Author Topic: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD  (Read 2116 times)

FrugalFisherman10

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Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« on: July 10, 2018, 08:44:34 AM »
My truck needs a bunch of work, but is pretty old, so I'm trying to decide the best course of action.
I love my truck and don't 'want' to get rid of it.
Stats:
2002 Nissan Frontier, Crew cab, V6 3.3L, Manual transmission, 2WD, 176k miles

Issues (priced per mechanic):
- Valve cover gaskets are leaking oil and it is burning $440
- Crack in radiator, so the radiator needs replacing $400
- Radiator hoses $60
- Entire exhaust system fell off this morning (see attached picture. Also see picture for general 'condition' of the truck)  $500 - 600...told me it would probably be cheaper to go to a muffler shop and have them rebuild it for me from the intermediate pipe to the tail pipe. Technically I don't really need a muffler, as my car is registered in a county where they don't require emissions tests. But it is really loud and sounds like crap. I can't see it being that much cheaper at a muffler shop..maybe $300 - 400 instead?
Total: $1400 - 1500

KBB of car (private seller, I marked the condition as "fair"): $2400 - $4800 (doubt I could get this though without an exhaust system and in need of a new radiator. I'm thinking I should be considering more like "scrap" prices)

I guess I always say "it's cheaper just to fix it and than buy a new car"..so I should probably just fix it. But at some point you gotta move on, and I'm wondering if this is that time.

If I was going to buy a new car, I would really like something with 4WD, or atleast Front Wheel drive as MMM talks about, as I do alot of fly fishing/wilderness things and this truck literally sucks on back roads/non-asphault/Forest Service Roads. i.e. it gets stuck and starts spinning it's back tires really easily because it's RWD.
It's enough of an "impediment" to my hobby to where it genuinely restricts where I try to go anymore.

I've always eyed the Mazda CX5 (or other small SUVs), becuase I'd also like to move on from having an open truck bed and instead have a closed in back area like you get on a small SUV. I have a kayak too, which would be harder to transport on top of a car/SUV instead of in a truck bed, but I guess I'd just get some rails and strap it up there.
Realistically though, I use the kayak probably 20 - 30 times a year. I fly fish (or would like to ) in places outside the city and on forest service roads probably 10 times a year. The rest of the year there's plenty of fishing to be accessed via normal roads.

Would consider a hatchback to have a smaller car/better gas mileage, like a Subaru Impreza-size but subarus are so expensive.

My favorite things about my truck are that it is so 'no frills" - manual locks, manual windows, manual transmission, fabric seats.

What would you do?

Thanks for any thoughts!



austin944

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2018, 08:56:42 AM »
DIY Radiator replacement for 2002 Nissan Frontier:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwbMXtTwzNQ

If you are not feeling comfortable doing this yourself, get a mechanically inclined buddy to help and pay them a few beers.

edit: Some things I would add to the video:

1) Try to find replacement clamps if possible
2) check condition of hoses and replace if needed.  Would probably replace them if they were the original (easier to replace now than later).
3) on radiator drain plug, do not excessively tighten since it can strip the threads
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 09:06:44 AM by austin944 »

RWD

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2018, 09:00:10 AM »
What would I do? I would do the work of replacing the valve cover gaskets and radiator/hoses myself. These are very easy tasks to DIY and will save you hundreds of dollars. Pay a shop to fix the exhaust, whatever is cheapest (maybe call around for quotes?). Total cost probably $500-700. Then sell it before something breaks again. With those items fixed you shouldn't have any problem selling for within the KBB range.

snogirl

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2018, 09:10:08 AM »
I've had a Toyota 4wd truck since 1987. I live in Vermont and do fire roads, class4, trenched steep terrain, heavy wet snow for intense outdoor activities and photography as a side gig (I'm fired). I could not imagine my life without a truck so naysayers oh well. It is what it is. Its paid for and only adds value to my life for it doubles as a camper too.  My Toyota trucks have gone 250k plus minimal maintenance. If it was me, I'd sell the Nissan and find a well kept 1st or 2nd GEN Tacoma. They are costly upfront, but last forever with little upkeep. In 100k, I've done brakes, a new battery, changed fluids, swapped to beefier rear springs for gear & topper weight. That's it. The only reason I've gotten rid of my past ones was rust with VT salt & brine.
My concern with suv is low clearance on fire roads and rutted trails. My friend has a AWD Toyota Venza that traverses gnarly terrain like mountain goat, tows, etc but has to stop at rutted out Boulder trenches that happen here due to heavy rains.
2nd option is fix it. You'll still have a 2wd truck but Nissans are beasts too. You can always add a locker.
Good luck.

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« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 09:11:43 AM by snogirl »

Clean Shaven

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2018, 09:11:35 AM »
I agree 100% with RWD. I'll add: you might be able to find the complete exhaust as a bolt on kit ("cat back exhaust" - Google it) and DIY that too. Get whatever is cheapest, it doesn't matter if you're selling it.

sokoloff

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2018, 09:18:00 AM »
You have to fix the radiator or risk overheating, getting stranded, and possibly killing the truck entirely.
You (pretty much) have to fix the exhaust.

