Originally Posted by P-R Deuce
so the problem .
---------- Uncle Woody's musings about older car ownership!!!
Older or used cars a great! You just need to understand their idiosyncrasies and common issues(all cars have them). Take care of you older car and do the proper routine maintenance and it will serve you well. Iignore it and you will find yourself on the side of the road......
1) Join a good internet forum for the car you have. You can do a little googling and see what forums are showing up with the best advice. It’s pretty simple to figure out. Base memberships are free..........
A) This is a very important step. Do not skip it. Most forums let you create a signature of your car or truck when you sign up. Some forums make you wait until you have a certain number of posts. A signature is simply a detailed description of your vehicle. In the signature include as much info as possible. a good signature will include some of the following. General Location. Lets take for example, Huntsville, Alabama. From this one detail we can ascertain that most likely you have no rust issues. You probably don’t have a California emissions system. You might have issues with rubber parts and you would not have issues pertaining to ocean salt water........all that from just the location.......back to the signature. Gather as much info as you can about your vehicle. On the drivers side doorjamb there should be a label. This label includes info such as Manufacturing date etc........adding the manufacturing date to your sig will let members identify the correct parts. A lot of times different parts are changed throughout the model year and the build date identifies that........See how important these details are....There are also labels on the radiator support and under the hood......Also as you gather the info you will learn about your car......The signature shows other members that you are sincere about solving your problem. It shows you are less likely to be a troll. Also the signature will show up on every post. With people using smartphones these days it makes it much easier for the members that are helping you FOR FREE.....A good signature encourages the most knowledgeable members to help you.......Ok enough already …..........Year,Model, Engine,tranny, MIleage, MFG. date, 2 door,4 door, regular cab,supercab, 2wd
, AWD,, AC, cruise, ABS
, power locks, power windows, moonroof, where the car was built, etc, etc include anything that you can think off that might help in identifying your car........You can abbreviate these things, e.g.,power locks is PL,.....................................the signature is usually created/found in the control panel of your Forum............Also when you create a post or start a thread you can have an email alert sent to you when someone responds to the thread. This is important. You do not want to start a thread and then come back 2 weeks later or forget about it and come back 6 months later with your next problem..Can you say troll!!!!
2) Tools and diagnosing
A) an OBD
-2 scanner/reader is your friend. Don’t be intimidated. Even a basic one is OK. There are all kinds. All cars built from 1996 on have the OBD
-2 sytsem. Earlier cars have an OBD
-I system........I am just dealing with the OBD
-2 system for now. There are many software systems and scanners out there that work with laptops and phones. One example is a program called Torque. it works on Android based phones. the basic version is free and the upgrade is $5 you will need an adapter like a Elm-327, this coast about $20, there are other readers for sale from $30 on up.....Ultra-gauge is neat also......I bought my Codekey reader for $20 at Costco’s in 2010.....do some searching..Having a code reader will save you time and aggravation. The auto stores sometimes will read them for you but it is a pain. The stores do not like to cear the codes. some people might spend $20 in gas just driving there and back a few times........Ford might charge you $100 to read them..........get a cheap scanner/reader at minimum.
B) purchase a Haynes manual. They kind of suck, but for short money you can get some good info. Also more people use the Haynes manual so it helps when referencing.
C) try and get an Owners Manual. If you don’t have one there are a lot online. For Fords you can go to fleetford.com and get an owners manual for any car built since 1996. There is a lot of good info in the OM e.g., fuses and locations. many issues have been solved with a new fuse or cheap relay, nuf-ced.
D) A multimeter will help you check for power and resistance. You can get a good one for $15. Harbor Freight even sells cheap digital ones for $3.
3) Regular Maintenance
A) Maintenance is the absolute key to owning a used car. Most things can be done easily and at a small cost.........do a survey of your car and try and determine what fluids have been changed, what has been cleaned, what tuneup parts have been replaced. I create a spreadsheet. Look at any records you have, etc. Basic maintenance will include some of the following, sparkplugs, wires, PVC
valve, air filter, fuel filter, Serp belt, vacuum lines, some people even replace o2 sensors as maintenance. Cleaning, battery terminals, TB
, IACV, MAF
, if you come across any acronyms you don’t know google them with the word automotive they will show up. for example MAF
is Mass Air Flow sensor. Fluids should all be changed at regular intervals, Brake fluid and power steering, fluid can be swapped out using a clean turkey baster, thisis not the best way but it is better then nothing for the beginner. Transmission fluid can sometimes be done with a drain and fill,you only get some of the fluid this way but it is better than nothing, A drain, fill and pump out is best and can be done in a driveway in about 1.5 hours. Coolant, differential, transfer case, engine. You can do some research on the forums. All cars have recommended fluids and parts, like sparkplugs, that work best with each car.........the members on the forums will help you figure that out........................
Uncle Woody is done lecturing.............get out there for a few Saturdays and for less than $200 you will bring all the maintenance and fluids up to par and save yourself from spending money and time when you end up on the side of the road....Also consider your safety. Nothing fun about being stranded on a busy highway because your $20 serpentine belt broke!......For the auto novice read this post a couple of times....best wishes!!!
some helpful acronyms KOEO
=key on engine off KOER
=key on engine running
OP=original poster TB
IACV= idle air control valve MAF
= mass air flow sensor PCV
= positive crankcase ventilation valve ECT
=engine coolant temp sensor PCM
=powertrain control module EGR
- exhaust gas recirculating
DPFE=differential pressure feedback EGR
O2= oxygen sensor