Oldsmobile's traditional naming strategy is one of those things that kind of got lost to time -- even at GM itself. Traditionally, the first number in the Olds name referred to the car's size class; the "70" series was smaller than the "80," which was smaller than the "90." The second number referred to the number of cylinders. So, technically this model-year car should have been called the "Oldsmobile 86" But, tradition is usually cooler than technical accuracy, so GM could be forgiven for the slip.
Computer controls first started showing up in the 1970s, much to the horror of non-factory mechanics. The early days of computer controls were like the Wild West, where every manufacturer used whatever coding system it wanted to. That meant that a mechanic might have to have a dozen expensive computer code readers to conduct business. The pre-OBD-II systems the 1994 Accord used made things a little easier, but not as easy or comprehensive as the later OBD-II protocol.
In 1996, Ford made what was probably one of the most controversial changes it had ever made to the Mustang. Since the day it debuted, the word "Mustang" had been all but synonymous with "Windsor small-block." But the times, they had changed -- the Windsor was out, and the high-tech Modular took its place.
Beginning on January 1, 1996, the federal government required manufacturers to equip all U.S.-bound vehicles with a standardized diagnostic system, known as On-Board Diagnostics, Series II. This system monitors all of the major electrical components that affect the CO2 emissions of the engine, and triggers a "Check Engine" light when it detects a failure. The first step in diagnosing a "Check Engine" light on your 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer is finding the OBD-II connection port-- also known as the data link connector.
While there's no doubt that catalytic converters have done a tremendous amount of good in terms of keeping our air and groundwater clean, they can cause some serious performance problems. Even when new, converters cost a bit of performance and fuel economy; failure can easily exacerbate those issues.
Introduced in 1981, the Cavalier was definitely the right car for the right time in America. At its peak in 1986, the Cavalier was selling at the rate of more than 430,000 a year; sales slowly trickled down to about a quarter of that until the car's complete redesign in 1995. By 1997, the Cavlier with its new chassis had once again skyrocketed to GM's number-one seller.
The Impala reappeared in Chevrolet's lineup in 2000, following a brief stint as the Impala SS -- essentially a hopped-up Caprice -- from 1994 through 1996. The 2005 Impala had three available engines -- a 3.4-liter V-6, naturally aspirated 3.8 V-6 and a supercharged 3.8 V-6 -- and all three engines used a timing chain instead of a reinforced rubber timing belt, which has some added benefits and drawbacks.
There are certain things an engine can do that just reek of "very bad," and unnatural changes in fluid color or texture rate pretty high on that list. Nasty coolant is one of those that can elicit a kind of knee-jerk disgust or panic -- as well it should. Not only is the idea of viscous mud flowing through your engine in place of clear, green antifreeze disturbing, it can be a sign of serious engine failure.
Some people just don't know when to stop. Most people would call it a day after swimming a 1.5 km race. After that, they probably wouldn't race a mountain bike 30 km up a trail, then go for a brisk 11 km jog afterward. Yet, that's just what the XTERRA Global Tour off-road triathletes must endure just to finish, and that's the unstoppable spirit that Nissan sought to tap when it named its own off-roader "Xterra." Of course, everybody's got to stop sometime, unless perhaps, your ABS system is on the fritz.
There are two basic types of mechanic. The first and most common type is the "replacement" mechanic; this variety is characterized by ample capability with a wrench, but with a tendency to simply throw new -- and expensive -- parts at a broken car until they stumble on the part that's actually broken. The second type is the rare "diagnostician," one characterized by the willingness to step back, think logically about the car and how it works, and figure out what exactly what's wrong with it before cash hits the parts counter.
Gas engines generally need five things to run: air, fuel, electricity, water and oil. Of all the things that might potentially be added to that list without harm, sand is probably somewhere near the bottom. Still, it does happen -- plugs tend to be at the bottom of holes that collect sand and mud.
There are many terms and phrases in the world of boom that have truly entered the mainstream vocabulary. A "flash in the pan" refers to a short-lived and unintended firing of gunpowder in a flint-lock gun, and "where the rubber meets the road" has been used so often that it's become cliche. "Backfire" started out in the gun world; there, it refers to a powder charge that shoots backward out of the chamber instead of forward out of the barrel. In the automotive realm, "backfire" means having the police show up at your house because somebody reported gunfire.
Adding transmission oil to a 1998 Honda Accord V-6 requires you to be very careful so that you don't accidentally add the oil to the wrong place. Add transmission oil to a 1998 Honda Accord V-6 with help from a longtime automotive expert in this free video clip.
Correct wiper sizes for a 2006 Honda Accord will help make sure that they always operate as efficiently as possible, even in the winter. Find out about correct wiper sizes for a 2006 Honda Accord with help from a longtime automotive expert in this free video clip.
