Nov 182019
1996 Ford Econovan

1996 Ford Econovan

I’m an amateur myself, looking for some advice from the pros. Thanks in advance for reading my post, any input is greatly appreciated!

I live in my van, which is converted to a high top camper. This itself causes the fuel efficiency to be quite bad, it was stable for the last 20000km at about 8km/L or 19mpg.

I have rebuilt the carby, and for about 2000km the fuel consumption stayed the same. However, during my last 400km trip, the fuel consumption increased by about 30% to 5km/l, or 12mpg.

Could you help me brainstorm as to what might cause this? Any help is much appreciated. Pretty desperate as I can’t afford to drive around with that mileage.

Thanks heaps everyone!

If you are letting the car warm up before driving it will decrease. Low tire pressure will also decrease fuel mileage. A clogged air/fuel filter or dragging brake caliper will also decrease fuel mileage. Contaminated fuel can also be a cause for this. Try refueling at a different station. Poor tune up or worn spark plugs may also have an effect.

A vacuum leak may also cause an issue, but usually would be accompanied with a higher than normal idle.

Bad Gas Mileage Causes:

  • Incorrect tire pressure is a common cause of bad gas mileage. It’s also one of the easiest things to correct. Periodically checking your tires with an inexpensive pressure gauge is a good way to catch this. Just be sure to use your car manufacturer’s recommended pressure levels stamped onto the driver’s side doorplate and not the “maximum pressure” numbers shown on the tire itself.
  • Having bad oxygen sensors and air filters can reduce your gas mileage by up to 20%. The oxygen sensors help keep the proper mixture of air and fuel, and having this off balance can be inefficient. The air filters can get clogged and simply need to be unclogged to fix the problem. Air filters need to be cleaned so that the engine can work at its peak performance.
  • Your spark plugs are responsible for sparking combustion in your engine. If they misfire, or are working poorly, this can affect your gas mileage in a negative way.
  • Having bad fuel injectors can cause bad mileage. This is because the fuel injectors are responsible for putting fuel into the engine. If there is a leak of some sort, then less fuel will make it to the engine, and then in turn make it run less efficiently.
  • Having your air conditioner on causes a lot of gas to be wasted in powering the system. Depending on your local climate, consider turning off the air conditioner when it makes sense and ride with your windows open. At higher speeds, close the windows though to reduce drag.
  • A common cause of bad mileage is your own driving habits. If you are an aggressive driver, likely you accelerate to quickly. This causes more fuel to be used, and will use up more gas than you need. Same goes for revving your engine. It may sound cool, but it uses up gas for going nowhere.
  • Many people waste gas by idling. Idling is when you have your engine on, but you are parked and not moving. Common places where this occurs is when you are trying to warm up your car in the winter, or while you are waiting to pick someone up. Your car really doesn’t need more than 30 seconds to warm up the engine. When it comes to waiting for someone, turn your car off or put it into neutral. Since you aren’t moving, you might as well save gas and the environment.
  • The type of motor oil that you are using can also affect your gas mileage up to 12%. You want to use motor oils that are high in reducing friction. Either use a synthetic oil or the oil that the car’s manual recommends.

Overall, these are the major causes of bad gas mileage, but the list goes on even further than this.


Nov 052019

Ford Escape

Can I drive my car to the mechanic 30 miles away (or 10 for the bad one) if panel shows overheating but motor seems fine?
Panel show overheating
Heater doesn’t work even at full blast
Coolant tank is full
Radiators seem to set in
I don’t know why the panel shows overheating.
Sometimes car misfires and I have to stop and start it again. Now more often with this overheating. I’m in the middle of nowhere and need to get to repair place. What could it be and can I drive my car, or should I call a handy neighbor to help if its just a little thing??

I would not recommend driving the vehicle if it is overheating. There may be a serious issue that can cause irreversible internal damage. Having the vehicle towed would be the best option.

It could be as simple as the radiator fan not working or stuck thermostat. But it may also be as worse as a blown head gasket.

Refilling your cooling system

Nov 052019

2013 Ford Taurus

Charge system light keeps coming on I have replaced the battery and the alternator do you have any other suggestions?

Battery Light On

Have you put a volt meter on it with the engine running to insure the system is charging? Tested the battery(new ones can be bad too)?

First i would test the fusible links. There are two, Fusible link A & B. You may want to refer to the wiring diagram below. Next the wiring and connections would be the next things to rule out once the battery and alternator has been eliminated.

Alternator wiring diagram 2013 Ford Taurus


Intermittent alternator failure testing

Nov 052019

1994 Ford F150 XLT

I’ve put a 89 5.8 engine in the truck, the distributor has a different connector, & only 4 wires. The trucks original connector has 6 wires. Can i hard wire it together?

Putting an 89 5.8L engine in, distributor connections not the same, can i cut them off & hard wire them together? But the trucks connector has 6 wires,& & tbis different engine distributor has 4 wires?

