Showing posts with label My GD Car. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My GD Car. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Blowing my car again

Wait.  That doesn't sound quite right.   I like it ok, but not that much.
Noticed a really musty smell this morning in the Scion roller skate. I thought it was remnant O de kx59 seeing as I'd traipsed all over an un-air conditioned office tower yesterday and sweated my ass off.  Monkey brain offered an opinion and said, "you need better deodorant"
I picked up a stack of paper this morning that I'd thrown on the passenger side floor board to find it soaking wet.
AC condensate drain is plugged again.
So I left work early (that's 5 pm for you normal people) so I'd have enough daylight left to put it up on the ramps and crawl up underneath.
Yikes that exhaust collector is hot.
Why the condensate drain tube does not extend down below the sub frame on this car I cannot imagine. **
That little winky is tucked way up in there.  There's all kinds of scalding hot naughty bits, around which you must navigate to reach it, unless the car has been sitting for a while.
So a bit of scrap rubber hose held to the end of the drain, a quick blow and a half gallon of water drains out. Good for another 25,000 miles.

** Probably to keep driveway crawlers like me from fixing my own minor maintenance issue. I'm sure this is a real money maker for Toyota. Almost as good as pulling the rumpled driver's side floor mat out from under the gas pedal.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Towel - throwing in

No not the blog.
Two vehicles headed to the crusher soon.   You know how it is. You make one last heroic effort to get it to run right, then you trade it in for a shiny new car loan.
The old Astro Van leaks at both ends now when it rains. Rust is eternal.
 The man child's Jeep crapped out again, downtown in the basement level of a parking garage after we'd changed out the fuel pump. The jeep leaks when it rains also. Egregiously.  And, it is truly a piece of shit car. Although, it runs like a bat outa hell...when you can get it started.

While I may be curmudgeonly, I am not enough of a money grubbing evil son of a bitch to trade either of these vehicles nor sell them to any poor soul.  I will have to answer for my sins eventually after all.

He and I shopped used car lots last Saturday until we couldn't remember which we'd already been to.
He's got a newer and more fuel efficient vehicle a decade plus model year.

So the two oldest beaters in the BAR Corp. HQ fleet will be headed to the salvage yard soon.
I need to pull the stereos and other assorted stuff out of them first...they are worth more than the scrap iron.

The old van, inherited from my mother turned into a bit of a quest for me.  83K miles on it when I got it and it barely ran.  Via a bunch of driveway crawling and getting greasy, I got another 100K+ miles out of it.  I can turn a wrench.  The rust I was unable to overcome.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

It's a date then

With a fuel pump next weekend.
God laughs while man makes plans.
The man child's jeep crapped out again.  He and I have been chasing this "no start" issue for a while.
So I drove 40 minutes to lay hands on it.  No error codes stored..again.
All this time I've been thinking it was an ignition issue because after cranking it a while I could smell gas like the engine was flooded.
I popped the hose off the intake and hit it with some carb cleaner while sonnage cranked it over.
It started.
So it appears the fuel pump has gotten rather long in the tooth. It's not putting out enough pressure for a cold start. It's still putting out enough to run the engine, just not get it started up. It takes about 15 psi more pressure at start up than required to just keep the engine going.
So, the fuel pump's time has come.

A mechanic shop charged me $600 to replace the fuel pump in my Jeep some years ago.
I was not a happy camper. So I decided I'd be doing the next one myself.* lists a replacement pump for $72.79.  Even with a couple of hours of my time invested, that's a pretty healthy reduction in expenditure.**

Most people I talk to regarding shade tree auto repair believe that modern vehicles are too complicated to repair themselves, what with all the sensors and dohickies.  For 26 bucks, you can buy a code reader. Often, the computer in the car will tell you what the problem is. Once you discover how simple it is to replace many of the engine management and emissions sensors you will not be happy with what your auto shop charges you to do so.
When the error code search comes up empty, there's either no spark or not enough (no) fuel.

