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A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,561
    A little travel back in time. I was looking for something else when I found this that I had written back in 2001.
    Slightly edited, word processing and spell checker has come a long way since 2001...…

    Jan 6th 2001......

    >O.K., here's the vehicle- '94 Caravan 3.3 O/D
    >
    >Complaint-Extended crank and hard start in the morning.
    >Runs fine otherwise.

    Piece of cake when approached with a plan. It's important
    to understand the system you are facing's characteristics.
    Chrysler looks for ignition reference in order to power up
    the fuel pump during cranking, but otherwise has a two
    second priming pulse upon first turning the ignition on. A
    hard or extended crank may mean you have ten seconds to
    analyze this, so all of your testing has to be completed
    before the car starts. You know you need compression, spark
    and fuel to run, and since once this starts it runs fine,
    compression is not a concern, that leaves fuel and spark.

    Here is what I would do, hook up an ST-125 to check for
    spark.

    Install fuel pressure gage.

    Connect scope to watch ignition command, being on the
    ground side you get to see system voltage during cranking,
    as well as the computers ability to pull all the way to
    ground. This step checks the ASD relay as well since power
    to the DIS system is through the switched side of the ASD
    relay.

    Connect current probe to monitor injector on-time during
    cranking.

    Hook up scan tool to see parameters such as CTS, TPS, (ACT
    if used) MAP, etc. I would most likely take a snapshot of
    the cranking event.

    I would also hook up scope lead to the fuel pump relay, to
    monitor available fuel pump voltage.

    All the connections for testing will take under ten minutes
    to install, and from there have an assistant crank the
    engine to allow you to monitor the start-up.

    >History-Good customer, we haven't done much work to this
    >vehicle other than a fuel pump (from Chrysler) about 1 year
    >ago.

    Basically irrelevant at this point. Treat this as if you
    have never seen it before, even if the pump was replaced
    yesterday.

    >What do you want to check first? Remember, you got .3
    >diagnosis so make it snappy ;-)

    Plenty of time, but still worth the regular diagnostic fee.
    There are possibilities that will escape the initial
    diagnostics as outlined here. By knowing what they are you
    have already taken the first steps towards diagnosing them too.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,641
    Can you check the fuel pressure first in the "ON" position, prior to cranking?

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,561
    Take notice of the mention of LSPI in this article.

    https://noln.net/2018/04/01/on-the-cusp-of-change-sn-0w-16-gf-6-and-more/
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,561
    edited June 16

    Can you check the fuel pressure first in the "ON" position, prior to cranking?

    Usually we can. There is a two second priming pulse that occurs when the key is first turned on. What we normally look for isn't that the fuel pressure necessarily get's to the specification, we just want to see the priming pulse occur and produce some pressure.

    BTW with GDI (gasoline direct injection) systems, a priming pulse often occurs when the drivers door is opened and the dome light comes on even before the key is inserted in the ignition.

    A lot has changed since I wrote that outline back in 2001. Today technicians all around the country are taught to develop and follow some type of a game plan when undertaking diagnostics. Back then I could measure fuel pump current but since I only had two, two channel scopes that was usually left for the "second round". Today that is something that would be measured during the first attempt to experience the symptom.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 11,125

    Take notice of the mention of LSPI in this article.

    https://noln.net/2018/04/01/on-the-cusp-of-change-sn-0w-16-gf-6-and-more/

    I always use the oil specified by the manufacturer(in my case, LL-01 and/or LL-01FE in everything but the Wrangler) and drive on down the road. I have no sympathy for owners who refuse to open their owners manual to learn how to properly maintain their vehicles.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,150

    Or those keyway-type rear brake drums that you had to pull off with a special tool--they could let loose with terrifying force.

    You could get a pretty good shock from a Tesla, too.

    Oh Yeah, those miserable Chrysler rear drums that required that special puller to get them off. You would attach the puller, beat the hell out of it with a hammer and nothing would happen.....UNTIL....it decided to let go!
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,561


    I always use the oil specified by the manufacturer(in my case, LL-01 and/or LL-01FE in everything but the Wrangler) and drive on down the road. I have no sympathy for owners who refuse to open their owners manual to learn how to properly maintain their vehicles.

    Can't wait to see how long it takes BMW owners and shops to adjust to the new standards. LL-12 and LL-14

    Here is VW's new specification, a 0W20 that is thinner than GM's dexos1 2nd gen.
    https://msdspds.castrol.com/bpglis/FusionPDS.nsf/Files/1FAF3A237AAB4FBB80258216004C9C07/$File/BPXE-AD8F38.pdf
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 11,125
    No big deal; crack open the owners manual and use the specified oil...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,701
    About the tools. Sorry, been swamped lately so got behind on reading. :D
    I buy Williams, Armstrong, a little Mac and Matco (not much, cause no dealer here), some basic Craftsman Pro tools and the Snap-on tools I buy are specialty tools that are hard to get from other sources.