I would recommend using the wiring and ignition system from the 1994 Ford F150 with the 1989 engine. No wire cutting needed.

Remove the distributor cap and mark where the rotor is pointing now and where it is pointing once pulled. Then install the other distributor in the same manner. This will prevent any timing issues moving forward.

1989 Ford 5.8L Engine Distributor Wiring Diagram

1989 Ford F150 5.8L engine distributor wiring diagram

1994 Ford 5.8L Engine Distributor Wiring Diagram

1994 Ford F150 5.8 L engine distributor wiring diagram

Oct 292019


what could cause my car to sound like clanking wind when put into gear ?(engine turns over and runs great BTW) and does not seem to be fully engaged into gear. When I jacked up both front wheels to inspect the CV joints, drive lines, wheel bearing ECt, if I rotate each wheel fwd and rvs. As soon as I set it down and put into gear it will engage but the slightest bit of stress pops it out of gear.?? Thank you and what can I do to figure it out?

Close to checking what I would but go a step further. Jack the car up and put it securely on jack stands so that the wheels can move freely. Put the car in gear while on jack stands and inspect.

Sounds like the cv shaft is damaged or not seated completely.

Has the vehicle been worked on recently??

Oct 222019

2012 Ford F150

I don’t use 4wd very often. So I switched it into 4wd on the way home from work this evening as I understood this should be done every so often to keep the solinoids and things operating. I was on a straight road and when I changed it over and it started to make a loud, strange noise that I can’t describe very well, maybe a howl, maybe like gears. So I then turned it back to 2wd and the dash said it was changed but it was still making the noise until I made a turn. I did this twice more on the way home with the same results.

Once home I crawled underneath to see if there was anything to see. vacuum lines were in place and nothing else seemed out of the ordinary. I took it for another drive with the same results, but this time I left it in 4wd for awhile longer to see if it worked it self out. It then made 2 very loud thumps that felt as if they were coming from directly beneath me. I changed it back to 2 wd and once the noise started it seems fine again.

Check Fluid Level

The thing to check would be the front differential fluid level. If the fluid level is low it will make a roaring noise. Next top the fluid level off and test it again.

Check your Joints

As for disengaging the 4×4 sometimes the vehicle needs to be driven in reverse about 10 feet for it to release properly. This is normal.The light changes to allow you to know it received the request to do so.

As for the odd noises and popping, this too is normal when trying to operate the vehicle in 4×4 on DRY paved roads. The tires will grabIf these noises seem to be excessive you will want to also check you front drive shaft u-joints. Then check your front axle shaft joints.

Oct 222019

Ford Explorer Sport TracWhat are they calling a multi switch for the head lights ? Is it the dimmer controal switch?

The headlight switch is called the headlight switch. The turn signal arm(with wiper and high/low beam function) is referred to as a multi-function switch. In your case it would also include the Hazard function.

According to the Repair Manual the headlight switch is located on the dash panel.

How to replace the multi-function switch

Multi-Function Switch, Replace

  1. Insert ignition key into ignition switch lock cylinder and turn to RUN position.
  2. Push ignition switch lock cylinder release tab, Fig. 1, using suitable punch while pulling outward on ignition switch lock cylinder.
  3. Twist tilt wheel handle and shank counterclockwise, then remove shank.
  4. Remove upper and lower steering column shrouds.
  5. Disconnect multi-function switch electrical connectors.
  6. Remove multi-function switch retaining screws, then the switch.
  7. Reverse procedure to install.


Labor Time

Labor Time to replace the Multi-function switch is 1.3 hours.

Oct 082019

Ford Focus

When driving in a bad snow storm should I leave the Positraction on full time or should I let the car turn it on when it is needed?

Your vehicle is not equipped with “Positraction” that I am aware of. Nor could I find any reference in the manuals. It may however be equipped with traction control. During the winter months and pretty much anytime you are driving leaving the traction control ON would be best.

What is Traction Control?

Traction Control monitors the speed of the vehicle and the speed of each wheel to determine if the tire is about to slip. It then applies the brakes with the use of the ABS system to prevent the tires from slipping. This can be benificial on wet and or icy roads.

Traction Control when turned off allows the tires to spin or slip. Say you want to spin your tires or hear them squeal, you will need to turn OFF the traction control.

ABS w/Traction Control & Stability Assist

The four wheel anti-lock brake system with traction control and stability assist consists of the following components: brake booster release switch, front and rear ABS sensors and sensor indicators, hydraulic control unit, stability assist event indicator, stability assist module, lateral accelerometer, steering wheel position sensor, transducers, trac control switch, yaw rate sensor and the yellow anti-lock brake warning indicator.

The stability assist system communicates with the PCM. The PCM assists with traction control by altering engine timing and fuel injector pulse. By altering engine timing and fuel injector pulse, the PCM can control torque, which in turn reduces excessive wheel spin. At speeds above 25 mph, traction control is controlled only by PCM command of engine torque output. At speeds up to 25 mph, the stability assist module requests the PCM to reduce engine torque while simultaneously applying and releasing appropriate brake to restore traction when one or both drive wheels lose traction and begin to spin.

