Jumat, 31 Juli 2009

How to Use an OBD-II

How to Use an OBD-II

The OBD-II code reader is a type of universal automotive computer code reader. Before the 1990s, each individual automotive manufacturer had its own set of codes and code readers to use for independent diagnosis purposes. The OBD-II code reader works for all brands of cars, and can be found at virtually all mechanics shops and parts stores in the United States. It is the primary diagnostic tool used by automotive repair persons when diagnosing and repairing a problem on a vehicle. The OBD-II code reader is simple and effective to use.

Instructions

    1

    Locate your car's computer. It is typically a black, plastic electronic box under the dashboard of your car. The specific location will vary slightly, so check your vehicle's owners manual to find out the precise location of the computer. It has an opening on one side where you can plug the cable of the OBD-II code reader into it.

    2

    Turn the key in your vehicle to "on" and insert the plug end of your OBD-II code reader's cable into the receiver port on the computer. Make sure the check engine or other malfunction indicator lights are on; if they are not, you will not receive any codes because the car's computer has sensed a problem within the system. Press the button on your code reader to scan the computer. Some code readers will do this automatically, so read the instructions in your code reader's user manual to find out how your specific model operates before you use it so that you know what to expect.

    3

    Make note of the codes that appear on the screen of your code reader. These are the error codes that are causing your car's malfunction indicator lights to come on when the computer senses a problem.

    4

    Decode the error codes using the OBD-II code reader's user manual or a website such as Engine Light Help, which provides lists of error codes by both automobile manufacturer and generic code listings. Once you have decoded your error codes, you will have diagnosed the problem with your vehicle.

How to Know If Your Brakes Are Shot

The primary and probably last indicator of a brake problem is when your car fails to stop and plows into a telephone pole. However, a bit of careful diagnosis and some common sense can help you to troubleshoot brake problems well before they reach a terminal condition.

Squealing

    Squealing is probably the most common indicator of impending brake problems. Brake pads utilize a little metal tab bent at a 90-degree angle to the pad backing plate to tell the driver of impending pad failure. This "squealer bar" contacts the rotor when the pad material wears down to about 20 percent of its original thickness. If you hear an ear-piercing shriek when you hit your brakes, then it's a good bet the pads are worn down to the squealer bars. If this is the case, then you need to replace the pads as soon as possible, because not only are the pads worn down to nothing, but the squealer bar itself can damage the rotor.

Lack of Stopping Power

    If you floor the brakes and they don't seem to slow the car down the way they should, then you may have one or more problems. Low brake fluid will cause a lack of stopping power, as will water and air in the brake system and a malfunctioning power brake booster mechanism. If your brakes seem to respond to a quick stab at the brake pedal, but slowly sink to the floor afterward, then chances are that you have a bad brake master cylinder. Excessively worn brake pads or pads "glazed" from overheating will also increase stopping distances.

Pedal Too Firm

    This can only be one of two things; either the power-assist unit isn't working because of an internal failure or vacuum leak, or there's some sort of obstruction in your brake line. The latter may arise from a chunk of rust or rubber working loose and lodging in the line, but odds are better that the line is simply pinched somewhere. Such problems will generally occur either in the lines going to one wheel or one axle, which will make the others inclined to lock up or pull the car to one side under application.

Vibration in the Pedal

    A warped brake disc pull causes pulsation in the pedal by shoving the brake caliper piston into the caliper once per revolution. Oil or other contaminants in the brake pads may cause the brakes to constantly grab and release, which feels something like a random vibration in the pedal. Bear in mind that a bad alignment, suspension wear and a bad wheel bearing can also cause vibration under braking. In these latter cases, vibration will typically come up through the steering wheel rather than the brake pedal.

Brakes Dragging

    After you release pressure on the braking system by lifting your foot off the pedal, the pistons in the brake calipers are supposed to retract slightly and allow the wheel to spin freely. A bad caliper, slave cylinder piston or piston seal may keep the brake applied in the "On" position even after you release the pressure. This will typically manifest as brake dragging on one wheel, which will typically pull the car in one direction or the other. Simultaneous caliper failure is rare, so if more than one wheel starts to drag, then you may have developed an obstruction somewhere in the line.

Signs & Symptoms of a Failed Ignition Control Module

Signs & Symptoms of a Failed Ignition Control Module

The ignition control module ("ICM" for short) is a computer that times when to send electricity to the spark plugs of an engine. It is an essential part of modern engine designs. When it works, the engine runs very smoothly. When it fails, starting the engine quickly becomes difficult or impossible.

Operation Varies With Temperature

    Because much of the ignition control module's function depends on current flow, when the module fails, more current is often required to give the necessary spark to the engine. As resistance is inversely proportional to current in a circuit (the greater the resistance, the lower the current flow) and resistance varies with temperature, the module will operate better on warmer days than on cold ones.

Partial Firing of Ignition Coils

    When the module fails, it may be due to corrosion on one or more of the ignition coils. This corrosion can be uneven, increasing the gap between one coil more than the other. If this occurs, the module may not have a high-enough voltage passing through it to bridge the gap between itself and one of the coils, preventing it from firing. The other coils may fire as normal, however, causing partial ignition.

Difficult or Impossible to Start Engine

    When spark plugs wear out, they begin to corrode and this increases the gap between the plugs and the ignition coils. More voltage is required to bridge this gap which, in turn, causes the ignition control module to heat up due to internal resistance. If this heat exceeds the module's maximum operating temperature, the insulation in its circuits begins to break down, causing short circuits. This can cause intermittent failure before complete failure.

How to Retrieve Car Trouble Codes With No Equipment

How to Retrieve Car Trouble Codes With No Equipment

Vehicles older than 1995 models typically feature the OBD-1 trouble-code system; cars made after 1995 usually have the OBD-2 system. The differences between the two systems are that the older codes contain two digits, while the new codes begin with a letter indicating what system in the engine is malfunctioning, followed by a series of numbers (see Resources). The key "On/Off" method works on older vehicles; the digital dash and jumper-wire methods work for newer vehicles.

Instructions

Key "On/Off" Method

    1

    Insert the key into the ignition. Turn the car on and off quickly, ending with the key in the "On" position. How many times you need to do this depends on the engine; some require three times, some five, others more. Don't crank the engine during this sequence or you'll have to begin again.

    2

    Watch the "Check Engine" light on the dash. Once the sequence has been initiated, the "Check Engine" light begins to flash. Each flash represents a number in a two-digit trouble code stored in the computer. A pause separates the first digit from the second digit. For instance, the code "23" flashes as follows: flash, flash, pause, flash, flash, flash.

    3

    Record the codes as they flash. Check with your owner's or service manual for the meanings of the codes. Each manufacturer has a different set of codes and meanings.

Other Methods

    4

    Locate the diagnostic test link where a scan device plugs in, usually found under the dash on the driver's side. If the link has 12 ports rather than 16, connect ports "A" and "B" with a paper clip or jumper wire. Watch the "Check Engine" light for codes as documented previously.

    5

    Turn the key to the "On" position while simultaneously depressing the odometer "Trip" and "Reset" buttons if your dash cluster is digital. The trouble codes read from the odometer display in this method.

    6

    Depress the odometer "Trip" and "Reset" buttons while turning the car on and off several times, ending with the key in the "On" position. Release the odometer buttons. The odometer will count down, then display the trouble codes in certain models.

Kamis, 30 Juli 2009

How to Check Ignition Coil Output

How to Check Ignition Coil Output

The ignition coil amplifies the voltage coming from your vehicle battery to provide the spark necessary to ignite the fuel in your engine's combustion chambers. When an ignition coil fails, the voltage feeding the spark plugs drops. Your vehicle will begin to run rough or not refuse to start when the ignition coil fails. Checking the output of the ignition coil will ensure that the problem rests in the coil and not another component of your vehicle's ignition system.

Instructions

    1

    Pull a spark plug wire from a spark plug. Attach a spark plug socket onto the end of a 3/8-inch ratchet handle. Turn the spark plug counterclockwise to remove it from the engine.

    2

    Remove the output wire from the top of the distributor cap. Plug the end of the removed spark plug into the loose end of the output wire.

    3

    Hook one end of an insulated copper wire to the threaded end of the spark plug. Turn on the key of your vehicle. Tap the loose end of the copper wire on the ground post of your vehicle's battery. Watch for sparks coming from the spark plug each time you tap the wire. Turn off the vehicle ignition.

    4

    Install the spark plug back in the vehicle engine. Connect the distributor wire to the distributor.

    5

    Hold a positive lead from an ohm meter to the black wire coming from the ignition coil. Place the end of the negative lead to the green wire on the coil. A number between .4 and .6 on the ohm meter display. Hold the positive lead on the coil output terminal. Place the negative lead to the negative terminal of the coil. A working coil will display numbers ranging from 5000 to 7200 ohms.

What Automotive Scan Tool Should I Get?

What Automotive Scan Tool Should I Get?

Deciding on the right scan tool for your automotive repair needs depends largely upon what the scan tool will be used for. Will you be performing diagnostic repair services at work? Perhaps the scan tool will be used at home to self diagnose your own vehicle's engine troubles. The range of available scan tools can be overwhelming, even for auto repair professionals.

Professional Scanning Tools: Snap On

    Snap On Tools offers a number of specialty vehicle scanners which plug into a car's OBDII port. The benefit of utilizing professional grade scanning tools such as those offered by Snap On is that they work with multiple vehicles and can scan the entire car for problems. Professional Snap On scanning tools include additional adapters for use with vehicles manufactured after 1980 as well as upgrade capability. Snap On diagnostic scanning tools can be updated every year to include new cars manufactured in the current model year. The greatest drawback to professional scanning tools is the price; Snap On diagnostic tools cost in excess of $1,000 (as of 2011), often making them a feasible idea only for professionals.

