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Creaks, clunks and groans

 
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2001Ls
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:27 pm    Post subject:  Creaks, clunks and groans Reply with quote

I want to vent and ask opinions. My 2001 Ls with 79,000 miles is just old in some areas like the suspension and engine. I'm not very handy so I can't fix these things myself. Just this week I took my car to the dealer because my power locks weren't working and my trac control lights and abs system kept going on causing a grinding noise. My car pops when I pull out of my drive way, it pops and clunks when I hit pot holes, it clunks when I brake and accelerate. I had to spend $1100 dollars to get one hub replaced and the bcm this week, If every little part like that costs $500 to get fixed I'd spend about $50,000 to restore broken or malfunctioning parts to have my car run with any real factory performance. So far I have replaced the Bcm ($400) hub ($500), fuel pump (about $400), valve cover ($300 or so), belt tensioner ($400 - and it didn't fix the squeak). Now my climate control light is out on the passanger side, my odometer is very dim and weak with light, my engine cradle is prob in need of some fabrication to stop the popping, something in the suspension is shot which is making it clunk, I prob have bad cv boots (even though i dont really know how they work or what they do, and from my own diagnosis she's weak, like it doesn't coast after accelaration and its boggeed down which can be a cat or maybe something deep in the engine, also a head or intake manifold gasket is shot because I get mixed coolant regularly. If I took my car to get all these things fixed I'd spend maybe $5000 or more. I really dislike all these problems but it's just so expensive and tricky to get a mechanic to fix the right problems right the first time. I literally just want to park her in a garage and replace half the parts. I have no check engine lights, but she is so old and creaky I have anxiety every time I drive. Any advice? I love the car but I hate the problems with old broken parts. Thanks!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:16 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

the pop or clunk could be just a bad motor mount. have someone you trust sit in the car with it running and hold the brakes down and give it some gas with the hood up. look at the motor and see how bad it moves. try in in rev and forwards you should see a big difference if a mount is bad

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:37 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Buy a factory service manual and review things that need to be fixed. Most of the stuff you mentioned isn't too terribly difficult to replace on your own with a little bit of time and common sense. My Monte Carlo would have been gone a few years ago if I didn't start doing most of my repairs on my own. If you aren't willing or able to fix it yourself, you might be better of selling it and getting a reliable used car to replace it.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:34 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

For the Popping, Check that your cradle bolts and The Daig Brace bolts are tight. Clunking from the front end over potholes COULD be the Front Bushings on your Control arms are shot.
My odometer on my 02 did the same thing, but I just ignored it (Watching the numbers rise made me wanna cry anyways Razz)
If you don't know how to solder, would still be cheap/easy enough to pull the dash apart and put a new climite control in.

Like Iffy said, get a manual and don't be scared to learn. Start small and work your way into the tougher stuff and you'll save alot of money.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:59 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Thanks for the thoughts. If there is one thing that I've learned so far with owning cars, and liking everything about them, is that I am not a mechanic and every time I try to fix anything I basically can't do it. I am like an xbox playing, computer desk working, overweight loser. And I try to do car stuff but fail every time. I couldnt even replace my pcv valve without disfiguring the housing like medical mal practice. Today I tried to gap a spark plug for the first time and destroyed it (the other 5 came out well, I think). But then when its time to put them in I just can't. lol I'm just not mechanically sound. I basically have no experience and as I have to be either at work or school basically everyday of my life I only get like a 2 hour window at anytime where my car is idle and I don't have to drive it somewhere, so It's not like I can start a job and finish it a day or two later..... I think some of this might sound bitchy or negative to you guys but I know from experience a car is a much harder thing to learn to work on than I ever thought.... a mechanic has to be a smart person... Anyways, its off to my computer desk job tomorrow with my 2001 impala... Thanks for reading.. I know it's a bit like im on the rag here but hey, i'm just trying to be honest about my borderline feminism when it comes to working on my car lol

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:17 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

First thing's first. Fix the engine. Mixed coolant is not conducive to long engine life, so before you go hunting squaks and groans, make sure the engine is in good health. If the engine stops working, you won't have to worry about the squeaks anyway Wink


Mechanical knowledge is best gained in two ways: school, or hands-on experience. Reading a book, or even how-to's here, won't get you 100% of the way to competently work on your car.

