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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

How To Deal With Frequent Engine oil Changes?


Q: Own few different vehicles and these are its oil details.
My oil of choice is Quaker State with AC/Delco filters. I drive one of our cars eighty miles per day and change both the filter and oil at 3000 miles, 1.5 months. The other is around town and it gets changed at 3000 miles, the 3-month mark. The last one is a ‘72 Corvette, engine overhauled just before I purchased the car 5 years ago. This one I change the oil and filter when it's placed in winter storage. The Corvette is driven anywhere from 1.5k to 2k miles per summer. The oil is changed once per year. How should the classic car owner handle oil changes? I've never used full synthetic oil in any of my cars and would like to know your thoughts about this issue, pros and cons. In what conditions would you recommend the use of full synthetic oils. Should you upgrade to high efficient filters when using the synthetics?

A: At our Auto garage we make the use of synthetic engine oils and as a mechanic i myself also use them in my owned vehicles. But with that said, what you have been using (regular engine oil) is a cost effective and has been proven over the long haul. There are many vehicles on the road with over 200k miles that have used regular engine oil. I feel that the maintenance choice that you have made on your primary vehicles is sound. About the only thing I would do different with the Corvette is change the oil a minimum of 2 times a year. Why? The inside of the engine, even when the vehicle is not being driven, is a chemical lab at work. The oil that is in the engine is being assaulted in a variety of ways that causes the additive packages to break down and reduce the protection.

As per my auto garage repair experience i suggest, when you first bring your Corvette out for summer fun give it a good drive and really warm the engine up. Then shut the engine down and drain the oil immediately. Running the engine causes the oil to pick-up contaminants that have formed over the winter and suspend them in the oil. Draining the oil while it is hot proves to be more effective at removing these contaminants. Then install fresh oil and a new filter for the summer.

Electro chemical Degradation Causes Cooling System Failure

Cooling System Failure on  Chevy Vehicle

 Q: Mechanic said  electrochemical degradation causing cooling system failure. It seems to be a hidden problem with some vehicles which causes radiator failure. I read a car-care article describing how to check for stray voltage using a DVM. So I took some measurements. I put the negative probe on the engine ground and positive in the coolant of the surge tank of my 2005 Chevy Equinox. I measured +200mVDC with the engine off and about +240mVDC with it running. The engine was only cool to warm when I did this cautiously. Is this too high of a voltage? Will this cause problems with my cooling system in the future? What can I do if it is a problem?

A: First Off all i will say, Electrochemical degradation of the cooling system is a problem in today’s vehicles; this chemical reaction is called electrolysis.

What is Electrolysis the details are a follows:---

Electrolysis involves an ion exchange between the coolant and the components that the coolant contacts, which eats away at the heater core, radiator and engine material. The most common cause for this condition is due to coolant acidity. Also bad electrical grounds on the engine or body of the vehicle can create this erosive condition.

I suggest yo to properly test.
To correctly check for the potential of electrolysis the engine has to be running, at about 2000 RPM, at operating temperature with the coolant flowing or the readings will not be correct. Place the negative probe of the voltmeter on the negative battery post and place the positive probe in the coolant.

Make sure that the positive probe is only touching the coolant. If the voltmeter displays 400mv (.4v) DC or greater then the cooling system needs to be flushed. After flushing the system be sure to check the coolant again. It is not uncommon to have to flush the coolant more than once to sufficiently cleanse the system. If an elevated voltage is still present then the electrical system of the vehicle has to be checked for ground integrity. I’ve even seen the need for additional grounding straps to get an electrically challenged vehicle back in line.

Consequences of using wrong fuel

Wrong Gas fill up in Car

Q: What are the consequences when you inadvertently pumped diesel fuel into an automobile gasoline tank. I have been told this happens frequently.Any quick fix when these occurs?

A: The biggest problem I’ve seen is a headache. Why a headache? Because the driver of the vehicle doesn't happen to mention as I am going bats trying to diagnose a starting and rough running problem that they PUT THE WRONG FUEL IN!! Oh, "I didn’t think I put that much in so I didn’t think is was worth mentioning". In our region even the diesel fuel pumps have the same size nozzles as the unleaded fuel pumps.

But in real,yes this does happen. When it does happen, the best and quickest fix is to drain the gas tank. It doesn't take much diesel fuel to really screw up today’s computerized vehicle’s. Not saying anything is just going to cost you labor$ until you tell the whole true.

Vehicle Computer Module Reset

How to Reset ECM/ECU

Car Computer Reset Or Car Computer Software Reset

Q: Options for dumping the computer by taking the negative terminal off and touching it to the positive for 20 seconds to clear the computer of any stored codes. If so, will a vehicle that’s equipped with air bags, possibly deploy the air bag?

A: Actually it’s a common practice to disconnect both battery terminals and not only hold them together but to connect them for the duration of the service being performed. For example when servicing the air bags some vehicles require the battery cables being joined for 15 minutes to a half hour before performing service or repairs that involve the air bag system. It is not uncommon for today’s vehicles to have several computers on-board. Inside the computers there are capacitors that will hold/store electrical energy. Connecting the battery cables provides a means of dissipating this stored energy without causing any harm. In most cases (not all vehicles) the software to operate the systems is not volatile and will be safely retained in the computer/s. If you have an anti-theft radio be sure you have the radio code so it can be reactivated.

What is Maintenance Free Car Batteries

Details regarding car battery 

Q: Do today's car batteries need distilled water added periodically or are they truly "maintenance free"? Thanks.

A: There are many good brand auto batteries available in market. Car batteries  from Walmart stores are preferred most.Also you can get batteries from Autozone service centers.
Not all of today's batteries are truly "Maintenance Free", although you will find the term applied to almost every battery sold. A large portion of batteries still provide a point to inspect and, if necessary, add water to the battery cells. "Maintenance Free" means you don't have to worry about it until it breaks.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Adding Fuel Additive to Fuel System


Can Fuel Additive Kill a Fuel System? Yes OR No?

Q: Actually I added some STP "Jet Fuel" fuel additive to my vehicles fuel system. And since after that my fuel pump goes out. Is this a problem with the additive or a coincidence?  PleaseHelp!!!!!!!!!!!!

A: Its not good to be applying mechanic tricks without mechanical knowledge.
Why did you add the fuel treatment? Did you feel that your vehicle wasn't running right? I often find that customers, who normally do not use fuel additives, will suddenly change their habits when their vehicle doesn't seem to be running right. More often than not, this is a reaction to a problem that is surfacing with a vehicle, but has not fully manifested itself. Fuel additives such as STP’s Jet Fuel as with other such additives are meant to be used as maintenance products. These additives are not meant to repair a part that is failing. Their job is to help clean and maintain engine performance. There is no doubt in my mind that your vehicle’s fuel pump was failing. It is just a coincidence and nothing more.

Buick Alternator Makes Taping Noise

Noisy Alternator

Buick LeSabre, Failing Alternators 

Q: My Buick LeSabre is making a loud tapping noise. As per noise it appears to be coming from the alternator. The alternator has been replaced twice since 1997. Could it be the alternator again? Or its something else?

A: It can be again alternator.But to confirm the problem,you have to first check it.Try these simple test.
Remove the serpentine belt and spin the alternator by hand to check for bearing problems, etc. If the alternator is the cause then it will have to be replaced again. Be sure to check the mounting bolts and brackets for looseness or wear that would cause mounting strain on the alternator. Also be sure that the automatic belt tensioner is not binding. A failing tensioner can raise havoc with belt driven accessories.

