FAQ 2,

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Question 2-1 Suspect charging problem
Hi Darren,

I have a Mitsubishi Magna TS (1990).
I find that I can drive the car for, say, an hour with the voltmeter on the
dashboard dead centre (vertical). If, either parked or driving, I raise the rpm
momentarily to over 3000, then the needle moves (slowly) to 3/4 scale, and will stay
there for the rest of the trip.

Alternatively, before starting a trip, if  I idle the engine momentarily at 3000 rpm,
the needle will move (slowly) to 3/4 scale, and stay there.

In other words, at some stage in a trip, the rpm needs to exceed 3000 before the
needle will move to the 3/4 scale postion. Normally, this would occur when
accelerating  from a traffic light.

Is this normal, or abnormal, behaviour for my car?
Incidentally, the battery is a new one installed by the RACV last week.

Don Watson Australia-Victoria


Thank for dropping by,
The charging system should be from 13.8-14.2 volts now this what you may
want to do.

With the engine at idle
Switch the headlights on high beam if you observe the volt meter declining
down towards 12 or less
You have a problem
The problem maybe in the Voltage reg, Alternator or the lead going from the
alternator to the battery
Now on the other hand if you notice the volts inclining over 14.2 volts this
is also bad because you may cook the battery.

So it might be an idea to test the charge rate via another multi meter just
to make sure the dash meter is reading a true value

Don I hope this will help you remember the charging system can under charge
or over charge like my bank

Let me know how you get on

Question 2-2 Suspect transmission
Hi Darren,

I have a Golf CL, 1800CC, 1997 Automatic.
I am having a problem with my car. Sometimes it strugles to change gear from
1st to 2nd gear. I have recently got it serviced and even changed the filter and gear oil.
Could you please help?
Thanks in advance

Bini Redda UK

This sounds like you need a transmission specialist, but its a good idea to
get three quotes as the VW is expensive on parts
did the performance improve after the service and what did the service agent
say about this problem.

Question 2-2
thanks ever so much for your prompt reply.
When I spoke to the service agent, the only thing he did was change the gear
oil and filter. Then I took it to my mechanic for service.
It did improve a bit but not as good as I once have known my car. The reason
why I took my car to this guy is my mechanic said he doesn’t know a lot
about automatic gear.
Thanks again in advance


I love VW’s but I think VW have become very expensive when it comes to repairs
These days one may consider taking there vehicle to specialist’s
Auto= Auto trans specialists etc
I have a 1964 Karman Ghia, one day I will be putting it on the road, until
then try a specialist Bini and best of luck

Question 2-3 A timing belt or timing chain ???
Dear Darren

I have a mitsubishi magna 1992 model. Has it got a timing belt to be replaced. It has done 130,000 kms. I am told this model has no timing belt.


They are fitted with a timing chain so this means it will not require any
Perhaps let me in on what you were told and who told you that it required
replacement or are we just playing????????

Question 2-4 Flat battery
I just bought a 1991 Mitsubishi Lancer today and washed it.
Since i washed it, it won’t start up. The battery light hasn’t
gone on at all. All it does, is make a repeated fast clicking
noise. Help!! Also, would you happen to know where the choke is?
I can’t seem to find it and don’t even know if there is one at
Petra (Australia)

Ok Petra, disregard the automatic choke.
I think I know what your problem is, it sounds like the battery is the
cause.  This is common as the noise produced is a machine gun sound.  Do the
1. Go down the bottle shop ask for a bottle of Jack Daniels.  Send this to
me in the morning!
2. We need to make sure the battery terminals are secure.  To do this, try
to wriggle the negative (black) terminal, and the positive (red) terminal on
the battery.  If they are loose, you need a 10mm spanner to retention the
3. Either jump start, with a good set of leads (most leads aren’t really
suitable as they are not heavy enough), to supply an adequate supply of
4.  The other and the best option, is to replace the battery, provided that
it’s at least 18-24 months old, but remember, that you may have already lost
your radio security code, so don’t stress, if you don’t have it, Mitsubishi
will be kind enough to slug you for typing out your password.

In summary, Petra, please consider replacing the battery, rather than jump
starting as jump starting may damage the onboard computer.

Now the reason why the battery decided to fail, is because it had a heart
attack.  Because your particular vehicle being a very good engine design, it
does not require much energy from the battery when cranking to start the
engine.  Therefore, anything like leaving the ignition on for only five
minutes, or the radio, will cause the final stroke!  We will be starting up
battery funeral plans in the future, but the local council is charging too
much for the lead content being deposited into our local grounds.  Petra,
thanks for coming by virtualmechanic.  I hope I have been of some help.
Please keep in touch, tell your friends about me.  Remember, you can always
look at my videos at your local library.
Best wishes with your new car.  Keep up the good work with her maintenance.
Remember, there’s a whole lot of really helpful advice on maintaining her on
my website.  Cheers!

