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Car repairs and advice

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:15 pm
by flgmtech
I wish to return the favor to every one here.

I am an ASE Certified Technician as well as a GM Certified Technician with over 20 years with General Motors. I started out in Cadillac then Oldsmobile and now have spent the last 5 years with Buick Pontiac and GMC at the same dealership.

I can offer diagnostic advice on how to help you to diagnose your vehicle or to help decide the course of action to take when you have received a repair quote. I utilize an Industry standardized nationwide labor time guide that both Dealership and independent repair facilities are supposed to use making an even playing field across the board. That way if you break down in Texas or New York, or even West Virginia, the labor for a water pump is the same nationwide, the rates will certainly be different but the labor hours should not change.
Also, more times than not, people should know that the dealership can usually offer "one time goodwill" free repairs even when the vehicle is out of warranty. For example, if you have 75,000 miles and your 04 GMC Canyon has a missfire and the cause is a valve problem known by GM to be an ongoing issue since the vehicles build date. Then they will generally repair it under a full one time good will, or sometimes they will do a 50/50 split, where by you pay the price of the parts and they do the labor for free. The dealer gets paid by GM for the labor under factory warranty rate and you pay the parts at normal over the counter rates.
There are so many things people would like to know but are sometimes afraid to ask due to the feeling they may be taken for a ride. Well, I would like to offer everyone advice on any and all makes and models. If I do not know I can research the issue and get back to you with as much details as possible to give you an informative path to help you fix your vehicle with the least amount of loss of time and money.
I hope to hear from you soon.
Thank you once again, this is perhaps the best site on the net.

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:59 pm
by JD
Hi Tim,

That is very helpful for you to offer car repair advice. I generally send mine out anymore. It would be good to know what to ask about sometimes.

Do you have any advice on how to keep my back fender out of a BMW front fender? Sure could have used that advice. It happened about 2 hours ago. Dang!



Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 7:17 am
by flgmtech
Hi JD,

I am sorry to hear about your fender bender, and sorry to say but even wiht all my experience, I would not have been able to help you on that one!

Although I do recommend that when you get the job done to pay close attention to details when you go to pick your vehicle up.
I say this because the bodyshop industry has turned into a fast food type output service, in other words they have a deadline to turn over fast so they can sometimes skimp and have missed alot of details. For insatnce. I personally have had our own body shop send me vehicles that "Since the accident" my car now has flickering lights. Cause?-- The body shop failed to locate the body ground wire to the right location, and the devices were experiencing a voltage drop thus causing a loss of good ground.
Another vehicle they replaced the entire frame under a truck, and yes it looked great but it would not start and run, they left the body grounds off the frame.
Another one they left several of the frame to truck bed bolts out and the bed was jumping around an making noise over bumps.
The list goes on and on... Drilling into wires and overspray, or orange peel...
So... Not to say all body shops are this way, but is does happen, so just for your information or anyone reading this, look over the vehicle good and then "kick the tires" so to speak and work all the electrical devces and make sure that your vehicle is truly ready to go.
Hope this helps.

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:35 am
by Yanita
Hi Tim,

What a surprise to see this post. Just yesterday I was wondering if anyone here was a question is...

Yesterday when backing out of my driveway I turned the wheel hard to the right and heard and felt in the steering wheel a clunk sound. I tried it several more times and it continued to do it. When turning the wheel back and forth, completely, the sound sounded as though it was under the hood area near the firewall area.

The car a 2004 Monte Carlo handles fine down the road, no vibrations, can move the wheel back and forth and it responds quickly.

Any thoughts, I am taking the car in to the dealership for an oil change & service friday...

Oh, the car was hit pretty hard a few months ago, a customer backed into it twice, the drivers front fender all the way to the door. When I parked the car the wheels were turned to the hard right posistion, the tire did have large scuffs across it .....


Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:37 am
by Harry

I need help too. My 2002 F150 V-6 4.2 5 speed manual trans 55,000 miles has an engine miss when I accelerate in 2,3 and 4th gear. I replaced the fuel filter. I had my garage scan for codes and got nothing. I'm about ready to change the original plugs and wires. What do you think??? Should I wait till it throws a code???