When Exactly to Replace Brake Fluid

Whats the Correct Time For Brake Fluid change Or Brake Fluid Flush

Time For Brake Fluid Service

Q: My Local car garage owner said that very 30k miles, one should drain the brake fluid and flush and replace it with new fluid. What’s your opinion? Is he right or should i wait?

A: To understand when to replace brake fluid, i suggest you to first read and understand the brake fluid theory.
The details are as follows:-----

Brake fluid is a hygroscopic fluid, which means it is designed to absorb moisture, yes water. Why would you want brake fluid to absorb moisture? A vehicle that is in motion has energy. To stop that vehicle you have to remove that energy. To do that the energy is converted to heat. I know it seems odd and you may think that the exhaust fumes have gotten to me. I won’t argue that. But it is true that it is the creation of heat that stops your vehicle. When you step on your brakes two pieces rub together. The friction of this makes heat and lots of it. Brakes will easily get hotter than 212 degrees. Guess what would happen if water wasn’t absorbed by brake fluid? It would collect and when you really needed to stop? The water would boil, change to a gas/air. Your vehicle wasn’t designed to stop with air brakes. So to convert that energy you’d have to hit something! Not a good idea. Brake fluid service/flush is a needed service.

Some manufacturers list brake fluid flushes as scheduled maintenance, others do not. How does one know if their vehicle’s brake fluid needs service? There are electronic testers and test strips that can measure the moisture content in brake fluid. Regular service of the brake fluid will prolong brake component life and allow anti-lock brake systems to function correctly.

Air Conditioner Problems

Car Ac not working

Q: I turned my A/C on for the first time this year and found that it didn’t work. My local mechanic suggested air conditioner repair or recharge air conditioner.So i took it to the professional car Air Conditioner repair shop. Thinking it was just low in a refrigerant charge. The mechanic recharged the system and charged me $65, which I thought was high for the new refrigerant. After all you can buy the stuff in a do it yourself kit at BJ’s for $30. Less than 2 days later I turned my A/C on and guess what? It didn’t work! I went back to the garage and told them that the A/C had quit and wanted to know what kind of warranty they provide? The mechanic said that there was none. After Basic air conditioner troubleshooting, he said it can be air conditioner compressor issue.But to properly confirm the problem it will take some time.It can also be the    leak in system and that would require diagnosis to determine where the leak was and what parts would be needed. To add to the insult he said that he may have to recharge the system to find the leak! All for which I’ll have to pay for!! I’m considering taking that grease monkey to small claims court!! But for now I want my A/C working. How does one find a leak and repair it ? It can’t be that hard.

A: One moment please while this monkey wipes the grease off his hands. Ahh, that’s better. Now my club paws won’t hit too many keys as I pound away. I won’t bore you with the little details like required licensing and equipment that a shop must have to perform any type of A/C work. If the EPA’s Ice Dogs happen to stop by a shop that is missing a step in the rules, the tech can be fined enough to buy a real nice boat, one with a real motor. The shop owner can be fined enough to buy a house. Of course, fines do not include lawyer fees. What’s ironic about the rules is any consumer can walk into a BJ’s, Walmart or whatever and buy a kit to recharge their A/C system. I thought for a moment I’d share some diagnostic tips with you, but what if you cut yourself following my advice? Would I too be responsible! Depending on the area you live in $60 for a snow and go (short for refill the system and send them on their way) is not a high price. You did not pay for any diagnosis, you paid for a recharge. If the A/C system stopped working after a couple of days then there’s a leak. The first step in correcting the problem is in diagnosing and locating the leak. Once the leak is located the failed component can be replaced. There is a whole array of diagnostic equipment on the market, some of which starts just under $500. That equipment comes with directions (you know the white stuff with black squiggles on it). You seem to be a bright person, I’m sure with some practice you’ll be an A/C pro in no time at all! Just think of the money you’ll save!

Auto Repair Laws And Safety Rules

Auto Laws & Repairs

Q: What are auto laws about repairs done by an auto repair shop and what about repairs that were not done right? What about ones you didn't give them permission to do?
Is there any kind of booklet or manual to know about this and whats your view on this?

A: About anyone can guess why you might be asking such questions.
These few things should be ready with you:-----

  • The first thing I would suggest to you is to organize your concerns on paper. 
  • You need to have your facts in order with documentation. 
  • Once you've done this, contact the repair facility and speak with the owner. 
  • Review these concerns and ask if he or she would be willing to address these issues/concerns and come to an agreement. 
Many times there is a loss of communication that results in confusion and unhappy parties over repairs. Most importantly maintain control, don’t let you emotions run the conversation, even if some tongue biting is needed. Some controlled and stable time on the phone can be productive for both parties involved. If this doesn't work just end the conversation with I’m sorry we couldn't work this out. After that, call the better business bureau. They can guide you on the laws and rights you have as a consumer. If you've been wrongly charged for repairs then you do have rights and recourse available to you.

Bad Odor Smell From A/C Heater

Vehicle A/C Heater Smells Bad

Bad Odor Smells Like Mold

Q: Whats the reason  I get a bad odor when I turn on the vent, heater or air conditioner? Is this smell bad for my health ?
Its very much unbearable?

A: Breathing mold spores is not good for anybody's heath! Why is there mold in your ventilation system?

There are few possible reasons for such smell to be noticed.
Below i wil explain in much detail:-----

Either water is not draining correctly, there is tree and leaf type matter collected in the system or rodents have stopped in and laid the ground work for a new housing development.

If your vehicle is equipped (it would be great to know what you have for a vehicle) with a cabin filter then it may need replacing.

For those of you who do not know, many of today's vehicle have a filter for filtering the incoming air for the passenger compartment.
This filter works great and I think it's the best thing since milking parlors! If you grew up on a dairy farm you'd understand.
Also cabin filters can be upgraded with charcoal filter elements.
With these filters you can hardly tell you're following a smelly diesel truck.

In any case your vehicle's ventilation system needs a cleaning, rotor rooting, rodent routing or a new cabin filter.

Scheduled Maintenance As per Dealer OR Manufacturer

When Exactly Scheduled Maintenance has to be Done

Dealer or Manufacturer Who is right?

Q: Its confusing when exactly to get the vehicle serviced.  In a MSN article they mentioned that a service should be done on the manufacturer's schedule, not the dealer's. Is the manufacturer's schedule what is listed in the car manual? This also shows major service at 30k miles. On the Ford Web Site it just refers you to the dealer for the maintenance schedule. How do you find the correct "manufacturer's" recommendation?

I suggest using the maintenance schedule in the Owner's Manual as a guide. The Owner's Manual provides the guidelines for required maintenance for warranty purposes and suggested maintenance to keep your vehicle operating safely and reliably. When a customer comes into our shop and asks what type of service their vehicle needs we'll refer to the Owner's Manual as a guide. The manual is clear on defining service intervals and maintenance that is often overlooked. As a consumer you should maintain records in the event a warranty issue should arise and be on the watch for redundant type service. For example in New Hampshire the annual state safety inspection program covers much that is suggested for safety and service inspections on the Owner's Manual. Asking a repair shop or dealer to perform that work again is redundant and adds needlessly to the cost of keeping your vehicle in good operating condition. The Owner's Manual is a good guide, but like most things in life a little salt and common sense can get you a long way.

Shock recommendation?

Looking to upgrade shocks

Q: What brand of rear shocks do you recommend for a 1995 2WD? I haul some fairly heavy things sometimes and the vehicle must be weighted down for traction in winter. When I weigh it down, it sags a good bit. I am currently running factory shocks. Thanks for the advice. in advance?

A: First, understand why shock absorbers are used. The job of the shock absorbers is to keep the tire on the road; they are not designed to lift a vehicle. But, there are shock absorbers that are modified to assist in maintaining the ride height of a vehicle.

