Questions tagged [troubleshooting]

for questions about determining the nature of a problem and finding possible solutions.

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18
votes
2answers
5k views

What is a leak down tester and what can I do with it?

Background There are quite a few head gasket related questions on the site. Coolant or water in the oil, oil in the coolant or water in a radiator, etc. I'm thinking that some instruction on howto ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

How To Get Organized Without a Garage Workspace?

People I've seen who have garages have it made. They have a clean, dry workspace with all of their tools within arms reach. In the most organized garages, a mixture of rolling Snap-on Roll Cab with ...
16
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3answers
1k views

What to know before buying and OBD-II reader

I read the features to look for in an OBD-II reader, but I am curious if getting one is the right move. I'm just planning to get a cheap one, which is proving to be interesting shopping local. What I ...
15
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3answers
2k views

Multimeter - Basic Functionality and Howto

Multimeters I'm looking for some responses regarding multimeter basics for the site tag-wiki to point OP's at when we want them to use one. The question is; What are the basic functions of a ...
14
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2answers
3k views

How do I troubleshoot the source of oil in my coolant?

I would like to know the step by step troubleshooting procedure for discovering the source of oil appearing in coolant. There are several different points of failure that can be the root cause for ...
13
votes
5answers
23k views

What is a good car to start with if I want to learn auto repair?

A couple of other "getting started" questions have been closed (as redundant with these questions), so I hope that my question is different and specific enough. I'm interested in learning to repair ...
13
votes
4answers
7k views

How to troubleshoot excessive timing retard?

I've seen numerous cars that for one reason or another, retard timing excessively at wide open throttle - getting worse over time. Seat of the pants impression is that power drops off steeply as RPMs ...
13
votes
1answer
564 views

1987 Dodge D150 High Idle and Dieseling

Truck is the high altitude/California emissions model, 318. Carburetor has been replaced with a 4 barrel Holley 4160 I believe, although it might be a 4150, intake manifold was replaced to fit the ...
12
votes
6answers
9k views

Car imitates dead battery but comes back to life ~30 minutes later and lets me start it

The car: 2006 Subaru Legacy Touring Wagon 2.0 GT (Japanese model) - recently purchased; warranty does not cover this The situation: Something happens with the 12v supply and once the car is stopped (...
12
votes
5answers
66k views

How can a fuse drain a car battery?

My car battery drained itself after a week of not being used. I was researching how to identify the cause, and saw a comment under this article saying: What if I am not detecting a reading but the ...
12
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6answers
152k views

Why does my RPM drop when sitting idle at traffic lights?

While I'm sitting idle at traffic lights I put the car into neutral. The engine stays idling at about 1000 RPM. However every now and then it drops down to about 500 RPM and then quickly back up to ...
12
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2answers
3k views

Can (possible) exhaust system damage cause random misfires?

2001 Honda Prelude SH. About three weeks ago while travelling 10-15 mph I pulled off the side of a dirt road to park and it turns out there was a row of a few railroad ties laying in the grass there....
11
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3answers
2k views

What do these compression figures mean

This is a follow up question to What are the causes of fluctuating intake manifold vacuum I have a 2005 Honda CBR600 F4i which suffers from occasional hesitation at low rpm when accelerating. After ...
11
votes
5answers
141k views

Why would there be transmission fluid in the water overflow reservoir?

The car is a '98 Buick Lesabre with the 3800 engine and about 170k miles. It appears as though some oil was in the radiator, but I haven't seen any signs of coolant in the oil. The water pump recently ...
10
votes
4answers
182k views

Do I need to replace rear differential if it's leaking?

When we got an oil change, he said it's "leaking, but not out of fluid or low". Do we need to do any replacement/maintenance on it, or just wait until it gets worse? How would I check something like ...
10
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5answers
31k views

Car shakes when braking: warped rotors or alignment?

I have an 07 Chevy Impala and I'm trying to pinpoint the shaking that occurs when braking. Only shakes when braking slowly on highway. The whole car does shake pretty badly. I just put in a new set of ...
10
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7answers
11k views

What could be some reasons my old diesel Mercedes won't start?