You can easily DIY the radiator and hoses with basic hand tools.
I am hard-core DIYer and only do exhaust work that's bolt-together. With as rusty as that exhaust is, you probably don't want to fool with DIY-ing taking apart what's left.
An aftermarket exhaust shop is probably cheaper than using factory parts. At least get a quote.

The valve cover, unless it's leaking an insane amount, can probably be ignored. Just keep an eye on the oil level. You can buy a lot of oil for $400 and it's probably leaking less than a quart per 5000K miles. (A very small amount of oil can make a huge mess when mixed with dirt and dust in an engine compartment.) Buy a can of engine cleaner and clean off the leaking area around the valve cover where it meets the head. Drive it for a couple days or week or so and have a look at how bad the leak is.

RockAuto has the FEL-PRO VS50251R1 valve cover gasket on warehouse closeout for $8.84 plus a shipping (or $25 normally). Have a look at how much labor it would be to DIY. Depending on how much crap you need to move out of the way, it might only be 2-3 hours of work to do both banks.

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2018, 09:25:11 AM »
I agree 100% with RWD. I'll add: you might be able to find the complete exhaust as a bolt on kit ("cat back exhaust" - Google it) and DIY that too. Get whatever is cheapest, it doesn't matter if you're selling it.
Cool, thanks for the tip on what to search for.
I found this part $120 shipped: https://www.partsgeek.com/r2z69l6-nissan-frontier-muffler.html?utm_source=shopzilla&utm_medium=pf&utm_content=dc&utm_campaign=PartsGeek+ShopZilla&fp=pp&utm_term=Nissan+Muffler


Wouldn't I need to be able to weld though to get it to stay in place? Or is it bolt on?

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2018, 09:28:49 AM »
DIY Radiator replacement for 2002 Nissan Frontier:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwbMXtTwzNQ

If you are not feeling comfortable doing this yourself, get a mechanically inclined buddy to help and pay them a few beers.

edit: Some things I would add to the video:

1) Try to find replacement clamps if possible
2) check condition of hoses and replace if needed.  Would probably replace them if they were the original (easier to replace now than later).
3) on radiator drain plug, do not excessively tighten since it can strip the threads

Thanks for the video! The comments seem super positive/make it sound easy so I will look into this and maybe my roommate who is pretty good with cars/mechanical things will help me

Gotta figure out those valve covers though...

Clean Shaven

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2018, 09:47:49 AM »
I agree 100% with RWD. I'll add: you might be able to find the complete exhaust as a bolt on kit ("cat back exhaust" - Google it) and DIY that too. Get whatever is cheapest, it doesn't matter if you're selling it.
Cool, thanks for the tip on what to search for.
I found this part $120 shipped: https://www.partsgeek.com/r2z69l6-nissan-frontier-muffler.html?utm_source=shopzilla&utm_medium=pf&utm_content=dc&utm_campaign=PartsGeek+ShopZilla&fp=pp&utm_term=Nissan+Muffler


Wouldn't I need to be able to weld though to get it to stay in place? Or is it bolt on?
Could be either.

Partly depends on the condition of what's left on the exhaust - ie how rusty is it, why did it fall off, what's the catalytic converter outlet look like (clean enough to clamp to or not), what do the exhaust hanger(s) look like (usually part metal and part rubber-- but how rusty or intact are they)...



Retire-Canada

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2018, 10:22:59 AM »
My truck needs a bunch of work, but is pretty old, so I'm trying to decide the best course of action.
I love my truck and don't 'want' to get rid of it.

My favorite things about my truck are that it is so 'no frills" - manual locks, manual windows, manual transmission, fabric seats.

What would you do?

Thanks for any thoughts!

Then fix it. Either DIY or pay the mechanic whatever makes sense to you.

HipGnosis

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2018, 10:33:56 AM »
The exhaust doesn't (seem to) need to be replaced.  It needs to be put back on.   An exhaust shop should (might?) be able to do that, fairly cheap.

Use rock auto(.com) for the rest
https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/nissan,2002,frontier,3.3l+v6,1388055,cooling+system,radiator,2172
radiators ;  $54 - $69
Lower hose;  $4-9
Upper hose; $7-10
Valve cover gasket;  $4-29

I'd replace the water pump while the radiator and hoses were out.  And inspect the timing chain.

AccidentalMiser

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2018, 11:04:41 AM »
I’d fix it like everyone else said.  When you do replace it, look at a Subaru.


BlueMR2

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2018, 11:17:18 AM »
Radiator and hoses are typically easy DIY items, but make sure you have a coolant disposal plan.  I've quite doing coolant system repairs myself now because I can't find anyone that will take used coolant.  Plenty of places take oil and hydraulic fluids, but nobody will take coolant (and we're no longer allowed to put it into the sanitary sewer system)...

Exhaust shops could probably get you back on the road cheap with a patch, but don't expect it to last more than a year.  Honestly, $500 is nowhere near enough for an exhaust system either.  At that price point they rust out pretty quick.  A good exhaust that is expected to last as well as OEM is much more.  My last aftermarket exhaust replacement was $3500 for a good full stainless system.  My wife's car (which takes smaller piping) is in right now getting a new system and it's $2500.

