(Announcer: This is Bumper To Bumper Radio, the car show. Drive in anxious and cruise out confident with the best automotive information for your vehicle. Bumper To Bumper, helping you and your car feel better. Now your hosts Matt Allen and Dave Riccio.)
Dave: Good morning everyone and welcome to Bumper To Bumper Radio, where we are saving cars and saving lives. I am Dave Riccio and right next to me is Matt Allen and we are your KTAR Car Guys heard here every Saturday from 11 to noon, right here on Newstalk 92.3 KTAR At Bumper To Bumper, not only are we saving cars but we’re helping you, the motoring public, have a better overall car experience. If you’ve got car questions, we’ve got the answers so we encourage you to give us a call at 602-277-5827 602-277-KTAR You can also text your questions to 411923 Today on the Bumper To Bumper Roadmap we’ll have another Email Of The Week, open phones, overlooked auto repair, and I Don’t Know What The Heck Cooper Was Talkin’ About. (Matt laughs) Is your car leaking gravy, you know, “gravy goin’ down the road”, what the heck is he talking about?
Matt: I think there’s some people that know what the gravy is, but we’ll get to that in, in a little bit but, you know Dave, we talked about the things, overlooked auto repairs.
Matt: And, and these are normal maintenance items but they’re not the, they’re not the things that you’re gonna find the shop advertising with all the coupons, get this $10 off and flush this and rotate that and, and whatever. These, these are typically at least the one that, that I’m talkin’ about first is a repair that your average shop doesn’t do because it’s not on the easy list.
Dave: Not on the easy list?
Dave: Well that’s, that’s, that’s the, uh, easy high margin type repairs.
Matt: Right, well you’re starting the leaked gravy already.
Matt: But, the, the one thing that people, uh, is an overlooked auto repair and, and the reason I bring this up is because it was a, it, we’re talkin’ about valve adjustments, adjusting the valves on the engine. Well this doesn’t apply to every car, it’s gonna be mostly your import cars or maybe their American cousin that’s, uh, shared between say maybe a Chevy, uh,or a Pontiac Vibe and a Toyota
Matt: Matrix or something like that and, uh, but we’ve come out with hydraulic tappets over, over years and years and engine manufacturers change, change things, but we’re starting to see cars that have come in and need a repair ‘cuz they have a check engine light or they have a symptom related to a valve adjustment when you normally didn’t have that. So you know, in the 80s and 90s, for example, Hondas, they want the valves adjusted every 15,000 miles. Little bit excessive, but they needed it, it wasn’t so expensive to do it then.
Dave: So my Honda Element, when does that need a valve adjustment?
Matt: Well, they say they need it when they’re tight.
Dave: When they’re, when they’re loose.
Matt: I’m sorry.
Dave: When they’re makin’ noise, when they’re makin’ noise.
Matt: Yeah. I messed it up, the, the manual says “Adjust the valves when they’re noisy.”Well, sometimes when they’re noisy it’s too late or that’s the beginning of a problem. But what we’re starting to see in my shop is cars that have valves that are too tight.
Dave: How the heck can a valve get too tight?
Matt: Well it’s gotta-
Dave: It’s gotta, it’s gotta get looser with time and be wearin’ out.
Matt: No, it’s, they get too tight, the seat wears, the, the, just, the whole mechanics of the system, they’re, they’re due to adjust, they’re su-, they’re, it’s a mechanical system with metal and, and it’s lubricated and they wear. It’s just, it’s just a fact of life, they do wear. So they do at times need some adjustment but again, they get tight, and the tight does not fall under the category of it needs a valve adjustment ‘cuz it’s noisy, they’re not gonna make noise when they’re tight. So we’re startin’ to see cars come in as early as 15 and 20,000 miles sometimes with smite, slight driveability problem, maybe a check engine light for a lean fuel conditioner or a loss of power. This is especially common in the Honda V16, you may be in the Pilot or the, the…
Matt: The Odyssey minivan, you get a code for a, a lean fuel condition, everybody’s looking for vacuum leaks and such, and, and it’s really just a valve adjustment. And they can be expensive though, but that’s part of regular maintenance and that’s why I say it’s overlooked.
Dave: Why would you call that an overlooked repair?
Matt: Well, it’s expensive to do so people don’t like to mention it to their, to their customers because they don’t want ’em to say no, they’d rather do something else that’s easier.
Dave: Stay below their threshold of, uh, you know, uh, “I think I’m gonna go get a second opinion” type threshold?
Matt: Could be, yeah. And, and, uh, there’s a f-, there’s a fair amount of risk if you got the wrong guy doing this job, you can buy an engine. (Dave laughs) So, so that’s part of it and um, but how do you know your car needs a valve adjustment?
Dave: You don’t.
Matt: You don’t, you don’t even know if your car has adjustable valves. The way, one of the items that we look at in the shop is just go look at the underhood decal, if there’s a specification for a valve adjustment, that means they’re adjustable. Now that doesn’t mean they need to be done but have a look in your Owner’s Manual and see if that’s in there. A lot of times it’s tied in with doing a timing belt on a car. So that’s one of ’em Dave, what do you see for, what’s, what would be your second or third thing of overlooked repairs people don’t think about?