The vehicle is a Mercedes-Benz T1 model 308D. The engine is an old Mercedes-Benz OM601.940 4-cylinder indirect injection 58 kW (79 hp) 2299 dm3 diesel engine from year 1992. It's not a turbodiesel! - ...
10
votes
1answer
133 views

Why is one of my interior components electrified?

I have a 2007 Nissan 350Z and there is a trim bar inside of my car that feels electrified. I even touched my tongue to it (please, I know) and I can feel electricity. It's similar to if you have ...
10
votes
1answer
925 views

My subaru legacy will not boost

I drive a Subaru Legacy Turbocharged GT 2008 model with an EJ20 engine. When I press hard on the acceleration to boost the tachometer upon reaching 4-5 thousand RPM's it starts jerking and there is ...
9
votes
3answers
22k views

Third brake light (LED) test

I have a 2008 Honda Civic and the 3rd brake light is having an issue. It seems in the morning (first cold start) it works when I depress the brake (I can see it light up the rear window). But after a ...
9
votes
2answers
18k views

How to test if oil is leaking into combustion chambers?

How can I test whether oil is leaking into cylinder combustion chambers and getting burnt in case of oil level loss? As opposed to, for example, leaking through the oil pan or the timing chain cover.
9
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I go about troubleshooting DTC codes?

When the check engine light (CEL) comes on, there is usually a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) that can be read from the OBD-II (onboard diagnostic) port on modern codes. How do I go about using the ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

What can cause a gasoline engine to suddenly & mysteriously stop (non-catastrophically)

I was thinking about this question and found myself wondering what could cause a gasoline engine to suddenly stop, and then be restartable? So not things like running out of fuel, or suffering a ...
9
votes
2answers
28k views

What can cause a steering wheel to end up misaligned, and how to investigate?

Similar problem to Steering wheel “center” different from vehicle “straight”, except: In my case there's no obvious cause, it just happened one day, so the "take it back to the shop" answer isn't an ...
9
votes
2answers
5k views

Mazda B3000 (Ranger) Truck takes several tries to start?

I have a 2002 Mazda B3000 (essentially a Ford Ranger) that almost never starts on the first attempt. Usually it takes 2 or 3 tries before the car finally turns over. Each time I hold in the crank I ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

What are the causes of fluctuating intake manifold vacuum

I have a 2005 Honda CBR600 F4i which suffers from occasional hesitation at low rpm when accelerating. I also get occasional fault codes from the ECU indicating a vacuum leak. Today I connected a ...
9
votes
1answer
703 views

Why is this valvetrain pitch-black?

I'm in the middle of an LS1 teardown. Last weekend I removed the valve covers to and found it hard to see anything, as the pictures below will evidence. While I wait for an opportunity to resume the ...
9
votes
2answers
5k views

Troubleshooting Low Turbo Boost

I'm starting to suspect that the smoke and low power (I'm pretty sure it is not "limp mode" just a lack of enthusiasm) I'm seeing in our 2002 Jetta TDI (ALH engine with Garret VNT-15 turbocharger) may ...
9
votes
1answer
5k views

Ford Econoline Van AC Failing

If the vents start putting out hot air when accelerating or driving up hills but are ice cold when idling, is that a sign of a failing blower pump or leak? I am dealing with a Ford Econoline E350. ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

R32 Skyline GT-R low power

EDIT: Added info from comments to bottom of question. My friend recently imported a right-hand drive 1990 Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32) with the RB26TT motor into the states. It's beautiful, and I'm ...
9
votes
1answer
174 views

IAC valve cycling eratically

I have a 2004 Freestar with 240000 kilometers on it. I have had problem with the engine surging at about 1100 rpm or high idle. No check engine code is logged, I put it on a Ford computer and there ...
8
votes
2answers
12k views

How can I tell if a car battery that went completely flat is permanently damaged?

I've had a lot of electrical problems with my car, and a couple of times, the car battery voltage got drained absurdly low (like below 2V) for short periods of time. I gather that fast charging ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

MAP sensor covered with gasoline

I have a 2007 Hyundai Accent SE with a 1.6 liter engine in it. It was stalling often so I hooked up a code reader and it said the MAP sensor was bad. I tried to check it to see if it might just be ...
8
votes
8answers
51k views

What could be the reason and solution to a sudden drop in mileage?

