headlights on my 1989 convertible “stick” when I open or close them

Q. The headlights on my 1989 convertible “stick” when I open or close them. Is there a point where they should be lubricated? I checked the obvious wiring connections to make sure that they are not loose. Could the “sticking” be the result of a bad relay? How can I tell if the motors are bad? I appreciate all help/advise that I can get. Read More

69 427 tri-power extremely weak ignition circuit

Q. I have a 69 427 tri-power. I just changed the accelerator cable and then had an extremely weak ignition circuit. I installed a new battery…was due anyway and still weak. I have juice to the alternator, horn relay, starter, and terminal relay on the firewall checked with a test light. Is there a ground wire attached to the gas pedal bracket/linkage I did not connect. Thanks for the help.

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65 327/350 A/C Convertible terrible shudder when the clutch is let out

Q. I have a 65 327/350 A/C Convertible that I’ve had and babied for 25 years. A stunning show car. I finally had the engine out for a rebuild last year and had the transmission rebuilt too with a new clutch. I’ve been through 3 clutches in less than 200 miles. Each one with the same problem. A terrible shudder when the clutch is let out. When I have to slip the clutch to get up the incline of my driveway and slowly go into my garage, it vibrates like it’s going to shake itself apart. After the third clutch was put in, the transmission guy told me it just needs to break in. This does not seem normal. I did not have that problem previously. The brand of clutch that was installed was Luk. I was told that the flywheel was machined. And an engine mount replaced. Anyone have any ideas?

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2002 Z06 had to do a rolling jump start

Q. I have a 2002 Z06 had to do a rolling jump start. Right after got warning lights for check traction control, check stability control (which I don’t have) and check ABS. What is the problem here? Read More

2005 C6 the mirrors do not return to the original position

Q. When I drive my 2005 C6 and put it in reverse, the side mirrors go down for backing. When I put it back in gear to move forward, the mirrors do not return to the original position. Any ideas? Can I fix myself? Thanks Jack Read More

1989 Corvette with a heater problem

Q. I own a 1989 Corvette with a heater problem that I can’t figure out. I changed the thermostat, and ran the car till it got hot. I then checked the heater hoses and the radiator hoses and they are both hot. I did get heat a couple of times and am thinking that a heater door is not opening. Is there a vacuum that operates this door and is there more than one ie; one under the hood and one under the dash? Is there anything else that can be causing this problem besides a plugged heater core which I do not think it is as all the hoses are hot? Thanks, Roger

A. Roger: That depends on which style of HVAC it has. If it is auto temp then it uses vacuum to control the motors that open and close the blend doors. But if it is manual AC then it uses basic cables.

But that presumes the coolant is hot enough and that it is flowing through the hoses and heater core with enough force. You say the hoses are hot but how hot is hot? We would use an infrared thermometer to measure actual temperature and be looking for a minimum of about 160 degrees on the hot hose (you will not be able to touch a hose that hot) and about 15% to 20% less on the return hose. The return hose is cooler because it drops heat into the air circulating through the heater core.

Another item that can upset some of the automatic HVAC systems is the outside temperature sensor. If the outside temperature reading is wrong you may not have heat or you may not have AC. In your case I wouldn’t be surprised if you find a clogged heater core that needs to be flushed.

Originally posted on National Corvette Owner’s Association newsletter http://www.nationalcorvetteowners.com/

Battery Basics

One of the most important parts of any vehicle is its battery. Take away the battery and the car is useless. You can’t even listen to the radio without a battery. But even though batteries are fundamental to the operation of all vehicles most drivers ignore them until they’re stranded or the car is damaged.

Personally I absolutely despise an unreliable vehicle so I check my battery at least monthly. I check the water level (it’s actually electrolyte, which is a mixture of sulfuric acid and water) by looking through the see-thru case. Sometimes holding a flashlight behind the battery makes it easier to see the level. If your battery doesn’t have a see-thru case or removable caps you’re out of luck. You may also be out of luck if the liquid level becomes noticeably low, as most batteries have no provision for adding water. Therefore when the liquid level in a sealed battery drops significantly, the battery will soon fail. That always means it’s time to start shopping!

On the plus side, some batteries are designed with removable caps. If this is the case with yours keep it topped off with distilled water for longest life. Tap water is not acceptable as it normally contains minerals detrimental to batteries

But don’t confine your battery exam to liquid level; it’s equally important to check battery cable connections for corrosion. Corrosion: nasty looking, fuzzy, gray- green, mess that grows on battery cables. If left alone corrosion will ultimately cause a no-start situation or damage your car’s electrical system. Even if battery cables look okay they should be cleaned, properly tightened, and have corrosion inhibitor applied yearly.

For you non-professionals who have been cleaning batteries for years, I wouldn’t recommend it on your late model car unless you have a service manual and a memory protector. Many newer cars will lose a portion of their computer memory when battery cables are disconnected. Some will even require a repair-shop procedure to re-establish proper computer function.

