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  1. Inop drivers' power window

    Hi folks. Been gone a while trying to do three jobs at once. The Exploder has generated a problem with the driver's side power window. For a few weeks, it made a nice squeal when moving. Now, it won't move, and the motor makes a ratcheting sound. I thought it stripped a gear (and maybe it...
  2. VW power steering

    OK, the VW power steering started giving troubles yesterday. Here are the symptoms: Poor power assist -- it comes and goes. Strength seems to vary from "OK" to "absent." There is nothing in between. It seems to "go" more often when turning left than when turning right, but that's an easy...
  3. RABS question

    OK guys, I don't know a whole lot about ABS, but my Exploder is complaining, so I gotta figure it out. Both the RABS and BRAKE lights are lit, after a few seconds of engine running, every time. It's code "4." It appears to be an open circuit within the RABS valve (between pins 2 and 3), in...
  4. Weird car

    OK, I just bought a 1990 Jetta since my wife accordioned the Prizm (293K, RIP). What an FN weird car. The thermostat is on the radiator OUTLET conveniently located under the power steering pump bracket on the bottom of the engine. Held in by an ear the oil pan and TWO BLIND BOLTS. And the...
  5. Prizm misc. front end problems

    The Prizm got a flat yesterday, so the wife drove it into Wheel Works. Of course, they did an inspection, and came up with a worn balljoint and two worn inner tie rods. I inspected them myself this afternoon, and I really don't feel anything wrong with it, except for a tiny bit of play...
  6. Disassembling connectors

    Apparently, my heater blower motor suffered an internal short and melted the A/C heater switch. It has been replaced, and I have a replacement (junkyard) switch and connector. Only the highest setting fried; the others work. The switch is definitely bad; this is not a diagnosis question...
  7. Did I read that right? Exploder driveshaft torque specs.

    I removed my rear driveshaft in order to try a "coast test" (coast downhill with the front driveshaft immobilized and the rear driveshaft gone in order to rule out the transmission and transfer case for a noise I've been chasing). As I put it back on, I peeked in the 1991 Chassis Service Manual...
  8. 8.8 cross-pin bolts?

    OK, guys. I got a rear end load-independent grumble, which I'm pretty sure is one of the bearings in back, probably an axle bearing. Regardless of which it is, the differential has to come out to inspect (pinions are nice and tight with it installed, so they are probably fine). 7.5's used to...
  9. OK, now I've seen everything

    We've all heard stories about people doing things they shouldn't while driving, like reading the newspaper, putting on makeup, exposing themselves, etc. Today, I spotted a green Camry with an acoustic guitar neck sticking out the driver's window. Yes, he was practicing the guitar while...
  10. Inoperative rear brakes

    Well, I'm more than a bit annoyed at myself for not noticing this A LOT earlier, but I don't have functional rear brakes in the '91 Exploder. In fact, I suspect they have been inoperative at least since I bought the vehicle over 3 years ago. The parking brake works just fine; I insist it...
  11. 95 Prizm noises on turns

    My wife reported an occasional "funny noise" in the Prizm, so I drove it for a bit. I found that, every once in a while, it would get a rhythmic rubbing noise at wheel speed. It's almost certainly coming from the left front wheel, and I could only make it happen while turning left and...
  12. OK, I'm an idiot...

    So, I decided to take the kid town to San Diego for the long weekend. That's right around 500 miles. I drive old vehicles, so every road trip is preceded by an inspection. I checked out all the belts and hoses, gave it an oil change, inspected and regapped spark plugs, and checked the front...
  13. son of a bishop -- seized compressor

    Well, my compressor died on the highway in the middle of nowhere yesterday. I noticed a burning smell (though, remarkably, astonishingly little noise -- just a very subtle rubbing sound). So I pulled over, and saw acrid black smoke coming from under the hood. Turned off the A/C and it...
  14. Automotive Air Conditioning 101

    I wrote this article a few years ago to answer a number of questions about operation, diagnosis, repair, and retrofitting air conditioners in our trucks. It's aimed mainly at the older models, though the principles are very much the same. Automotive Air Conditioning 101


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