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A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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Comments

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,478
    Ah, well, sharing all the other codes certainly would have gotten a different answer from me.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,116
    Well that sounds like hysteria--if he's getting VVT-1 codes then he's got an oil control valve issue, just like the TSB says. Now of course I have no idea what the engine is doing, what it sounds like, etc, so maybe it's more serious.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,522
    edited September 2013
    Ah, well, sharing all the other codes certainly would have gotten a different answer from me.

    What the post started with is exactly the information provided by the customer. That included what was written on the repair order from the first shop. They only mentioned the P0727 nothing else.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,478
    But of course the very first thing to do is to read the codes. I assumed you did that and reported all of the codes in your first post. Since now you are saying you hadn't done that, then I change my answer to be "read the codes."

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,522
    Since now you are saying you hadn't done that, then I change my answer to be "read the codes."

    That of course is part of the first phase but you should change it to say check for codes in every module. With today's highly networked vehicles codes and data in an obscure module can often provide important clues.

    The car started fine for six key starts with varying lengths of operation including two short trips. When it finally acted up the cam signal was present and correct, power to the crank sensor was correct and so was the ground, the signal was fixed high. There was still a chance there was an open in the harness or the connector for the sensor so the insulation had to be stripped back and re-measured on the sensor side of the connector and it was still high and fixed. The sensor was confirmed to be bad and needed to be replaced.

    This outline is what it takes to meet the customers greatest expectations, fix it right the first time. The pressure to be too cheap causes many to short cut the process and in this case slamming a sensor would have provided some relief of the symptom of the no-start/hard to start but it would also have resulted in an ever since you replaced the crankshaft sensor my car now does XXXXX. For many who don't understand the system and how it works they would twist that into the shop/tech must have done something wrong, or done something intentionally to the car that made this "new" symptom now present. Based on the information provided, what will the car do with the new crank sensor that it wouldn't do but should have been doing but was prevented by the bad one?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,478
    Yes, unfortunately, multiple things can go wrong at the same time (or at least close to the same time or as a chain reaction), and only through the process of elimination can you track everything down.

    Hardest part of a professional's position, I think, is relying on the customer's information. There could have been something wrong BEFORE the CPS went bad, but they either didn't notice or failed to inform you. So having multiple problems that are compounding each other muddies the water.

    My wife is my only customer (well, my only regular customer. I do often get family/friends/coworkers asking me for on-the-spot diagnoses.) and she can drive me nuts with the lack of information or lack of reporting problems. I try to drive each car at least once a month so I can be on the lookout for unreported problems. The professional, of course, doesn't have that advantage.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,049
    edited September 2013
    When I used to listen to Car Talk, there'd be one of those on every show. The brothers would throw out their ideas and then 5 minutes into the call, the caller would go, oh, "by the way, the engine was replaced the week before this happened."

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,522
    The brothers would throw out their ideas and then 5 minutes into the call, the caller would go, oh, "by the way, the engine was replaced the week before this happened."

    LOL, the worst part of that is it could be very essential information, and it could easily be a red herring.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,621
    edited September 2013
    I quit listening to Car Talk when they joined the Safety Nazis and started calling for limits on horsepower(incredibly, they thought the first generation M Roadster-with only 240 net hp-was "too powerful").
    I infrequently read their newspaper column and a couple of times their answers were dead wrong, so after that I had little use for them.

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

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,860
    Well, when you are used to Darts and Mitsu Expos, anything over 150hp probably seems scary. Sadly, there are probably quite a few people like that out there.

    Now that the show is out of production, I think they use recycled bits from random ancient times. Caller calls in with an 88 Corolla, 50K miles on it...taped in 199-what?
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,049
    answers were dead wrong

    That was half the fun, but there's a long tradition in my family of yelling back at the TV, radio, etc.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,310
    >I quit listening to Car Talk

    I quit even tolerating their silly banter when I figured out it was so someone else could figure out a solution to caller's question or at least make up an answer. A Cincy talk radio mechanic (Overbeck) said they were presenters at a convention for auto techs and wouldn't let professionals into the talk session. Only the nonprofessionals could go in. Probably because they don't really know much as they pretend? Didn't want real techs embarrassing them.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,049
    I'm sure the calls were screened and the car info was researched and available on their computer screens.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    We have to remember the show was primarily entertainment oriented, and the subject selected to "entertain on" was car mechanics.

    I see shows like theirs as being in the same mindset as all the "reality shows" on TV, which are far less reality and far more scripted.

    Shows like the guy who just "happens to stop by an old barn" and finds some really, rare car in it that was parked 75 years ago, and in 10 minutes they have it running again.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,310
    >w was primarily entertainment oriented,

    Agree.

    >"happens to stop by an old barn" and finds some really, rare car in it that was parked 75 years ago, and in 10 minutes they have it running again.

    Yup. And it was covered in dust. Do they spray on that dust? There's a car repair show where the guy buys old cars, puts a little work into them for a few days, and barely meets the next auction so he can recover his money. Leo's Garage may be the name? Ridiculous. They spray on dust or something.

    > the guy who just "happens to stop by an old barn"

    That show went the way of Pawn Stars on my TV lineup. Can't stand the guys.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,860
    The only show of that sort I like is "Wheeler Dealers", as the mechanic Edd is skilled and patient, and nothing is faked - sure they don't count the hundreds of man hours of work into their figures, but it all seems real, and they don't over-restore things as is done here (it's a UK show).