    Williams is made by Snap-on and 1/3 the price. The Williams 100P-8MD Screwdriver Set is about $70 versus the $140 Snap-on set and are identical to the old school (mid 90s) Snap-on screwdrivers.
    Sometimes, I have to buy specialty tools and often Snap-on and OTC are the only manufacturers, so in order to have the tools to do the job, you pay the price and buy the expensive tools.

    Just like air tools. I almost exclusively buy Ingersoll Rand. I have had Snap-on, Mac, Matco and Craftsman air tools and have only had good luck with the IR tools.
    Although, I do have one Mac air wrench that is identical to my IR, that has lasted me 15 years so far.
    In my younger years, I went through die grinders every 6 months, until I bought an IR. The IR die grinder lasted 7 years until I dropped it from a large excavator and it broke the housing.

    There are many inexpensive (relatively) tools available that work find.
    Snappy, Mac and Matco do not have to be the only tools purchased by techs.
    Go look at an older heavy equipment tech's tools and I'd be willing to bet that half his tools are not Snappy, Mac or Matco. Why? Cause the older techs realize that wasting money on premi prems is often wasting money.

    Don't get me wrong, my ratcheting screwdrivers are all Snap-on (Ok, one is Caterpillar branded, but made by Snap-on). Why? Because simply, they are the most comfortable and work the best for me.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,561

    No big deal; crack open the owners manual and use the specified oil...

    It should be that easy, but here we go again with the Nay-sayers that will influence some consumers perspectives.
    https://bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/4235130/EDGE_Professional_LL_IV_FE_0W-
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,641
    Yeah, why listen to all those nerdy engineers? "Brad" from Cleveland knows way more than they do about oil.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,561
    edited June 17

    Yeah, why listen to all those nerdy engineers? "Brad" from Cleveland knows way more than they do about oil.

    And so did Mr. Reed...…...
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 11,125

    No big deal; crack open the owners manual and use the specified oil...

    It should be that easy, but here we go again with the Nay-sayers that will influence some consumers perspectives.
    https://bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/4235130/EDGE_Professional_LL_IV_FE_0W-
    Hearing people discuss oil "weights" drives me up the wall; viscosity is the correct term- and the W in multi-viscosity oils stands for winter.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • guitarzanguitarzan OhioPosts: 779



    Hearing people discuss oil "weights" drives me up the wall; viscosity is the correct term- and the W in multi-viscosity oils stands for winter.

    The numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, these are not viscosities but a completely different numeric representation of a viscosity range. Thus it is incorrect to say "my car takes a viscosity of 30" or "10W-30". For accuracy you would have to say, "the viscosity range specified cold is 10, and at operating temperature is 30." Yuck what a mess of a conversation.

    That would even be confusing to people as they think of "10W-30" as a single designation and not a range. That is why to me, referring to the marking on the bottle as "weight", aka "the weight is 10W-30" is a fine designation that everyone understands in conversation. If the designation on the bottle "10W-30" does not have a technical name, then "weight" might as well be it now after extensive popular use as such.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,561


    Hearing people discuss oil "weights" drives me up the wall; viscosity is the correct term- and the W in multi-viscosity oils stands for winter.

    Then your going to love this. You cannot look at the numbers on a bottle of oil and predict the viscosity of the product. The numbers reflect the grade of the product, not it's viscosity. The grades are based on viscosity ranges measured in centipoise for the "W" grade rating and centistokes for the straight grade.

    That's why a 5W30 that was dexos approved was as thin as a 5W20 while a 5W30 that was LL-01 approved was thicker than an API 10W40. LL-01FE XW30 makes an equivalent grade of oil thinner than a product that could vie for dexos approval, while both are thinner than an API aproved product that does not have any other O.E. approvals. There were major changes in engine design made by the Europeans in order to go from high HTHS products to very low HTHS products.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,641
    How's that possible if the final number, 20, 30, 40, whatever, means that the oil must fall within certain viscosity limits at 100 C. ?

