Friday, August 18, 2006

Another car question

Insurgent Asks: I have noticed that exhaust is getting pulled in to the vent intake when I come to a stop, and the exhaust system is louder than it used to be. When I took it in to a shop, they told me that the muffler hanger had rusted off and that there is also a leak from the joint connecting the header pipe to the pipe going to the cat. They quoted me $269 to fix it.

My Response: Usually when a vehicle gets over 120,000 miles or so the engine mounts begin to give way. You don't notice it as shaking of the truck or anything like that. The only way to actually see it would be to remove the hood and watch the engine sway while you drive.

As the engine mounts allow the engine to twist more and more as torque is applied it wears out the flexible connection in your exhaust system that your shop wants to repair. The engine rocks to the side when you press on the accellerator and rocks back when you take your foot off the pedal. It's even worse in vehicles with manual transmissions because the engine rocks more times due to the gear changes and reapplication of the accellerator after each change. An automatic transmission applies the torque more smoothly with less change in torque throughout accelleration.

You can put a new gasket, known as a "doughnut" into that connection but it will probably just wear out and start leaking very soon. If you wanted to fix it properly new engine mounts are probably needed as well. Most automotive technicians don't make this connection and only repair the symptom of the illness (the exhaust leak) and don't look for the possible disease (the engine mounts).

The bottom line is that adding two engine mounts to the repair would probably add about $300 to the cost.

To see the engine move in your truck Jeremy will require help. Since your parking brake doesn't work, hook your trailer hitch to a tree with your tow strap. (I accept no responsibility for what might happen from doing this.)

Open the hood, put the truck in 1st and have someone rev it up and lightly apply the clutch. You'll see the engine rocking probably toward the passenger side. If the engine seems like it wants to jump over the fender, the mounts are junk.

When you're doing this stand on the side of the truck when you're looking at the engine. Just in case the strap falls off and the truck goes forward! There is no specification for what the engine should do or not do when you try this but it shouldn't move more than three inches or so from side to side for sure. Granted if you floor it and dump the clutch it will move more than three inches.

To do this by yourself put Play-Doh on the driver's side of the engine and close the hood. Reopen the hood and note how much the Play-Doh compressed. Now drive the truck and give 'er hell! Now recheck again and see how smashed the Play-Doh is. This will tell you how much the engine moves up while driving due to worn mounts.


Blogger Klaus said...

Hey Rex, another car question for when you are running low on police harassment stories: Liz and I were driving south on Portland the other day, and witnessed two cars, the one in front weaving erratically to avoid the projectiles from the handgun fired by an occupant of car #2. The thought occurred to me that in Minneapolis lately, the chances of encountering a stray chunk of lead has gone up a bit. Could I retrofit my Libby with some light armor protection without too much cost? I'm not concerned right now about stopping aimed high-power rifle fire or a Hellfire from an overhead drone (later I will be of course), but just the unfortunate bad roll of the dice.


P.S. BTW, let's talk sometime about producing a show; I think you have some talent with this!

12:11 PM  
Blogger Luke said...

I think Dr. Z would disagree.

4:43 PM  
Blogger Rex said...

Producing a show with you? Sounds interesting but it seems I'll be the brains and you'll be the braun. Hey, where's that show that you produced in the Free State a few years ago?

4:16 AM  
Blogger Rex said...

One of the best things you can do to armor your Libby is to remove your reverse lights. Usually when some defense is needed the assault will come from the rear. The reverse lights allow advance warning to get out of the way. This warning must be eliminated. (Watch my truck the next time you see me back up!)

4:36 AM  
Blogger Insurgent said...

How are you supposed to see when you're backing up in...less confrontational situations?

Thanks for the tip on the motor mounts; I never would have thought of that and neither did the mechanic with certificates all over the wall. One of these days that I work less than 12 hours I'll have to give that test a try!

Nik--where's our movie?

10:02 AM  
Blogger Rex said...


Just hold the brake pedal down a litle bit. You get almost as much light with that as you do with the reverse lights.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Luke said...

8:36 PM  
Blogger J_x_2 said...

Yet another car question...

A few weeks ago I was rear ended by a panel truck. The driver of the truck almost avoided me so the damage seems to be minimal / superficial damage to the rear bumper. In fact, it's mostly scrapes in the plastic cover of the bumper...nothing more.

I don't want to claim this on my insurance...I don't need my rates going up. I've been in contact with the driver's insurance company and they are looking for a quote.

The question is:

Should I pursue a quote and see what kind of check they are willing to cut? Or, will the quote be such a low dollar amount, it's not really worth the time and effort?


7:38 AM  

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