power steering/overheating

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  #1  
Old 10-24-03, 05:28 AM
bryceambrose
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power steering/overheating

Please help...I have a 1989 Chevy Beretta GT that has caused me a huge migraine over the past month. Here is the culprit...

My high pressure hose burst about two weeks ago causing the loss of power steering. I took the car to my mechanic and he said that the hose needed to be replaced. Because of my model car, the part I needed (he said it ran to the cooler) was unavailable for new purchase. Using another aftermarket hose and three visits later, he was finally able to reclamp the pressure line therefore solving my problem. I drove the car home last night (approx 25 miles, no stop and go) without any power steering problems. I was not however able to get any heat to blow into the car...none! I tried different settings, ie...vent, heater, bi level turned the air/heat knob back and forth, no good. I also noticed that the temp gauge stayed consistently hot although no smoke was coming out of the engine. When I got home, the car sat for about 20 minutes and I proceeded to go out for a quick drive. The moment I started the car, I heard an awful whining from inside the vehicle. I drove appr. 2 blocks hoping it was just a fluke and would go away, it did not. I parked the car and opened the hood only to notice a little smoke coming from behind the block above the hoses. It was dark, but thats where I pinned the smoke. I also had a steady leak of coolant dripping from underneath the car. I have not tried to start the car yet this morning (work), but am hoping I can try to see in the light anything else that may be causing this. I would really appreciate any help from anyone as to what the problem may be. I do not want to go and buy a bunch of pricy parts if I don't have to. It is cold outside, and I gotta have some heat in the vehicle, not to mention repairing the engine temp and whining noise. Oh, the car has approx 169,000 miles. The blue book says it is not worth squat, but it is my car and I need it fixed. Thanks again!
 
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  #2  
Old 10-24-03, 06:10 AM
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i CANNOT remember for sure, but I think there is a steel heater hose tube that runs along the right frame rail. these tubes like to rust out.It is possible it was marginal, and a little jiggling from replacing p/s hose disrupted this steel tube and started it leaking. Not really the fault of the tech, just a bad case of circumstances
 
  #3  
Old 10-24-03, 06:36 AM
Joe_F
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When was the last time the hoses were changed or the vehicle saw any cooling system maintenance? Keeping on top of these things avoids problems and surprises like that.....

I have to think the hose you needed was still available from GM, albeit a bit pricey.
 
  #4  
Old 10-24-03, 09:37 AM
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tHAT piece of plumbing has some steel tubing with bends, and rubber hose on the ends, also with bends. I have seen these spliced with rubber hose, depends how you want it to look, and how long you're keeping it.
Maintenance on the cooling system is not going to prevent steel tubing from rotting from the outside in. This is also not a piece that would typically get changed as 'maintenance'
The days of getting your hoses replaced as 'maintenance' are in the past. Replace them when they leak.
I think this piece is about thirty or forty bucks at the dealer.
 
  #5  
Old 10-24-03, 10:04 AM
Joe_F
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I'd disagree with that. If you are persistent and look critically at the vehicle, 9 times out 10 you will head off any problems which crop up ahead of time.

When I change my oil, I look over the car thoroughly and look for anything that's amiss. Does anything look out of place? Leaks? Noises, discoloration? Am I overdue based on the maintenance schedule? etc, etc.

I wouldn't wait for your hoses to break on a newer car. It could lunch the engine pretty good if you overheat it.

$20 in hoses to save a $3000 engine is cheap insurance in my book.

My .02.
 
  #6  
Old 10-24-03, 02:06 PM
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well of course replace a hose if it looks like it's gonna fail!
But haplessly replacing hoses cause they're 'due', is nonsense.
 
  #7  
Old 10-24-03, 03:14 PM
KurtDixon
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Doing maintenance on the cooling system extends the life of steel parts in it, if the antifreeze loses its anticorosive qualities, the steel tubing rusts right away, may as well not add something else to the mix of possible causes by not doing maintenance.
 
  #8  
Old 10-24-03, 04:24 PM
bryceambrose
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Ok...

Thanks guys for the input (& a little arguing amongst mechanics). I am going to look the car over in the morning when I have some good light.

I'll check back.
 
  #9  
Old 10-25-03, 03:54 PM
Joe_F
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Problem is not all hoses exhibit signs of "being bad". Especially if a car wash or someone has gotten their hands on things to gloss them up and make 'em look pretty. Still could be old and crusty inside.

