I am a mechanical engineering student looking to learn how to work on cars.
My friend has given me the opportunity to take his 1988 Mazda B2200 extra-cab 5-speed. When I drove it, I saw why. The catalytic converter has broken off, and apparently pieces of it are in the exhaust. Would it be possible to just replace the catalytic converter, or should I replace the whole exhaust?
Also while driving it, there is a weird problem. About 10 or so minutes after startup and driving, it starts bucking back and forth as if I was engaging and disengaging the clutch. Any idea as to why that is happening? Theoretically the truck could drive even with this problem, but I don’t think it’s safe or good for the truck. What should I do?
It wasn’t long ago that I was an mechanical engineering student looking to work on cars. Hell, it’s way more fun than a semester of Thermodynamics, Solid and Fluid Mechanics! So what’s my advice? Join the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) as a student and join the local chapter in your college. The SAE chapter at the University of Texas changed my life, in a good way. And if you don’t have a chapter? MAKE ONE!
Oh wait…you wanted advice on the truck, not your career. My bad.
The first problem is pretty easy, replace the convertor. Or not: eventually the loose bits of honeycomb inside will stop playing Super Breakout with itself, exit stage left, and it still might pass an emissions test. If not, any exhaust shop can slap in a new one, and I just Googled one for $270 that’s a direct replacement. I am sure you college kids use Google all the time, why not for a sweet little truck?
The second one is usually a combination of a poor gear change technique and a lack of fuel. Or maybe too much fuel. Does it buck less if you give it more gas and take more time to let out the clutch? Problem solved. If not, I’d recommend rebuilding the carb, seafoaming the motor (at your own risk, see YouTube for reasons why), and testing the fuel pressure. Actually not in that order: start with fuel pressure, then maybe learn how to work on a carb.
Or convert it to a later-model EFI setup! Or even better, LS1-FTW!!! You are an engineer for a reason!
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