* I also fired the mechanic shop I'd done business with for ten years.  The fuel pump episode was the last straw after finding out they were charging me 4x retail for parts. Yeah, I know they have the parts warranty thing...whatev, bite me. They aren't even paying 1x retail for parts.  sunsabitches.

** I have saved not spent tens of thousands of dollars on auto repairs over the years.

Monday, October 28, 2013

An Affinity for things Mechanical

If you can quiet your mind and observe and follow written instructions, you can fix just about anything.
These days, someone out there on algore's intertubes has had the same problem you have, and with a bit of searching you can find several possibilities that may be making your car not do what it is effing supposed to do, as in GO.
Sometimes, it just takes a little "fondling" and the "force"

Sunday, after leaving work, I stopped by my son's apartment to lay hands on his ancient and dead Jeep Cherokee.  He and I have been through this "no start" issue several times before.

I took my code reader, my volt / amp meter and some carb cleaner to use as "starter fluid".

No codes came up on the reader.
Pop the hood.
A calm came over my mind.  The Jeep 4.0 liter inline six.  Man that is a great engine.  200+ hp and tremendous torque.
I checked the battery connections then just stood there for a  minute looking.
My hands went to every electrical connection under the hood. Coil to distributor, plugs, injectors, etc., etc.
 Meanwhile, the man child pulled the top off the under hood fuse box and started poking them, stating he'd checked them before.
He went to put the cover back on, and I said, " take that back off".
I inspected the fuses for broken links, then began pushing down on each.  One of the "black box" circuit breakers moved, ever so slightly under pressure.
I pulled it out, and re-seated it.
I told him, "that one moved just a bit"...."really?"
"should I try to start it now?"
"yeah, give it a crank"


Sometimes things work out the way you want them to.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


The inevitable disintegration of order into disorder.

Pretty much sums up the State of the Union  now that I think about it, but that's not where I was going with this.

I seem, regardless of vehicle ground clearance, to have an innate ability to follow at just the right distance to catch every rock and flicked cigarette butt* that comes out of the vehicle in front of me.

Truck, vans, compact car, car the size of a ballerina slipper, doesn't matter, most of my vehicles have had a major crack in the windshield.

The ballerina slipper, my current car - Scion tC - is a rock magnet. It started with a chip. When that failed to develop into a crack, the universe deemed that a rock impact was needed at the lower edge of the windshield where it could not be seen from inside the car.  That rapidly developed into an exquisite question mark shaped crack.
 This was not enough to defile the first new car I have owned since 1996.  The right front fog lamp apparently needed a good killin as well.

Of course, I can't just buy a replacement lens for the fog lamp.  I can buy a replacement fog lamp, from Toyota for $260.  Oy, such a deal?
A set of aftermarket fog lamps, that is, two fog lamps, are on the way for half that price.  The windshield replacement?  That will be roughly $500.  I was expecting worse considering the car was built in Japan and imported.  I still need a Tums to quell the acid reflux.

I am not proud. I have driven vehicles that embarrassed my children for many, many years, cracked windshields and all, but the crack in the Scion windshield is annoying the bejeezus out of me.
I'm used to having to constantly repair the junkyard fleet, but I hadn't expected to have to start fighting entropy on a car, bought new, that I've had 18 months just yet. (well, I have clocked 31,000 miles on it already. Like I always say, "it ain't the years, it's the mileage" when people tell me I don't look so good)
Could be worse I suppose.**