The modified shocks are generally found in 2 configurations: air assisted (known to many as air shocks) and coil assisted (shocks with coil springs).

  • The coil assisted shocks are designed to maintain vehicle ride height with about 200 lbs. of additional weight in the vehicle, rates vary depending on manufacturer. 
  • Air assisted shocks have air lines that join together at a fitting that looks similar to a tire valve stem. 
The air pressure can be increased or decreased as needed to maintain the vehicle's ride height.
For more details before buying ,Check the manufacturer's specification regarding the additional load abilities of these shocks.
If the load you're carrying is greater than the manufacturer's recommendation then consider installing stronger springs with heavy duty shocks.That will help.

Synthetic engine oil OR conventional engine oil

Best Engine Oil To Use

Synthetic Oil, How Long Will It Go?

Q: Vehicle miles getting close to  first oil change.Its for 1999 Ford Explorer (3000 miles). Would there be much of an advantage to go to synthetic oil after the break in period? Can you go longer between oil changes with synthetic or do you lose the protection if you go longer?

A: As per my Auto garage Repair Experience i will suggest Synthetic engine oil to be used.Synthetic engine oil is a better product than conventional engine oil. Generally, synthetic oils exceed all car and light truck manufacturer warranty requirements. Can you go longer between oil changes with synthetic oil? If you have a new vehicle you'd better not! Whether you're using conventional motor oil or synthetic you must change the engine oil as required by the vehicle manufacturer. The reason? The manufacturer, can and has, the right to void the warranty on the vehicle's engine if the engine oil is not changed as specified (mileage/time) in the Owner's Manual. I use synthetic oil myself, there's no doubt in my mind that synthetic oil will provide superior protection to your vehicle's engine. As for extending your oil change intervals? Stick to the manufacturer's recommended service intervals, or you could lose your warranty protection.

My Auto Repair Mechanic Is Cheating On Me



Q: Having trouble with a mechanic who had worked on my auto. I am seeking organizations or some place that keeps files on bad mechanics. He operates out of three businesses that are cash only operations. Also, the mechanic had made additional repairs without my knowledge and charged me extra! I to had paid the mechanic, but instead of getting a receipt I got a deposit slip. I am being taken advantage of! I do not know where to turn to? Please Help !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A: Very Sad to here that.I dont know why these helpers forget there aim " Honesty is the Best Policy".
We all are public helpers and for the public.
I know why he only took cash! He hadn’t had time to get a checking account for his three businesses. No wait! To open a checking account for a business the company name has to be registered with the state before the bank will allow the account to be opened. Oh, he had three businesses, it takes a lot of time register those businesses. But you just wait, once the businesses are registered you can go to the better business bureau and file a complaint. I’m curious to just what led you to take your vehicle to a cash for repairs mechanic? Was it the low labor rate or bring your own parts? I mean something had to draw you in? If I called a contractor to work on my house and found that he only expects cash under three possible business names I wouldn’t let him on the property and you let a guy like this work on your car? Oh, I’m sure this cash only “dude” had plenty of insurance too. Look, for a reputable business to open, the owner has to lay a lot out on the line. But there’s more to it than just money. A real business is held to a higher level of accountability. This accountability is enforced by state laws and regulations to aid and protect the consumer. When you do business with people like “the dude” you’re on your own. Yes it is likely you were taken advantage of. It is unlikely you have any reasonable recourse. Where do you turn now? The right direction is away from “the dude’s” shop to a real repair facility. Education comes in many forms. This is one of those life lessons, be sure to learn by it.

Fact About Tornado/Cyclone Fuel Savers

Are These Tornado/Cyclone Real Fuel Savers OR Not?

Q: It shows ads on TV regarding saving fuel and I think it's too good to be true. So, do the Tornado fuel savers really work and save you money? Please Guide me regarding these before i go for these product?

A: Here are my thoughts on these marvels of technology that have eluded engineers from all of the car and truck manufacturers. Just imagine a miracle product that would increase horsepower and gas mileage! After all, if you got better gas mileage it would mean you also reduced emissions! The world’s dependency on oil would be washed away! Along with this special you would get the cap snaffle.  It snaffles caps off of any size jug or bottle and it really really works! But wait there’s more!!! If it is surely a marvel of technology and it really really works the inventor would be rich and living on an island not pushing their wares in infomercials. As for the cap snaffle, it really does work, I have one.

Automatic Transmission Shifter Will Not Lock

Transmission Shifter Lock Issues

Unlockable Automatic Transmission Shifter Lock

Q: The shifter would not unlock out of park on my car. After following the procedure in the Owner's Manual, we were able to get it to release. What do you think the problem is?
And Whats the Approx Repair cost for such problems?

A: Your Problem description is not clear regarding your car model.Knowing the year, make and model of your vehicle would make things a little easier to answer your question.

But still that doesn't matter too much.
I will try my best to answer your query.

Here are the details ....................

The shift-inter lock systems are found on most all makes of vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions. The reason for the shift-inter lock system is to assure that the driver of the vehicle has their foot on the brake pedal, not the gas, when moving the transmission selector from park to drive or reverse. The operating system of the shift-inter lock is reasonably generic across the line of manufacturers. There will be fuses, a brake pedal position switch (many times it is the brake light switch) a possible relay/module and last a solenoid/actuator. When the ignition is turned on electrical power goes to and activates the solenoid/actuator. The solenoid will pull a pawl/lock into place that blocks the movement of the shifter. When you step on the brake pedal another electrical signal is sent to the relay/module and it responds by canceling the other signal, which causes the shift-inter lock solenoid to release, allowing the shifter to be moved. The most common problem we see in the shop are failed fuses or worn shift-inter lock solenoids. The inside of the solenoid will wear and bind internally and will not release once activated. The fuses you can check yourself. Leave diagnosing the rest of the system to a qualified technician.

Should I Buy These Used Car

Before Buying Used Car

Beware of buying used cars

Q: Hey there, looking to purchase a used car and the owner states the only problem is with the fan. He says the car overheats quickly and there may be something wrong with something called a "Gasket". Obviously I don't know what the heck any of these items are since I'm only a driver and not knowledgeable or interested in them at all. Please respond with your answer and possible solution(s). I'd also like to know on average what I should expect to pay for either of these repairs to be done.

A: Stay away! In no way would I recommend purchasing that vehicle! The problems you described are big dollars that could easily double the cost of the vehicle. Before purchasing any used vehicle you should take it to your technician and have a thorough inspection performed. Also, just driving around the block doesn't provide enough information. To identify problems with the suspension, brakes, steering, engine, etc. the vehicle should be driven a minimum of 10 miles over a variety of driving conditions. An extended drive time allows the driver to become accustomed to the vehicle and any oddities that the vehicle may have. When purchasing a used vehicle, always proceed with caution.

What is Vehicle VIN number

Vehicle VIN Says  I Have the Wrong Car


Q: On a uni-body car where will I find the VIN? When I took my car in for service, I was going to trade it in then I decided to keep it when I picked up the car I found it to be different, as in year, style, etc. If you can help or have any information, please let me know.

A: This is really confusing. Did you drive this vehicle away from the shop? Or are you without a vehicle? The first place you should check for a vehicle identification number (VIN) is right at the driver’s side lower corner of the windshield on a plate with 17 digits. There will be a sticker on the driver’s side door post and depending on the year and make it can be found in a variety of other places. Once you sort this out, I’d really like to hear the rest of the story and I’m sure the readers would too.