RWD

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2018, 11:51:58 AM »
The exhaust doesn't (seem to) need to be replaced.

Um, what about the rust holes in the muffler?

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2018, 03:17:11 PM »
I guess the final thing I'll add is that the AC on this truck has been iffy the last few ...uh..years really. It is fine blowing heat in the winter time, but not blowing cold air in the summer time. Which, if you live in Atlanta like I do, is pretty rough.

It is capable of blowing super cold air, it's just an issue of whether or not you're going to get it. Something happens where it either "kicks in" or "not". I usually fiddle with the A/C buttons for a few minutes when I'm first in the car, and eventually/75% of the time it will 'catch' and start blowing cold air. I've lived with this for as long as I have because of:
1) stoicism/MMM I guess
2) I don't got a girl :) haha, let's be honest. Most ladies I'd be interested in would probably see neglecting/accepting my poor AC performance for this long as a bit weird.

I'm not going to try and replace an AC myself (or a compressor, etc.), and I don't really know that I'd want to pay to replace one either, on such an old vehicle.

So I bring this up just to think through it ...say I fix the Radiator, valve cover gasket, and bolt on a new muffler, all by myself and for super cheap, but then the AC continues to suck or kicks the can entirely...what will I want to do then?

RWD

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2018, 03:26:53 PM »
So I bring this up just to think through it ...say I fix the Radiator, valve cover gasket, and bolt on a new muffler, all by myself and for super cheap, but then the AC continues to suck or kicks the can entirely...what will I want to do then?

I stand by my earlier comment. After you fix it you sell it. Do you want recommendations on what vehicle to replace it with?

sokoloff

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2018, 03:59:28 PM »
So I bring this up just to think through it ...say I fix the Radiator, valve cover gasket, and bolt on a new muffler, all by myself and for super cheap, but then the AC continues to suck or kicks the can entirely...what will I want to do then?
At the very least, go buy one can of R134a at the parts store and add it. That’s not the “right” approach by any textbook, but it’s better than sweating ‘em off and has a >50% chance of being a temporary fix. Get pure R134a, no leak sealant, nothing else (dye is ok if it says that, but no oil and no leak stop).

If it works some of the time, and the above doesn’t fix, the next step up would be to go to an indy AC place, get them to pump the system down (to remove all the water), leak check, and refill it. You may have water vapor in there that freezes up in operation. But try the <$20 and <15 minutes fix of adding a can of refrigerant first. Watch a YouTube video first. Charge on the low side and charge as a vapor (can right side up).

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2018, 04:04:26 PM »
Thanks yeah I've done that in the past.
So I bring this up just to think through it ...say I fix the Radiator, valve cover gasket, and bolt on a new muffler, all by myself and for super cheap, but then the AC continues to suck or kicks the can entirely...what will I want to do then?
At the very least, go buy one can of R134a at the parts store and add it. That’s not the “right” approach by any textbook, but it’s better than sweating ‘em off and has a &gt;50% chance of being a temporary fix. Get pure R134a, no leak sealant, nothing else (dye is ok if it says that, but no oil and no leak stop).

If it works some of the time, and the above doesn’t fix, the next step up would be to go to an indy AC place, get them to pump the system down (to remove all the water), leak check, and refill it. You may have water vapor in there that freezes up in operation. But try the &lt;$20 and &lt;15 minutes fix of adding a can of refrigerant first. Watch a YouTube video first. Charge on the low side and charge as a vapor (can right side up).

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sokoloff

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2018, 04:14:18 PM »
If you’ve done it a couple times, it may now have water in it and a pump down and refill may fix.

I had an old Jeep ZJ that had no AC for years (less of an issue up here in MA). We had a heat wave coming a bunch of years back and the system was totally flat. I bought a pump, pumped it down for an hour to boil the water out and put in 2 cans of refrigerant intending just to get me through the week. (I didn’t change any parts.) That turned out to fix it for more than 2 years until I sold it. You can have a shop try it, or buy/borrow a pump. Or go without. If it gets it working for you for the summer, I’d pay $200 for that easy, especially if you’ll get most/all of that back when selling a truck in Hotlanta with working AC.

austin944

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2018, 04:19:50 PM »
I guess the final thing I'll add is that the AC on this truck has been iffy the last few ...uh..years really. It is fine blowing heat in the winter time, but not blowing cold air in the summer time. Which, if you live in Atlanta like I do, is pretty rough.

AC repair can get expensive.  But before deciding anything, first check the AC sight glass (if equipped) for low refrigerant level, once the AC is running as you expect.  That's easy to do and costs nothing.  Don't try to top off the system yet because it is possible to overfill it if you don't know what you are doing.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 04:21:25 PM by austin944 »

austin944

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2018, 04:24:38 PM »
Radiator and hoses are typically easy DIY items, but make sure you have a coolant disposal plan.  I've quite doing coolant system repairs myself now because I can't find anyone that will take used coolant.  Plenty of places take oil and hydraulic fluids, but nobody will take coolant (and we're no longer allowed to put it into the sanitary sewer system)...

