The Truth About Cars » brake lines The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:33:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » brake lines General Motors Digest: July 8, 2014 Tue, 08 Jul 2014 13:00:22 +0000 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In today’s General Motors Digest: Replacement ignition switches are shipping to dealership service bays in boxes that may not reflect the contents inside; GM hands over 2 million documents to the United States House of Representatives; and certain truck owners are on their own as far as rusty brake lines are concerned.

Automotive News reports in a June 24, 2014 memo by the automaker to its 4,300-strong dealership network, GM would be shipping the ignition switches related to the February 2014 recalls in ACDelco boxes “due to the unprecedented volume of parts being shipped and the resulting shortage of GM Parts boxes.” The memo was composed to allay doubts of authenticity that might arise when the shipments arrive. As of June 25, 2014, 296,462 of the 2.6 million vehicles affected by the recall have been repaired, while GM expects to have the parts ready for the majority of the affected by October.

Over in the Beltway, The Detroit News says the automaker has turned over 2 million pages of records in relation to the February 2014 recall to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of the latter’s ongoing investigation. Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, who is in the early stages of planning an auto safety overhaul bill, states that he wants to wrap up the investigation prior to making such a bill available for consideration. In an interview with WJR-AM, Upton is considering a national registry to easily track recalled vehicles in the repair stage, as well as when affected vehicles pass into the used car market.

Finally, Bloomberg reports that while General Motors has issued recalls left and right, it has not done so with 1.8 million light trucks and SUVs made between 1999 and 2003 affected by rusting brake lines. Further, the automaker says it’s the owner’s responsibility to prevent rusting and, if need be, replace the lines with a $500 MSRP kit. The defect has hit Salt Belt owners the hardest, where failed brake lines make up 43 out of 100,000 units sold, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

]]> 36
Piston Slap: Affalterbach’s A-faltering Headlight! (Part II) Fri, 25 Oct 2013 12:00:44 +0000

Martin writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I just wanted to follow up the post with the resolution.  I’m not sure if this is important to you all, but I see that it’s an issue with Bimmers sometimes as well.  I switched the bulbs from right to left.  My passenger side light had been flickering off.  When I switched the bulbs, the issue went to the driver’s side, which seemed to narrow down the issue to a bulb problem.  

Both lights would sometimes flicker as a pre courser to the bulb shutting down.  I replaced the Xenon bulbs with new ones, and so far, the problem is gone. I’m not sure why both bulbs flickered simultaneously as a pre courser to the bulb going out, but it did.  This issue is also gone. I hope it helps someone because initially when I took the problem to mechanics I received estimates including the replacement of the entire light, which is around 1200-1300 bucks, or replacing the ballast which is a 400-600 dollar part, and one indy mechanic even told me they had to drop the bumper cover JUST to get to the light, which is really untrue.

Instead the resolution cost me 150 bucks.


Sajeev answers:

Good to hear Martin, sometimes the easiest answer is the right one! And sadly, if one lacks the time and knowledge to seek that easy automotive solution, they’re gonna get hosed.  Hosed for a normal wear item?  How sad.  So let’s consider more wear items that people tend to neglect:

  1. Fuses: they go bad over time, even when they look good at a casual glance.  Even when tested with a voltmeter/continuity tester! Here’s one from my (LH high beam circuit) Sierra that looked okay at first…but when I shined light behind it…a new fuse and freshly cleaned ground wiring fixed a multitude of problems.
  2. Headlights: they are wear items.  They can flicker (as you know well!) and dim over time. The dimming is so gradual that you’d never know, until you replace them.  I’ve seen 2 year old vehicles need new headlights!
  3. Vacuum lines in particular, rubber parts in general:  Anything that uses engine vacuum (less of a concern today) relies on tubing that gets cracked, brittle, gooey, leaky…so replace it.  Lines connected to PCV systems can get gooey/leaky in just a few years…not decades.
  4. Tires: if they are dry rotted, their performance (especially in the wet) is kinda horrible.  Depending on where you live/park, your tires could be history after 5 years, even with fantastic tread depth.
  5. Brake lines: after a decade, especially if you live in the rust belt, look at your brake lines to ensure they won’t go explodey from rusting.
  6. Wiring: lines get brittle-cracked-shorted, connectors get broken/loose and “Ghosts in the Machine” that are seemingly impossible to trace have a very simple solution: replacement.
  7. Weatherstripping (again rubber): however your car’s doors seal to the body, that stuff will shrink, split, etc. no longer making an air (or water!) tight seal.  And don’t forget leaky sunroofs/moonroofs!
  8. Hinges and Latches:  bushings (often brass?) inside door hinges can wear to the point that doors sag, especially on convertibles.  Similarly, door latches wear, become misaligned, and make horrible squeaking sounds sometimes.
  9. Springs and Shocks: sounds logical, but how many people pony up the cash for these new parts after years of metal fatigue on coils and leaky/coagulated cartridges? Not nearly enough.
  10. Copper connections: similar to #6, if there’s an exposed connection on a printed circuit (probably less of a concern today) that can become oxidized…well, it will. I’ve repaired many a flaky module with a pink eraser (not white, they lack the “tooth” to make a clean cut) from the top of a pencil.  It’s funny the things you learn from people on the Internet.
  11. Batteries, Alternators, Terminals+Cables : as cars get more complex, their thirst for fresh batteries shortens the lifespan of these wear items.  Alternators age, even more so when trying to support a weak battery.  And everything can go bad because your battery’s termainals+cables are crusty and corroded.  The moment you hear your car “chugs” and labors at start up compared to a car with a new battery OR the moment the dashboard electrics goes bonkers for no apparent reason…well, that’s the moment you are officially warned of a simple but important charging problem.