* Had a lit butt land on my Jeep hood at 30 mph in the "sweet spot" where the negative pressure bubble was just perfect.  It just laid there and quivered while burning the clear coat. Thankfully after a few minutes a cross wind took pity on me and blew it off the hood.
** Years ago, the AC had crapped out in my Ford Ranger and I was driving down 59 South next to a Semi with the window down.  Semi ran over a flattened metal hub cap and launched it into the air.
It passed by the driver's side open window in a vertical orientation a few inches from the cab.  The air flow, thankfully, caught it and directed it just past the back left corner of the cab and out between the two back posts of the rack over the bed of the truck, pretty much dead center over the tailgate.
I did have presence of mind to lean to the right just a bit, just in case.  I recall thinking, "wow, I'm really glad that didn't shred the left side of my face."  I was more handsome back then. It is less of a concern these days. :-)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

blowing my hose

The drain hose from the condensate pan under the a/c evaporator clogged up a few days ago.  i became aware of this by way of wet carpet on the passenger side of my 18 mo. old scion.*
It took a while to find the drain tube. it comes out of the bottom of the firewall dead center in the vehicle.
A bit a design flaw I think, as the condensate water drips all over the uni-body frame at the bottom of the vehicle.
So me thinks I'm going to have to rig an extension to the hose.

As for my immediate problem, I am a pack rat. Amongst the rats I pack are random lengths of rubber hose left over from decades of shade tree auto repair.
So I held one end of a piece of hose to the drain tube and blew in the other end till I could hear bubbles in the condensate pane.  I even had presence of mind not to inhale post blow before removing the hose.
This worked perfectly well and the water drained just fine.
I have a big compressor and an air gun but for one, I didn't feel like messing with it, and two, I was afraid I'd blast the water in the pan right up under the dash inside the car.

Looks like I'm going to have to blow my hose every time I do an oil change just to make sure it stays clear.

* This is the first vehicle I've ever owned where this has happened, and after only 18 months.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bad Automotive JuJu

 Not sure what caught up with my youngest daughter this past week.  she was a late bloomer. She didn't start driving til she was 18.  She's been driving a bit over a year and up until this past week, accident and ticket free.
Sumlady made a U turn in front of her and daughter hit sumlady's car, sumlady hit someone else's car. Cop's ticketed sumlady I believe. All I know for sure is daughter did not get the ticket.
So daughter is now dealing with the hassle of the insurance claim and getting her car fixed.
A few days later, light turns yellow and daughter stops short at the intersection. Toothless lady smacks into the back end of her Saturn.  So now the Saturn has a boo boo on both ends and two concurrent insurance claims.
Youngest daughter does not drive a lot, being a homebody.  I guess the law of averages said enough is enough and decided to re-balance the universe in a single week.
Youngest Daughter is ok. A little sore in unsymmetrical places, but otherwise fine.

In the same week, oldest daughter got hit head on by Mr. Uninsured. On a surface street fortunately.  Also fortunate that the grand children were not in the car with her.  Also fortunate that the air bag worked as advertised and she's ok as well.  The cops on the scene were righteously pissed at Mr. Uninsured, so I'm told, when they saw three children's car seats buckled into her car.

I do hope that the law of averages has found balance for a while.

Monday, November 5, 2012

What dumbass thought that was a good idea?

Oh wait, it's gubmint motors.
Belle's Chevy Malibu threw a shoe check engine light a few days back.  The puter's stored code indicates the throttle position sensor is headed south.

Easy fix thinks I.  Get a new sensor, twenty minutes and a few hand tools and it's good to go.
Off to I go.  Hmmm, no TPS even listed. next. Hmmm, no TPS listed at all. My secret weapon, no TPS listed.

Srsly? I'm going to have to go to a stealership parts department to get a throttle position sensor? The Harrah!

My stubbornness about paying inflated parts prices drove me to find out what the deal was. What would have been a 10 minute part lookup turned into a 2 hour googlefu quest.

