Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Replacing the radiator in my 1999 GMC Sierra 1500

I've been working on the old GMC truck I bought nearly two years ago.  Right after I purchased it, I did a few repairs/fixes, a couple of which I wrote about on this blog.

About three months ago, I knew that this vehicle was going to be due for a California Smog Check by the end of August this year.  I started working on it to help it be ready for the check.  Once I got all of that done (it passed the Smog check easily), I started thinking about doing some maintenance on the truck that I wasn't sure had been done.  So, the first thing I thought about was the coolant.  I had no idea when the last time it had been changed out.  I read up on it a bit and discovered that there should be DexCool in the system, which is orange in color.  The coolant that was in truck was green.  Green shouldn't be in there, so I decided to change it out.

So, for the first time on my blog, I'm doing a video post, instead of my typical written post with pictures.  I shot it with my new video camera in HD (720p). I spent several hours putting together the video I shot.  Please be kind if you have to make comments.  I know that I made some mistakes in the video, called things the wrong names, but I think for the most part it will help you to understand the steps needed to replace your radiator if needed.  In the video I explain why I ended up needing a new radiator.  Hope you enjoy it!

If you want to watch it on YouTube, I think all you have to do is click on the YouTube link at the bottom of the video.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Don't buy from Parts Geek!!!

... Unless you want to get ripped off.

Just had a terrible experience with Parts Geek online auto parts store.  I'm putting together a more in depth post, but couldn't wait to get a warning out to those who read this blog.  

I should have the review of them taking advantage of me done in the next few days.

Here is one site I found a bit too late, if I had checked more diligently, I would not be in the situation I'm in now:

Link to site

Thursday, February 13, 2014

More on the 2014 Mazda CX-5

Shortly after filling up on the last tank of fuel, I was pulling out of my garage and the low oil pressure warning light came on.  First time that I had seen that.  Once I was out of the garage, I put the car in neutral and revved the motor a bit and the light went off.  I drove to my destination, about a 60 mile drive, without the light coming back on.

After taking care of my business, I came back to the CX-5 about six hours later.  Started it up and it did the same thing.

Over the next few days, it was hit or miss if the light came on.  About the fifth day, my wife and I had taken a trip and were returning home.  The light came on after starting the CX-5 and stayed on much longer.  While parked, I played with the throttle to see when it would come on and go off.  It seemed to come on under 1500 RPM and go off above 2000 RPM.  It did this for several minutes until the motor got up to normal operating temperature (when the blue thermometer light on the dash goes off).  We drove home.  I had not seen the low oil pressure light come on while driving at freeway speeds at all, until this time.  We were driving at 75 MPH at about 3000 RPM when the light came on and stayed on for about 3 to 5 seconds.  It then went off and stayed off until we got off the freeway.  When we came to the first traffic light after getting off the freeway, I put the CX-5 in neutral.  The idle then started hunting up and down between about 500 RPM and 1000 RPM.  It did this until I put the CX-5 back into gear.

So, when we got home I called the dealership where I bought the CX-5 and made an appointment to have it looked at.  I couldn't get in for two days.

The next morning I went out and started the CX-5.  It did what it had done the previous day, light on under 1500 RPM light off above 2000 RPM.  When it got to normal operating temperature the light did not come back on.  A few hours later, I went out and started it again.  This time no low oil pressure light whatsoever.  I did it again about six hours later, no light.  Again the next morning, no light.  It has not come on again over the past week.

Since I couldn't get the light to come on at all, I knew it would be pointless to bring it in to the shop to have it looked at.  I cancelled my appointment.

I'm sure there are a few possibilities on what happened.  My thinking now is that it either has a sensor that is only working intermittently, or that there was a small piece of debris or dirt in an oil line causing the low pressure light to come on.  The piece of crud may have been flushed out and is no longer blocking the line.  But those are just guesses on my part.  I will continue to monitor the warning lights to see if anything else happens.

Still haven't dealt with the other stuff I wrote about in my first post about the CX-5.  They are not critical issues (yet), and I would prefer not to go to the dealer until the CX-5 needs it's first oil change.  That should not be for a couple of more months at the earliest.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2014 Mazda CX-5 Touring

A little over two weeks ago, we traded in our 2011 Hyundai Sonata on a brand new 2014 Mazda CX-5 Touring model.

I wrote a bit about some of the issues we had with the Sonata, but after owning it for just about 2 1/2 years I actually was able to get past those minor issues and come to like the vehicle.  The main reason we got rid of it is my wife and I really like sitting higher in a vehicle.  The Sonata ran well, got good mileage, had a good radio and so far had been inexpensive to maintain.  The dealer we bought it at took decent care of us and the vehicle.

We had owned a Honda CRV for about eight years before getting the Sonata.  My wife really liked that car.  She felt comfortable driving it and it was easy for her to find in a crowded parking lot.  I liked it because it was a Honda and ran like a top.  When I retired from my career in the Fire Service, I ended up driving most of the time.  We needed a new car and bought the Sonata.  We didn't use the CRV as much as we thought we would and gave it to our son.

That's how we got to getting the Mazda.  Many years ago, we had owned a Mazda pick up and a 323.  They both ran excellent.  I really like the looks of the new CX-5's, so long story short we bought one.

I'm not going to go into detail on the purchase, just what I've experienced so far driving it.

First, the fuel gauge and tank.  The fuel gauge is not accurate at all.  On my first fill up, we traveled over 145 miles before the gauge moved off of full.  Even at 30mpg (which we weren't getting) that would have been about 5 gallons of fuel.  The tank on this vehicle is only 14.8 gallons.  We should have been showing about 2/3rds of a tank instead of full.  Once we hit that mark, it moved rapidly down about 20 miles per each segment on the fuel gauge.  I'm keeping an eye on it to see if the accuracy picks up as it's used more.

The tank has a vent problem that does not allow you to fill up the tank to full.  In both instances that I've filled the tank, when the fuel nozzle clicked off, I had to manually pull back the vapor recovery boot on the fuel nozzle to add another 2.7 gallons each time.  Being able to add that much after the nozzle clicked off automatically means that there is a problem.  Don't know if this will correct itself.  If it doesn't, I will make sure they fix it when I take it in for it's first service.

Second issue is the software to the radio is clunky and does not work well at all.  I don't own an ipod, I put my music on thumb drives and listen to the music that way.  When you first start the car, it takes more than a minute to read the USB drive and if you turn off the car, it won't pick up where you left off, it starts at the first song.  Navigating through your USB drive is not easy.  They have no "Folder" options, so the music is all mixed up.  Someone needs to go back to the drawing board and fix the software so it works like most radios do these days.

Third issue is that for a brand new car there are a lot of squeaks and clicks.  To me that is poor attention to detail.  I hate to say this, but the Sonata never once made any noise like this, it was solid.

Even with these issues, it is a nice car.  My wife says it's fun to drive.  I hope we can get these problems taken care of then it will be an excellent buy.