Professional Scanning Tools: Matco

    Professional diagnostic scanning tools from Matco are priced about the same as Snap On tools, and provide the same level of diagnostics. Matco scan tools also plug into the OBDII port of the car to be checked. Matco scanning tools can be updated every year to cover new cars -- in the same way that Snap On tools can -- as well.

Amateur Automotive Scanning Tools

    Amateur automotive scanning tools are available from a range of companies. While these scanners do not have the capabilities of the more expensive professional scanners, they do bear a much lower price. Expect to pay between $200-400 for a quality diagnostic scanning tool from companies such as Equus, Actron or AutoXray. These units are similar in many respects in that all the units plug into the OBDII port on your car and provide readings for many of the computer's functions; they differ mostly in the packaging of the diagnostic tools. All three allow you to clear trouble codes as well as scan a vehicle's computer.

Scanning Tools to Avoid

    Scanning tools, by their very nature, are expensive to purchase and own. For this reason, it is important to be aware not only that there are new scan tools of dubious quality on the market, but also secondhand scanning tools that should be avoided. Any automotive scan tool priced below $100 should be suspect. Even among used tools, prices below that point tend to indicate that there is some problem with the unit. While professional scan tools might occasionally be offered for sale in secondhand stores such as pawn shops for low prices, a professional scan tool offered for a price that is too good to be true could be stolen.

Rabu, 29 Juli 2009

My 2000 Dodge Truck Won't Go Into 4-Wheel Drive

My 2000 Dodge Truck Won't Go Into 4-Wheel Drive

Some 2000 Dodge trucks were supplied with four-wheel drive as a factory option. Not all trucks have the option, and you can identify if your Dodge truck is indeed capable of four-wheel drive by looking for a transfer case lever on the floor in the center of the foot well, or a switch marked on the dash. The four-wheel drive designation will be identified on the pickup truck tailgate too. Problems going into four-wheel drive can be related to synchronization, environmental conditions and vehicular anomalies.

Instructions

    1

    Wait for the wheels to stop spinning before attempting to engage four-wheel drive. Because 2000 Dodge truck four-wheel drive systems aren't synchronized, the front and rear drive shafts must be moving at the same speed for the truck to go into four-wheel drive. If one wheel is spinning, the shift into four-wheel drive can't occur.

    2

    Drop your speed to below 25 mph if you can't engage four-wheel drive low. This transfer case ratio requires the engine to be operating at speeds significantly greater than two-wheel drive. Reduce the speed so the engine can catch up.

    3

    Stop the vehicle and shift when trying to get into four-wheel drive, if the outdoor temperature is cold. Temperatures at or below freezing will increase delays shifting into four-wheel drive.

    4

    Check weight and tire pressure, since this can cause difficulty shifting. Correct the defects. Look for uneven tire wear and replace the tires, if necessary.

Selasa, 28 Juli 2009

What Are the Causes of a Swelling Radiator Hose?

Radiator hoses are key components of an engine's cooling system. Moving the coolant through the engine properly plays a crucial role in protecting the engine. Though few car owners think about checking their radiator hoses the same way they would their oil, monitoring and replacing radiator hoses on a regular schedule can prevent more significant damage.

Excessive Pressure

    Coolant systems are designed to operate under pressure. The pressure moves the coolant through the engine and cycles it through the radiator. The cap of the radiator helps maintain the pressure. A cap that creates too much pressure in the coolant system could result in the swelling of radiator hoses. Excessive pressure in the system will cause wear on the entire system, and radiator hoses will swell and eventually break if you do not resolve the problem.

Wear

    Radiator hoses are under constant pressure. Because of the flow of engine coolant through the hoses from the engine to the radiator, the hoses wear from the inside out. The outside of a radiator hose may appear fine while the inside of the hose has worn away. A radiator hose that has lost the inner layer of rubber will begin to swell in areas where its wall has become weak. In these cases, replace the hose right away.

Overheating

    When an engine overheats, it creates a chain of events. During the overheating, the engine will create hot spots inside the combustion chamber, which will result in erratic combustion. This combustion will continue to raise the heat of the engine, which can in turn cause the head gasket to break. The blown head gasket will allow coolant to leak, and the coolant may reach the boiling point. When coolant near boiling passes through worn old radiator hoses, it increases the pressure in the radiator and in the hoses that connect it to the engine. Radiator hoses are designed to handle a specific amount of pressure; if that pressure increases to an excessive level, the hose will begin to swell and could burst.

Senin, 27 Juli 2009

Why Does My Car Backfire Through the Carburetor?

Why Does My Car Backfire Through the Carburetor?

Engines are precise devices, involved as they are in a constant dance with flame, spark and iron that takes pinpoint timing to pull off. Intake and exhaust backfires may be an indication that some part in your engine isn't dancing to quite the same tune as another. Or they may indicate that said parts are doing nothing at all.

Basic Causes

    An intake backfire happens when flame inside the cylinders travels back up through the intake valve and into the intake manifold, igniting whatever fuel happens to be in the intake plenum. This can happen one of two ways: either the spark plug is firing before the intake valve closes, or there's been some major shift in the air/fuel ratio in the intake. An engine takes about 14 parts air to 1 part fuel to ensure complete combustion; too much air or fuel will slow or stop the combustion event, causing fuel in the cylinders to ignite weakly and to burn for far longer than they should.

Diagnosing a Lean/Rich Backfire

    The easiest way to tell the difference between a lean and rich misfire is to take the air filter off and keep an eye on the fire coming out of your carb. A lean misfire results in a sharp crack like a rifle shot, and a small, fast jet of flame coming from the carb. A rich misfire generally creates an actual red-yellow fireball accompanied by a loud whoosh or a boom. Either way, keep a fire extinguisher handy, and keep your head away from the carb if you like your eyebrows the way they are.

Lean Backfire Causes

    Lean conditions happen when your engine is getting either too much air or not enough fuel. The former can happen with a vacuum leak, EGR valve malfunction, intake manifold or carb gasket leak, or by artificially introducing more oxygen than the engine can handle -- hence those awesome and terrifying supercharger explosions and nitrous backfires. Fuel starvation often comes courtesy of low fuel pressure, gummed up carburetor internals, improper carburetor jetting or a malfunctioning accelerator pump. Accelerator pump failures are common, and easy to diagnose; if the engine bogs and backfires when you jab the throttle, then it's not getting that extra squirt of fuel and it's running lean.

Rich Backfires

    Rich conditions happen when your engine gets either too much fuel or not enough air. Bad carburetor jetting is suspect, as is a choke plate that doesn't fully open after the engine's warmed up. Not so obvious are stuck valves inside the carburetor, and extremely clogged or wet air filters that may be restricting airflow through the engine. You'll know this last is the case if your engine suddenly picks up power and stops backfiring when you remove the filter. Suspect also are air injection systems, which may just as easily cause a rich or lean backfire depending upon the engine and the component's mode of failure.

Ignition-Related Backfires

    Ignition failures come in two varieties: those that cause the spark plug to go off before the intake valve closes, and those that cause the spark to become too weak to fully ignite the mixture. Maladjusted ignition timing, stretched timing chains or a distributor installed 180 degrees out of sync with the crankshaft -- it happens all the time -- will all cause the spark to go off before the intake valve closes. Causes for weak or non-existent spark could be practically anything in the ignition system, including the distributor, module, coil, plug wire and fouled or damaged plugs. A faulty ignition system resulting in a misfire will actually induce a rich condition in the intake, resulting in a fuel-rich misfire.

Mechanical Malfunctions

    Anything that causes the intake valves to open sooner than they should or to never open at all will cause a backfire. The former usually only happens after installing a long-duration camshaft that opens the intake valve sooner and keeps it open longer, but may also happen if the cam's as-installed advance is off by a couple of degrees. A broken timing chain will cause the same sort of failure, but if that happens then just count yourself lucky that an intake backfire remains the greatest of your problems. Collapsed lifters, bent pushrods, broken rocker arms and snapped valvesprings will keep the intake valve closed, causing one cylinder's worth of fuel to back up into the intake manifold and cause the whole system to go rich.

Minggu, 26 Juli 2009

Maxima Ethanol Problems

Maxima Ethanol Problems

The Nissan Maxima has been in production for 30 years as of 2011. A lot has changed between the original 1981 Maxima and the 2011 model that is currently in production, including the vehicle's ability to use gasoline with ethanol added to it. Ethanol gasoline additive levels can range from less than 10 percent to 85 percent. The higher the amount of ethanol that is added to the fuel, the more of a chance that ethanol-related problems will occur.

Water

    Ethanol absorbs water and if it absorbs enough, the ethanol and the water can separate from the gasoline and sink to the bottom of the fuel tank, causing your Maxima's fuel pump to suck up a mixture of ethanol and water with little gasoline in the mixture. In the event that your tank becomes contaminated with water or condensation, the ethanol will continue to absorb it until it is unusable as fuel. Your Nissan may run poorly or not at all. This probably would cause your "Check Engine" light to illuminate, as most Maxima models have sensitive fuel-mixture sensors.

Fuel Economy

    Ethanol-blended fuels do not burn as efficiently as pure gasoline. This means that it does not generate the same level of energy, so your Maxima's engine will have to burn more fuel in order to generate the same amount of power. This leads to decreases in fuel economy. The more ethanol your Maxima has in the tank, the less likely it is to get the expected 26 miles per gallon.

Corrosion

    Ethanol fuel is corrosive. Over time, it can dissolve plastic, rubber and fiberglass vehicle components. Older-model Maximas will feature more plastic and rubber components than newer models and may be damaged if ethanol is repeatedly used in the vehicles' fuel systems.