Turns out Chevy built the throttle position sensor into the throttle body....meaning, the entire throttle body has to be replaced when the $28 sensor craps out.   Cheapest of the cheap auto parts store; Autozone price $369...special order only.

noeffingway. had a wholesaler's closeout on an AC Delco replacement part for 86 bucks. Yay! I think?  (once you know what the hell you are looking for it's a lot easier to find)

Wholesaler's closeout?  That car is 5 years old.  Might be time to start hoarding Malibu parts.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Electricity + Water =

I've enjoyed a certain amount of shadenfreude over Chevy Volt and Fisker spontaneous combustion, but hadn't given much thought as to what would happen should you find yourself in high water.


The Fisker battery pack sits pretty low in the car. It doesn't look like it would require anywhere near full submersion to cause problems.
Even before the fire, the battery discharge into the water might put some serious hurt on you.
I'm sure the Fisker engineers thought of this and have some safety feature built in, right?  right? 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

25% better gas mileage?

Left at 0-dark-thirty this morning headed for Austin. Drove the same route I've driven many times.
It usually takes a full tank of gas for the round trip.  Topped off the tank this morning and headed out.
The tC is usually right on 1/2 tank when I arrive at my destination. This time I arrived with 5/8 of a tank.
Got home with 1/4 of a tank of gas.
Same route.
Same rush hour traffic in  Austin.
A/C was running the whole way.
Eco mode turned off as usual.
Same lead foot. (speaking of which, I blew past a DPS officer running radar doing 75 in 65 zone and was sure I was going to get tagged.  He was either asleep, or looking for bigger fish)
No recent oil change or air filter change.
No change in tire pressure.
I certainly haven't lost any weight.

pretty strange. I'm stumped.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Brakes part deaux

Two weeks back we did Brother in Law's disc brakes.  We'd have done the drums that weekend too, but we di'int have no instructions. No matter how much we beat it, that drum wasn't coming off. Then the next weekend I had to go fishing, never mind I didn't catch nothing, it was paramount that I be there to catch nothing. If I didn't do it who would? Those fish were not going to get not caught by themselves.

In the interim, the intertubes came to the rescue and the repair manual for BIL's car arrived.
Who knew there was a hub nut under the little silver cap that was actually holding the drum in place?
(k, well, at least one of us, but I'm not pointing any fingers)
A 30mm socket and a 24" breaker bar removed that impediment in short order.
Rebuilding brake drums sucks with a Capital S, but I have to hand it to the Ford engineers.  Rebuilding BIL's drum brakes on his Ford Focus only sucked with a lower case s.
On any new and unfamiliar shade tree drum brake job the first wheel takes about 4 hours.  The second wheel takes about thirty minutes because you have climbed the learning curve and crested the top.
I'm still pissed at Ford about the forward bolt on the wheel cylinder...really? 8.5 degrees of room to turn the bolt and no axial access. Hint, it's called a hole large enough for an 8mm socket you MORONS.
I'm ok, I feel better now.
The only pic I have is the before pic.  This is probably the most important step in the process. It prevents scratching your head with brake dust encrusted fingers when it's time for all those springs to go back together.

Then.   It RAINED.
Fortunately, we were done, inside drinking beer and watching Act of Valor on pay per view.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A friendly note to auto assembly personnel

An oil filter does not require 100 foot pounds of torque to ensure it does not leak.
No, really. I've hand tightened hundreds of them with no leak problem. Really.

Also, cross threading is not an alternative progressive installation method.

The  canister containing the cartridge filter on my 2012 Scion tC refuses to budge.

Why yes, as a matter of fact, I do have the 65mm TRD 14 flute oil filter socket, thanks for asking.

This might turn out to be like the cap on Belle's Chevy Malibu cartridge oil filter. It appears I'll have to find a replacement before the next removal attempt, cuz I had to break that one off to replace the filter.
When I say "break", I mean take a chisel and hammer to it.

This is going to require some deep deep google fu. I may not be back for days.
Thank god for google translate, otherwise I might have to learn how to read Japanese.
 The car was built in Japan. Nobody has replacement parts, that I've seen. Not even my go-to site
God forbid, I should have to go to a stealer dealer for parts.

