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Admiral Biscuit


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Aug
24th
2021

Mechanic: A Tale of Two Traverses · 2:17am Aug 24th, 2021

Technically, one’s an Acadia, but they’re both basically the same thing.


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I was gonna do a blog post about one or both of these last month when I actually did the jobs, but just didn’t have the energy, and honestly the way it went, if I’d written about them back then, it’d be in all caps devolving into just screaming. So you know it’s gonna be a good time!



Before we get into it, you know the drill:


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Thing One

The Acadia arrived on a hook and was unceremoniously dropped in our parking lot; when it came time to look at it, the first I got told was that “the timing chain probably jumped.” It was dead, so I hooked up the jump box, cranked it over, and it had the fast crank of an engine with no compression. It had, in fact, jumped time.

It sat there in that condition for a week or so before getting pushed into the shop; manager said that it was getting timing chains. That’s not a fun job on those; what you’re supposed to do is drop the cradle with engine and transmission installed, put the chains on like that, and then put it back in. Basically the same thing you’d be doing to replace the engine, minus actually replacing the engine.

I started tearing into it from the top, getting down to where the valve covers could come off and we could see the chains. Sure enough, there was slack in the rear chain, it definitely jumped time. I mean, I knew that by listening to it, but now I had visual confirmation.

I also noticed extensive carbon deposits in the intake ports. We’ll come back to that.


There was an Uncle Scrooge comic from way back when, I can’t remember the title of the story, but Scrooge and his nephews (and Uncle Donald) went searching for the Incan or Aztec gold mines, based on a letter Scrooge found in an old galleon. The route, last found by a conquistador, was laden with traps, and Scrooge would read a line from the letter after Donald triggered a trap; as he’s being rescued after falling off the path where it’s been undercut, Scrooge reads more from the letter: “It says here that they undercut the ledge.”

Donald finally snapped, and said, “I like how you’re reading that letter one line at a time.”

So it was with the Acadia.

Remember, at this point it’s theoretically getting timing chains. I don’t like the looks of what I’m seeing, and then my manager reads another line. “The customer says after it stopped running, he checked the oil and there wasn’t any on the stick, so he added some but it wouldn’t start.”

“Needs an engine.”

[This is experience speaking, it’s been run low on oil, it’s carboned up, and it’s jumped time. We got burned on an engine like that a while back, it ran but not right and ultimately the vehicle got a new engine put in at a steep discount for customer satisfaction.]


The customer didn’t want to spend the money on a new engine. He wanted us to try and put chains on it and see what happened. That turned out to be more of a nightmare than usual.

Lots of modern engines have variable cam timing, and how that’s usually done is that the cam sprocket is hydraulically coupled to the camshaft, and oil pressure can be routed by a pair of solenoids to advance or retard the cam. Obviously, at startup with no oil pressure, the cam would go to one extreme, and they thought of that, so there are spring-loaded pins that hold it at zero for startup.

One of those didn’t work, of course on the hardest sprocket to get at. Every time I thought I had the chain lined up and put any slack at all in the system, the cam would slip, jump several teeth, and I’d have to start all over again. Ultimately, it took three of us to get that chain in place, and probably took two or three hours.

But it got done, and it turns out that the customer’s cost-savings was well advised, it fired up and ran smoothly.


Source (YouTube)


It barely had any compression, and when I eventually got it started, the idle wouldn’t stabilize and it was misfiring hard. Entirely on bank 1, and remember that camshaft phaser that wouldn’t lock in place? That’s on bank one.

It was possible that with how carboned-up the valves were that they could be stuck . . . GM has a service bulletin on GDI engines with sticking intake valves due to carbon, and they had some pictures of what you might see. The Acadia looked worse than any of the pictures, so maybe?


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We cleaned the heck out of the valves with GM top engine cleaner, and we also swapped the engine oil for transmission fluid to help flush out any deposits and eventually got it running reasonably reliably on five of its six cylinders. Boss gave it back to the customer to drive for the weekend, see if it cleared itself out more.


