Instructions

    1

    Start the engine. If your engine will not start, this could be a sign that your fuel pump has broken. However, you will also need to rule out other causes first.

    2

    Check the spark. Connect a spark plug tester to a plug wire and make sure the tester is grounded to the engine block. Turn the key in the ignition and the tester should spark. If this happens, the spark is not the problem. But if you don't see any sparks while turning the ignition, an electrical fault could be the reason behind your engine problems. Do not touch any of the spark wires while carrying out the test as they will be electrified.

    3

    Listen to the fuel pump while turning the key in the ignition. If the pump is working, it should make a quiet noise. However, if you can't hear anything, this could be a sign that the pump isn't working.

    4

    Measure the fuel volume. Even if your fuel pump is working, if it isn't transporting enough fuel to the engine then this could cause car trouble. When the car is off, connect a fuel flow gauge to the fuel supply line. Energize the pump and measure the amount of fuel that goes through for 30 seconds. A reading of about 1 quart is normal for this period of time.

    5

    Check the fuel pressure. Start the engine and unplug the vacuum hose and the fuel regulator. The pressure of the fuel system is usually about 8 psi with the vacuum hose plugged in but this should rise to 12 psi with the hose unplugged. If the pressure doesn't change, there could be a problem with your pump.

Minggu, 29 November 2009

Signs of a Bad Alternator on a 2000 Chrysler Grand Voyager

Signs of a Bad Alternator on a 2000 Chrysler Grand Voyager

The electrical system of the 2000 Chrysler Grand Voyager is like most other automobiles, heavily dependent upon the alternator for proper operation. Everything contained within the vehicle that operates on electricity is affected by the performance of the alternator. As a result, changes or degradation in how the alternator performs can have a direct effect on every aspect of the vehicles electrical system. A bad alternator can be diagnosed by looking for specific signs.

Dim Headlights

    Dimming or flickering of the headlights is one of the first signs that an alternator is not operating properly. The dimming and flickering is an indication that the alternator is not producing electrical current at a steady rate. When engine speed is increased or decreased, this can cause the current created by a weak or failing alternator to rise and fall, which in turn causes headlights to become brighter at higher engine speeds and dimmer at lower engine speeds. A strong alternator will produce a steady current of the proper voltage at all engine speeds.

Slow Accessories

    All of the electrical accessories within an automobile rely on the alternator for a strong supply of steady electrical current to operate properly. When an alternator begins to weaken or fail, the amount of electrical energy it can produce begins to decline. As less energy is produced by the alternator, less energy is available to power electrical accessories like power windows, clocks, power seats and other equipment. This weakened electrical supply causes these accessories to operate slower and in some cases erratically.

Weak Battery

    Every time a vehicle is started, a small amount of electrical energy is drained from the battery. The alternator replaces that lost charge during the time that the engine is running. A weakened alternator will not be able to fully replace the energy lost by the battery during start-up. The result is a battery that becomes progressively weaker until it no longer has enough energy to start the vehicle.

Poor Performance

    Today's vehicles use on-board computers and control systems that are heavily reliant on electrical power to operate. The engines ignition system, engine control unit, fuel systems and more require a specific amount of electrical energy to operate properly. A weakened alternator will be incapable of providing the correct voltages or current and cause these systems to operate erratically or not at all. The result will be an engine that idles roughly, produces poor acceleration, has increased emissions levels and has degraded fuel economy.

Sabtu, 28 November 2009

Hub Bearing Troubleshooting

Hub Bearing Troubleshooting

The hub bearing on a vehicle is the component that allows the wheel to spin with as little resistance as possible. When these bearings go bad due to age or damage, there are three tests to perform to determine which bearing is bad: sway test, touch test and looseness test.

Sway Test

    This test is performed while driving the car at a low rate of speed and only works if there is a grinding sound from the bearing. While driving, lightly turn the vehicle left and right, causing the car to sway. If the noise gets louder when turning left, the bearing on the right side is bad and vice-versa.

Touch Test

    Drive the vehicle as you normally would for about 10 to 15 miles. After driving, touch each of the rims. The resistance from the failed bearing will cause the rim on the bad side to be significantly hotter than the others.

Looseness Test

    The looseness test is a great way to find early bearing failure, before noise and other damage begins. With the vehicle jacked up, shake the wheel and tire assembly and feel for any looseness. Looseness indicates a failed bearing.

Gx610 Honda Won't Start

Gx610 Honda Won't Start

The Honda Gx610 is a motor that is used in small dirt bikes and go-carts. If you are having problems with the Gx610, there are several things you can look at before you decide to buy a new one. Common problems reside with the muffler being blocked, not enough oil in the system, and loose screws around the casing. After you check all of the features on the engine, you should be able to start it properly.

Instructions

    1

    Check the fuel level. The motor cannot run without gasoline.

    2

    Look for any gasoline or oil leaks around the motor. Get the motor serviced immediately if you find any leaks.

    3

    Check the air filter on the underside of the motor. Dirty air filters can cause the motor to shut off.

    4

    Remove any dirt or debris from the muffler and the recoil starter on the side of the motor. Debris can cause ventilation problems and problems with the starter.

    5

    Tighten all of the screws and bolts around the motor with a ratchet. This will keep everything tight and keep the motor running properly. A loose screw can allow airflow to be overpowered and turn the motor off.

Jumat, 27 November 2009

What Causes a Clicking Sound in the Driver's Seat of a 2005 Honda Odyssey?

What Causes a Clicking Sound in the Driver's Seat of a 2005 Honda Odyssey?

The 2005 Honda Odyssey has reports and complaints about a clicking noise coming from the drivers seat. Most of these reports are occurring on the power seats and electrical system which control the drivers seat. The manufacturer has published technical service bulletins (TSB) concerning drivers seat problems and causes of the problems.

Driver Seat Power Cable

    The power cable which controls the driver's seat on the 2005 Honda Odyssey may cause a clicking noise. The cable may come loose or fall off completely causing a noise to develop when the driver attempts to change seating positions. The connections of the power cable are faulty and the entire cable needs to be replaced to correct this noise problem. The power cable allows the Odyssey driver to adjust the position of the seat. Once the cable comes loose, the Honda begins to make a clicking sound when the driver attempts to adjust the seat, but the seat does not move.

Power Seat Controls Not Operative

    A TSB is published on the 2005 Honda Odyssey concerning the power seat controls failing. The controls on the power seats allow the passengers, including the driver, to adjust the seat forward, backward, up and down as well as adjust the back-rest position. The TSB reports that the control button may fail creating a clicking sound when the seat is adjusted. The contact points in the control button are attempting to close, but power is being lost due to a wiring problem in the controls. The controls need to be replaced to correct this noise problem.

Seat Memory System

    Another TSB is published on the 2005 Honda Odyssey concerning the driver's seat memory system. The memory card or system on the driver's seat can be set to adjust automatically to the driver operating the Odyssey. Once a comfortable driver's seat setting is found by the operator, the power seat can be programmed to remember the adjustment setting. The TSB states that the memory system attempts to adjust the seat for the desired driver, but fails causing the driver's seat to make a clicking sound. The clicking sound is coming from the memory system attempting to adjust the seat to the pre-programmed setting. The Odyssey must be taken to the dealership and the memory card needs to be replaced to correct this problem.

How to Identify a Marine Carburetor

When examining used automotive parts, particularly, carburetors, knowing which ones are for cars and which are for boats is a useful skill, especially if you work in a coastal area. There are unique aspects of a boat carburetor that an automotive carburetor does not incorporate. Looking for these particular aspects will help separate one type from another quickly.

Instructions

    1

    Examine the carburetor around its float bowl on the bottom of the unit. Look for signs of extra sealing as if designed to keep water out of the unit. Use a Crescent wrench to open the bowl up to get a better look, if needed.

    2

    Use a screwdriver or Crescent wrench to open the top of the carburetor. Pull the throttle slide out. Examine the throttle slide assembly at the top of the carburetor. Confirm if the throttle is a fully sliding design (automotive) or only pulls out about three-fourths of the way (marine style).

    3

    Examine the metal type used on the throttle slide itself -- more corrosive signals marine type. Examine the grooves the slide fits into for excessive wear which would signal an automotive use -- boat carburetors stay at a constant speed with little throttle movement.

    4

    Look at the overflow venting on the unit. Confirm if it is just hoses that hang loose (automotive) or if the hoses connect back into the carburetor (marine) to route overflow back into the carburetor.

Kamis, 26 November 2009

Brake Booster Problems

Brake Booster Problems

The brake booster uses vacuum diaphragms to increase the pressure to the brake pads or shoes to expand them against the rotors or drums. Without its assistance, the pressure on the brake pedal would be difficult to depress and stop the vehicle.

Brake Booster Fluid Contamination

    The rear part of the master cylinder contains a pin shaft and seal. If the seals fail due to wear or cracking, brake fluid will bypass them and invade the inside of the brake booster housing. The rubber diaphragms inside the booster then becomes contaminated, warping, melting or deforming the diaphragm. Master cylinder rear seal leaks will be seen on the bottom of the booster housing.