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:46 am
by Mark
Oh oh's Tim, you started something here. If you get too many questions, we might have to create a separate forum for you so all the questions don't end up in one thread! LOL. We'll watch it for awhile first.


Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:01 pm
by Yanita

I see where there are gettting to be a couple different questions...LOL, thought I would split the thread, HMMM not sure I know how to do that, do you (Mark) have any instructions on the feature?


Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:32 pm
by Greg
Gee thanks Yanita, did you forget that I'm ASE master heavy truck tech?
I'm really starting think you guys don't want me around, First Mark has to delete me to get my profile and now this!!! LOL Greg

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:37 pm
by Maureen
Hey Tim, and I won't forget Greg! Thanks for the offer. Folks always have problems with their vehicles! Great idea!

Even though I take my truck back to the dealership for service or problems, I still like to have an idea what they are talking about. These newer engines with computers and stuff aren't like the old.

Thanks for the tip about the body repair work. Youngest son borrowed my truck and brought it home with a dent in the rear. grrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Maureen 8)


Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:57 pm
by JD
Hey Yanita!

That was exactly what my truck did when I backed up and turned. Made a heck of a noise. But I did isolated the problem as being the BMW before trying to reproduce the sound I heard.


RE: Car repairs and advice

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:16 am
by jmw5555
as a backyard mechanic for 10 yrs always working on everybody elses junk lol became good freinds with the autoparts store owner
as far as the turning of the wheel with the clunking noise it sounds like a cv joint which connects the transmission to the wheels to make it move.can be replaced for a couple hundred bucks.

RE: Car repairs and advice

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:23 am
by jmw5555
harry i would start with the plugs and wires but usually it will run rough at an idle check for vacumn leaks and such also could be quite a few things. good luck

RE: Car repairs and advice

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:05 am
by flgmtech
this is for Yanita
in response to your steering clunk. We see these all the time, in fact I did one yesterday . This will help you in obtaining the right repair at either the dealership or if you wish to have a personal friend or local mechanic you know and trust they can obtain a "Lube kit" as outlined below at any local GM dealer, it does not have to be Chevrolet. Any GM dealership, Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Oldsmobile(if you can find one!) Chevrolet. They should all stock this kit and the prive should not exceed $20.00 it takes about a half an hour, so the labor rate should not exceed 1.0 hour but a fair Technician should only charge a half an hour or .5
I hope this helps you and I know it will positively fix your car.
Please ask anything anytime.
Document ID# 1909622
2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo


Subject: Clunk Felt/Noise Heard From Steering Column, Steering Gear and/or Front of Vehicle During Turning Maneuver and/or Steering Wheel Rotation (Lubricate or Replace Intermediate Shaft As Appropriate) #01-02-32-001H - (02/22/2007)

Models: 2001-2004 Buick Regal

2005-2007 Buick Allure (Canada Only), LaCrosse

1997-2005 Chevrolet Cavalier

2000-2007 Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo

1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue

1997-2005 Pontiac Sunfire

2004-2007 Pontiac Grand Prix


This bulletin is being revised to add the 2007 model year and update the corrective action required on 2004-2007 Grand Prix and 2006-2007 Impala/Monte Carlo models. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 01-02-32-001G (Section 02 - Steering).


Some customers may comment on a clunk type noise coming from the front of the vehicle while driving during a turning maneuver. This condition may also be felt through the steering wheel when the vehicle is stationary and the wheel is rotated from steering stop to steering stop. Some vehicles may only exhibit the noise once for every 360° of wheel rotation. On all other vehicles, this clunk noise will be noticed during low speed acceleration or deceleration, typically in light turns of the steering wheel.

This condition may be caused by inadequate lubrication of the steering intermediate shaft which results in a "slip stick" condition possibly resulting in the clunk noise.

Diagnostic Tip
Important: This condition is commonly misdiagnosed as originating in the steering gear and has resulted in the replacement of numerous steering gears without correcting the concern.