In some regards, it did; while I’d considered that some valves might be sticking due to the carbon deposits, when it came back with a more dead miss on cylinder three, they’d obviously freed up, ‘cause about half of them was down in the cylinder, the piston was mangled, and it now definitely needed an engine. I don’t have a good pic of the cylinder (it’s hard to shoot down a spark plug hole with a cell phone camera), but here’s a picture of some of its rocker arms which got dynamically disassembled and chewed up by the cam:

My manager sold an engine, and at the beginning of July it was time to put it in.

Also at the beginning of July, he went on vacation. There were a few cars I had to work on, he told me, and I was also supposed to do his job (bill out customers, write estimates, answer the phone, etc.), and I also had to put an engine in the Acadia.

With the extra hat I was wearing, my efficiency was in the toilet. Rear brake lines on a Hyundai, which should have been a two hour job at most, took me six because I kept having to talk to customers or answer the phone or order parts, and by the end of the day on Monday I had managed to lift the Acadia on a hoist and take the front wheels off.

Things didn’t get better during the week, but I did manage by Thursday to be putting the new engine together on the ground. In part by staying very late; I called my manager around 8pm to find out where the exhaust gaskets were that he should have ordered for it and he asked why I was working so late, the truck didn’t have to be done by Monday.

I restrained myself enough to not crush the phone in my hand—


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—ordered the gaskets i needed for Friday, and went home.


Friday morning he called, and insisted that the vehicle must be ready on Monday, the customer was waiting for it, etc. and this was my reaction.

Although not quite as calm.


I finished it on Sunday, it ran great, and it could have been done weeks sooner and several thousand dollars cheaper if my manager had taken my word that the engine needed to be replaced (funnily enough, that’ll come up again on another vehicle I might blog about, although so far that one’s only interesting in the ‘I told you so’ way). And it didn’t come back with a weird malfunction.

INTERLUDE

I think it’s also worth mentioning that this Acadia wasn’t worth putting an engine in. Cost of engine plus labor: $7000. Value of vehicle, based on similar vehicles for sale locally: $5000.

But hey, I’m no financial genius.


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The next vehicle in this sad duo was an actual Traverse. It still ran, badly, and made some sad noises from the engine, but it was able to make it nearly all the way into the shop under its own power. Where the Acadia was pretty nice aside from the engine, this thing was not: seats stained, radio display broken and really not worth putting money into IMHO.

Manager left for vacation again. Before he did, I told him that if he said this engine needed to be done in the three days he was gone, I’d just walk.

He didn’t tell me it needed to be done. Although the day after he left, the customer called and asked if it was done. I said we hadn’t even started on it. He said that the manager had said it would be done. Sigh.

This one went somewhat smoother. One thing that sucks about being in a shop where you work on practically everything, there’s a lot of stuff you don’t get as good at as a guy who only works on one or two makes of vehicle. Luckily, I’d just replaced an engine in this thing’s twin sister, so I knew what needed to come out in what order, what the trouble spots were, etc. I didn’t get it done, of course; I came in on Sunday again to get some more work done on it, and ultimately it rolled out the door by the weekend, running well.


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And then it came back.

Still ran well. So well in fact that sometimes the customer couldn’t turn it off, and sometimes when it did shut off, the Check Engine light would be on dimly and the engine would go dead overnight.

There were some powerstate mismatch codes in it, which was a useful place to start. I once mentioned a BCM that lost itself when only half of it powered up, and I had an idea a similar type of thing was going on here.

Sure enough, looking at data, the PCM saw that the key was on (when it wasn’t), while the BCM knew that it was off.

Nothing was too helpful in terms of service information, except that some Traverses had a windshield leak that would get into the inside fuse box and possibly cause things to power up that shouldn’t be. I looked at the fuse box, and it looked okay, I didn’t see any signs of water intrusion nor any corrosion, and the carpet under it wasn’t wet.

I also found an aftermarket remote starter, and I hate those. They’re wired into the factory harnesses—usually badly—and trick the vehicle into thinking that you’re turning the key when you really aren’t. Most of them have some sort of bypass for the security feature in the key, and getting any kind of diagnostic information for them is impossible.