Dave: I would say the transfer case, that is probably the biggest one we see, you go in and people check their fluids ‘cuz the one thing they don’t do is check the oil in your transfer case and that’s a problem because the transfer case, that’s part of the 4 wheel drive system. You say, “I got a 4 wheel drive, I don’t use it.”
Matt: “I’m not drivin’ a truck, I don’t have a 4 wheel drive.”
Dave: “It doesn’t need to be serviced ‘cuz I never even put the thing in 4 wheel drive.” That thing is always workin’, there’s always power flowing through it so it’s got oil and it needs to be checked. And it needs to be checked because it only holds two quarts to start with. These things will go low and they’ll leak and no one’s botherin’ to check ’em because if they do leak, it’s not a big mess, it only held two quarts. So they overlook that, that’s something to be should, it should be serviced maybe every 50,000 miles would be pretty, you know, reasonable expectation.
Matt: Now, bein’ that you own the transmission shop and you’re the transmission expert, right Dave?
Dave: I am.
Matt: And you drive a Honda Element I’m sorry to report. (Dave laughs) But you have an all wheel drive and, and all wheel drive and 4 wheel drive essentially are the same thing. I mean, there’s, there’s a lot, a lot of differences but you may have a transfer case and you don’t even know it.
Dave: I have a transfer case definitely and that needs to be serviced and that’s-
Matt: Oh you were, you were talkin’ about the differential, well ok, first but-
Dave: Well, it’s an angle.
Dave: There’s all kinds of names for it but it’s, on the side of the transmission there’s a little box, it has a, they call it an angle gear or a side gear and it shoots power through a drive shaft to the rear differential. So even though it’s a front wheel drive car, it still has a rear differential for that all wheel drive and that all wheel drive, you know, I believe in my manual says it needs to be serviced at 15,000 miles.
Matt: Yeah, the rear differential on the Honda Odyssey or uh, any 4 wheel drive Honda, you, the classic symptom is people go to take a turn, just a lazy loose right turn or maybe even a tight turn in a parking lot and what do you get? That, that skip skip skip, it’s binding.
Dave: Well, what’s funny about it is I, I actually had it serviced at the dealership for the first 25,000 miles just, you know what? I need a little more perspective on my business, so I take it up there and I said, “Hey, uh, looks like in my manual I need to service that rear differential.” Guy says, “Oh, you don’t need it.” I was like, “But it says I do.” “Nah, you don’t need it.” You know, and he was trying to save me money you know? He was ‘cuz I’m friendly with the guy down there but he said no and I’m thinking, “How? There’s probably a reason they want you to service it.” So, anyway I brought back it to my shop and I serviced the differential anyway because I don’t wanna, you know, argue with the guy.
Matt: Well and that’s surprising to me that someone would do that, especially, (Dave laughs) you know, in the manual there are some things that are very sub- objective where-
Dave: Some things you don’t need to do.
Matt: you don’t need to do ’em or you can, it doesn’t need to be done at X mileage because we know we’re gonna do a related repair at another 7 or 8,000 or 10,000 so we’ll do it together. Umm..
Dave: The other one that, that gets me and this is a common repair and it’s almost became a commodity repair or people try to make it a co-commodity repair, by couponizing it. (Both laugh)
Matt: They’re couponizing, right?
Dave: Couponizing and that’s the timing belt and you’re gonna see a coupon from I’m gonna give you an example from one of the the big dealerships in town. They’ll run a coupon for a $395 timing belt. So immediately that’s gonna set your expectation wrong, you go, “Oh it’s just a simple like, not a big deal,” but a timing belt is a big deal.
Matt: So it’s not overlooked, it’s probably overadvertised.
Matt: Everybody wants to do ’em, but they don’t necessarily do them right or they’re a little bit, I can’t even say a little bit, they’re, they’re wishy-washy on the way that it’s presented to you.
Dave: Well and you can buy an engine if you do a timing belt wrong, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that happening. (Laughs)
Matt: We had a problem on a Daewoo one time and it was cheaper just to buy the car. (Both laugh)
Dave: So a timing belt is not a commodity repair, you definitely want an A tech doing timing belt, uh, you don’t want a B or a C tech and you don’t know what that means, but we all may have gone to technical school, some at the top of the class, some at the bottom of the class, but we still have a, a little circle with our name on it when we work at the auto shop and we’re considered “technicians” but we’re not all the same. So, that, you know, it’s not a commodity repair and then also, for $399 you’re getting what I would consider. depending on the mileage of the vehicle, let’s just say you know we’ve been talking a lot about Hondas today. 100,000 miles on your Honda, you’ve never done the timing belt, well just doing the timing belt we’re missin’ half of what else we should be doing: water pump, you know, timing belt tensioners, maybe some-
Matt: The idlers, the other, the, the other items and they’re they’re, they’re trying to advertise it cheap and maybe do it cheap so that you don’t say no but, but then the second part of that is the second phone call.
Dave: Mmm, that’s one of the 2 step repairs ‘cuz they got you in on the $399 coupon, your car is now taken apart, and they go, “Mmm, Mr. Smith, you know, I am, we’re kinda lookin’ at the water pump, it’s a little questionable, you know, we should think about replacing it. You know what, it’s probably not a bad idea the way this timing belt is wearing, to go and do that tensioner and idler and” yada yada yada. Well, you woulda gone to your favorite Bumper To Bumper shop had you known because they told you it was 900 bucks or 1200 bucks or whatever the right price was from the get go and now….