Engineering Investigation shows that numerous steering gears have been misdiagnosed and replaced. The investigations shows that if the technician incorrectly diagnoses the steering gear as the cause of the noise and/or clunk during replacement of the steering gear, the technician may stroke and/or cycle the I-shaft, distributing the original grease in the I-shaft. This distribution of the original I-shaft grease may temporarily eliminate the I-shaft clunk so that the technician believes the noise and/or clunk is corrected with the steering gear replacement and returns the vehicle to the customer. After the customer drives the vehicles for several miles and dissipates the original grease, the noise may return.

Attempt to duplicate the customer's concern and isolate the I-shaft by following the procedure below:

Locate a large area (parking lot) where the vehicle can be turned in a tight circle.
Turn the steering wheel to the right and/or left all the way to the steering lock, then off the steering lock a 1/4 turn.
Drive the vehicle approximately 5 km/h (3 mph) in a circle, preferably over rough pavement or seams on the road surface.
If a clunk is felt in the steering wheel, the MOST likely cause is the I-shaft -- not the steering gear. Continue with the correction.
2006-2007 Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo
2004-2007 Pontiac Grand Prix

Replace the intermediate shaft.
DO NOT lube the intermediate shaft.

Important: Due to the design of the new I-shaft, it is not possible to lubricate/grease the I-shaft.

Replace the existing steering intermediate shaft using the service procedure found in Service Information.

The remaining vehicles listed below will still need to have the current I-shafts re-lubricated. New I-shafts will be released later in 2007 for some of the remaining vehicles.

2001-2004 Buick Regal

RE: Car repairs and advice

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:20 am
by flgmtech
This reply is for Harry

The missfire your vehicle is exhibiting may not happen enough to set a Missifre DTC.
This can be caused byt many things.
First examine when it happens,
A Light acceleration missfire such as when you hold the brake and in drive you lightly apply the brake, if it starts to missfire, then it usually indicates a spark plug missfire such as a crack in the ceramic body of the plug.
If it takes a higher degree of application or higher engine RPMs to induce the missfire such as traveling at speeds of say 45-55 mph and you apply the gas to pass, this missfire under load is usually caused by a corroded igniton coil if it is a Distributorless Ignition system also known as a DIS system, or it is the contacts inside the Distributor cap that also corrode, open the cap and look at the contacts they will appear white and have build up of corrosion.
Also your rotor will in turn have the same build up. Replace both.
Also the wires can cause the same issue. Original factory wires can last up to 100K miles but generall break down at 50K
so replacing distributor cap, rotor and wires are a good preventative maintenance at 50K miles. Plugs if they are not Platinum are usually doen at 30K miles so yes if your plugs have not been changed and are NOT platinum then as a preventative maintenance you should change them.
The key is finding the cause of your miss. So try the tests above and see when the miss occurs, also if you have injectors debris can clog the pintle the end tip of the injector as well as debris from the fule tank fill sediment inside the fuel rail, which can cause intermittant missfires, so cleaning the injection system and the induction system is in order. Also a good preventative maintenance item on all vehicles at 30K mile intervals.
IF these tests do not show the cause write me again and we will look into other options, but I feel these will help you immensely.
Also Ask for BG Cleaning systems at any of your local area repair facilities as this is the best known cleaning system that I know of and should be found locally. If not let me know I can also send information on how to obtain more information regarding cleaning your fuel system.
I hope this helps you.

RE: Car repairs and advice

Posted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:26 am
by Yanita

Thank you soooo very much for the info, and glad to see that it will not cost me my retirement fund to get it fixed. My main concern was that driving down the road all of a sudden my steering would be gone...

Since I am responsible for all maintenance on my car (LOL, Hubby is responsible for the payments) I like to make sure I have a good knowledge of what they are talking about. Have spent numerous hours throughtout the years educating myself on the vehicles we own. Mechanics just do not particularily care for a women that knows what she is talking about...hence my dealership and I do not really have a good working relationship! LOL, looks like tomorrow might not be a pleasant day! :?

Hey Greg, oops, sorry Buddy. I did not forget that you are certified. When it comes to my car I just always go to a certified Chevy mechanic...not that that has always been a good thing either. :roll:

Ok, gotta run, and thanks Tim for the info!