Where I live, the City takes used coolant at their household hazardous waste disposal site.  Maybe you have one nearby?

BDWW

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2018, 04:50:09 PM »
Exhaust shops could probably get you back on the road cheap with a patch, but don't expect it to last more than a year.  Honestly, $500 is nowhere near enough for an exhaust system either.  At that price point they rust out pretty quick.  A good exhaust that is expected to last as well as OEM is much more.  My last aftermarket exhaust replacement was $3500 for a good full stainless system.  My wife's car (which takes smaller piping) is in right now getting a new system and it's $2500.

Wow, do you own a Vitamix?

Anyways, the nice thing about trucks, is there is typically a lot of room to work under there. I had a dual exhaust with H-pipe and flowmasters installed from the headers back on my truck for ~$600.

Edit: Probably add $200+ if you're putting in/replacing cats.

austin944

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2018, 08:42:05 AM »
On the AC, the part described in the following posts seems to be a common failure in the Nissans, though the symptoms described seem to be more of a continuous cutting in and out, rather than a 100% working or not working after fiddling with it:
https://www.clubfrontier.org/forums/f46/intermittent-c-due-ecu-90521/#post1225673
http://www.nissanfrontier.org/forum_posts.asp?TID=4686
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 08:47:03 AM by austin944 »

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2018, 03:01:17 PM »
Thanks for the info on the AC! I bet that's what it is.

I decided to go ahead and let the mechanic do the valve cover gasket as it seemed fairly involved/complicated. Perhaps I should have risked it but jsut didn't feel up to it.

I am now going to order the radiator and radiator hoses and replace those.

The water pump seems to be pretty complicated too and I'm not sure how old mine is. I know that the timing belt was replaced at 144k miles, and my car now has 176k miles. Knowing me, I didn't let a prior mechanic do something if it wasn't absolutely required at the time, so I probably had them replace the timing belt without replacing the water pump.

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2018, 03:05:17 PM »
The mechanic shophand was like "I would replace the water pump if you're planning to keep the car..probably not otherwise"

Which I guess at this point, I'm not planning on keeping the car too much longer. After I get it fixed, I'm going to start casually looking at getting a new (used) car. Then I will be making my purchase "from a place of power"...as in, I won't absolutely be forced to buy the first decent car I find, but can wait to find just the right one /right price, etc.

So that's my plan so far

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2018, 03:28:23 PM »
You have to fix the radiator or risk overheating, getting stranded, and possibly killing the truck entirely.
You (pretty much) have to fix the exhaust.

You can easily DIY the radiator and hoses with basic hand tools.
I am hard-core DIYer and only do exhaust work that's bolt-together. With as rusty as that exhaust is, you probably don't want to fool with DIY-ing taking apart what's left.
An aftermarket exhaust shop is probably cheaper than using factory parts. At least get a quote.

The valve cover, unless it's leaking an insane amount, can probably be ignored. Just keep an eye on the oil level. You can buy a lot of oil for $400 and it's probably leaking less than a quart per 5000K miles. (A very small amount of oil can make a huge mess when mixed with dirt and dust in an engine compartment.) Buy a can of engine cleaner and clean off the leaking area around the valve cover where it meets the head. Drive it for a couple days or week or so and have a look at how bad the leak is.

RockAuto has the FEL-PRO VS50251R1 valve cover gasket on warehouse closeout for $8.84 plus a shipping (or $25 normally). Have a look at how much labor it would be to DIY. Depending on how much crap you need to move out of the way, it might only be 2-3 hours of work to do both banks.

The valve cover was leaking what looked to me like "a lot". I saw it myself today at the shop. And it seemed like I had to move alot out of the way so I didn't want to do that one. Thanks for the input though.. I definitely considered going this route

Slow2FIRE

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2018, 05:05:46 PM »
$440 for a valve cover gasket replacement???  there must be a ton of stuff blocking the valve covers.

I haven't ever owned a V-6, but 4 cylinder OHV engines are super easy to change the valve cover gasket for - $20 for a gasket and maybe 15 minutes most of the time.

Replacing a radiator is pretty easy, but can be a pain if the engine bay layout is terrible (like a OHV V-6 squeezed into a smallish engine bay).  For $400, that isn't too bad to have them do it...personally, I'd do it myself.  Would be a good time to replace the thermostat too if it is very old or the vehicle ever has problems with warming up or getting a little too hot.

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #27 on: July 12, 2018, 07:51:41 AM »
$440 for a valve cover gasket replacement???  there must be a ton of stuff blocking the valve covers.

I haven't ever owned a V-6, but 4 cylinder OHV engines are super easy to change the valve cover gasket for - $20 for a gasket and maybe 15 minutes most of the time.

Replacing a radiator is pretty easy, but can be a pain if the engine bay layout is terrible (like a OHV V-6 squeezed into a smallish engine bay).  For $400, that isn't too bad to have them do it...personally, I'd do it myself.  Would be a good time to replace the thermostat too if it is very old or the vehicle ever has problems with warming up or getting a little too hot.
Vehicle never has problems with warming up or getting too hot. The Thermostat (I presume) always shows the temp of the car right in the middle of the H - C gauge.
So I think it's ok to pass on replacing the thermostat then

Thanks for the info

Raenia

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #28 on: July 12, 2018, 08:09:06 AM »
2) I don't got a girl :) haha, let's be honest. Most ladies I'd be interested in would probably see neglecting/accepting my poor AC performance for this long as a bit weird.