Matt: Yeah, well we wanna tell you up front and, and we, I’d rather have you go away thinkin’ it’s gonna be more money than, than have to call you back and do that 2 step selling process. But the other thing Dave, real quick, is, is we say it’s overlooked but I think it’s sometimes overperformed because we have Severe Service in Arizona and if you look at Severe Service, it talks about constantly over 105,000 miles or 120 degrees and stuff like that. I think these 105,000 timing belts that people recommend at 60 is overdoing it, so it’s also overlooked but underperform- or overperformed at times too.
Dave: Well, we’ll tell you more about it when we come back at 602-277-5827 602-277-KTAR You’re listening to Matt and Dave on Bumper To Bumper Radio.
(Announcer: Bumper To Bumper on Newstalk 92.3 KTAR)
Dave: Well welcome back to Bumper To Bumper Radio where we are savin’ cars and savin’ lives. I am Dave Riccio here along with Matt Allen and we are helping you have a better overall car experience. To get a hold of us, 602-277-5827 602-277-KTAR And the texts are busy today, you can text us at 411923 and I have about 4 texts that are right on topic.
Matt: Did you take a CPR class or go to med school last week I don’t know about? We’re savin’ lives now?
Dave: I did, I’m the automotive healer. (Both laugh)
Matt: Savin’ the life of your car.
Matt: I can go along with that.
Dave: I, I, I don’t know which one of these texts to take first because I think I could, could talk about all of them. The first one is so on topic, I think we gotta talk about that. “I have the-” No, that’s not it. “If I keep the Honda Odyssey, I have to replace a timing belt. Is it worth it?” Ahhhh.
Matt: Without hesitation, absolutely yes. That Honda Odyssey go, I mean I don’t know what year that is, so there’s a, a big range but you can’t, a lot of times you can’t find one of those to buy if you wanted one.
Dave: They’re hot commodities.
Matt: They are.
Dave: If you got one and it’s workin’ and runnin’ great, keep it, live with- you know? It’s, they’ve got great resale value, you know, my brother bought an ’04 with 110,000 miles on it and that was he said, “It’s barely broken in.”
Matt: Oof, that hurt a little bit Dave, I remember working on your brother’s Odyssey. (Both laugh) We had some problems. But, uh, yeah the Odyssey, that’s probably got a V6 engine in it, the timing belt replacement, that’s a perfect example of doing the timing belt too early. Overservicing it. I bet the manual says 105,000 miles and then it’s gonna say Severe Service if you’re constantly driven over 110 degrees and constantly this and constantly that.
Dave: That’s in the fine print.
Matt: And with, not too much, but then, but, but we are in that condition but not constantly, 4 months out of the year. So someone might take that 105,000 mile timing belt and say, “Oh my gosh,” and play the Arizona card and say, “Do it at 60.” I’m of the opinion that is way too early, they never, I’ve never seen a broken timing belt on a Honda. Probably because Honda owners take care of them. I would not do that timing belt before 90,000 miles on that car.
Dave: Well when they’re sellin’ it to you at 60, all you do need is a timing belt.
Dave: You don’t need a water pump and you don’t necessarily need idlers and tensioners and all that stuff.
Matt: With an asterisk next to “need” at 60.
Dave: Need at 60 ‘cuz you don’t really need it at 60 so, my, my thing is, ok, you’re gonna do it at 100, 110,000 miles. At that time, go ahead and do the water pump. You know? Go ahead and look at replacing the wa-, uh, radiator hoses and the thermostat and you know, I’m a preemptive guy on that radiator because, because the price of radiators and the plastic construction of the tanks. You know the thing that’s gonna wreck your car? Is overheating it, that’s one of the common things, timing belt cracks or, you know, breaks and crashes the valves or the thing overheats on the freeway. By the time you get pulled over, you’ve smoked the motor.
Matt: Now an Odyssey though, an Odyssey is not one I’m doing a radiator on just ‘cuz we’re doing a timing belt.
Matt: Now. maybe a Toyota Pickup or something where we take the radiator out for our convenience to make the job easier? You get the benefit, the benefit of that. So the, on a Honda Odyssey, you can’t gl wrong with that car, I don’t believe, so fix the timing belt, find a good shop that takes care of that for you. Um, and you, you’ll be trouble free.
Dave: Well we mentioned Odyssey, I think we got 3 text on Odysseys, this next one says, “I have a 2004 Honda Odyssey. I’ve ha- had had a transmission rebuilt twice in less than a year.” And now the screen refreshed while I was reading that so, uh, Matt; But it was, it says, “Should I, should I keep the car or should I ditch it?” Basically.
Dave: There’s, there’s no reason you know? It says for the torque converter and, and the Odysseys, they had you know, they didn’t necessarily, Honda just joined the rest the world as far as how long their transmissions lasted. You know, Hondas used to traditionally, they were compact cars, they were small and they had 4 cylinder engines in ’em and they started going to V6’s ’98, ’99. And they were doublin’ the horsepower for the engines, they were also increasing the size of the vehicle. So last I checked I think a Honda Accord end to end is as big as a Crown Victoria. That’s not a compact car anymore so they left that whole compact mold.
Matt: But they had a compact transmission in it.