I suggest doing small stuff on the car where you're unlikely to damage expensive components, and working your way up in difficulty.

Start with things like engine and cabin air filters, changing the oil, rotating the tires, spraying some belt dressing on your accesory belt (may stop the sqeuak!) and checking the torque on those engine mounts. That stuff is straightforward and easy enough to pick do with pretty basic tools.

Once you're comfortable with things like that, maybe try some more in-depth maintenance; changing the fuel filter, spark plugs, or cleaning the throttle body of carbon build-up. Other stuff that's a little more involved are things like suspension replacement, exhaust or handling kit installs.

Where I'm at is doing stuff like the upper and lower intake manifolds. I got to this point by doing basic things and then trying new jobs as they are needed on the car. I have no formal training but I have done enough work on enough cars that I've gotten decent through practice.

Sometimes cars are just bastards and things won't always work out they way you want them to. When I did my Lower Intake Manifolds in the dead of winter, I snapped a bolt off in the lower manifold. It sucks, but I learned something from it and as long as you're learning, you're getting better Very Happy

Of course, you have to know that some jobs require brute force, but a lot more often, things dont Laughing If something isn't working out, come online and put up a post. The regulars here are pretty good mechanically. Big Thumbs Up

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:44 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I can't agree more with Lingenfelter. I didn't do much of any of my own work on my car up until I rented a place with a garage a few years back. Pretty much the most adventuresome thing I did was wiring up stereos/amplifiers before then.

Not wanting to spend loads of cash on repairs eventually led me to buy a factory service manual and I had at at slowly working my way up through tasks that were more and more challenging. Hell, I had never done a brake job on my own until I swapped the front rotors/pads on the Intrigue a few months ago and then I found myself ripping into the engine to get at the UIM/LIM gaskets.

3 years ago when the LIM gasket went on my Monte Carlo, there wasn't a chance in hell I would have touched it. But working through things slowly gave me the confidence to have at it.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:53 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

IffyG wrote:
Hell, I had never done a brake job on my own until I swapped the front rotors/pads on the Intrigue a few months ago and then I found myself ripping into the engine to get at the UIM/LIM gaskets.
confidence to have at it.

whats changing the pads have to do with getting into the engine bay. where you lost lol Rolling Eyes

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:02 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Irish_alley wrote:
IffyG wrote:
Hell, I had never done a brake job on my own until I swapped the front rotors/pads on the Intrigue a few months ago and then I found myself ripping into the engine to get at the UIM/LIM gaskets.
confidence to have at it.

whats changing the pads have to do with getting into the engine bay. where you lost lol Rolling Eyes


Well with these cars you fix one thing then something else breaks. It's a vicious cycle. Sad

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:20 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Irish_alley wrote:
IffyG wrote:
Hell, I had never done a brake job on my own until I swapped the front rotors/pads on the Intrigue a few months ago and then I found myself ripping into the engine to get at the UIM/LIM gaskets.
confidence to have at it.

whats changing the pads have to do with getting into the engine bay. where you lost lol Rolling Eyes


I'm just saying you step up through more and more difficult jobs.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:08 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I can see where you guys are coming from. I really dont like getting under the car unless its on a lift. Ramps in my driveway with no clearance scares the hell out of me... I have learned to change oil and do filters. I changed the battery and put in new headlights. I just always fail the first time I try to do something. My first windshield wiper replaement took an hour. The problem with experimenting is that I only have one car and I have to be somewhere (school, work, or helping friends literally ever day. I tried to do my brakes and couldn't get the caliper bolt loose, I tried to do my fuel filter and couldn't get the bolt off, I am trying to do my spark plugs but haven't had any time. I tried to paint i the paint chips on my car and in the process of wet sanding used 1500 grit and destoyed the clear coat. My experience has helped, I know know that every job I think will take 20 minutes is laible to be 3 hours and atleast 1 rip to autozone for a gasket, sealant or tool. Replacing and repairing parts of my car is much more difficult than it seems from the forum. I guess I watch too many movies and car shows where it's like a pile of crap one minute and 20 minutes later Chip Foose makes a low rider..... props to any real auto mechanics (except for the ones at Paramus Chevrolet on route 17 in NJ, they suck at life big time) lol