Water Pump and Timing Belt Issues

Leaking Water Pump

Q: I just took my car to Pep Boys and they just found a leak in my water pump. I don't really think that it just happened because I just had it in the shop about two weeks ago. But they told me that to replace the water pump, that I "HAVE" to replace the timing belt and all this other stuff with new parts. I want to know if that is true. Also what can I do until I gather enough money to repair the car?

A:On old model vehicles it was said that if the timing belt needs to be replaced then water pump also has to be replaced and viceversa.

What can you do until you gather enough money? Avoid driving the vehicle. Overheating an engine is a sure fire way to empty the check book. You did not mention what type of vehicle you own so it is not easy to tell you what you can and cannot get away with. It is not uncommon on today's vehicles for the water pump to be driven by the timing belt. To service the water pump on a vehicle with this type of configuration requires removing the timing belt.As per our garage repair experience i will say. You do not have to replace the timing belt when this work is being done. But all you're saving is the cost of the timing belt. All the labor money is tied up in replacing the water pump. There are also some oil seals that are ideally serviced while the timing belt is off as well. Many manufacturers have recommended timing belt service intervals between 60k and 90k. If your timing belt has that kind of mileage on it do yourself a favor and have it replaced while the water pump is being serviced. If the timing belt has low mileage, then don't replace it if monies are tight. The bottom line? You call the shots, it's your car and your money. If all you want is a water pump, and understand fully the possible additional costs you may face later by not performing the suggested repairs, just do the water pump.

Water Pump Squeals on Acceleration

Water Pump Failure Issues

Water Pump Squealing very loudly

Q: Actually replaced the water pump on my car twice in the last week, and it is failing again.
But why it is failing again n again?
There is a horrible squealing noise upon acceleration. My question is, is the noise coming from the water pump? (Plenty of water, new hoses, belts not slipping.) The new pump has not started to leak out of the weep-hole ..yet. Maybe I just bought a bad pump the first time, but surely not twice (its brand-new, not a rebuilt). The old owner put stop leak in the radiator. maybe, the pump is not getting good flow? However, the car does not overheat. Would a water pump, not getting good flow, make such a sound? The bearings are supposed to be sealed anyway, right? Would running straight water through the pump without antifreeze cause the pump to squeal and fail?.... Joe

A: I'm not convinced that you have a water pump problem. The possibility of three water pumps causing a belt squeal, is far too difficult to accept. There is something else that you're not picking up on. I would suggest a closer inspection of all the fan belts. If your vehicle is equipped with the flat serpentine type fan belt the tension settings are critical to proper belt performance. Many vehicles with serpentine type fan belts also have an automatic belt tensioner. A weak or failing belt tensioner will cause the fan belt to slip and squeal under acceleration. Stop focusing on the water pump and look at the whole picture, the answer to your problem is right in front of you.

Understanding Vehicle Technical Service Bulletin Process?

What is a Technical Service Bulletin

Where should i go when TSB is issued for my vehicle?

Is it free repair or service at dealer if TSB is released?

Below i will explain you Complete Theory of TSB in Detail :----

A Service Bulletin in the automotive trade is called a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB). TSB's would be better described as a problem/solution bulletin. TSB's can cover a large array of problems.

Let's start with the repair manuals and time guides. It is not uncommon for the diagnostic or repair procedure to be incorrect, just plain wrong, in the repair manual.

Nobody is going to reprint the whole manual, instead TSB's are issued to alert the tech and be used as an insert. TSB's report on updated repair procedures and new parts to replace problem parts.

  • TSB's have fixes for some of the strangest problems like dash itches to providing information on just how a component or system should be operating. 
  • TSB's also report on warranty information and in the event if a warranty is extended due to product problems. On today's high tech vehicle's performing a TSB search is nearly second nature and just part of what an up to date repair facility does for its customers. 
  • One final note, TSB's are not be to confused with safety recalls. The work performed for a Safety Recall is free to the vehicle owner. 
  • TSB's are there to aid in solving problems and providing up to date repair information. Repair is not free unless the vehicle is still under warranty.

Understanding Service Engine Light Issues?

What is a Service Engine Light? 

 What exactly  has to be serviced?

Complete Engine or some particular part?

A: You know, that’s a great question! Because the only other backward phrase next to the "Service Engine Soon" is "Check Engine". What person with any sense would use such a phrase? The Check Engine warning light comes on in a bright yellow. So you stop your vehicle and open the hood. Surprise! The engine is still there. No it didn’t fall out while you were driving. It looks no different than that last time you saw it. So, what’s the point of that darn warning light? Okay, now the Service Engine Soon light. Just what the heck does that mean? What’z, the oil low? No, it must be the coolant! I know of people that had their oil changed 2 to 3 times in an effort to turn the Service Engine Soon light off. It wasn’t that these people were on the short end of a stick. Though it would have been helpful to read the foreign language manual that comes with the vehicle. They were just following the seemly simple instruction displayed in bright warning yellow.

As per Our Professional Garage Repair  theory. Computers in vehicles came about the same time the politically correct junk did. After all we wouldn't want to offend people with accurate information and the truth now, would we? You see once the politically correct flip’os had infiltrated the auto industry they quickly went to work. They construed a plan to introduce warning lights that just confuse the issue, AKA politically correct warning lights! Translation? No body has a clue what it means.

The Service Engine Soon warning light is just the politically correct way to alert you that the computer in your vehicle has a system problem. Visit your favorite automotive service facility for a diagnostic consultation with your vehicle’s computer.

Understanding Fuel Too Lean Issue

What is Fuel Too Lean?

Q: I got Error code stating Fuel Lean.What is "fuel is too lean" mean in the diagnostic test?

A: I will explain you the query with complete detail.
Go through the details mentioned below.Fuel Too Lean is possibly one of the most difficult computer codes to diagnose. Why is that? There are a couple of things that you need to understand first, before you understand what too lean means. An engine to run correctly needs a good balance of air and fuel. This balance is called the air /fuel ratio. A correct balance of air and fuel is generally at a ratio of 14.7 pounds of air to one 1 pound of fuel. If you change either number of that ratio, is will have an effect on the engine's performance. The computer in your vehicle is always working to maintain the correct air/fuel ratio. However, as time goes on the engine wears, fuel injectors become restricted, vacuum leaks happen and sensors may become worn and/or lie to the computer. After all, it is a rough environment under the hood of your vehicle. The engineers designed the program in your vehicle's computer to make adjustments to compensate for changes that occur with time. This ability of the computer is called adaptive learn. But, there is a limit to how much the computer can adapt, all the while, maintaining the ideal air/fuel ratio. If the computer determines that it cannot adapt any more to provide enough fuel for the amount of air entering the engine it will turn on the check engine light and report a code indicating that the system is too lean. Too much air entering the engine for the amount of fuel available. There is also a code for the opposite condition of the engine receiving too much fuel, system too rich. In either case, the code does not indicate a broken sensor, all it means is that the computer cannot maintain the correct air/fuel ratio and it wants help in fixing the problem. I've seen many parts replaced because of this code that did not fix the problem. You'll need a technician that understands and has the necessary diagnostic tools to provide the correct solution to a system too lean computer code.

Scan Tool For Testing OBD Codes


What Scan Tool To Buy?

Q: I need a little advice. My code reader is just not getting the job done. I need a scan tool and would like to only spend my money once. What features am I looking for and do you have a recommendation?