Sabtu, 25 Juli 2009

How to Test a Fuel Pump in a 1999 Ford Mustang

How to Test a Fuel Pump in a 1999 Ford Mustang

The fuel system in the 1999 Ford Mustang is a return-less system that uses a fuel pump module to supply and modulate power to the pump and vary the speed at which the pump runs. Testing the fuel pump in this Mustang is similar to testing older Mustangs, with the exception of adding a fuel pressure regulator test. The average home mechanic can test this system in a few minutes.

Instructions

    1

    Place wedge-shaped wheel chocks behind and in front of the front wheels of the Mustang. Kick the wheel chocks with your heel to force them securely against the tire, preventing the car from rolling.

    2

    Raise the rear wheels of the car off the ground using a floor jack placed under the center of the (differential) housing in the rear of the car. Place jack stands under both rear axle tubes that connect the rear wheels to the differential. Lower the jack until the axle tubes are resting on the stands.

    3

    Attach the battery clips on the automotive circuit tester to the Mustang's battery located in the driver-side front of the engine compartment. To do this, squeeze the insulated portion of the clip to spread its spring loaded metal jaws and slip the open jaws over the battery terminal. Release the clip.

    4

    Turn the ignition key to the "RUN" position and test the fuel pump fuse in the under-hood fuse block by touching the long, sharply pointed probe end of the tester to the tiny metal test pins visible on the exposed numbered end of the fuse, protruding from the fuse block. Replace the fuse if the red light on the tester comes on indicating power is present on one test pin and the green light on the tester comes on indicating ground is present on the other test pin.

    5

    Push the probe end of the tester into the back of the fuel pump's electrical connector in the cavity that contains the pink wire with a black stripe, so that the probe makes contact with the metal terminals inside the electrical connector. In the 1999 Mustang the electrical connector is under the car, in front of the fuel tank, near the fuel lines. Have a helper turn the key to the "START" position and observe the tester. Power will show by the red light on the tester.

    6

    Replace the fuel pump driver module if power is not present.

    7

    Relieve the residual fuel pressure in the system by removing the fuel pump fuse from the under-hood fuse block and starting the engine. The fuel pump fuse can be pulled out of the fuse block with a fuse puller or a small pair of needle-nose pliers but care should be taken not to crush the plastic fuse. Start the engine and allow the Mustang to idle until the engine stalls indicating the fuel pressure has been relieved.

    8

    Screw the metal end of the fuel pressure tester's hose clockwise onto the threaded test port found on the fuel rail (sometimes called a fuel manifold) that is attached to the top of the fuel injectors that are located on the intake manifold between the cylinder heads. In the 1999 Mustang the threaded test port is located on the passenger side of the fuel rail near the front of the engine.

    9

    Reinstall the fuel pump fuse by pushing it securely into the slot it came out of. Have a helper cycle the ignition key off and one three times and then try to start the engine. This will turn the fuel pump on and prime the fuel system. Observe the needle on the gauge face and note the pressure indicated by the needle's position on the gauge face's numbered scale. If the pressure is below 45 psi, replace the fuel pump assembly.

Kamis, 23 Juli 2009

How to Test a Brake Booster on a 1988 GMC

Brake booster problems in your 1988 GMC vehicle can make the brake pedal difficult to push or let it swing to the floor as soon as you step on it. A ruptured diaphragm or a leak in the vacuum line are the most common causes for a booster to fail. However, before putting the blame on the unit, you can perform a simple test to help diagnose the problem. You can do this safely and without any tools.

Instructions

    1

    Sit behind the steering wheel of your GMC vehicle and pump the brake pedal 10 times. This will release any vacuum stored in the brake booster.

    2

    Shift the transmission to neutral (manual transmission) or park (automatic transmission).

    3

    Rest your right foot slightly on the brake pedal without pushing down.

    4

    Start the engine and pay attention to the brake pedal. If the vacuum is entering the booster chamber properly, you will feel a slight downshift movement on the brake pedal as the engine is starting. Turn off the engine. Go to the next step to do an inspection, if necessary.

    5

    Open the hood and check the vacuum hose connected to the brake booster. The booster is the drum-like component mounted on the firewall, right in front of the driver. Look for cracks, hard or swollen spots and obstructions. And check for a good connection on the booster and engine side of the hose. Replace it, if necessary.

    6

    Take your vehicle to a service shop for further inspection if your booster failed the test in Step 4 and the vacuum hose and connectors are in good condition.

How to Find a Small Oil Leak

How to Find a Small Oil Leak

Oil leaks occur in all cars from time to time. Oil leaks can be caused by old gaskets, an overheated engine or even a loose oil filter. The problem with diagnosing small oil leaks is that oil doesn't stay in one spot and often moves around the engine bay quite a bit as we drive; this makes it very difficult to find the exact location of an oil leak.

Instructions

    1

    Lift the car in the air with the floor jack. Place the jack stands in secure places that will support the weight of the front end of the vehicle.

    2

    Lower the car down until it sits securely on the jack stands. Shake the car to ensure that it rests safely.

    3

    Put on the safety glasses. Spray the entire engine and engine bay with degreaser spray; focusing on areas with a lot of oil and grease buildup.

    4

    Start the engine. Wash the entire engine and engine bay with the power washer from top to bottom. Be careful not to spray into the air intake tube. Continue this process until the engine is as clean as possible. Make sure to get underneath the engine as well.

    5

    Turn off the engine and let it cool down and dry completely.

    6

    Pour one small container of ultraviolet oil dye into the engine oil system.

    7

    Start the engine and begin looking around for any noticeable leaks. Turn on the portable ultraviolet light and shine it all around the engine. As the oil cycles through the system it will become ultraviolet and any leaks will be detectable with the ultraviolet light.

    8

    Locate the glowing oil and follow its path as high as it goes; this will be the source of the leak; however, there may be more than one oil leak.

How Do I Pull Up Diagnostic Codes on a 2003 Mini Cooper?

How Do I Pull Up Diagnostic Codes on a 2003 Mini Cooper?

The 2003 Mini Cooper is a compact coupe. It comes standard with a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder inline engine and front-wheel drive. If your Mini Cooper is exhibiting signs of engine trouble, pull up the diagnostic codes from the computer. The car's computer creates diagnostic codes when it detects malfunctions in the engine. You can retrieve these codes using an On-board Diagnostic (OBD-ii) scanner.

Instructions

    1

    Park the Mini Cooper and turn off the engine. Pulling the codes won't work while the engine is running.

    2

    Look under the driver's-side dash. The OBD diagnostics connector is located under the dash.

    3

    Plug the OBD II scanner into the diagnostic connector and turn it on.

    4

    Turn the ignition key on without starting the Mini Cooper. All electrical equipment and dash instruments will come on, but the engine will be off when the key is in the correct position.

    5

    Respond to the prompts on the scanner's screen, answering questions that identify the make, model and year of your Mini Cooper. Choose the option to read the diagnostic codes.

    6

    Write down the codes and check their meanings in your service manual or online.

Rabu, 22 Juli 2009

How to Test a Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) on a 4.3L

How to Test a Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) on a 4.3L

The throttle position sensor on the 4.3-liter engine sends electrical signals pertaining to throttle position to the powertrain control module (PCM). A failed TPS can lead to a number of vehicle performance issues, including rough transmission shifting, poor fuel economy and hesitation when the throttle is applied. Testing the TPS can help determine if it is the source of vehicle performance issues. You should replace the TPS if the test identifies the sensor as the cause of these problems.

Instructions

    1

    Open the hood and locate the TPS on the throttle body of the 4.3-liter engine. Locate the blue, black and gray wires leading from the connector on the TPS. Start the engine and let it warm up to operating temperature. Shut the engine off.

    2

    Verify that the TPS is receiving power from the PCM. Set the digital multimeter so that it reads "Volts" in DC mode. Probe the gray wire on the TPS connector with the red lead on the multimeter and ground the black lead on a clean metal surface. Turn the key to the "On" position and check the voltage, which should be between 4.5 and 5 volts.

    3

    Test the TPS to verify it is properly grounded. Probe the black wire on the TPS connector with the black lead and attach the red lead to the battery positive terminal. Turn the key to the "On" position and check the voltage, which should be between 11 and 12 Volts.

    4

    Test the TPS to verify that it is sending the correct signals to the PCM. Probe the blue wire on the TPS connector with the red lead. Ground the black lead on the negative battery terminal. Turn the key to the "On" position and check the voltage. The voltage should be between .5 and .9 volts, and it should remain steady throughout the reading.

    5

    Rotate the 4.3-liter engine's throttle plate to the open position by hand and observe the reading on the multimeter. The reading should be between 4.5 and 4.9 volts. Release the throttle plate, making sure that the voltage returns to the original .5 and .9 volt reading in a smooth manner.

    6

    Have a partner lightly tap the TPS with the handle of a screwdriver while you smoothly open and close the throttle plate. Watch the multimeter reading, making sure that the tapping does not interfere with the voltage output.

Can High Crankcase Pressure Can Be Caused by Worn Piston Rings?

Can High Crankcase Pressure Can Be Caused by Worn Piston Rings?

Crankcase pressure has been a problem inherent to engines ever since the first were built more than a century ago, but it took the intervention of the EPA to finally deal with it. While the crankcase ventilation systems introduced in the 1970s were originally designed specifically to reduce emissions, they had the side benefit of solving an age-old internal-combustion issue.

