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A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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Comments

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    edited February 1
    Taking the last half of that first it's more of a case where the reported issues are just that numerous than common. As far as using Identifix as some kind of justification as to whether a given repair is logical or not on any given vehicle that could be accurate and on the next one completely inaccurate.  I have said many times that each car needs to be diagnosed on its own, and the process not be tainted by what was wrong with some other car. Every attempt to try and draw some level of similarity is almost always done to only try to subvert the diagnostic process towards  someone elses desire, the most common of which is rooted in the cost one way or another. 
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well I could a case for using Identifix say, as an example, for putting a new engine in a car as a "solution" to an engine that is completely sludged up. If the customer says "a new engine? Why not just take the sludge out?", you could see on Identifix that few, if any, shops chose to repair the problem that way and also that your particular engine shows pages and pages of sludge problems.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    DOC--ever see THIS PROBLEM?

    His F150 4X4 won't move unless he switches off the O/D button. Weird.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    I haven't seen one act like this, but if I had one come in the first thing that I need to know is which transmission? The 4R70W or the 4R100? Then is this setting any codes? If so, what are they?

    When he says that it won't work in any gear. does the engine just flare like it is neutral or does it feel like the brakes are stuck on?

    The same goes for Reverse both with the O/D button pushed and with it released.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089

    Well I could a case for using Identifix say, as an example, for putting a new engine in a car as a "solution" to an engine that is completely sludged up. If the customer says "a new engine? Why not just take the sludge out?", you could see on Identifix that few, if any, shops chose to repair the problem that way and also that your particular engine shows pages and pages of sludge problems.

    Going with that specific situation, that isn't the kind of information that you would find with Identifix. You would find information on specific vehicles/engines if the manufacturer relesed a TSB or had a special policy to address oil sludging and what the remedy was and if there was a mileage or age restriction to the policy but not much else.

    Typical scenarios where a shop/technician was dealing with an engine sludging failure like that might start out as an issue with variable valve timing control problem or a loss of oil pressure that they may or may not have already attempted a repair. If they did try to fix it, then maybe they then discovered that the engine had another issue so now they go looking Identifix for quick way to solve the additional problem. Or, maybe the only thing they had done so far was to start searching through Identifix looking first for TSB's and reports of similar problems in order to plan out how they might want to try to "test" or simply suggest a repair attempt.

    That's really all Identifix is, an information system that was first created by a technical assistance help line that documented every call for help and they turned it into a searchable database that could be used by a tech without calling in and talking directly to someone. It quite often gets mis-used when someone only attempts to find out what the most common reported fix is (aka Google) and then turns and suggests doing that as a first repair attempt. When going for that quick fix works, it is praised for saving the shop time and the vehicle owner money but no one stops to evaluate what does to help a technician in regards to gaining more experience using critical thinking skills and learning how to really go about testing the right way on his/her own. Identifix does have lots of information about how to test the right way, but that usually isn't used by the weaker shops/techs until they have a problem where the "known fixes" failed to solve the problem. What makes things even worse since they usually don't test the right way they quite often now find that they don't have the skills let alone the tools to do it anyway.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490

    I haven't seen one act like this, but if I had one come in the first thing that I need to know is which transmission? The 4R70W or the 4R100? Then is this setting any codes? If so, what are they?

    When he says that it won't work in any gear. does the engine just flare like it is neutral or does it feel like the brakes are stuck on?

    The same goes for Reverse both with the O/D button pushed and with it released.

    I'll try to get more info on it. I suspect you're right, there's more to the story.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,245
    @Mr_Shiftright - refresh my memory; what is the year and mileage of your Mini Cooper? My Clubman daily driver has the N12 Prince motor and at around 6,200 miles per year I'm hoping to make it to 150k- which would coincide with the end of my last term. It's perfect for my daily commute and never returns less than 35 mpg- and sometimes hits 44 mpg or better. The PO and I replaced everything that usually goes south at 100k miles(timing chain/guides, thermostat, vacuum pump, VANOS solenoids, etc.), so fingers crossed...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    My Mini has the earlier Tritec engine, which is quite robust but rather old-fashioned. Seems like you've already intercepted the problem areas in the Prince, so I'd say you're good to go. We think alike. When I first got the Mini, I found out all the common problems and intervened before they turned ugly. So I made it to 150K + without any breakdowns. I think if I'd had my Mini from new I would have had even better luck with it.

    My advice to used car buyers is if you are not mechanically inclined, or not very particular in your car maintenance, don't ever keep a Mini past warranty.

    I have no regrets.


  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,245
    Thanks- and I agree 100% that older Minis are not for the typical driver- that knows little about cars and cuts corners on maintenance.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    My friends at a local repair shop told me about a new hire. He seemed knowledgeable but then one day, about 4 days into his first week, the boss assigned him a certain job. Each mechanic gets a color code on the appointment sheet for that week---blue jobs, red jobs, yellow jobs, and they try to rotate the codes around so nobody gets stuck with one type of work. Well, the new hire looks at the job and says "Oh, I don't want to do that one".

    Goodbye.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    You've got to take the bad with the good! Not every job is a "gravy" job. Some jobs are so miserable it's near impossible to make any money. The dealers usually get stuck with those jobs. Indy Shops can decline certain jobs but the dealership has to take them. Rat damage and burn jobs are the worst!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    The point is that the "boss" decides, right? The repair shop is a team, and the team works together to solve problems.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089

    The point is that the "boss" decides, right? The repair shop is a team, and the team works together to solve problems.