If something went wrong in the unit, it could be keeping the PCM turned on when it shouldn’t be, and the only way to know that it isn’t the problem is to remove it, so I did. The customer didn’t know it was even there; they hadn’t been the ones who had it installed, and the previous owner hadn’t given them the remote to make it work.


Pay no mind to the bolts, they’re spares.

That wasn’t the problem.

Our next guess was the inside fuse box; even if it looked okay, maybe there was some corrosion inside it. And a new one from GM was surprisingly cheap, so my manager ordered one and the next day I installed it and that didn’t fix the problem, either.

We did discover that just by touching a test light to a couple different fuses while the vehicle was malfunctioning made it stop malfunctioning. And one of the relays that clicked on was controlled by the PCM itself, but that made sense. The PCM thinks it should be powered up, so it does all the things it’s supposed to do when it should be powered up.

And then my manager went on vacation and left me to sort it out myself.

Actually, this time I went on vacation, and when I got back, the Traverse was parked outside and I hoped that it was done and I wouldn’t have to work on it any more, but that wasn’t the case.

The good news is that while I was gone, my manager had figured out what was wrong with it. He’d discovered if you banged on the PCM it would quit running, which suggested that one of the internal relays was bad.

The next day a new PCM arrived and he installed it and it didn’t fix the problem.

I said that I was still considering the BCM as the culprit, so he reached under the dash and unplugged it while I watched the status of the PCM and that didn’t fix it.

What about the underhood fuse box? That was where all the fuses that were acting up were located, and while I’d pulled that and taken a real good look at it, and hadn’t seen any corrosion, maybe there was something inside.


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He said that could be ruled out, for once we actually had a known-good part to test (without ordering one from GM and hoping they’d take it back)—another customer with a functionally-similar Traverse had dropped it off for an oil change, and my manager swapped fuse boxes just to see what would happen, and that didn’t fix it.


On the plus side, we now know what’s not wrong with it. It isn’t the PCM, it isn’t the BCM, it isn’t either fuse box, it isn’t the ignition switch itself (which got unplugged early in diagnostics just to see if that would fix the problem), which can mean only one thing:

Wires.


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Somewhere in the vast multitude of wires running around that engine bay, there’s a problem. Something’s touching power or ground when it shouldn’t, and if a test light puts enough load on the circuit to make it stop, it’s just barely touching. Could be anything that’s kind of conductive, really, and lots of things are kind of conductive. Brake fluid. Engine oil, maybe. Some kinds of rubber hose. Just enough that the PCM sees voltage on the yellow wire, which it interprets as its wakeup signal—and since it’s just a signal wire, it doesn’t need to carry much current. Depending on how GM built the PCM, it might not even need a full 12 volts to get going, could be that that circuit will work down to the minimum voltage at which the PCM is capable of turning itself on at (usually eight to nine volts; the PCM’s generally one of the last modules that’ll shut down due to low voltage, and this is on purpose).

Nobody’s looking forward to figuring out where in the wiring harness the issue is, and by virtue of my manager not wanting to get dirty working on whatever it was I was working on, he was the one who started looking further.

And he got lucky, it was actually in the PCM connector itself.

Somehow, a little moisture had gotten past the weatherpack seals, and that had turned to a bridge of corrosion between an always-hot wire and the signal wire for the PCM, just enough to make it think it was supposed to turn on.

You couldn’t see it when the connector was unplugged, you actually had to partially disassemble the connector to see it. Sadly, I don’t have a picture of that, so Derpy in an electrical circuit will have to do.


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Thus ends the Tale of the Traverses.

Comments ( 60 )

I'll ask again: if your manager is such an idiot, and you have such a good track record of proving him wrong, WHY IS HE STILL IN CHARGE?!

wow i hate new cars.
i will keep my old diesel and when it goes to the diesel heaven i will find a older truck and put in a 6V53 or a 6V71 Detroit.
something so simple a monkey can work on it.

Wow. When I was reading the parts dealing with your manager, I was remembering a line from The Mote in God's Eye:

I'm going to shoot him, Rod thought. They'll court-martial me, but I'll just call everyone who ever met him to testify for me. They're bound to let me off...