Crankcase Pressure

    All engines naturally experience a certain amount of pressure, owing to a number of factors. Cylinder pressures in a typical engine can easily top 150 to 200 psi during the power stroke; the piston rings keep most of this pressure in the cylinder, but their seal against the cylinder wall isn't airtight. Even if the seal were 99.5 percent perfect -- which it isn't -- the crankcase might still pressurize to about 1 psi. This pressure encourages oil leaks through the gaskets and contributes to air pollution by sending a constant stream of untreated oil vapor steaming out of the engine's breather cap.

Typical Blow-By

    "Blow-by" refers to the amount of gas that makes it past the piston rings and into the crankcase. Generally speaking, a street engine will lose about 1.5 percent of the air that goes through to blow-by; or about 1 cfm per 50 horsepower. So, a 250-horsepower engine would see about 5 cfm of blow-by through the oil breather, and a 500-horsepower engine will get about 10. The same 1.5-percent rule applies roughly to pressure. If your cylinder pressure tops out at 150 psi, you should see about 1 psi of pressure in the crankcase.

Cylinder Wear

    Worn-out piston rings are half of blow-by equation, since they'll only seal as well as the cylinders themselves. It's common knowledge -- at least among anyone who's ever seen an Engine Restore commercial -- that tiny scratches in the cylinder will allow excess pressure to leak past the rings. But excess cylinder wear does something else too. When the cylinder bore gets larger, the rings extend slightly, losing a bit of their tension and ability to seal the cylinder. This extension also causes the ring gaps to grow slightly, which further encourages cylinder leakage.

The PCV System

    All new cars come equipped with a positive crankcase ventilation system, which is essentially just a vacuum tube running from the valve cover to the engine's intake. The slight vacuum in the intake tract offsets pressure in the engine, either neutralizing it or creating a slight vacuum. The PCV system uses a valve mounted in the valve cover to keep engine oil from getting sucked through and into the motor; if this valve malfunctions or gets clogged, the PCV system will fail and you're back to a sealed system. In really extreme cases, pressure in the crankcase can actually push the PCV valve out of the valve cover with a pop like a champagne cork.

Puffing Pressure

    Because of the movement of the pistons and the regularity of the combustion events, pressure will typically come out of the engine in regular puffs of pressure instead of a smooth breeze. These puffs can tell you something about the engine's condition. Ideally, these puffs of pressure should be barely noticeable when you hold your hand over the oil filler cap, manifesting as a slight tremble in pressure. The more powerful the individual puffs, the more pressure is spiking with each event and the more cylinder leakage you have. If the puffs are powerful enough to move your hand, it's about time for a rebuild.

Single Cylinder Blow-By

    The puffs in pressure should be very regular, with no puff more powerful than another. If you feel a few light puffs followed by a single very strong one, then you know you've got excessive blow-by in one cylinder. A grizzled, old mechanic with the mental reaction time of a ninja and a horse-whisperer-like, intuitive feel for engines can actually give a pretty good prognosis on engine condition just by feeling for the frequency and power of those individual pressure pulses. But for those of us who aren't Yoda with a wrench: regular puffs good, irregular puffs bad.

Other Possible Causes

    A few things can cause excessive blow-by apart from worn cylinders or rings. Powerful spikes in crankcase pressure are a classic sign of a blown head gasket, or a cracked engine block. This is especially true if the gases coming out of the breather hole carry with them a strong stench of raw gasoline. If you smell raw gas, it's time to hang it up and plan for a rebuild. Leaking exhaust valve seals will also contribute to spikes in crankcase pressure, which are particularly noticeable because the valves are just below the oil filler cap. These puffs will smell more like the exhaust coming out of your tailpipe, with perhaps a slight undertone of additional fuel smell.

Selasa, 21 Juli 2009

I Hear Power Steering Noise From My Jetta IV

The Jetta's power steering system isn't particularly unique in the automotive world; it's not even unique for a German car. As such, its pump and rack will exhibit symptoms similar to any other car following an improper installation, low fluid levels or other malfunctions that cause a pressure buildup in the system.

Improper Installation

    If you've replaced or had your power steering pump replaced and it's emitting a whining noise, then you may have been the victim of an installation gone wrong. The Jetta PS pump doesn't prime itself; the actual installation procedure is to fill the new pump with fluid through the suction pipe, turn the pump by hand till the fluid runs out the pressure side and then install the PS pump on the bracket. Strange, but true.

Normal Bypass Noise

    Almost all power steering pumps -- including the Jetta's -- utilize a bypass line and a spring-loaded valve to re-route over-pressurize fluid back into the reservoir. The power steering fluid can create a pronounced hiss as it passes through this bypass valve, and may even build up enough pressure to temporarily cause the engine rpm to drop. This hissing and rpm drop will typically happen when you turn the wheel very quickly or hold it at full lock.

Low Power Steering Fuid

    Low power steering fluid levels will force your pump to start pumping air. The compressed air going through your pump turns into millions of tiny bubbles in the fluid on the pressure side of the pump. When those bubble pop, they emit tiny shockwaves of sound that vibrate the power steering fluid pump and lines. When enough bubbles pop in a short enough period of time, they'll cause the line to emit a constant hum, otherwise known as power steering whine.

Cavitation

    Cavitation is a phenomena related to the one that causes whine at low power steering fluid levels, but is in fact its polar opposite. Cavitation happens when so much pressure builds up on the pressure side of the pump that it can no longer push the fluid through. Vacuum pockets made of vaporized (boiled) oil build up on the back side of the pump blades, and the fluid produces a muted roar when it rushes in to fill them. Cavitation might be the result of a malfunction in the system, though it can also result from using worn out or incorrect transmission fluid.

How to Troubleshoot the Check Engine Light of a BMW 540i

Troubleshooting a BMW 540i's check engine light should be an easy task. All you need to do is let the BMW's On-Board Diagnostic system do the work for you. Every time a major problem occurs, the car's diagnostic system will generate a trouble code and the "Check engine" light will go on. To retrieve these codes, you will need a diagnostic scanner. BMW cars after 1996 will use OBD-II coding. Cars that predate 1996 will need a scanner fluent in the older generation of codes. Unfortunately, most OBD-II scanners are not reverse compatible with the older coding system.

Instructions

    1

    Open the driver's side door and place the BMW's keys into the ignition. Don't turn the key or start the car. Just leave the keys there for later use.

    2

    Connect the BMW's diagnostic outlet with a diagnostic scanner. You will find this outlet beneath the BMW's dashboard.

    3

    Turn the key in the ignition. Try turning on the electrical system only, and wait to see if a code pops up on the scanner. If it doesn't, start the BMW's engine.

    4

    Read the codes that appear on the scanner, and write them down.

    5

    Turn the BMW off, and disconnect the diagnostic scanner. Exit the vehicle.

    6

    Go to the OBD-Codes.com BMW website, and look up the code on its list of codes (see Resource). If it is not listed there, you can call a local auto parts store. Most will look up codes for customers as a free service.

Senin, 20 Juli 2009

Reasons for Poor Acceleration in an Impala

If your Chevrolet Impala is not accelerating properly, it could be due to any number of problems. The newer your vehicle is, the more components it contains that have to work together to provide ideal performance levels. If your Impala seems sluggish or does not want to go when you press the pedal, your best bet for diagnosing the precise problem is to take it to a mechanic.

Sensor Problems

    If the oxygen sensor or mass airflow sensor on your vehicle goes out or malfunctions, it will affect the fuel-to-air mixture in your engine. If your fuel mixture has too little or too much fuel or air, your Impala's engine will not run properly. It may cough, sputter and not accelerate properly.

Engine Damage

    If your engine overheats, it can cause damage and problems, such as a blown intake manifold gasket. This will make your vehicle overheat and not drive well. You will lose power in your engine and your Impala will not have its usual responsiveness when you press the accelerator.

Low Oil

    If your engine runs low on oil, it will not be lubricated properly and can permanently damage a number of important engine components. If your Impala is sluggish, you may want to check the oil level to make sure the engine is well lubricated so it can run at peak performance levels.

Bad Fuel

    Contaminated or poor quality gasoline can cause your Impala not to run properly. Its motor is designed to run on good quality gasoline and it needs clean, uncontaminated fuel to accelerate normally.

How to Run Compression Tests on Chevy Small Blocks

How to Run Compression Tests on Chevy Small Blocks

The compression on a Chevy small block engine indicates the condition of the engine combustion chamber. Measured in psi (pounds per square inch), cylinder compression directly relates to how well the piston rings, valves and valve seats hold a compressed mixture of atomized fuel. Any leak or failure in the ring or valve contact surface will cause a lack of power, due to escaping combustion pressure. Without the proper compression in each cylinder, an engine will lose power or have no power at all from the affected cylinder. You can perform a compression check on a small block Chevy engine with a few tools and an assistant.

Instructions

    1

    Place the shifter in park for an automatic transmission; place the shifter in neutral if vehicle has a manual transmission. Raise the hood and remove the coil wire at both ends from the coil and distributor. Raise the vehicle front end and place two jack stands under the frame. Raise the rear of the vehicle and place two jack stands under the frame.

    2

    Take a shop light, felt pen and masking tape underneath the vehicle. Position the shop light to illuminate the underside of the engine. (Chevy heat shields block easy access to the spark plugs from the top of the engine.)

    3

    Use a plug wire puller to grasp the spark plug wires, one at a time, and pull them off the plugs. Label each plug wire with tape and a felt pen so you know which hole it returns to. Looking from the front of the engine, the right bank of plugs on a V-8 will be numbered 1, 3, 5, 7. The Left bank from the front will be numbered 2, 4, 6, 8. Keep them in order.

    4

    Loosen and remove all of the spark plugs, using a socket extension and wrench. Use a univeral socket to assist in removing hard-to-reach spark plugs. Tape and mark the plugs with a felt pen by number. Screw in a compression gauge to the 1 plug hole.