Got my Suzuki Swift Diesel serviced two months back, and all of a sudden the mileage dropped from 20kmpl to 12kmpl and that is confusing! After i returned to Service shop, the guy said that there is ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

2005 Toyota Corolla intermittant battery drain when not running

I have a 2005 Corolla CE with manual transmission. About one month ago the car would not start, and the battery was discharged to about 8.5V. Car had been not running for a couple of days but nothing ...
8
votes
1answer
180 views

Troubleshooting fluid leakage onto the engine area?

The bike is a Hero Honda Splendor Plus, and I've been seeing some fluid on the engine area for a month. Earlier I used to ignore it and wipe it off, but it returns. The bike's mileage has also reduced,...
8
votes
2answers
5k views

How is a power steering pump vacuum leak test performed?

There have been a few power steering pump questions lately. I've heard responders mention a power steering pump vacuum leak test to identify where air is getting into the power steering fluid system. ...
8
votes
1answer
14k views

Grinding noise while driving

On my Opel/Holden Astra H (150KKm, front wheel drive, m32 6-speed manual transmission) I hear a slight grinding noise from the right-front, starting at about 40 km/h. The noise is synchronous to the ...
8
votes
4answers
12k views

Subaru Impreza 1999 - no power on acceleration

My father called today to tell me that when he steps on the gas in his 99 Subaru Impreza (at normal operating temperature), the car moves dangerously slow. Does anyone else have experience with this ...
8
votes
2answers
15k views

Fixing headlight that keeps blowing fuses

My problem The 10 amp fuse for the right headlight on my 2001 Ford Escort keeps blowing so I presume I have a short to ground somewhere between the fuse block and headlight. What I have tried I ...
8
votes
1answer
233 views

04 GMC Savanna G2500 4.8 V8 No Power

First time I looked at this the A/C compressor clutch wasn't engaging. Long story short: the high side pressure switch on the back of the compressor was unplugged. Noted that the engine was shaking (...
8
votes
1answer
14k views

How to Fix Check Engine Light (OBDII code: P0172)

I just saw the check engine light come on on my 2004 VW Passat B5.5 and did a bit of research. Some people said that it would be a faulty oxygen sensor. I was about to order one, but then I read this (...
7
votes
5answers
22k views

Why does my 2006 Chevy Equinox have no heat when all repairs for the heat has been made?

I have: replaced the thermostat about 10 times, back flushed heater core and flushed cooling system out about 10 times, replaced water pump, intake gasket, blend door, mode door, actuators, HVAC ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Distinguishing between mechanical and electrical failure in ignition diagnosis

After a month and a half of not driving the car, yesterday I tried to turn it on, however the only sound that I heard was the rotation of the starter, which is not engaging the flywheel (the engine is ...
7
votes
2answers
664 views

Time Delay Relay and Flyback Diode

I want to control an auxiliary fan on my 1969 Mercedes which is currently wired to run until the temperature drops below the sensor level. Sometimes this takes quite a long time even after the car has ...
7
votes
4answers
109k views

Diesel Engine difficult to start

I have a diesel powered Audi A4 B7 (2006) 2.0TDi (the 170BHP variety) with a manual gearbox, which I've owned for around 18 months. The car has just short of 100k miles and has a full dealer service ...
7
votes
5answers
27k views

Car is sluggish, jerking, and idles rough

I have a VW Polo Classic, 1.6L. Just recently it started to be slightly jerky when in idle and whilst driving. There is also a loss of power, a strong fuel smell, and sounding slightly like a VW ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

1996 Chevy K1500 Silverado ZZ4 5.7L - Rough Idle, Plug Damage, Overheating, EGR

I'm having some serious problems with my truck. It started out as rough idling and then it got worse. I have replaced all 4 O2 sensors, temperature sensor, knock sensor, distributor wires, ...
7
votes
3answers
15k views

Diagnosing P0171 2007 Toyota Corolla

First time poster trying to get into cars. So my 2007 Toyota Corolla (with around 89k miles) has a Check engine light that reads error code P0171 (System too lean Bank 1). I was looking that up and ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Overheat, coolant loss, P0170/P0117, hard start, smoke, delayed throttle, no vtec

So I'm on the road right now (or was, when I wrote this) having an issue that started a few days ago and I'm trying to diagnose it. I am not sure what info is relevant, it does feel like more than one ...

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