01
Aug
10

91topaz and other car nut stuff

 

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imageInstalling new radiator in the 2000 Galant , the old one leaked around the top gooseneck. Still researching on the evaporate and catalytic trouble codes. 12/12/2015. Radiator was 60.00 from Rock Auto. 🔩🛠🔧🔧🔧🔧🔧🔧

Fans attached from old radiator …..

August 2014 ,Topaz, semi retired, will work on it periodically.

IMG_5718Added led voltage gauge.

Ranger inspected, now the daily driver, check radiator for leaking. intermittent clicking when started, connection between battery post and cable clamp was dirty, had to use sandpaper to clean both the post and the clamp, (positive side). So far starts reliably.  IMG_5878

additional vehicle   is now a 1997 Saturn SL1, from Jim C. to replace Diane’s Toyota. needs a windshield but it’s inspected. Needs dashboard painted, was repainted with a bright blue/green for what ever reason. runs good. Windshield has been replaced. Cowl painted.

AUGUST 2014

IMG_5981

bright blue color from previous owner

IMG_5982

remove two screws and pry off the dash panel. Easier to paint out of the car.

IMG_5983

Also, both ends of the dash can be removed, the glove box, and the panel below the steering wheel and trim and vents from the center dash console. Now repainted with the new color.

IMG_5984

SEM vinyl paint was used

IMG_5985

Dashboard cover before painting.

IMG_5986

Re-installing the dashboard components. Some areas of the pillars had the be painted also.IMG_5987

IMG_5989

components installedIMG_5990vents and glove box and lower dash panel installed , trim surrounding radio/HVAC console pod cleaned and reinstalled.

IMG_5993

end caps on dash reinstalled, paint is close match for door color.

IMG_5994cleaner, brighter look but still not done,

Due to the angle of the windshield, and the large surface area of the dashboard, the light color caused a lot of reflection on the windshield during the day when the sun was bright.

The top of the dashboard was removed and painted flat black thus reducing a lot of the reflection when driving the vehicle during the day.

Also due to the large amount of scratches on the exterior, I tried a compound, polish and applied several coats over several weeks. I used a product called TR3 Resin Glaze, Automobile Cleaner and Polish. Amour all black for the bumpers. There are still several large scratches. But better overall appearance.

All in all the Saturn is a decent ride, one of the best handling vehicles Ive driven, however the suspension is configured it’s done well with this vehicle considering the mileage.

One of the drawbacks is that for a person my size it’s difficult to get in and out from as it sits low to the ground compared to the pickup. The front flex pipe needs replacing and the second gear synchro is worn. Manual xmission.

Saturns seems to have an ageless design not common in other vehicles and you will notice no denting as the door panels are plastic. Slight rusting is on the front door lower interior  kick panels. Drivers side mirror needs replacing. Passenger side mirror was replaced.

August 2015

Vehicle returned to Jim C.

IMG_8506 IMG_8507

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JUNE 2014

06/14 looks like the alternator crapped out. won’t start and after a charge it starts but low and declining voltage. Alternator replaced June 6th, rock auto

July 26th install serpentine belt and install self locking bolts and lock washers on alternator.

IMG_5484IMG_5988

note the bright blueish green color of cowl and dashboard.

IMG_5488 IMG_5489

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2000 Ranger, parking brake light  switch and pedal sometimes does not release fully, dashboard light maybe on. unmarked alarm module found under dashboard, removed. high current and melted components indicated.

06/27/2014

all belts have been replaced on the Topaz, I had ordered them as the serpentine belt started to shred. The water pump belt broke, as the temperature gauge started to rise, thought it was the thermostat stuck  closed till I could actually see the  belt had broke. The water pump is  buried close the fire wall near the passenger side engine compartment. The alternator belt continues to squeal some times and it been one of the first repairs that was done when my daughter bought the Topaz. Apparently the alternator bracket and belt adjustment is not correct and the alternator tension does not last resulting on belt slippage and breakage. Valve cover/gasket still needs to be  corrected as it leaks. One of the exhaust recirculation hoses to the cat is split and need to be replaced.

2000 ford ranger (formerly my daughters) has a new exhaust system and rear shocks replaced. (Rock Auto). Probably will have to sideline the Topaz and switch to the Ranger.