    5

    Relieve any pressure from the gauge by depressing the relief valve. Instruct your assistant to crank the engine over four or five times and push the accelerator all the way down. Note the needle on the reading, and record the psi (pounds per square inch) number on a piece of paper.

    6

    Screw the compression gauge into the next cylinder and have your assistant crank the engine over four or five times -- throttle open. Record the number. Test each cylinder this way with the compression gauge, recording the psi for each cylinder. Refer to your owner's manual for the correct psi reading your engine requires. If any of the cylinders read 30 lbs. or below, you have a compression leak in that cylinder.

    7

    Place a dab of anti-seize lubricant on each of the spark plug threads. Insert them all back into their respective holes by hand and tighten them with the socket and wrench. Refer to your owner's manual for the proper torque poundage required for your engine. Use a torque wrench to tighten each spark plug to specifications. Place each plug wire back onto its correct spark plug location. Shove the rubber boots down firmly.

    8

    Reconnect the coil wire at both ends (from the distributor to the coil). Use the floor jack to raise the vehicle and remove all the jack stands.

How to Troubleshoot Jeep Problems

How to Troubleshoot Jeep Problems

Isolate the source of engine trouble in your Jeep by beginning with the most likely suspects and then narrowing your search. Troubleshooting on your own saves time, money and unnecessary repairs. When working on an engine, take all safety precautions. Keep hands away from moving parts. Don't release a hot radiator cap, as it can cause severe burns. Remove jewelry and only wear fitted clothing. Wear gloves when working with electrical components and/or intense heat.

Instructions

    1

    Look for a pattern in the Jeep's behavior to narrow the field of possibilities. Make a note of things such as the engine running too hot, sluggish ignition, misfiring, running rough at high speeds or electrical abnormalities.

    2

    Run the engine "trouble codes" to further isolate the problem. Use either a code reader to scan the Jeep's computer for stored errors or pull them manually. Turn the key on and off several times, and end with the key on. Watch the "check engine" light. It will flash a number of times (to indicate the first digit of a two-digit code), then will stop for a moment before it resumes flashing to indicate the second digit. Refer to a repair manual or click on the link below for the meanings of the codes.

    3

    Diagnose an overheating problem by checking the thermostat. Crank the Jeep and allow it to idle up to running temperature. Place your hand carefully on the upper hose of the radiator to see if it is hot. If the thermostat is working properly, it has opened to release the hot air to the radiator, making the hose hot to the touch. Check also that the fan comes on when the engine is hot. Check the coolant level and viscosity.

    4

    Test the battery and alternator for power. Touch the negative (black) terminal with the negative end of a volt meter or multimeter, then connect the positive. The reading should indicate 12.5 to 12.8 for a healthy battery. Turn the engine over and test again. This time, test the alternator, which should read between 13.6 and 14.3 volts.

    5

    Make sure the spark plugs are providing enough spark to crank the engine. Fire the Jeep in a darkened area with the spark plug wires removed and look for an arc from the spark plugs to the engine, or use a spark tester on the exposed spark plugs while the engine is running. The bulb will pulse if the spark plug is good.

    6

    Check the fuel pressure to ensure the engine is getting enough fuel. Connect a fuel pressure gauge to the test port on the fuel line, located under the hood. Crank the Jeep and watch the gauge. The pressure should rise to the appropriate level of PSI.

    7

    Check for loose connections by cranking the engine and observing under the hood. Look for excessive movement in wiring, hoses and belts. Inspect all hoses for breaks and flat or soft spots. Check belts for proper tension.

Lexus RX 300 Transmission Problems

Lexus RX 300 Transmission Problems

Your Lexus RX 300 transmission includes the transaxle and all its parts, the torque converter, clutch cover, transmission mounts, engine control computer, seals and gaskets. The Lexus RX 300 electronic control transmission has sensors, an electronic control unit and actuators.

Transmission and Torque Converter

    Automatic transmission fluid may leak from any component of the transmission. The transaxle is an axle which also functions as a transmission or differential. If the throttle sensors on the engine or on the transmission fail, the torque converter will malfunction. A solenoid switch locks the torque converter.

Coolant Temperature

    The engine control unit and the water temperature sensor monitor the coolant temperature in the engine. The engine control unit prevents the transmission from shifting into a higher gear if the engine coolant temperature is too low.

Solenoids in Transmission

    Solenoids are valves that control the flow of fluid through the transmission. The solenoids are controlled by the engine control unit. The transmission will not shift gears if the solenoids malfunction. The transmission sticks in a lower gear if the solenoids fail.

How to Reset PCM

The programmable control module, or in some vehicles, the engine control module or ECM, stores codes when one of the sensors malfunctions or if a sensor sends a wrong signal to the computer. The computer then turns the engine light on, which alerts the driver that something is amiss. You need a scan tool to find out what the codes are, then you must reset the computer with the scan tool.

Instructions

    1

    Plug the scan tool into the data link port. In most vehicles, the data link port is located under the driver side dash, just to the left of the steering column.

    2

    Turn the key to the "On" position. Press the "Read" button to get the codes. Write the codes down, then cross-reference them with the code sheet that comes with the scan tool. Repair the problem sensor or the problem that causes the sensor to send a bad signal. The oxygen sensor is a good example of this: It may not be bad, but you might get a code saying it is "bad," when in fact, it is sending wrong information because it received wrong information about the mixture.

    3

    Plug the scan tool in again, if you removed it. Turn the key to the "On" position. Press the "Erase" button on the scan tool to reset the computer. Test drive the vehicle. If the engine light comes back on, repeat the process until you have made the all the proper repairs and the engine light no longer comes on.

Minggu, 19 Juli 2009

Air Flow Sensor Problems

Air Flow Sensor Problems

In today's modern cars, numerous sensors have been required by the federal government to ensure that vehicles pass certain emissions standards. One of these sensors is the mass airflow sensor, also known as a "MAF" sensor. When these sensors malfunction they have multiple effects on car performance, which can be frustrating.

Sensor Function

    The MAF sensor performs a data measuring function used by a car's computer. By measuring air flow, the sensor lets the car's computer determine how much fuel to flow into the engine to provide the correct, efficient air/fuel mixture for combustion.

Sensor Sensitivity

    Overly sensitive MAF sensor elements can malfunction when they get worn out. Even though only air passes through, lots of dust and grit get picked up. These bits coagulate on the sensors, causing hot spots. The result can be deterioration of the sensor or bad readings.

Electrical Connection

    Today's cars are still rough environments for electrical components to be installed into. Electrical shorts or malfunctioning voltage regulators connected to the MAF sensor can deteriorate over time, causing the sensor to put out bad signals as well.

How to Tell If Your Duramax Diesel Turbo Is Gone?

Introduced in 2001 as a joint venture between GM and Isuzu, the Duramax V-8 was the General's bid to one-up Ford and Chrysler's newest generation of powerful and efficient diesels. This move was not voluntary on GM's part, as competitor Chrysler had just purchased their previous engine supplier, Detroit Diesel. GM was eager to develop and speed to market the 6.6-liter LB7 Duramax, which produced 235 horsepower. Later versions including the LLY, LBZ, LMM and LML would use more sophisticated turbos and engine controls, ultimately increasing both horsepower and torque by about 80 percent from 2001 to 2011.

Instructions

    1

    Test-drive the truck; this provides the first indication of whether the turbo is on the way out. Pay close attention to how the turbo acts. If it takes longer than before to make power or produce the audible whine you're used to hearing, then it may be going bad. Also listen to the pitch of the whine. If it sounds quieter or lower-pitched than it normally does, you may have a problem. It may help to have a second identical truck on hand against which to compare.

    2

    Check the turbo boost. If your truck doesn't already have a boost gauge, check boost using a store-bought vacuum or boost gauge and the appropriate fitting for the pressure test port on the manifold plenum. If you can't find the appropriate fitting, check boost at one of the vacuum ports. With the gauge connected, open the throttle and check the peak boost. All models should check in at 20 pounds per square inch (psi) of boost maximum, with the rpm at about 1,800 for 2003 to 2004 LB7 motors and 1,600 for all others.

    3

    Squirt the tube connections with soapy water and watch for bubbles. If your boost reads low, the turbo might not be at fault, so check for boost leaks first. If you see bubbles around any of the couplings or anywhere on the intercooler, found in front of the radiator, then you have a boost leak and not a bad turbo. Check all of the fittings from the turbo to the intercooler and back to the engine intake from the intercooler.

    4

    Watch the wastegate actuator rod and actuator on the turbo, which applies only to LB7 models without a variable-geometry turbo. The wastegate is a spring-loaded diaphragm that opens a valve to bypass exhaust around the turbo at maximum boost. Watch the wastegate actuator rod; it should move very quickly to open the bypass at the turbo's maximum boost point.

    5

    Pay attention to the actuator on the variable-geometry turbo housing. Instead of a wastegate, variable-geometry turbos use variable-pitch vanes to modulate turbo boost. The vanes are close together at low revolutions per minute (rpm), increasing exhaust gas velocity and helping the turbo to spool up faster. An actuator pushes the vanes open at high rpm for maximum flow. From idle, the vanes' actuator rod should move linearly with engine speed to open the vanes and then begin to move back to close them and limit boost at 20 psi.

    6

    Shut the engine down and quickly remove the tube that connects the air filter to the turbo inlet. Reach into the turbo inlet and spin the blades using a plastic ballpoint pen. The compressor wheel should spin with minimal resistance and keep spinning for a few seconds afterward. If the compressor wheel doesn't spin freely or immediately grinds to a halt, then the turbo bearings are shot. This procedure is best performed with the turbo as hot as possible as metal expands with heat, so allowing the turbo to cool may not give you an accurate gauge of its condition.