As far as him fixing the Traverse? Well, even a broken clock is right twice a day...

...Well, at least we get some good stories and collections of cute pony pictures out of it? :D
Sorry you had to go through that, but thanks for sharing.

Acadia and Traverse... If they're the same, why not combine the names? They are now called Averse, which is a perfect description of your feelings regarding them.

I have a Suzuki version of this in the shop right now! Started out with an engine swap (lower end destroyed its self). The first replacement engine was worse than the original ( crank turned, nothing else did!), it was decided that the second replacement would get new chains, the tech who did it (not me!) used the correct setup tools but mixed up the variable cam adjuster gears ( something we didn't find out about until he quit and it got dropped in my lap). After that mess was corrected ( with the engine being dropped twice) the vehicle was running great, until it wasn't. It came in on the hook running poorly with the CEL on (2,4,6 misfire and bank 2 intake and exhaust cam censor codes) found the bank 2 timing chain broke ( and it still ran!). Found 2 bent intake valves in cylinder 4 and massive amounts of carbon powder in cylinders 2 and 4. Looking in the intake ports, there is massive amounts carbon on the intake valves which broke loose and apparently doesn't compress as good as air! Now I hope they don't skimp out and try to piece meal this engine back together (again!). I really, really, REALY, dislike this car (but in getting really good at disassembling it!)

Have you run into any of the cars you have to drop the bumper to change the headlights?

Call it a hunch, but methinks your manager could get more done if he just LISTENED to his mechanic??? HMM???

5573272
Because the manager is an idiot. How do you think they chose managers...by virtue of being competent !?

OUTRAGEOUS !

5573279
gOOD IDEA...EXCEPT THAT THE "cLIMATE wILL kILL uS, lIKE, tOMORROW" squad WILL PROBABLY rule out diesel engines soon.

P.S,: Sorry for the caps lock...too lazy to correct it now.

I am scared that sooner or later you will be doing a blog telling us you have quit this job and found another shop to work at. I wonder how long your old shop would last?

took me six because I kept having to talk to customers or answer the phone or order parts

Welcome to my life :pinkiecrazy:

One time I had a Toyota, I think, with a 'short' to ground. I think on a camshaft sensor signal wire. Took me ages to track it down. Found the main engine harness was rubbing on a sharp-ish corner of the transmission bellhousing. Funny enough, though it wore clean through the corrugated plastic covering, it did not wear through the electrical tape, nor the wire insulation. But it did flatten the wires, and exactly the three wires for the sensor. Somehow, that made a 'short,' at least to the computer's discretion. I'm guessing the physical distance between the actual copper and the aluminum of the bellhousing must've been small enough to capacitively couple the wire to ground. Dunno. Wrapped it up, ziptied it away from the corner, and out the door it went.

This makes me glad that I work in title research. I don't have to deal with problematic stuff quite as often. Still on the edge of it though, judging from my boss's stories. :unsuresweetie:

5573345
My guess is 24 hours. Then something (or someone) catches fire and the whole shebang just burns.

5573341
diesel will always be here. :pinkiehappy:

What were they burning as fuel in that first car, bitumen? :rainbowhuh:

I'm no mechanic, but I've always thought that if your timing belt / chain breaks or slips, your engine is quite possibly toast, as the valves and pistons may try to occupy the same space with disastrous effects. Apparently it's not automatically so!

A Tale of Two Pones sounds like a wonderful Biscuitism. One needs scritches, one needs boops. Better not mess up!

5573323
Quite a lot of them now days! ( 4 rings of death and Bring My Wallet are the worst!)

As I'm reading this, I'm watching over the shoulder of a refrigeration technician that's repairing the fridge in my instant hotel. That repair is a little more expensive than a brand new mini fridge, but just about 30% the cost of the fridge.
I was seriously thinking about replacing the fridge, but this is a house for not so small groups (8~10), so I need the big fridge, and simply can't afford to replace right now.
I don't need it to work forever, but I can't replace it today.
What does seem to work forever is this window-type AC unit. The thermostat hasn't worked for the last fifteen years (it sticks when it's humid, and Cancun is always humid), but the machine has never, ever stopped working.