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,561
    edited June 18
    It's also tested at 150 C (302f). 100C doesn't tell the whole story. You have to use the HTHS at 150C to evaluate how thick an oil is based on it's approvals.
    .............. 100C Minimum...…... 100C Maximum ……... 150C
    Grade 20 5.6 ……... ……. <9.3 ……....……...... >2.6

    Grade 30 9.3 ………..... <12.5 …………………. >2.9 API

    Grade 30 9.3 ………….. <12.5 …………………. 2.9<3.5 ACEA A1/B1, A5/B5

    Grade 30 9.3 …………… <12.5 ………………… >3.5 ACEA A3/B3 A3/B4

    Grade 40 12.5 .................. <16.3 ........................ >2.9 API

    To put this into perspective Grades 50 and 60 are only required to be over 3.7 at 150C.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,561
    A tech shared this while noting this was written in 1990. I can't even imagine how many pages it would be today.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 60,641
    That would take 11, 625 hours or almost 4 years.

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  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 11,125
    I guess I'm getting old and crotchety, but as a DIY inclined enthusiast I hesitate to purchase any newer car other than a BMW, Jeep or Mazda as it's become difficult to get up to speed on most any new brand(I might consider a Cayman, but that's about it).

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,561
    edited June 24

    That would take 11, 625 hours or almost 4 years.

    Before the 90's it was possible to master the trade in about four years if someone worked hard enough. Now it's a serious challenge to do that with one make of vehicle let alone multiple manufacturers and systems.


  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 23,795

    I guess I'm getting old and crotchety, but as a DIY inclined enthusiast I hesitate to purchase any newer car other than a BMW, Jeep or Mazda as it's become difficult to get up to speed on most any new brand(I might consider a Cayman, but that's about it).

    yup. old and crotchety. haha.
    I'm far from done switching brands. My goal is to own as many different brands as I can manage in my lifetime. Besides, even sticking with one brand doesn't relieve you from learning new stuff, obviously.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 11,125
    qbrozen said:

    I guess I'm getting old and crotchety, but as a DIY inclined enthusiast I hesitate to purchase any newer car other than a BMW, Jeep or Mazda as it's become difficult to get up to speed on most any new brand(I might consider a Cayman, but that's about it).

    yup. old and crotchety. haha.
    I'm far from done switching brands. My goal is to own as many different brands as I can manage in my lifetime. Besides, even sticking with one brand doesn't relieve you from learning new stuff, obviously.
    I agree regarding learning new stuff, but if you already have connections in a particular brand's community obtaining the new info is much easier to obtain.
    And I will amend my statement and admit that I find the Stelvio Quadrifoglio oddly alluring.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,561

    Whatever you do ,DO NOT repost that comment in the “Tales From Under the Hood” topic unless you want a lecture about how professional technicians NEVER make mistakes...

    Someday "maybe" you'll figure out what was really being said. No where have I ever said that. But until then, whatever....
    jmonroe said:

    Don't worry, I won't do that. I learned my lesson after you set me up a few years ago about telling a story over there to the mastermind @thecardoc3. Like I said to you before, after learning my lesson, "I OWE YOU FOR THAT". :@ jmonroe

    Just so you know anytime you post someone's nick it shows up that you have mentioned them in the forums. Quite an interesting read over there. Too bad you guys weren't able to help graphicguy with his dishwasher. But as I scanned through I saw that you actually do know how to check the torque on wheel lugs and yet you still had to bully the person behind the counter at that shop and then brag about it here in the forums.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 85,860
    Funny story. Waiting my turn to drop off key at my independent shop. Lady in front of me was relating to the boss about a noise during acceleration. He replied, “sounds like the heat shield”.

    Whaaaatt??!! That’s not how you diagnose a problem!

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  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 11,125

    Whatever you do ,DO NOT repost that comment in the “Tales From Under the Hood” topic unless you want a lecture about how professional technicians NEVER make mistakes...

    Someday "maybe" you'll figure out what was really being said. No where have I ever said that. But until then, whatever....
    jmonroe said:

    Don't worry, I won't do that. I learned my lesson after you set me up a few years ago about telling a story over there to the mastermind @thecardoc3. Like I said to you before, after learning my lesson, "I OWE YOU FOR THAT". :@ jmonroe

    Just so you know anytime you post someone's nick it shows up that you have mentioned them in the forums. Quite an interesting read over there. Too bad you guys weren't able to help graphicguy with his dishwasher. But as I scanned through I saw that you actually do know how to check the torque on wheel lugs and yet you still had to bully the person behind the counter at that shop and then brag about it here in the forums.
    I'm SO ashamed...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,561

    I'm SO ashamed...

    I highly doubt that.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,680
    So, how do you find out about the handle links? I always wondered what the point of that "@" thing was... It's highly possible that nobody has ever linked mine like that, but, if they have, I am entirely ignorant of it.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,561
    @xwesx Like that.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,561
    I wonder if these "customers" ever post in these forums...

    https://imgur.com/gallery/0dgJN
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