Thankyou Darren
Thank you very much for your advice. You turned out to be right
and I have actually gotten the battery replaced today and it
works beautiful now. Again, thanks for your help.

Question 2-4 Boot leaking Sorry trunk leaking
Hi Darren,

My name’s Nandi and I live in Salem, OR in the US and drive a 1995
Mitsubishi Mirage.Found out recently that the trunk is leaking
somewhere, I always find about 2 cups worth of water in there after a
rain. The rubber seal around the trunk seems to be in great shape. Any
other ideas about where I should check for leaks?


Nandi Salem United States

Try the following.
Either adjust the boot down to close closer or adjust the seal up to prevent
water from entering

Question 2-5 Horn going off
Dear Darren,
I have a 1992 Hyundai Excel, the horn is going off for no apparent reason. I need to find the fuse but do not know where it is located, I found the fuses for everything else but not the horn. If I can stop the horn from working in the meantime, I can then take it to someone who can fix it.
Your advise would be greatly appreciated.
Bronwen  Australia
The Horn fuse is under the bonnet, if you cannot find it then disconnect the horn
Question 2-5
Thank you for that Darren, whereabouts under the bonnet is the fuse located. As you can probably tell I am not very mechanically minded.
Its a bit tricky, its on the passenger side front but as I recall it may not indicate its the indicator fuse, so with the ignition on carefully remove one fuse at a time until the horn will no longer operate.
Question 2-6
G’day Darren,

I have noticed that my front wheels make a clicking noise only sometimes
when turning corners, would you have any clue how much it would cost for
my particular car? Another problem I have is the input shaft or thrust
bearing  is noisy when the car is in idle but only intermittent, any clue how much  that is to?

My car is a 1984 AR Ford Telstar TX5 Ghia Hatchback, 2.0 4 cylinder motor,
5  speed manual. Any other information about this particular car would be most helpful.
Bobby Cerny Victoria Australia
Ha lets start by say your site is great.
The CV Joints can cost anything from $160.00 to $350.00 it depends on
whether they are new or reco
If you near Mordialloc I can do it for you but more importantly you can
The input bearing is wearing the clutch if its making a noise so perhaps
wait until it gets worse and renew the clutch
at between 350-450 depends on reco or new as well as getting the flywheel
machined (highly recommended)
Does this help you.
Question 2-6 Temp guage or other
Hi there
My name is Erin I have a problem with my 1989 nissan pulsar gx 1.8
i just got it back from the mechanic, i had the engine reconditioned
and i noticed  that the temp gauge  gets pretty high really quickly.
could they have put anti-freeze in the engine or could it be just from the hot weather.
any answer would be great
erin Melbourne Australia
This doesn’t sound good.
It maybe a slow acting thermostat, or the thermostat it self maybe faulty
Anti freeze has nothing to do with the Temp needle quickly moving high
Erin is the temp going higher than before??
Question 2-6 Manifold Gasket

I just finished rebuilding the top end of my 98 Jeep Wranglers 4.0L.
Everything went fine with the rebuild, other than the fact that the
manifold gasket ( it shares a common gasket for the intake and exhaust) didn’t seal
completely. There is a minor leak on one of the exhaust ports. I have
pulled it apart and had the manifolds checked by my machinist, and it all checks
out fine, they are not uneven. I re-installed with a new gasket (direct from Mopar, not after market) I
am still experiencing a sealing problem, My question is it OK to use any type
of sealant? If so what type?
PS….yes I did use a torque wrench and the proper torque sequence.

Thank you,

Steve US
I’ve been there and this is why people start drinking, its because manifold
gaskets don’t seal.
Now this is a possible solution, when you tension the manifolds make sure
the inlet bolted to the exhaust is loose enough to move this way both
manifolds are on the same plain
Sometimes it might be required to plain both inlet and exhaust if the
manifolds have been separated.
See how you go

Question 2-7 Timing belt
What is the average mileage I should expect from this timing belt?  The service recommends 60,000.  However, the 1998 model recommends 90,000.
Don’t want to spend money I don’t need to.  Please advise. Donna Australia

The answer is any between 60,000 to 90,000 but I have known timing belts to snap at 105,000, now the question is when will the belt snap.
The choice is yours, and yes the timing belt is costly as it takes a bit of time to remove and replace.
But can I say that you are doing the right thing by following the booklet because if the belt would snap it may not only cause the engine to stop but may damaged the engine.