Dave: But they got a compact transmission and they never really upgraded, you know? So I’ve got a, a Honda with a 1. uh, 6 liters, it’s got the same size pump as one in an Odyssey and it just doesn’t make any sense. So there is a transmission kinda underbuilt from the factory, but they’re still going 100, 110,000 miles.
Matt: But they fixed that though.
Dave: They have?
Matt: So don’t go to Google (Dave laughs) and, and think, “I gotta get rid of my car because it has this transmission. Dave, I know you do repairs on those Odysseys all the time and you don’t, you can be proactive, you don’t have to overhaul the whole transmission. There’s very specific things that you can do to make that transmission last.
Dave: Definitely. It can definitely be redone, I mean, they’ve been reengineered. That transmission’s been out long enough that we’ve come up with a lot of fixes, but some the the Honda Odysseys, the guys that rebuild them don’t do ’em right. That car’s like a boomerang, I mean, you throw it from your shop and it just comes back the next day. (Matt laughs) So, there’s no reason it can’t be fixed and it can’t stay out, it’s, it’s 35% of our business is Honda transmissions, they’re just so many Hondas on the road, you know? It’s sumthin’ we do on a reg- you’re, you’re rollin’ your eyes at me.
Matt: Is that one of the statistics? (Laughs)
Dave: It, no, I didn’t make that up, I literally looked at it, I looked at all the manufacturers and I gotta go back 5 years and see what new car sales were to see if it’s really like a kind of a 1 to 1 or is it like, every 4 sold we’re working on you know, so much percentage? But, uh, no, I didn’t just make that up. It’s a true deal.
Matt: Yeah. (Dave laughs) What do you think? Phone call? Dave: Let’s go for a phone call. Let’s go with, looks like Will in Glendale on a 2000 Astro. Go ahead Will, you’re on Bumper To Bumper Radio.
Will: Hey guys, how you doin’?
Will: Um, this thing, we’ve had it since brand new, uh it’s got 90,000 miles on it, um, I keep getting a check engine light for uh, the close door on a fast idle. Uh, redone the, I’ve cleaned out the whole throttle body, put out, uh, all the sensors, uh, replaced the, uh, throttle body gaskets, everything, I, just, it keeps showing a thro-, uh, a high idle. I can’t figure it out.
Matt: Will, on that car, do you know if that went off the, I don’t remember off the top of my head, do you know if that has a mass air flow sensor?
Will: It does.
Matt: It does have a mass air, ok that changes. Dave and I were thinkin’ or I was thinkin’, anyway, I can read his mind and so (All laugh) I was thinkin’ a vacuum leak ‘cuz if a car without a mass air flow sensor uses a manifold or a map sensor manifold air pressure sensor and a-
Matt: And a vacuum leak will cause that car to idle high.
Will: I checked all those.
Will: I checked all of ’em, there is no vacuum leak on it whatsoever.
Dave: What is it, what is it idling at? Is it idling at 800 RPMs or is it idling at 1200 RPMs?
Will: Yeah, it’s idlin’ about 900 and, uh, you know? But then, uh, you know, the adjustment screw on the, uh, front of the auto body, I know you’re not supposed to touch it, but, um, I’ve even lowered that down a little bit and I’ve taken it to the shop and they can’t find anything wrong with the way it’s, way it’s runnin’, uh, it’s got 90,000 miles on it, like I said, we’ve had it since brand new and it’s just, I’m beatin’ my head against a wall on it. (Laughs)
Matt: Right, well, its-
Dave: What’s that code number by the way? Real quick.
Will: Uh, God, I don’t have it.
Will: I don’t have it, I’m sorry.
Dave: We can shut it-
Will: But it’s-
Matt: Um, you could follow up with us with an email maybe? But, you know, I, we can go back and forth by email just like on the, on the, on the radio here? That, that’s one of those things where, that’s gonna need to get to a shop, you, it sounds like you’ve done the easy stuff, there’s nothing real obvious. There’s no patient with the knife stickin’ out of the chest or anything like that. We need to get in there and find what’s going on. I see you’re in Glendale, Dave’s Car Care, Dave Denmon, at 51st Avenue and and, uh, Peoria. It’s been there forever, 35 years, that might be a good place to start if you don’t have a shop. I know Dave’s got all the right diagnostic equipment and tools to work on your car or most anything else as well.
Dave: Yeah, so we got open lines at 602-277-5827 again 602-277-KTAR You can also get a hold of us at 411923 You’re listening to Bumper to Bumper, where we’re savin’ cars and savin’ lives. I’m Dave Riccio, he’s Matt Allen. Be back in a bit.
Matt: Well welcome back to Bumper To Bumper Radio, I am hoping you’re having a nice time out driving your perfectly running car around, enjoying his beautiful February day where we’re enjoying sun and no snow. I’m Matt Allen, he’s Dave Riccio and we’re Bumper To Bumper, we’re your KTAR Car Guys helping you every Saturday at 11.
Dave: Today must be Honda Day ‘cuz we’ve got Kelly in Gilbert with an ’04 Honda Odyssey. Go ahead Kelly, you’re on Bumper To Bumper Radio.