Whether or not brake fluid flushes are necessary on a 2006 Honda Accord depends largely on a few key things with your particular model. Find out if a brake fluid flush is necessary on the 2006 Honda accord with help from a longtime automotive expert in this free video clip.
The oil capacity of a 1996 Honda Accord 2.2L engine is very important to know, especially if you are changing your oil yourself. Find out about the oil capacity of the 1996 Honda Accord 2.2L engine with help from a longtime automotive expert in this free video clip.
You should always use the recommended oil for a 2001 Honda Accord LX to avoid potential engine problems later on. Find out about the recommended oil for a 2001 Honda Accord LX 2.4L with help from a longtime automotive expert in this free video clip.
Just because your 2003 Honda Accord starter is "bad" doesn't necessarily mean that it will need to be replaced. Find out what to do if the 2003 Honda Accord starter is bad with help from a longtime automotive expert in this free video clip.
The starter on a 1995 Honda Accord is in a slightly different place compared to other models. Find out where the starter is on a 1995 Honda Accord with help from a longtime automotive expert in this free video clip.
Look at the hind quarters of the first-generation Jetta, and you might notice that the bottom of the rear window seems oddly low next to the top of the trunk lid. This little styling quirk stuck with the Jetta all the way up to 2005, but it wasn't because the lower window enhanced visibility. No, this misalignment was due entirely to the fact that in order to create the car, VW just replaced the Golf hatchback's rear hatch cover with fixed glass and a protruding cargo box. Leave it to the Germans to turn a tacked-on trunk a trademark styling…
Ford Motor Company released an all new sedan and station wagon in 1986 known as the Ford Taurus. It carried a radical aerodynamic design that was seldom seen on this side of the world – especially for a sedan or station wagon. The Taurus quickly became an American favorite, and was even used as the official cop car in the move “Robocop.” From 1992 to 1996, it was the best selling car in the United States market. By the 1996 model year, all production models from Ford came with on-board-diagnostics II, which was an advanced version of the diagnostic system…
The Mazda 626 was always dubbed “The Family Car” in Mazda’s lineup. It actually replaced the 616 and RX-2 in the late 1970s, and Mazda continued production until 2002. Starting in 1996, like all other production automobiles, Mazda integrated a new level of onboard diagnostics – known as OBDII-- into the powertrain control module. This new system not only made it easier for the PCM to determine faults early on, but also gave repair technicians a way to determine what the fault might be. This code is applicable for both the 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the 2.5-liter V-6 engine.
Chrysler's mechanics were caught a bit off-guard when engineers delivered the company's first purpose-built, front-drive V-6 engine. Expecting a high-tech, dual-overhead-cam beast in the mold of the Ford Taurus SHO, they instead got an old-school pushrod engine like the standard Taurus. Still, the Chrysler 3.3-liter and its 3.8-liter derivative exceeded expectations, providing performance and economy belying their simple natures. But the 60-degree V-6 was still a fairly unsophisticated powerplant at heart, and even when new it wasn't exactly the quietest or smoothest engine out there. A decade of wear certainly hasn't improved that condition any.
Your driving down the road and your check engine light comes on, you would think a problem with the engine would cause some kind of drivability problem, but in this case it doesn’t. Trouble code P1443 will not exhibit any dysfunctional driving because it has to do with the evaporative emissions system. Likely to your surprise the code will not be found in a traditional code book, or your aftermarket repair manual. This is because code P1443 is specific to Ford and is used primarily to help Ford technicians diagnose problems with the EVAP system.
Equipped with a 2.0-liter engine and a manual transmission your base model 1999 Volkswagen Jetta has become known as a reliable and trustworthy vehicle. It means a great deal in terms of reliability to be able to jump in your car and go at any given time if needed, so a stalling problem anytime the engine is cold is a serious issue. There are many different things that can cause your Jetta to stall immediately on start up, but finding the needle in the haystack won’t be so difficult if you know the right places to look.
Every engine on the road today that has a block mounted camshaft has lifters, be it solid or hydraulic. The general purpose of the lifter is to convert the rotational movement of the camshaft to the linear movement required for the valve train. There isn't a prescribed time to the life a lifter, but like all moving components in an engine they can fail over time. Lifter noise is often confused with other common noises, so its important to know what symptoms come from a faulty lifter. It's also important to understand how the valvetrain as a whole works and…
The Pontiac Fiero was born in 1984 as a two-seater mid-engine coupe with lots of potential. Whether that potential was eventually realized or not, the addition of a V-6 engine option in 1985 was a step in the right direction. The high-energy ignition system of either the base four-banger, or the V-6, operated on the same basic principles, with similar components. Ignition module failure occurs abruptly, with a finality that provokes disbelief. Any car of this vintage may be prone to breakdowns, but certain design characteristics of the Fiero make the ignition module more susceptible to demise than similar modules…
Steering pumps provide the might and muscle to "power" steering. They operate continuously, anytime the vehicle engine runs. The hydraulic steering system is pressurized whether the steering wheel is moving, or stationary. This constant displacement of fluid means a pump's exertions may produce some unsavory sounds, any time a vehicle is underway. Peace and quiet under the hood inspires confidence in a vehicle, and may be obtained by some simple inspections or minor corrections to silence steering pump operations.