Vacuum Hose Connections

    The brake booster receives a strong vacuum suction from the booster hose that comes from the intake manifold or carburetor base. A broken clamp, cracked hose or loose connection at the manifold or carburetor connection will cause a weak vacuum signal that will not allow the diaphragms to expand properly. The hose grommet connection at the booster connection can wear out, causing vacuum to pass through its seal. Hard brakes will result.

Master Cylinder and Brake Booster Pin length

    The rear of the master cylinder contains a pin that shoves the interior valve open in the brake booster. If the pin length measures too short or long, according to specifications, the valve will not open at the precise time to activate the pressure needed to stop the vehicle.

Brake Booster Vacuum Signal

    An ordinary power booster requires at least 18 inches of vacuum at the booster side (while the engine idles), and it can be measured with a special vacuum testing tool. If the reading measures lower, and the brake booster seals, pin length and hoses function properly, the problem lies with a mistuned engine or too low of an idle.

How to Self-Diagnose Auto Engine Problems

How to Self-Diagnose Auto Engine Problems

Self-diagnosing engine trouble tracks down the source of the problem by using a method of elimination. Tackle the bigger, most likely components before narrowing your focus on smaller, more complicated parts. How the car is acting is a big indication of what's going on. Rough idling, poor starting, loss of power and quitting while running are all hints that will lead you in the right direction. Check your dash panel cluster for obvious signs of malfunction.

Instructions

    1

    Test the alternator and battery for weak output. Connect a volt meter or multimeter to the positive and negative battery posts while the engine is off. This tests the power in the battery. A healthy battery reads between 12.5 and 12.8 volts. Crank the engine and test again. This tests the alternator power, and the reading should be between 13.6 and 14.3. If the readings are below normal, a replacement is necessary.

    2

    Check the fuses for breaks. The fuse box is usually under the dash near the steering column or under the hood in a square compartment. Either pull each fuse manually to inspect them visually or use a fuse tester. Ground the tester, turn the engine on without cranking and touch the tip to each of the fuses. If only one end of a fuse causes the tester to light, instead of both, the fuse is broken and needs to be replaced.

    3

    Pull the engine codes. Either use the key on-and-off sequence, in which the codes flash from the "Check Engine" light, or use a scanner. Plug the scanner into the ALDL (Assembly Line Diagnostic Link) port under the dash, turn the key on and follow the prompts on the screen. The engine codes tell you what problem the computer has detected.

    4

    Look for patterns in the engine trouble. Difficulties cranking while cold or hot, overheating, running ragged at high speeds or over rough terrain are all signs that point to the source of the trouble. For instance, a car that runs great a low speed but poorly at high speed may have loose or poorly grounded wires, loose belts or damaged hoses.

    5

    Crank the engine and look under the hood. Check for vibration or movement in the engine parts, such as broken wires and loose or torn belts. These problems are easier to spot when the engine is running.

    6

    Look for obvious signs of wear or damage. Check the radiator for clogging, inspect the battery, alternator, water pump and spark plugs for corrosion. Crank the engine and run to operating temperature. Check that the fan runs, and that the thermostat opens to relieve engine heat. Touch the upper radiator hose to test for heat, a sign the thermostat is opening.

Rabu, 25 November 2009

How to Troubleshoot the Air Brakes in a Combination Tractor-Trailer

How to Troubleshoot the Air Brakes in a Combination Tractor-Trailer

Air brakes work backward from the brakes found on cars and small trucks. The air brake system depends on air pressure to keep the brakes from closing on the brake pads. If the pressure fails, the tractor-trailer stops -- unlike a car, where a brake failure means the car won't stop. When a tractor-trailer driver presses his foot on the brake, the air travels to chambers or cylinders located at each wheel. A piston inside the cylinder moves because of the air pressure and pushes the brake against the brake pads, stopping the tractor trailer. Truck drivers need to look at several key indicators to diagnose an unhealthy brake system.

Instructions

    1

    Check the time between the initial application of the brakes and the moment the truck begins to stop. If too much time passes before the brakes actually slow the vehicle, it could be caused by a brake that needs adjustment, a valve failure, a kink in an air hose or low pressure in the brake system.

    2

    Pay attention to the amount of time that passes between the time you lift your foot off the brake pedal and the moment the brakes release. If it's too long, the brakes might need adjusting, the brake rigging could be binding, the exhaust port of the relay emergency valve may be restricted or plugged, or a hose might be kinked.

    3

    Check if the brakes apply at all. If they don't, the hoses from tractor to trailer might be crossed or not connected, the relay emergency valve might be broken or there could be a kinked hose

    4

    Check the smoothness of the brakes. If the brakes grab and threaten to send the rig into a skid, there might be grease on the brake linings, the rigging that controls the brakes might be binding or there might be a faulty relay emergency valve.

    5

    Check the air pressure in the system. It should be between 100 and 125 psi all the time. There are warning indicators built into the system. If air pressure falls below 60 psi, a warning light and buzzer will activate. If the pressure falls below 20 to 45 psi, the brakes will activate immediately and completely, stopping the rig without warning.

How to Diagnose a Power Steering Pump

A power steering pump could have a leak, or the bearings could be bad. Either problem causes a whine, though if the bearings are bad enough, they could cause a grinding sound. If the pump, lines or rack are leaking, you need to repair the problem as soon as possible. If the pump runs out of fluid, it could cause the bearings to malfunction. In addition to the bearings malfunctioning, you will not have power steering. If the bearings malfunction, eventually, you will lose power steering. If the pulley is bad, the belt won't turn the pump, a problem that would also prevent you from having power steering.

Instructions

    1

    Check for leaks at the pump, the lines at the back of the pump, where the lines attach to the gear or rack, and at the rack. Repair the problem, then refill the power steering pump reservoir. Test the system to ensure that the pump was not damaged. It may while for a few minutes, until the fluid makes its way through the system.

    2

    Look at the tension on the belt. If you have a V-belt, it will twist 90 degrees if the tension is correct. If it twists less than 90 degrees, it is too tight and may cause the pump pulley to whine. If it is too loose, the belt won't turn the pump properly. Loosen tension on the belt if it is too tight, and if it is too loose, replace the belt.

    3

    Wobble the pulley back and forth with the belt off. If the pulley wobbles, replace the pump. Spin the pulley if it doesn't wobble. If the pulley has resistance or makes noise while you are spinning it, the bearings are bad. Replace the pump.

Selasa, 24 November 2009

How to Troubleshoot a Fuse Malfunction on a 1988 Ford E350

How to Troubleshoot a Fuse Malfunction on a 1988 Ford E350

Fuses act as hallways for electricity, leading electricity from its source to the component the fuse supports. When a fuse goes bad in your 1988 Ford E350, the results are usually minor but annoying. Dash cluster instruments like the gas gauge or the dash light, the radio and the air conditioning are supported by fuses. If the fuse delivering electricity to any of these devices breaks, the device stops working. Test the fuses to determine which one is broken and needs replacing.

Instructions

    1

    Locate the fuse panel under the dash on the driver's side of the Ford E350. The fuse panel may or may not have a plastic cover. Remove the cover by hand if it is secured by a latch, or with a screwdriver if the panel is screwed down.

    2

    Pull the fuses manually to visually inspect each one. Check inside the fuse compartment for a plastic fuse puller, similar to a pair of tweezers. Ford provides its vehicles with fuse pullers; however, if you don't have one, fuse pullers are sold at any auto parts dealer or multi-purpose stores.

    3

    Replace broken fuses with new fuses of an equal strength. The strength of the fuse is printed on the end of the fuse (10, 15, 20). Look on the inner side of the fuse panel cover for a diagram of which fuse supplies power to which vehicle component.

    4

    Check the fuses with a tester for faster, easier troubleshooting. Fuse testers are available at any auto parts store. The bulb on the end of the tester lights up when its tip comes in contact with a working fuse.

    5

    Ground the tester to a nearby metal, nonelectric source, such as a bolt on the inside of the door. Turn the ignition key on.

    6

    Touch the tip of the tester to each end of the fuses in turn. If the bulb fails to light up, the fuse is bad. Replace the fuse.

My Mini Cooper Won't Start

My Mini Cooper Won't Start

The Mini Cooper is a compact, fuel-efficient vehicle that was designed in response to the Suez oil crisis of 1956. The Classic Mini debuted three years later in 1959. Currently, the Mini Cooper is manufactured by BMW under the MINI brand, but still contains many qualities of the Classic Mini. Like any other vehicle, the Mini can sometimes have problems starting and may require troubleshooting. Before calling in a professional mechanic or having your Mini Cooper towed to a dealership, there are certain things that you can check to save time and money.

Instructions

    1

    Put your key in the ignition switch of your Mini Cooper and attempt to turn it. If the key will not turn, then the steering wheel may not be locked, which is necessary to start the car. Adjust the steering wheel so that it is in the locked position and try to turn the key again.