Kelly: Hi guys, thanks for taking my call, um, I’m actually the one who sent you the text earlier (Dave laughs) about the transmission being rebuilt twice and asking about the timing belt and you say these cars run forever but I’m already at 176,000 miles. I haven’t replaced the timing belt yet ‘cuz I’m not sure I wanna invest any more money into the car um, do I wanna wait until I had a timing belt problem or you said they run forever, how long is forever?
Matt: If I had rocks in my head, you’d hear me shakin’ it. You don’t wanna have a timing belt break on that car.
Dave: No you don’t.
Matt: It’s, it’s big problems and that’s funny ‘cuz I said we never see ’em break on Hondas ‘cuz people take care of them but you’re, you’re in the threshold area now where you could, could find yourself in trouble maybe.
Dave: Little dangerous, you know? For sure, so if you’re gonna, if you’re gonna keep it even if you’re gonna keep it for another year, 6 months? Replace that timing belt.
Matt: Well, and the other thing Dave, maybe she’s on, uh, Kelly you’re on, kind of on the fence right? You’re not sure, you’ve had some-
Matt: some work. What I would do is go to a sh-, find a shop, go to bumpertobumperradio.com if you don’t have a shop, and go there and tell them, “I want you to tell me every single possible thing that is wrong with this car. Do,” in my shop we call a comprehensive vehicle inspection, we’re gonna nitpick it from toe to toe, bumper to bumper, and we’re gonna know everything about that car, now we can’t predict if the transmission’s gonna have a problem or the alternator’s gonna, you know, burn out like a light bulb or something like that, but at least you know the big picture. Dave, you don’t want somebody to go do a $1200 complete timing belt job on the car and not tell you that you need another $1000 worth of mounts and the brakes are worn out, and the radiator’s leakin’.
Matt: Don’t, don’t let ’em dribble you a little bit of information at a time.
Dave: Yeah, no, I-
Kelly: Well I’ve had all the mounts replaced, I, I actually have had a lot of work done to it already over the years because I’ve obviously had it for a very long time and I’ve maintained it very well but since the transmission’s gone out twice, now that was a pretty big investment, um, and now I’m just like, “Well do I wanna keep throwin’ money into it or should I get out of it?”
Matt: Well and Dave, on your website you have a Repair Or Replace Calculator. Kelly, you can look at that, that’s on tricitytransmission.com
Dave: It’s right on the homepage, tricitytransmission.com and then the other thing is you got to 170,000 miles because you take care of your car, you said it, you’ve done that maintenance over the time, so good for you and, and, but really, you should look at that timing belt and, and get an overall report card on the whole car. D
Dave: And then as far as a transmission goes, if I was reading the text right, you had it done once because it failed and you had it done at 160,000 miles and then that one failed but was still under warranty so they redid it. And, just because you got a transmission done, it doesn’t mean it won’t, I mean, there is a there is a certain failure percentage that happens within the first, you know, few thousand miles or, or a year or so, it wouldn’t ,doesn’t mean that’s a bad car and it’s never gonna have a good transmission at that. I mean, we do so many of ’em and they’re able to go out and stay out, it just needs to be done right, but on occasion we’ll have a part or component fail that’s brand new in that transmission, so that’s not completely abnormal. So we’re gonna go with Robert in Phoenix on an ’88 Cadillac Coupe. Go ahead Robert, you’re on Bumper To Bumper Radio.
Matt: I think Robert dipped out right when we pushed the button, so sorry about that Robert. What about John in Queen Creek? John has a Mercedes C230. John, how can we help you today?
John: Hi guys, um, question, I, I know, I checked the coolant level in the car and I noticed I’m getting chocolate, looks like maybe some oil getting into my coolant?
Matt: Ok and, are you, were you just doing a normal checkin’ the oil on the car or were you, I’m surprised that car actually still has a dipstick in it.
John: Well, I wasn’t sure I was, I was just checking the fluid level on, for the coolant and I had the oil changed about 3 weeks ago, um, and, but I just noticed that the coolant is, is discolored like chocolate flavored and I’m wondering if oil’a leaking into my coolant.
Matt: Yeah, it sounds like it, that, that car’s, I’m sure has an oil cooler and the, and the oil cooler uses the engine coolant to cool the engine oil so the oil’s passing through a, a, an oil cooler with the coolant and, and they could leak, they could, you could get a pinhole in that cooler. Uh, just, so yeah, that needs to be looked at because if the coolant then gets into the, if the water gets into the oil, now you’re in trouble.
Dave: Yeah, better watch those bearings.
Matt: A little bit of oil in the, in the cooling system’s not that big of a deal, but that petroleum is gonna start attacking the hoses and, and causing some problems.
Dave: That’s, that’s something he could have a test on, I mean it, we would know if we’re looking at it, you know, smell test it, you know, I taste it from time to time and you know, (Both laugh) you could taste these things but, uh, you know, a fluid test is something that can be done to see if there’s, you know, is there water in the oil? Is there oil in the coolant?
Matt: Right. Well, it’s probably pretty clear that there’s coolant or oil in the coolant, I’m starting to get this mixed up here, but there, there’s oil in the coolant, but we probably ought to do, when you have that fixed, have the shop, if they can, pull a sample of the oil and send that out and have that tested, we do that at my shop, Virginia Auto Service, fairly often. We want to know what’s going on there if we have something else that might be happening, you know, or we just need a little autopsy information.