As an unsolicited plug, if you need parts for your car, particularly parts you can't get at your local third party auto parts store, fire up the intertubes and go HERE.
They have everything you need and can't find anywhere else. (except for my Scion just yet)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Not the way I planned to spend the evening

My BIL emailed me this morning, writing that his car was struggling to start and that he thought his battery was headed south. So I wrote back to check the battery terminals for corrosion before he went and bought a new battery.
So, BIL was going to stop by this evening to borrow a few wrenches and clean up the terminals. They were pretty bad. When I say bad, I mean they looked like tempura fried shrimp. The negative terminal connection was completely buried in white corrosion.
When you are doing shade tree mechanics, something always goes wrong.  If things go well for too long, it means something really bad is going to happen before it's over.
BIL dropped one of the terminal nuts down into the engine bay. We hunted for it for a while and gave up.
Fortunately, I keep random left over nuts and bolts so we overcame that little problem. Given the minor nature of this mechanical undertaking, I thought we'd made it through the driveway crawler's rubicon.
BIL gets in to start it up and we are greeted with...nothing, no crank, no click no nothing. So, after a bit more inspection, we discover a small ground wire, formerly attached to the negative wiring harness has broken loose. Holding that wire to ground does not result in a starting car, so I pronounce the car dead and tell him he's going to have to get it towed. For him, that's the really bad part. Tow charge, pay a mechanic etc etc.
So, we were going to push it out into the street by the curb to get it out from behind Belle's car.
Key is turned to the on position and the emeffer will not come out of park.  It is now a Ford Brick.
Long story short, I managed to maneuver Belle's car from in front of BIL's car out into the front lawn and get it out into the street by the curb so she can get to work in the morning.
Just imagine every youtube video of the world's worst parallel parker you've ever seen and you'll have a good idea of how that process went.
Now I'm back from dropping my BIL back at his place and enjoying a hoppy beverage I put in the freezer to chill when I got home.  Beer  Slushy anyone?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Running out of daylight

My brother in law and I started on his brake job this morning at nine. The disk brakes went quick, with the exception of the autoparts dood giving us the wrong rotors and pads.  So we hightailed it back for the correct stuff.
My BIL let his brakes go a bit long. 95,000 miles.
Yeah, it was time for a brake job.

Monday, June 25, 2012

If you like Cars

And road trips. You should watch this. Bluesun recommended this on Netflix.
I watched it tonight. I thought I'd had car problems. Holy shit.
Horatio’s Drive: America’s First Road Trip. 
Circa 1903

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fuel pumps and O rings

Hmmm, let's see, who makes those? I might be investing in those companies soon.

EPA approves E15 gasoline.
Great article at American Thinker. Peter Wilson covers pretty much all the pros and cons (mostly cons) of E15.
I remember when E10 gas came in to being. It does bad things to rubber seals in the fuel system. Mechanics were making money hand over fist replacing fuel pumps and fuel system components. Eventually the auto manufacturers adjusted and the problems dissipated. So now that everything's better, let's ratchet things up a notch. That's sure to make things better squared, right?
One of my favorite passages from the article:
"The EPA is also preparing signage and information campaigns to warn owners of older vehicles about E15. On March 2, the EPA released an "E15 Misfueling Mitigation Plan" with directions for "Labeling," "Product Transfer Documentation (PTD)," an Educational Outreach Coalition (E15EOC), and instructions for a "survey plan," in which "samples will be calculated as follows":

I hope that's clear to everyone.
I can't imagine that local gas station owners are excited by the prospect of investing in renovating their pumps to accommodate a fuel that provides fewer miles per gallon and might cause engine damage."
Well I'm certainly not putting it in the '89 beater Astro Van, and frankly I'm not to excited about putting it in the '12 tC either.  If I had a flex-fuel vehicle I wouldn't worry, but the last time I had a mechanic replace a fuel pump it ran me $600.  I learned how to drop a fuel tank and replace the pump myself after that. Even if it takes me 8 hours to do it, I'm ahead of the game.

