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Author Topic: Life in the Service Lane . . .  (Read 44864 times)
Axe
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« Reply #135 on: April 25, 2015, 04:36:05 PM »

This radiator job looks to most like time for a new car. I commend you for staying with it long enough to complete your mission. At home or even when I had a shop that would have been a good job for a warm summer night. Tunes on and cold Mt. Dew would have been necessary for this one.
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Oldcarsarecool
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« Reply #136 on: April 25, 2015, 06:59:21 PM »

That sucks about the puller. I hate to lose tools I have had for many years and put millions of miles on. Right now my son has most of mine since they were in the f-150 when I  had my stroke. I'll never need them again and he is the only one out of my 5 kids that will get use from them but on some level I still miss them. I had been collecting them since 1980 or before and kept many in an old tool box used by my grandfather, years ago. I bought the OTC Power Steering Pull kit to r/r a Ford ranger and it broke the first time I used it. May have been partially user error, can't remember right now.


Losing a tool like that is like losing an old friend.  I may not have reached for it several times per day like a wrench or socket.  But it's had a workout over the last 15 years.  I use it often enough that I definitely need to replace it.  Lisle makes a kit that seems decent.  I'm seeing it on Amazon for the $40 - $50 range.



From Lisle's website, click for more information !


A Snap-On puller can be quite expensive, surprise, surprise.  But there is a reason why Snap-On tools are in most tech's boxes.  Plus, if it breaks, I hand it to Snap-On rep Mike when he arrives on Fridays and he gives me a new one.



From Snap-On's website, click for more info !





This radiator job looks to most like time for a new car. I commend you for staying with it long enough to complete your mission. At home or even when I had a shop that would have been a good job for a warm summer night. Tunes on and cold Mt. Dew would have been necessary for this one.


I thank you, my friend, for the kind words.  You make an interesting point.  At the dealership:
>  $310 for the radiator (from Fordparts.com)
>  $25 for the thermostat and gasket (from Fordparts.com)
>  $549 for labor, (using a conservative estimate of $90 per hour labor  x  6.1 hours)
That's $884.  Adding tax, coolant, and any other supplies and materials needed makes this quite an expensive repair.  I remember many times at Machens where service customers, especially those traveling through the area, would choose to trade the car in when presented with a large repair bill.  An independent shop will save the customer a decent amount on labor.  The aftermarket will supply cheaper parts, (in both cost and quality, unfortunately).  But even if the total is half of the above amount, that's still quite a number for a lot of consumers .  .  .
« Last Edit: April 25, 2015, 07:01:35 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #137 on: April 26, 2015, 01:05:05 AM »

Seat belt pretensioner fun .  .  .
August 28, 2014
 
 
 
 
 
Most of us are probably familiar with vehicle airbags.  They've been around for more than 40 years and became mandatory for all new vehicles during the 1990s.  Some of you, however, may not be familiar with seat belt pretensioners.  This device was developed as a way of taking up any slack that may be present as a result of a loosely fitting seat belt.  During a collision, an explosive charge mounted to the seat belt buckle would force the buckle to retract, thus tightening the belt against the occupant.  The key word here is "explosive."  It's not a good idea, and may actually be illegal to just throw one of these things away with the explosive charge still in place.  This means the technician gets to have a little fun when making a repair of this nature.

I don't remember anything about the vehicle I was working on at that time other than it came in for an SRS concern that required a driver's seat belt pretensioner replacement.  Since I had to blow it up, I figured a video would be a fun idea.  You can see how the cable that holds the buckle retracts instantly after the explosive charge is detonated.  Take note of the before and after positions of the buckle .  .  .


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgwGZrd8Bls" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgwGZrd8Bls</a>
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« Reply #138 on: April 30, 2015, 01:33:13 AM »

Not the brightest of ideas .  .  .
April 13, 2015
 
 
 
 
 
Here we have a greasy, but otherwise ordinary fuel filter that is mounted against the bulkhead of a 1989 GMC S15 pickup.





This particular truck features GM's tried and true 2.5L "Iron Duke" inline 4-cylinder engine.  I'm not sure of the year range or engine variations where this was done.  But at some point during this platform's design, the fuel filter ended up being located under the hood. 





The fuel supply and return lines are routed along the frame rail to the underhood area and then turn upward.  The supply line flows into a fuel filter then to the throttle body.  Excess fuel is routed from the throttle body through a return line back to the tank.  Seems legit.





But there's something just not quite right here.














 


A lot of GM vehicles have used the same fuel filter for decades.  My Jaguars use this same filter as well.


1996 Jaguar XJS fuel filter



It features threaded fittings that can be seen in the photo above.  When a fitting is tightened, the line will lock into whatever position it happens to be facing.  In the case of this S15 pickup, the fuel supply line is RESTING AGAINST THE EXHAUST MANIFOLD !   Not near it, not toward it, but the gasoline supply line is in direct contact with the exhaust manifold !