Dave: Well, we’ve also got a text here, the gentlemen, or I, I’m assuming it’s a gentleman, maybe it’s not. They have a Mustang and they can’t get the car out of park, uh, to put it in reverse or drive or whatever may be. For all you guys listening, and this happens, it’s kind of a regular repair at our shop.
Matt: But not necessarily the Mustangs Dave, everything.
Matt: Any cars, it’s an automatic transmission.
Dave: Honda, Chevrolet, Toyota, cars have anywhere from about the 2000 range, even some earlier than that, uh, they have a park brake interlock. If your foot is not on the brake, the car will not come out of park. Well there’s a couple of things that like to fail on that, one is the brake switch which is down on the pedal and you can tell that’s not workin’, go push on the brakes and go look at the brake lights, if they’re not turning on, that’s a pretty easy diagnosis in the driveway, that’s, that’s probably the most common but also the solonoid can go bad, it’s actually on the shifter and that’s, that’s what the brake switch operates and *psh*, comes out of park. So there is generally an override right there on the shifter, you might see a little cap or plug, you can pull that up and then stick a key in there and that frees it up.
Matt: Yeah and you know where that shift lock thing came from Dave? You’re a little bit younger (Dave laughs) Now, in the 80s, Audi 5000. that was one of the first cases of the acceleration. Boy, in the 80s, if you wanted a nice car cheap? You could pick up an Audi 5000 for a dime, I mean, they were, they were nothing ‘cuz people were goin’ in and stompin’ on the gas and just neutral droppin’ that baby, thinkin’ they had their foot on the brake. (Dave laughs) So that’s how, (Laughs) that’s how that whole thing, uh, was born, of hav-, makin’ sure you’ve gotta have your foot on the brake to shift it into park.
Dave: I got an embarrassing story about that. We had this Dodge Caravan, we rebuilt the transmission on it, a year later they came back complaining that the park brake interlock was not working. I mean, you could start the car, not footin’ on the brake and pull it right into gear, which is totally unsafe and so Ken was workin’ on it and he’s looking for, he can’t find any diagrams that explain how this works. Well he throws it in to YouTube and there was a video from the news on YouTube where Chrysler took that feature out because they save 30 bucks a vehicle times 20,000 vehicles, whatever it was. And it was people talkin’ about someone got ran over, someone died, you know, ‘cuz the car’s runnin’ and the kid reaches over, hits the shifter and *ploop* , you know? (Matt laughs) Bad news, so it wasn’t, it took us a while to figure that one out.
Matt: Hey, it looks like Robert came back Dave. Robert we are gonna get you in right now, Robert, on your ’88 Cadillac. What’s happenin today? What we help you with?
Robert: Ok, it’s a speedometer, uh, it’s fluctuating and I’m tryin’, I’ve been tryin’ to figure out if it’s electrical or mechanical on it, I get up to, it don’t come up ’till 40 miles an hour, when it hits 40, it’ll go up.
Matt: Hmmm, Dave, I don’t, does that, do you know Robert, if that has a, has a speedometer cable from the transmission up through the firewall into the dash?
Robert: I don’t think it does.
Matt: Hmm, I kinda-
Robert: I changed the speed sensor on it, but that didn’t help anything.
Dave: Ok, well that’s, that’s, that, that tells us we have an electrical set up, you know, which is, uh, pretty, you know in the 80s, that’s why we’re shakin’ our, because we’re not really sure, it’s kind of in that in between threshold.
Matt: That’s that threshold.
Dave: But you can have a cluster problem, so maybe the speed sensor and all that stuff is working but if you got an issue inside the speedometer, that may be causing an issue. You know, you could take it to a speedometer shop or Virginia Auto, you guys fix speedometers, I mean.
Matt: Well yeah, or Dick’s Speed-O-Tach is, is a speedometer specialist, but the way that works is there’s, that’s sensor down on the transmission? It’s sending that signal up to the either the cluster, which is the dash unit, the da-, the gauge assembly or it might even send it into, well they didn’t call it a body control module in 1988, but it’ll to send that signal into a, into a control model and then that sends a signal to the dash on how fast to spin that little motor that’s connected to the needle and, and that’s how that works. So a speedometer shop and there’s only a couple of those around like Dick’s Speed-O-Tach.
Dave: Right, right there in Tempe up by my shop.
Matt: And there’s one on 7th Street and Indian School. They, that’s, that’s no big deal as well as any of the other Bumper To Bumper shops I’m sure can handle that. It’s, it’s just not that big of a deal really.
Dave: Real common in those, uh, you know, 2000-2005 Chevrolets in that range cluster problems were, you know, it’s actually common on a lot of vehicles, Lexus’ where the gauges don’t light up, you know?
Both: The little fluorescent bulbs.
Matt: And we can fix those, if you have a Lexus that the, the speedometer needles or the needles on the gauges burn out, don’t buy a $2,000 dash panel, those are just fluorescent tubes, and we can actually fix those things.
Dave: 602-277-5827 602-277-KTAR Thanks for the call Robert, we’re gonna go with Robert in Santana, a 2005 Dodge Neon, that’s line 1 Matt. (Laughs)
Matt: Uh, yeah and it’s not Robert, uh, Dave, you got your little lines mixed up a little bit. It’s Tom in Santana on the Neon. Tom, how can we help you?
Tom: How you doin’ today guys?