Packing a maximum of 110 horsepower, the 1.9-liter four-cylinder under the hood of your 1988 Escort can be quite the turd if you happen to develop a spark delivery problem. Chances are you have already been through the basics to find the reason for your lack of spark delivery, and have worked your way back to the ignition coil. At this point if you have checked everything else the only cause for lack of spark should be a faulty ignition coil or bad wiring going to the coil. If you have inspected and chenger your spark plugs, plug wires, distributer…
Whether your Escape came in the base model with a four-cylinder or any other trim level with the 3.0-liter six-cylinder, you have a sophisticated air bag system. You air bag system is designed to self test to ensure all circuits and air bags will work properly if needed. There are two different sets of air bag codes that can be read from your escape. Your air bag light will flash different flash codes when there is a fault, just like the old OBD-1 check engine light. You can also hook up a scan tool to read more in-depth trouble codes…
Equipped with a manual transmission and a 1.6-liter naturally aspirated engine, your 1997 Nissan Sentra is equipped with the same evaporative emissions system that every other car on the road has. Code P0446 is directly related to this EVAP system and the cause should be diagnosed and repaired quickly. Failure to get to the root cause of this trouble code will cause you to fail emissions testing, if your state elects to perform them and its bad for the environment all together.
Electrical circuits are one of those odd things that are usually a lot less complicated than they appear, especially if you look at it from the point of view of an electron. You -- the electron -- start at the battery, then travel through a wire to the junction box. From there, you might go to an accessory or switch, or you might stop off at a second fuse box on the way. If the switch lets you through, you go to the accessory, then back to the battery through the ground. All in less time than it would take…
Your 1994 Pontiac Grand prix was offered in the base trim level with a well known 3.1-liter six-cylinder and a four-speed automatic transmission. If you don’t know anything about the 3.1-liter, or the internal workings of an engine, a ticking noise could be one of a thousand things, as far as your concerned. Funny thing is, most people don’t understand from a service side of view the 3.1-liter has well known problems; not unlike most engines in use today. Knowing the common faults and failures is the key to determining the cause of a ticking noise, in this case with…
Powered by a 4T65E and a 3.1-liter in the base model or a 3.8-liter in the LTZ model, your 1996 Lumina is still a reasonably common car on the road today. Despite a good reliability after a long life of service, components are bound to wear down and fail. Luckily your Lumina is equipped with and OBD-II system that helps pinpoint problems; in most cases before serious damage is caused. Code P1870 relates to the transmission and its performance. The root cause could be one of few; a few causes that range from minor to serious.
Offered with a 2.5-liter v-6 and a six-speed manual or 7-speed automatic transmission you Mercedes C230 delivers reasonable power with a classy look. Despite the well known name and the style of the C230 it is like all other vehicles on the road and has its own faults. Limp mode is commonly considered to be a bad thing by most drivers, but this is actually the opposite. Limp mode is a safety feature that activates when the ECM detects a serious problem, but allows you to get your vehicle to a safe place. It is almost impossible to diagnose the…
Regardless of whether your 93' Lumina came with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, 3.1-liter six-cylinder engine or a 3.4-liter six-cylinder engine, your vehicle can still produce high levels of carbon monoxide that will cause you to fail an emissions test. Your high levels of CO gas can come from a variety of different things, but is generally related to improper combustion and left over gas due to an improper air to fuel mixture. Finding the source can be a little tricky, but not impossible.
With a combined gas mileage of 24 miles per gallon, the 1992 Accord wasn't the most fuel efficient vehicle Honda ever produced. Even with the well known reliability of Honda made vehicles, they are all still subject to their own problems from time to time. A good majority of Honda owners have experienced a surging engine from time to time for various reasons, but knowing where too look is half the battle.
The 2.8-liter engine under your hood was installed in most base model 1985 Chevy Camaro's and was generally bolted to a five-speed manual transmission. Granted your 2.8-liter engine can't provide the horsepower or torque that can be pumped from the small block v-8, but it can still get you Camaro up to speed reasonably quickly; until something goes wrong. Your rough idle could be caused for a number of reasons and diagnosis could be tricky, but if you know where to look it may help lessen the pain of chasing a needle in a haystack.
Offered by Ford in a number of trim levels, several different engines and a few transmission/drivetrain options the 2000 Ranger base model came with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission. Despite the different configurations from ranger to ranger, the blower motor is located behind the passenger side of the dashboard. A chirping noise coming from the dashboard can be a pain to try and diagnose, but if you already have it narrowed down to the blower motor, you have already fought half the battle.