Sabtu, 18 Juli 2009

How to Retrieve a Ford DTC Code

A Ford diagnostic trouble code (DTC) consists of one letter and four numbers that identify a specific problem within the vehicle. The engine control module (ECM) stores a DTC in its memory when it senses a problem with the vehicle. This DTC can be retrieved from the ECM by connecting an automotive scan tool to the Ford's diagnostic data port. A scan tool is a hand-held computer unit that connects to a vehicle's computer system in order to retrieve diagnostic information. They are available from auto parts stores and automotive tool manufacturers.

Instructions

    1

    Shut down the engine and place the Ford's transmission in park or first gear (manual transmission). Apply the parking brake and turn the ignition to the "ON" position, but do not start the engine.

    2

    Plug the scan tool's data cable into the Ford's diagnostic data port. This is under the dashboard on the driver's side, just above the pedals. Power the scan tool on.

    3

    Select the "ECM" menu. Choose the "codes" menu, then select "read all current and stored DTC's." Write down the trouble code information on a piece of paper.

    4

    Disconnect the scan tool from the vehicle.

How to Detect a Battery Drain on a Tractor

How to Detect a Battery Drain on a Tractor

Just like a regular automobile, your tractor uses the battery to produce and store electrical energy to operate the different electrical circuits. Overtime, wires, connectors and components in these circuits wear out and may cause a myriad of malfunctions, including accidental connections. Even with your ignition key off, a loose electrical wire may reroute your battery's charge and drain it overnight. However, you can troubleshoot your battery using a simple tool to detect a possible drain in your tractor.

Instructions

    1

    Detach the ground (black) battery cable with a wrench.

    2

    Clean the battery post and the terminal on the battery cable with a battery post-cleaning tool, if necessary.

    3

    Get the test light out of your toolbox. This light resembles an ice pick with a clear handle and a small light bulb inside the handle. A wire connects to the light bulb through the top of the handle and comes equipped with an alligator clip at the other end.

    4

    Connect the alligator clip on the test-light wire to the terminal on the battery cable you just disconnected.

    5

    Touch the test light pick to the ground battery post. If the test light does not light or glow, there is no drain in your battery. If the test light comes on or glows, you have detected a battery drain in your tractor.

    6

    Locate the wire or component causing the drain by leaving the test light connected to the battery cable and post. Disconnect and reconnect components and wires -- alternator, ignition switch, solenoid -- one at a time until the test light goes out. Examine the circuit with the wire or component that caused the test light to go out to find the malfunction or take your tractor to a service facility for repairs.

How to Check the Coil on a 1991 Toyota 4Runner

The Toyota 4-Runner was introduced in 1984 as a smaller, more affordable version of the Toyota Land Cruiser. The 1991 4-Runner was produced in a trim level called SR5, available as either a two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive model. The base 1991 4-Runner SR5 is a two-wheel-drive SUV equipped with a 2.4-liter in-line four-cylinder engine. A single ignition coil is used to provide the spark to the four-cylinder's distributor-type ignition system. Testing the ignition coil is a two-step process involving the testing of the primary and secondary coil resistance.

Instructions

    1

    Open the 4-Runner's hood. Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery using a ratchet and a socket.

    2

    Disconnect the single ignition wire from the ignition coil. Remove the two wire hold-down nuts from the ignition coil wire posts, using a ratchet and socket. Remove the two lead wires from the coil by hand.

    3

    Turn the multimeter to the ohms setting. Place one lead on each of the two wire posts on the ignition coil. The primary resistance measurement should be between 0.5 and 0.7 ohms. If you do not get a resistance reading from the ignition coil or the resistance is not within these two numbers, the ignition coil is bad.

    4

    Connect one probe from the multimeter to the center ignition wire post on the coil. Connect the other probe to the "+" wire post on the coil. The secondary resistance on the ignition coil should be between 11,400 and 15,600 ohms. If the resistance does not fall within this range, replace the ignition coil.

    5

    Install a new coil if needed. Test the resistance on the new coil using steps 2 and 3 before you install the coil. Install the two lead wires onto the new coil and tighten the hold-down nuts snug with the ratchet and socket. Do not overtighten the nuts or you will break the ignition coil. Push the single ignition spark wire into the center post by hand until it clicks and locks onto the coil.

    6

    Install the negative battery cable onto the battery and tighten the cable snug with the ratchet and socket.

Jumat, 17 Juli 2009

How to Troubleshoot a 2001 Pontiac Montana

How to Troubleshoot a 2001 Pontiac Montana

The Pontiac Montana, a minivan built by General Motors, was discontinued when GM dropped the Pontiac brand in 2010. If you own a 2001 Montana, it is equipped with an OBD computer that detects trouble with the vehicle's systems and triggers the "Check Engine" light when necessary to let you know there's a problem. A simple computer diagnosis will give you a code that can be matched to the diagnostic codes in your owner's manual to troubleshoot the specific problem with your Montana.

Instructions

    1

    Locate and remove the cover from the fuse box on your Pontiac Montana. The fuse box is on the side of the dashboard, on the driver's side of the vehicle, and it can be easily accessed when the passenger door is opened. Locate the OBD multiple-pin port in the fuse box and plug the diagnostic tool into the port. Turn the ignition key to the "On" position but do not start the vehicle.

    2

    Power on the diagnostic tool, following the manufacturer's directions, and wait for it to download the trouble code. The tool will usually say "OK" (or the equivalent) when the trouble codes have been downloaded.

    3

    Unplug the tool from the port and replace the fuse box cover. Scroll down on the diagnostic tool menu to "Retrieve Code" and choose this option. The OBD-II reader will report any trouble codes stored in the computer that caused the "Check Engine" light on the dashboard to illuminate.

    4

    Reference the codes that you downloaded in the previous step to the troubleshooting codes in the owner's manual for your 2001 Montana. Repair or replace the identified parts as required.

How to Build Your Own Smoke Evaporator Tester

How to Build Your Own Smoke Evaporator Tester

Smoke evaporator testers are used to find and diagnose leaks anywhere on a vehicle. Once you hook the machine up to the intake, the smoke will course through the tubing. If smoke comes out anywhere other than the machine's relief vent, you have found a leak. The machines provide an efficient way to discover problems and allow easy demonstration of the leaks to others. Mechanics at automotive repair shops use professional-grade smoke evaporator tester machines, which cost $800 to $1,000. It is possible to make your own general-purpose smoke machine for much less.

Instructions

    1

    Remove the front plate of the fog machine. Use a screwdriver if necessary. Underneath the plate, you will find a copper tube. Follow the tube until you find a small plastic lip around an opening.

    2

    Stretch the vacuum line around the plastic lip. Set the fog machine next to the part of the car you will be testing. Prop the machine up so that the side attached to the vacuum line tilts upward. This will allow the fog juice to flow freely through the line and not become clogged.

    3

    Attach the other end of the vacuum line to the part your car that you will be testing. Always make sure that the car is turned off and in park before you do this. To check for leaks in the engine or vacuum systems, insert the vacuum line into a port on the intake of the car. To check for leaks in the brake system, attach the vacuum line to the power brake booster. You also can checks for leaks in the seals around doors and windows by slowly swiping the vacuum line around the seals.

    4

    Pour fog juice into the machine. Turn the machine on. Leave it on for only 30 to 60 seconds at a time to avoid overheating the copper tube and vacuum line. Turn the machine off and look for escaping smoke. If you cannot easily see smoke leaking from the car, turn on a flashlight and check again.

Causes of a Head Gasket Leak

Causes of a Head Gasket Leak

A head gasket is a mechanical seal used in engines to seal cylinders. This helps avoid leakage of liquids such as engine coolant or oil which could lead to further problems and damage the engine. Head gaskets are a vital part of your engine and are susceptible to general wear and tear, causing them to need replacing. Head gaskets leak once they are damaged and can not act as a seal.

Engine overheating

    The biggest cause of head gasket leaking is overheating of the engine, leading to the head gasket breaking. Extreme heat within the engine can lead to expansion which can damage the gasket, causing it to lose its seal and leak. This problem is furthered by the use of aluminum in engines rather than iron. Aluminum engines overheat much more easily than iron, adding increased pressure and stress to the head gasket.

Quality of head gasket

    Head gasket failure can also be caused simply by poor quality of the head gasket. Not all gaskets are designed equally, and if the design of the gasket does not suit the use of the vehicle, the gasket may break. Gaskets will wear more if a vehicle is frequently driven long distances and as mileage accumulates on the engine.

Improper replacement of gasket

    If the head gasket previously needed replacing and was not replaced properly, this will lead to failure of the new gasket. Many head gaskets must be tightened in a specific way, and if these directions are not followed the gasket seal may not last. If you are replacing a head gasket yourself, ensure it is done properly or the new gasket could quickly fail and damage the engine.

Fiero Transmission Tips

The Pontiac Fiero was a sports car manufactured from 1984 to 1988. Although it was never widely popular, hence its short production run, the car has become popular in later years with auto enthusiasts. Like any model of vehicle, Fieros have problems from time to time. Fiero transmissions problems can be especially tricky, as good literature to address this problem is not widely available. Keeping in mind a few simple tips can help make dealing with this sort of problem easier.

Getrag Transmissions

    Getrag transmissions were produced by General Motors starting in 1986, and a few of them were made a part of the Fieros of that year. However, Fiero-specific Getrag transmissions are rare, so if you are looking to replace one, you might have a problem. However, it is possible to use the Getrag transmissions from the following vehicles in your Fiero: the 87-89 Cavalier, 87-88 6000, 87-89 Beretta, 87-88 Celebrity, 87-89 Corsica, 87-88 Cimarron and 87 Fierenza. Any Getrags made after this year have a design that is incompatible with the Fiero.