Again, $20 in hoses is less expensive for me than overheating an engine or being stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck (not to mention the expense). I'd rather pay a little than get stuck. I get pissed when I see junkers clogging up traffic.

I just roll my eyes and say no wonder why. Probably hasn't seen a tool under the hood in years. LOL.
 
  #10  
Old 10-27-03, 05:37 AM
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Sorry Bigguy, Joe is right on this one. Modern hoses deteriorate (from EDM) from the inside out. They look fine on the outside but may be ready to blow on the inside. Modern hoses last much longer than they used to, but they won't last forever. There are variables on this but most seem to be good for about 10 years.
 
  #11  
Old 10-27-03, 07:43 AM
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I stand by what I said, if the heater pipe that rusted out is the one I think it is, there was no way of preventing it from happening, unless you had a crstal ball. This pipe rots from the outside in, not the inside out.
Additionally, I am not sure if you guys have lifted the hood on anything newer than ten or fifteen years old, but you just don't go in and 'replace the hoses'. There's specially made pipes, hoses, quick-connects all over the place, and most require a monumental effort to get in and out. You would have to special order a hand ful of pieces and just about take the powertrain assembly out to get at the stuff.
In real life, I would say that the coolant has probably been drained out of it during the course of unrelated work, or when it loses it's cookies on the road like this one did, to worry about coolant becoming too old to have any corrosion inhibiting qualities. My experience is that alot of problems occur by adding the 'human error' into the equation, or by adding stuff like those prestone flush kits I have seen recommended in this forum. Just what you needed was the addition of an ill-fitting connection into the mix.
Maybe it's just that I get bored by doing maintenance. The best I could hope for is that the vehicle behaves as well as it did before I worked on it.
My motto is 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. Doing maintenance all the time to non-broken vehicles will cure a very, very small amount of problems, and just isn't worth it....
I had a `86 olds delta 88 that I changed the timing chain in it more times than I did the air filter. I never had to worry about the coolant in that one either, since you drain the system to replace the timing chain, I think I also replaced the water pump, guess what, the coolant got drained for that too!
 
  #12  
Old 10-27-03, 09:08 AM
Joe_F
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I've yet to see a "maintenance free" car. When they come out, let me know, I'll buy one for every day use and keep my Pontiacs for weekend tinkering .

The fact of "don't fix it if it ain't broke" is the reason why you see catostrophic failure on things you work on. Neglect is the main reason why you see $1000 bills for stuff that could have been headed off WAY ahead of time.

I don't know about you, but I pass minimally 3 or 4 broken newer cars on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in the morning and another 3 or 4 in the afternoon. All of them likely haven't seen a wrench in years. Maybe if they did, their owners would be eating dinner at 6:30 like the rest of us instead of spending time in a tow truck .

I think most fleet managers would disagree with you, BG. A vehicle down means it is making no money for that operator. Be it a big rig or a delivery vehicle. A little time spent now means trouble free operation .

I guess when I work on something, it performs BETTER than it did. Otherwise, I would just not even open the hood. When it grenades, I'll throw it out buy something else. LOL.

Half of the yard equipment I own was "recycled". In most cases stupid stuff was wrong with it. Maintenance and TLC on my part has kept it going. Hey, I'll take a $1000 snowblower for free. Beats shoveling the S&((**&(t. LOL
 
  #13  
Old 10-27-03, 02:10 PM
KurtDixon
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So BG, based on your opinion, you should leave a timing belt on until it breaks?! That would work really well, and boy would you KNOW it was broken. How about not checking fluid levels or not making adjustments to certain parts? So just because your car isn't overheating means the coolant is in perfect shape? I think not. Waiting until something fails has to be the worst thing you can do to a car or anything else. Isn't it nice to get a question about a dryer from someone who cleaned their lint filter once every 5 loads or until it started "getting too hot" Well if the dryer is drying clothes, why clean the lint filter? Because it PREVENTS something from failing.
 
  #14  
Old 10-27-03, 04:37 PM
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BigGuy
I'm afraid your going to get bombarded on this one. Joe is 100% right. Preventative maintanence is just that. It prevents a breakdown and more serious repairs when you least want them to happen. You being a mechanic may think differently on your own car because you can handle the breakdown with minimal inconvenience and expense. The average guy doesn't have that benefit. PM is a big part of this business these days. Fuel systems, cooling systems brake systems, they all need maintanence these days to keep the running tip top. I bet you don't believe in flushing brake fluid either. That's the best spent money you can choose. Flush the trans fluid and your tranny will go many mile further than your neighbor. Preventative maintanence works!
 
