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Automotive Pet Peeves 2: Reader Feedback Is Overwhelming

How many auto repair pet peeves are out there? Well, enough of them that one article wouldn’t hold them all. I’ve received so many emails, texts and phone calls about my article in the February issue that I thought: why not put everyone’s pet peeve...

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Air Filter Show & Tell: Seeing Is Believing

Air filters are normal wear items that ­require regular checks and ­replacement. Their role is to trap dirt particles that can cause damage to engine cylinders, walls, pistons and piston rings. In fuel-injected vehicles, the air filter also plays...

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Searching For 'Black Holes': Job Totals Reveal Missed Selling Opportunities

The concept for Maintenance Chronicle is simple: We ask one shop to record their maintenance sales for a two-week period, and then we see what we learn from the results. This edition of Maintenance Chronicle also proved to be valuable for the shop we...

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MAZDA: Timing Belt & Chain Replacement

This month, we’re going to be looking at the ­timing components on the Mazda line of vehicles. We’ll be focusing on timing belts since they are considered a service item and will present the greater amount of opportunity for replacement. Then, we’ll...

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Honda Element Brake Job

It may look like a car that was never removed from the box it came in, but the Honda Element isn’t boxy when it comes to the brakes. Based on the CR-V platform, there is also nothing tricky when it comes to service. But, its brake system is hardware...

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The Changing Maintenance Market: New Technologies Mean More Opportunities

Most of us wake up each morning, not ­realizing that our professional world has changed even as we slept. Our first job of the day is to service a ­vehicle equipped with an oil life monitor. Not only do we discover that modern oil life monitors can...

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Electronic Proportioning Valve: Doing More With Less Hardware

Anti-lock brake systems (ABS) and the HCU are replacing proportioning, combination and other valves to change the braking forces in the front and rear. This is called Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and it can dynamically change the proportioning...

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NHTSA’s GM Brake Line Corrosion Investigation: Reading Between the Brake Lines

There will be no recalls on some GM vehicles for brake line corrosion. Instead, we received an advisory from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about brake line inspection and car washes. What was not discussed was the corrosion...

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2007-2011 Ford Expedition and Navigator Air Suspension

The Ford Expedition air suspension does more than just lift and raise the vehicle. The system levels the vehicle under loads and when a trailer is attached. The system uses only two air bags on the rear axle unlike previous models with air bags on all...

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Maintaining Your Spray Guns

If there’s one piece of equipment that epitomizes the painter and the paint shop, it’s the spray gun. Over the years we’ve seen many spray guns. Although there are operating principles and functions that remain the same, some have been improved...

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Wheel Bearing Adjustment Tools & Equipment

A recent survey showed that more than half of the bearings on the road today are adjusted incorrectly. A wheel bearing that’s out of adjustment can reduce bearing life and can affect more than just the bearing. An out-of-adjustment bearing affects...

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ETI's ToolTech 2015 Focuses on the Connected Vehicle

ETI’s Annual ToolTech conference remains the premiere event in the tool and equipment industry with more than 115 professionals from over 50 companies in attendance at this year’s ToolTech 2015 in Austin, TX. The Equipment and Tool Institute's...

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Home Electrical Diagnostic Dilemmas: Approaching No-Code Diagnostics

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1997 toyota camryThanks to the increasing reliability of modern vehicles, most diagnostic technicians are seeing fewer pattern-failure driveability complaints.

For that reason, many techs won’t gamble expensive shop time chasing an illusive no-code driveability complaint.

Instead, many will write “no problem found” on the repair order and move on to the next vehicle.

Unfortunately, at some point in time, the intermittent, no-code driveability will either be solved or the vehicle will be traded or sold for scrap. This month’s Diagnostic Dilemma will discuss in detail how I approached the no-code, intermittent driveability complaint on three
different vehicles.

The Stalling Camry
Last summer, I encountered a customer with a no-code, intermittent stalling complaint on a 1997 Toyota Camry. According to the customer, the stall most often occurred during engine warm-up or would manifest itself as an occasional hesitation at road speeds. photo 1: the ect (green connector) appeared to be a frequent culprit in many stalling complaints.

Although well-maintained, this vehicle had rolled up in excess of 200,000 miles. At this point, the crankshaft position (CKP) sensor had been replaced with no result.

While I don’t believe in searching for silver bullets, I do believe in doing preliminary research by consulting a professional database for technical and anecdotal case-study information.

It didn’t take but a few minutes online to determine that a faulty engine coolant temperature sensor (ECT) was causing many Camry stalling complaints.

The simplest procedure might have been to replace the relatively inexpensive ECT and let the customer drive the vehicle to verify the repair.

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Gary Goms

Gary Goms is a former educator and shop owner who remains active in the aftermarket service industry. Gary is an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician (CMAT) and has earned the L1 advanced engine performance certification. He also belongs to the Automotive Service Association (ASA) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).
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