Tinken Side Bearings

    One place to frequently check for wear on your Fiero transmissions is the Timken side bearings. They are on the differential assembly. If they wear out too much, they could severely damage your shaft, which is expensive to replace.

Axle Seal Replacement

    Axle seals can be tricky to install. To be safe, you may want to remove all the sealant you can from the seal and use Locktite 518 sealant, which works well with the Fiero. Also, when tapping the seal into place, try to find a round driver that closely matches the head. A piece of PVC pipe will work.

Transmission Overhaul

    When overhauling a Getrag transmission, always replace the input shaft bearing, the main shaft bearing, the main shaft side bearing and the axle seals. Also, if the Fiero has more than 70,000 miles on it, consider replacing the clutch release arm and bearings. You can usually reuse all the other parts as long as they are in good condition.

Solenoid

    If you notice your transmission locking up a lot or it stalls when you stop at a light, your problem could be a locked solenoid. The solenoid is a feature in the Fiero's automatic transmission that prevents the transmission from revving too high, thus saving gas. When it is stuck, however, your car will not operate properly. Unplugging the lockup connector is the best way to avoid this problem.

How to Check the Fuel Pressure in a 1997 Blazer

How to Check the Fuel Pressure in a 1997 Blazer

Chevrolet introduced the S-10 Blazer in 1983. The "S-10" nameplate was removed in 1995 when Chevrolet renamed the full-size Blazer the Tahoe, thus making the S-10 the only Blazer then available.



The 1997 Chevrolet Blazer was equipped with a 4.3-liter V-6 engine, and had the option of either a two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive drivetrain. The 1997 Blazer had an electronic fuel injection system equipped with a fuel rail. The fuel rail is on the top of the engine, and is responsible for delivering the fuel to the injectors. Checking the system pressure is a fairly easy process.

Instructions

    1

    Open the hood of the Blazer and position your body near the driver's side front fender. Visually inspect and locate the fuel pressure testing point on the fuel rail. The testing point has a green or black cap on it, identical to a tire valve stem cap. Remove the cap in by twisting it counterclockwise. Be careful not to lose this cap, as it is an essential component for protecting your fuel pressure testing port.

    2

    Install a fuel pressure tester onto the fuel pressure testing port, standing over the driver's side front fender, and clear of any moving pulleys on the engine. Ask your assistant to start the engine of the Blazer.

    3

    Visually inspect the fuel pressure tester. The gauge on the pressure tester should indicate a pressure between 55 and 61 psi (pounds per square inch) on the tester dial. If the dial indicates a number outside of the 55 to 61 psi designated for this engine, then there is a fuel delivery issue on the Blazer that will require attention.

    4

    Ask your assistant to shut the engine off. Remove the fuel pressure tester from the engine. Replace the fuel pressure testing port cap immediately.

Cen Tech Code Reader Specifications

Cen Tech Code Reader Specifications

Modern automobiles contain an onboard computer and sensors that manage the vehicle's fuel consumption, air intake, speed control and overall operation. The Cen-Tech Code Reader is a device that reads your automobile's computer and any codes sent to the device via its sensors. The code is also capable of clearing trouble codes and turning off your automobile's "Check Engine" or "Service Engine Soon" light once the device informs you of what the problem is.

On-Board Diagnostic Specifications

    The Cen-Tech Code Reader works on 1996 and newer vehicles containing an On-Board Diagnostic System II (OBD II) sold in the United States. The code reader is available in both single and multi-language models---English, Spanish and French; reads and clears Powertrain Control Module (PCM) data/codes as well as generic and manufacturer diagnostic trouble codes (DTC); and it supports multiple trouble code processing and clearing.

Advance OBD II Processing Features

    The code reader is capable of processing freeze-frame data from the OBD II; displaying data in a graphical format; displaying live oxygen sensor data; performing OBD II system modules present test; and retrieving your automobile's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

General Specifications

    The code reader includes a carry case, manual and a built-in backlight for illuminating the device's 128-by-64 pixel display when reading codes. The code reader also includes a display contrast adjustment control. The Cen-Tech Code Reader with the multilingual menu is 4.34 inches long, 2.74 inches wide and 0.80 inches high; and the single-language menu model is 3.74 inches wide, 7 inches long and 1.5 inches high.

OBD II Interface Specifications

    The code reader contains a 2-foot data connection cable that interfaces with your vehicle's OBD II reader adapter, located underneath your vehicle's dashboard.

Voltage Specifications

    The Cen-Tech Code Reader, with the multilingual menu, receives its power from your vehicle's OBD II port which is connected to your vehicle's 12-volt battery. The single-language menu model requires a 9-vVolt battery, included with the code reader, for its power.

Warranty Specifications

    The code reader's warranty is 90 days and starts from the date of purchase. If any problems arise, return the device to the store or online outlet of purchase.

Additional Specifications

    The single-language menu Cen-Tech Code Reader interfaces with your computer system via an included Universal Serial Bus (USB) cable and compact disc software. The computer interface lets you download trouble codes and other information from your vehicle's OBD II for further analyzing and troubleshooting.

Troubleshooting a Chevy Silverado 1500

Troubleshooting a Chevy Silverado 1500

The Chevy Silverado 1500 is a full-size pickup with a V8 engine. The first Silverado was introduced in 1999, and the 1500 model has been manufactured with a 4.8 liter and 6-liter engine. All of the trucks require a driver to test the electronic system and engine sensors. Troubleshooting is also conducted by making observations and monitoring the performance of the vehicle.

Instructions

    1

    Locate the outlet on the bottom of the driver side dash. Plug a diagnostic reader into the outlet and follow the onscreen directions. The reader will talk to the vehicle electronics and communicate problems with you. The crankshaft position sensor is a common failure in the 1500 pickups.

    2

    Drive the pickup and feel for power surges and sputtering in the engine. The fuel injectors must be cleaned if the power is inconsistent. The injectors are a common problem on the 1500 model, but they are relatively inexpensive to have professionally cleaned.

    3

    Test the transmission by changing your speed and forcing the truck to shift. If the transmission hesitates or skips gears, have it flushed and test again. If the problem continues, the transmission valve body may require replacement. This is a recurring issue with the 1500 pickup and does cost several hundred dollars to fix.

    4

    Monitor the performance of the brakes on a regular basis. Squeaking and grinding indicates normal wear, and the brake pads must be replaced. Sudden loss of pressure and failure to brake indicates the ABS control module is failing and must be replaced. It may also mean the brakes are not properly bled.

    5

    The ignition system must be serviced if the key will not engage the engine. The engine lock cylinder will fail and the ignition assembly must be taken apart in order to replace the cylinder. The problem is intermittent throughout the stock 1500 pickups.

Kamis, 16 Juli 2009

1993 Jeep Cherokee Cranks But Won't Start

1993 Jeep Cherokee Cranks But Won't Start

If you're in a situation where your 1993 Jeep Cherokee will crank but won't start, there are a number of troubleshooting steps you can take to try to resolve the problem without calling a tow truck. You'll need some mechanical know-how and special tools, but by following these steps you should be able to resolve the problem without having to call a tow truck or pay a mechanic.

Instructions

    1

    Verify that the fuel tank is not empty. If you are unsure of how many miles you have driven since fueling up, add a gallon of fuel and attempt to restart the vehicle. You may be getting a faulty reading from the Jeep Cherokee's fuel gauge.

    2

    Change the fuel filter if it has been more than 25,000 miles since it has been replaced. A clogged fuel filter will restrict the flow of fuel to the engine and prevent it from starting. The fuel filter on a 1993 Jeep Cherokee is located under the vehicle, near the rear tire on the driver's side. Once the fuel filter is replaced, attempt to restart the vehicle.

    3

    Remove the spark plugs with a spark plug wrench and inspect the tips. If they are heavily coated in unburned fuel or thick, black carbon deposits, this is a sign the spark plugs need to be replaced. Heavy deposits on the tips will prevent the fuel from combusting properly, and therefore, will prevent the Cherokee from starting.

    4

    Remove one of the spark plugs and insert a compression gauge into the cylinder opening. Crank the engine and have someone else record the pressure reading on the gauge, which should within the 125-160 PSI range. If the compression is low, or in extreme cases, there is no compression, the timing belt needs to be replaced.

Toyota 4Runner Won't Start

Toyota 4Runner Won't Start

The Toyota 4Runner first debuted in 1984. Toyota combined the ruggedness and versatility of its four-wheel-drive pickup with the comfort of its passenger cars. The first design had two seats and a covered cargo area; the second was designed to carry up to five passengers with a rear seat that could be folded flat for cargo space. 4Runners are very versatile utility vehicles that are fun to own and drive. But you can't enjoy a 4Runner if it won't start. If your 4Runner won't start, you will have to check various components inside the vehicle and under the vehicle's hood.

Instructions

    1

    Turn on the headlights and the key. If the headlights and dash indicator lights do not come on or aren't working, then your 4Runner's battery is dead and will require a jump start or battery replacement.

    2

    Attach a set of jumper cables to your vehicle and to a jump vehicle. Idle the jump vehicle to charge the dead battery. You can also use a portable battery box if a jump vehicle is not available.

    3

    Check your fuel level gauge on the instrument panel to make sure that your 4runner has enough fuel to start the engine. If your battery is not dead, the fuel level gauge will rise and display the amount of fuel in your tank.

    4

    Check to see if the connectors to the mass airflow sensor and the throttle body are plugged in if your vehicle is so equipped. If these connectors are loose, they will prevent your truck from starting.