What are the warning signs of a failing battery? Today usually none, the majority of batteries are working fine one minute and dead as yesterday’s herring the next, absolutely no warning signs. So maintaining reliability requires being proactive with a simple five minute battery test using an electronic battery tester. Modern battery testers are highly accurate and also have the ability to check the alternator and voltage regulator. It’s always best to have the full test performed since a bad charging system can destroy a battery and a bad battery can destroy a charging system and electronics.

But suppose the battery test confirms yours is a goner and you need to buy a replacement, what next? Knowing the standard battery rating system is crucial to making a smart purchase. Batteries are rated in Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) and don’t be fooled by Cranking Amps (CA) which is not the same. Compared to Cold Cranking Amps, Cranking Amps gives an inflated number, which implies a battery, is stronger than it actually is.

The rule for putting this information to work is easy. Always buy the largest battery, in Cold Cranking Amps, that will physically fit your vehicle. Also, there is no such thing as a battery with too many Cold Cranking Amps. By using this rule you’ll purchase a longer-lasting battery, more reliability, plus added protection and life for every electrical component on your vehicle. Even the bulbs will last longer. Finally it’s a good idea to have your battery tested early in the spring and late in the summer (now) because most batteries fail when there is a significant change in average temperature.

© Copyright 10/21/2015 Pat Goss all rights reserved

The Trouble With Leaves

The trouble with leaves is they aren’t vehicle friendly. They’re beautiful that’s true, but leaves damage paint, cause rust, plug things up, and in general make a mess of your car.
Paint and leaves are a nasty combination so don’t allow them to sit on your car. Leaves combined with moisture and some sun can truly wreak havoc on today’s clear-coat finishes. If you think bird-stuff is bad for paint wait till you see the damage leaves can do.

Leaves are imbued with methyl-ethyl bad stuff, which if activated by water and allowed to sun dry can etch their likeness into clear coat. It isn’t unusual to find the outline of a leaf permanently embossed into a cars horizontal paint surfaces. The imprint resembles a prehistoric leaf fossil. Unfortunately the only way to prevent this is to clean the leaves away as soon as possible after they fall on the vehicle.

A few innocuous looking leaves can also present a serious rust hazard. When leaves land on a car they may wedge themselves under moldings. Once wedged they often don’t let go until you reach cruising speed where the wind causes the leaf to flap back and forth until it finally breaks loose. If you’re wondering what this has to do with rust, read on.

That dastardly leaf doesn’t come loose, no indeed, it breaks into two pieces. The visible part is blown away while the invisible portion remains trapped behind your molding. There it stays and over time is joined by other chunks of leaf debris. Every time the car gets wet the trapped leaf parts soak up moisture and hold it. This leads to those ugly rust blisters around moldings and windows. The only way to prevent this is to thoroughly flush away all the junk that collects behind moldings with a garden hose at least twice a year.

But there’s still more! Leaves can really do a number on your car’s drains. The evaporator drain for the air conditioning is a common problem area. Leaves get sucked through the heat and air conditioning air-inlet where they are promptly sliced and diced by the blades of the fan. The now minced pieces of leaf collect in the bottom of the evaporator housing where, over time, they plug the drain. This causes water from the air conditioner to spill onto your feet or carpet inside the car.

You may also experience raindrops on your head thanks to leaf debris. That is, if your car has a sunroof. Sunroofs have drains that can be blocked with small chunks of leaves. Contrary to what you might believe sunroofs are not water tight. Water easily flows around the glass, collects in a trough, and is channeled into drains. The drains are usually positioned at each corner of the sunroof. Clogged sunroof drains cause water to build up in the troughs. Once the water exceeds the capacity of the troughs it drips inside the cabin or gives you a startling surprise when it cascades over your head.

Keeping leaves off your car is an important task that takes a little effort and planning but can save a ton of grief.

What You Can’t See, Can’t Hurt You, Right?

Wrong! Many of today’s vehicles have timing belts. Like other components, timing belts wear out. But they are hidden behind a cover on the front of the engine. This makes detection of imminent failure improbable.

If the timing belt breaks on a free-running engine, the engine stops and you will need a tow to the repair shop. Usually no mechanical damage occurs and the installation of a new belt is all that is needed to get you on your way.

If the timing belt breaks on an interference engine, mechanical engine damage occurs. It most commonly involves open valves being struck by pistons, resulting in the need for expensive repairs. In extreme cases, a replacement engine may be required.

How do I know if I have a timing belt? Most manufacturers have a recommended service interval for this critical component. Your owners’ manual may tell you – but you should ask your technician.

Keep your engine running strong by eliminating potential problems that may leave you stranded.☺

© Copyright 09/30/2015 Pat Goss all rights reserved

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