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A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Never seen anybody get the better of ole shifty in these parts... till you showed up cardoc.

    I got more than thirty five years of real world experience under my belt and the benefit of having constantly worked to improve my education that whole time. I've worked harder, and studied more (average 20+ hours a week) than I can realistically demonstrate in these forums. Yet, I'll be the first to tell you that today I have more training ahead of me than I have already gotten to date. Everything simply keeps changing that fast. Nobody can keep up with all of it, there just aren't enough hours in the day. But I still keep trying.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    I'd probably let the monitor only go down to about 40% the first time. But after that, I'd let it run down to 10% +/- and as long as I'm using the correct product everything should be good to go.

    According to the oil life monitor on our 2007 Lacrosse, I can go 12,000 miles between oil changes, using the required dino oil.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,020
    No kidding. The Kia dealership in my area handed me their maintence guide at my first visit. They use it for all their new and preowned vehicles. It says that for our area you should use the "SEVERE CONDITIONS" maintenance schedule. And that failure to do so may void the warranty.

    After our friend's experience with his voided Hyundai warranty I have no desire to own either a Hyundai or a Kia. Ever since I was in Jr. High I've been partial to European cars, so I'll probably stick with them until they send me to the nursing home- but I will keep my TJ- the last real Jeep(just kidding).

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    edited March 2013
    So what you're saying is that the viscosity rating is not the primary operative in the oil required for the Fiat engine? That was exactly what I was saying. :P

    I have studied this system---it doesn't strike me as that complex or critical at all. I think it was intelligently designed to be rather "fail safe" than fussy-wussy like some variable valve train systems.

    I may write to Fiat about it--it's quite interesting.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,448
    I got 4,000 miles on my brand spanking new 2012 Honda Civic lx lease. Dealership says bring it in every 5,000 miles for oil change. Jiffy Boob wants it every 3,000 miles. Oil life monitor is at 70%. I know what I will do.But, what would you do.

    Personally, I'd follow the manufacturer's service recommendations, as Cardoc suggested he would do.

    The dealership has a profit motive in mind in its recommendation, but they also know changing oil more frequently than required rarely, if ever, causes any problems, unless the tech gets sloppy and forgets a critical step, like not tightening the drain plug.

    Same for Jiffy Lube.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,448
    But, I never really thought I would lease a car. Certainly not cost advantageous as compared to the alternatives But, in this particular instance, it was was the better choice.

    From an individual usage position, its difficult for me to see how leasing can be financially advantageous. Certain short-term needs might make it viable, just as renting an apartment for a year might be a better financial decision than buying, depending on the specifics of one's circumstances. Overall, I would say those cases are fairly rare.

    On the other hand, having the ability to write-off lease costs can be a plus in a business-use arrangement, so its at least possible, in theory, to be a better deal financially for a business-oriented lease.

    Personally, I've never leased a car.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    From an individual usage position, its difficult for me to see how leasing can be financially advantageous

    Well, I said it was a better choice for me at that particular time. I've always deferred the new car experience to my wife, and bought cars 4 or 5 years old.

    With very little down and a low monthly payment... I can drive a brand new car (YA ME!) with full warranty. No out of pocket expenses for mechanical break downs, don't expect any with Honda anyhow. And when the lease is up at the end of 3 years, I can turn it in and walk away if not 100% satisfied... or I can buy it at its residual value.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    edited March 2013
    Personally I would not. I'd probably let the monitor only go down to about 40% the first time. But after that, I'd let it run down to 10% +/- and as long as I'm using the correct product everything should be good to go

    One thing we have all heard quite a bit in the past, is to change the oil at the recommended intervals to maintain the warranty (usually every 5-7,500 miles). If your oil life monitor says to change the oil roughly every 10k miles, what proof do you have that you changed it when the car tells you to?