 

Getting the vehicles inspected ranks right up there like going to the dentist……..

Rear license plate light replaced. Other items have to be checked for inspection. Brake light is on but a quick check looks like the parking brake/light switch has a splice for some reason, possibly some one had it tapped for 12 volts. Brakes are good but the parking brake may stick some time.

IMG_5490

2000 ranger new spring bolts and pipe 06/2-14

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2000 Ranger, new muffler, 06/2014, and clamp

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2000 ranger, new rear pipe and shocks

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2000 Ranger, new rear pipe

IMG_5494

2000 Ranger, transmission

IMG_5495

2000 ranger , front coil springs

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2000 Ranger, front springs

IMG_5497

2000 intermediate pipe and muffler, new , 06,2014

.

2013 December , left rear tire replaced, bead was leaking, installed on vehicle. purchased all belts for replacements. Replaced the alternator belt when alternator bearing started binding and broke belt . Ordered and replaced alternator (Rock Auto) . previous alternator was installed January 2011. The previous alternator was a “NSA” brand, figures !IMG_4155 IMG_4156 IMG_4157 IMG_4158

other items for repair, passenger side window still intermittent operation. One of those PITA (Pain in the ass) repairs to take apart the door panels and troubleshoot. brakes and fluid still a problem. valve cover still leaks despite gasket replacement. transmission leaks somewhat.

also the heater blower did not work , it is a high amperage circuit, the circuit goes through he push button  control, OFF. but the contacts crapped out, after dis assembly of the control unit the wires were connected and bypassed the switch. Also the vacuum lines under the hood lost connection due to age. repaired and proper heater control restored and no more check  engine light either.

side note, (criticized for just spinning my wheels, now that I’m older I’m supposed to be portrayed as successful) who should be driving around in old vehicles ? I like them.

 

other vehicle is a 2000 ,Renee’s ,a Mitsubishi Galant . Nice car.

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September 2015

Working on the GalantIMG_8782 IMG_8784 IMG_8785 ————————————————————————————————————————————-

1993 Ranger needs exhaust system. (no longer one of our vehicles)

March 2013, exhaust system noisy, starter clicking not starting. Usually if the starter solenoids click and the starter motor won’t turn it may be the brushes, I had pulled the starter a while back cleaned up the brushes, and reinstalled. The brushes I ordered were incorrect,they were for different brand of starter for the application (topaz). This time when it happened, I rapped on the starter and it started and after teardown, I cleaned it up, reseated the brushes which had maximum wear on them. When the new replacements arrived, installed. This type had the brushes in a holder.
20130323-213000.jpg worn brushes.ahref=”https://pmetro.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/20130323-213422.jpg”>20130323-213422.jpgthe new assembly.
>20130323-224322.jpg
20130323-213731.jpgcomparison of the old and new.
20130323-213947.jpg

20130323-214026.jpgreference photos
The starter is mounted by studs, the large nuts are for the air tube bracket ( that goes to the cat converter) that is secured to the housing when the starter is installed.
>muffler
The exhaust system started to be noisy, inspection revealed that the muffler was sagging and lost the end mount, wired up temporarily. Further inspection revealed that the front of the catalytic converter was cracked where the pipe entered the cat, apparently movement of the engine over a period of time cracked it. The manifold pipe to cat connection was rusted solid in one piece, the spring bolts over tightened. Ordered new cat, and pipe, gaskets and insulators from Rock Auto, prices very reasonable. Spring bolts that are required, I had a set ordered previously. After sawing the spring bolts with a reciprocating saw, the exhaust system was easily removed, the muffler , I planned to salvage and use broke off at the clamp.!!!!! The pipe and cat was one piece welded together . Into the yard it went for reference with the new replacements. The body of new cat was smaller in length, but had a longer pipe attached the back of it. The pipe after the cat was a exact fit, but the OD of the outlet of the cat and the ID of pipe was very tight, it did not slip in by hand. By clamping the pipe to a bench top and with a block of wood held against the inlet of the cat and smashing it with a good size ball peen hammer, I drove it into the pipe, Using the old system for a guide as far as length and plane of the cat and pipe. Secured the pipe to cat connection with a clamp, and brought out to the vehicle, it lined up with the insulators, (hangers) and the front flange mount , the flange, just required a bit of cleanup of the old gasket with a chisel . Installed a new gasket (supplied with the cat converter BTW) and the spring bolts and the system was mounted along with the air tube connectors, ordinary worm clamps. Muffler was to be ordered. Muffler later installed. exhaust system is installed.

