Archive for the ‘cars’ Category

1994 Chevrolet hesitation problem

July 21, 2012

These cars seem especially problematic. There is a rubber vacuüm block at the top of the throttle valve assembly. You will have to find a replacement at a junk yard (good luck). There are a lot of work-a-rounds for the vacuüm block but none seem to work – apparently the rubber block leaks just the right amount. Remove the cover this thing plugs into and clean the area and any rubber or residual stuff. Use some of the gooey black high temp gasket in a tube but don’t foul any of the holes. While you are at the junk yard find a set of the plastic lines that go with the rubber block – preferably all together in good condition. you can replace short bits of it with gel vac tubes -NOT RUBBER LINES (they leak too much) but in general you can’t replace all of it with anything but the hard formed GM lines. check each line segment with a vac pump kit to make sure they are not cracked and the seals do not leak. Also check the vac canister in front of the driver side front wheel. If this does not solve the problem, check the TPS and the MAP sensor to make sure their voltages is within tolerances – need needle probe to do this: check hot side, ground side, and signal on both – google for specs. Remove the PCM and clean the terminals and plugs. there are some expensive sprays at radar shack for doing this. WD40 is not a cleaner but might help with prevention later. Also check the codes, jumper method if nothing else. Sometimes these give an indication of the real problem, at least which part of the wiring has issues. Parts are expensive so test in place before replacing much of anything except the rubber block and vac lines. If you plan to keep the car, get to the junk yard and find a couple of these assemblies in decent shape, or plan to junk the car. They are no longer available, no replacement seems to work, and the TPS / MAP sensor combo are incredibly sensitive in this vehicle.

The Pedal Problem

February 4, 2010

Finally Toyota has met the American vehicle consumer at the gas pedal. It is about time. There are other problems waiting, but for now they continue to wait: Brakes on the hybrid, roof collapse on vans, unexpected transmission failures. Want more? Ask Mr. Google – but beware Mr. Google is slow about divulging this stuff, Some of us would like to know why.

In all fairness, Toyota’s problem is advertising. If the product were in the same quality metric as the advertising, they would have fixed this years ago. Problem is the product quality is probably not all that much greater than anyone else’s. If not then why do dealers have service departments, and why are there so many of those independent brand mechanics around? Somewhere there must be something to fix, or a lot of brand and dealer service mechanics would be kinda hungry. What Toyota unequivocally has is quality of advertising. The problem here is not gas pedals sticking, because that can happen to any car. The problem is the quality of the cars significantly lagged the quality of the advertising. So perhaps the quality was always in the advertising. If so just deserts are now being served. It is about time.

One other question. In the cars that have so catastrophically failed did the transmission also lock in gear such that drivers could not shift to neutral during the acceleration event? I wonder about that, because I would expect an officer of the highway patrol to instinctively know to shift to neutral. For some reason it seems that did not happen in the car he was in. Someone needs to discover that, because if that turns out to be the problem, the secretary of transportation was right the first time.

Auto Company and DOW issues

February 17, 2009

This morning the DOW dropped to within a few points of its 20 NOV 2009 low. I have been waiting for this. Looking at the graphics since 1970, I see a pattern – I think, where markets find a floor value by probing downward a couple times then advancing up from there. Today’s session low so far is seven points above the close of 7552 on 20 Nov 2008. Could be it is up from here – but maybe not. It will take a few days, for things to really sort themselves out. For the past couple of months the markets have largely been running on empty, hoping for a charging station in the neighborhood. The government has attempted a few things, but before 20 Jan 2009, those efforts were perhaps aimed more at saving the assets of certain big time republican investors, than at actually stopping an economic collapse. Well what else did they do, exactly with the 300 billion – seeing how now it seems to be largely unaccounted for?

In other news the big auto companies, one fresh off the Mercedes divorce, the other still trying to figure out how to get American teens to buy it’s cars again, after snookering their parents in the 1970’s.  GM might have to give all those snookered parents ten times their money back, plus a car that works reliably for several years to get beyond that one. A good start would be to scrap your dealer nets, and sell the cars directly to your customers. Many of the dealers are such scumbags no one ever wants to even talk to them – about anything, including buying your cars, and especially not about repairing them. To fix this train wreck, I suggest you sell the cars direct, give them a full 100K warranty and establish drive thru repair shops similar to the lube shops we find most everywhere, so they can be conveniently serviced and repaired as needed by people who actually know what they are doing. GM if you actually do this you will need to build cars that can actually be repaired easily – which will mean it is easier and faster for me to drive through your shop to have an O2 sensor replaced, than it is to diagnose and fix the problem myself. You will also either need to can the diagnostic fee garbage or seriously slash the cost of parts and labor. Most of us who do our own auto repairs know how much the diagnostic machines actually cost. We also know if you think about it for a bit you can isolate a failure close enough to pinpoint it with the cheapish diagnostic tool – not those mega-billion dollar boxes your dealers have. Ford you have the same problem. My son has a Torus which recently had a spark plug wire problem. The Ford dealer charged him close enough to a hundred bucks to diagnose the problem – which any mechanic can do with a cheap timing light in say two minutes. The final bill from this dealer was over $300 USD to replace ONE spark plug wire. And Ford wants him to buy another American car – like maybe one of theirs – say a FORD – so they can charge him $1800 to replace the plug wires one at a time, starting at maybe 60,000 miles. Ford, you need to have your guys talk to the GM guys about this kind of nonsense and what it does to market share thirty years later.