Tom: Um, I’ve got a 2005 Dodge Neon and it’s time to replace the timing belt and I’ve always dealt with V8 cars, I’m a little bit of a motorhead, I’ve been building cars for a long time, so this will be the first time I’m actually getting into a 4 cylinder. Um, I bought all my parts, but my question is somebody was telling me about this car having what they call, like a zero interference or tolerance motor, uh, #1 ‘cuz it has to be kept, uh, top dead center in order to change the timing belt and get it right.
Matt: Well that’s kinda right and what they’re referring to is what we call an interference engine or some slang might be a valve crasher.
Matt: And, and what happens is everything in that engine is perfectly synchronized so the pistons are going down at the same time the valve is opening and there’s just a minute amount of clearance there and, and so if that belt breaks, the valves stop moving but the con-, the pistons continue to move and they crash and they’ve bend the valves and you need to do a valve job on the car. But that’s not what the person’s talking about. On any car, you’ve got to have everything lined up right in order to put the belt on, take the belt off, it should be ok. But not always, Subaru’s you take the belt off, put the belt on in the exact same spot, it doesn’t run right. There’s a specific process for lining up the engine, putting the belt on, maybe rotating it, putting the, the second belt on, some might have a second belt. But I can tell you on your Neon and I wish Tim, my service manager, was here, he knows the Neon’s, there, there’s a lot of work involved in that timing belt, that is a big job on that little car and Chrysler has a kit, I would call the dealer if. if you’re IF you attempt this yourself, go to the dealer, there’s an updated kit, there’s updated engine mounts. You’re gonna wanna do a whole package, there’s a new cover, there’s all kinds of things. This is a big job on that car and you need to be careful.
Dave: You’re listening to your Car Guys on KTAR, Matt and Dave, we’ll be back.
Well welcome back to Bumper To Bumper Radio, where we are saving cars and saving lives. (Matt laughs) That’s our new tagline. I don’t think it’s actually gonna live for much longer than today but I heard someone in the other room say it and I’m just gonna roll with it for now. And today I’ll be the automotive healer but for those who you don’t listen to the show normally, I am Dave Riccio, I own a transmission shop in Tempe called Tri-City Transmission. He is Matt Allen, he’s got Virginia Auto Service and we work in the shop every day but we also are connected with a website called bumpertobumperradio.com and they are a list of many shops all over town that are great shops, shops that we believe in, shops where if there’s ever a problem, the owner knows how to embarrass, they’re all independent shops that do a great job. So, we are a resource, if you need to get your car fixed but there’s also a whole list of great shops at bumpertobumperradio.com And I see a text here on a BMW that’s related to our comment about overlooked auto repair. What do you think Matt?
Matt: Well, yeah, the question is. “I have a BMW X3 and an X5” or, or both of them or one of ea-, who knows what it is but a BMW X5, that’s an all wheel drive. So if you have a BMW, even if it’s not the X or the SUV? You could have a 328 with X Drive, that means you have an all wheel drive car. I have a BMW station wagon that’s all wheel drive. I love my wagon.
Dave: He looks good in a wagon. (Laughs)
Matt: But, so the question is, do I need to replace the transfer case fluid in the transmission? Yes. Yes you absolutely do. I couldn’t find right now, ‘cuz I don’t have the right systems here at the studio, what the exact service interval on this is. But it may be a lot like the transmission in the make believe marketing world of, of BMW and a lot of other manufacturers that you never need to service it. There’s a sticker right on the bottom of the transmission and it’s in the owner’s manual, it says this is a lifetime fluid, don’t change it. Well I don’t know, I guess when the life of the transmission is over, that’s when you change the fluids. Too late at that point. But, but to get right to your questions, you should do that service on the transfer case, especially if you’re doing a lot of around town driving and I might make that recommendation at 50,000 miles.
Dave: That’s a good safe number.
Matt: The other thing is, that does take a special fluid, how special it is I don’t know, but there is a specific BMW part number to it. And the other important thing, it only holds .7 quarts of fluid, that’s not much. That transfer case gets a lot of wear when you’re, every time you turn a corner it’s applying and, and unapplying drive to the front or the rear wheels, there’s a lot of action happening in there and that fluid can get dirty pretty quick.
Dave: Well, do we, the, the point here, do we ignore leaks? Well what’s leakin’ and from what? And how much does that component hold? So we’re at the auto shop and they say, “Hey, Mrs. Smith, you’re gonna have a little leak here on your transfer case and, uh, we need to monitor that in the future.” The next question is how much does that component hold? How long would it take for that whole quart of oil that it holds to go out? Because when some of these things that never fail and, really, transfer cases, the only time we ever rebuild the transfer case is because somebody ran it out of fluid. There was a small leak, it got ignored and the thing barely holds any oil, so don’t ignore leaks and that’s where we, I’m a little bit joking about the gravy train here. Some people are gonna sell you what they want to sell you on their car because they’re familiar with it, but they may not fix leaks on transfer cases so they’re just not gonna tell you about it.
Matt: Well and the other thing on the BMWs, the X5 and X3 are the, the not necessarily on the, that size but the all wheel drive BMW, especially on the 3 Series, the smaller one. There’s a gear and a motor that engage and disengage the application of that all wheel drive system, and you talk Dave, about fixing cars and fixing components. Well at BMW, they can only replace that all wheel drive control motor unit and it’s, I’m just gonna make up a number umpteen thousand dollars, a thousand bucks or something like that. They won’t do repairs to that stuff in my shop, we know where to buy the kit to take the plastic gears that are inside that transfer case and replace them with metal gears and you never have the problem at a fraction of the price.