PS Would it really hurt if you let me know what state you lived ?????
Question 2-8 Rough Riding
Hello Darren,
I’ve read several of the questions and answers trying to get an answer
to my problem. I get bits and pieces here and there, so here is my problem. I
own a 1996 Dodge Intrepid 3.5 valve. Presently my accelerator pedal is
sticking. I barely touch it and it sticks, then I press it a little harder
and it’s fine…gets past that sticky point. Is it the pedal itself or
another problem.
Also the car has a vibration in it when I press the accelerator. It’s
like it doesn’t catch up with my acceleration fast enough. When I come off
the accelerator, the vibration stops. What can this be? Sometimes the entire
front end shakes so bad when I accelerate, i think something’s going to fall
from underneath. I had a tuneup done about a year ago…replacing plugs and
wires. My car hasn’t run smoothly since.        I got a batch of gas last
summer which contained water. They had to drain my gas tank. Could this be
part of the problem? At the dealership where they drained my gas tank, they
told me that my #5 valve had a lope in it. Could the water in the gas have
made this problme worse? Its was “loping” before I got the water in the tank,
but not as bad, and this vibration thing started shortly after that? Please
give me a direction as to where to start. The car starts fine, but the RPM is
on 2 while sitting idle in park; running very fast. This happened after they
drained my gas tank. I would appreciate any information you could give to
help me diagnois my problem. Thank you.

Rough Riding in Shonna TX
Sticking throttle maybe the cause of the inner cable strains coming apart,
you may see this at or around the ends of the cable
This vibration maybe something to do with the following
Slipping clutch
Bent tailshaft
Wheels out of balance
Shockers require renewal

Thankyou Darren

Thank you for replying to my e-mail. It is very helpful for when I
have to take the car to the mechanic, I can give him an idea as to where
to start. That way they won’t have to keep my car ALL day, or numerous days!
(smile) Sorry for not giving you my name….its Shonna and I live in
Again thanks for the VERY helpful information. I think your question and
answer page is the greatest, and to continue encouraging you, you’re doing
a GREAT job! Thanks again for your input, and keep the bolts turning….lol!
Question 2-9 Leaking oil but no sign
I have recently bought a 1985 Mitsubishi L300 4×4 with 113000km and in excellent nic. I did an oil and filter change just before taking it on a 2 week tour, and had no problems at all. When I got back home the oil light came on. I checked the oil level and the dipstick was bone dry! There is no sign of major oil leaks that I can see, and I’m certain that it is not blowing smoke even slightly. A friend suggested I’m losing the oil only when its under pressure and may have blown the head gasket. Can you please advise. Thanks.

Thanks Brian NSW Australia

Most people think there is a person who goes around in the night to steal
oil out of the engine, because the average person looks on the driveway and
maybe just a little bit of oil is under the engine its not a big leak it
should be ok.

Any vehicle travelled over 100,000kms is an engine waiting to leak oil, you
maybe thinking that’s wrong, well that’s life.
I thinks its disgusting that engines leak at and around 100,000Km but it
comes down to the car makers, they have allot to answer for. Some people
decide to replace the rear main seal only to find that its the crankshaft
that’s moving thus causing the oil to leak, now I’m sure there will be experts
who will read this answer and not agree.

Brian I want to add that if you see oil at or around the rear main seal
(This is where the engine is joined to the transmission)
then the first option is try to renew the rear main seal but I have only
found success if the seal was hard, thus loosing its ability to hold back

If the seal is in good order and the shaft is grooved then a stainless steal
sleeve maybe fitted, but if the crank is not round then maybe elongated
making it impossible for any seal to be effective.

Now without seeing your vehicle, I can only assume its the rear main seal,
so what you need to do is leave the engine running
in the driveway but only for 10 to 20 minutes and get down there to observe
where the oil is leaking

I own a Mitsu Van 91 model and I think Mitsu made a very good vehicle, I
also have an oil leak but because I’m so busy
I haven’t explored my options

I hope you find help in this answer


Question 2-10 Fan Belt tension guage

Hello Darren,,

I have a 93 Nissan Pickup with 3 V type fan belts.
I do most of my fan belt replacements and adjustments myself,,however,,
I am frustrated at guessing as to how much flex that a given belt is as
to the manufacturers specs.
I am inquiring as to whether there is a V belt tensioning  guage that
will show me at a glance when I have the proper tension as to the
specifications in my service manual.
I have tried using a ruller,,but it is so hard to see the exact
measurement,,,especially laying on my back in restricted working conditions.
I don’t have any problem with adjusting more or less tension,,,as on my
vehicle,,,adjustment screws are provided on the Altenator,,Power Steering and
Air Compressor.  But only need an easy to use guage that will show the
measured flex or proper tension.
Any help would be appreciated.
I am particularly looking for a tool/guage that is ease to use and
doesn’t cost a whole lot to purchase.
Please help me if you can..