The loss of power steering will create a hard steering scenario where you will have to apply at least some extra effort into turning. Losing power steering can be attributed to a number of different things, but when it is intermittent like in cold weather it can be more difficult to diagnose. Most importantly you need to refrain from driving the vehicle as lack of power steering can lead to accidents quicker than you think. Keep in mind if you have to add fluid you need to inspect your reservoir cap or owner’s manual because industry standard has begun to…
The long massive beast known as the Chevy Suburban was offered with a 5.7-liter in the base model; attached to that small block 350 was a four-speed automatic transmission. A fast idle or any idle problem at all can be a difficult thing to diagnose; however knowing the right places to look and what to look for can help you decipher what your problem is and how to fix it. Somewhere there is a long list written down of all the common things that can cause you to have a fast idle on 350 engine, but those who know more…
Over the years the Ranger has used several different methods to deliver an accurate speed reading to the instrument cluster. In the beginning there was a mechanical gear that was splined to a gear inside the transmission and a cable that connected the speedometer needle in the dashboard to the speedometer gear. Ford then switched to a vehicle speed sensor that worked similar, but was read by the computer. From 1995 to 1998 the speedometer setup was removed from the transmission all together and the computer would deliver a speedometer reading based on the vehicle speed sensor installed in the…
The sacrificial device known as the fuse is the only protection your radio, lights, and other electrical components have. Technically speaking, a fuse doesn’t actually go bad -- a blown fuse has actually performed its job exactly as intended. That's a good thing, but it implies that there was something wrong elsewhere in the circuit. Due to the way fuses are engineered, the likelihood that a fuse would become faulty without blowing is pretty slim, but there are rare instances in which a fuse might appear completely fine, even though no current runs through it.
With a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission you 1997 Camry was built to conform to either federal emissions or California emissions. If your vehicle is built to California emissions you will have a catalytic converter as part of the exhaust manifold and a second converter midstream in the exhaust piping. A clogged catalytic converter on your Camry will share the same tale tale signs as other vehicles experiencing the problem. The catalytic converter is very important to protect the environment and is required by law in most states to me emissions standards.
With a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine and a four-speed automatic transmission you have power and luxury in a car that didn't cost you 3 million dollars to purchase. Like all vehicles of this era, your lexus has an on-board diagnostics system that is used to help technicians diagnose problems within the engine and powertrain; in most cases before they are even serious enough to notice. Code P1130 specifically relates to your bank 1 sensor 1 air/fuel sensor, also commonly referred to as an oxygen sensor.
Diesel exhaust has always had a significant smell compared to the smell of a gasoline engine's exhaust, but in general it shouldn’t exhibit much of a sulfurous smell. A sulfur or rotten egg smell is exactly that, the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the exhaust system. There are a number of causes for the rotten egg smell you are experiencing, including a source of stench that may not even have anything to do with the exhaust or engine at all.
Even as technology and methods of fuel delivery have advanced over the years, the fuel system on your 5.4-liter remains rather simplistic. A lack of fuel at the fuel injectors can be caused by faulty equipment, blockages at the fuel pump and/or filter or electrical problems. Because the fuel system has several different components, investigating every part of the fuel system will be necessary to accurately diagnose and repair your fuel delivery problem.
One thing you have to appreciate about the Germans: they usually make servicing and replacement procedures fairly easy. One thing that might drive you nuts about the Germans: They typically make those servicing procedures easy by designing components that require lots of very specialized tools to service them. Replacing the Jetta's strut mount is a fairly straight-forward procedure, even easy, compared to most cars. But you are going to need a few tools that you might not have on hand, so do your shopping and homework first before trying to crack that mount.
High Carbon Monoxide levels can be caused for a variety of reasons, but in general high CO levels from the exhaust can be attributed to and is a by-product of poor or incomplete combustion. This can be the result of too much fuel or not enough air going into the engine. All fuel delivery is control by the on-board computer hidden under your dashboard, but several sensors can lead the computer to delivering too much gas. Keep in mind failing an emissions test can seem really bad, but it doesn’t necessarily mean there is something seriously wrong with your car;…
In 2003, Chevy only offered the turbo-charged 6.6-liter Duramax Diesel engine in the 2500 and up series, which have been known for being good reliable trucks. Regardless of how good a truck is built or how well it is taken care of, the possibility for failures is always there and random stalling or no start conditions aren’t exempt. Finding the culprit causing your diesel engine to stall or not start can be like finding a needle in a hay stack, but there are a few common things to look into before diving head deep into said hay stack.
The 1999 Honda came with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Honda has always been known for producing quality vehicles that tend to last, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t without their own problems or flaws like any other automobile on the road. Random stalling is a problem that can be a serious pain to diagnose, but there is some viable information that will make pinpointing the cause a lot easier and maybe even cheaper on your pocket book too.