2013, alternator belt replaced.

September 2012
09/15/2012
Mounted and installed drivers side tire, previous tire would not hold air ,bead was leaking and unrepairable. Pulled valve cover and cleaned and applied sealer(caulking) , was leaking, topped off master cylinder with brake fluid.
Purchased from ebay 2 centre caps for the front wheels, one went missing and then another from the front only, ????? Potholes ?? The rears never fell off !! About ten dollars each. Installed lets hope they stay on.

09/08/12
Replaced the drivers side brake line same as previous entry, all brake lines are now good , drivers side front tire went flat, ordered replacement, bead does not want to seal , losing air. Installed spare tire. Forming brake lines

20120915-172915.jpg

20120915-172951.jpg

09/01/2012
Replaced the right rear brake line , it had rusted and leaked. Most of the line from the rear flex line fitting to about half way up the chassis was rusty. Most of the line from the front halfway down he chassis is good either a small oil or transmission leak is keeping it covered in oil so it is not rusting. Cut out the old rusty portion and put in a union and had to double flair the the steel line. Purchased alloy brake line from Fedhill , http://www.Fedhillusa.com. This is a copper rustproof alloy 3/16 inch brake line know as Cunifer (made in Great Britian). This is easy to work with and easy to flair. It can be bent by hand without kinking. Fedhill also has a assortment of fittings.
Flared one end with fitting and closely bent it with the tubing bender, the connector that mounts to the flex line. Leaving the rest in a coil ,it was easy to bend into place and cut to size. Flair the other end and connected to the union and bled out the system. Cost for the line is about$32.oo for 12 feet. A bit more expensive but easier than steel and less than stainless. Worth it.
Now the other side needs to be done. As it’s rusted in the same place and will probably leak sooner or later. Note: due to the design of the braking system on the Topaz, both rear lines are separate from the master cylinder to the each back brake, so if one blows out you still have the other wheels operable . There is fluid loss and a brake light warning but the vehicle is still able to brake. Adjusted the parking brake.

Rusty brake lines
20120901-173435.jpg

The brake line
20120901-173644.jpg
Delivered in a pizza box !!!

20120901-173753.jpg

August 2012

08/26/2012 checked fluids, vacuumed out vehicle

gas, 7.636 gallons

3.799 USD per gallon

29.01 USD total

brake light on after fill up , topped off brake fluid, strange ,,,will check level again tomorrow, possible leak? maybe the Zuma Gods are mad ! LOL

July 2012

Inspection completed, passed

;

installed new rear brakes and hardware

March 2012

Installed new headlights, passenger side outer rear wheel bearing replaced

rear brakes need to be installed

mileage now at : 150,0015

April 2011

Being a stubborn DIYer can have it’s advantages/disadvantages and shopping on the internet for convenience since the local warehouse club closed, where I usually would purchase tires, I had purchased two front tires delivered and as fate would have it right after DIY mounting them (I have yet to DIY balance them (badboy!) A pothole on post road took most of the air from one of them. Being a front wheel drive car I didn’t really notice any difference in handling.. so on I rode… later finding out that the new tire was woefully under inflated from the killer pothole. So I supposed I put the myself and others at risk riding around like this !!! My vehicle doesn’t have the latest safety enhancement of tire pressure monitoring! Nor do I want it. Some sidewall wear on the tire but so far so good …It re inflated and held air . The DIYer rides on… (yes you can purchase replacement insurance for tires bought online.(and yes I have old tires to bring to the recycling center or maybe look up ways to utilize them)) I will have to take a good look ,after the teeth smashing pot hole encounter, of the front end as if there was any alignment it is probably gone. (Is there an app to download for your mobile phone for pothole claim damage?)….