5573272

I'll ask again: if your manager is such an idiot, and you have such a good track record of proving him wrong, WHY IS HE STILL IN CHARGE?!

Because he knows a lot of people locally and can sell like crazy and make the shop very profitable.

Also while I do have lots of reasons to dislike him both personally and professionally, I’ll fully admit that a lot of blog posts like this are biased, and a lot of the more typical ‘the job went quickly and efficiently and the car was fixed properly at the end’ are kinda boring. Like you’re not gonna want to read about me putting rear diff seals in a Mountaineer in two hours (book time is four hours) where no bolts broke, all the parts were correct, and it fixed the problem the customer brought the vehicle in for.

5573279

wow i hate new cars.

They do have their pros and cons.

i will keep my old diesel and when it goes to the diesel heaven i will find a older truck and put in a 6V53 or a 6V71 Detroit.
something so simple a monkey can work on it.

I’m not really up on my diesels, so I don’t know which are the really good ones.

For a gas engine, the 250ci inline six in my old Chevy was fantastic for reliability, it was basically unbreakable and super simple to work on. On the downside, it only could ever get 10mpg, and needed simple adjustments every now and then to run at its best.

5573281

Wow. When I was reading the parts dealing with your manager, I was remembering a line from The Mote in God's Eye:

I'm going to shoot him, Rod thought. They'll court-martial me, but I'll just call everyone who ever met him to testify for me. They're bound to let me off...

I heard of an IRL story like that, one of those types of people on a Navy boat at sea . . . he went over the rail one night and nobody said a word.

Heck, for that matter there’s the infamous case of some guy in a small town who everybody hated that got shot while in his truck (I think) downtown on a busy day, dozens of witnesses, all of who both hated the guy and didn’t see anything.

As far as him fixing the Traverse? Well, even a broken clock is right twice a day...

I’ll give him credit on that one, it isn’t where I would have looked next. I probably would have found it eventually, but my next step would have been tearing into wiring harnesses and getting progressively more and more frustrated as I didn’t find the problem.

5573282

...Well, at least we get some good stories and collections of cute pony pictures out of it? :D

And at the end of the day, that’s what matters, isn’t it?

Sorry you had to go through that, but thanks for sharing.

:heart:

And it’s a new month now and I’m over it. Especially since this is the month I take days off, or leave early or come in late to do things, and leave him to deal with whatever crops up in my absence.

5573283

Acadia and Traverse... If they're the same, why not combine the names? They are now called Averse, which is a perfect description of your feelings regarding them.

You’re not wrong.

I’ve said before, when GM made the Trailblazers someone dared them to make a terrible SUV. And when they were looking to replace it, a new designer said, ‘hold my beer,’ and made the Averses.

If you really want to work at the name, GM badge engineered the thing beyond Chevy and GMC, there’s also the Buick Enclave and Saturn Outlook (well, there isn’t the Saturn anymore), and they also put the Cadillac XT6 on the same platform as well, or so Wikipedia tells me.

5573321
There is legit a time where you just bite the bullet and put a new or remanufactured engine in to solve all your problems. We’ve got a Silverado in right now that basically needs that; it’s got a dead miss on cylinder 6 due to the intake valve not opening, and based on our experience it’s probably not opening because the lifter and cam are both destroyed, and while we could just do lifters and cams and everything that comes with that, a lot of metal would have gone places it shouldn’t have in the engine and we’ll never clean it all out. We did cam and lifters on one of those a while back and it constantly had problems cropping up afterwards, and it actually wasn’t that much of a cost-savings versus putting a reman engine in.

5573323

Have you run into any of the cars you have to drop the bumper to change the headlights?

Oh yeah.

Some of them you can get around it if you’re really creative and have some interesting reachy and grabby tools and a steady hand, others like the Malibu there’s no choice.

What’s really funny to me is the customers who authorize the job but don’t want to spend the extra $30 in parts to have us change all the bulbs while we’ve got the bumper off.

5573339

Call it a hunch, but methinks your manager could get more done if he just LISTENED to his mechanic??? HMM???