As a lady myself, I must object!  I've been running with no AC for almost 2 years in my car.  Finally getting it fixed this year because my new DH was complaining too much. :)

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #29 on: July 12, 2018, 08:17:33 AM »
2) I don't got a girl :) haha, let's be honest. Most ladies I'd be interested in would probably see neglecting/accepting my poor AC performance for this long as a bit weird.

As a lady myself, I must object!  I've been running with no AC for almost 2 years in my car.  Finally getting it fixed this year because my new DH was complaining too much. :)
haha well you and I must be the practical ones in our relationships!

Retire-Canada

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #30 on: July 12, 2018, 08:24:48 AM »
When your passenger asks you to blast the AC that's where you roll down all the windows and speed up right? ;)

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #31 on: July 19, 2018, 08:13:38 PM »
How much do I need to "flush" the antifreeze out of the truck while doing the radiator repair?

I'm realizing i may have been supposed to go back and do that, but don't really want to.

Here's what I've done so far (after the valve cover gasket was fixed):
- Removed the old radiator and the upper hose and lower hose (didn't remove the shorter radiator hose that my engine happens to have on the top)
- let all the antifreeze drain out (all of it...like overnight)
- replace the lower hose
- turns out the autoparts store cut the new upper hose too short, so I'm re-using the old one.
- put the lower fan shroud and radiator back in.
- put the upper fan shroud in
- realized the upper fan shroud is supposed to click into two notches on the bottom of the radiator, but the holes on the radiator are not the right size (this means the radiator that was "an exact fit" for my car, is not the correct fit)
- started taking it all apart again so that I can drill the bottom receiving holes bigger, so that the fan shroud can set down in them and seat properly. Tomorrow.

Now we're considering putting the old radiator back on and replacing the coolant, flushing it for a while, then basically taking everything back off again. Seems like a lot of work

austin944

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #32 on: July 20, 2018, 02:09:26 AM »

IMO it's not a big deal if you don't flush, especially on an ordinary truck like that.  Drain and refill should be fine.  Not sure why you would want the old radiator on there to do a flush anyways.  The bolt holes are a little concerning -- wonder if there might be more issues to come or if it's really the correct part.  If you drill holes in it, you won't be able to return it.

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - UPDATES!!
« Reply #33 on: July 24, 2018, 05:02:48 PM »
UPDATES!!
Valve Cover gaskets: Repaired by mechanic - $440
Radiator: Repaired! my roommate and I tackled it over the last week. I would bike home after work, eat some dinner and then get to working on it each day. Then I knocked the rest of it out this weekend. It took longer than I expected and I won't say it was easy but I'm glad I took it on. Lots of researching and running into little problems but I guess that comes with the territory. Turns out I did have the right radiator, I just thought it was wrong. so no need to drill on it or anything. Now I know alot more about how an engine works and feel more comfortable with this stuff. I spent $70 on the Radiator, $35 on coolant and distilled water (which it turns out my radiator isn't accepting half of it..must still have some water in there from my flushing attempts) + $15 on hoses. The last price the mechanic had quoted me for the radiator itself was $375. Not sure I came out 'ahead' when you consider how much time it took me, but like I said, the experience was important and somewhat fun.

I left the water pump and thermostat alone, as discussed.

Muffler situation: Took it to a muffler guy today - he quoted me $700 after just looking at it for a few minutes briefly before he closed up shop. He also seemed like he wasn't very interested in my business

I'm going to explore the bolt-on muffler idea more in depth now and just drive around like a loud hillbilly for the next few days till I get it figured out. I also am going to look into the A/C Thermal Control Amp. May have more questions.

While I was working on my car I also:
- added a cabin air filter (my truck didn't have one...!!?? seriously, they weren't added until later in 2002, the year my truck was released)
- replaced my windshield wiper fluid with some rainx (that stuff is seriously awesome. I've missed having it in there for the last year or so. It's probably 'expensive for what it is' but I don't really care.)
- replaced my windshield wiper


FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #34 on: July 24, 2018, 05:11:54 PM »
Do you want recommendations on what vehicle to replace it with?
Yes, now I do.
In terms of replacing my truck: I would like to use my past truck purchase (the one I'm currently driving) as a good gauge for how I should buy a car again in the future, in terms of miles/year/price ratio. I was a poor college student at the time and found a great deal way out of town through the help of my old coach. Glad he had a sharp eye. The truck I'm currently driving was purchased:
- 7 years old, in 2009 (it's a 2002 truck)
- 77,000 Miles on it
- $7k (maybe $7500...can't quite remember)

I've put 100k miles on it. I feel like that was a really good deal (maybe "too good" of a deal to reasonably strive for again, but we'll see).

