Stupid Engineer Tricks - What's Yours

doitmyselfdoitmyself Member Posts: 24
edited March 2014 in Plymouth
My last Plymouth mini van was the best vehicle I ever owned. It was easy to service and the only repairs in 190,000 miles were due to normal wear and tear. My '99 model is another story. Someone please explain why the fuel filter is located on TOP of the gasoline tank - every 30,000 miles it is recommended to unfasten and lower the tank in order to replace the filter!

Let' s hear some more stories!

P.S. - This is just for fun - I'm trying to ward off cabin fever up here in Michigan!


  • leadfoot4leadfoot4 Member Posts: 593
    I have a 1997 Chevy S-10 4x4 pick up. A couple of months back, I was experiencing a hard starting condition.
    I was looking through the shop manual for some clues as to what might be wrong. The manual mentioned an in-line "check valve" two or three times, but never pinpointed it's location. I hope, however, that it's not located in line with the "intermediate fuel supply pipe". I assume that's the technical term for the gas line that runs from the fuel filter, which is under the cab, to the back of the engine.
    The shop says that step one in replacing that line is, "Remove transmission and transfer case". Yeah, that'll take a half hour or so !!!!!
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,594
    ...a few months ago, the thermostat housing on my '00 Intrepid 2.7 was leaking. It ended up costing about $210 to have it replaced by my local, independent mechanic. I think the part was $85 and it was about $125 in labor to have it put on.

    Years ago, the thermostat housing on my '69 Dart GT, 225 Slant Six, cracked after I put a new thermostat in it. I had tightened the bolts too hard, and broke it. Found on in the junkyard, and put it in myself for about $5.00.

    This got me thinking...if I ever need a new thermostat in the Intrepid, is it going to cost me about $125 in labor just to get to it?
  • opera_house_wkopera_house_wk Member Posts: 326
    I had a 75 Mazda rotary engine which I kept after I junked the car. The engine only had 40K on it after a factory rebuild. I had a fuel line hose go bad on my 75 Ford pick up so I cut ( didn't bother with clamps) a section of gas line from the rotary engine that I was storing and used that. About a year later the pickup truck was starving for gas. I had gotten some bad gas and it had clogged the carburator mounted fuel filter. Replaced that and I still wasn't getting gas. Pulled off the fuel line I had replaced and it was blocked. In the middle of the fuel line was a steel ball with a hole in it. The Mazda had a recirculating fuel system and this was the return hose. They shoved this ball with a little hole in in the hose to control return fuel flow. I never knew it was there until the hole became clogged.
  • vidtechvidtech Member Posts: 212
    ford has decided to make u joint replacement a nightmare on early to mid 90's thunderbird and have to drop the exhaust system and the gas tank just to access the bolts for the driveshaft.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Late model GM 3800's with the right engine mount through the middle of the serpentine belt loop. Step #1 in belt replacement, remove front portion of right mount. Raise & lower the engine about 4 times to change a belt.
  • klondike22klondike22 Member Posts: 1
    On GM large vehicles the owners manual states there is a replacement mast available for electric antennas in case you break one. When I purchased one for my Bonneville I realized it was quite a bit different, so back to the GM dealer (through my independent dealer) at which time he found out the replacement masts are only for replacement units! So after you purchase the entire assembly once, you are able to buy a replacement mast the next time! To top it all off when I purchased the genuine entire unit from GM I found the bracket was a universal fit that I had to bend and cut- not very professional in my book!!
  • gjnbngjnbn Member Posts: 4
    The 3.0 liter engine on dodge vans have a stupid design. The valve covers have 2 bolts in them. They are in the center of cover. When they leak if you tighten them down it will smash outside edge of cover making them leak even worse!
  • soonerbsoonerb Member Posts: 9
    You don't say what year your original Voyager was but I suspect an first generation or early second gen. These had a return fuel system meaning that 3 times more fuel was sent forward than the engine could possibly use and then simply return what does not go to run the engine. Your 99 has a returnless fuel system due to enhanced fuel control and higher fuel pressure than some prior vehicles. This system cuts the fuel filters job way down since only fuel that will be burned needs to be filtered now. There is not a listed interval for fuel filter maintenance in the Plymouth service manual for a 99 minivan. It simply filters better longer. Spend your money on one of those slick cargo inserts for the back that Mopar sells instead.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    back in the 60s, if you had a seat belt system get squirrelly, you just leaned in from outside and put lube on the retractors, out there in the open where you could work with them.

    they started hiding the darned things in the 1970s.