    Chasing Classic Cars is good, too.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,478
    I love some of those types of shows, though. But I hate some, too.

    Those I hate:
    1. Any of the number of shows where they take somebody's car, fix it up, and "surprise" them with it.
    2. Graveyard Carz
    3. Texas Car Wars
    4. Can't find the name. Thought it was Desert Car Kings, but I just looked that show up and it ain't it. This one seemed similar: taking a car from the junkyard, fixing it up in record time, selling it at auction for a fortune.
    5. I know there are more.

    Those I like:
    1. Wheeler Dealers
    2. Fast n Loud
    3. Counting Cars
    4. Chasing Classic Cars
    5. I actually liked this other one that seems to have disappeared where he bought and sold cars but didn't always do much to fix them up. Bald guy and his wife and an ex-car stuntman and a guy in a white lab coat. Not sure why I liked it other than to see the cars. People weren't very likable.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    I can't remember the name of the show (Renovation Raiders, possibly), but it's headed up by a lady carpenter, and the premise is that her "crew" totally redoes someone's den, kitchen, etc. top to bottom while the owners are out for dinner. One of the family members is "in" on the deal, but its a total surprise to the rest of the family.

    I'm not sure I would want my kitchen totally redone in 3-4 hours, especially if gas and electric re-routing was involved.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,860
    The "surprise" ones annoy me too, usually because the work tends to be of questionable taste.

    A friend of mine has threatened to have my fintail on an "Overhaulin" type show, where it will be returned to me with a crate 350, 90s Corvette metallic yellow paint with grey leather interior out of a Suburban, and a billet steering wheel.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,762
    Cool...do it!

    Have those caps installed that keep spinning after the car has stopped.

    Hydraulics too. Make it a "hopper"!
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,730
    I will watch damn near any of these shows. But one that just started is hideous ("armerican car prospector"). So obviously faked, even by the standards of this type of show, and horribly "acted".

    Overhaulin is good. Foose is for real, and I don't understand how they can possibly do it so quick.

    Wheeler dealers is great. Love those guys.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2007 Volvo S40 (mine)

  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,329
    edited September 2013
    American Prospector is so obviously scripted, I only watched 15 minutes.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,522
    Most of the techs I know don't watch any of those shows. None of them represent what we really deal with day in and day out. We wouldn't be able to put up with most of the antics they portrait. In the end they only manage to put out yet more false perceptions that we have to overcome.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,049
    edited September 2013
    In that part of the world, you'd probably have to know how to maintain the body armor and anti-carjacking flame throwers along the running boards.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,478
    edited September 2013
    Oh, I meant to include prospector. Definitely in the hate column. How the hell did that guy make a career out of buying and selling junk. Oh, hey, they did that show already. It was Sanford and Son! Only now it lacks the intentional comedy.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,860
    edited September 2013
    I guess then it will be cheaper to work on, anyway. Tiny wire wheels with a million spokes sound better, especially if they are gold.

    I am kind of surprised an old MB hasn't been messed up on one of those shows yet.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,522
    Typical call, the owner has a van that he does all his own work on and it failed the emissions test. Being a 95 it gets the TSI which is a two speed idle test in Western Pa. My first thought was it's a van, yuck. I've never liked working on them and the older I get and the harder it is to move around it just gets more unpleasant. The guy was fun to talk to however and he wasn't really too interested in repairing it right now as much as he wants to do just enough that it qualifies for a waiver sticker. To get a waiver in Pa the owner only has to spend up to $150 attempting to repair the car. Only certified repair technicians can authorize a waiver so he was told to call us. When diagnostics and repairs are done by a shop the whole bill can be applied towards the waiver fee. If the owner does the work himself only the parts that were used qualify and he has to provide the receipts for the parts, have two failed emissions tests and then the technician has to confirm that the work was done and follow the rest of the routine to authorize the waiver. The customer had only put on about $70 in parts so he didn't qualify for the waiver yet, but they could be applied towards it and if we do the diagnostics that would get him to where he needs to be. He joked about just getting a bill to put him over the limit but I have my policy on that and if he has to spend a dime we make sure that he gets some value out of the expense and we really work towards making an improvement in the vehicles performance. (I won't throw parts for the sake of throwing parts). The last thing we agreed on was since this is a (conversion) van and the engine cover needs to be removed, he would pull the passengers front seat and have the engine cover fully exposed so that I would not have to spend any time doing that. He set his appointment for this morning (Friday).

    This morning he called to let us know that he couldn't keep his appointment today. His son went into sudden cardiac arrest last night and he has been in the hospital with him all night and he had to head back there. The worst part was when he said that it doesn't look good for his son. Meanwhile he was apologizing for not being able to make it in and was worried that it would be an issue for us. All I could do was offer our sympathies and let him know we would add his son to our prayers and re-assured him that his family was more important and taking care of his van can wait. We will be there for him when he is ready, and for him to not worry about us because I have plenty of work to keep me busy. Just thinking about what he was going through put a dark cloud on the whole day. :cry:
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    This link really did strange things to my browser. Opened a half screen of something and seemed to lock the cursor on this window. Could not get to much of anything else. I cntl+alt+del and started Task Manager and stopped the application.

    I have run one virus/malware scanner and nothing was found, but just thought I would note the problem I had.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,522
    edited September 2013
    That's strange. Linked in is a professional networking site and the link still works just fine. Well anyway the only thing you missed is they want an experienced Audi tech and the rate of pay you can expect for moving to South Africa is 18,000-20,000 Rand a month.
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