    Does the cars computer store that information? i.e When oil change recommended and when oil change completed. What happens if you forget to resert the oil life monitor? Seems like a loophole a lot of dealerships,and or manufactureers, could use to get out of paying for warranty work.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,985
    edited March 2013
    Even better, never change the oil but reset the monitor every 3,000 miles with your code reader gizmo. :shades:
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,448
    One thing we have all heard quite a bit in the past, is to change the oil at the recommended intervals to maintain the warranty (usually every 5-7,500 miles). If your oil life monitor says to change the oil roughly every 10k miles, what proof do you have that you changed it when the car tells you to?

    If your dealer services the car, the dealership records are your proof. If an Indy does the work, your service receipts are your proof.

    If you do it, your dated receipts for oil/filter are your proof. That's been an acceptable body of evidence for years.

    If it goes to litigation, an oil analysis by some outfit like Blackstone can provide evidence on the quality of the oil.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,448
    Well, I said it was a better choice for me at that particular time. I've always deferred the new car experience to my wife, and bought cars 4 or 5 years old.

    With very little down and a low monthly payment... I can drive a brand new car (YA ME!) with full warranty. No out of pocket expenses for mechanical break downs, don't expect any with Honda anyhow. And when the lease is up at the end of 3 years, I can turn it in and walk away if not 100% satisfied... or I can buy it at its residual value.


    Nevertheless, the lease is stacked against you, from a financial standpoint. Automakers don't lease vehicles so that they can lose money.

    I'm not against leasing, and I fully realize that for some people it's the proper option...As you noted above, no worries about warranties, no being stuck long-term with a lemon, the ability to always drive a relatively new vehicle, etc., just as long as you can easily live within the lease restrictions.

    If one puts 25k miles/year on a car, its not a very good option, dollar-wise.

    BMW relies heavily on leasing for vehicle sales, and its structured its sales program in such a way that its highly popular for those that don't put excessive miles on their car. The icing on the cake is the "4 year/50K miles" all-inclusive normal maintenance, down to the wiper blades.

    Still, from an overall purely financial analysis, leasing .vs. buying is a higher cost alternative, at the end of the day.

    But, to be honest, most people trade their vehicle far before its reached the optimal economic time to trade vehicles. Just about everyone likes to drive a new car...
  • kyfdx@Edmundskyfdx@Edmunds Posts: 25,914
    If you trade every three years, then you can probably save money by leasing, instead....

    Of course you can save money by keeping a car for ten years... but, then, you are driving an old car... ;)

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Is the 5W40 required thicker or thinner than an SAE 10W40?
    How does that 5W40 compare to a 0W40 LL-04?

    What is the coldest temperature that the vehicle can reliably start without the use of a block heater system?

    When changing the oil what steps are required to compensate for air introduced into the pressurized oil passages?

    You have a vehicle with a misfire on cylinder #2, and a normal compression test shows that you only have 30PSI cranking. What steps can you take to determine the exact cause for the loss of compression? Keep in mind, you only get paid .3hrs to accurately diagnose this failure.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    s the 5W40 required thicker or thinner than an SAE 10W40? -- thinner but the same at operating temperatures.

    How does that 5W40 compare to a 0W40 LL-04? ---the LL-04 is thinner in cold weather but meets an older specification than the 5W40.

    What is the coldest temperature that the vehicle can reliably start without the use of a block heater system? -- trick question since battery life comes into play. You mean if I owned that Fiat with that system? I'd plug a block heater in at 20F and see what happens.


    When changing the oil what steps are required to compensate for air introduced into the pressurized oil passages? --Don't know!

    You have a vehicle with a misfire on cylinder #2, and a normal compression test shows that you only have 30PSI cranking. What steps can you take to determine the exact cause for the loss of compression? Keep in mind, you only get paid .3hrs to accurately diagnose this failure -- I can't do that and get an exact cause in .3 of one hour I don't think but I'd suspect sticking valve, lifter or in case of Fiat, perhaps solenoid
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Is the 5W40 required thicker or thinner than an SAE 10W40? -- thinner but the same at operating temperatures.