Joe US

The short answer is firm, not too loose and not to tight
The fan belt tension is more by feel than by measure
Perhaps go to a car lot and check and feel different tensions of belts to
get the feel

Only a loose belt will start to squeal and shout out for help

Question 2-10 Fan Belt tension guage (Part 2)
Hey Darren,,

The fan belt tension is more by feel than by measure<<

Thank you for replying to me Darren,,,and I think that your answer is
true,,However,,My Sevice manual describes the procedure of correct
tightness in the amount of flex(In inches),,, between designate pulley’s at
aproximately 20 lbs of pressure.
What I am trying to do is get the tightness to the exact specs.
without guessing as  to how much the belts are too tight or too loose.
I have been told that if the belts are too tight that they will put
too much pressure on the bearings of the different
components,,,Altenator,,water pump,,,AC pump,,,is that true??
Do you know of a tool that will give me the exact measurement,,,other
than a straight edge or ruller???


There is a tool its now available for viewing at the Virtual Mechanic
International Automotive Museum (VMIAM)
its in Melbourne Victoria but it only opens once every 100 years and it only
has a licence to open for only one day.
I just so happened that it was yesterday it was open.

Apart from that I remember twenty years ago using one as a hammer at trade
school at Richmond Tafe, we had to stay back that day until the teacher
found out who did it.
I stayed at school for days until I got hungry, they give us only KFC but
with no salt it was horrible.

I don;t know of any person that would use such a tool as I think we have all
lost the art of being spot on.

Question 2-10 Fan Belt tension guage (Part 3)
Hey Darren,,,:-)

Oh damn,,,I missed the viewing by just 24 hours.  Typical,,I always miss
out on the important events…:-),,,,However,,,:-)
I called a large parts store and they are supposed to have one for about
12 dollars,,believe it or not,,,,and I even remembered that I may have one in
my toolbox as well.   I just clean forgot all about it…:-)
Thanks for the help Darren,,,
Gone to get some KFC with hot peppers…:-)
Joe don’t tell the person at the store as it is a very rear tool
If my old teacher at Richmond finds out he will want one and I have it on
Good authority he has friends
on pay day.

Question 2-11 Thermo Fan staying on
USA.  January, my 1998 Dodge caravan’s radiator fan will not stop
after the engine has been turned off! What could the trouble be?

Doug from Maryland
Hi Doug

The problem maybe in the relay for some reason it could be sticking
The question is does the fan eventually switch off if so this is normal
If not you might consider getting your local auto electrician to test the
The reason why I ask your name and where you live is it makes other people
how far The Virtual Mechanic (Australian) is reaching
I don’t charge for this service but if people want there question considered
Then I ask if they can be human and friendly about it

Question 2-12

Simple job it would seem. To change the rear disc pads on a 1987 Honda
Prelude 2.0i. Both sides were very worn. Everything going well. Calipers
off old pads out new pads ready. Now I need to push the caliper pistons back
into to create room for the thickness of the new pads. They wont budge.
Hand brake is off, automatic transmission in neutral, I have even taken the
tops off the hydraulic fluid reservoirs. Not a fraction will they move. I
have tried C clamps, levering with screwdriver. Even tried to take some
pressure out of the system with the bleed nipples.
What have I forgotten? It is an ABS model also 4 wheel steering. Have
the calipers seized (unlikely I think). Ideas please.

Thanks in advance,

Fraser Barrons,
Auckland NZ
Fraser,  before I begin to tell you what to do here, VM does not accept
any liability for or in respect of information and advice provided on this
or incorporated into it by reference or any other site linked to this
The VM does not accept any liability for loss or damage incurred as a
result of reliance placed upon the content of this site. Use of information and
data contained on this site is at the reader’s sole risk.
The rear callipers are different to the front, because they are connected
to a handbrake mechanism you need to screw or rewind the piston back into the
calliper.  This can be tricky.  You may see some pins inside the piston
which require a special tool to rewind the pistons back into the calliper.
However, you could also use some multigrips, but I don’t recommend this as
it may damage the piston itself.  Whilst rotating or rewinding the piston,
you need to also apply slight force to make sure the ratchet is turning
within the mechanism inside the calliper.  Now this is where the problems
start.  You may feel as excited as Big Kev when you retract the piston
inside the calliper, but you then need to make sure that the hand brake
mechanism is fully operational.  Fraser, I think this will give you a very
good start into your renewal of rear pads.  Good luck!!
Thankyou Darren

Thanks a lot I’ll get on it tomorrow am. That is the best response/service I
have ever had on the web. Thanks.

Question 2-12 Transmission problems
Hi Darren,

Great site! I was lucky to stumble upon it while doing a search
for a problem with my car.

A while back (about a year or two ago), our 1989 camry developed
a problem where it would sometimes shudder (feels as if the driver would
press the pedal and let go, and repeat this process a few times) when
accelerating from idle.

