Vehicle repair realities

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by miketx, Nov 29, 2018.

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  1. miketx
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    miketx Diamond Member

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    I've worked on cars for 38 years and know what I am doing. That however is not always enough. Take for example the 2003 Trailblazer I bought in 08, low miles excellent, shape! As we left the dealership the check engine light came on so I pulled over and connected my scan tool to see what the code or codes were. The tool said that P0128 was set and that was defined as "coolant never reaches operating temperature". The temp gauge never got up to 200 degrees where it should be. This is most likely caused by a thermostat that is stuck open. So I called the place I bought it and told them I thought it needed a thermostat and they agreed to replace it. Good deal.

    I went in the next day and waited for three hours while they did it. (It's a bitch to change on a TB)
    Got it back on the road and a few days later the check engine light came back on. Yep, P0128. Well, I knew the dealership wasn't going to help and I felt stupid after telling them what to do to fix it so I didn't worry about it. It doesn't cause any problems so I just drove it. But it does cause problems. If the engine isn't hot enough it will produce too many emissions.

    It kept setting the code and finally I researched it and found that a faulty coolant temperature sensor can cause this, so I bought one and put it on. Yes, it's a bitch to change it. But THAT fixed it!

    And that was two years ago. Last week I noticed the temp gauge wasn't getting up to around 200 and then the check engine light came on. Yep, P0128! Bastard! I knew what to do to fix it so today I replaced the coolant temperature sensor. (It's a bitch to change it!). Fired it up and the scan tool shows that it only gets up the 180 degrees. So I have ordered a thermostat! smh.
    And I diagnosed it right. Oh well. Some people may now realize why their vehicles get misdiagnosed sometimes, but probably not. Now if this don't fix it, I don't know what's the matter with it.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  2. JGalt
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    JGalt Platinum Member

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    That POS Chevy Sonic we bought new in 2013 had all sorts of problems. The one that killed it was the engine knock sensor. It developed a valve or lifter tapping at 120,000 miles and the computer kept delaying the timing when it heard the knock. Damned thing wouldn't go up hills and the gas mileage dropped down to 20 mpg.

    We traded it off on a new Nissan which is a decent car, but I'd have to remove the manifold to change the spark plugs.
     
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  3. mudwhistle
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    mudwhistle Diamond Member

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    Buy a Honda next time.
     
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  4. miketx
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    miketx Diamond Member

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    No. Trailblazers run and run.
     
  5. Marion Morrison
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    Marion Morrison Platinum Member

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    Drill hole in thermostat? I remember I had this Ford where I just took it out.

    Same Ford..the whole corner of the radiator rotted off, and I stuck it back on with "Cold Steel" epoxy. That lasted for 3 months. It was a big radiator, and that truck always ran cool..

    300 straight 6, big radiator. Never got over 200, ever.
     
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  6. Toronado3800
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    Toronado3800 VIP Member

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    lol. My life resembles that story. My daily drivers are a MarkVIII and an Aurora so I have a pair with a few miles.

    Its different what a professional mechanic and us do. A pro SHOULD check the output from the sensor before digging in, or at least check the temp at the radiator especially if the thermostat is a pain. That's why some shops are better than others.

    Us part timers can afford to throw cheap non-marked up parts at things sometimes while thinking about diagnosing the situation. My Lincoln has a miss, I might change plugs if its been a decade. Then I'll but a new coil over, pop the others off, put them on in order from worst looking to best, swap the new in for the worst, see if that made a difference, then the next, then the next.
     
  7. miketx
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    miketx Diamond Member

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    Your Lincoln has a miss? See if she would rather ride in Chevy!
     
  8. Toronado3800
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    Toronado3800 VIP Member

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    lol.

    Not at the moment, that's the first thing which popped in my mind though. First coil over got the best of me, no CEL and it was driving terribly so my mechanic got it. The next two to go bad over the last 10 years and 100,000 miles I figured out on my own.

    My Oldsmobeater is showing some age. It has a random missfire which tossed a cyl 7 code, then I fixed it, then it came back random again. I need to get back to it and just throw wires, plugs, then swap a new coil pack into the mixture.

    All that and I'll still be under one payment on a new car.
     
  9. Tumblin Tumbleweed
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    Tumblin Tumbleweed Gold Member

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    You're first problem is buying a Chevy (kidding). Man, this last year has been rife for me with repairs too. Did a rebuild on my wife's vehicle's engine (Mercedes - it was NOT fun), did my pickup's bottom end (block machined, new gasket kit, etc.) and did a suspension lift on my 4x4. Preventative maintenance is definitely a thing!

    How come the T-stat is so hard to replace on the Trail Blazer?
     
  10. Tumblin Tumbleweed
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    Tumblin Tumbleweed Gold Member

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    I have the same engine. The radiator replacement is refreshingly easy on that sucker. $185 for a new one through a local shop for me. Even the heater core wasn't that bad. I love old Fords.
     

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