Jul 122019

 SprinterHow far can this Mercedes Benz Diesel Sprinter van travel with gas inside the tank or a mix of gas and diesel?

Not very far without risking damage. It would depend on the mixture. Lets say you had one gallon of gas and 20 gallons of diesel. You might make it through and just need to replace the fuel filter. I would think much more than that and you are left along side the road. Not a good idea to mix.

Mixing the two is not a good idea. The diesel engine would ignite prematurely which can cause internal damage to the engine. Damage may also occur in the fuel pump and mess up the fuel injectors.

Gasoline is a by product left over from when diesel was made. In the beginning this by product was just dumped to the wayside.

Jul 122019

Does my car have hydraulic lifters? If not how can I fix a ticking noise coming from the engine? It’s not low on oil I am using synthetic it is due for a change but hasn’t gone over since I’ve owned it. Has 78,900 miles

Dodge Stratus

Your engine is equipped with hydraulic valve lifters and do not require periodic valve lash adjustment. Proper adjustment is maintained automatically by hydraulic pressure in the valves.

If the lifter fails this is known as a “collapsed lifter”, it can be replaced. At this point the camshaft should be inspected to determine if the cam lobes are worn and in need of replacement as well.

Camshaft and Bearing Inspection

  1. Thoroughly clean all parts. Inspect the camshaft journals for scoring. Check the oil feed holes in the cylinder head for blockage. Check the camshaft bearing journals for scoring. If light scratches are present, they may be removed with 400 grit abrasive paper. If deep scratches are present, replace the camshaft and check the cylinder head for damage. Replace the cylinder head if worn or damaged.
  2. If the camshaft lobes show signs of wear, check the corresponding rocker arm roller for wear or damage. Replace any rocker arms/hydraulic lash adjusters which are worn or damaged. If the camshaft lobes show signs of pitting on the nose, flank or base circle, replace the camshaft.1998-dodge-stratus-camshaft-inspection
    1. Camshaft end-play should be checked using the following procedure:
      1. On the DOHC engines, oil the camshaft journals and install the camshaft WITHOUT the camshaft follower assemblies. Install the rear camshaft bearing caps and tighten to 250 inch lbs. (28 Nm). On the SOHC engines, oil the camshaft journals and install the camshaft WITHOUT the rocker arm assemblies. Install the camshaft position sensor and tighten the screws to 85 inch lbs. (9.6 Nm).
      2. Carefully push the camshaft as far rearward as it will go.1998-dodge-stratus-camshaft-end-play
          1. Set up a dial indicator to bear against the front of the camshaft (the sprocket end). Zero the indicator.
          2. Move the camshaft forward as far as it will go. Read the dial indicator. End-play specification is 0.002-0.010 in. (0.05-0.15mm) for DOHC models, and 0.005-0.013 in. (0.13-0.33mm).
          3. If excessive end-play is present, inspect the cylinder head and camshaft for wear; replace if necessary.

Continue reading »

Jul 122019

2001 Chevy Silverado

Replaced ignition lock cylinder and housing security light came on. Reset the passlock, now it cranks but won’t start. And I still have to take the key in and out and play with it to work even though I have a brand new switch. Also when we shut the door the odometer and battery light stays on. It stays on while driving the battery light.

I am thinking the when you turn the key and it will not crank that may be getting to the starter but not cranking. (bad starter) and it is just coincidental that playing around with the key appears to be the solution to get it to crank. This is assuming the ignition key does not have a chip in it.

The good news is that you can test to see if this is the case. Confirm a good battery ground on the starter. Have someone hold the ignition key in the start position the next time it will not crank. Then check for battery positive at the “S” terminal. If you see battery positive, replace the starter.

The battery light being on while driving would indicate and fault in charging the battery. This can be from a bad cell in the battery, poor connections between the battery and alternator or a faulty alternator.

Jul 112019


I have a 1973 302 V8 with an updated 4bbl intake manifold and carburetor. I was hearing a knocking sound in the engine and took the valve cover off. The number 2 exhaust valve retaining rings were in shambles and the rocker was loose as well. I found and removed all the broken pieces and ordered a new valve seal and retaining clips. Was able to compress the spring with a tool and seat the new clips however I am unsure if I got them on the the lip of the valve shaft but they held so I assume that they caught. Next I checked the pushrod and isn’t bent and put the rocker assembly back on the way I took it off. There was a little play in the rocker arm but my dad manually turned the engine and as it cycled through the stroke it tightened.

Knocking sound in the engine

Then I put the valve cover back on and turned the engine over but was hearing a clunk clunk and just all sorts of rough noise coming from the passenger side ( the side I was working on.) I’m wondering what the heck is the problem. I think it might be because that cylinder wasn’t being used for so long that there is just crud in there? Next I removed the spark plug wire and tried again but the same noise came. Then I didn’t attempt to start it further. Is the timing off now that there is another valve in play? Could I not have set the lash correctly on the valve stem? The spring didn’t shoot off lol although it did hit me in the junk when I had it in the spring compressor. Sorry lol if these are basic questions. Anybody got any advice?

You can remove the spark plug and spin the engine over to clear the cylinder if you deem it full of oil. You would want to perform a compression test to confirm no internal damage was done when the valve dropped. The valve may be bent if it was hit by the piston. This will show up as low to zero compression on the gauge.

On stock ford engines you just tighten the rocker so no worries about valve lash. This would be different if aftermarket heads were installed. That being said, having loose rocker on stock head would also point to a bent valve. This would create a loud popping out the exhaust as the exhaust valve would be stuck open when the engine fired that cylinder.