  #15  
Old 10-28-03, 06:06 AM
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I think I might be getting mis-understood.
The timing chains,(not timing belt) the first one, made so much noise I didn't dare drive it any furthur. Then 100K later, it skipped some teeth, so there was some driveability concerns, neither case was I left stranded.
If somebody posts a problem about a leak, the `fix', is not to perform maintenance. Too often somebody will have a transmission concern, so they'll do a transmission service. Or they will have a driveability concern, so they try a tune up. Or they'll have a cooling system concern, so they try to change their coolant. Oh yeah, and when they go to Autozone to get the code cleared? there's valuable information being erased, called Freeze Frame data, that a technician uses to know what conditions the vehicle was being driven under, so he will have a better shot at reproducing the concern.
The definition of maintenance, is too replace components that were not intended to go the life of the car. Fluids, filters, etcetera. This is an EXTREMELY small percentage of what can go wrong with a car. Joe, all those cars you see on the side of the road with the hood up, did you stop and take a poll, and then do an analysis to see if maintenance in the failed area actually caused the failure?
Too often maintenance is done to try and correct an undesireable symptom. This is incorrect procedure. Maintenance is highly overrated. It merely replaces components not intended to go the life of the vehicle, that is all.
And maintenance free vehicles? We are almost there. The 2004 Chevrolets, the customers are instructed to not come in for an oil change until the oil change light comes on, which I think might not come on until 9000 miles, depending on conditions. And the tires are to be rotated. Not much else until the car hits 100K.

I would say the emphasis needs to be placed more on addressing symptoms as they show up, and not waiting until the vehicle is in the tennis shoe mode. A car owner gets to know how the vehicle usually behaves, and any deviance from this normal behavior should get attention. But, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
 
  #16  
Old 10-28-03, 06:52 AM
Joe_F
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Let's see where those maintenance free vehicles you talk about are in 200k+ miles. In the junkyard like those before them. Or in such poor condition they aren't scrap metal. Sorry to say.

I don't have to survey those car owners---I can see the steam, leaked fluid and parts lying on the road, so the problems are evident. Drive the BQE like I do everyday and you'll see parts on the road and everything else. Shoot, I've seen cars loose belts right in front of me. I curse those fools and laugh at the $200 tow bill they will incur due to a $10 hose that should have been replaced a year ago.

You're right---maintenance is underrated. Maybe shops that complain about no business should be looking at all the untapped maintenance work that's out there. Surveys have been done on this and it's been shown that there's plenty of legit work (maintenance and otherwise) that shops do not offer to do for their customers.

I can tell you in 1988 when I started with my neighbor, people would say "do what it needs". By the time we had a recession in 1991, it was "what do you mean the hose blew and it needs an engine now??" (remember when I wrote on your bill that the cooling system needs attention and you ignored it??? ).

The cars didn't change, people's maintenance habits did.

If you are saying that maintenance is not needed on a vehicle, then you are not misunderstood. I believe you are wrong .

Then again, I have never had to junk a car. Ever. I have taken cars on their "last legs" and resurrected them with little more than maintenance and upkeep---I'm driving two cars like this and you'd never know that one of them was headed for the junkyard in 1996.

Maintenance is done to head off a problem. If you see one hose in need of replacement, the other usually isn't far behind it. There's no "Unnecessary" repairs being done if the true idea is to head off a problem. Ask anyone in any industry (marititme, industry, etc) if they do maintenance and why.

I guess since I haven't been stuck once in 15 years of driving due to a maintenance failure, I'd say I'm pretty good. Also, if a car has had regular maintenance, it brings more money when you go to sell it.

If I were to buy a car and I asked for maintenance records and the person said "Ummmmmm", I would offer half what he's asking for the vehicle because chances are it's been abused if the owner can't remember the last time it saw a wrench.
 
  #17  
Old 10-28-03, 01:53 PM
KurtDixon
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How has chevy's engines changed enough to allow 9000 between oil changes? We just had a discussion about this, oil absorbs crap (particles and chemicals) that you DO NOT want pumped around the engine, no matter what oil you use, changing it at 3000 is best.
 
  #18  
Old 10-28-03, 02:25 PM
darrell McCoy
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I must be P****** my money off. No 9000 mile oil changes for me nor waiting for it to say "change oil" 2000 Buick I change 2500 miles and a 96 GMC I change 2000 miles. I believe this oil and filter is probably the cheapest thing I can put into the car or truck. Do it myself and thats really ridiculous as I can get a dealer to change it for 15 bucks and 10 with a coupon. But I would rather do it myself.
 