Matt: So that’s the other interesting, you can get repairs at an independent shop that maybe you can’t get at a dealer ‘cuz-
Dave: It makes me wanna buy a BMW so I can come up to your shop. (Both laugh) Well, we’re gonna go with Dennis in Gilbert, he’s got an ’03 Honda CRV and hopefully he’s not looking at umpteen thousand repair, what the heckk is umpteen thousand?
Matt: A lot. (Dave and Dennis laugh)
Dave: Go ahead Dennis, you’re on Bumper To Bumper Radio.
Dennis: I have 3 quick overlooked questions for you. 1 is, uh, I don’t even know if I have a transfer case but it is an all wheel drive, #1. Uh, #2, the transmission fluid is 97,000, it has never been replaced. 50,000 of that probably occurred here in Arizona and 3, why does the air conditioner detonate uh, I’ve had to put 3 new, uh, compressors and actually whole new systems in this vehicle, um, in 3 years it, it actually detonates, it it explodes.
Matt: That’s, that’s, a-
Matt: Dave, you take the transmission thing, I’ll talk about the air
conditioner in a little bit.
Dave: Well Dennis, I’m not gonna scold you too badly about not servicing your transmission, but I am. Uh, service that thing. Honda, Honda owners out there listening, service that transmission, regular, service it often, used Honda transmission fluid. It should be done, you know, I do mine every 20 to 30,000 miles in my Honda Element.
Dennis: Oh boy.
Dave: So, but, but, but the nice thing about the CRV is because it’s not the V6s, the transmissions tend to go a couple hundred thousand miles, but it’s not too late to get service in on that thing. So and it definitely does have a transfer case and that’s a separate feel. It’s hanging right off the side of the transmission and then a differential at the rear of the-
Matt: Is that an, is that an all wheel drive Dennis?
Dennis: Yes it’s an all wheel drive and I, and I also forgot to ask you, I’m told I have a, my timing belt, that it’s a non interference engine, it’s a timing chain rather. Uh, how soon at 97,000 miles should I get worried about it?
Matt: Timing chain is never unless it breaks, unless there’s a failure, there’s no maintenance there. If it’s a timing belt on the Honda, you’re gonna be typically in the 90 to 105,000 mile range. And then on the air conditioner? Those are, those have been a problem in the past and, and so I have, I wonder if you’re not installing the same problem, depends on where you’re getting that, that car fixed. Honda’s been very good about coming up with updates when they have problems and you know there might be, back in the 80s we used to do these sand-in conversions, you take off the problematic compressor and put on the sand, which is just a Japanese brand of compressor to fix that. If you’re going with aftermarket parts, that could be part of the problem or there could be, maybe the repairs being done can be, ‘cuz 3 times is unusual.
Dave: Well ‘cuz he said, he said that he got the whole system but I know on those CRVs, they are problematic and I remember those things blowin’ up back when I was in the tire business. And, uh, literally, when they blow up, you wanna definitely replace the condenser ‘cuz you’re never gonna get that thing clean and you don’t wanna get some cheap aftermarket compressor or, sorry, condenser that just doesn’t have the same amount of surface area. You want the original equipment condenser in there because these things, they run these pressures and then just boom!
Matt: Yeah there’s, that, those Hondas, they blow the, the case of the compressor right apart, but before that’s happening that thing’s been coming apart and what Dave was talking about, it’s pumping that metal all through the engine. I mean, imagine the exhaust in your car going right back in the air filter and metal parts flying out of it and then being re-ingested in.
Dave: If you’re gonna do it, do it all. Yeah, that’s-
Matt: Do it, do it all, it’s a complete repair.
Dave: Well, we got a couple calls that I don’t know that we’re gonna be able to get to. If, uh, you hang tight uh, we’ll sneak in, uh, John in CasaGrande on an ’07 BMW. Go quickly John.
John: Hi, I have, uh, 2 questions. I have a BMW that I took to the dealer, he told me that the, the fuel injection on it is, uh, is not working right, it was two of ’em and my question is, is that normal on a car? And is that something that BMW is aware of?
Matt: Yes, on that one, we’re gonna have to make this quick and you can follow us up with an email at bumpertobumperradio.com if you want John, but that’s got direct fuel injection. BMW has had some problems with those, as all the manufacturers have that had direct fuel injection. So they’re aware of ’em, they, they’ve got the parts available to fix them right, so check Joel at Arizona Imports, Bill Beamers, Arizona Imports, he’s a BMW specialist and you can find him as well as a bunch of other shops at bumpertobumperradio.com If you don’t have a shop and you need a relationship, which you do, you wanna, you wanna find one and, and you can help get that started at bumpertobumperradio.com Dave, lots of good interaction today, lot of good text messages, so looking forward to being here next Saturday taking calls and, and helpin’ people with their calls. Saving lives I guess, right?
Dave: Saving lives and saving cars and you can, if you got show ideas and topics, I mean, every day we walk in here, we come up with a topic. Something happened in the shop, you can send those to us contact us at bumpertobumperradio.com