The stability assist system continuously monitors vehicle motion relative to the driver’s intended course. The driver’s intended course is calculated by using sensors to compare steering inputs from driver with actual motion of the vehicle. The driver’s steering wheel input is measured from a steering wheel rotation sensor. Vehicle motion is determined using a yaw rate sensor which measures rotation about the vehicle axis, a lateral accelerometer which measures acceleration generated from the vehicle sliding sideways and wheel speed sensors which measure speed of each individual wheel. If there is a discrepancy between driver input and vehicle motion, the stability assist system changes the force at each tire to help control the vehicle.

Stability Assist System

The stability assist system defaults to on when the engine is started. Stability assist is not active when the vehicle is traveling in reverse, however ABS and traction control are still functional. System status is indicated in the stability assist warning lamp located in the stability assist/traction control switch. Stability assist is an independent function of ABS. The illumination of the stability assist/traction control switch indicates that the stability assist function is off and that ABS will continue to operate normally.

When the stability assist system is attempting to correct vehicle direction, the following normal conditions may be present: rumble or grinding sound; deceleration or reduction in acceleration of vehicle; ABS indicator may flash; vibration in brake pedal; brake pedal may move to apply higher brake forces accompanied by whoosh sound from beneath instrument panel. Also, the brake pedal may experience a slight movement when the system self-check is performed. The self-check is performed after the vehicle reaches a speed of 30 mph after 8 minutes of running time. Self-check will only be performed if the vehicle is stable, driver is not braking and accelerator pedal is depressed. If a failure is detected, the stability assist indicator will be illuminated. Anti-lock brake system will continue to function normally unless the yellow ABS warning indicator is illuminated. Normal brake function will continue to occur unless the red brake warning indicator is illuminated.

Oct 052019

1997 Ford F150

A week ago I got my rebuilt transmission back from Monster Transmissions and finally got the bastard in and now its leaking transmission fluid from both coolant lines going into transmission. I have tried flaring new lines myself, but no luck…still leaking. Wtf could be going on? It wasn’t doing this pre-rebuilt. Thanks in advance

Make sure the lines are being inserted into the mounting inserts. If they are missing they will need to be replaced. If this are attached with quick disconnect lines, the plastic inserts may need to be replaced along with an o-ring seal. Did you have to use the Quick Disconnect tool 307-441 shown below?

The Motor Manual

Trans Oil Cooler Line, Replace


1. Disconnect vehicle ground cable from battery. Record customer preset settings. Record radio anti-theft code if required.
2. Lift and support vehicle using a suitable lift.
3. Disconnect fluid cooler tube from any retainers.
4. Remove any fasteners retaining tube routing brackets, if equipped.
5. Place a suitable container under trans end of cooler lines.
6. Disconnect each fluid cooler tube from trans, as required.
7. Let fluid drain into container until fluid drips slowly from tube.
8. Plug ends of tubes and trans ports to prevent excess leakage.
9. Place suitable container under cooler end of cooler lines.
10. Disconnect each fluid cooler tube from cooler, as required.
11. Let fluid drain into container until fluid drips slowly from tube and cooler.
12. Visually inspect cooler lines from cooler to trans for any components that may hinder removal of lines. Remove or move aside any components that will hinder removal.
13. Remove trans cooler lines.
14. Reverse procedure to install, note following:
a. Fill transmission to correct level with clean automatic transmission fluid.
b. Inspect for leaks, correct any found.

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Oct 052019

Ford Distributor Stuck

Hi All,

I’m working on a 351 Cleaveland engine by Ford, and cannot move the distributor. I don’t need to remove it, just twist it to adjust the timing. I’ve loosened the bolt and used lubricant, as well as some force, but to no avail. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

My first thought for anything that is stuck is to use heat and work it slowly. If you are going to use a spray, I recommend “Blaster PB Penetrating oil” (PB Blaster). Chisel and Hammer are the last resort but may be necessary.

Here are some ideas from around the web.

  • WD-40 is a solvent and it won’t hurt to try it. Just keep soaking it and the rubber hammer on the vac advance is probably better than trying to turn the housing with something.
  • Try pulling it up and out. First mark where the rotor is aimed. When you get the dizzy up and out,then clean the base, and reinstall with rotor ending up in the original position it was in before you yanked it.
  • In one shop I worked, 390 Fords were famous for stuck distributors. One mechanic would get the engine hot, give the base of the distributor a blast from a CO2 fire extinguisher, I was awed, it worked. He did shoot the extinguisher under a towel so there was no mess. No good on a non-running engine though…

Source: Bob

Build a dam around it with putty and fill it with vinegar. The vinegar is acidic and dissolves the corroded aluminum. If it doesn’t work after you’ve tried the solvent, brake fluid, brake clean, etc then its hammer and chisel time although I did get one out with a slide hammer and steel strap around the housing.