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Time to Call-in the Pro's
|Author||Topic: Time to Call-in the Pro's|
posted 09-19-2015 02:14 PM ET (US)
This article is not about boat repair, but about engine repair. Sorry, not outboard engines, either, but truck engines.
My 1995 GMC truck engine had been running rather roughly the past month or two. Its idle speed was too high, and it seemed to misfire and shake. I decided it needed some attention and repairs. My first instinct was to see if I could fix it myself.
I knew the spark plugs were probably ten years old. They are just conventional spark plugs, and don't have exotic electrode tips of platinum or other rare metals. Eight new AC DELCO spark plugs were only $20. and I figured I could replace them myself. It might help, and, unless I goofed up something in the process, it couldn't hurt. It took me an hour (or more) to put them in.
The electrode gap on the plugs I was pulling out had eroded to about 0.45-inch or larger, and the specifications call for 0.035-inch. One of the old plugs looked a bit worse-for-wear compared to the rest.
After a few bashed knuckles and one nasty cut, I got the new plugs installed. It was a good thing I had done this before several times, because I already owned all the specialized tools necessary--things like universal joints for the socket wrenches and a special spark plug socket with built-in universal, along with three different lengths of extensions.
I did all of this on the warmest and sunniest day we've had in a month. I was hot, tired, dirty, and bleeding when I finished. I started the engine: no difference. Its idle was way off, and it was still shaking now and then from misfires.
It was time to call-in the professionals. I took the truck to my neighborhood mechanic. He specializes in just this type of engine--the GM 5.7-liter--and repairs all kinds of commercial vehicles that use it.
He found the real problem: a leaking gasket at the base of the fuel-injection throttle body. The repair only cost me $150. It was worth it. I would have been tinkering with that engine for weeks trying to figure out the cause of the problem. Sometimes it pays to let a professional work on your stuff.
posted 09-19-2015 03:04 PM ET (US)
The new vehicles are [too problematic]. It is a lot easier to go to a mechanic and dealer, and have them plug in [a diagnostic terminal]. This gives you all the problems and why the truck is running rough. There are just too many wires, valves, senors, and other crap that goes wrong. Just one of these would cause you engine to run rough, because they are all interconnected. No more just changing the plugs, wires, points, and condenser. Sometimes you just have to [call in the pro's].
posted 09-19-2015 07:40 PM ET (US)
I believe Jim's truck is old enough that it does not have the OBD-II plug. Which can be a plus or minus, depending on your view of the computerization of vehicles, I guess.
The GM body's that had it in '95 were the F, H, J, L, N W, & Y models.
Regards - Don
PS - Jim, one issue (heh...) to watch for is any leakage starting from around the manifold gasket.
posted 09-19-2015 08:08 PM ET (US)
Yes, 1995 is too old for the now standard code readers. It requires a proprietary code reader. There was a "CHECK ENGINE" lamp coming on occassionally, and the associated diagnostic stored fault code helped locate the leaking gasket. However, I think the mechanics have probably seen enough high-mileage or older GM 5.7-liter V8 engines that they had a good idea where to look. One benefit of being a repair technician and working on a limited range of products is to learn what typically goes wrong with them at certains phases of their service life.
posted 09-20-2015 09:29 AM ET (US)
You're fortunate to have a trusted local shop to work on your vehicle.
My usual experience with factory authorized shops is less positive. The newest generation of mechanics lack a good grounding in fundamentals.
One morning I started my Titan as usual but when I put it in gear it wouldn't move. It was towed to the Nissan dealer for repair. They called to inform me the truck needed a new battery. Even the service manager, after some discussion, insisted it was a battery problem.
While replacing the battery the "technician" was attacked by an angry mother squirrel. The "problem" turned out to be that she had selected the truck for a nesting place for giving birth. While nesting there she managed to chew up the insulation on so much of the wiring that a complete firewall to front bumper replacement harness was required. The cost to my insurance was a few thousand dollars.
I had not used the truck for a couple of weeks.
posted 09-20-2015 10:13 AM ET (US)
The squirrel population is out of control. The cause: no one has a dog anymore. Everyone has a cat. The modern family is too busy working and going to self-improvement classes to have enough time to take care of a dog.
I never met a cat that could run down a squirrel. Since our dog died at age 17 a few years ago, the squirrel population around our house has quadrupled, and that's in spite of my annual Fall efforts to keep them under control with traps.
posted 09-20-2015 12:09 PM ET (US)
My wife makes a joke that squirrels are just glorified rats with fur and large fluffy tails. I'm not sure if that's true or not but if so these cute rats are running ramped and to think many people feel bad for these guys and feed them daily!
posted 09-20-2015 12:45 PM ET (US)
Squirrels are nothing more than a rat with a fuzzy tail, In my yard have I have seen them attack birds nest all the time just to kill the babies...
posted 09-20-2015 02:20 PM ET (US)
A squirrel is a rat with a press agent.
There have been some really nice Boston Whaler boats that were damaged by squirrels chewing up the hoses and wiring. Steve F's BACKLASH was damaged by squirrels over a winter storage, and Pat H's HOMEASIDE had some of his Mills Canvas eaten by squirrels.
I think the remedy is to leave moth balls in the boat. I have also heard that BOUNCE dryer sheets work, too.
posted 09-20-2015 05:41 PM ET (US)
In my yard, red squirrels get 36 gains of lead in their ear.
posted 09-21-2015 09:19 AM ET (US)
Jim said it a dog does wonders on these rats(squirrels) and the moles too. Some of these Michigan squirrels are the size of a small cat so cats don't work.
We must get another Springer as the moles are getting out of control. The squirrels still think the dog is there two years after she's gone as they haven't been back in the 30 plus trees or so we have in the yard.
I can't shoot them as I have back and side neighbors.
Back to the OP, yes a good mechanic shop is worth staying away from the First Aid kit and gives you more time to boat.
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