04/22/2011 $3.859 USD/gallon

04/03/2011 $3.639 USD/ gallon

04/09/2011 $3.699 USD/ gallon

The ranger sitting in the driveway will have to go !!!!! Tags expired , if I was on a farm it might be nice to have a rusty pickup around !

March 2011

The air tube bracket from under the car is buzzing again, the bolt securing it is off the bracket probably from the snow that was piled up and driven over.
The starter failed, friday AM, clicking solenoid, when checked the wiring and voltage was ok, pulled the starter and dissassembled, Intermittent and slow operation when bench tested, looks like oil from the leaking valve cover has dripped down onto and into the starter. The amature and brushes were covered in oil and dirt. Cleaned out the brushes and commutator. Tested ok, reinstalled. Will have to rebuild/replace soon. last check was Sept. with a wiring problem.

Passenger side front window no power or poor connection somewhere, doesn’t work was intermittent (from October)

topped off transmission fluid

heater controls need cleaning /service ,sometimes intermittent fan operation

passenger side tire slow leak, inside sidewall has dry rot, front tires to be replaced.

3/17/2001 regular unleaded @ $3.539 USD/ gallon

January 2011

The alternator belt broke, replaced. Most likely the bearing seized up and broke the belt. Ordered parts for rebuild only to find out that the alternator is a 75 amp Mitsubishi model (should have checked more closely) and a Topaz with automatic transmission and air conditioning should have a 95 amp unit, unable to rebuild it so a 95 amp model ordered. (Installed new alternator)

December 20101

12/26/2010,12.436gals, 258 miles, 20.81 mpg

12/09/2010, 12.023 gals,248 miles,20.627mpg , $3.05 USD/gal

November 2010

$2.889 USD/gallon, 9.944 Gallons, 243 miles 24.4 miles per gallon, $28.73 USD

OCTOBER 2010

Unleaded regular, @2.859/G, 11.624 Gal, 266 miles, 22.88 mpg, $33.23 USD

Passenger side power window intermittent power, most likely switch, and/or connections need cleaning.

Tires: the donut spare was found to have a screw through the tread. Since I never thought that space saver spare was a good idea and it’s only for temporary service under 50 mph, I purchased on-line a 14 inch steel rim (Discounttiredirect.com $43.00 and $3.00 for a tire valve ,free shipping.) I could have gone to a bone yard or got used rims on Ebay but theres no guarantee that they would be true (not bent or out of round) , for the money and convenience of delivery it’s a good deal on a new rim..Mounted a 14″ tire I had in the basement. Possibly will buy 2 new tires at a later date. Now I have a full size spare.

SEPTEMBER 2010

Valve cover leaks oil, one reference states that the late models have an integral gasket as part of the valve cover, meaning that if it’s damaged, you replace the entire valve cover. One good thing is that the valve cover is easily replaceable, there is not a lot of plumbing or components blocking it’s removal.

Recent gas up was 13.011 gallons at $2.559 USD/gal. I didn’t get the exact odometer reading but estimate mileage was 24-25 mpg. (about ~300 miles ).

tire valves
both rear tires that were previous mounted on the front of the car had leaking tire valves.
one I discovered leaking and changed, checked the other ones, they seemed alright.
The drivers side rear tire blew out and when a tire was mounted, the tire valve was leaking,
replaced the valve. It looks like fix-a flat sealant was used as there was some around the neck of the tire valve. check donut spare, it went flat when car was parked, re-inflated, may get a rim for a full size spare.

Coolant:
Drained coolant (no flush) and replaced about 1 gallon of anti freeze, you are supposed to remove the drain plug from the engine block to completely drain the coolant but it’s difficult to get to and no idea how easily it would be to remove it. while I was under the car checked for any major oil/tranny leaks, didn’t see any but didn’t have the engine running at the time.Getting to the petcock on the radiator to drain fluid is no easy task compared to working on the ranger. Plus you have to attach tubing to the petcock as there’s a bracket directly under the petcock. On the topaz, the air cleaner tube was in the way and if you have large hands it’s a tight squeeze. Run up to temp and top off check cooling fan.