    now with the wookie-wookie retractors at floor level and the belts running halfway up the B pillar, out, then over, isn't it amazing that the retractors still get crummy and won't pay out the belt... but you have to remove half of the car's interior plastic and insulation on that side to get a little compressed air to clear the fuzz, and then a little lube on the retractors?

    this is way old already. not as bad as oil pans that can't be removed with the engine in the vehicle, but it's still no fun.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Member Posts: 1,391
    Duct Tape is man's best invention

    Bubble Gum makes a good temporary adhesive sometimes.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    Why doesn't somebody invent a split CV joint boot that can be put over the CV joints and sealed without having to strip the entire drive shaft assembly? As things are now, it's a nightmare to change a damaged boot.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    They've been around for years, a less than desirable way of doing things. The glue joint usually fails, and you can't clean out the contaminated grease or check the joint. Boot replacement on most cars is pretty straightforward.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    With more and more plastic in the dash and console areas, squeaks were bound to follow close behind. A cheap easy fix is to buy the little felt self adhesive pads used under lamps and such to avoid scratches on table tops. Locate the squeak, remove the offending trim and place a pad where the contact is being made. Sure stopped a lot of irritation in my '00 Sierra.

  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    I know they've been around for some time but I sort of meant that somebody should invent a better one. The point is that not everybody has access to a workshop and for the shadetree mechanic such as myself, I feel an easily replacable boot is better than a damaged boot. My son took his Nissan Sentra in for ONE damaged boot and he was charged $600 for that. Soon the other one will need replacing with a further $600 charge. He could only afford $600 at that time.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    That's a pretty heavy hit. My Mitchel labour estimator shows:
    Axle shaft R&R
    (90 and newer)
    Std Trans
    One side.................. 1.2
    Both........................ 2.2
    Auto Trans
    Right side................. 1.3
    Left or Both............... 2.4

    Add to replace 1 boot.. .7

    So, to do the left outer boot would be 3.1 hours @ whatever hourly labour rate plus about $30 for the boot. I'd sure like to know how they can justify $600.
  • 79377937 Member Posts: 390
    Well, he took it to the Nissan dealer and that's the price they came up with. As I said before, easy boot replacement would be a good thing. If they were easy to replace you could change them before they really caused any trouble. Even your figures show that changing them takes time.

    I'll pass your times onto my son and tell him to watch out in future.
  • zandorzandor Member Posts: 67
    One of my friends has a '95 Stratus.
    To replace the battery:
    1. Jack up car.
    2. Remove front wheel (drivers side I think)
    3. Remove splash guard from wheel well.

    To replace the alternator:
    1. Jack up car.
    2. Remove other front wheel.
    3. Remove splash guard from wheel well.

    Naturally he replaced the battery first and the problem turned out to be the alternator.

  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    I usually just replace the whole CV Shaft when a boot cracks, it's easier, cleaner, and 9 times out of 10 cheaper than messing with just the boot. When you figure it out the car is torn down to the point where you can just swap out the shaft, and you get 2 new boots, and fully greased CV joints. Check your local parts store for a price on the whole assembly, you will be surprised. Heck even if you have to get the thing from the dealer and install it yourself, it's still cheaper than the dealer doing the work!! On average the dealer rates are around $70-$80 per hour for labor.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Yep, and that's usually the rationale when an outer joint fails. As you point out, you get a fresh inner joint too and the total cost is comparable.
  • wainwain Member Posts: 479
    we waste a lot of money compare to the no problems rear axle bearings and driveshafts of rear wheel drive cars.
    Every FWD car I have ever owned has broken a boot at the 8 year 100k time line then you are into the complicated expensive replacement
  • dunkmydonutdunkmydonut Member Posts: 35
    These things are thought over for months, trying to make the job more difficult. I'm 56 now, I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be looking forward to not driving. Except for the occasional rental, this car will be my last. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed going for a ride. Commuter rail systems are spreading like a spider's web, and everyone I know is saying the same thing. Keep a scooter for nice weather chores and dump the car. Even if you don't want to, it's just a matter of time. Good bye Mr. slime ball car salesjerk. Good bye Mr. dirt bag automotive tech (what a joke). This seems like a strange attitude for a car enthusiast, but come on driving is becoming an an awfulchore. Anyway I know that a lot of you guys won't ever give up your cars. I wish you all well. I'll be the one on the train enjoying my dunkin donuts while you're poking along in the usual traffic jam. See Ya!!
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    I feel your pain; I owned a couple of Fords. If I still had 'em a train would look good to me as well..;) Though I'll admit I might take a look at the GT40.
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