Ford F550 Super Duty is cutting out and stalling (p1211, p1282, p1280p)

Juan’s question:

” My 02 Ford F550 Super Duty is cutting out and stalling. It sets the following trouble codes: p1211- ipc out of range high or low. p1282- ipc out of range high (over 3500 psi) and p1280- ipc out of range low. what could be causing this?”


That’s actually a pretty common problem in those diesels as they get old. But the solution should be pretty simple. Inside the fuel tank is the fuel sending unit. It has these little plastic pieces with fuel filters inside them. These filters clog up over time. If you remove them and take them apart, you’ll probably find them full of crud. Simply replace them and you should get a smooth running truck again.

Chevrolet S-10 Blaze Stalling All the time

Henry’s question:

“I’ve got a 97 S 10 Blazer which is dying on me all the time. I took it to be scanned, but there were no trouble codes. What should I try next?”


Well, theoretically there could be LOTS of things wrong. But since there are no codes, I’d start by checking the fuel pump and pressure of the fuel system. That vehicle has no sensor for fuel pressure, so the computer doesn’t know what the actual fuel pressure is. So, if the pump goes bad, the computer doesn’t know and can’t set a trouble code. And on that Blazer, if the pump has to be replaced (and the fuel tank removed to access it), be SURE to check the connector and wiring going into the top of the fuel tank to the in tank pump. That connector and wiring often goes bad. I’ve been burned before by not paying close attention to that connection and had to do the whole job over because of bad wiring back there. It’s a simple job to check once you have the tank pulled, and no one wants to do that job twice.

Piercing electrical test leads

Geff’s question:

“When you use piercing electrical test leads as you mentioned, do you have to tape the wire up after piercing the insulation.”


Not if you’re really careful and use one of those really sharp pin head piercers. They make a REALLY small hole that pretty much seals back up when you removed the test lead. And anyways, tape is kind of weak, anytime you mess with wiring it’s best to use shrink wrap tubing to cover the wiring then melt it with a heat gun (or hair dryer on full blast.) And smaller wiring holes can best be sealed using silicone sealer from a tube.

How to choose the correct fuse

Khalid’s question:

I was just wondering what amp fuse to use with my inline neon wiring? i have an extra fuse the came with my amplifier wiring kit, it might be a bit too big but can i use that?”


The fuse is based upon whatever the load of the devices you are attaching. For instance, if your light system is rated at 12 amps, then use a fifteen amp fuse so it doesn’t blow early, but provides protection. You’ll have to find the rating of your device from wherever you bought it, or it may be written somewhere in the installation instructions they always come with.

Ac/dc current clamp in auto repair

Geoff’s question:

For the DIY mechanic is a ac/dc current clamp meter a useful piece of test equipment?”


Not really. I have one, and as a professional mechanic I rarely use it because of all the electrical interference that exists under a car’s hood when it’s working. When I take AC or DC measurements under the hood of a working vehicle, I like to connect direct electrical leads to the circuit. Direct leads tend to get less error from electromagnetic fields like a clamp meter does. There are many different types of piercing electrical test leads you can buy that do this job, and are MUCH less expensive than the inductive clamp on leads.

What is car differential

Khalid’s question:

This time i need some advice on a thing called differential. I drive a 1987 e30 325i auto to manaul converted cabriolet and wanted to know what a differential is and what it does and if you know then please let me know what diff it has on mine”


The differential on your car is also known as the “rear end” as it’s on the back and drives the rear wheels. Most cars today are front wheel drive and have them in the front instead. They are called differentials because they allow their drive wheels to turn at different speeds when cornering–otherwise the tires would skid as the outer cornering tire has to move a larger distance than the inner tire and a differential allows this to happen. The differential has gear ratios to drive the car correctly so the engine isn’t strained too much or has to spin too fast.

Fuel cleaner – Chevron vs Lucas

Mary’s question:

“Scotty, I went to autozone to buy some chevron fuel cleaner for my vehicle, i normal use this every so often and i like using chevron because it does work for my vehicle. But one of the workers there offered me to use the “Lucas” fuel cleaner, supposedly its cheaper and its been getting some good reviews by customers that buy the product. I have never used “lucas” brand before, i was wondering if you knew if this brand is a good brand to use?”


OK, the problem with those cleaners is most don’t give ANY information as to their actual ingredients, being afraid of competitors stealing them I guess. So you never really know what’s in them. Lucas has been around for a long time, and they seem to be doing a sales push and are in many more stores than they used to be. I have no personal experience with their products so I don’t know if they work or not. BUT, I’ve used chevron techron for years and I know that stuff works. (Hey, and if you buy Chevron gas it’s already in the gasoline you’re buying at the pump.) I personally stick to that in problem cars, or people who want to put a cleaner in the tank a few times a year.

2000 Saturn MIL not ready stored in my computer

Gary’s question:

My 2000 Saturn won’t pass the yearly emissions test. They tell me there are no trouble codes, but that I have too many “MIL not readys” stored in my computer. They suggested I drive the car some more to reset the computer. I’ve gone three hundred miles and they said it still won’t pass. Help.”


Well, those are the real stinkers to fix because there are no trouble codes to use to track down the problem. But there still is live data that can be read. Have your car scanned for live data, and then have this data analyzed. Hopefully there will be some data that is not normal, showing you what system isn’t working right. I fixed a Saturn a couple months ago with the same problem, and it turned out to be a bad engine coolant temperature switch. It had corroded and was giving bad info to the main computer. Perhaps yours has the same problem, so check it out.

Installing Neon lights in car

Khalid’s question:

I want to install some interior car neons which i want to light up when the door opens and shutdown when the door closes for which i would install a push switch, i also want to operate the same neons manually turning them on & off whenever i want for which i will need another manual switch. THE PROBLEM IS HOW DO I WIRE THEM??? I think running the positive and negative wires direct from the battery to the terminals on the neons while installing the push switch in between should operate the neons when the door opens/closes and then connecting further 2 wires on the same terminals (WITH THE MANUAL SWITCH IN BETWEEN) on the neons and having connecting them to the other end of the wires bypassing the Push switch should do the job. Would this work and if it does would it cause any electrical problems?”


That’s a good idea to wire them directly from the battery, use thick gauge wire and a good in line fuse for safety. NEVER wire something like that off power wires that the vehicle is using to run other things. And you plan should work well, just make sure to use GOOD switches–as there are many cheap switches out there that will break or melt with use (I know, I’ve been suckered into using them in the past and have always regretted the results.)

1999 Oldsmobile Aurora Overheating Problems

Bob Niksa’s question:

I have a 1999 Olds Aurora with a 4.00 250HP V-8 engine. I just bought it and notice that the temperature gauge normally runs at 200 degrees. When I sit in traffic, it goes up about a quarter of an inch. When I get moving again it drops down. Should I be concerned now? Will it overheat?”


It is doesn’t boil over, it isn’t overheating. Modern day cars are made to run hot, because the hotter an engine runs, the more efficient it is, the less it pollutes, and the better the gas mileage. But your cooling system is obviously starting to get weak somewhere. Check to make sure the cooling fans are coming on and repair any that aren’t working. If all of that is OK, and you’re not losing any coolant through leaks, then odds are your radiator is just getting old. Modern radiators are made of plastic and aluminum, and the aluminum corrodes internally and eventually loses the capacity to dissipate heat. You can’t really fix the stupid things, you just replace them when the car overheats and there are no leaks and the thermostat is OK. It’s often hard even for a mechanic to decide when to replace a radiator, unless it’s completely shot. Yours is probably just starting to wear. Just NEVER drive with the car in the H, because then coolant is boiling and that is a NO NO.