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:51 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

IffyG wrote:
Irish_alley wrote:
IffyG wrote:
Hell, I had never done a brake job on my own until I swapped the front rotors/pads on the Intrigue a few months ago and then I found myself ripping into the engine to get at the UIM/LIM gaskets.
confidence to have at it.

whats changing the pads have to do with getting into the engine bay. where you lost lol Rolling Eyes


I'm just saying you step up through more and more difficult jobs.

lol i understood what you where saying, just being a ass thats all


im going to tell you this right now you probably all ready know it but having the proper tools and air tools helps allot and save so much time. also having a tool bitch to help out so you dont have to climb out/under the vehicle. i know on my 79 if im in the engine bay and need to get out for a different tool every time i turn around that jump kills my knees then climbing back into the bay is risky cause you can slip and do more damage to you and your truck. onetime i was trying to repair my wiper blade that fell off it was in a blizzard. so i took the passengers side off to put it on the drivers side now my problem was the passengers side arm was scraping the window so i tried to remove the arm. i climbed up on the tire had the hood popped and i slipped. my arm slammed the hood shut on top of my jacket that i was wearing before i fell. and by time my feet hit the ground my jacket was ripped of lol.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:54 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

2001Ls wrote:
My experience has helped, I know know that every job I think will take 20 minutes is laible to be 3 hours and atleast 1 rip to autozone for a gasket, sealant or tool. Replacing and repairing parts of my car is much more difficult than it seems from the forum. I guess I watch too many movies and car shows where it's like a pile of crap one minute and 20 minutes later Chip Foose makes a low rider....


I recommend buying a high-lift jack and 4 jackstands. I can jack my car almost 23 inches, which should be plenty of room for even the biggest among us.

Buying tools is all part of working on your car. If you already have a particular tool for the job, it probably means you've done it before. If you bought tools before you needed them, you'de be wasting money Laughing

And nothing works out the way it does on TV. The guys on those shows are seasoned professionals and the magic of editing makes significant and complicated jobs look like half a hour of fun. But even those professionals will say during behind the scenes episodes, it's not as easy as it looks. They will run into problems the same as you or I - they just have more background and more budget than we do. Wink

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:08 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

If you cant work on your own car, then you should NEVER own a used car! Especially a 10-year old car. Laughing

I've done a LOT of work on all the family's cars, so I'm fairly sure I could tackle just about any repairs except for internal engine work and automatic transmission internals (I've messed with them before, not that bad to work on but a huge hassle). You do have to build up your knowledge and most importantly, have a mechanically-inclined brain! My dad was Chief Engineer in the merchant marines, and I've been taking stuff apart since I was a few years old. Twisted Evil

As a beginner, I wouldnt worry too much about how long it takes you to do a job, I can change some parts in a matter of minutes if I'm rushing, but I usually take my time. We can all do plug changes in under 15 minutes if we rush, but 1 hour is probably more like it.

The pros make it look easy because they have their own tips and tricks that they've figured out over the years, and most of them cant be found in any book, the forums are a better place but there is still plenty of misinformation around. On the 3400, you can fight with the rear plugs even after removing the dogbones, or you can spend 5 minutes to remove the coil packs and now there's a ton of room for your hands, I figured that out last year, but its not in any book.

I'd recommend getting a new or newer car if you can afford it, then sell this one or work on it slowly. If you're paying shop rates for repairs, an old car will cost as much as the payments on a new car. Even a BMW or Mercedez is cheap to own if you can do your own repairs. Very Happy

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