    It's thicker. It's a High HTHS. SAE 10W40 is a low HTHS oil as are all North American spec oils.

    How does that 5W40 compare to a 0W40 LL-04? ---the LL-04 is thinner in cold weather but meets an older specification than the 5W40.
    They are in fact the same at high temperatures as both are High HTHS oils. At low temperatures the 0W has a lower pumping requirement specification than the 5W. The LL-04 has a lower SAPS.

    What is the coldest temperature that the vehicle can reliably start without the use of a block heater system? -- trick question since battery life comes into play. You mean if I owned that Fiat with that system? I'd plug a block heater in at 20F and see what happens.

    Consider that the low temperature pumping requirements are going to be critical to not only open the intake valves but to allow them to close. If the oil is too thick they will be slow to operate. The question then becomes, can the onboard computer actually compensate, and the answer is supposed to be yes down to -15f.

    When changing the oil what steps are required to compensate for air introduced into the pressurized oil passages? --Don't know!

    VBG. That one's the trick question, none are required. The system will self purge naturally in a few seconds.

    You have a vehicle with a misfire on cylinder #2, and a normal compression test shows that you only have 30PSI cranking. What steps can you take to determine the exact cause for the loss of compression? Keep in mind, you only get paid .3hrs to accurately diagnose this failure -- I can't do that and get an exact cause in .3 of one hour I don't think but I'd suspect sticking valve, lifter or in case of Fiat, perhaps solenoid

    At 30PSI you either have a major leak or the intake valve isn't opening. A cylinder leakage test would be useful to check for leakage. Otherwise, the compression testing needs to be done with a pressure transducer, not a gage and the resulting waveform would confirm if the intake valve is operating or not. The next check is to use a scope and current ramp the control solenoid circuit. Depending on these checks you have either isolated the fault, or you know that you have to remove the intake valve control assembly and its going to get a pump and solenoid for that cylinder.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    "
    It's thicker. It's a High HTHS. SAE 10W40 is a low HTHS oil as are all North American spec oils."

    That is a very controversial answer so I'm not going to buy it just yet. The whole question of HTHS oils and how they conform to present viscosity standards is in debate, IIRC.

    OTHER ITEMS: I would certain have either done a CLD test or pull a valve cover but I couldn't do that in .3 of an hour and I don't think you could either--well, maybe with an air gun, the right car and some hustle. :P
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    It's thicker. It's a High HTHS. SAE 10W40 is a low HTHS oil as are all North American spec oils."

    That is a very controversial answer so I'm not going to buy it just yet. The whole question of HTHS oils and how they conform to present viscosity standards is in debate, IIRC.

    No it's not controversial. ACEA A1/B1 and A5/B5 are low HTHS oils, and A3/B3, A3/B4 are high HTHS oils. The API and ILSAC have no designation for high HTHS.

    OTHER ITEMS: I would certain have either done a CLD test or pull a valve cover but I couldn't do that in .3 of an hour and I don't think you could either--well, maybe with an air gun, the right car and some hustle

    No need to pull the valve cover for the diagnostics. But we are talking the combination of some of the most high tech routines that are in place today used by top technicians. Plus one must have solid training on the system and understand first what happens in the event of a "system failure". Would the solenoid default strategy allow the valve to operate at full lift and duration, or would a loss of command cause no valve operation?
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Of course you can save money by keeping a car for ten years... but, then, you are driving an old car..

    Nah, I would call that a "middle age" car.

    Now my 87 BMW '325 that I got rid of last year - I would agree is old.
  • kyfdx@Edmundskyfdx@Edmunds Posts: 25,914
    LOL... sold our '87 325iS just three weeks ago... :)

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    edited March 2013
    Okay, let's agree to disagree on that controversy (or not). I think our problem is "thicker" by what standard. But let's move on.....

    RE: VALVES----I would say, if the Fiat system is as clever as i think it is, that a solenoid failure would suggest a return to a full mechanical default position (no hydraulic dampening).
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