We have a trusted mechanic that looks after our car, so we took
it to him and he did a check up of it. He drained some oil from the
gearbox and it was all black, and there were apparently some parts
inside that may have melted. He changed the gearbox and told us to
contact him if the problem persisted.

It was almost immediately apparent that the problem was not
solved. The mechanic’s tests didn’t reveal a thing, and the issue didn’t
crop up when he did a test drive of our car. One way or another, the
issue of the overdrive switch cropped up, as he told us we should switch
it off when driving in city roads, and that because we had been driving
with it on all this time that it might have not “been very good for the
car.” He had assumed we had been driving the car with the overdrive
disengaged on normal roads all this time, and suggested that we turn it
off when driving in the suburbs/city, while turning it on when we drive
on the freeways (past 80kph) and when we switch the car off.

Needless to say, this did solve the shudder problem. But I’ve
always wondered why this was so. My understanding of the overdrive
switch was to control whether the car should engage into 4th gear or
stay in third when it the car speed was hanging around the change point
(around 58kph?). I couldn’t see what this had to do with the stop-start
issue. Do you know what’s happening?

Alan Wong
Sydney, Australia NSW
December 1989 Camry.
Dear Alan,

Thank you for dropping by our website as we are getting inundated with
queries at the moment we can only give priority to fellow Aussies!  Your
question was good, in that when we respond, it answers a lot of other
similar questions.

I need to start by fragmenting your question, because you presented several
issues that need elaboration.  The first issue that concerns me, is the
black transmission fluid.  Your mechanic was right in indicating that there
was a problem.  Black fluid is the result of contaminated transmission
fluid.  This can be caused by several factors, overheating, lack of
servicing or direct mechanical failure.  The remedy, of course, is a
transmission repair or change-over.  Having had experienced work at a Toyota
dealership as part of my 20 years experience, I have found that the only way
to rectify this problem was to make sure that the fluid lines were
completely flushed out with new fluid.  Also, if the original torque
converter was used it also needed to be flushed out.  Contaminated
transmission fluid is a common cause for shifting shudder.

I am assuming that this was the procedure followed by your mechanic.  So
this brings me to my next step.  The fact that the same thing is happening
with a constant or intermittent occurrence, makes me feel that we still have
a problem in something like a micro switch or a valve in the valve body.
Without getting too technical,  I go along with the fact that overdrive is
best switched off after/or around 80kph on some models.  But I don’t believe
that it is a manufacturing fault.  Alan, you haven’t indicated how many kms
the vehicle has travelled, therefore, it is difficult to answer further.
But, having said that, I ask that you may consider the possibility of a
potential tyre fracture on any one of your four tyres?  I hear what you are
saying Alan, you are describing a shudder, and yes, there still may be a
shudder in the transmission.  If there is, it may be an ongoing problem if
the transmission has contaminated fluid.  If it’s a shudder caused by a
fractured tyre, then having your tyres rebalanced would be a good start,
thus creating a process of elimination.

I hope this has been of some assistance to you.


Question 2-13 Harmonic balancer & Air conditioning
Hi Darren,
I have a 1988 EA Ford Falcon with the 3.9lt CFI
engine.  I was told by my mechanic that I need to
replace the harmonic balancer, even though there are
no unusual vibrations etc…  The only reason I could
think of why this needs to be replaced is it may have
been damaged in a recent front-end accident I had.  He
reckons it’s about to fall off and only the belts are
holding it on.  Does this sound like bullshit?  How
much should I expect to pay to have it replaced?  Or
is it an easy enough job to do myself (I’m pretty
handy with tools).

Two of my welsh plugs on the exhaust side are leaking.
What are they exactly?  Am I right in assuming that
it’s coolant leaking from them?

In the recent accident I had my air-con condenser was
damaged and as a result the system wouldn’t hold
pressure.  The mechanic said that if he replaced the
condenser then he’d also have to replace the ‘reciever
drier’ or something as it would get air/moisture into
it when disconnecting the condenser.  I was quoted
$500-$600.  Is this guy having me on or what?  I’ve
never heard of a ‘reciever drier’ before.  Could you
please tell me if this guy is giving me the

Thanks heaps,
Doug Adams
VIC, Australia.

Great questions.
We will start with the harmonic balancer, this being the main pulley at the
front of the engine also being the pulley that drives all fan belts, the
harmonic balancer is also designed to balance the crank shaft at all speeds.

It seems your mechanic is looking out for you because he/she can see the
possible danger of it falling off, and yes they can loose it in there life
and just give up.

So its true, they can spin off and create alot of damage to anything in its
As far as you changing the harmonic balancer sure, but it can be tricky as
you may also need to replace the seal.
I’d get your mechanic to do it.