A: Here’s the first fact that you’ll have to face; you will never spend your money “just once” on any scan tool made today. There is not one scan tool made that will do it all. If there was it would be over $20K for that scan tool and it would still be outdated next year! Whatever you buy plan on paying for software updates if you want to work on next years cars. Plan on whatever scan tool you buy being outdated by the year 2008, unless you plan on buying the updated modules that will allow the scan tool to work with the newer, faster communications systems that are just around the corner. I could start a scan tool museum with the dust collectors I have in storage that won’t work on today’s cars, but if an ’82 Chevy Citation comes into the shop I have at least 2 dust collectors that will rock that vehicle’s computer. But my new scan tool won’t pull even a “bit” of information from that dinosaur. Here’s my recommendation, determine what type/make of vehicles you work on most often. Identify the company that makes the scan tool and software for the selected vehicle manufacturer. These companies often sell their scan tools with a lesser version of software, to someone like you or me, that will open most of the windows when you want to look into the vehicle’s computer. Also budget for annual software updates. There are very few scan tool makers that let you jump or skip a software update. You have to lock into the annual software update thing or they really clobber you when you do update. There is not one fix for your question and you’ll find that the cost of doing computer related work, diagnosis and repair is expensive and hard. But for some wicked strange reason I love it. Best of luck.

Quality Gasoline For Vehicle

How To Know About Quality Of Gas Used For Vehicle

Buying Cheaper Gasoline For Car

Q: In  New Hampshire few Wholesale Food Clubs  sell gasoline at least 10 cents a gallon less than brand names. How can they do that and can this product be harmful to an engine?....Gerald.

A: First, ask yourself why you go to the Wholesale Club to buy their product? The answer more often than not is price. When a company as big as these wholesaler's want to buy product they have unsurpassed buying power. They go directly to the manufacturer and order, not a truck load, but train loads of product. As for gasoline? Buying power, combined with volume of sales, allows for the pricing you're seeing. There are state and federal laws that govern gasoline. The manufacturer and retailer of gasoline are open to a big pile of trouble if the gasoline being sold is mislabeled or does not meet state and federal standards. Hey, whenever I'm buying a 40lb bag of cheese curls I fill my gas tank too!

Washer Fluid In The Radiator

Accidentally poured windshield fluid in radiator

Q: I accidentally pour windshield fluid into my radiator. Has it caused major damage? Do I need to take it to a mechanic right away?

A: It's not a good thing to mix coolant with window washer fluid. You should also know that you are not the first and you will not be the last person to perform such a wondrous feat. My suggestion? Take your vehicle to your repair facility and have them drain and refill the cooling system, don't forget the coolant reservoir too. Just be thankful you didn't put anti-freeze in the windshield washer reservoir. That stuff really makes a mess of the windshield.

How To Turn OFF "check engine light"

Check engine light reset

Q: Please Tell  how to turn off my "Check Engine" light? For 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, 4.0 L. An auto parts store guy read the code for me, and said he thought it would turn off after about 15 or so "drive cycles". Any truth to that?

A: The “Check Engine” will turn off by itself if the problem is no longer present after about 3 drive cycles. Each time your vehicle is started and driven the computer’s software commands a wide variety of tests to be performed and monitors various sensors while the vehicle is being driven. A drive cycle is when the vehicle/engine sets long enough for the coolant to drop below a specified temperature. Then the engine is started and the vehicle is driven at different speeds and allowed to reach full operating temperature. The reason for this? The computer not only tests the system, it also monitors for range of operation. Certain tests can only be performed when the engine is cold while others are performed when the engine is hot. Each time the engine is started the computer performs over a hundred checks and tests of your vehicle’s emissions system, which includes the automatic transmission too. If your problem has been corrected, generally the “Check Engine” light will turn off within a day or two of normal driving. If the light does not turn off, there is a system problem and diagnosis is needed.

Gas Gauge Acts Crazy

Gas Gauge Not Performing right

Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nut'zy Gas Gauge

Q: The gas gauge on 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee will drop to empty then return to 3/4 to 1/2 tank every so often or until I fill it up or the gauge goes below half tank. The dealer said I need a new pump but there isn't anything else going on. Any suggestions?

- Salvatore T.

A: Your vehicle is notorious for gas gauge problems. In fact, there was a safety recall that affected about 400,000 Jeeps including the Jeep Grand Cherokee built in ‘97. The problem was the gas gauge would report that there was enough fuel when, in reality, there was not enough fuel and the vehicle would be dead on the side of the road. I’m not sure that your Jeep qualifies for this recall but it is worth checking into. Also, you’re not being told the whole story. If your Jeep dealer checks his/her Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) they will find TSB# 08-19-97 that provides the part number for a replacement fuel sending unit that is sold separately. The TSB goes on to identify which of the 3 possible replacement part numbers that would fit your Jeep. The gas tank still has to be removed to service this part, but it is at a considerable savings to the vehicle owner compared to buying the complete fuel pump module. The fuel pump module is a new fuel pump and sending unit all together and is a bit on the pricey side. One last note, if your fuel pump has 100k and has not be replaced I would suggest installing the complete module. About any fuel pump with that kind of mileage is living on borrowed time.

Brakes are ratcheting and makes clicking sound

Brake Ratchet and Makes Clicking noise

Q: I changed the ball joints on 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4 wheel drive. After that  brakes act strange. It seems my ABS is acting up and I hear a clicking sound as I increase in speed.When I apply the brakes it sounds like my brakes are ratcheting.

A: Take a look at the front axles of your jeep just where they enter the hub assembly. You should see a part that looks like a gear that is mounted on the axle. That gear is called a toner ring. As the teeth/gear looking part of the toner ring pass by the wheel speed sensor, a signal is created that the ABS system uses to monitor wheel speed. If a tooth is broken off the gear, the ABS computer will think that the wheel is turning at a different speed. This will cause the ABS computer to become active when it doesn't have to be. It doesn't take much to mess up the toner ring or even the sensor. I would suggest a close inspection of these components on both sides of the vehicle for possible damage. Any signs of damage will require replacement of the sensor, or if the toner ring is damaged the axle will have to be replaced. The toner ring is not sold separately.

Squeaking Brakes

Jeep Cherokee Brake Squeaks

Q: Brake job done on our 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee back in April of 1998. A few weeks later I went back because the brakes were squealing. They said, "It's supposed to sound like that because there is no more asbestos in the brakes". They also said, "It will wear off after I run the car a while and put on a few miles". I recently took it back again in June of this year. Again they said, "Nothing is wrong, they are suppose to squeal". I asked them," How come the brakes don't squeal on the new cars in this lot?" No reply! My question to you. What do you think? Is there anything I can do about this?... Squeaking brakes!!!!!!!

A: Well, you've got them. The brakes are not supposed to squeal on your vehicle, but the noise doesn't mean the brakes are unsafe, there could be other factors. The squealing noise is an indication that not all the necessary procedures were followed while the brake job was being performed, or that the friction material used on the brakes was of questionable quality. The high frequency squealing sound, when braking, is caused by brake pads vibrating. Improper assembly procedures are the most common cause for brake squeal. Proper inspection, preparation, cleaning and lubrication of braking components is critical in preventing brake squeal. Also, realize that not all braking materials, brake pads or shoes, are created equal. Discount brake pads or shoes are not of the same quality engineering and material as original equipment or quality aftermarket brakes. It's like re-capped tires compared to radials tires. They both do the same job but...

Repetitive Brake Problems

Brake Issues Occur Again n Again on Jeep

Regarding Jeep Grand Cherokee, Brake Problems
Q: My vehicle is 97 Grand Cherokee with 55k miles. Wee just replaced 4th set of  brakes put on including the original set. The rotors and pads were replaced each time. That equals a new set approximately every 14k miles. It is driven in very mild conditions around town with no heavy braking. It always has the same problem. The brakes feel like they engage and disengage as you come to a stop. It gives a slow pulsing sensation.

