Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Adding Pizazz!!

After my ranger was a total loss, I decided to replace it with a 2005 F150 extended cab pickup. This truck is red with gray trim at the lower part of the body, chrome bumpers, and chrome wheels (from the factory). Many of the more expensive trucks have some type of wheel-well moldings of a contrasting color or chrome – this one did not. I thought my truck needed a little more “pizazz” from the side view.

After shopping around I chose chrome fender /wheelwell moldings purchased from a local parts store for about $80.00. The four moldings came with a sheet of instructions and a package of screws and clips. Because of my automotive experience, I knew the screws were to hold the moldings on and holes had to be drilled into the sheet metal lip of the wheelwell opening – but nothing was mentioned in the instructions about this or the purpose of the clips and there is no picture the procedure.

You must hold the chrome to the lip of the fender so you can drill through the molding holes (pre-drilled) once it is in place.
The instructions said to drill a 1/8” hole and screw in the screws provided. The bad part of this instruction is that the screws are much smaller than the 1/8” hole you were instructed to drill in the body. Solution= bigger screws or change the 1/8” bit to a smaller bit.
I think the finished product looks great. Well worth $80.00 and 45 minutes installation time.


What happens when a working man on the way home meets a ‘meth user’ in a borrowed car?
I was traveling a stretch of highway that I have traveled twice a day for 18 years but I was not prepared for what was traveling on the other side of the hill at a high rate of speed on the wrong side of the road. All I had time to do was think, “Oh, God help.” He did.
We hit hard on the drivers side spinning my ford ranger out of control, across the highway, through a ditch, up a steep bank, and back into the ditch.
Some of the damage to my vehicle:
* both air bags deployed
* the radio separated in the dash flying to the back of the cab
* windshield broke
* drivers front wheel brake and steering was ripped from the truck
* drivers door was ripped from the body at the lower door hinge
* crushed the extended cab lower quarter
* tore the rear tire from a badly damaged left rear wheel

The other vehicle had similar damage. The driver and passenger were both arrested. The high-on-drugs (authority's description) driver said he must have blacked-out and did not know what happened; however, the passenger was alert enough that he tried to hide the digital scales and drugs.

Thank God, seat belts, and air bags we survived with no serious injuries!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

CV (constant velocity) Joints

CV Joints (Constant Velocity Joints)

If you are considering buying a used vehicle equipped with CV joints, be sure to check for leaking or damaged CV boots.

CV joints are used on many types of vehicles especially FWD, 4X4 and AWD (all-wheel drive). CV joints attached to the drive axles allow power from the final drive assembly to be transmitted to the tire and wheel assembly thus powering the vehicle down the road. The CV joint allows the axle to flex or change angles to allow you to steer around a corner while transferring torque to the road. Also, these angles change as the vehicle suspension increases or decreases its ride height as road surfaces and load changes.

The longevity of the CV joint depends on its lubrication which is a special designed lubricant that is sealed inside a boot. The boot looks similar to a ribbed billows surrounding the inner and outer joints or the drive axles. When the boots leak joint damage will occur quickly. Remanufactured axle assemblies or boot kits are available as a repair. Either repair choice is not cheap. (Call or search online for prices/estimates).

If boots are leaking, damage to the joint may cause a rapid popping noise, especially while turning a sharp corner or accelerating. If popping occurs, forget the boot kit ‘fix’ and go with the axle assemblies.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

4 X 4 &/or AWD

4-wheel drive (4wd)
The 4wd gives the driver the option of driving in 4wd or two-wheel drive (2wd). These vehicles can be basically a front wheel drive (fwd) or rear wheel drive (rwd). Some also, in addition to the fwd/2wd option, have a high and low range option.

All-wheel drive (awd)
The awd vehicles do not have an option of 4wd or 2wd. They are in 4wd at all times and transfer power to the wheels with the most traction through a viscous clutch.

Most manufacturers offer both types in some of their product lines.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Cold Weather Car Problems

Two common complaints in cold weather are doors that stick closed and the heater blows cold air -- no heat.

For doors that stick:
Before cold weather clean the door and trunk gaskets (rubber seals) and the surface the gaskets meet with soapy water. Rinse and dry completely.
(* A Must: ...Leave the doors open until surfaces and seals are completely dry.)
After seals and surfaces are completely dry, spray with a silicone spray that can be bought at any auto parts store, Wal Mart, etc.
Repeat this at least two times....and now you are ready for cold weather. If you live in an area of an extended cold weather period recoat both surfaces with silicone spray every 4-6 weeks.
Note: If the weather is already cold, this procedure may be done in a heated garage where the seals and surfaces will completely dry before the silicone spray is applied.

If your heater is blowing cold air instead of warm/hot the first thing to do is:
* Check coolant level. If it is low add coolant and pressure check the cooling system for leaks(hoses, radiator, thermostat housing, and don't forget the water pump and freeze plugs) .
On many vehicles low coolant will not allow coolant to flow through the heater and the engine temperature may show cold.

Monday, January 29, 2007

First Car

My granddaughter just got her first car (photo on left). While she would have liked a Mini Cooper (photo on right) or beetle she settled for a 93 2-door beretta GT (which fit her budget....)
The beretta she got is a sporty looking car and mechanically very good. I think it will make her an excellent car. This photo shows it when we brought it home- no detailing yet.
I don't fault her for 'eyeing' a new Mini cooper. The Mini is a fun car and according the Kelley Blue Book in five years it holds it value for about half of its original price while most other cars are worth about a third or less. If this is any indicator of a collectable car, the Mini might be one you would want to keep your eye on.

ASE Certification

The first thing most people ask is, "What is ASE certification?"
In 1972 the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) was established. ASE had over 40 exams grouped for cars, trucks, truck equipment, and school bus; as well as collision repair, engine machinists, alternate fuels, parts specialists, auto service consultants, and collision damage estimators.
ASE certification requires training and study and retesting periodically to maintain that certification.
Typically a person/family’s vehicle is second in cost only to the cost of their home. Therefore, it is imperative to know that the person repairing the complex vehicle has been appropriately trained – and ASE certification does that.