Yes, there are times where he certainly could. But he’s an alpha-male ex high school football coach who rides a motorcycle and has a big diesel Dodge truck and hates the idea that I might know more than him about some subjects.

5573340

Because the manager is an idiot. How do you think they chose managers...by virtue of being competent !?

I’ll give him credit where it’s due, the guy knows how to sell stuff (and I’m not talking about ripping off the customer stuff, either, legit repairs that the car needs or mods that the customer wants [wheels, lift kits, etc.]). Our sales numbers have gone up every year since he took the reins.

5573345

I am scared that sooner or later you will be doing a blog telling us you have quit this job and found another shop to work at. I wonder how long your old shop would last?

The good news is that I worked at several corporate shops before coming here, so I can assure you that there’s an even larger scale of stupidity in that world, both from managers and techs.

I think if I left they would have problems finding someone with my skillset, and they know it (especially the owner) which honestly does give me some freedoms I wouldn’t have at other shops. Like for example, I don’t ask for vacations, I just say when I’ll be gone.

5573367

Welcome to my life :pinkiecrazy:

Yeah . . .

One day I actually got snarky with a customer about that, he called and asked for the status of his car ‘cause we hadn’t called him yet. I said, “I’m working on it, but I keep getting interrupted with phone calls so it’s taking longer than I expected.”

One time I had a Toyota, I think, with a 'short' to ground. I think on a camshaft sensor signal wire. Took me ages to track it down. Found the main engine harness was rubbing on a sharp-ish corner of the transmission bellhousing. Funny enough, though it wore clean through the corrugated plastic covering, it did not wear through the electrical tape, nor the wire insulation. But it did flatten the wires, and exactly the three wires for the sensor. Somehow, that made a 'short,' at least to the computer's discretion. I'm guessing the physical distance between the actual copper and the aluminum of the bellhousing must've been small enough to capacitively couple the wire to ground. Dunno. Wrapped it up, ziptied it away from the corner, and out the door it went.

Dude, those are the worst. Give me a broken wire any day, those also suck to track down but when you’ve found it you know you’ve found it. You’re probably right, there was just enough of a sharp bend and the aluminum right there and the pixies got confused. Years ago, I worked on a Dakota like that, there was some information in Identifix about the wiring around the AC lines (IIRC) and I got into the loom and didn’t see anything, but when I re-routed it out of the way, the problem vanished and never came back, so I guess I fixed it?

DItto for a Ram I recently fixed, had a cam signal problem which we scoped and it looked fine, no dropouts or anything weird, but replaced the cam sensor anyway because we didn’t have any other ideas (and it was setting a code for it) and that fixed it. I guess while the signal on the oscilloscope looked okay, the PCM didn’t like it for some reason.

5573392

This makes me glad that I work in title research. I don't have to deal with problematic stuff quite as often. Still on the edge of it though, judging from my boss's stories.

I don’t know where you live, but I hear if you really want to get into the fun stuff in title research in the US, go to Louisiana. Apparently there’s stuff there which still goes back to original land grants.

5573400

My guess is 24 hours. Then something (or someone) catches fire and the whole shebang just burns.

I expect it would be longer than that; I’ve been gone for a week and the shop was still there when I got back.

5573436

What were they burning as fuel in that first car, bitumen? :rainbowhuh:

In a nutshell, for emissions reasons cars usually reburn some of the exhaust which is high in carbon. Older cars that was less of a problem, ‘cause gas sprayed on the intake valves and gas is a good cleaner. GDI cars (like the Acadia and Traverse) have their injectors in the cylinders, so nothing sprays on the intake valves.

There are other things which are contributing factors and it gets really complicated.

I'm no mechanic, but I've always thought that if your timing belt / chain breaks or slips, your engine is quite possibly toast, as the valves and pistons may try to occupy the same space with disastrous effects. Apparently it's not automatically so!