    5

    Inspect the air filter and housing for any blockages that might keep the truck from getting air; without air, the truck will not start. Check that the air inlet hose for the throttle body is correctly connected and sealed.

    6

    Replace blown or damaged fuses or damaged wires around the fuse panel under the dash.

    7

    Remove the cap from the Schrader valve on the intake fuel rail and depress the valve, making sure the key is turned to "on." If no fuel comes out, you may have a bad fuel pump.

How to Get Free Information on a Vehicle's History

If you have a used car or are thinking about buying a used car, you may want to find information about that car's history. You can get some information for free from websites or at your local Department of Motor Vehicles if you know the car's vehicle identification number, or VIN. Free auto history checks will provide you with basic information about the car; for a more detailed record, you will have to pay a small fee.

Instructions

    1

    Write down your car's VIN; it is located on the dash, but it is difficult to see when you are inside the car. Look down at your dash through your windshield in order to see the VIN better.

    2

    Go to the website VIN Central; this site will allow you to input your vehicle's VIN and get some basic information about its history, such as issues and complaints filed against the vehicle. If you want to find out more details about the history, you will have to pay a fee.

    3

    Visit CarFax.com to receive a basic auto history report; type in the vehicle's VIN and you will be able to see a few details about the car's history, such as how many records exist on the particular car's VIN. For a full, in-depth report, you will have to pay for the service.

    4

    Go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles to find out more about the car's history. Have the VIN with you to provide to your customer service agent. You will have to pay for a full history report, but providing the VIN can give you some basic information about the car's history.

Rabu, 15 Juli 2009

1990 Chevy Z24 Won't Restart After Shutdown When Warm

The Z24, a high-performance version of the Chevy Cavalier, was produced to compete with the Honda Civic Si. The Z24 failed due to poor performance and reliability. It overheated easily and the automatic transmission would chew up its own gears. If your Chevy Cavalier Z24 is not restarting after a hot shutdown, then the radiator may be damaged or the gaskets may have gone bad. In either case, the repairs may cost more than the car is worth.

Instructions

    1

    Open the hood on the Chevy Cavalier Z24 by pulling the hood-release latch under the steering column. Prop the hood up with the prop stick and inspect the radiator. The radiator has a series of fins along the front to help dissipate heat. If debris is stuck in the fins, or if the fins are bent and broken, the radiator will not work as efficiently. Remove any debris and try to start the car. If the radiator is damaged, then it needs to be replaced.

    2

    Look at the sides of the engine and along the coolant lines for any leaks. If your cooling system is leaking, then it will not function as well, especially when hot. Look at the lines for any tears or cuts, and make sure they are seated flush on their connections. If the engine gasket has gone bad and is leaking, then there will be rivulets of liquid on the side of the engine. If the gasket is bad the liquid will be brown (engine oil mixing with the coolant). If the liquid is clear or blue, then it is just a leaking coolant pipe somewhere else.

    3

    Check the radiator fluid levels by inspecting the reservoir in the rear of the engine bay. If the plastic tank is empty then you need to add in more fluid. If you have driven the car without radiator fluid for more than a day, the engine may be irreparably damaged and need to be replaced. The replacement engine will likely cost more than the car, so consider junking it and buying a new one.

Selasa, 14 Juli 2009

Symptoms of an Iced Fuel Line

Symptoms of an Iced Fuel Line

Winter means more than waiting for the car to heat up before driving it. The season of winter can cause a slew of problems for car owners, including a frozen fuel line. Fortunately, looking for some extremely obvious symptoms will allow the average, non-mechanically-minded layperson figure out whether a car's fuel line has become frozen.

Your Car Won't Start

    On the colder winter mornings, you may not be able to start your car --- often, though not always, caused by a frozen fuel line. As soon as the fuel line thaws, the car will be good as new (or as good as it was before the fuel line froze). To speed up the process, add a fuel deicer to the gas tank.

An Engine That Turns Over

    If you attempt to start your car in the dead of winter and the engine turns over but doesn't start running, check the fuel tank. Assuming that your fuel tank is full, the most likely cause is a frozen fuel line. If the fuel line has frozen, fuel will simply not get through to power the car, and the engine won't be able to spark to bring the car to life.

The Car Has Been Idle

    If your car has sat idle in winter for a while before you try to drive it, it may very well have a frozen fuel line. Fuel lines can freeze just from the cold overnight temperatures --- certainly the most likely cause if no one has driven your car for a couple of days or longer.

How to Troubleshoot a 1994 Saturn SC2

The Saturn car company was formed as a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Motors in January of 1985. Since then the company developed several different models, including the 1994 Saturn SC2. The SC2 was a front wheel drive two door coupe. Because there are so many different parts that make up the Saturn SC2 it can be difficult to determine what may be causing a particular problem with the vehicle. The feel, sounds, smells or looks of the car or a particular area of the car can help you troubleshoot what may be wrong.

Instructions

Troubleshooting By How the Car Feels

    1

    If the Saturn feels like it lacks power as you drive or press down the accelerator pedal you should examine the distributor cap and the distributor cap rotor kit to see whether the cap is loose, worn, cracked or damaged. If the distributor cap is functioning properly, you should then inspect the spark plugs to see if they need to be replaced, then the PCV hoses of the engine to see if they are clogged and then the wireset of the engine to see if the spark plug connections are faulty in any way.

    2

    If the car has a knocking feel to it as you drive you should inspect the driveshaft of the vehicle. The knocking can result from a bent, loose or unbalanced driveshaft.

    3

    When you experience stalls while you are driving, examine the engine's carburetor. A faulty or dirty carburetor will prevent fuel from freely flowing through the engine and cause the engine to stall.

Troubleshooting By Smelling

    4

    If you smell rotten eggs or a sulfur-like aroma coming from your Saturn while the car is idling or driving there are several parts that you should inspect to see if any have failed and need to be replaced. These include the oxygen sensor, catalytic converter, PCV valve, carburetor and PCV hose. You should also check whether the timing specifications of the Saturn have been correctly set.

    5

    When you smell gas fumes coming from your car after you have parked it check to see if you have a missing fuel cap. You should also look underneath the car on the same side as the fuel tank to see whether any gas is leaking from the tank.

    6

    The smell of burning metal while you are driving the SC2 may mean that the wheel bearings or wheel hub bearings have worn out and need to be replaced. It may also indicate that the clutch bearing has seized or failed and is in need of repair.

Troubleshooting By Sound

    7

    A high pitch whine coming from your engine as you start it can mean that your starter is failing or that the flywheel is faulty. If the whining comes after the engine has started the space between the starter drive and the flywheel may be too small and needs to be adjusted.

    8

    Knocking noises coming from the SC2's engine as you are driving means you should check the rod bearings to make sure you have the right type of rod in place and that the bearing has sufficient clearances from the main bearing. You may also have low oil pressure or insufficient oil in the engine for it to function safely.

    9

    A grinding noise that emanates from underneath the vehicle while you are changing gears may mean that your transmission fluid level is too low. You should also inspect the clutch assembly to see if the clutch pressure plate has worn out, whether the clutch disc should be replaced and the clutch assembly to see whether it has been damaged.

Senin, 13 Juli 2009

How to Troubleshoot a Truck Engine Problem

How to Troubleshoot a Truck Engine Problem

Truck engines problems occur regardless of the age, mileage or condition of the vehicle. Engine problems tend to occur more frequently in older vehicles but can occur in brand new trucks. When truck parts malfunction and cause the vehicle to run poorly or not at all, troubleshooting the problem saves money in the long run. Engine problems can be as minor as a malfunctioning sensor or as severe as a slung rod or blown motor.

Instructions

    1

    Identify the aspect of your vehicle's performance that made you decide the truck was having an engine problem. Signs may vary, but will give you a good idea of where to start your troubleshooting. Common engine-related trouble signs include the "check engine" or "service engine soon" light coming on, over-heating, strange noises coming from the motor, strange smells coming from the vehicle, loss of power, noticeably increased fuel consumption and the vehicle ceasing to operate.

    2

    Open the hood and look for anything that appears to be out of place or obviously malfunctioning. Look for anything that is smoking, burning, visibly dripping, leaking, shredded, snapped, disconnected or otherwise out of place. Pay special attention to your vehicle's various belts, hoses and electrical components, as these are all prone to causing engine problems. If you smell fuel, you may have a bad sensor or fuel injector. If notice a visible issue, chances are good that you have found your truck's engine problem.

    3

    Check the vehicle's fluids. Ensure the vehicle has water and oil. Too little water can make your truck overheat, too little oil can cause your motor to begin knocking, lose power or sling a piston rod. If you notice water in your oil, you should stop operating the vehicle immediately as this is a sign of a serious engine problem, such as a blown head gasket.

    4

    Crank the vehicle. Listen to the motor and watch it run. Look for any visible issues, such as the previously mentioned smoking, dripping, etc as well as parts that should be moving and are not, or parts that are moving that shouldn't be. Listen for strange noises such as knocking, tapping or grinding coming from the vehicle's motor. Try and pinpoint the area of the motor the noise is coming from. Look for anything that is loose, stuck or otherwise broken. If vehicle will not run, check fuel and battery.

    5

    Review gauges after the truck has been running for several minutes. If it is overheating, check the cooling system. If battery life is low, check your alternator by removing the positive cable from your battery. If your truck dies, your alternator is probably bad.

    6

    Notice engine codes. There are some problems, especially those caused by sensors or computer problems, that can only be diagnosed by hooking the vehicle's computer up to a code reader and retrieving the list of existing problem codes. Look up the codes that your vehicle is showing as errors, one or more of them will probably be related to, or causing, your engine problem.