The fuel pumps at the gas station don't like it either. But, not to worry, the government is there to subsidize pump upgrades from Obama's Magic Stash Taxpayer's money.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Plural of Prius?

Cruising at 75 mph on the way home today (man I love spring break, traffic's light) I got passed by two of them. Tailgated by one of them.   Nothing piques the kx59 stubborn streak like a tailgater.  Tailgater was a young guy, with a girl in the car.  The ubiquitous internet word "Really?" came to mind.  I don't know, maybe groovy hippie chicks are impressed by a guy driving a Prius ridiculously fast.
 Either Prius drivers have something to prove, or figure they get such good gas mileage standing on the throttle ad infinitum doesn't matter.
Hmmm, curious about the specs on this hybrid: curb weight 3980 lbs. Holey crap.  That's 1000 lbs. heavier than my tC, and not a heck of a lot lighter than the Astro beater Van.
4 Cylinder 1.8 Liter engine.  Horsepower: 134. Torque: 105 foot pounds.  (I wonder how long it takes to get up to 80 mph in a Prii...)
Oh. Wait. That explains a lot. Once you get that mass moving, you don't want to lose the momentum. Kinda like driving the Astro Van.

The name, "Prius", is latin for "before"**.  Awesome, way to go marketing people. Your car name is a preposition.

**According to Wikipedia. I claim no knowledge of dead languages.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Scion tC review - two weeks in

I'm about half way into the break in mileage so far, so I haven't really romped on the accelerator yet.  But, the part throttle acceleration I've done so far hints at some get up and go from that little 2.5 liter 4 cylinder.  The only detriment so far is that there are some blind spots. The rear quarter windows are small, and with the spoiler on the back, changing lanes requires some serious attention. I'm still adjusting to the low horizon and small mirrors compared to the Astro Beater Van, but I'll adjust..I'm sure :-)
With the 6 speed auto transmission, the car cruises at 70 mph at around 2100 rpm, which is highly beneficial for gas mileage. The tC is not a super gas mileage econobox, nor is it Chevy Camaro killer, but it is a really fun car to drive.
On the gas mileage, by now on my daily commute, I would have hit the gas pump three times. I've hit it twice. Now, I must qualify that because I never fill up. I usually do about ten gallons or so. Home economics is based on cash flow in, and out. Cash flow in, and out is directly related to time, and so I parse fuel purchases.
From my research prior to buying the tC, it was pigeon holed by the Car Mags as a first car you'd buy for your Son or Daughter when they first got their license. Those guys seriously need a reality check.
It's not a question of whether your newly driving teen will have an accident, but when. I have four of them. The only one that hasn't wrecked her car yet is the youngest. But, she hasn't been driving too long just yet.
I digress.
The interior is not leather, and there is no option for that but the interior fit and finish is really well done.
By today's price standards, considering what you get, this car gets a KX59 best buy award.
Right about the time my factory warranty runs out, aftermarket parts should be available for the 2012. And..then, the fun really begins. Guys that drift race these little rice rockets have jacked the horsepower up over 300 with no detriment to the stock engine internals.
Heh..mid life I Come!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Wow, I could'a had a V8! What ev.
I like my little tC just fine.  Although I have a real soft spot in my heart for the Jeep Cherokees.
Jeep has a new concept Grand Cherokee.  They need to fire their designers.
I bet I'm viewing at least $35k of unmitigated ugly.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Just in time to see Texans Lose

Kudos to them for getting as far as they did under the circumstances.
The man child and I finished up resealing the moon roof on his jeep in time to catch the 4th quarter.
Resealing for the second weekend in a row. Kx59 selected the incorrect sealant the first time. Worked ok through the rain last week, but wasn't going to hold up for the long haul. A few drips made it through.
Windshield adhesive sealant this time.