  #19  
Old 10-28-03, 02:54 PM
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Preventive maintenance

I not being an automotive tech by trade but a licensed aircraft Maintenance Tech since 1971 can tell you that things that are inspected often and on a schedule are fairly safe from failure.
If cars were inspected and maintained like they should be they could last a very long time.
Aircraft are inspected everyday and every 18 months it goes in for a heavy check were it is torn down it is gutted from seats to engines.
Why do we do this you may ask it is because parts wear and many cannot be seen. Corrosion hides under panels. Parts get replaced not because they break but because from past experience they are getting close.
Lots of aircraft parts just like car parts have a service life and if you pass the service life you are gambling.
The problem I see in the automotive world is most car owners don't inspect there cars like they should.
It is not there fault many are bankers and such and have no training in mechanical things. They just turn the key and go.
It is the real automotive guys like Joe that do things like we do on our big jets that carry your family to grandmas house.
If cars were maintained like aircraft one it would cost a lot of money. Two it would take lots of time from the owner to inspect it besides the obvious.
My advice to the mechanically hampered or just plain lazy is have it done as per the schedule by a good mechanic.
You can bet that when you fly because of the strict maintenance schedule you wont be parking on a cloud.
 
  #20  
Old 10-28-03, 04:27 PM
Joe_F
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Thumbs up

Well put by Michael.

I can tell you like clockwork the oil life indicator comes on in my sister's 2002 Tahoe 5.3 at 3k. That should tell ya something. It gets regular oil. It turned on at 3k with the factory fill.

I wouldn't want to be on any machine, train, plane or whatever where there is a "if it's not broke, don't fix it mentality". Formula for disaster.

If you as the tech take the time to SHOW the customer the bad parts, you can easily convince them (and rightly so) that it's in their best interest to do some upfront work now. Their choice.

Like the Fram commercial says, "You can pay me now or pay me later". The technician shouldn't care either way in theory, just means more motor jobs later on for the shop . But, that's not in the best interest of the customer.

I don't think any of us live our life by saying, "Lemme not go to the doctor and get looked it. Shoot, if it ain't broke, don't fix me".

Your vehicle is no different.
 
  #21  
Old 10-28-03, 04:52 PM
KurtDixon
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That is the perfect analogy. How would it be to have a plane's wing mechanism fail due to lack of maintenance? How about if they said "well it works so why do anything?" Usually when someone doesn't maintain a car, it causes them headaches and a light wallet (however it can be dangerous, when not maintaining the brakes or by letting things fall off and other cars hit them.) Don't maintain a plane and that is the perfect recipe for disaster. The best example is a plane crash where the tail mechanism (it's named like something with screw...) failed. The reason; a dry screw adjuster. They were supposed to replace the adjuster the last "tune up" but they didn't, the grease wore off and the screw stripped, the pilots had no control over the tail and eventually the end nut on the screw broke off and the tail bent almost all the way around, the plane went right down.
Simple, easy maintenance would have prevented that and it would have prevented many, MANY car problems. See a broken down car on the road and you can BET it was not maintained. Most cars on the side of the road are old beaters because no one maintains a beater! They drive it until it dies and spend another 500 on another rust bucket.
 
  #22  
Old 10-28-03, 05:01 PM
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That is correct

That is correct the jackscrew was not lubed on that Alaska airlines jet that went down in the Ocean off California. An ununacceptable tragedy.The if it works dont fix it does not fly in my book sorry.
One small part can ruin your whole day even a simple thing as a O ring (space shuttle) explosion.
 
  #23  
Old 10-28-03, 07:45 PM
KurtDixon
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JACKSCREW, that was it! That was buggin' me all night So everyone agrees maintenance reduces the liklehood of most problems. Plus it doesn't leave people guessing "well, it may be the spark plugs, I haven't had new ones in for awhile" "Well the noisy lifter could be because I don't change the oil often enough"
 
  #24  
Old 10-29-03, 04:11 AM
Joe_F
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The bottom line is:

Maintenance if applied correctly, consistently and intelligently can head off more expensive problems or being stuck/having the unit out of service.

That is the basis of any fleet department's existence. .

Next time you see an 18 wheeler stuck on the side of the road, look at the driver's face. I'm sure he/she is not happy. A truck down on the road is not making money for that owner/operator.

Better fleet companies that keep up on their vehicles don't have many breakdowns. Wonder why?
 
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