    2

    Check the fuel level of the Mini Cooper. Turn the key to the "Accessories" position and observe the fuel gauge. If the fuel is low, the fuel light will turn on. Additionally, if you are unsure if the fuel gauge is accurate, add one gallon of gas to the Mini and try to start the engine again.

    3

    Turn on the headlights or interior lights while the key is in the "Accessories" position. If the lights do not turn on, the battery may need to be charged, replaced, or jump started.

    4

    Listen for any noises that may indicate a problem. Try to start the engine by turning the key to the start position. If you hear nothing at all, there could be an issue with a faulty ignition switch. If you hear clicking sounds when you attempt to start the Mini Cooper, there may be a problem with the starter. If the engine starts but sputters out, there is likely a problem with the fuel line, fuel filter, or fuel pump.

    5

    Open the hood. Locate and check the the oil, transmission fluid and coolant levels. If the fluid levels are too low, the engine have problems starting. Make sure the fluid levels are between the minimum and maximum levels.

    6

    Call a professional mechanic if your Mini Cooper still won't start. Tow or have it towed to a garage or dealership for further diagnostic tests and repair.

Senin, 23 November 2009

PT Cruiser Strut Problems

PT Cruiser Strut Problems

The Chrysler PT Cruiser has been the subject of several recalls and a number of technical service bulletins (TSB) published by the manufacturer throughout the production years of the vehicle. A recall for the 2005 and 2006 PT Cruiser directly relates to the strut problems some Chrysler owners have complained about.

Strut Noise

    One of the biggest complaints about the PT Cruiser reported by Carcomplaints.com is the struts making a squeaking or clicking sound. This strut noise is attributed to a sway-bar bushing prematurely wearing out. The sway-bar assists the struts to provide a smoother ride over rough roads. When the bushing wears, a squeaking noise can be heard. No reason is given for the bushings wearing quickly on some PT Cruisers, but technicians at Repairpal.com state that the wear is from frequent driving over rough back roads.

Suspension Recall

    More than 6,900 PT Cruisers have been recalled because of a defective nut used to attach the ball joints to the automobile. The nut sent with certain ball joint assemblies were not self-locking nuts, which caused the nut to come loose from the ball joint at the end of the struts. This loosening of the nuts causes the assembly to come loose from the PT Cruiser, and the driver can lose control of the car. The PT Cruiser should be taken back to the dealership and have this strut problem repaired before an accident occurs.

Excessive Bounce

    According to Carcomplaints.com, some PT Cruiser owners are bouncing excessively while being driven. This is caused by the struts coming loose. The assembly that controls the ride of the PT Cruiser is part of the strut assembly. During manufacturing, this strut assembly was not tightened to specific torque requirements. This defect causes the assembly to come loose during operation, which leads to bouncing because the PT Cruiser is not compensating for different road environments correctly. The PT Cruiser should be taken into the dealership to have the assemblies tightened to the correct torque.

The Effects of a Bad Carburetor Gasket

In a carbureted engine, the carb-to-manifold gasket is probably the second biggest potential air leak next to the manifold gasket itself. The carb gasket is responsible for providing that delicate boundary between where air is and where it shouldn't be; a failure here can ruin your motor's whole day.

The Basic Problem

    A carburetor works by using engine vacuum to suck fuel through the carburetor's metering jets, and introducing it in the highest point of vacuum and airflow to mix it in a precise quantity with the air. A leaking carburetor gasket won't let fuel out, but it will let air seep in right where the vacuum signal is most important.

Slight Leak

    A very slight leak may cause a bit of engine roughness at idle, when the throttle plates are closed and vacuum is supposed to be at its highest. It is at idle where the engine is most sensitive to minor changes in airflow, because the throttle plates are almost all the way shut. A very slight leak might not be noticeable as more than a minor engine vibration at idle and a millisecond hesitation before acceleration.

Larger Leak

    A larger leak will cause noticeable engine vibration and probable misfire at idle, and severe hesitation under acceleration. One of the vacuum leak's signature symptoms is that it seems to go away under full throttle conditions, particularly at high rpm. A medium-sized leak will often result in a "hunting" or rising-and-falling idle. This occurs when the distributor's vacuum advance realizes that it's not getting the vacuum signal it should be and and pulls or adds timing advance.

Severe Leak

    You can usually judge the severity of a vacuum leak by how high its disturbance reaches up into the rpm range. The more you open the throttle, the less vacuum and more air the engine "expects" to see; thus, the less effect a vacuum leak will have on performance. But, that additional air will also have a nasty side-effect in the form of a lean air/fuel mixture. Lean mixtures are better for fuel economy, to a point, but they also cause your engine to run much hotter.

Diagnosis and Further Symptoms

    If you've got a vacuum-advance distributor and you experience idle hunting, the simplest way to test for a vacuum leak is to disconnect the advance tube at the distributor and plug the line. If the hunting stops or the engine stalls, you've got a vacuum leak. Vacuum leaks will also tend to cause a "lean backfire" through the exhaust. Lean backfires happen when the mixture won't sustain a flame in the cylinder and, instead, burns its fuel in the exhaust pipe.

Sabtu, 21 November 2009

1999 Honda Accord V-6 Starting Problems

There are numerous mechanical and electrical malfunctions that can cause starting problems on the 1999 Honda Accord V-6. Most starting problems can be diagnosed via the symptoms displayed by the engine upon start-up, requiring no special tools or mechanical knowledge. Additionally, a diagnostic reader can be used to access any error codes stored by the engine control unit, or ECU.

Battery Problems

    A faulty battery or terminal connection will cause starting problems on the Honda Accord, as the starter motor requires battery power to crank the engine. To diagnose the battery, turn on the headlights, then try to start the engine. If the headlights dim or go dead when the ignition key is turned, this means either that the battery is holding an inadequate charge, or that the cable connection is insecure. Inspect the terminals on the top of the battery for signs of damage or corrosion; then, ensure that the battery cables are securely connected to the terminals. If the problem persists, have your battery inspected and replaced.

Starter Problems

    If the headlights are not effected when cranking the engine, the problem may be caused by the starter mechanism. To diagnose starter problems, try starting the engine and pay close attention to the sound it makes while cranking. If the engine sounds sluggish and cranks too slowly to start, there may be a problem with the starter motor. If the starter spins without cranking the engine, there is likely a problem with the starter clutch or pinion gear. Damaged starter gears can also cause the starter to engage and disengage improperly. This will produce grinding noises originating from the starter gears.

Safety Switch Malfunction

    The 1999 Honda Accord features a number of electrical safety switches. One safety switch is linked into the ignition to ensure that only the proper ignition key will start the vehicle. Additionally, there are safety switches linked to the transmission and brake components. If any of these switches malfunction, they will electrically disable the engine from starting. Therefore, if the battery is in good working condition and the engine fails to crank, the problem may be caused by a malfunction in one of the safety switches.

Using a Diagnostic Reader

    1999 Honda Accord features an extensive electronic monitoring system that activates the "check engine" light on the dashboard whenever a malfunction is detected by the ECU. If the "check engine" light is illuminated in the instrument panel of your Accord, you can use an ECU diagnostic reader to access the stored error code. Simply plug the diagnostic reader into the ECU access port, located under the dashboard, in the driver's side footwell area. Turn the ignition key into the "On" position, and the diagnostic reader will provide a readout of the error code along with a brief description of the malfunction. If you do not have access to a diagnostic reader, automotive service centers often offer free diagnostic service.

1994 Jeep Cherokee Clicks Won't Start

1994 Jeep Cherokee Clicks Won't Start

Few things can be more frustrating than climbing into your Cherokee, turning the key and, instead of the engine starting, hearing a "click." It's possible to troubleshoot this problem. Finding the solution is a matter of isolating and inspecting the starter system.

Instructions

    1

    Open the hood of your Cherokee and look at the battery connections. If they are corroded, remove the negative terminal by turning the clamp nut counterclockwise with the wrench. Use the battery brush to clean the terminal and clamp. Leave the negative terminal off and repeat the procedure with the positive terminal. When both are clean, replace the positive terminal first, turning the clamp bolt clockwise. Repeat with the negative terminal. The positive terminal is identified with a " + " symbol on the battery, while the negative terminal is identified with a " - " symbol.

    2

    Turn the ignition key to the "on" position and see if the wipers or head lights work. If they do not, the battery is not charged. Charge the battery if necessary.

    3

    Inspect the battery cables, looking for loose or damaged connections. If a loose connection is found, use the wrench to tighten it. If a damaged section of cable is found, replace the entire cable.

    4

    Inspect the starter and solenoid to ensure that they are working properly. If removing the starter, first disconnect the battery terminals. Remove the starter mounting bolts by turning them counterclockwise with the socket. Have the starter inspected by a certified testing facility. Most larger auto-supply stores can test starters.

    5

    Rock the lower engine pulley, back and forth, with a large socket on the nut, to verify that the engine is not seized. If the engine is seized, further tear-down is needed to find the cause.