Jul 092019

Honda Civic

I have a tapping sound. I thought it was rod bearing but checked the inside of the cylinder I was getting misfire from. And with an endoscope I seen a slight valve mark on the top of the head. Biggest thing is that is runs fine most the time just sometimes it gets sluggish and wants to die and throws the misfire code. If its just the valve spring is it OK to replace it with the head on and will it still be OK. It looks like the mark is on top of the carbon build up and doesn’t look bad.

Timing Belt! Timing Belt! Timing Belt!

Did I mention Timing Belt, lol. Labor time for the timing belt on a1.7 L engine is about 2.7 hrs. I would recommend replacing the water pump at the same time.

To answer your question about the valve spring, Yes. You can replace the valve spring without removing the cylinder head.

Jul 032019

 Honda CRV

My 2011 Honda CRV EX AWD started making knocking sound on bumpy roads from the driver’s side front wheel. Also, the front used to vibrate at speeds of around 25 to 30 mph and goes away when I accelerate. I replaced both Front Sway Stabilizer Bar End Links. The vibration remained the same and the knocking sound went away for less than a week but then returned again with now strong knocking sound from the same area on bumpy roads and now also when making left turns or slight left adjustments on straight roads. The knocking sound is less or not heard when turning at a very slow speed. Sometimes you hear a knock when I sit in the driver seat but not all the times. No knocking sound when I make any right turns. Please note that the car has newer tires and the brakes and rotors were replaced a few months before this situation developed.
What do you think is the issue hear? I read about Ball Joints, CV Joints and Tie Rods. Please advise.

My initial guess would be a strut related issue for the knocking. However you may have two separate issues here. One would be the knocking noise and the other the vibration.


Generally with a vibration that comes and goes with accelerating is tire related. This is most often due to the tires being out of balance but can also be caused by a busted belt in the tire. A quick test can be done by rotating both front tires to the rear. Then test drive again to see if the vibration seems to moves. Usually the vibration is felt in the steering wheel if the front tires are at fault. And felt in the seat when the rear tires are at fault.


Diagnosing a noise can be difficult. Here an article I wrote they may be helpful.

  • https://freeautomechanic.com/auto-repair.html

One thing you can do. With the car in park, engine off, push on the front end to simulate a bouncing movement. Listen for the knocking noise. You may ask a friend to assist so that one is bouncing the front end and the other is listening for the noise. Then investigate further once the area is problem area is discovered.

Jun 282019

2007 Honda Odessy

My van seems to have a longer than normal crank time before if finally starts. I’ve tried to cycle the key several times to pressure up the fuel system before engaging the starter…. same result. It starts the same whether the engine is cold or hot. Could this be a crank or cam position sensor issue? If so, how do I check it/them? The Check Engine light is not on.

Another diagnostic is to press the gas pedal a little while cranking. If that works, the cause could be the idle air control valve (blocked) or a dirty throttle body (choking off the air supply).
Other causes of a slow start are dirty fuel injectors (insufficient fuel flow) or worn spark plugs, as you already mentioned. Bad gas cannot be ruled out; fuel up at a top tier station.
Lastly, always listen for the fuel pump when you turn the key on. If you don’t hear it, the main FI relay could be flaky or the immobilizer is wrongly blocking fuel delivery.
Source: Dave
Jun 272019

2006 Chevy Silverado

2006 Chevy Silverado extended cab, 4×4 5.3L v8 with flex fuel would turn over, but not start or die immediately. Looked online and said to disconnect battery and turn key to run a couple time. Vehicle started after, however windows, AC and radio still do not work. Tried two different BCM’s and did not fix the problem. Also looked for the master fuse, however, even though there is a slot for one, it is not installed. The fuse diagram shows it, however it is outlined in dashes, which I take to mean there may not be one equipped. Am I correct on that? Also any ideas on what else could be causing the issue? Could sure use the advice, it’s my sons truck and he just started working

Fisrt I like to check the each system curcuit for anything that is common.

  • Air Conditioning fuses – hvac 1, hvac/ecas, blwr, IGN E, a/c comp, ign B, stud#1, htr a/c, blower – Ground G203, G200, G104 – HVAC Control Module and BCM
  • Windows only get power from BCM. No fuses involved. Ground- G306, G305
  • Radio – radio fuse, radio amp,  powered thorugh BCM – Ground from G203


So you are right in thinking BCM as this is the common between these systems. The BCM Has several fuses TBC ASSY, TBC IGN 0, TBC IGN 1,  TBC 2C, TBC 2A and TBC BATT

Fuse Location

Inside Panel fuses: TBC 2C, TBC 2A, TBC 2B, TBC ACCY and TBC IGN 0

Underhood Fuse Block fuses: TBC IGN 1 and TBC BATT

Jun 252019

pulled the codes po23f fuel relay
cant find the relay

P023F – Fuel Pump Secondary Circuit Open

Code P023F possible causes:
  • Bad fuel pump relay
  • Short to voltage on FP voltage supply circuit or feedback circuit
  • Short to ground on PCM
  • FP relay control circuit PCM
  • FP relay control driver shorted to ground internally

There are several fuel pump fuses and relays located in the underhood fuse block.


  • 18 – Fuel Pump Relay (20A) – Fuse(2 pin micro fuse)
  • 41 – Fuel Pump Relay – Secondary (20A) – Fuse(2 pin micro fuse)
  • 59 – Fuel Pump Relay – Primary(Micro Relay)
  • 66 – Fuel Pump Relay – Secondary(Micro Relay)