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Old 12-02-2011, 04:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Cd View Post
Thanks guys.
I suspect a short in the wiring in the steering column, just because problems always seem to appear in the hardest possible place to get to eh ?

I'm going to change the entire distributor this weekend, as well as the battery cables and grounds.
If you KNOW those parts are bad, or have reached the limit of their life expectancy then replacement is not a costly hit and miss guessing game.
Part of being a professional in business is to treat the customers money the same way you would treat your own.

A cracked distributor cap could be your problem, but before I replaced the distributor, it would have to have excess play in the shaft, or a bad ignition module, or other issues that made replacement the best solution. Bad ignition modules are usually heat related, but if a bad cap is the issue you should be able to see evidence of moisture inside the distributor.

Intermittent problems are seldom solved by throwing parts (read money) at the problem. Testing circuits for voltage drops starts at the battery terminals. Hook one end to the negative terminal (of your DVOM) and measure the voltage drop to parts of the engine and body of the car. If you see more than .25 volt (with systems operating) then you are on the track of the problem. Moisture can be added to the equation by spraying a mist of water on the car or engine with a hose, but don't drown it, just a light mist will do.

Lets say you have a bad fuel pump. If so you will show with a test light, which can be made out of two 20 pieces of wire, two alligator clips (preferably insulated) and a peanut light bulb. Hook the clips to the terminals on the fuel pump and if it does not come on and you have a strong light, then you KNOW it's the pump or corroded connections at the pump.

I always had a very hard time when a customer accused me of a hit and miss repair with no regard to their cost. Proper diagnosis is not hard, usually just tedious. Wiring is a lot like plumbing and on older cars the diagnoses are fairly simple.

I had customers ask me why I replaced the water pump when I did the timing belts on a 84-89 300 ZX, especially when the water pump was not leaking. I told them if the water pump failed it would destroy the timing belt and possibly the engine. That was why we learned the hard way and replaced the cam seals, cranks seals, tensioner, and the timing belt as a part of the job. It was a systematic approach that gave them the best chance of not having to go into that system for the recommended 60k miles between replacements.
Seen to many bent-broken valves, holes in pistons, and pieces of piston skirts coming out in the oil drain pan.

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