The Signs of a Bad Radiator Cap

The Signs of a Bad Radiator Cap

The radiator cap is an integral part of a vehicle's temperature control. It serves several purposes: seals the cooling system from debris and contaminants, maintains pressure and a constant boiling point and allows coolant to reach the radiator. A bad cap can cause a slew of problems -- learn to identify one and replace it to avoid the hassle of overheating.

Low Coolant Levels

    Most vehicles have a warning light that signals low coolant levels. If you have recently topped up your coolant supply and the light persists, the coolant may be boiling prematurely and overflowing out of the radiator's expansion reservoir. This is a sign of a failed pressure seal on a radiator cap.

Collapsed Radiator Hoses

    If you notice that the hoses connected to your vehicle's radiator are flattened and kinked, this is a sign of a failed return seal on a radiator cap. This seal allows for the flow of coolant back to the radiator once the engine has cooled, and a vacuum can be created if the flow is impeded.

Overheating at Low Temperatures

    An overheated engine in relatively cool weather is the most common sign of a bad radiator cap. The main seal, which creates a bond between the cap and the radiator's filler neck, may be eroded or incorrectly fitted, allowing for depressurization of the tank and a lowered boiling point.

Jumat, 20 November 2009

How to Size DC Fuses

How to Size DC Fuses

Few consumer products have been specifically engineered to fail, but DC (direct current) fuses might be the exception. A fuse contains a small wire or metal component that melts or separates if a surge in amperage attempts to pass through the circuit the fuse protects. This prevents damage to more valuable components on the circuit. The most common example of a consumer item using multiple fuses is a car or truck. The fuse panel installed in most motor vehicles contains dozens. If a fuse has blown in your vehicle, selecting and sizing the proper replacement is easy.

Instructions

    1

    Locate the fuse panel in your vehicle. Your owner's manual will indicate where it is installed along with instructions about how to remove the cover. Most likely, it will be somewhere under the instrument panel.

    2

    Read the owner's manual to determine the location on the fuse panel of the fuse that has most likely failed. Strictly as an example, if your windshield wipers no longer operate, the manual might indicate that the fuse controlling that circuit is a 15 amp fuse located in position 12.

    3

    Slide the jaws of the plastic fuse puller around the top edges of the failed fuse and pull it straight out of the fuse panel. Again, strictly as an example, the 15 amp fuse in question will be blue, and the number "15" will be printed on the top. In most vehicles, the fuse will be a spade or mini-spade type.

    4

    Examine the fuse from the side, if the small wire inside has separated (fused) or the fuse is discolored, it has definitely failed and should be replaced.

    5

    Visit any auto parts retailer and acquire a new fuse of the identical physical size, color and amperage.

Noisy Air Conditioner Clutch

Noisy Air Conditioner Clutch

The air conditioner in an automobile uses several components that work in conjunction with each other to provide cool air to the cab of the vehicle. One of those components is the compressor clutch. The clutch allows the compressor to send refrigerant to the evaporator, where it is cooled and sent into the vents. If the clutch begins to make an unusual noise, then one of the parts inside the clutch has a problem.

Popping or Cracking

    A common culprit for air conditioner clutch noise comes from a failed bearing. The bearing will make a loud popping or cracking noise when the component has failed or is failing. A bearing will fail when too much heat is created from the clutch. The heat causes the lubrication within the bearing to burn off or deteriorate quickly. Once the lubrication is gone, the bearing will fail quickly, creating a noise even when the air conditioner is not running.

Humming

    The air conditioner clutch will begin to hum when the motor of the compressor has a problem. Since the clutch drives the compressor, a faulty compressor will cause the clutch to make a noise when the compressor is attempting to engage, but cannot because of a power loss. If the compressor has a short or is not getting the required voltage, then the clutch will begin to hum.

Scratching or Sliding

    You may hear a scratching or sliding noise when the clutch begins to slip. One reason is that the clutch plate is worn. Another cause for a slipping clutch is an unburnished clutch, which produces a low torque. Burnishing cycles the clutch and allows the surface to wear consistently all the way around the clutch plates. A clutch that is not burnished wears unevenly, which creates a gap between the plates and causes the clutch to slip. If you are replacing a clutch, then bring the new clutch up to the proper torque capacity to prevent this problem from occurring.

Whining

    A whining noise is created when the serpentine belt is not tightened properly onto the air conditioner clutch. The whine comes from the belt slipping through the clutch pulley. Serpentine belts deteriorate over time and commonly wear or stretch. Once the belt stretches too much, the tensioner cannot maintain a tight fit of the belt to the engine pulleys. The belt begins to slip through all the pulleys, making a whining noise. The clutch will engage the compressor, then disengage the compressor when this occurs. The temperature inside the cab of the vehicle will be cool one moment and warm the next moment.

New Engine Won't Start

New Engine Won't Start

Installing a brand new engine in a car or truck is a time consuming and costly process, so it can be very frustrating when you try to start your new engine for the first time and nothing happens. Not only do new engines have to be installed properly; everything under the hood has to be exactly right before your car will start. Here are a few components to check when your new engine will not start or run.

Instructions

    1

    Check the battery. If you did not install a fully charged battery with your new engine, the battery may have lost its charge during the engine swapping process. A voltage meter can be hooked up the battery and tell you if the battery has adequate charge; you will need at least 10 volts to crank most vehicles. You hook up the voltage meter by connecting the positive cable to the positive terminal and the negative terminal to the negative cable and reading the voltage that appears on the screen.

    2

    Test each spark plug to determine whether or not your engine is getting spark. If there is no spark, your vehicle may have an ignition problem or an electrical or sensor problem. You can test your spark plugs by removing the spark plug wires from the plugs one at a time and holding the wire close to a heavy piece of metal or other ground while having someone turn over the engine. If the wire sparks slightly or you can hear a crackling noise, you have spark.

    3

    Check the electrical system. Modern vehicles have complicated electrical computer systems. If you did not program the ECM in your car when you installed the new engine, it is probably still working based on the former engine and may not function properly or provide the correct information to allow your car to start. This is especially true if the newly installed engine is not identical to the previous one. The ECM is responsible for performance aspects such as determining fuel mixture, controlling fuel delivery and monitoring your vehicle's various sensors. The best way to check your ECM is to attach an error code reader and scan for diagnostic codes. Once you have a list of error codes, you can look each up to determine their meanings (see Resources). Certain codes pertain to each specific problem, including ECM failure.

    4

    Check the fuel system. If you did not prime the fuel system prior to attempting to start the engine, then your engine probably does not have any fuel to use to start. Prime the fuel system based on the type of vehicle and engine you have.

    5

    Perform a compression check. Loss of compression is caused by a problem with the engine itself and should not be a problem if the engine was not constructed properly. Perform the check by disconnecting the ignition coils, removing all the spark plugs, placing a manual compression gauge in one of the spark plug holes and cranking the engine for several seconds. Your engine should have 140 to 160 pounds of cranking compression.

Reasons for Transmission Failure

Reasons for Transmission Failure

The transmission is one of the most important components of your vehicle. Both automatic and manual transmissions work by converting the power from your engine into the actual movement of your vehicle. If your vehicle begins to experience problems that you believe are related to the transmission, you should have it inspected by a certified mechanic immediately. Transmission problems can be expensive and time-consuming to repair, so it is best if they are caught early.

Insufficient Fluid

    Transmission fluid problems are one of the most common reasons a transmission will fail. Transmission fluid works as both coolant and lubricant for your car's transmission. When your vehicle runs low on transmission fluid or the fluid becomes too old to lubricate and cool your transmission properly, this can cause serious wear and tear on your transmission. In turn, the transmission will not shift properly, may overheat and, if left with inadequate fluid for any length of time, can fail completely.

Overheating

    Transmissions can overheat for a variety of reasons, including low fluid and towing too heavy of a load. Transmissions can burn up when they get too hot, which will lead to the transmission seizing up and requiring a complete replaced.

Driver Error

    Rough or aggressive driving, improper shifting, running a vehicle in drive when it needs to be in overdrive or otherwise abusing and improperly operating your vehicle will cause the transmission to wear out prematurely. Driver abuse and error are the most common reasons for transmissions to fail, especially manual transmissions that are frequently shifted into the wrong gear for the rate of speed. Consistently shifting a vehicle into reverse, while it is moving forward, will almost always lead to transmission failure.

Kamis, 19 November 2009

What Is the P0420 Code on the 1996 Saturn?

Modern cars have on-board diagnostic computers. These computers receive data from sensors around the engine and use it to diagnose any problems. A P0420 code is universal -- it's used by all car manufacturers from 1996 on -- and it relates to your Saturn's catalyst system.

Identification

    The technical description for the P0420 code is "Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)." The catalyst system is part of the exhaust system; specifically, it's the catalytic converter. This code suggests that the converter is not working properly.