The 1997 Ford F150 base model came with a 4.2-liter six-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission. Drivability problems like bucking or jerking can be a hard thing to diagnose because the source could be from the engine, transmission or rear end. The best thing to do is ride down the road when you can duplicate the problem, roll the windows down and listen for any noise that is being made when your truck begins to buck and jerk. With some careful listening you may be able to get a rough area of the source if it is a mechanical…
Depending on who you ask, the 2001 to 2009 might have been the last "real" Jaguar ever produced. At least, the last Jaguar that didn't look like an Aston Martin. Based largely on the popular Ford Mondeo sedan, the Jag's underpinnings might not have been exotic -- but they were certainly more reliable than many Jags of the past. This includes the suspension and drive, which in turn includes the wheel bearings. But, wheel bearings are wear items after all, and they will go bad sooner or later.
Funny how things happen in a big corporation like GM. The Firebird had been Pontiac's flagship ponycar for decades when the fourth-generation car debuted in 1993. And, being Pontiac, you'd think that Pontiac's own V-6 would have been the hottest choice for the sub-V8 model Firebird. But no; instead, Pontiac turned to it luxury sister-brand Buick to source the fantastic 3.8-liter that motivated the legendary Grand National a scant 10 years before. But Pontiac wasn't alone, as GM adopted the design and made it the "corporate" 3.8-liter of choice for every division. Coil testing procedures for the Corporate, nee Buick,…
The coolant system in your diesel truck is much like what is used in a gasoline powered engine. Coolant is pumped through the engine block, cylinder heads and intake manifold and is then pumped to the heater core and radiator for cooling before it returns back to the engine. Coolant mixing with oil and vice-versa is never a good thing and you should find the cause and implement a repair before driving the vehicle further. Either way after the problem is corrected you will have to clean out the engine oil system and the coolant system to rid them of…
The Lincoln LS was produced from 1999 to 2006 and is based on the Ford DEW98 platform. Unique in design from other makes and models the Lincoln LS still has all the same major components as other vehicles in the front end, all of which are subject to wear and tear. In some cases, depending on the year of your LS it is possible that any noise your hearing from the front-end could be under a recall notice and may be repaired free of charge. Regardless a noise in the front end is not normal and should be inspected and…
The 1995 GMC Safari van came with a 4.3-liter six-cylinder and a four-speed automatic transmission. Built with the same principles of the Chevy 305 and 350 the 4.3-liter is a push rod style engine that makes use of a distributor, that is driven by the camshaft to current to the spark plugs. In general the 4.3-liter is a strong motor that is likely to last as long as the vehicle it is in, as long as it is properly maintained. A rough idle may not be a serious problem at first, but it causes hesitation on acceleration, a loss of…
Produced from 1982 to 2004 in the United States, the Chevy S-10 has went through various changes including new engines, transmissions, body style and trim levels. Despite the six different sized engines used throughout production and the various changes to those as technology permitted the cooling system has always been reasonably the same. Naturally the fan clutch was eventually replace by an electronic cooling fan, and after 996 Dexcool coolant was used as opposed to the tradition Ethelyn-glycol used previously. Aside from minor changes coolant has always traveled from the engine to the radiator for cooling and back again, with…
The 1992 to 1995 Honda Civic came with two fuse blocks. There is a main fuse block under the hood and there is a secondary fuse box under the driver side dash board. Both covers have printed diagram's with basic abbreviation for each fuse, but it is pretty easy to get confused if the box lid or sticker has come up missing. Luckily both fuse boxes are rather organized and finding the blown fuse may not require pulling every single fuse for visual inspection or checking each fuse for continuity. As always when working on the vehicles electrical system always…
Sebring coupes and convertibles of the 1997 model year share their suspension platforms and some engine options with Mitsubishi models of the era. Few reports of engine problems have been registered, regardless of configuration. Smooth operation is offered by V6 mills, which were exclusively mated to automatic transmissions. The four-bangers horsepower ratings neared that of the larger engines, and they could be partnered with manual transmissions, yielding a more spirited disposition. A Sebring of this vintage that has been favored for daily use, may well be in need of some scrupulous maintenance. Certain systems or items, left unattended, can be…
In the realm of automotive suspensions, camber is the relationship of a tire and wheel assembly to a vertical position, when viewed head-on. A wheel that is perfectly straight up and down is considered to have zero camber. When the top of the wheel is moved inward, toward the vehicle, camber is reduced to a negative value. Conversely, as the top of the tire is moved outward, camber is measured in a positive scale. Whichever side the tire is leaned toward in the alignment process affects ride and handling characteristics. Incorrect adjustments may have exaggerated consequences, due to the relatively…
You remove your engine oil fill cap to find the dreaded white sludge that has accumulated on the bottom of the cap. The first thought that comes to mind is that water is mixing with your engine oil to create this vile sludge, which is absolutely true. Determining the root cause of this mixture and repairing it is imperative if you wish to prevent expensive future repair bills. There is a variety of reasons for this buildup of sludge ranging from simple moisture build up to severe internal gasket or component failure.