This is not how you do this !  And yes, I corrected it .  .  .
« Last Edit: September 26, 2015, 05:23:04 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

irish evo6's
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« Reply #139 on: May 09, 2015, 02:08:54 AM »

Pics not working for me
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« Reply #140 on: May 09, 2015, 09:32:14 AM »

they work for me
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« Reply #141 on: May 14, 2015, 03:03:33 PM »

Must be this pos im using
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« Reply #142 on: May 29, 2015, 03:26:23 AM »

Yes the pics even work for me, lol.
I can't believe the last guy torqued that over against the exhaust. Even more than that I can't believe it didn't cause a major problem being that way long enough to get that much grease and grime on it.

I had an '87 Olds Cierra International model with an iron duke that was a great car. Bought it in early 1990 for a great price, drove it 3-4 yrs and sold it for about $300 less.  It had the DIS ignition listed for 1988 and up. Also used the same filter, but mounted along the frame near the right rear wheel. Axe
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« Reply #143 on: May 29, 2015, 01:02:37 PM »

Vehicles get redistributed throughout the University System all the time.  So it's possible that this truck spent a portion of its life at one of the UGA satellite facilities interspersed throughout the state, meaning we didn't see it that often for maintenance.  At least I hope this is the case !  Having my shop take credit for that wouldn't be the best public relations move.  it's also a good thing this truck doesn't get driven that often. 

I know I'm not restoring blue chip collectibles or preparing museum pieces for a trip across the stage at Barrett-Jackson.  I play a small, but meaningful role in helping to keep this "city" of 40k students, faculty, and staff running.  Finding and correcting stuff like the above is exactly what I consider to be "my job." 

The Iron Duke was one of the noisiest, most unrefined, and most underpowered products from GM.  It's only saving grace was that it did hold up pretty well, all things considered .  .  .
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Axe
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« Reply #144 on: May 29, 2015, 04:50:47 PM »

Sounds to me that you are the right man for the job.

I know the old iron duke was a real POS back in the Vega era but the one in that Olds really surprised me. It had over 100 k miles when I bought it but ran smooth and quiet for what it was. Also had more pep than expected, though not a powerhouse by any means.

Thinking back on it I believe I sold it for more like  $600 less than I had paid for it after 4 yrs of driving it daily. I think something like a power window or the door locks stopped working the day the buyer was picking it up and I cut the price to not kill the deal. Hopefully just a fuse, but didn't have time to worry about it. Axe 
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Oldcarsarecool
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« Reply #145 on: May 30, 2015, 01:14:51 AM »

My shop has a couple of "service trucks" that are used for everything you would expect in an automotive shop - road calls for things like flat tires and dead batteries, towing the trailers used for transporting golf carts and small electric vehicles, chasing parts, etc.  We had a late '80s S10 pickup when I first started that was used mainly for the parts runs.  The Iron Duke and automatic transmission combination meant, a) you could hear it coming long before you could see it, and b) it had trouble hauling the empty utility trailer.  Adding a golf cart to the trailer one too many times is probably what caused the Iron Duke's head gasket to finally throw in the towel after 120k fleet duty miles and 20 years of service.  But have no fear, it's still on the road.  We fixed the head gasket and sent it to one of the satellite research facilities where they (hopefully) aren't towing golf carts .  .  .
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Oldcarsarecool
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« Reply #146 on: September 02, 2015, 01:12:28 AM »

I discovered someone's winter residence .  .  .
March 6, 2015
 
 
 
 
 
Most UGA vehicles sit outside, which makes sense when dealing with a university campus.  There are some exceptions, like the specialized Vet Med vehicles that serve as mobile vet offices in the field.  They get parked under cover.  Some of the Facilities Maintenance shops have enough room for a vehicle as well.  But as a rule of thumb, garage space of any kind is not available for most departments.  Everything sits outside, all day every day.

Vehicles that don't get driven very often are quite tempting for the local critter population especially over the winter.  This depends mainly on where the vehicle sits within the campus limits.  Some of the administrative offices and business services offices, (like Printing, for example), sit one or two blocks off of the downtown area.  Critters generally aren't a problem here. 

Parking a vehicle for extended periods at one of the outlying research farms or animal science teaching facilities is a whole other matter.  We find that the Snowbirds generally check in when the weather gets colder in November, and stay until March.  That's fine.  But I really wish they would learn to clean up after themselves when they leave !





Someone was lucky enough to find a nice condo for winter shelter under the hood of this Chevrolet Uplander van.  The area inside the air filter housing, (directly behind where the air filter sits), is large enough to build a nice lounge area.





Behind that space is another open area where the PCM sits.  I guess this resident wanted separate living and sleeping areas.





It's a good thing that this style air filter has a metal backing !





He chewed through everything right down to the metal .  .  .