Function

    The catalyst system reduces the pollution created by the exhaust system. Two sensors are installed on either side of the catalytic converter; one measures the levels of oxygen in the exhaust fumes before they've been treated, and the other measures the levels of oxygen after treatment. A normal car with a working converter will have changing amounts of oxygen in the untreated exhaust and a steady level of oxygen in the treated exhaust flow. A P0420 code is sent when the readings on both the upstream and downstream sensors are similar.

Causes

    The error code can be caused by various problems. Either one or both of the sensors may not be working correctly. A damaged or leaking manifold, catalytic converter or exhaust pipe can cause this issue. Using leaded fuel in an unleaded engine can cause problems with the sensor readings. This code can also be caused by a fault with the engine coolant temperature sensor or by retarded spark timing.

How to Troubleshoot a 2001 Honda Civic Automatic Transmission

How to Troubleshoot a 2001 Honda Civic Automatic Transmission

The Honda Civic is a popular Japanese car that offers the owner a minimum of problems with the proper care. However, sometime in the life of the vehicle it may need work on the transmission. This short guide will tell you how to troubleshoot a 2001 Honda Civic automatic transmission at home so that you can assess the problem yourself and be better able to decide what steps you need a mechanic to take from there. It should take you about a half hour to complete this task.

Instructions

    1

    Look for fluid leaks. A dark red fluid means the car is losing transmission fluid. The leak could be coming from the main seal or it could be escaping from the transmission housing. Look under your vehicle to find out which of these is not performing correctly.

    2

    Assess the transmission fluid for either a brown color or a smell like something is burning. If either of these is the case, the fluid has been burnt. This commonly happens because of low transmission fluid, but there could be other reasons for it.

    3

    Turn the car on and drive in 3rd or 4th gear to assess whether or not the transmission can downshift while the accelerator is pressed down to the floor. If it cannot, then the throttle valve cable may need to be adjusted.

    4

    Test whether or not the car will start in any gear besides neutral or park. If it will, you have a faulty safety start switch.

    5

    Assess whether or not there is slipping in the transmission, rough shifting or problems with having a lack of drive in the forward or the reverse gear. In this case, there may be low fluid levels. It could also mean that there is a gear failure inside the transmission. Solve this problem by keeping your transmission fluid properly leveled and maintained at all times.

Signs That Your Alternator Is Going Out

Signs That Your Alternator Is Going Out

The alternator keeps your car battery juiced and its electrical system flowing smoothly. Unlike the direct-current generators installed prior to the 1960s, belt-driven alternators work by converting your crankshaft's mechanical energy to alternating current, then back to direct current before the energy reaches your vehicle's electrical system. If your battery doesn't seem to be holding a charge, that's a red flag your alternator might need replacing.

The Voltmeter Test

    Voltmeters measure the direct current voltage across your battery's terminals. The red lead on the voltmeter clamps to the positive terminal. The black lead clamps to the ground terminal. Keeping everything but the engine off, rev your vehicle to a fast idle. If it reads less than 12 volts, your alternator likely needs replacing. If it reads higher, turn on your heater, radio and headlights. If it reads 14 volts, you're in good shape. If it reads less than 13 volts, your alternator might be going out.

Bearing with Noise

    Take some heater hose and hold it up to your ear while keeping the other end pointed toward the alternator. If you hear a loud grinding noise, your alternator's bearings might be going out. You can also take off the drive belt and operate the alternator pulley manually to check for a rumbling or grinding noise. If the belts are worn, they might contribute to the noise and need to be replaced along with the alternator.

The Field Voltage

    Alternators must receive field voltage to generate electricity. Check the F-labeled wire with your voltmeter. It should read 12 volts. Another way to check the field voltage is by magnetism. Use a piece of metal and hold it near the alternator's side, but do not touch it. You should feel a mild magnetic pull. If you do, the field voltage is there.

The "Idiot" Light

    The field voltage excites your alternator when you start your vehicle. It runs about 12 volts through an alternator bulb. Mechanics call this the "idiot" light. If it's burned out, your alternator isn't putting out the juice. Replace the bulb so you can accurately diagnose your alternator's output.

Rabu, 18 November 2009

What Causes Cars to Backfire?

What Causes Cars to Backfire?

Engine backfire is the result of incomplete combustion inside the combustion chamber. The excess air and fuel mixture can travel to the intake manifold or through the exhaust manifold and detonate prematurely, causing a backfire.



There are two types of engine backfires: an "after fire" (a detonation inside the exhaust manifold) and an actual "back fire" (the ignition of air and fuel inside the intake manifold and throttle body).

Improper Engine Timing

    Improper timing can result in both intake and exhaust backfires. A timing that is too advanced will detonate the spark plugs even before the intake valve gets a chance to fully close and seal the system. The partially burned gasses will travel back into the intake valve and through the intake manifold where an explosion or "back fire" occurs during the next combustion cycle. An engine that runs lean will produce an incomplete combustion -- the partially burned air and fuel mix will travel to the exhaust manifold and detonate upon the next combustion cycle.

Improper or Damaged Ignition Wiring

    The ignition system relies on well-maintained components to properly operate. Damaged ignition cables and worn-out distributor and rotor systems will all contribute to improper timing -- thereby contributing to engine backfires.

Low Fuel Pressure

    Dirty injectors or carburetors, worn out fuel filters, clogged fuel lines or a faulty fuel pump will all result in a loss of pressure in the fuel system. The engine needs to maintain a specific fuel pressure to properly inject or provide the right amount of fuel in the combustion process. Any or all of the above-mentioned factors will contribute engine backfires as a result of low fuel pressure.

Damaged Catalytic Converters

    A faulty, damaged or missing catalytic converter will also contribute to engine misfires. This is because the catalytic converter is an important part of the exhaust system and is monitored by the engine ECU. A damaged converter will result in miscalculated engine readings and cause the system to advance or retard the timing unnecessarily -- thereby causing an "after fire" or backfire at the exhaust.

How to Prevent and Eliminate Engine Backfires

    Preventive maintenance (as prescribed in your owner's manual) will help prevent engine backfires. Change the fuel filter in your car every year, or as indicated in the manual, to always maintain the right fuel pressure. Regular oil changes and tune-ups will also keep your engine in tip-top shape. Cars with an automatic ignition system will need the spark plugs replaced every 12 months or as prescribed in the owner's manual.

How to Use an Armature Tester

How to Use an Armature Tester

An armature is the element of an electric motor in which a current is induced by a magnetic field, and is usually constructed of a series of coils or groups of insulated conductors wrapped around an iron core. An armature tester is a device used to detect and pinpoint problems within the armature, most often shorts and open circuits. A basic armature tester uses two primary methods to locate the defects, allowing you to determine whether the component can be repaired or if it must be replaced.

Instructions

Growler Test

    1

    Place the armature on the jaws or V-block of the tester and turn the device on.

    2

    Hold a thin metal strip, such as a hacksaw blade, lengthwise over the core of the armature and rotate the armature slowly, making a complete revolution. If a short is detected, the metal strip will become magnetized and attracted to the slot where the short is located. The blade will vibrate, causing a growling noise.

    3

    Clean the slot between the two segments where the short was detected and repeat the test. If the metal strip continues to vibrate, the armature has an internal short and must be replaced.

Meter Test

    4

    Place the armature on the jaws or V-block of the tester and turn the device on.

    5

    Place the two red contact probes either on consecutive segments or every other segment of the armature as it remains stationary, holding them in place until you get a reading. Rotate the armature and repeat with each consecutive pair of segments until the highest reading is obtained. The reading will be the same for all good windings, and a low reading will indicate a short in that segment, with an open winding reading at zero.

    6

    Repeat Step 2 with the black test probes, placing one probe on the shaft of the armature and the other on one of the segments to check for grounding. If that segment is grounded, the indicator light will light up. If that segment is properly insulated, the light will not come on. Repeat with each consecutive segment.

    7

    Clean the armature with a stiff bristle brush if the indicator light is dim or flickers during the grounding test, which is a sign that dirt, metal or other debris is bridging the electrical points and ground. Repeat the test once the debris has been removed.

Selasa, 17 November 2009

How to Disable the ABS Light on a 2001 GMC Yukon

The 2001 GMC Yukon base model was a two-wheel drive SLE, equipped with a 4.8-liter 275-horsepower V-8. The 2001 GMC Yukon was equipped standard with anti-lock brakes or ABS. The ABS system is connected to the OBD-II diagnostic computer on the 2001 Yukon. The ABS codes can be retrieved in the same manner that OBD-II codes are retrieved. Proper repairs should be performed before deleting any ABS trouble codes.

Instructions

    1

    Open the driver's door on the Yukon. Insert the OBD-II scanner with ABS capability into the OBD-II plug port beneath the driver's side dashboard. Sit in the driver's side of the Yukon. Turn the ignition key to the "II" accessories position without starting the engine.

    2

    Select the type of test you wish to run on the main screen of your scanner. Use the arrow keys to select your answers, then the "OK" or "Read" key to accept your answer. The scanner with ask you if you wish to perform a scan on the ABS system. Use the arrow keys to highlight this test procedure, then press the correct button to accept your answer.