The first evaluation always offered is warped rotors. The problem is that immediately after a brake job you still can feel this problem. It’s milder at first and then becomes more pronounced as time goes on. I also know it has nothing to do with the rear brakes because if you use the hand brake to stop you don’t get the symptom.

The second theory is some type of ABS malfunction.This has been completely dismissed by the dealer.

Any idea what the problem could be??

A: How about checking the hub that the brake rotors are mounted on? Just the day of answering your letter we a had a Mercury Crown Vic in the shop that had a brake pulsation complaint. Diagnosis indicated that the front brake rotors were the problem. From what we were told, they had been a problem for sometime. As often as possible we’ll machine the brake rotors on the vehicle. When the equipment was installed on the vehicle to machine the rotors there was a problem. The computer, yes we used computerized equipment to perform this task, was at a loss. It could not calibrate itself properly, meaning it needed help from a carbon based life form (humans). Inspection found that the hub that the brake rotor set on was off by .003" of an inch. Now .003" of an inch is just about 2 hairs stacked. That’s not much you may say. But, in the world of brakes that adds up to a lot when you carry that line out another 4 to 5". My point is that no matter how many brake rotors are installed on this vehicle the brakes will always end up pulsating,, which could very well be the problem with your vehicle. They just have to look deeper. As for the Crown Vic, there is no silicone based form (computer) that can problem solve the way the carbon forms do.

Evaporator Coil Replacement

 Replacement Evaporator Coil For Jeep Cherokee

Q: A query from inexperienced mechanic, I was wondering if I am able to replace the evaporator coil for 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 5.2 liter engine. Where can I find complete instructions on how to do it?
Please Help !!!!!!!!!!!!!

A: First, you would have to define inexperienced. I’m a believer that anyone can do about anything they put their mind to. The main tools you’ll need for a job such as replacing an A/C evaporator in your Jeep is patience, attention to detail and information. Information can be found but the detailed information you need, to maintain patience, will need to be borrowed or bought. You can purchase factory information and diagrams on-line. An example would be found at alldata.com. ALLDATA Information Systems has a Do It Yourself (DIY) section that allows you to purchase vehicle specific information. If you want to DIY this job, be organized. Have information and allow plenty of time. If you’re inexperienced, tackling a job like replacing an A/C evaporator without good information will have you throwing tools down the driveway. In which case, you should park your Jeep to allow for easy access for the wrecker, in the event you throw all your tools down the driveway.

Low Oil Pressure

Oil Pressure Very Low on Jeep Grand Cherokee

Q:My Vehicle is 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 5.2 liter engine and the oil pump failed on vacation. The mechanic replaced the main, rod bearings, seal and oil pump. Now when the engine is started cold the oil pressure is fine. After warming up the idling oil pressure is 20 PSI and drops to just above zero when placed into gear. When the Jeep is moving down the road, the oil pressure is 20-30 PSI.

A: I’m concerned a bit with your oil pressure readings. The first thing you should do is have a mechanical oil pressure gauge installed and check the readings to confirm that the dash display is accurate  If the mechanical reading is the same as the dash gauge readings then you have problems, and here is where I have a problem. Why were the rod and main bearings replaced? The likely answer is because they were damaged. If they were damaged what did the surface that they rode against look like? I’ll tell you right now, damaged! If an engine loses an oil pump and the main and rod bearings are damaged I can assure you that the surface (crankshaft) that they ride on was damaged as well. So now ask yourself what happens if you place new parts against damaged old parts? I’ll save you the time, you get low oil pressure. When the oil pump failed the rod and main bearings rode against the crankshaft main and rod journals with no lubrication. The bearings are the soft part, but the surface on the crankshaft went down with the bearings. If I’m wrong then you have bad camshaft bearings. In either case, the engine has to come out of the vehicle to repair it correctly. Or should I say pull the check book out to repair it correctly.

Cruise Control Not Working On Jeep

Jeep Cherokee Cruise Control Has No Power

Cruise Control Fuse Location

Q: Its a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee and I cannot find a fuse for the cruise control, and it seems to have no power to it. The light on the dash will not come up when the cruise control is activated. I have looked under the hood and on the passenger side door panel fuse holders, and the cruise control doesn't seem to be indicated in those two areas.

A: You’re not really going to find a fuse for the cruise control on your Jeep. Why? The cruise control unit is controlled by the vehicle computer and receives its power supply from the same computer. If power is not being supplied to the speed control servo you want to inspect the stop light switch. The stop light switch, on your vehicle is really 3 switches in one. One part of the switch is for the stoplights. The other two parts are for the cruise control and, if not operating correctly, the cruise control will not operate. Also be sure to check the vacuum supply to the cruise control unit. It is not uncommon for a vehicle of that age to have cracked vacuum hoses. A cracked vacuum hose will result in a loss of vacuum supply. Too little, or no vacuum supply equals no cruise control. There are a few checks you can make with a voltmeter, but to get down and dirty with the cruise control on your vehicle requires a computer scan tool too.

Check Engine Light Comes ON again n again

Jeep Cherokee Check Engine Light Will Not Reset

Q: Problem noticed on 1996 Grand Cherokee Lorado has 97K on it. I have taken care of the vehicle pretty well. Recently driving in upstate NY the check engine light came on. When I shut the it off and started it after a few minutes, the light remained on. I went on to remove the battery cable in order to reset the computer; this worked for a little while maybe 3 weeks. Within that time, I was getting very bad gas mileage, so I changed the O2 sensor. The one near the exhaust manifold was fouled and checking the one on the converter was ok . Also I’ve poured Textron additive because it was sluggish on initial take off from a stop. At times I’d lose power when I accelerated hard in overdrive. The light went on again, even when I reset it again by removing the battery cable it came on within the hour and the mileage is still bad. What do you think could be the cause of this problem, or do I need to go to the dealer for a diagnostic check up.

A: Yes you need to go to a dealer or and independent repair facility to get the answer to your vehicle’s problem. Also, whatever you do, "do not" unhook the battery before you go! Unhooking the battery causes the computer not only to reset, but in the process all information that the computer has to share, with the technician servicing your vehicle, is lost. An empty computer file will have no diagnostic information and you will get a bill for telling you there is nothing wrong. So, make the appointment, drive the vehicle and leave the battery alone. With the Check Engine Light on the computer will have the information you need to get your Jeep back to good running order.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Vehicle Goes Opposite direction at Sharp Turns

Turning Issues and Thumping Problem

Q: While engage the 4WD on 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and turn to sharp corner, the front wheels sort of take me in the opposite direction and a thumping takes place...it is also really hard to steer. This only happens when I take a sharp turn doing 5 mph or when I turn at a green light, turning sharp while accelerating in the turn. Others have told me that they have the same problem with their Jeep. Is it true that Chrysler Corp had a recall for this problem in 1996?

A: Did you know that many 4x4 or All Wheel Drive (AWD) vehicles are not really 4x4/AWD? Many of these vehicles are either a front or rear wheel drive. It’s the technology designed into the drivetrain of these vehicles that allows them to transform, in merely a second, into a 4x4 or AWD vehicle, and you’ll never feel it happen, unless there is a problem with a device called a Viscous Coupler. A Viscous Coupler compares front wheel speed to rear wheel speed. If a difference is noted (rear or front wheels spinning) the Viscous Coupler engages and directs power to the wheels that are not spinning as well, making them all work together. If your vehicle is feeling jerky, and acting as if something is binding while turning sharp at low speeds, then the Viscous Coupler should be inspected. Diagnosis of the coupler takes a whole 5 minutes, but the repair will put a sizable dent in your checking account.