Yeah, depending on the engine design. A lot of older engines there was always space between where the valves went and where the piston did, and they could be as far out of time as you’d like and nothing would break. Newer engines there’s generally some overlap, so it really depends on how bad things got before the failure (or in the process of the failure). There are engines which are known for bending valves and ones that aren’t; GM’s 3.6L engines rarely bend valves when the cam jumps a couple teeth. I wouldn’t have thought it would need an engine just for being a few teeth out of time, I’ve done plenty of GM 4-cyls which have been further out and demolished some of their timing chain guides and they’ve been okay after fixing. It was that it was out of time and it was full of carbon and the customer said it had run low on oil all combined which gave me a bad feeling, one which only got worse the further I got in the engine.

5573466

A Tale of Two Pones sounds like a wonderful Biscuitism. One needs scritches, one needs boops. Better not mess up!

Oooh, that does sound like something I’d do.

To raise the stakes, one of them is a Kirin.

5573627
the 6V71 Detroit is part of the 2 stroke family and just super hard to kill but low power around 165 HP but put the big cam in it from the Navy and it will do 225 hp but around 725 torque. now the 6V71t Detroit or turbo and put the big boy injectors the M95 in it and it will do 485 HP and 1195 torque all day long.
i think the biggest Detroit made that i have saw run personal is the 24V95T that thing was a monster.
the small 6V53T Detroit will fit under the hood of most trucks.:pinkiehappy:

5573472

Quite a lot of them now days! ( 4 rings of death and Bring My Wallet are the worst!)

We don’t see too many of those, luckily.

Some customers with luxury cars do expect the repairs to be priced accordingly, The ones that are always interesting to explain are the basic cars that have a surprisingly expensive repair, like your 4wd Chevy Colorado or GMC Canyon which needs front pads and rotors . . . which might cost $1,000 in parts and labor because the design is stupid and parts like to break since apparently whoever designed it forgot that rust is a thing.

Or a tune-up on a 3V Ford Triton motor, spark plugs were $40 apiece, and for every one of the old ones that broke off in the engine, that was another hour labor if you were lucky (if you weren’t, the head had to come off).

5573530

As I'm reading this, I'm watching over the shoulder of a refrigeration technician that's repairing the fridge in my instant hotel. That repair is a little more expensive than a brand new mini fridge, but just about 30% the cost of the fridge.

Even more so than cars, the appliance repair world always hovers at the edge of repair or replace.

I was seriously thinking about replacing the fridge, but this is a house for not so small groups (8~10), so I need the big fridge, and simply can't afford to replace right now.
I don't need it to work forever, but I can't replace it today.

I know that feel, I’ve got a few things that are limping along because I’d rather not spend the money to replace them if I can get another year or two of service. Ideally, you can plan for stuff like that, but most likely appliance failures are going to be a nasty surprise and come when you least expect it.

What does seem to work forever is this window-type AC unit. The thermostat hasn't worked for the last fifteen years (it sticks when it's humid, and Cancun is always humid), but the machine has never, ever stopped working.

Until the belt finally broke, I had a dryer like that. You had to jimmy the safety latch on the door, that had been broken forever, but it just kept on doing its thing.

I would have fixed the belt, until I found out that to replace the belt, you basically have to disassemble the dryer then reassemble it around the new belt and I wasn’t going to do that. Ever since then, I’ve used the environmentally-friendly and cheap method of hanging my clothes up and letting the sun do the work.

5573639
You can also throw in the Blazer, Equinox, and Tracker, at least when it comes to outward appearances. I don't know what they're like on the inside, but I wouldn't be surprised if the similarities don't stop with the body work. Actually, most of GM's designs have been getting really lazy these past few years. The Bolt, Beat, and Spark are also all outwardly identical. The same can be said about the Cavalier, Cruze, and Malibu. That's just the Chevys; I haven't gone looking at the company's other brands. They only seem to put any effort into the REALLY iconic stuff like the Suburban, Camaro, and Corvette.

5573656
So I've heard. >^_^<

I live in Kansas, so it doesn't go quite as far back as it does in Louisiana. If we haven't done prior research on stuff like farmland or pastures, though, we have to go back to when Presidents Cleveland and Ben Harrison signed off on most of the land patents, so that involves a bit of digging.

5573654

I guess while the signal on the oscilloscope looked okay, the PCM didn’t like it for some reason.

