TTAC Commentator Tree Trunk writes:
I comment on TTAC as Tree Trunk from the frozen tundra in interior Alaska and am looking for advice on how to deal with an out of control repair of an old beater. I have a ’95 Isuzu Rodeo with 130K that until recently had been a pretty low maintenance, reliable ride.
Out of the blue the check engine light came on and the engine stalled. A handy friend checked all obvious things to get it running again without success. It would start up run for a few min before reving wildly and then die. Luckily I thought, it broke down close to a reputable shop (NAPA certified) so we towed it there.
Seven weeks and two thousand dollars, not to mention the rental car cost I am back at square one. First they diagnosed bad PCM, a rebuild unit was in five weeks later, two weeks behind schedule. I made it half a mile down the road before it stalled again.
This time around it was supposedly a slack timing belt hitting the crankshaft sensor causing the engine to stall. Week and another thousand dollars later, after first ordering the wrong parts and then not all the needed parts the engine started up, but wouldn’t you know it stalled again.
In hindsight, I should have scrapped it the moment it broke down. But short of finding a time machine that is not an option.
Now I am waiting the next call from the shop and need advice from you and the best and brightest. It seems obvious that the one or both of the diagnostics were faulty and some third thing is causing the stalling.
What do I do, keep paying with a smile, demand a full repair free of charge or something in-between?
Sajeev answers: (Read More…)
My son enjoys being able to spread out when driving and also appreciates the convenience of hauling several of his buds around. He drives a 2001 Cadillac DHS. He has just moved to Massachusetts and registered the car there. It failed inspection with OBD codes P1860 and P0741. He has 60 days to resolve the problem. A little internet searching informs that these codes are related to the torque converter clutch circuit and the solenoid valve.
The codes may indicate anything from a bad electrical connection to a failed plastic solenoid (I hate plastic) to a worn TC clutch. Other than the not so likely electrical connection fix, labor is at least 12 hours, even for the solenoid. I don’t see this as an emissions or safety issue, but then I’m not the state of Massachusetts.
Most car enthusiasts bemoan the rise of electronic systems in automobiles because they create a layer of interference between ourselves and the direct, mechanical control of our cars. Sure, electronic controls are cheaper, lighter and allow for easier diagnostics, but they rob automobiles of the elemental simplicity which is so often fundamental to their appeal. And, as a study by researchers from the Universities of Washington and San Diego [in PDF format here, via ArsTechnica] shows, the various electronic systems in your car actually makes it vulnerable to hackers who could disable key systems remotely. Titled Experimental Security Analysis of a Modern Automobile, the study explains that the electronic complexity of modern cars actually leaves them extremely vulnerable to all kinds of attack, raising serious concerns about how safe we really are in our cars (especially if we happen to have an enemy or two).
TTAC Commentator Detroit-Iron writes:
I have a 2000 Ford Ranger, 2wd 3.0L V6 with 143k miles. The CEL has been on for at least last 70k and I finally went to AutoZone and got the code read. Turns out the O2 sensor is bad and the EGR valve is stuck. Is that the kind of thing that I can fix myself? I don’t want to put a whole lot of money in this truck seeing as it has a lot of miles and has been running reasonably well, if inefficiently (21 mpg all highway), for so long. I have an ok tool set and I do my brakes, but I recently paid $70 to have the fuel filter replaced-I’ve done it before and I didn’t want to do it again. The truck is going back to my parents to be semi-retired and put into “farm use” so I wouldn’t mind fixing it up a little before giving it back but I don’t want to spend a lot.