An oil saturated air filter or a puddle of oil in your air filter box seems like a strange occurrence by all means considering that its the last thing you would expect to find. Oil in the air filter or housing is known as blow-by and it can be caused by several different reasons that should be corrected immediately as it could be the result of or lead to serious engine damage. Determining the cause of the misplaced oil can be a bit tedious and will require at least one special tool that is likely available for rent at your…
There's no telling why Toyota decided to change it's Harrier SUV -- technically SLV, or "Sports Luxury Vehicle" -- to RX300 after offering for sale to US buyers. Maybe because, looking at the roofline, a customer might say "No...actually, it's balder." Perhaps its because the first-generation RX300 lacked the Vertical Takeoff and Landing feature expected of anything with the name "Harrier." But whatever the reason, the RX300 quickly made a name for itself in the oxymoronic luxury SUV segment with all the amenities of any Lexus, and the reliability expected of a Toyota. But, more than a decade after production,…
Based largely on the Ford Taurus sedan, the Windstar minivan was essentially a taller version of the contemporary Taurus station wagon. Being a front-wheel drive offering, the Windstar has a lot going on between the front wheels; suspension, tires, brakes and the driveline can all cause problems experienced as vibration in the steering wheel.
A distributor isn't a single part; it's a collection little systems working together to make one, big ignition system. The 1986 Ford Ranger's four different engines all use ignition systems that are variations on the same themes. And, while they have seen their fair share of technical service bulletins, these distributor ignition systems were fairly sturdy from the factory. But, they don't last forever.
You have to love those crazy Bavarians. From BMW's service literature on replacing the head gasket in an E36: "Clean sealing faces of cylinder head and crankcase; if necessary, remove traces of sealing compound with hardwood spatula." Seriously -- how many other auto manufacturers would think to advise the use of a hardwood tool for anything? This says a lot about BMW's emphasis on proper assembly and maintenance technique, especially where the critical head gasket is concerned.
Introduced in 1983, Chevrolet's Blazer was a three-quarter-sized SUV for people who needed an SUV without the full-size hassles. So, GM's own "three-quarter small-block" seemed like a natural fit for the chassis. Essentially a 350 V-8 with two cylinders hacked off, the resulting 4.3-liter was powerful, compact, and had an exhaust note unlike anything this side of a V-8. Coil-testing procedures for the most prevalent Vortec 4300 version are understandably identical to those used for the engine's V-8 siblings -- and just as easy.
A perfect machine would perform an endless number of tasks an infinite number of times, using exactly zero moving parts. The horn circuit used to be one of the simplest parts of any vehicle's electrical system with little to go wrong and little to fix if something did go wrong. But time marches on, things get more complicated, and horn systems like those used on the Expedition contain at least a dozen possible failure points in the horn mechanism and the adjutant electronics.
One thing's for certain about the first-generation Nissan Quest -- aka Mercury Villager -- it was definitely, without a doubt, a minivan. And being a minivan, it was expected to retain the comfort and ride quality of the Maxima upon which it was based. Power steering is a de riguer part of any mass-consumption vehicle's repertoire -- and, being decades old, yours might be in need of a bit of TLC.
Build enough cars and you're bound to make a few mistakes from time to time -- especially when you introduce a new technology across several model lines. Electric power steering pumps appeared at large in the GM stables in the early 2000s and delivered on most of the promises that engineers made. Unfortunately, problems with outside parts suppliers made for multiple technical service bulletins and even a recall for vehicles equipped with this system -- including the 2007 Cobalt.
BMW has a long and storied history of using the latest in parts and design principles to make its cars the best that they can be. The 5- and 7-series represent the cutting edge of BMW technology for any given era, and the 1990 525i's cooling system is no exception. But even as well-engineered as it is, the fact is that your cooling system is over 20 years old -- so something's bound to go wrong eventually.
Many late model cars and trucks employ electronics to measure and record road speed, but a great number of other vehicles still rely on a cable to drive the speedometer. Motorcycles and base-model cars and trucks usually forgo electronic sensors and gauges in favor of the tried and true cable-driven systems. These type systems were the only ones in use, in any vehicle, for decades. The symptoms exhibited by a faulty speedometer cable are few in number, but blatantly obvious in operation.
The third-generation Eclipse was a bit of a change-up over previous models -- more boulevard cruiser than road-and-track bruiser. But, in the process, the Eclipse became a more versatile and highway friendly creature, with all of the amenities and equipment required to go the distance. Radiator leaks aren't especially common with this chassis, but it may fall victim to leaks in other areas.