    3

    Use the data you collect from your OBD-II scanner to identify the problem with your ABS system. The ABS system trouble codes are easy to interpret and often give you the exact root of the problems. Make the proper repairs to the vehicle to disable the ABS light illumination.

    4

    Perform another scan using steps 1 and 2. If you have made proper repairs, the trouble codes can be cleared and the ABS light will be disabled. If you clear the codes without making repairs, the light will just come back on as soon as the ABS or wheel speed sensors are activated at the starting of the Yukon.

    5

    Choose "Erase Codes" from the main menu of the scanner. You will be prompted to select between OBD-II or ABS diagnostic trouble codes. Select the ABS lettering, and press the correct button to accept your answer. You may be prompted again with "Are you sure you want to erase the ABS codes?" Select the "Yes" answer and proceed to erase the codes with your scanner.

What Will Blocking the EGR Do?

What Will Blocking the EGR Do?

A vehicle's Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system reduces the amount of emissions released into the atmosphere. Blocking the EGR will result in an increase in emissions as well as problems with the engine and exhaust system.

Emissions

    The EGR system is designed to reduce emissions, specifically the creation of NOx. NOx is the combination of nitrogen and oxygen at high temperatures during combustion. A blocked EGR will result in an increase of NOx as well as hydrocarbon emissions that pollute the atmosphere and may cause an automobile to fail an emissions test.

Exhaust Damage

    The EGR system reduces emissions by preventing the combustion temperature in the engine from reaching 2800 degrees Fahrenheit, the point at which NOx is produced. When the EGR system malfunctions, the engine temperature will increase. This will not only increase emissions, but the hotter exhaust gases may also cause increased wear and possible failure of the exhaust system.

Gas Mileage

    A blocked EGR system can result in detonation, often referred to as spark knock. Detonation is caused when fuel is injected into the cylinder and is ignited by the heat in the cylinder and not the spark from the ignition system. This early burning of the fuel makes the engine run inefficiently, increasing fuel consumption and wear on the engine.

Senin, 16 November 2009

What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Distributor in a Car?

What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Distributor in a Car?

A bad distributor can wreak havoc on your engine. In order to fix your car's problem, you must first know how to troubleshoot in order to determine what exactly the problem is. A bad distributor will normally present a variety of symptoms, which can oftentimes be recognizable as distributor related. Knowing what to watch for in advance can save you time and unnecessary expense later.

Unexplainable Shaking

    A classic telltale sign that your distributor is going bad is unexplained shaking whenever the car is in ignition. This can range from a vibrating sensation to a more pronounced shaking that can be felt throughout the vehicle. This shaking can indicate that the distributor is not spinning properly and is therefore affecting the timing and firing process. With faulty distributor caps, this sort of shaking is often noticed when the car is sitting in idle, or when the car has come to a complete stop while running, such as while sitting at a red light or stop sign.

Difficulty in Starting

    Another classic symptom that may seem to indicate that your distributor is going bad is difficulty in starting the vehicle. This is commonly seen when the vehicle is being started in areas with low outdoor temperatures as a result of lack of protection. The burst of heat that occurs as a result of an engine running with the cold distributor cap, which is covered in plastic, is often cause for the distributor cap to break under stress from the heat, and is most commonly seen on cars that are kept outdoors or in unheated garages. To prevent it, check the distributor cap often for telltale signs of cracking, and try to keep the vehicle in a protected environment whenever possible during periods of colder weather.

High-Pitched Squealing

    Yet another indicator that your distributor is going bad is a high-pitched squealing noise that occurs when starting your vehicle. If everything else in your car seems to be working properly, stop the car and check under the distributor cap. Oftentimes, the distributor cap will become caked with pollutants and grease. These buildups can sometimes cause the distributor cap to make a squealing noise as the air circulates through the engine. If after cleaning the distributor cap the noise continues, a whole new distributor may be required. This is normally something that must be diagnosed by a trained mechanic who works with distributors on a regular basis.

Minggu, 15 November 2009

How to Check if a Car Compressor is Working

If your car's air conditioning/heating system does not seem to be working properly, there could be a few different reasons. Though air conditioning systems are not the most complex part of an automobile, they are not simple to diagnose and repair. You can check the car's compressor to see if it is working properly. However, you should have an experienced mechanic replace this part, as it involves working with high-pressure systems.

Instructions

    1

    Turn your car on and roll down the windows. Turn off the radio and air conditioning. Allow the car to run until it reaches its normal driving temperature then turn the climate control knobs on to "Cool." Listen for the compressor to kick on. If you do not hear it, turn the car off and open the hood. Let the engine cool.

    2

    Inspect the compressor's electrical wiring for disconnections, breaks or burn marks. If any electrical wires are unplugged, reconnect them. If you see breaks or burn marks in the wiring, disconnect the wires and take the compressor to a trained technician for repair. If no breaks or burn marks are present, open the fuse box on the driver's side. Read your owner's manual or the diagram on the fuse door to find the fuses corresponding to the air conditioner. Replace any blown fuses.

    3

    Attach a freon recharging kit to the air conditioning system. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for how to hook up the recharging kit to the car. Add UV dye to the recharging lines. Start your car and turn the air conditioner on its coolest setting. Once the UV dye has entered the air conditioning system, turn your car off and pull it into a garage.

    4

    Turn off the garage lights and block windows with cardboard to create a dark environment. Shine a black light under the hood and look for a green fluid glowing under the black light around the air compressor. If you see green fluid glowing, this means the compressor is leaking. Take the car to an experienced mechanic to have the compressor replaced.

GMC Trucks: How to Troubleshoot Starter Problems in a 5.7 Liter Motor

GMC Trucks: How to Troubleshoot Starter Problems in a 5.7 Liter Motor

When you attempt to start the engine in your 5.7-liter GMC but all you hear is a clicking sound or your engine turns over very slowly, you likely have an issue with the starter. However, first you need to rule out the components that send power to the truck then test the starter to ensure the motor has not burned up. If you do not eliminate the battery and the ignition first as potential culprits, you cannot definitively determine if the starter is bad.

Instructions

    1

    Remove the positive and negative battery cable connectors from the battery with a wrench and clean them with a mixture of baking soda and water. Remove all battery acid from the battery connectors then reconnect them securely. Try to start the GMC.

    2

    Connect jumper cables to your GMC's battery then connect the other ends of the jumper cables to the battery on a working vehicle. The ends of the cables are color-coded. The red cable goes to the positive battery connector, and the black cable goes to the negative battery connector. Turn on the working car and then attempt to turn on your GMC. If the vehicle starts, replace the defective battery.

    3

    Locate the two large metal posts on the back of the starter solenoid. The solenoid bolts onto the housing of the starter motor. Short out the two metal posts with a screwdriver by touching both posts together with the screwdriver's metal blade. Make sure you only touch the plastic handle to avoid getting shocked as sparking is common. Have a second person attempt to start the GMC. The motor in the starter housing should start up but not engage the engine. If it does start, the starter functions properly. Replace the starter solenoid. If it does not spin or it sounds very rough, replace the starter.

Sabtu, 14 November 2009

How to Detect Carbon Monoxide in Antifreeze

How to Detect Carbon Monoxide in Antifreeze

Carbon monoxide should never mix with the antifreeze in your coolant system, because the job of the head gasket is to keep the coolant system airtight. If you do have carbon monoxide in your antifreeze, the head gasket has failed. If you have some of the common symptoms of head gasket failure, such as an engine that overheats easily or white smoke pouring out of your exhaust, checking for carbon monoxide in your coolant system is a way to confirm the failure.

Instructions

    1

    Turn on the engine and drive the car for several minutes, just to get the engine temperature to its normal operating level. Park the car where you want to work on it and turn off the engine. Open the hood.

    2

    Use the towel to protect your hand as you take off the radiator cap. Put a funnel in the opening. Turn the engine on again and watch the coolant. It should bubble a little, but if you see many bubbles, air may be coming through the head gasket. This is a warning sign for the leaking of gases into the system.

    3

    Slide the testing tool into the funnel and push the bulb. This will send a chemical into the coolant system. If the chemical stays blue, you don't have any carbon monoxide. If it's green or yellow, carbon monoxide is in the antifreeze.

How to Troubleshoot the Stereo in a Pontiac

How to Troubleshoot the Stereo in a Pontiac

General Motors' Pontiac automobiles are supplied with stereos that can include full infotainment systems which can handle satellite radio, compact discs (CDs) and MP3 music player files. Problems with the stereo can include issues with operation of the equipment, and problems with audio output of the various sources. These kinds of problems can be corrected by following troubleshooting steps.

Instructions

    1

    Press the "Band" button to choose between FM, AM and XM Satellite radio. If you choose "XM" as a band, be aware that you need to purchase a subscription by contacting Sirius/XM. Choose the "Activate Radio" button on the XM Radio website, and follow their instructions.