Best and Brightest: fill in the gaps I left.  And have a great weekend.

Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

]]> 36
Piston Slap: An Indistinguishable Ball of Rust? Mon, 16 Apr 2012 11:42:23 +0000

Mike writes:

Good morning Sajeev.

Ask (for Piston Slap questions) and you shall receive. You are under no obligation to publish this assuming you receive more interesting material.  Thanks for doing what you do.

You may remember me as one of your fellow Lincoln Mark VIII enthusiasts.  The sway bars rock, and for now, I’m still running the OEM HIDs in my 2nd gen, hoping you find an aftermarket solution you deem adequate, and spread the word when the time comes. Although I do now own a pair of Doug’s delrin adapters, just in case.

But this isn’t about that car.  Oh yes, it’s the Panther!


I am the proud owner of a 1986 Lincoln Town Car, that I bought in 1997 with about 160k miles on it.  It now has 330,000 miles on it and the Minnesota winters have not been kind.  This has been my do-all vehicle, as well as my winter vehicle, for a number of years now.  It is equipped year round with snow tires. I tow with it, I haul lumber in/on it, it takes me canoeing camping, and bicycling.  Or it did until a couple weeks ago, when I blew a brake line.

That in and of itself would not be a big problem, but here is my concern.  Last winter, all of the fuel lines went.  (send, and return.)  they’ve since been replaced.  Everything underneath the car is a large, indistinguishable ball of rust.  The power steering leaks. Badly.  The transmission is reluctant to engage after coming to a stop sign in cold weather (until things warm up.)  I guess I’m just at the point where I wonder if it is time to let this one go.  The mid ’90s Town Cars can be had for 2-4 thousand on craigslist locally, or if I really want to go crazy, I could get a loan and pick up the W12 Phaeton I’ve been eyeing up..

I am leaning strongly toward dropping it off at the shop and let my mechanic so he can at least take a glance at it. We have an understanding.  If he tells me to “run away!”  I will.  If not, I Assume it will be a couple hundred bucks for a new line from front to back. that’s still better than a couple thousand for a new used car with “unknown” problems.  But in the end, I’m still driving a rusty, ’86 Lincoln.  At least when the next thing breaks, I still have my trusty ’72 Jeep Commando as a backup.

Why yes.  Those *are* 8′ 2x4s in that last photo…

And if you ever find yourself in Minnesota, I’ll buy you a beer.

Sajeev answers:

I do quite enjoy talking to a member of the Lincoln brotherhood, so it’s all good. I still need to make my old-to-modern HID conversion adapters. One day I’ll get them machined and ready to sell.  It’ll never make money–which is depressing–but I probably have no other choice. Because these cars were (almost) the first to have HIDs in the USA (a few 7-series BMWs from 1994-ish did have them) I really want to do the conversion for all of us…but there’s no time right now. Damn these labors of love!

Anyway, about the Panther…the indistinguishable ball of rust, as you so eloquently mentioned.

Cars in this situation are ticking time bombs: at some point it will be painfully obvious that it’s time to move on. I am not entirely sure you have reached it.  But you will.  I suspect a large rust hole in the floor board or a failing DOA gearbox (AOD, get it?) is in your future.  Probably not your near future, but it’s gonna happen.

When will your Town Car die a rusty, crusty death? Whenever it does, I will be watching this video and will pour one out for a fallen automotive soldier.


Click here to view the embedded video.

And I’ll do my best to sing “Ain’t no love in the heart of the city” without offending Mr. Bobby Bland. Because this Panther most certainly did you right, son.

IMAG0012.sized IMAG0062 Rusty Love? (courtesy: Mike) Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail



Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

]]> 10