Diesel engines are awesome; if the world made any kind of sense, we'd all be driving them. And Dodge's Cummins ISB is both one of the most impressive consumer-grade oil-burners out there and a groundbreaker in its own right. But even a machine as simple and tough as the 5.9-liter ISB can fail, especially after many years of use the way that you're supposed to use a diesel.
Introduced in 1998, the Onboard Diagnostics, Series II protocol was a technological quantum leap over older computer systems. OBD-II was a true self-diagnostic system, and Ford took advantage of its advanced nature by using the computer to do a lot of things besides just pass federal emissions tests. The thousands of resulting diagnostic trouble codes produced by your Ford Escort's OBD-II computer can help you to track down almost anything that goes wrong with your car.
Contrary to popular belief, Ford's Ranger minitruck was not a response to the Chevrolet S10 introduced a year before -- it was the other way around. Chevrolet introduced the S10 following rumors of a newer, more civilized version of Ford's original minitruck, the Courier. The Ranger's undergone a lot of changes since then, not least of which the adoption of Onboard Diagnostic, Series II protocol that allow the truck's computer to self-diagnose almost anything that goes wrong with the engine or chassis systems.
All kinds of things can go wrong with your car, some of them stranger than others. Hydraulic systems like your oil, transmission, brake and power steering systems were built to move nothing but fluid -- so finding chunks of anything in the fluid is certainly cause for concern.
The modern automatic transmission is something of a hybrid unit, combining the convenience or the traditional automatic/torque converter arrangement with the efficiency of the manual's solid clutch. The BMW 5-Series, like many other cars on the road today, does this using a small clutch contained inside the torque converter. The lockup clutch engages using a solenoid, and locks the crankshaft to the transmission input shaft in third or fourth gear. Solenoid failure will trigger code P0740, but so will a few other things.
Every smart manufacturer uses some engine design to set itself apart from others; Mazda has its Renesis rotary, GM has its endearing and thick-headed love for pushrod V-8s, Aston Martin has the V12 and Subaru has its "boxer" horizontally-opposed four-cylinde enginer. The boxer four has proven itself a fairly powerful and reliable offering over the years, but even this descendent of the old VW four-cylinder engine won't last forever. More than a decade after production, little problems -- like those that cause P0519 -- are bound to crop up.
Of all the things that can malfunction on your truck, its evaporative emissions system is probably both the most infuriating and the most insidious. Gasoline is an extremely unstable liquid, especially when it's warm -- without some way to seal the system, gas would quickly evaporate out of the tank and cost you big bucks at the pump. Code P0446 indicates a problem with one of the solenoids in this system and may be warning you of a problem that only your wallet is going to notice.
Here's an interesting problem: how do you interpret a diagnostic trouble code that doesn't exist? The first numeric digit of a DTC indicates whether it's a generic (indicated by a zero) or a manufacturer-specific (indicated by a one, two or three) code. If you're doing the math, then you've probably noticed that the coding system doesn't go up to six -- so, code P6045 doesn't exist. It may be time to backtrack, double-check and do some homework on your scanner.
Code P0300 isn't the most uncommon code in the world, and it's particularly not-uncommon on older cars like the 1997 Sunfire. While the 2200 four-cylinder engine and, especially, the optional Quad Four engine were well-regarded for reliability, the fact is that they're both aging as time goes on. Problems are going to happen, and they're going to cause system-wide fault codes like P0300.
While Chevy's small-block has gotten the most attention, the Buick 231 V-6 has one of the most interesting success stories of all GM engines. This motor actually started out as an all-aluminum V-8, introduced in 1961, and sold to England's Rover Company in 1967. Rover used this V-8 to power all of its offerings for almost another four decades, while GM re-tooled the design as a V-6. The Buick 231 saw widespread use throughout the 1970s and 1980s, sprouting along the way turbochargers, fuel injection and multiple coil packs. Even today, GM's 3800 V-6 can trace its design roots back…
Model year 1996 was an important one, not just for the Ram, but for every other vehicle in America. This was the year that the Federal government mandated the adoption of Onboard Diagnostics, Series II protocol. Among other things, one of OBD-II's primary virtues is its ability to adapt to any environment while maintaining the appropriate timing and air/fuel ratio. But sensors do fail over time, causing computers like the one in the Ram to make mistakes and fail to adjust for changes in air temperature and density.
The Honda name has been synonymous with high-tech solutions for longer than most people on Earth have been alive -- and for good reason. Honda, like many manufacturers in post-war Japan, had to create a competitive edge among more established companies by being clever, bold and more flexible than they. Code P1259 signals a problem with one of the company's trademark systems; one that's a lot more specific than it sounds.