Vehicle Shudders while going Uphill

Jeep Grand Cherokee, shuddering

Q: Its the 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 72K. All routine maintenance performed regularly without any missed. The vehicle is in great working order except for the following problem. Our check engine light keeps coming on when accelerating up hills at 55+mph. When we are about at the crest of a hill the light starts flashing then when the vehicle starts to down shift it starts shuddering real bad. This shuddering will last until you back off the gas and slow down. We have had the valve springs replaced, then had the mechanics do some work (because of the codes thrown) and this last week a new computer was installed. Two days after the computer was replaced the check engine light came back on under these same conditions. What could be the problem?

A: ALL DATA IS GREAT SOURCE. Join ALLDATA.The ALLDATA Information System shows several Technical Service Bulletins (TSB’s) that are related to driveability problems with check engine lights coming Here is the procedure explained for you to understand.

The computer will report information to the technician that is not valid and send him/her down the wrong diagnostic path. With the recent replacement of the vehicle’s computer I would hope you got the latest and greatest software update. No, your Jeep isn’t running on Windows 98. If the computer is up to speed then the concerns move to the ignition and fuel system. If the problem is happening as the transmission down shifts and the engine RPM jumps higher than the norm, there may be a problem with the ignition wires. Strange as it may seem, we’ve found that under load and high engine RPM tired spark plug wires will introduce an immensely confusing engine skip that will not only turn the check engine light on, it also sends the computer into the high alert mode causing the check engine light to blink. The blinking check engine light on most ‘96 and up vehicles is the computer attempting to alert the driver to the pending doom of the catalytic converter. In closing, do not ignore the fuel system as a possible cause. A fuel pressure gauge should be installed and the vehicle driven in a manner that causes the engine to go into convulsions. Only then could you be sure of the abilities of the fuel pump. The fix will likely be simple. It’s finding the cause that will drive you nutz.

All Gauges Not Working

Troubleshooting Gauges Issues On Jeep

Jeep Cherokee, Gauge Problems 

Q: All gauges: The speedometer, tachometer, and gas gauge on 1996 Jeep Cherokee not working.Tried replacing the instrument cluster pod and still have the same problem. When they went out they would work off and on and the needles bounced around at times, then went out for good. Any suggestions?

A: Start with checking the fuses. The number 7 fuse in the fuse panel is a main player in powering up the instrument cluster in your Jeep. You should also realize that the action of the instrument cluster displays (speedometer, tachometer, gas gauge, etc.) are primarily a result of information processed by a computer called a Body Control Module (BCM). Because so many of your gauges are acting strangely the BCM is suspect. The BCM does have built in diagnostic abilities that can be accessed with a scan-tool. Virtually all of the lights and gauges on your dash can be operated via the scan-tool, through the BCM, for confirming function. Before replacing any more costly instrument clusters or installing a replacement BCM (the cost of a replacement BCM will create respiratory problems), be sure to check the fuses and electrical connectors. Proper diagnosis will save you money.

A/C blows on High Mode Only

Hi Speed A/C Blower Only For Jeep Cherokee

Q: Suddenly, Air condition will only work on the HI setting on my 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee. If  set  to any other setting, no air will blow out. This sounds like an electrical problem but I’m not sure. Any ideas?

A: A very common problem.Your Jeep may be in need of a blower resistor. When you turn the blower speed control you’re directing electricity though different paths, all of which go to the blower motor. When you select low speed through mid speed you are really directing the electricity through a part called a resistor block. The resistor block has different resistors that control the amount of electricity that goes to the blower motor. But why only high speed? When the blower speed selected is high the resistor block is by-passed and full electrical power is directed straight to the blower motor. In most cases all that is needed is a new blower resistor block to return blower speed control.

Vehicle Stalls At Idle

Jeep Wrangler, Stalling Problems Troubleshooting

Q: Its a Jeep Wrangler 4.0L with an automatic transmission.

The Problem Noticed is :------ At cold start up it revs to fast idle then as it comes down to regular idle it stalls out. Restarting it may or may not stall again. When it reaches operating temperature, it runs fine.

Parts Replaced :----  The plugs, ignition wires, rotor and distributor cap were replaced at 2k-2.5k miles before stalling started and they still look good. Fuel pump pressure is normal. This vehicle has 143k mile on it and has given excellent service.

A: Take the air inlet hose off where it enters the throttle body and take a look at the throttle plates. It is likely that they’re dirty and have a build-up of carbon deposits. That is the most common cause for stalling that we see in the shop for your vehicle. Sometimes all it takes is a good cleaning to cure the stalling problem. There is an idle speed setting on your Jeep, but to check and/or perform this service step requires the use of a computer scan tool for your vehicle. If the cleaning doesn’t help ask a repair facility to check and reset, if needed, the minimum idle speed on your Jeep.

Ignition Coils Burning

Jeep Grand Cherokee Ignition Coil Burns Again n Again

Q: For Jeep Grand Cherokee. Idling very slow. I replaced the plugs wires and fuel filter but, still idled slow. I sent it to a mechanic who replaced the ignition coil and distributor pick up and it ran fine for one day. I took it to work and when I went to leave it wouldn’t start. I checked it and there was no spark so I took it back to the mechanic and he said the new coil went bad. He replaced it and it ran for 2 days then I went to drive it home from work and it wouldn’t start. I purchased another coil myself installed it and it fired right up. Do you have any idea why it’s burning up the coils?

A: Before replacing the coil too many more times you may want to go the Jeep dealer and buy an updated ignition coil and harness. The ignition coils were known for shorting internally, causing a variety of running problems. The update called for a lower internal resistance coil and a modification to the wiring harness that included an external resistor. If you’re installing an aftermarket coil that has a lower internal resistance without the wiring harness modification you’ll just keep burning out ignition coils.

Technical Service Bulletin Recalls For Jeep Cherokee

Safety Recalls For Jeep Cherokee

Q: Need listing of the recalls (safety and other) for  1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Can you help me find this list? All I am able to find are some safety recalls and next to no Service Bulletins.

A: Any person can check on safety recalls by calling the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 or at www.nhtsa.dot.gov. As for TSB’s (Technical Service Bulletins) that is a different story. First you have to understand that a TSB involves a problem. The first problem with a problem is its definition. In the Webster’s big book a problem is defined as 1. a question proposed for solution or consideration. 2. a question, matter situation, or person that is perplexing or difficult. 3. in mathematics (hey this doesn’t count here forget it, need the space) The problem is there is no #4. who pays to fix the problem? Is it the tech? No, he/she works for the dealership. After all you can’t feed a family or own a house if you don’t get paid. The dealership? Yea at first they’re stuck with the cost until they get the money out of the folks who designed and built the vehicle. Of course the first thing they say is there’s no problem- must be your techs. Once enough dealerships are screaming, (just like their customers) the maker realizes Oh, maybe there is a problem. In the interim the solution, or an in the field fix is found. Here’s where the cost of a TSB really jumps. The maker has to get this information out to all the other dealerships, to let their techs know how to fix the problem, which may include redesigned parts. Also if the car is new enough the repairs may be for free (eegkads!). Getting the TSB out to all the dealers and techs, not to mention any parts, costs big bucks. Loss of big bucks means loss of big bucks! There are research and development costs, warehousing, distribution costs, transportation & delivery costs, installation costs, not to mention the white shirts trying to justify their corporate existence, it just plain cost money! Then a person like you or me comes along and asks for this information for free? Right! Hey they got the investment and need a return. Even the folks at ALLDATA Information Systems  have to pay for the information and the right to reprint it. Whether it’s computers, medicine, law or cars information is not free. Someone (that is you or me) has to pay for information in its final form.