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Lone Fox
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« Reply #147 on: September 02, 2015, 07:02:47 PM »

lol, nice condo.
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Oldcarsarecool
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« Reply #148 on: September 07, 2015, 11:34:41 PM »

Customer States:  No power steering, fluid is leaking .  .  .
June 8, 2015
Part 1 of 2
 
 
 
 
 
Many repairs made by the technician follow a pretty straight forward chain of events.  A customer notices something about his/her vehicle that is unusual and goes to the repair facility to have it checked out.  The technician verifies the customer concern, (ALWAYS the first step in the repair process), discovers during the course of the diagnosis that a particular component has failed, and makes the appropriate repair.  For example, the customer may say, "My window won't go down," and the tech will diagnose a faulty window motor that needs to be replaced.  "My battery light is on," is usually followed by an alternator replacement.  A leaking water pump will explain why "There's a puddle of coolant under the car."  In most cases, the component itself has stopped working properly and needed to be repaired or replaced.  

Today's concern presents a slight variation on that theme.  The customer began to hear a whining noise while driving his/her 2004 Ford Freestar van.  Not long after hearing the noise, the steering wheel became really hard to turn.  The cause of the customer's concern was found to follow the reasoning above - a component failed and needed to be replaced.  How the concern got to that point, however, is a very different story .  .  .





All those clips are there for a reason .  .  .
I had a bad feeling about this vehicle right off the bat.





Ford vehicles that utilize a hubcap use plastic caps that thread onto the lug nut, which itself is threaded on the outside.  The cap threads onto the lug nut and holds the hubcap in place.  Vehicles designed for fleet duty don't usually come equipped with nice wheels.  So I see hubcaps all the time.  I grabbed my battery operated drill and socket and loosened the plastic caps so the hubcap could be removed.  However, the lug nut is supposed to stay attached, and not come off with the plastic cap !  This tells me that someone installed five lug nuts on this wheel, but only tightened four.  

And it only got worse from there.





You can see in the photo above that the ABS cable for the LF wheel is not clipped to the brake hose.  This means someone didn't clip the cable back into place after making a repair.  And if it's that way on one side, chances are likely that .  .  .





.  .  . it is the same way on the other side, which it was.  One of the two nuts that holds the crankshaft position sensor bracket in place was missing.





I also noticed that one of the transmission cooler lines wasn't clipped into its retainer on the subframe.





With the line hanging loose from the retaining clip, it is now able to rest against a nearby hose.  This isn't an actual "problem" that will result in some eminent failure.  But it has the potential to be an issue in the future as the years and miles of vibration add up.  The evidence is already there.





By itself, each of these items isn't really that serious.  Forgetting to tighten a lug nut is bad, but there are still 4 others in place and tight.  Omitting a nut from a bracket is not something you want to make a habit of doing.  But if the other nut is tight, chances are nothing will happen.  The pattern is what concerns me.  Each of those clips and retainers is there for a reason.  I say to all of the young techs reading this - don't forget about them !  And this is why .  .  .
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 11:38:52 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #149 on: September 07, 2015, 11:35:51 PM »

continued .  .  .
Part 2 of 2





The ultimate in Rube Goldberg engineering .  .  .
My inspection revealed a broken retainer for the power steering cooler line.  Remember that a power steering concern is the customer complaint.





Since the noise and loss of power steering occurred fairly close to each other, I must have a decent-sized leak somewhere.  While inspecting the power steering lines next to the rack and pinion unit, I found this:





The power steering cooler line for this van is quite long and features several pre-bent metal sections separated by a rubber hose where additional flexibility is needed due to the design of the system.  Ford does not use conventional worm gear style hose clamps in this capacity.  The connections between the metal and rubber lines are crimped from the factory.  Seeing hose clamps is a big red flag and tells me that someone has been in here before and had to make a repair to one of the rubber sections of the line.





Following the power steering cooler line toward the driver's side of the engine compartment at the wheel housing, I found another red flag.





The photo above shows where a metal section of the line passes between the transmission case (L) and part of the front subframe (R).  Once again, I find a retainer that has not been reinstalled.  Looking at the detached retainer from underneath reveals what happened to cause the customer's concern.





The metal retainer is actually supposed to be rotated upward 180 degrees and bolted into the small hole in the black subframe, (visible to the left of the retainer in the photo below).  This is done to keep the metal line from rubbing against the transmission case. 





The detached retainer combined with the modified rubber section of the line allowed the metal section to rest against the transmission case.  The result of this arrangement took a while to appear, but did appear nonetheless.





With the power steering cooler line out of the van, the damage is more easily seen.





The detached metal retainer mentioned earlier allowed the metal section of the line to contact the transmission case.  Eventually a small hole appeared.





I know for sure that nothing done at the Automotive Center caused this to happen.  The department that owns this vehicle recently had transmission work performed elsewhere.  It took roughly 8 months for the results of leaving the retainers loose to show themselves.  But it eventually did happen.

The customer's concern followed the common pattern where a component failed and needed to be replaced.  But getting to that point was completely preventable.  All that would have been needed was for the person making the initial repair to reattach all of the items that were taken loose.  The moral of the story is that all those plastic and/or metal clips and retainers that may seem insignificant are actually there for a reason. 

So to anyone who turns wrenches, especially the young techs, make sure to put everything back in place .  .  .


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