The following are on my long-list (7 years old and younger would be 2011 models):
- Mazda CX5
- Subaru Crosstrek (or XV since I think that's what it was called at first. At a cursory glance, I doubt I can find anything near $7k - 8k . But I have the luxury of time on my side now that my car is mostly fixed)
- Honda HRV (seems kinda plasticky /cheap to me, but I like the size. Also seems kinda feminine but I don't really care that much.)
- Hyundai tucson? (wasn't really aware of these until recently. seems to be about the same size as the others so I'm considering it now)
- Honda Fit
- Toyota Yaris (don't know much about the toyotas. Is there like a "Big Yaris"? Prius/Rav4 would be their next biggest cars I guess, but I'm not crazy about either. Prius because I'd have to charge it. Rav4 because they're ugly).
 There's 4Runners, etc. but I'm convinced those have big gas guzzling engines like my current V6 and don't want that.

If I do try to follow my old 'model', something's probably going to have to give. I want to stick to less than $75k miles, we'll call it $9k for the price, and I don't really care how old it is.

4WD would be cool, but definitely not a necessity. Anything will have better traction than my current RWD truck.

RWD

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #35 on: July 24, 2018, 10:53:01 PM »
The next size up from the Yaris is the Corolla (Corolla iM for the hatchback). Only the plug-in hybrids can to be charged. A normal Prius you just put in fuel like a regular car. If you don't like the size of the Yaris the Fit is going to be too small as well. Consider the Civic and Insight as slightly larger alternatives. For AWD there's the Impreza, which is a more normal version of the Crosstrek (might be cheaper).

The Hondas and Toyotas are typically the most reliable. Check out Dashboard Light.

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #36 on: July 26, 2018, 07:18:59 AM »
Holy coW! That data at dashboard-light.com suggests a Toyota Prius is so far ahead everything else in terms of quality. I'm pretty surprised by that honestly...to the extent that I don't know how I feel about their data set. This is otherwise a really cool idea and website though.

It's just really surprising to see a subaru impreza get a score of "18", when a Toyota Prius gets a score of 93.

Also, earlier you mentioned that you don't have to plug in all Prius'. You mean that not all of them are hybrids? Or am I just misunderstanding hybrids.. is it like you put regular gas in, but then the alternator does something to charge the battery that the car can run off? So you don't have to plug it in?

RWD

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #37 on: July 26, 2018, 07:50:21 AM »
Holy coW! That data at dashboard-light.com suggests a Toyota Prius is so far ahead everything else in terms of quality. I'm pretty surprised by that honestly...to the extent that I don't know how I feel about their data set. This is otherwise a really cool idea and website though.

It's just really surprising to see a subaru impreza get a score of "18", when a Toyota Prius gets a score of 93.

Also, earlier you mentioned that you don't have to plug in all Prius'. You mean that not all of them are hybrids? Or am I just misunderstanding hybrids.. is it like you put regular gas in, but then the alternator does something to charge the battery that the car can run off? So you don't have to plug it in?

I do suspect that site needs more data, but it's still one of the better sources for comparing vehicle reliability.

All Priuses are hybrids, but only recently have they been offered with plug-in versions. Hybrids work by having a battery and electric motor in addition to the conventional gas drivetrain. It chooses which one to use based on efficiency (e.g. low speeds/idle would use the electric powertrain) and the battery is recharged by the gas drivetrain whenever possible. Plug-in hybrids allow you to drive purely on the electric portion of the powertrain and recharge the battery from your wall outlet or other charger. If you run out of charge the gas engine will kick in and it will then have to act like the original hybrids.

There are a lot of minor variations, for example the BMW i3 (range extender version) can not use its gas engine to drive the wheels, only to charge the battery (like a generator). But that's the gist of it.

sokoloff

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #38 on: July 26, 2018, 07:52:16 AM »
Also, earlier you mentioned that you don't have to plug in all Prius'. You mean that not all of them are hybrids? Or am I just misunderstanding hybrids.. is it like you put regular gas in, but then the alternator does something to charge the battery that the car can run off? So you don't have to plug it in?
Hybrid just means that it has more than one source of energy for propulsion.

The original Prius was a gas-only as far as the user was concerned. The car then took excess mechanical energy and stored it temporarily in on-board batteries and then used that to later propel the car. Only recently have "plug-in Priuses" came to be offered, which allow the user to input both gasoline and electricity. There's no requirement to plug it in (though plugging it in is probably slightly more economical, given my experience in my [battery-only] Nissan LEAF).

magnet18

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #39 on: July 26, 2018, 09:07:18 AM »
Valve cover gaskets they are ripping you off, IMO, and swapping a radiator is a single afternoon type project

What worries me is why both the valve covers are leaking in the first place, something might be increasing crankcase pressure.  Clogged pcv valve, blow-by, etc.


Check your pcv valce (very cheap part) and send an oil sample to Blackstone to see if you have any funny business going on

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #40 on: July 26, 2018, 12:00:04 PM »
Valve cover gaskets they are ripping you off, IMO, and swapping a radiator is a single afternoon type project

What worries me is why both the valve covers are leaking in the first place, something might be increasing crankcase pressure.  Clogged pcv valve, blow-by, etc.