    2

    Close the sunroof if the XM band still doesn't play properly, or "No Signal" appears on the display. The satellite antenna is different from the AM/FM fixed antenna, and also behaves differently. It needs a clear view of the sky, for example. The open sunroof can affect performance. Alternatively, use the FM and AM bands, and their fixed-mast terrestrial antenna.

    3

    Plug auxiliary MP3 devices into the 3.5 mm jack on the lower right side of the faceplate, not a headphone. The jack looks the same as a headphone jack, but is an input jack rather than an output jack. Press the "CD/AUX" button to hear audio being outputted from the device that you plugged in if you can't hear anything.

    4

    Insert compatible CD's into the CD player if the MP3 files on the CD's won't play. Compatible discs must be CD-R and have a maximum of 50 folders with 11 folders in depth. There can be a maximum of 50 playlists, 10 sessions and 255 files on the Pontiac's stereo.

My 1989 E350 Won't Start

My 1989 E350 Won't Start

The 1989 Ford E-350 uses a 12-volt battery to start the engine. If you are having problems with your 1989 E-350, you probably have a dead or low charged battery. Jump starting or changing this battery is the best way to get your E-350 started. If you can't jump start your E-350, you may have low fuel.

Instructions

    1

    Check the fuel gauge on your E-350 to make sure that you have enough gas to start the vehicle. Add gas if needed.

    2

    Open the hood of the E-350 and connect the jumper cables to the positive and negative leads on the battery terminals.

    3

    Connect the other leads of the jumper cables to the battery on a different car.

    4

    Turn the car on and then turn on your E-350. Leave the E-350 running for a little while to charge the battery.

    5

    Turn the E-350 off and then try to turn it back on. If the E-350 does not turn on, replace the battery with a new one.

How to Troubleshoot a 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt

The base trim of the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt includes a four cylinder 2.2-liter engine. Air-conditioning, an adjustable steering wheel, cloth seats, a trunk light and front door pockets are among the features found in this model. It can be difficult to know what needs to be fixed or replaced on the Chevrolet Cobalt because it is built with a complex array of parts. Two ways to troubleshoot the Cobalt are to examine manufacturer recalls and general troubleshooting tips.

Instructions

    1

    Inspect the electric power steering motor on your Cobalt if the steering wheel of the car is difficult or impossible to turn at low speeds. The power steering motor installed on your Cobalt may be one of more than one million faulty units previously recalled by GM that still must be replaced. This part is covered by GM; contact your Chevrolet dealership for recall guidance.

    2

    Examine the headlamp assemblies of your Cobalt when the front of the vehicle is difficult to see at night from a side view. The headlamp assemblies may fail to conform to the United States Department of Transportation's federal motor vehicle safety standards because the reflective bulb shield has become loose or broken due to vibrations while the car is in use. Replace both headlamp assemblies with new units.

    3

    Find the universal joint at the rear of the vehicle when you hear a clunking noise as you shift the transmission's gears. The universal joint may have become worn, damaged or loose, requiring repair or replacement.

    4

    Check the discs and drums of your brakes if you hear a tapping noise while you press on the brake pedal of the Cobalt. The discs or drums could be worn, loose, broken or damaged. Examine the brake backing plate to see if it has become broken, damaged or worn and check the brake rotors to ensure that they are not warped or have an uneven surface. Check the brake rotors and drums to see if they are simply out of adjustment.

    5

    Locate the engine temperature sensor if your Cobalt's instrument panel gauges are not functioning properly while the engine is running. The sensor may be faulty and need to be replaced. Examine the electrical system of the Cobalt to ensure that you don't have a short.

How to Troubleshoot a Grinding Noise in a 2004 Ford Truck

How to Troubleshoot a Grinding Noise in a 2004 Ford Truck

You can take your vehicle to a trained mechanic to have a grinding noise diagnosed, but this will cost you money. Or you can attempt to diagnose the problem yourself right from your home garage without using any special tools. Generally speaking, any grinding noise will be caused by problems with your brakes, wheel bearings, water pumps, alternators and/or power steering pumps.Follow the steps in this article and you will be able to figure out the grinding noise yourself without the assistance of a mechanic.

Instructions

    1

    Turn on your car. Notice when the grinding noise starts, and if it starts upon ignition, open your hood. However, if the grinding noise doesn't start immediately, move to the third step.

    2

    Pop your hood. If you don't know what your alternator, water pump and power steering pump look like, check your owner's manual. Using a hose, put one end to your ear and move it from your alternator, water pump and power steering pump to see if you can determine where the noise is coming from. If one of these three is causing the noise, it will likely need repair or possibly even replacement.

    3

    Drive your car. Make sure to listen carefully when you tap the brakes. If the grinding occurs during light braking and increases when you brake harder, it's possible that you have worn brake pads. You'll be able to tell this yourself by looking at your brake pads. Check your owner's manual again if you need help locating your brake pads. Check to see how much thickness remains. Anything less than inch indicates that you need to replace them.

    4

    Keep driving to see if the noise isn't caused by braking. Turn right and then left. If you only hear the noise when turning in specific direction, it's likely that the problem is a wheel bearing. If turning one way quiets the noise while turning another way makes it louder, it's almost certainly a wheel-bearing issue. You need to see a mechanic immediately as this poses a very serious hazard to your safety.

    5

    Take your car to a mechanic immediately if you do not have the know-how to repair the car on your own. Similarly, if you cannot diagnose the problem on your own, see your mechanic. They should apply your diagnostic fee to your repair for you. If they won't, look for a mechanic who will in order to get the best deal.

Jumat, 13 November 2009

Why a 2006 Jeep Cherokee Laredo Won't Start

Why a 2006 Jeep Cherokee Laredo Won't Start

Determining the reason why a 2006 Jeep Cherokee Laredo will not start begins with a thorough diagnostic check and inspection of the vehicle. Some of the issues that may cause your Jeep not to start could include problems with the battery, battery cables, starter or fuel system. Additionally, a failure in the engine control system could prevent the ignition from producing a spark.

Defective Battery

    You Jeep's charging system is first place to begin searching for the reason behind a no-start condition. Using a digital voltmeter, check to see if the battery voltage is at least 12.6 volts. If the battery voltage is less than this, it will have insufficient power to crank the engine. Also, a weak battery not have enough voltage available for the ignition system to produce a spark to ignite the air/fuel mixture and start the engine. Remember to inspect battery cables for defects or corrosion that could undermine the battery's connection.

Defective Starting System

    Clicking sounds when you turn the ignition switch to the start position may be the result of a defective starter solenoid. A defective starter may make a grinding sound, or may make no sound at all, because the motor windings are shorted out and not allowing the starter to turn. If you still have not found the problem, ensure the neutral safety switch is not misaligned, as the neutral safety switches used by Jeep's AW4 automatic transmission must be aligned properly for the engine to start.

Defective Fuel System

    There are many fuel system issues that could keep your Jeep from starting. The first item to look at is the fuel pump relay, which can short out and disable the fuel pump. Clogged fuel filters and defective fuel pressure regulators can also reduce, or completely stop, fuel flow. Many fuel pump problems begin when the check valve fails, allowing the fuel lines to empty back into the tank instead of flowing to the fuel injectors, making it difficult to start your Jeep. In most cases, there is little advance indication a fuel pump is about to fail.

Defective Control Module

    If there are no defects in your fuel delivery system, the next place to look is the ignition system. Each spark plug on the 2006 Jeep Cherokee Laredo has its own ignition coil. If only one coil is bad, the engine may start, but will run roughly. If the Powertrain Control Module is defective and not sending a signal to the coils, the engine will not start. The PCM, like most electronic components, can develop a short and fail completely without warning. If the PCM does not appear to be damaged, there may be a problem within the wiring system or connectors.

Engine Timing

    The 2006 Jeep Cherokee Laredo engines include a 3.7 liter V6, 4.7 liter V8 and a 5.7 liter V8. Each engine has a timing chain system that controls engine timing. The timing chains and associated parts become worn over time and allow the engine to get slip out of "time." If your engine is out of time, the spark plugs will not fire at the correct time to ignite the air/fuel mixture. Additionally, the Crank Position Sensor, which detects the position of the crankshaft as it rotates, is can fail and cause a no-start condition.

How to Check for Bad Lifters

How to Check for Bad Lifters

Valve lifters come in two types: adjustable and hydraulic. Both types of lifters provide the opening and closing of the exhaust and intake valves by contact with the camshaft. Hydraulic lifters use oil in their body housings to maintain a certain pressurized height, which determines the opening length of the valves. The adjustable valve lifter can be adjusted to determine the height of the valve opening. Both types of lifters need proper oil pressure and lubrication to work correctly. The vehicle owner can check his lifter operation using some basic tools.

Instructions

    1

    Place the vehicle in park or neutral, depending upon your transmission type. Apply the emergency brake. Start the engine and let it warm up to normal operating temperature. Look at the dashboard for any red "Check Engine," or "Oil" light. If you have an original equipment oil pressure gauge, note the reading in psi (pounds per square inch). A warning light will be your first indication that you might have low oil pressure affecting your lifters.

