Expensive day  

duststormdiva 52F
7253 posts
8/3/2005 2:01 am

Last Read:
6/21/2007 10:19 am

Expensive day

My car has been acting funny lately. I went to Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix on July 4th to pick my sons friend up from the airport. He was coming in from Ohio. I was cruising down the interstate at 75mph when all of a sudden three miles before the airport exit my car stopped accelerating. I pulled over and the car by then had died and I could not get it started.

My son was with me and he checked all the wires, because I had just had the alternator replaced ($300). Matt is a pretty good back yard mechanic so I was not very concerned, except the fact that I was 3.5 hours from home and it was 110 degrees out.

Everything checked out fine, so he suggested we let it sit for about 10-15 minutes and we could try starting it again, because apparently this had happened to him before. Well the car started and has never died like that again. I rented a car to take my sons friend back to the airport, so I would not be stranded since I was going to be by myself after I took him to the airport.

I have had a diagnostics ran on it and I guess I have some fuel system problems that are going to cost about $500. Well, recently I noticed a shimmy in my steering wheel at any speed I drove. I asked my sons friend to look at it since my son is on vacation in California right now. His friend said he thought my tires were bubbling, so he put the little donut spare on my car and noticed the shimmy was gone.

So I take my car into the tire shop on Tuesday and ask them to just check all the tires. I guess the two front tires were bubbling and the back two had very low tread. I am taking another trip to Phoenix this weekend so I need to make sure my car is in tip top shape so I told the tire people to replace all my tires. Well, needless to say, $400 later I have great tires on my car now. I also spent about $75 on parts to have the plugs and plug wires changed and an oil change done on it.

When my sons’ friend took off the plugs I guess they were in horrible shape, so I am wondering if my acceleration problem could have been due to the build up on the plugs. The only thing is I won’t be able to find out until tomorrow evening because he does not have the right tool to put the last plug in since it needs a curved universal something or another type of tool.

So nearly $500 later I hope my car is running well enough to get me to the Phoenix airport and back this weekend. I am flying to Seattle on a business trip. I am pretty excited.


rm_14u24me34all 52M
235 posts
8/3/2005 10:34 am

Cool, A blog that I can reply to as an insider....I've often said
that the only three things between me and a perfect world are people,
keys,and cars.... Heat-most disagreeable to the fuel system,but
500 bucks is a little pricey for a fuel fix...without even knowing
what you drive, I'm guessing they are suggesting fuel pump(?)....
Generic blog diagnosis is vapor lock..in that heat the gas can boil
in the fuel line and expands,acts like a balloon in the line and plugs
it temporarily.When it cools the gasses contract and the fuel flows
again...the spark plugs are unlikely to stop it completely, it would
run progressively worse over a period of time,you would'nt have been
doing 75mph just prior to it stopping. That said,sounds like a little
more structured maintenance....cheaper in the long run. When it gets
to the point of breakdown, it's really easy to get taken for the
premium tour if you get my drift... A couple of points to pursue..
1) Once again without specifics of your car I'm generalizing,if your
vehicle is a '93 or newer, it has diagnostics on board to log running
parameters and fault codes...ask to see the printout from the scan
before agreeing to a bunch of work, if there are no FAULT codes,then
any parts that they say you need is often speculation; if it fixes the
problem great, if it doesn't, you get a call saying"well we fixed the
dooflop switch, but when we were putting it back together we found
that your kniffling pin was deflected to 15 degrees neg. So thats got
to be changed before we can finish the repair..lucky for you we found
it when we did, it's a lot cheaper to do it now while it's apart..
it would have been big bucks later on...and so it goes till the prob-.
lem is solved. Sound familiar? If it happens again,check thispen
your gas cap.. if it sounds like a hoover vac when you open it, try
starting it with the cap loose, your vent canister may be clogging,
makes the pump work too hard. (loose cap is like cheating/bypassing
the vent. Putting the hood up will cool it faster also.
2) Trees (shade) and yards(back) just can't hang like they used to...
any of the OBD II cars (93&up,remember?)won't let you make even the
most basic adjustments like idle speed and timing without access to
the computer with a scan tool and correct software, adjustments with-
out it will not be correct,never. It sucks,but blame it on the US GOV
They made the law that required this crap. the tool/software cost more
than my first 3 or 4 cars combined...phooey Anyway,hope this helps..
It's probably evident by now that I have a bit of an obsession for
things with engines..(pant pant)lol Did I mention oil changes?

duststormdiva 52F
6854 posts
8/3/2005 11:35 am


I'll have another diagnostics ran on it today and get the codes. I have been told it is the secondary fuel sensor, and if that is the case, with my 2000 Ford Taurus I hear that the sensor is in the gas tank and you have to order both together, they are not sold separately, thus about $400.

Thanks for your advice. I'll print out what you said and give it to my back yard mechanic.

What about oil changes?


duststormdiva 52F
6854 posts
8/3/2005 11:40 am

Oh, and 14u24me34all I liked watching you pant! *grin*


rm_14u24me34all 52M
235 posts
8/3/2005 1:39 pm

Thanks,it's something I learned from my Siberian Husky,he said it's
a real ice breaker with his lady friends....

2k Taurus...I believe that unit you are referring to is in fact a
combination: it is an assembly combining the fuel supply and vapor
return connections, the fuel pump,and the Fuel guage sending unit...
I thought the sensor which I think controls delivery was up front...
in other words the sensor in the tank is a "dumb" sensor that operates
the gas guage only, but It's been a long time sice I worked for Ford,
I did,however, replace bunches of those in-tank assys., another tip:
shortly before they fail there is a noticable change in pitch of the
sound they make...I would describe it as a "whiny buzz" that you can
easily hear standing about 5 feet from the side of the car, High pitch
subtle is good ,uneven and or loud,buzzy etc.,take it in before AAA
has to......And I wasn't knocking the shadetree set,I was building
go carts from lawnmowers when my friends were pushing GI joe around
in his Jeep....they've just taken the technology out of reach of the
hobbyist..hard to spend 3or 4 grand for 1 tool just to do a tune-up
on the ol'hoopty,know what I mean? Dog says I gotta go do some more
laps....I KNOW I'll be panting this time of day...
oh yeah,if you are getting that unit replaced,make sure the tank is
close to empty, it will save you labor dollars and the mechanic will
be much more inclined to work on your car next time without making
it hurt...trust me on that one...lol

duststormdiva 52F
6854 posts
8/3/2005 6:09 pm

14u24me34all Will the unit just emit the buzzy sound? If it is going to be that costly I am going to have to wait. I could have sank the $400 into it this week if I didn't need the tires.

Maybe I should take up a collection to fix my car. It's not bad enough my payment is nearly $300. Think my car loan company would understand if I just didn't make my payment to get my car fixed? *smile*


duststormdiva 52F
6854 posts
8/3/2005 6:10 pm

14u24me34all Thanks again for your advice. I was talking to my sons friend about your earlier advice and he is taking your advice into consideration as well. He's a good kid.


duststormdiva 52F
6854 posts
8/4/2005 1:22 am

14u24me34all I had a diagnostics ran on my car today and this is what they found:


They tell me that I have to cylinders misfiring, and a fuel pump secondary malfunction. The malfunction, they say, could very well be the reason my cylinders are misfiring.

Okay, o' god of car mechanics, what do you think?


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