The 1990s were a watershed era for Ford's reliable old pickup, a transitional time when it went from a generally utilitarian appliance to preferred conveyance of those who disdained front-drive sedans. For better or worse, the mid-90s were when the F-150 made the transition from analog to digital. And 1995 in particular was an interesting year; as Ford's modular V-8 was yet to be introduced and muscle-era thumpers with single coils and distributors still ruled the roost.
In 1996, the Federal government mandated that all car companies -- GM included -- adopt a standardized computer protocol for anything emissions related. The Onboard Diagnostics, Series II protocol dictated that not only should cars come equipped with certain emissions items, but that the computer have some means of determining when they're malfunctioning. This would be one such case.
Drivetrains work by spinning; crankshafts spin, transmission input shafts spin and so do driveshafts, axles and wheels. Ideally, they should all spin together and in perfect synchronization, but misalignment between the crankshaft and clutch plate will cause some parts to spin on one axis, while other parts continue to spin on another. The symptoms are distinct, but the problem itself is easy to mistake with other issues.
The Chevy Colorado, has, since its introduction in 2004, proven itself a fairly reliable pickup and successor to the wildly popular S-10. But, like all machines, the Colorado's mechanical bits won't last forever -- especially if you use the truck the way that you're supposed to use a truck. While the Colorado isn't necessarily any more prone to this kind of failure than any other vehicle, to paraphrase Forrest Gump: "Stuff happens."
Hey, there, Burt -- maybe it's time to hop in the old Trans Am, head down to your local super-center and pick up a cell phone like the rest of the world. Prepaid phones: about twenty bucks, all day long. Of course, those phones only work in certain areas, have a battery that won't outlast a case of malted beverage, and will cost you $60 a month to use. Much as it might gall the pocket-protector crowd, the good, old-school civilian band radio still has a place on modern trucks; maybe someone should mention that to the people who design…
Engines are finely-tuned instruments, and Honda, in particular, prides itself on offering the finest level of tuning. But fine tuning makes for low margins of error, and tiny errors make for many symptoms that make make troubleshooting difficult. A low ticking noise can be indicative of dozens of different problems -- some of them severe and others merely annoying.
From the primitive two-speed bladed fans of yesteryear, to the infinitely-variable computer-controlled blowers of modern luxury cars, automotive ventilation systems have helped provide for comfortable and safe vehicle operations for decades. The speed of the air flow through ventilation systems has vastly improved in recent years, due, at least in part, to better construction and configuration of blower motors and impellers. Certain system shortfalls may mimic some symptoms of blower motor failures, of one type or another, and accurate diagnosis depends on their recognition.
While Chevrolet applied the name to all of its medium-duty pickups in 1998, the Silverado trim package dates all the way back to 1975. A lot has changed since then, including the addition of emissions equipment like catalytic converters and the computer systems that help to diagnose them.
Determining the reason why a 2006 Jeep Cherokee Laredo will not start begins with a thorough diagnostic check and inspection of the vehicle. Some of the issues that may cause your Jeep not to start could include problems with the battery, battery cables, starter or fuel system. Additionally, a failure in the engine control system could prevent the ignition from producing a spark.
Whether you're talking about the Ford Taurus or any other car produced since 1996, code P0174 always indicates the same sort of problem. This code is a generic "emissions" listing, used to help federal emissions officers determine whether or not your car is spewing cyanide into the groundwater. While this very common code always means "lean condition, bank two," the causes for a fuel-poor condition can be extremely varied.
Engines are, even on their best day, constantly on the verge of not running. While today we tend to make light of little things like engine temperature, the fact is that we can only do so because temperature ranges are so thoroughly researched and planned for. But make no mistake: a properly functioning thermostat is absolutely essential when it comes to maintaining your engine's delicate internal balance.
Produced from 1979 to 2002, Mazda's 626 didn't exactly debut as the success it would later become. It wasn't until Ford and Kia got involved in 1983, marketing the 626 as the Telstar and Concord, respectively, that the 626 got the worldwide attention that it deserved. Of course, Mazda's well-known reliability and chassis tuning helped, but a couple of turbos really sealed the deal. The introduction of Onboard Diagnostics, Series II protocol in 1995 helped Mazda's fun family car meter and monitor air and fuel even more accurately, while sending up red flags when something went awry.
One of the greatest ironies about automobiles is that, while they're designed to take you places, the two most important systems on any car are the ones that makes you stop and the one that saves you when you stop a little too quickly. The airbag is, by necessity, one of the sturdiest, simplest and most redundant systems on your Ford F-150 truck. After all, how many other computers will tell you when you've got a light bulb out?
Code P0161 isn't unique to Chrysler; the first zero in the code name tags it as a generic Onboard Diagnostics, Series II code. Federal inspectors rely on generic codes like this to assist in emissions inspections and to help the driver repair the car so it's clean and safe. This particular code indicates low circuit voltage on the second oxygen sensor on bank two. Bank two is the right side of the engine when you're looking at the engine from the front.