Wilson’s Question: My 2003 Ford Diesel pickup keeps blowing the fuse for fuel heater. Even when I replace the fuse, it’s hard to start and stalls. What should I check first?
Answer: Yes, I had one like that a couple weeks ago. I ended up changing out what Ford calls the “horizontal fuel treatment module”–which is in reality a fuel pump module assembly. And interestingly enough, the new replacement fuel pump module did NOT have a heating element in it like the last one. They must have been having problems with the heater in the original design and have now left it out.
Question: My 2000 Nissan Quest runs fine for about 15 minutes, then it dies. After about half an hour sitting, it will start up again. I had the computer checked and no codes were stored. Have you fixed one of these with this same problem before?
Answer: Yes, I’ve seen that quite a bit. Many times the electronics inside the distributor will short out when the engine gets hot, and then you will have to spark and the engine will die. The next time your Quest dies, quick have someone check the spark plugs to see if they aren’t sparking. If they aren’t, then replace the distributor. So many of them have broken that you should have no trouble locating a quality rebuilt unit to save a bunch of money versus buying a brand new distributor.
Dave’s Guestion: My 2002 VW New Beetle is idling up and down. Sometimes it stalls if I stop quickly. But then it starts right back up. I thought I needed a tune up, but new spark plugs and wires and filters didn’t change anything. HELP.
Answer: Remove the air duct going from the air filter to the intake manifold on the engine. Then get a can of spray throttle cleaner and clean the throttle plate inside the manifold until it shines. A lot of black residue will probably come out. This makes the throttle stick and stop in the wrong position at times, causing idling and stalling problems. I see this a lot in VWs, and to keep it from happenning again, just do this a couple times a year to ensure smooth idling.
Marky’s Question: My 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup Truck keeps turning the ABS light on. And when it comes on, the brake light also comes on and sometimes the speedometer goes up and down randomly. what’s going on?
Answer: Yes, this is a pretty common problem in areas where it rains a lot. The main anti lock braking (ABS) controller under the hood has a large electrical connector on it. It often gets full of water when it rains, due to drainage on the truck and the position of the connector. Unplug it and look inside. If it’s all wet and/or corroded, clean it off really well with spray electrical cleaner. Then put dielectrical grease on the connector inside BEFORE snapping it back together. This will stop water intrusion from bothering it anymore. I see this an awful lot in those Dodge trucks.
Jaycee Question: What do you think about the Toyota Yaris or the Honda Civic? I was also looking at the Ford Fusion…Looking to buy a new car, don’t want something that’s going to be a headache in a few years…thanks!!
Answer: Well, you’re doing pretty good research there. All three cars are excellant cars. I’ve personally driven AND worked on all three of those cars. My customers with all three were happy with their vehicles and no one had any major complaints about any of those models. The Fusion has the most zip and handling, while the Toyota has the most reliability under its belts. And the civics have been around For Ever, and also have a great reliability track record. You just need to choose which one you want and what price you want to spend. Happy car hunting.
Terry Question: My 2001 Toyota Avalon is making a noise in the back. Sounds like a rear end noise, but I know this is a front wheel drive car, so it has no rear end in the back. I jacked up the car, but can’t see or feel anything wrong. What could it be?
Answer: Yes, they’ve had a little bit of problems with water intruding into the rear wheel bearing assemblies on those Avalons. BUT, if you pull on the wheels, you normally won’t feel any play in the bearings because it’s such a tiny bit of wear. They both may be worn, but try this: drive down a wide road when no one is around. Then sway gently to the right, and then to the left. If the noise get’s louder when you sway to the left, and gets quieter when you sway to the right, then the left rear bearing is the culprit. And of course, vice versa, if the noise gets louder when you sway to the right, then the right rear bearing is shot. Now you know how to check wheel bearings when they aren’t worn enough yet to make the tires wobble when you pull on them.
Logan’s Question: I see lots of people having electrical issues with the same car I have. 99 Pontiac Grand Am, when I hit the brake, right, rear turn signal does’t work. When I let go of the brake it works fine? I just replaced both tail light circuit boards witch I purchased from Pontiac dealer…what could be the problem. Also, sometimes the right turn signal indicator on the dash will stay lit when I brake and turn signal doesn’t work at all, just freezes??
Answer: Yes, you have something cross circuiting your electrics there. Unfortunately, it may be the Body control Module under the passenger side of the dash. It’s a computer module that operates both those systems (amongst a bunch of others.) If the circuitry crosses inside that module, weird things will happen.
Now those Pontiacs often also have grounding problems, so be sure to check all the ground wires on the system, because a bad ground can cause the module to short out (so that replacing the module could just end up burning out the new one you just bought in a short period of time.)
If a ground wire doesn’t work right, then the electrical system can start using power wires as ground wires and do all kinds of strange havoc to an electrical system. IF the car has ever been wrecked, pay special attention to the wrecked area as wires could be pinched or connections loosened by the collision and later repair work. But, if you’re at least a little bit lucky, it could just be the body control module itself gone bad. I see that a lot in Pontiacs. Good Luck.
Mark Question: Help me quick. my 2000 Volvo C70 convertible top is stuck open and won’t go back up. We had a few warm days and I put the top down. Now I need it up so I don’t freeze. HELP!
Answer: Of course check the fuses to make sure none are blown. BUT, to get it up in an emergency, go to the trunk. Inside is the convertible top motor.There is a slotted screw top there which you turn clockwise. This will crank the convertible top back up so you can latch it back on. It’ll take a lot of screwing to get it the whole way up, but at least then you won’t freeze.
Question: My 2001 GMC Yukon groans when I turn the steering wheel to the left. It’s full of fluid, so I changed out the power steering pump. It still makes the same exact noise. What can it be?
Answer: Yes, they’ve actually had some problems with the steering box on those Yukons. The valving inside the box goes bad and can groan when turned to either side (normally they will groan only one way or the other, as usually only one side of the box breaks down and the other works fine–so yours may groan to the left but not to the right.) I’d bet a new power steering box would solve your problem.
Roger Question: Occasionally the car alarm on my 1995 Honda Acura Legend keeps going off by itself. It’s getting to be rather annoying. What can cause this? And more importantly, how can I fix it?
Answer: Those alarm systems check for electrical loads going on and off (like the door opening which triggers the door switch and makes the alarm howl.) SO, anything causing an electrical drain can make the car alarm go off. First, have your battery checked, because a weak battery can cause it, I see that a LOT. And in those Acuras, it’s rather common for the driver’s side door switch to cause the alarm to go off, as they wear more with time than the other doors. All that opening and closing of the driver’s door can wear the switch so that it turns itself on just enough to trigger the alarm. Good Luck hunting down the culprit.