The welsh plugs leaking are a pain to replace, so if they are leaking its
best to get them done ASAP, it would be my preference to do all at once,
that’s if you intend to keep your car for a few years

The air conditioning is made up of many parts, we will take about two, the
condensor and the receiver dyer
The condensor is the component that transfers liquid into vapour, it looks
like a thin radiator, and is in front of the radiator, always the first to
kill bugs, and the first to receive damage in an accident.

The receiver dryer is a very important round black canister that is designed
to filter the system, it is of my opinion that any time parts like the
condensor are replaced, then also the filter.Think of it like this if you
decide to tune the engine on your EFI then it would make sense to change the
filter atleast every 40,000Kms.

Doug these parts are costly, but the most important aspect here is your
mechanic is looking out for you, and that is good to know, not all workshops
are doing the right thing these days.

The price that he quoted was fair, above all Doug I hope this helps you.

Question 2-14 Hyundai – Heater problems
I have a 1992 hyundai excel i noticed that when i start the car and turn the heater on and leave it running for awhile 20 min, it doesn’t heat up much, the water temp gauge reads  low and only rises soon after i take off,and the gauge never rises much over a 1/4way could this be that i need a new hearter. thank you

Dee Australia


Start with getting the cooling system flushed out including the heater core this might save you alot of cash and keep the little engines warm.

Question 2-15
VehicleType=dodge caravan

Subject=hood release
comment=Can’t open hood.  Inside latch is broken.HOW do you do that now?
What did I say about a one line question !!!!!!
Question 2-16
VehicleType=EA FALCON 1990 S.PACK

What did I say about a one line question !!!!!!
Question 2-17
username=Polsky Valery
VehicleType=peugeot 306
State=central region

Subject=idle step motor test
comment=Please explain how to test idle step motor and
if it possible, in two words, how it’s working (to fix tester).
Sorry it would take me too long to answer
Question 2-18
username=Cindy Rader

VehicleType=Hyundai Tiburon
VehicleAge=5 (1997)

Is There Road Safety Education In Your Town=Yes
Subject=Won’t start
comment=A couple of weeks ago my 1997 Hyundai Tiburon started running pretty bad and wouldn’t start all the time, so thinking it just needed a tune-up I took it in to have a tune up.  $126 later they had changed the oil and filters, but I found the next day it was still doing the same thing and refusing to start.  I took it to a different place, and one week later (after waiting for parts), and after costing almost $500, they told me it was the fuel pump and ordered and replaced that part.  That was two days ago, and I went out to start the car today and it refuses to start again.  The station where I took it said to bring it back again, but I’m worried that I have already spent over $600 and it still is not working.  I haven’t been able to get it started yet today even after waiting for the past couple of hours.  IT obviously wasn’t the fuel pump, but what do you think it could be?
It could be anything but it would be my advice search for an autoelectrician
A friend had a similar problem and it turn out to be a faulty ignition
switch causing the ignition to disconnect
But I do not suggest to start replacing this item until its proven to be theproblem
Switching auto shops to find and answer is sometimes a costly exercise
Finding a good auto electrician is cost effective
Question 2-19
Hi Darren,
I got Toyota Camry Feb/1997, Auto, 2.2L, Widebody,
A/C, manual window. How much foot pound shoul I torque
the spark plug when I change them? Is there any trick
for change the spark plug on Feb/1997 Camry? Where do
I find step by step for changing the spark plug?

Thanks  Tom
Fill the  form out to get your question answered
Question 2-20
VehicleType=84 toyota terdcell 4wd
Subject=carby    & wiring system
comment=i got this 84 tercell 4wd of me mate.told me the motor was
blown.(he’s a builder)anyway,i found the AM1 60amp fuse(fusible link)in the
f/box under the bonnet was melted.ive rewired it into the spare next to have ign.lights.tried turning motor by hand(ratchet)& would only go
3/4 turn & lock up,both i used the key.1st try was the same
thing,3/4 turn & lock i turned it back & give it another kick & this
time it kept winding over,but it wont fire.have checked points & plugs,spark
on all.(while i had the plugs out i scraped the tops of the pistons & 2&3
had this white creamy stuff,like savlon.i can see the fuel mist from the
jets & when you open the carby(butterfly thingy)there’s a pool of fuel in
the bottom.where the fuel line connects to the carby through that hollow
bolt,is that where the needle & seat should be?it’s empty now.the carby’s
pretty dirty down the throat.the cars been parked for about 12 months.before
that it had electrical problems,i think it burnt out 2 dizzy’s(new one
now).also,the harness coming from the f/box is in 2,1 goes to bat.& alt,the
other goes round the bat.& across behind the h/light,here a heavy white,red
wire & normal green,blue pink,dark blue wires branch’s off.but on mine
the’ve been cut about 3″s along.i can’t find any wires to match them or
conections missing all,the motors turning freely(no unusual
noises),there’s spark,electricals seem fine,new bat.,fuels cumming into the
carby(misting),but its not the fuel in the bottom flooding it,or
can u suggest what else it could be? i could use a nudge in the right