A/C
the A/c compressor pulley has major play in it, the bearing are probably shot and that most likely the reason why it’s bypassed. If I ever have time and money to do it I’ll pull the compressor and repair /replace it. Low priority.

Starter circuit
Also pulled the starter out, by chance, the car didn’t start (solenoid clicking) after I changed the anti freeze, the starter and solenoid looked ok and bench tested ok, cleaned all electrical connections on starter and solenoid. Car still didn’t start now, but cranking, no spark, checked connection at coil, getting 12 v but noticed some slight oxidation at primary coil connection, cleaned and applied dielectic grease. vehicle started. Some times working on older vehicles you have to clean some of the electrical connections and grounds that could cause intermittents.

Misc
Also I reattached the air tube bracket from under the car. that was causing a buzzing sound at around 1200 RPM

Gas Milage
Current fill up was 10.433 gallons at 252 miles, more idle time when servicing vehicle, full throttle acceleration test to redline. stallout at idle after service not sure if it was due to computer refresh after having battery cable disconnected for starter service. Other wise, vehicle is running ok. Ignition ok in rain.

August 2010

topped off transmission fluid, sometimes 1-2 shift delayed, will have to check out transmission, leaking etc. and recheck fluid level

rotated tires,

repaired passenger side power window gear

mileage from last fill up, after emission repairs and tune up, 28mpg , 288 miles which is good but, driving for good mileage may result in an increase in vehicles that tailgate you, especially when accelerating from stoplights or on freeway entrance ramps. seems a bit high

next fill up was 25. 68 mpg, 277 miles.

repairs/ maintenance to be considered:

some small rust spots on the undercarriage and trunk floor, should repair b4 winter

rear brakes may need adjusting ?? right rear drags sometimes

should change coolant b4 winter (done)

possible starter solenoid/ wiring problems, troubleshoot, check wiring (done)

drivers side front door lock solenoid (actually a motor actuator, froze up) needs replacing, low priority

drivers side rear power window gear may need replacing, low priority

spare key works in ignition but won’t unlock doors

July 2010 repairs

Replaced :spark plugs, wires, rotor, distributer cap

Front Brake pads

CV joint boot outer left front axle, quick boot type

Left rear strut assembly

Power window motor gear, drivers side

Coolant temperature sender
(parts from Rock Auto)

Accu Auto Repairs (emission repairs)

Replaced O2 sensor $59.00 USD

Replaced EGR solenoid $62.00 USD

Labor Diagnostic $70.00 USD

RI State Inspection. $39.00 USD

VIN readout:

World Manufacturer Identifier – 1st, 2nd, 3rd Positions
VIN Code: 1ME
Assembly Country: UNITED STATES
Make: Mercury
Body Style: Sedan
Restraint System Type (Passenger Cars) or Brake Type and GVWR Class (Trucks and Vans) – 4th Position
VIN Code: P
Brake System: STANDARD
GVWR Class:
Line,Series Body Type – 5th, 6th, 7th Positions
VIN Code: M36
Vehicle Line: Topaz
Series: GS
Vehicle Type: Passenger Car
Engine Type – 8th Position
VIN Code: X
Engine: 2.3 L
Cylinders: 4
Fuel: Gasoline
Model Year – 10th Position
VIN Code: M
Model Year: 1991
Assembly Plant – 11th Position
VIN Code: K
Assembly Plant: KANSAS CITY, KANSAS
Production Sequence Number – 12th – 17th
VIN Code: deleted
Prod Sequence Number deleted
Additional Information
Wheel Axles Wheelbase 199.8

stats
4 door
Front wheel drive
4 cylinder, 3 speed automatic transmission
color: light blue, faded flat with primer spots (or faded clear coat) showing
one side looks like repaint, rust spot rear quarter
39000 on the clock (139000)
power side mirrors
power locks and windows
A/C, non functional, serpentine belt is for no a/c application, by passes A/C pulley.

I purchased this car from my daughter who wanted to sell it, knowing that I would need another vehicle some day when the ranger crapped out. It sat out in the driveway for a couple of years but I started it and ran it around the hood every couple of months. Some days I would come home and find a “cash for junk cars” flyer on it. I guess people don’t recognize a decent good car when they see it. (and technically they are trespassers.)

average 24 MPG

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