    2

    Note the reading on the oil pressure gauge, if so equipped. Refer to your owner's manual for the proper oil pressure reading you should have. For instance, if you have a recommended oil pressure of 40 psi, and your gauge reads 20 psi or lower, this could be the first indication that clogged passages exist somewhere in the upper valve train, which would effect lifter performance.

    3

    Listen for any "clicking" or "clacking" noises coming from the top of the engine, particularly near the valve covers, or just under the intake manifold plenum cover. To better hear the noises, place a stethoscope over the valve covers or plenum and move it from the front of the engine toward the back, listening every 6 inches or so. Any obvious clicking or clacking noise will indicate a maladjusted lifter or a worn hydraulic lifter. Too much air in a collapsed hydraulic lifter will also produce these sounds.

    4

    Shut the engine off, if you have found lifter noise. Raise the hood and pull the oil dipstick out of the tube. Wipe it with a rag and reinsert it. Pull it out and check the oil level. If the oil level reads below the minimum level line, or does not show at all, the lifter noise might result from lack of lubrication. Examine the oil for discoloration. Foamy, white, gray or tan oil will indicate oil contamination, or oil that has lost its viscosity and lubricating qualities.

    5

    Disconnect the negative battery cable with a socket. Follow your vehicle repair manual's instruction for removing the valve covers from the engine. Use a socket and wrench to remove the valve cover bolts and lift the valve covers off. If you have a four- or six-cylinder engine with a top engine case, use sockets, screwdrivers and fuel line wrenches to remove the needed components, including the fuel line, vacuum hoses, throttle linkage, sensor wires and any other components that impede the removal of the single cover or valve covers.

    6

    Connect the negative battery cable with a socket and wrench. Start the engine, but do not rev it. Let it idle. Make sure all tappets, push rods and valve springs move up and down. If you have solid lifters in your engine, consult your repair manual for the valve lash gap, expressed in thousands of an inch. Remember the lash setting for the intake and exhaust separately. Select a feeler gauge for the proper setting for the exhaust valve at the front of the engine.

    7

    Stick the feeler gauge into the space between the valve stem top and the rocker arm tappet. You should feel a slight drag when pulling the gauge back and forth. If the tappet is noisy, loosen the lock nut on the top of the tappet with an end wrench.

    8

    Use a screwdriver and adjust the set screw clockwise to tighten the adjustment -- make sure the gap conforms to the proper feeler gauge setting according to your manual. Hold the set screw and tighten the tappet lock nut. Adjust each of the valves this way.

    9

    Loosen the tappet lock nut with an end wrench, if you have hydraulic lifters. Use a screwdriver to loosen the set screw counterclockwise until the tappet begins to clack. Turn the set screw clockwise three-quarters of a turn and tighten the lock nut with an end wrench. You will not need to use a feeler gauge with this method.

    10

    Watch for any tappet that remains clacking after you adjust a hydraulic valve this way. If any tappet produces noise, even after you exceed three-quarters of a turn in (clockwise), it will indicate a collapsed or excessively worn lifter. Those lifters must be replaced.

Kamis, 12 November 2009

How to Determine If You Need Shocks

How to Determine If You Need Shocks

Shocks were originally designed to decrease the pressure on leaf and coil springs, as a vehicle drives down the road. The first shocks were simple in structure and adjustable to the tension settings of the driver' s desire. Shock absorbers are designed to stabilize a vehicle for better turning, stopping and road handling. Good shocks will allow a vehicle to handle the road much better, and bad shocks will reduce the wheel's contact with the road, causing hazardous driving situations.

Instructions

    1

    Visually inspect the shocks on your vehicle by lying near the bumper and looking underneath the vehicle. If the shocks are wet or appear to have fluid on them, then the vital fluids in the shock are probably leaking out. Shocks can also rust or corrode to the point where they become useless. Inspect the shocks visually to see if there is a presence of excess rust or corrosion.

    2

    Perform a "bounce test" on your vehicle by pushing down on the bumper, on one corner of your vehicle. If the vehicle bounces directly back into position, or only bounces one time, then your shocks are still good. If the vehicle bounces more than one time or continues to bounce, then the shock is bad.

    3

    Repeat Step 2 on the second corner of your vehicle to test the other shock. Most vehicles have struts on the front of them, rather than shocks. Trucks are the exception to this rule. Struts can be checked in the same manner as shocks.

Problems With Subaru Speedometers

Problems With Subaru Speedometers

Some older-model Subarus, particularly 1999 models, were manufactured with faulty parts that lead to frequent speedometer failure. A vehicle's speedometer not only provides the driver with speed information, but also provides speed-related information to computers within the car that manage safety, efficiency, and convenience systems like power braking, fuel injection, cruise control, and more. Depending on the source of speedometer issues, either the speedometer alone or the speedometer and other systems together will malfunction.

Speed Sensor Failure

    The vehicle speed sensor is an instrument that records the timing and amount of the vehicle's wheels. The vehicle's computerized systems use the data to calculate speed and distance traveled. Most Subaru vehicles have multiple speed sensors. If one or more of the vehicle's speed sensors fail, the speedometer will typically show inaccurate speeds.

    In addition to providing data for the speedometer, the vehicle speed sensors supply data which may also be used by systems such as the automatic transmission, cruise control, anti-lock brakes, power steering, and other systems.

    The speed sensors can be replaced individually, or all at once.

Speedometer Head Failure

    Failure of the speedometer head is a relatively frequent problem with some models and model years. 1999 vehicles seem particularly prone to speedometer head failure. If the speedometer head fails, the speedometer will not show an accurate speed, the speed shown will jump around, or the speedometer will work only intermittently. The common solution to speedometer head failure is replacement of the speedometer head.

Loose Connections

    If the vehicle speed sensors and speedometer head all work individually, speedometer problems may lie with the cables that connect the separate pieces. Tracing the cables that connect to the speedometer and checking the tightness of all connections may help locate the source of failure.

Rabu, 11 November 2009

Alternator Output at Idle Speed

Alternator Output at Idle Speed

A failing alternator will cause many problems for a vehicle and will eventually result in the engine stalling or being unable to start. Testing the voltage output of the alternator is one way to detect problems with the alternator.

Idle Voltage

    While the engine is idling and all electrical accessories are turned off, a properly operating alternator should produce between 13.5 and 15 volts of power. A voltage output of less than 13.5 volts may indicate a defective alternator. However, problems with the drive belt or wiring may cause reduced output as well.

Belt Inspection

    The alternator drive belt should be soft and pliable to properly grip the alternator pulley. Drive belts that are hard, cracking, or show uneven wear will need replacement, and you will need to recheck the alternator voltage. The drive belt also needs to have the proper amount of tension to operate the alternator.

Wiring Inspection

    Problems with the alternator or battery wiring may cause a discharge that lowers the measured voltage output. Inspect wiring for looseness or damage. Battery gases often cause corrosion to the battery terminals and cables. Clean off corrosion and replace damaged cables. Recheck the alternator output after any repairs have been made.

Senin, 09 November 2009

How do I Check the Fuel Pump of a 1995 2.2 Camry?

The 1995 Toyota Camry LE coupe came equipped with a 3.0 liter six cylinder engine. It also came included with several standard features including power brakes, cruise control, power steering, tinted glass and power windows. The Camry also came with a fuel pump located inside the fuel tank of the vehicle. The pump sends gasoline from the tank to the engine of the car, and will need to be replaced from time to time. Because the pump is difficult to access it is important to properly troubleshoot it first before you attempt to make any repairs.

Instructions

    1

    Check to see if the fuel pump is sending gasoline from the fuel tank to the engine as soon as the car battery is turned on. Turn the ignition key to the first setting so that the battery is on and the engine is off. You should be able to hear the pump working if it is functioning properly. Be sure to do this test in a quiet place so you can hear the pump. You may need to enlist the help of another individual if you are in a noisy environment or are not sure what you hear.

    2

    Notice whether the engine of your Camry shows signs that the fuel pump is not functioning as it should. Two key signs that the pump has failed are the engine stalling when the accelerator pedal is pressed while you are driving and the engine not starting at all.

    3

    Look at what the fuel pressure of the engine is to see if it is too low. Connect the fuel pressure gauge to the Schrader valve of the engine. The Schrader valve resembles the air nozzle on a bicycle tire. Once the gauge is attached turn the engine on and let it idle. Read the fuel pressure level on the gauge and see if the pressure is too low. If you are unsure what the proper fuel pressure level is contact your local Toyota dealership to find out or speak with a mechanic that is familiar with Toyota Camry vehicles.

    4

    Determine if the fuel pressure regulator is working like it should. If the fuel pressure is low the regulator could be the problem instead of the fuel pump. Leave the fuel pressure gauge connected to the Schrader valve and run the engine at idle. Use pliers to squeeze the fuel line running to the fuel pressure regulator. Watch the pressure gauge as you squeeze. If the fuel pressure increases while you squeeze the regulator needs to be changed instead of the fuel pump.