You sent your question 7 times once is enough
Question 2-21
username=Bill Anderson
VehicleType=toyota camry efi

Subject=Fuel problem
comment=Hi Darren, My question is about my wifes toyota camry 1987 model
E.F.I.. It started missing badly at low revs and gradually got worse. I
replaced all spark plugs and fuel filter. No change. I then replaced fuel
pump. No change. Could it be the injectors and if so how big a job is it to
pull them apart and clean them. I am a fitter and turner by trade so I don`t
mind getting my hands dirty. Thanks
Yes it maybe a suspect fuel injector but what about an air leak
Spray some CRC around the inlet manifold just to make sure its not leaking
As for the injectors they may need to be ultrasonic cleaned but measured
before and after
Question 2-22
VehicleType=VW Golf GL 1995 make (purchased early 1996)
VehicleAge=approx 6 yrs
DistanceTravelled=39,000 kms
Subject=Coolant Problems
comment=Hi there Darren,
I have had my car sent in for a major service (at a VW centre) which
included a flush out for the coolant approx. 2.5 months ago (circa February
2002).  A few days ago, the coolant light came on indicating it was
overheating.  However, the car has just been started not long ago and the
heat gauge is still in the cool section (far left of the gauge rising
slowly).  The car was driven for the next 15 mins where the gauge finally
settled in the centre like it normally does.  Since then the light has not
switched on.  Concerned I decided to check it out.

Upon opening the coolant resevoir, I found the once blue-green coolant is
now a milky orange.  I consulted VW service who were less than helpful and
they said it was ‘normal’.  I am still concerned with it though since I have
heard read that it isn’t a good sign to have the liquid milky.  Should I
take the car back for another clean?

Also, I have been unable to make a visual inspection whether the coolant
needs topping up.  I used to be able to see the coolant between the “Min &
Max” when the engine is cooled.  However, the casing is now opaque.

Am I able to mix coolants? (blue with green? which are available on the
market).  Some swear never to mix them and to return to VW for coolant.
Others say, as long as the additive is similar as that stated in the manual
it’s fine; be it blue or green in colour.

I would appreciate some help as I have been unable to get any assistance and
have been worrying about this.  Thank you very much for your time and I will
be looking forward to your reply. 🙂

May your question is one very valid to ask

Coolant is under no circumstances to be mix with any other coolant family or brand
Neither should the coolant ever require topping up
The fact that you see coolant with a milky appearance is to me setting off
the alarms bells

May try to do this as soon as you can, please use the same e-mail and let me
know how you get on
Also let me know the dealer
Question 2-23
username=Wayne Constable
VehicleType=Mitsubishi TN Magna Wagon
Subject=Lack of power when accelerating
comment=Hi Darren,
I have a 1988 TN Magna automatic carbi wagon which has a lack of power when
under load or accelerating. So far I have run a carbi kit through the carbi,
completely cleaned the carbi, checked the secondary stage by placing a
rubber tube on it and gently applying a vacume (seems to work), replaced the
catalytic converter (incase it was blocked), had the auomatic transnission
checked. I’m completely stumped.
Hope you can suggest what next?
Yes but are the secondary stage operating because the same thing happen to me
Hi Darren,
Thank you for your email, you were right it was the secondary stage (lack of
vacume). I replaceed the vacume hose, it had a minute crack. My car now goes
like a rocket.
Wayne Constable
Question 2-24
Hi, My car is a 1996 BMW 328I
I browsed thru your answer and was convinced that you are a good mechanic.
I have a problem with my car, my A/C is not blowing cold air anymore,
the relays and fuses are good and when you switch the A/C on it will
change the amount of air blow from the vents and can hear sound that it
is engaging the ac. I tried to re-charge the refrigerant but it seems
like it’s not accepting any.
I also have aproblem with noise, like a high pitch noise from the back
of the car, I can’t pinpoint the exact location but I am suspecting the
in tank fuel pump. if so, please advice on how to replace or fix a fuel
Fill the form out like everybody else
Question 2-25
username=Justin Joubert
VehicleType=Ford Escort 1.8 GLi
DistanceTravelled=108000 km
Country=South Africa
Subject=Intermitant lack of power.
comment=Hi Darren,

Firstly great site. I just fixed my Dad’s Hyundai back brakes using advice
from your site. Thanks for that. The problem I have with my Escort is the
following. From about 90 000 km, the car started losing power intermittantly
once every other month. The problem would be experienced for a couple of
seconds, where the car would lose power (half power), as if fuel was being
restricted or the plugs were fowled. Anyway the problem has been experienced
more and more often, to the point, where the car permanently runs at half
power now. At start up the car runs smoothly for say 2 seconds before the
missing occurs, and while driving to get full power, if I need it, I turn my
ignition off and then on to get full power for 2 seconds before the car
reverts to half power. I initially checked out the fuel lines and filter for
blockages. No luck. Next I sent the car to a ford dealer. They said my spark
leads had high resistance, I replaced these, No luck. Next they said my
plugs were’nt the specified motocraft platinum tipped type (was using NGK
replacements) I replaced them, No luck. The next diagnosis was that the fuel
pump was seizing, I replaced this, no luck. Finally I replaced the DIS coil
and the problem was still there.