Vehicle Will Not Start After Replacing Transmission

 No Start After Transmission Replaced

No Starting Issues & Transmission Problems

Q: Dropped  transmission on Jeep Cherokee to replace the oil seals that were leaking badly. After put it back in and now it won't start. Do I have to re-calibrate the computer or something? Any help would be awesome.

A: If it cranks over good but will not run I’d be looking at the crankshaft position sensor. The crankshaft position sensor is mounted in the bell housing of the transmission. The sensor is mainly plastic with very, very small wires inside. If it is hit, the engine is a no go. The quickest test is with a scan tool. With the scan tool connected to the computer go the crankshaft signal screen and crank the engine over. The computer will say yes for a crankshaft signal and no if there is not one. If no signal, a replacement sensor is likely needed.

Engine Quits After Running Few minutes

Engine Dies After Driving Few Minutes

Q: The engine just quits on  Jeep Cherokee after driving for few  min. Already replaced the fuel filter, spark plugs & wires and the distributor cap....What else can I check?

A: First, you're not checking you're replacing parts. This is a costly way to approach a problem. If the problem is so persistent you should be able to time a drive to a repair facility for diagnosis. But then again if it is anything like what happens when a problem vehicle comes to our shop, the problem goes away. You know the dentist and the tooth ache scenario? It is unlikely that the parts or related parts to the items you've replaced are the cause for your engine just shutting down. With Jeeps I'm more inclined to inspect critical inputs to the computer. Component failures that I have seen that are heat related on Jeeps have been the crankshaft position sensor. When this sensor drops out (fails) the computer just stops doing about anything. The signal from this sensor is a critical input and without it the vehicle will not run. Why? The signal from the crankshaft position sensor allows the computer to know when to provide spark and fuel. The Jeep just becomes a boat anchor until the signal returns. A problem as persistent as you're describing should be easily diagnosed. Once you have the diagnosis and know what has to be replaced life gets simpler.

Vehicle Quits While Driving

Engine Goes Dead While driving

Q:  Jeep Cherokee runs well 99.9% of the time. However, sometimes when driving, it will go dead. Usually it cranks right up when I pull to the shoulder of the road. Sometimes it will run for days with no problems. Other times it goes dead two or three times a day. I had it in the shop for a week, but they could not find anything wrong with it. Any suggestions?

A: If your Jeep is shutting off like someone turned the key I would be critical of the crankshaft position sensor. While your Jeep is running you can unplug just about every computer sensor on the engine and it will still run, not great but run. If the signal from the crankshaft position sensor is lost on your Jeep, the curtain drops like a rock on that show. The fuel injectors, along with the ignition system, are shut right down. Just bang, end of show! While the crankshaft position sensor is off line from the rest of the vehicle, you can crank the engine over until the battery goes dead or the starter burns up, it's just not going to start. The next time this condition occurs on your Jeep, turn the ignition off and then cycle the ignition from off to on three times. On the third cycle leave the ignition in the on position. At this point watch the check engine light it should start to flash. If the code flashed is an 11 it is a good bet that the crankshaft position sensor has failed. So, the next time your Jeep drops dead, cycle the key and find out what the computer might have to share with you while you wait.

Air Conditioner Vacuum Doors Close with Acceleration

Jeep Cherokee, A/C Vacuum Doors Close with Acceleration

Q: Its 1988 Jeep Cherokee with a 4.0 engine. The problem is with the air conditioning doors changing position to vent upon acceleration. The engine and accessories feel good and are running great cruising down the road, except during acceleration. When the engine drops the vacuum level, the A/C unit controls lose vacuum supply and the doors shift to their neutral positions. When we reach cruising speed with traffic, the vacuum comes back in and pulls the doors to the intended position to get that good cold air back in your face. We've visually checked the main vacuum lines from the intake manifold port through the reservoir under the front bumper up to the firewall. Thought I would ask if this is a recognized problem before I bend over and go through the dash, emissions lines or 4X4 systems.

A: If the vacuum lines and vacuum reservoir are not damaged, you have a sticking or missing check valve in the vacuum supply to the vacuum reservoir. The vacuum reservoir is just what its name implies, a storage device for vacuum. The engine creates vacuum. The vacuum is an energy that is used as a power source to operate different emission controls and accessories like the controls for the ventilation system. There are times that an engine does not create a good supply of vacuum. Because of this the vehicle manufacturers install reservoirs to store vacuum. The hose from the engine or the reservoir itself will have a check valve that blocks the loss of vacuum back to the engine. Why is this? When accelerating, the amount of vacuum created by the engine drops to a level that will no longer power any emission controls or provide for control of the ventilation system. The reservoir is designed to hold enough vacuum in storage to maintain control under most driving conditions. If the check valve fails the vacuum reservoir will lose vacuum so quickly that there will be none left in reserve. The result? A loss of control of vacuum operated devices.

Violent Shaking Noticed on Jeep

Vehicle shakes violently while driving

Q: I just bought an ‘87 Jeep Cherokee from a guy I know and while driving it home it began to shake violently almost to the point of losing control. It will stop and restart again but does not seem to be at any particular speed. Any suggestions?

A: I would suggest inspecting the steering and front end components of the vehicle. There is one part in particular, called the steering stabilizer that should be checked over closely. The steering stabilizer is basically a shock absorber for the steering. This not to be confused with the shock absorbers for the suspension. The mass (steering and suspension) in the front end of Jeeps has a frequency problem, meaning that as the vehicle is being driven down the highway a sort of vibration develops. The steering stabilizer absorbs/deadens this vibration so it is not delectable. If the stabilizer is worn it can no longer prevent the front end shake from happening. The shake from a failed stabilizer can be speed related when the steering is turned slightly or when the wheels hit a small bump, just right. With a little time most people figure out just how to induce the shakes. Once the shake starts it will not end until you virtually stop the vehicle. Start driving again and the condition will return it will return at the right speed or bump in the road.

Jeep CJ-7, Water Problems


Question: I've got an '84 CJ-7, 258 straight six. There is quite a bit of water-oil mixture in the valve cover. I've notice just a tiny bit on the dip stick. But, when I drop the oil there is no water. Also, there is lots of water-oil accumulation in the air cleaner. And I notice the radiator is short on water about every two months. I get the feeling I have either a cracked block or a blown head gasket but the engine is actually running under temp during normal operation.?

A:There's no need to get physical. I don't believe that you're cooling loss is related to the watery-oil problem in the valve cover and air cleaner. It's not uncommon for a vehicle of that age to have small leaks that could account for the loss. The accumulation of water-oil in the air cleaner is a good indicator that the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) system is not functioning properly. Next, you're going to ask, "Where did the water come from that's in the engine?"

Have you seen condensation on a glass of water? Well, the same thing happens to engines. With temperature change, moisture will condense and collect inside an engine. But, that's only a small part of the picture. The greatest source of water in an engine is the combustion process, the burning of gasoline. How do you get water from gasoline? Gasoline is a hydrocarbon (HC). When gasoline is mixed with oxygen and heat, a thermal-chemical reaction occurs, it burns. Am I scaring you yet?

As the gasoline (HC) and oxygen (O2) burn, they break apart and re-join becoming water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Of course there are other chemicals but these two are the main players. The remains of combustion (exhaust) H2O, CO2 and other chemicals are supposed to exit the tail pipe, but that doesn't happen. A portion of the combustion gases leak by the pistons in the engine, into the crankcase.

The job of the PCV system is to pull these gases H2O, CO2, and other chemicals out of the crankcase so as not to contaminate the engine oil. If the PCV system is not operating properly H2O will collect in the valve cover and be forced into the air cleaner assembly. Cold weather will make matters worse.