    Like every story, there is more to it. Exactly why did the tech not want that job? How many times have we seen a tech get badmouthed because he/she took on something that they in the end turned out to be not ready to handle?

    If a job is quoted out as a loser, then that is managements failure and no the tech shouldn't have to lose on it if management doesn't know what they are doing.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited February 5
    I don't think a good shop takes "loser" jobs in the first place.

    It's one thing to refuse a job because it's above one's level of competence, but another to refuse it just because it's unpleasant to do.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    How's this for a loser. Fiat's Multi-Air engine found in the Abarth and Dodge Dart. The Multi-Air actuators are failing and that results in the intake valves not opening which ends up causing a misfire. The assembly can be replaced but a special tool is required. http://www.freedomracing.com/10259b-engine-actuator-compressor-assembly-10259a.html?fbclid=IwAR2hKuqar6k8QOTZcW7n0fNAnkUv0T5TPDpNhaEMt3DUb2RDBNo8vUYCSnQ
    Shops and Techs are looking around for a more cost effective solution.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Worth more than the car after a few years!
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,087
    Looks like something you could make yourself for that kind of money

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Certainly if you had a milling machine, seems like you could. Of course, you'd need to work on enough of these cars to justify the time. Basically these are throw-away cars, so I don't know that there's much profit in them.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    qbrozen said:

    Looks like something you could make yourself for that kind of money

    I've made more complicated tools, it does take a considerable amount of time when you make something totally by hand. There is a knock-off version of the tool that can be found on Ebay. You'll know you are looking at there since it's the one without pictures. Techs that got it have reported that unless they are very careful it doesn't work correctly and they end up breaking the assembly.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    breaking the tool or breaking the car?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    The replacement part, the solenoid and valve actuator assembly.
  • henrynhenryn Houston, TXPosts: 2,575
    I would think that the average independent shop would simply give a "pass" to this type of work, sending it to the dealership. And at the dealership, the mechanic would probably not be expected to buy this equipment, this would have to be furnished by the shop itself?

    I'm sure someone will come along and correct me if I'm wrong.
    2018 Ford F150 XLT Crew Cab, 2016 Chrysler Town & Country Touring
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    That's probably how it would pan out, yes. There are some makes that most Indy repair shops shy away from, but they would do things like brakes or front end I would expect.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    Things like owning these kinds of tools are a numbers game for any technician. If you are doing a given repair often enough and even in the dealership, depending on how many techs have to share essential tools, not to mention if one suddenly comes up missing it would be no surprise at all for a tech to own something like this.

    Independent shops are buying this tool to take care of their customers who own one of these cars. It's just part of the cost of being in business.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225

    That's probably how it would pan out, yes. There are some makes that most Indy repair shops shy away from, but they would do things like brakes or front end I would expect.

    We have a great Indy Shop where I live that simply will not work on European cars. They are usually booked out at least a week and according to the manager they simply don't want the headaches that these cars tend to bring nor do they want to invest in additional tools and equipment. I respect them for this.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    I got a call from a shop, a European specialist that had a 2014 Jetta that he put an engine in that was a cranks but would not start. The recent history was the owner was reporting excessive oil consumption and replacing the oil separator didn't fix it. Then it came back as a hard start, misfire, no power with the plugs all fouled.

    With the new "used" engine the vehicle failed to start and kept cranking when he let off the key. He had to turn the key to the off position to get he starter to stop cranking the engine. After swapping the original engines wiring harness to the replacement engine only to have the same result he decided to replace the PCM, so he got a used one. That made the cranking issue go away but the engine still failed to start. He wrestled with this for about a month until another shop told hem about me.

    I got there around 11:30 am this morning and by the time he got done telling me everything that he did, started working on it about 12:15 pm. By 1pm I was putting my tools away.

    The first thing that I did was pull codes from all pf the modules on the car. The most important code wasn't a surprise, P1570 immobilizer. There was nothing that I could do for that code with the used computer in the car, so I instructed him to reinstall the original, cranking complaint or not. That corrected the immobilizer issue. One down....

    The next step was to check the ignition timing against the relative compression. That test passed.

    Now it was time to install the pressure transducer and see exactly what was going on in cylinder.

    That told quite a story if you know what you are looking at, the exhaust camshaft is clearly out of time.
    Two Down....

    That above capture though showed very high compression as well as it wasn't reaching atmospheric pressure during the intake stroke, so we pulled the upstream O2 sensor and repeated the test.



    Yep, a restricted exhaust. That explains the original loss of power, the misfiring and fouling the plugs.
    Three's a charm.....

    BTW this guy has a shop that you could eat off of the floor. He has been a known master at European vehicles since I was in high school but hasn't attended training in who knows how long.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 13,083
    Wow! So, all of that work he did, and really none of it made a difference... at least not a difference that took them in the right direction. :(

    I wonder, did your visit serve to relieve them or add to their frustration? :D
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,089
    edited February 10
    xwesx  I wonder, did your visit serve to relieve them or add to their frustration? :D
    Lol. Not sure. He's looking at either pulling the timing cover off and fixing the cam timing, or getting another used engine and installing it. OR, he could reinstall the original engine, and replace the catalyst and then see where he is at. 
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    So the used engine was a turkey?

    I wonder if the clogged exhaust is actually the problem or the symptom? What a mess!

    I forget, is this a GDI engine?
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