Check your pcv valce (very cheap part) and send an oil sample to Blackstone to see if you have any funny business going on

Well the valve cover gaskets are already done. I paid my money and moved on. I'm not sure why you mention "both" the valve covers gaskets, but I assume you know more than me so perhaps there are two. I will look into the PCV Valve and try to figure out how to 'check it'. Thanks for the info


On the muffler/exhaust front: I just got the quote I was looking for, as well as an extremely honest muffler mechanic. He quoted me $360, which is the best i've gotten so far, and seems to be similar in price to buying the parts needed myself, if I could identify what they are.
 He would just be bending /creating an exhaust for me and bolting it onto what I have remaining. Nonetheless, when I mentioned that I may be getting rid of the car relatively soon he said "don't spend money on that car then. spend it on your next one and leave this as someone else's problem". He was also looking for a truck like mine, and said he would make me an offer right then if were automatic and 4WD. (I laughed and said if it were 4WD I would be more interested in keeping it anyway)
Finally, before I left he goes "dude people pay me to make their cars sound like this"  (because my truck sounds like some sort of loud gas guzzling monster truck right now).
I guess for now I'm just going to continue on without the muffler for a while. It sounds ridiculous to me but it's not that bad, and I want to get to where I'm mainly just using my car on the weekends anyway.

magnet18

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #41 on: July 26, 2018, 12:36:21 PM »
Valve cover gaskets they are ripping you off, IMO, and swapping a radiator is a single afternoon type project

What worries me is why both the valve covers are leaking in the first place, something might be increasing crankcase pressure.  Clogged pcv valve, blow-by, etc.


Check your pcv valce (very cheap part) and send an oil sample to Blackstone to see if you have any funny business going on

Well the valve cover gaskets are already done. I paid my money and moved on. I'm not sure why you mention "both" the valve covers gaskets, but I assume you know more than me so perhaps there are two. I will look into the PCV Valve and try to figure out how to 'check it'. Thanks for the info


On the muffler/exhaust front: I just got the quote I was looking for, as well as an extremely honest muffler mechanic. He quoted me $360, which is the best i've gotten so far, and seems to be similar in price to buying the parts needed myself, if I could identify what they are.
 He would just be bending /creating an exhaust for me and bolting it onto what I have remaining. Nonetheless, when I mentioned that I may be getting rid of the car relatively soon he said "don't spend money on that car then. spend it on your next one and leave this as someone else's problem". He was also looking for a truck like mine, and said he would make me an offer right then if were automatic and 4WD. (I laughed and said if it were 4WD I would be more interested in keeping it anyway)
Finally, before I left he goes "dude people pay me to make their cars sound like this"  (because my truck sounds like some sort of loud gas guzzling monster truck right now).
I guess for now I'm just going to continue on without the muffler for a while. It sounds ridiculous to me but it's not that bad, and I want to get to where I'm mainly just using my car on the weekends anyway.

V6, v means 2 cylinder heads, 2 valve covers, google some basic engine stuff and YouTube videos with good animations and cross sections, you'll get the basics pretty quick.  If just one leaked i wouldn't worry, but both starting to leak means suspect that there might be a reason

Muffler quote is good, for some reason exhaust guys are usually really reasonable in my experience

And just because some highschoolers pay for straight pipes, doesn't mean it sounds "good"

Also, mufflers don't have anything to do with emissions, that's the catalytic converter.
No mufflers means you might get a ticket for sound violation, which can happen anywhere.  Unlikely, but possible if you start annoying locals.

Also be aware of where exhaust is dumping, if it's in the wrong spot it can get into the cab while you're going down the road.  Less likely in a truck than an suv or car.  You'll be most at risk if you like going down the road with the back window open

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #42 on: July 30, 2018, 11:16:05 AM »
Thanks for that info.

I don't have a back window, so hopefully the exhaust isn't coming in the car too bad. The exhaust pipe is broken off right in the middle of the truck though, so I'm not too sure it would be getting pulled in by the back window as much as via one of the side windows.

Lately I'm eyeing the Toyota Prius C. I like the looks of them, but they are quite small and 'low'. I know it's probably just me believing consumerist B.S. but one thing I really value is being a little 'higher up'. That's one reason why the HRV is getting pushed down the list a bit. It's a good size, but it's short.

It's like I'd want something about the size of the Prius C, but raised up higher. Which I guess is something like the RAV4.

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #43 on: September 25, 2018, 01:36:57 PM »
Guess I'll keep my thread going here as the latest issue relates to the same vehicle. Not much of an issue though really..I think I just need a new battery.

I noticed my engine was having a hard time starting recently. It would make a bit of an 'alarm'/high pitched electronic beep, then it would sputter a few times as I turned the key, and then it finally starts.
Today was the worst example of this occurring so I think I need to bite the bullet and put a new battery in.

The other day I stopped by Advance Auto parts on my home and they said I need a new battery based on the battery test they did. But I was bit suspicious of that because of course they're going to tell you you need a new battery. So I left and said I'd think about it.

The test they did said something like my battery had 296 CCA (and it's rated at like 600 I think).

Now I'm looking on their site and I see an "Autocraft Gold" 600 CCA for $135 after all the discounts I applied (25% off..which  is pretty hefty IMO)

I also am looking at walmart.com and they have an Everstart Maxx (Group 24f) 750 CCA for $94 (no coupon codes needed).