Actually, I've had a couple where it looks great on the scope, but replace the sensor and you get the same signal but stronger. More voltage per pulse basically.

5573658
Ah, but in that situation, they knew you'd be back. Thus, they were able to hold on while counting down the days.

But if you were to leave, if they knew you wouldn't be coming back ever? 24 hours :rainbowlaugh:.

5573634
:)

:)

"And it’s a new month now and I’m over it."
Ah, good. :)

"Especially since this is the month I take days off, or leave early or come in late to do things, and leave him to deal with whatever crops up in my absence."
Ah. :D
Well, enjoy. :)

5573670
Ask your boss for a half day off, where you could bring your drier to work and disassemble it with space, the best tools and idle hands. Yesterday I had a flat on my bicycle: as I was going with my group, they tossed help and I was back rolling in less than five. I usually take five just to undo and redo the chain, so I was extremely grateful.

I want to repair the AC by undoing the control board to an always-on, then buy an external thermostat that simply plugs and unplugs the entire box. But I'm also afraid of screwing up. Next year, probably.

The fridge will be gone as soon as it fails again. I'll buy a commercial drinks' fridge, used, if I can find one that fits. And I also need to make an icebox for the terrace upstairs. Thankfully, a double walled, insulated, weatherproof chest is quite doable within my experience level as a woodworker. My only trepidation is whether or not to add a TEC (a Peltier junction, a thermocouple), as for one thing it is quite reliable and its only moving parts would be a couple of fans, but I know people would just leave it on forever.

With your experience and writing skills, you should write a manual on how to run a garage. Seriously! Mechanics everywhere would thank you. You could write under a pseudonym and change some names and details so you could include your "how not to run a garage" true life examples..

5573665
I talked to one of the guys at work who trained to be a diesel mechanic and he said that they were trying to fit one of those in to some other truck, he knew what it was right away.

I don’t know which engine it was, but a friend of a friend swore by the old Detroits they used in motorcoaches back in the day.

5573686
GM has long done badge engineering, and they also try and have a brand look for their vehicles, which does lead to a certain amount of sameness. The Equinox is on a different platform than the Traverses, I don’t know about the other two.

Back in the day (and probably now if you know your GM platforms well) it was great for parts interchangeability; my Oldsmobile took the same brake rotors and pads as my S-10 pickup, my full-size truck shared the alternator with the Olds, they all would take the same battery, and the floor dimmer switch for my 78 C-10 plugged right into the wiring harness on my 92 Astro van as a cheaper fix than repairing the damaged linkage in the steering column.

5573703

I live in Kansas, so it doesn't go quite as far back as it does in Louisiana. If we haven't done prior research on stuff like farmland or pastures, though, we have to go back to when Presidents Cleveland and Ben Harrison signed off on most of the land patents, so that involves a bit of digging.

Yeah, yours would be a little more recent and not involve as many treaties and foreign flags flying over Kansas, so that’s something. Around where I live (Michigan), land titles might go back to sometime in the 1700s; one of my distant relatives had a farm near where I live and fought in the Revolutionary War.

5573755

Actually, I've had a couple where it looks great on the scope, but replace the sensor and you get the same signal but stronger. More voltage per pulse basically.

That could be it, I’m used to seeing the signal drop out but I can’t remember what the voltage was (it was steady, though, which is usually a good sign).

Interestingly enough, I never got a signal from the cam sensor, but I figured that I just had the leads hooked up wrong. Like, I knew it was working, since the cam/crank correlation was good (according to the scan tool), but it was just flatlined on the oscilloscope.

5573767

Ah, but in that situation, they knew you'd be back. Thus, they were able to hold on while counting down the days.

They certainly held on to some problem cars for me to work on, that’s for sure.

But if you were to leave, if they knew you wouldn't be coming back ever? 24 hours :rainbowlaugh:.

I’ll give him credit, my manager did run a successful shop before coming here, so I think he could hold it together. Although he’d have a hard time finding a good lead tech; we can’t even find a good B or C tech.

Actually, maybe I should blog about being a tech sometime . . . there is a reason it’s hard to find them.

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