Finally by borrowing an oscilloscope from work, I probed all the actuator
wires and found that for some reason cylinders 2 and 3’s fuel injection
actuator trigger signals were’nt there, ie no fuel getting to cyl. 2 and 3.
The pulses are there at start up, but dissapear at the mystical 2 second
mark. Next I traced these signals to the EEC-IV computer, this is where they
are generated.

Here’s the funny thing. If I remove either spark lead 2 or lead 3 from the
DIS (no spark getting to these cylinders) the fuel injector pulses
reappeared. This does’nt make any sense to me.

I thought it might be that I have a slow or faulty HEGO (lambda) sensor, so
that when the car runs in a closed loop, the computer thinks the mixture is
way to rich (for some reason), and shuts off injector actuators 2 and 3, but
surely 1 and 4 would also be shut off?

The only other idea I have is that there are spikes on the primary side of
the DIS which are feeding back into the computer through the DIS 2 and 3
trigger wire, and nocking out the computer. Could this be a reason?

I would like to know, if you think it’s a sensor problem somewhere on the
car, ie an input into the computer is not there, so the injectors turn off,
or is it feedback into the computer which bombs out the signal, or is the
computer simply faulty? Computers for this car in South Africa are damn
expensive, so I need to be sure.

Cars have always been a hobby of mine, but at the moment I’m not enjoying
this hobby. its just too frustrating.

Thanks for your time and help in advance.

Justin Joubert.

Very Tricky question,  didn’t say whether the car engine check lamp was
coming on and I would try and retrieve some codes if there are any. Check
the resistance of the injectors,make sure all the grounds are in good
condition then replace the ECU..
Question 2-26
username=Michael Royle
VehicleType=Nissan (Datsun) Pulsar N10.
DistanceTravelled=70,000 (?)
comment=Dear Sir,

I have an old Nissan Pulsar N10,getting rare now.My Mechanic was unsure of
the engine/trans combination,not having worked on one.I have yet to track
down a workshop manual.The trans grinds a bit,much like old Holden 3
do.I am not overly concerned at this but would like to protect it as best
I can for it’s remaining service life.It is an ’81 model with an old OHV
engine.I believe they are based on the old Japanese model Datsun Cherry.

My questions are:-1.Should I change the oil in the diff/drive shaft housing?
A later manual (for an ,87 model) says not to unless some kind of damage has
2. Is the gearbox integral with the engine oil sump (such as in the old
mini)? I heard somewhere this may be the case, or is it just part of the
same diff/drive shaft housing?What type of engine oil would
you recommend in either case?
1, it would not hurt to change the diff oil
2, the gearbox does not use the oil in the engine
3, if you need a manual try this site

Where ever you purchase oil they will advise or should advise what to use
Question 2-27
VehicleType=holden VT commodore
State=South Australia
Subject=service warning
comment=Please help,
I have just upgraded fron a 1985 VK commodore to a newer 1998 VT commodore.
The car is due for a 160000 km service and the electronic odometer flashes
up with a service warning each time i start the car. I do all my services at
home and would like to stop/reset the service warning indicator
Any help would be greatly appreciated
Stephen Bass
You will need to take the vehicle to the dealer to get it reset
Modern tech this is what to expect
Question 2-28
username=Susan Carter
VehicleType=Holden Astra
Subject=Oil Light and Hot Engine
comment=Hi Darren,
Please HELP!
My Holden ASTRA (1989) has been a brilliant car, but I have a problem that I
need solved.   Has been running reaaly well until today when the Oil light
came on.  I had only put oil in 2 days ago, so checked it anyway.  It seemed
fine so, off i wnet again.  The oil light isnt staying on all the time, just
going on and off.  When i got to my destination, the engine was red hot.
Have had 3 different theories on this and have no idea how i can fix it as
quickly as possible..  I noticed when going up hills, the car didnt seem to
have as much “guts” as normal and I had to change to a lower gear.   I’m
concerned about what damage this will cause the engine if i drive anywhere.
Hope you can help.

Susan this problem is best to be sorted out by your local garage as it seems
like the sooner the better I even suggest getting it towed


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