I also have some experience dealing with lead acid batteries if anyone happens to think I don't yet need to replace it, and should just try topping it off with water or somethign like that. I have owned deep cycle marine batteries for years with my boating endeavors, and I have a battery charger for that purpose. My roommate also has multimeter if we need to employ that somehow to better understand what's going on.

I'm not sure if I should take that route and try to kick the can down the road of buying a new battery, or just go ahead and do it. What do you all think?

Also I live in georgia so it gets cold in the winter here but not that cold.

Ecky

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #44 on: September 25, 2018, 06:58:09 PM »
I'd get a new battery, personally. If it's having trouble starting now, it isn't long in this world. Check the water levels of course, but signs point to it being time.

I think Walmart batteries are fine, and the price is right.

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #45 on: September 26, 2018, 07:17:37 AM »
Thanks, I ended up going with a Walmart battery yesterday. When I left work, my car had it's "worse" start yet, so I felt I was getting close to the very end of the battery's life. I did get it started though, so instead of driving home I went straight to walmart.
I found the battery I needed (and learned something in the process...did you know that the "F" in Group 24F batteries means that the terminals are on the opposite side of "traditional". For example, my battery's positive terminal is on the right, and the terminals are closest to the backside of the battery. Had I bought the 24F one instead of the 24, the positive terminal would have been on the left, and my leads would not have reached the terminals properly/easily.)

I then walked the battery out to my car, went to start my car, and it wouldn't start at all. So I think I cut it as close as possible! I then jumped my car off the new battery as it sat in the grocery cart, and then drove home with my new battery in tow. Then I replaced the battery at my house with a little trouble but nothing too bad.

Success!

RWD

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #46 on: September 26, 2018, 08:12:25 AM »

Car Jack

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #47 on: September 26, 2018, 08:56:20 AM »
It sounds like you have not yet addressed the exhaust.  Being the Kludge DIY mechanic that I am, I have a few solutions for you to do it yourself.

1: you can go to auto zone and look for pipes to merge the front section of the broken pipe and that piece in the picture on the ground together.  Looks like 2 connection points up front which makes sense for a V6.  If it's on a curve, that probably won't work, but if it's straight, you'll need 2.  The pipes will be just a bit larger than your existing pipe with a thinner section in the middle.  The way I do it is first, I smather the pipe with muffler weld, then push the merge pipe section in, then push the piece from the ground in.  You'll be pushing 2 in at the same time, so a bit more finagle work.  I then use the pipe clamps on each side of the merge piece.  Once that's done, use whatever to hold the muffler up in the back.  Wire, metal coat hangers....whatever.

2: The other truly redneck method is to get some flexible pipe.  This will need to fit over the existing pipes on both ends.  You could just clamp both ends.  The advantage of this is that you can cut some of that piece that was on the ground and just make up that short distance with the flexible pipe.  Use the clamps as before but you'll want to use more coat hangers to hang up the exhaust.  Now......if the rubber hangers are still under the truck and the little lever arms are still on the exhaust, you can actually use these.  Throw some WD40 or silicone or olive oil or just about anything in the rubber pieces to make the metal arm thingy go in easier.

FrugalFisherman10

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Re: Car Troubles - asking the experts - WWYD
« Reply #48 on: October 31, 2018, 08:35:06 AM »
It sounds like you have not yet addressed the exhaust.  Being the Kludge DIY mechanic that I am, I have a few solutions for you to do it yourself.

1: you can go to auto zone and look for pipes to merge the front section of the broken pipe and that piece in the picture on the ground together.  Looks like 2 connection points up front which makes sense for a V6.  If it's on a curve, that probably won't work, but if it's straight, you'll need 2.  The pipes will be just a bit larger than your existing pipe with a thinner section in the middle.  The way I do it is first, I smather the pipe with muffler weld, then push the merge pipe section in, then push the piece from the ground in.  You'll be pushing 2 in at the same time, so a bit more finagle work.  I then use the pipe clamps on each side of the merge piece.  Once that's done, use whatever to hold the muffler up in the back.  Wire, metal coat hangers....whatever.

2: The other truly redneck method is to get some flexible pipe.  This will need to fit over the existing pipes on both ends.  You could just clamp both ends.  The advantage of this is that you can cut some of that piece that was on the ground and just make up that short distance with the flexible pipe.  Use the clamps as before but you'll want to use more coat hangers to hang up the exhaust.  Now......if the rubber hangers are still under the truck and the little lever arms are still on the exhaust, you can actually use these.  Throw some WD40 or silicone or olive oil or just about anything in the rubber pieces to make the metal arm thingy go in easier.
Appreciate the input! I hadn't realized I had more responses on this thread. You are correct, I have yet to address the muffler problem. I just drive it around and it's loud as crap and I feel a bit like a bum but also like "it's getting me from A to B"

when I went to the muffler shop to get a quote, I ended up disposing of the old rusty muffler pipes by giving it to them. So I can't do the suggestions you mention, but that piping was so poor I don't think I'd want to anyway honestly.


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