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Basic Maintenance FAQ

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:39 am
by jomotopia
look in here for basic maintenance questions. if your question hasn't been asked and answered, post it up in here and when enough good answers are posted i will edit it all together into a FAQ entry. please try to keep all posts on topic. everyone please add your own FAQs/Walkthroughs to this thread. i'd really like to see a good entry on getting the car safely in the air.

Transmission Gear Oil Change, the Drain and Fill Plugs

When doing your own gear oil change, it is a good idea to make sure you can remove the fill plug/bolt before you remove the drain bolt and drain the transmission. Many times people will drain their transmission only to discover that the fill bolt is seized and they have trouble getting it off. If you find yourself in this situation, the car will be undriveable until you can get the fill plug off and get some more gear oil in there.

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 4:08 pm
by jomotopia
If I do my own oil changes etc., what do I do with the old fluids?

Fluids must be disposed of properly.
Johnf514 wrote:Most shops and garages have an oil drum that you can take your oil to and pour in. Usually it costs nothing, as they get a kickback for recycling the oil.
Sypher wrote:you can dump the used oil back into the containers that the new oil came in and bring it to shops
Tinton wrote:I take my oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, etc, up to Autozone, Advance Auto Parts, or Pep Boys. They all have a giant hazardous waste tank in the back of their stores where you're supposed to dump stuff like that. There's no charge, as they try to encourage people to dump that stuff responsively, and not just put it down the toilet.
mikebai1990 wrote:My local gas station takes the oil without question. They have a sign saying "waste oil disposal site" and I just walk in and they tell me to pour my oil into their big filter storage barrel thing.

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 6:47 pm
by eaglecatcher
Changing Serpentine Belts

I just did this recently, and it was very easy.

Most cars now, have an auto-tensioner pulley. There should also be a diagram of how the belt is routed, either on the underside of the hood, or the fan casing or similar place. If not, make sure you draw an exact diagram of how to put the belt back on.

To remove the belt.

There is a pulley, and it is used to put constant pressure on the belt, so it does not come off. If you have a diagram, it will be identified on there. The is a bolt on the pulley, the actual one that holds the belt in place. Find a wrench that will fit that, and use the wrench to pull it up far enough to slip the belt off one of the pulleys, wherever is the easiest. Once the belt is off that one pulley, let the tensioner down, and remove the belt from the rest, and get it out of the way. Then, take the replacement belt, re-route it using the diagram you have either drawn or is on the car. Route it through all the pulleys, except the tensioner. This is the most difficult part, and it would be easier with some help, but lift the tensioner up using the same method used previously, slide the belt onto the pulley, make sure they are all aligned, and slowly let it down. Make sure all the belts are securely on, and in the right place, and you are set to go.

Lifting the pulley can take some muscle. I'm pretty strong and it wasn't easy. A longer wrench will make the job easier, simple mechanics, so a longer wrench is preferrable.

Do not let the pulley snap back down, or you most likely will damage the pulley and/or something else, including possibly your fingers/arms.

I recommend the Goodyear Gatorback Belt. Excellent quality, very tough, and it doesn't squeak at all like the old one I had.

Once you've got everything out of the bay, leave the hood up, and fire it up. Check and make sure everything is running smoothly, and if so, you're done. Chuck the old one, or keep it for a spare, and you're ready to drive off.

I did this with no manual, and it took about 45 minutes, about 30 of that was trying to figure out how to lift the pulley until I found it on the internet.
This is really not that difficult, and if you want to save 50 bucks on installation, its a great easy project.

Let me know if you've got any questions, or other tips for installation of this and I'll add them in.

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:23 pm
by mikebai1990
Tire Rotations

The front tires and the rear tires of the car are subjected to different levels of wear. Tires in the front will naturally wear faster due to the shifting of weight during braking, steering, etc.. Thus, the rear and front tires should be periodically rotated to ensure even wear on the tires. With proper tire rotations, the 4 tires will wear out evenly, traction will be even on rear and front tires, and when time comes to replace the tires, you will be able to change all 4 tires together. Tire rotations should be done every other oil change, or approximately 6000 miles.

1. Park on a level ground. Set the parking brake.

2. Loosen the lugnuts on one side of the car. Do not completely remove the lugnuts.

3. Jack up the car on one side and use jack stands to support the car.

4. Remove the wheels and swap them, front to back. During this time, you can also spend some time to clean the wheels/tires and protect the wheels with waxes or sealants. After putting wheel onto car, screw the lugnuts on by hand to make sure the wheels won't fall off. Try to make the lugnuts as snug as possible (by hand).

5. Let the car down and use a torque wrench to torque each of the bolts to around 95 lbs/ft.

6. Do the same for the other side of the car.
Brakefade wrote:Read your manuals for proper wheel lug torque figure. Mike's car is obviously 95 ft/lbs, but mine is 76 ft/lbs, and chaces are yours are different as well. Last thing you want to do is strip one of the lugs or bend your rotors.

Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:43 am
by Tinton
About [tire rotations], what happens if you have different sizes front and rear?

Due to weight balance or something, my cars have wider rear tires than front, and I wouldn't want to misplace the tires. 1 car I have 225/45/17 f, 235/45/17 rear, other has 205/55/15 f and 215/55/15 rear. Do I just swap the wheels from side to side instead of front to back?
mikebai1990 wrote:If you have different sized front and rear tires, you can't do much instead of doing side by side rotation. However, if your tires are aligned properly, the side by side rotation probably won't do much. But it can't hurt :)

Your front tires probably wear out faster than the rear tires, then, right? I guess all you can do is to make sure you buy the same brand and type of tire when you replace only 2 tires.
jomotopia wrote:actually, a side to side rotation could be bad in that situation b/c some tires are directional. my friend has a G35, different size tires in the front and rear and they are directional so his tires can not be rotated at all.

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:55 am
by mesaboogie18
Air Freshener Replacement

This requires only moderate if any car repair/maintenance skill and a couple bucks. First decide on what aroma you want for your vehicle. Some popular ones include:

New Car
Island Colada
Vanilla Blossom

Once you have decided which aroma you want for your vehicle and have purchased the parts, you are now ready to uninstall the old air freshener and install the new one. First off you must uninstall the old air freshener. It is recommended to replace your air freshener every 4-6 weeks or until it stops functioning.

Uninstalling an air freshener that hangs from rear view mirror:

-Simply pull the air freshener by the stretchy string and remove from the mirror. You may opt to cut the string but it's not necessary.

Uninstalling an air freshener from A/C vents:

This is a bit trickier and if your car is older the vents may be fragile so handle with care.

-Pull the air freshener off the vents.

Installing New Air Freshener:

-Simply take the new air freshener out of the package and reverse the steps for air freshener removal. This may seem like a difficult task for a beginner but contrary to popular belief, it is just as simple to install an air freshener in a Standard Shift vehicle as it is in an Automatic Transmission vehicle. If you are uncomfortable doing this basic maintenance you may ask a more experienced friend to assist you though it is not recommended to have a dealer or garge perform this task. I hope this was informative for anyone that may have trouble performing this basic maintenance.


Posted: Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:35 pm
by JackBauer
Changing/working on Timing Belts and Chains

many people think timing belts chains are hard to do, words don't do it justice, but i don't have pics, but just incase you are wondering, here is a quick run down.

Remove anything that even remotely covers the timing belt/chain cover. you need a comfy place to work.

take cover off. usually, a chains cover is attatched by bolts, the cover actually acts as part of a splash guard, and oil actually flows inside the cover of a timing chain. a belt has a cover that usually just unclips.

rotate crank sprocket manually with a socket attatched to a breaker bar or ratchet. Use the tool you use, as a tool to move something, don't use it as a tool to remove a bolt, if you can see the diffrence.

slip off belt or chain.

rotate the tensioner for the belt or chain. do this by attatching a ratchet, wrench, etc. to the bolt on the pulley, and again, use it as a lever, not something to remove a bolt with.\

for a chain, do the same as mentioned above, but don't forget to remove the guides. you'll end up blowing your engine, or doing this all over again if one of them goes, so change them now, they should be part of the timing chain kit.

slip off belt or chain, you need to be holding tension at the tensioner by keeping pressure on the tensioner itself to slide the belt off.

NOW- set timing to the '0' mark. THEN AND ONLY THEN set TDC, to the timing mark on the sprocket. failure to do so, and you will slap internals together as you manually rotate the crank. This is important!

put new belt on, when putting the belt on, it is neccessary to hold the tensioner again with a ratchet, etc. so it can slide back on.

same as belt, but install new guides. easy, pop em' out, put new one in.

Double check timing.

reverse order install.
eaglecatcher wrote:that sounds a lot easier than its made out to be. Is the main barrier just having enough workspace?

I'd be afraid to take all the parts off my car like that, and then not be able to put them back on right.
having work space is a nice thing, but there main barrier is getting the belt back on, it can be a PITA. really, it's not hard at all. on alot of cars the timing belt is easy to get to. what exactly are you afraid of removing? the timing belt cover unclips, the timing belt you obviously havae to remove (duh!), you may have to remove some pulleys, but thats just one alrge bolt and thats pretty much all you remove. whats the diffrence between a serpantine belt and a timing belt, excpet a timing belt has to be timed? ppl make things harder than they need to be! these things were made for ppl to do.

Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:57 pm
by jomotopia
Using Sea Foam to Clean the Engine
JackBauer wrote:seafoam is a great product!
wait till your about 1/4 low on gas, and your about 200 miles before an oil change.

pull the vacuum line that goes from the brake booster to the manifold. pull it from the manifold side. buy a vacuum line that fits snuggly around the nipple of the manifold. after you install that vacuum line to the manifold,put your hand on the end of that vacuum line as to plug the hole. start the car. Now quickly (or else the engine may stall) remove your hand, and place the other end of that vacuum line into the seafoam bottle. the liquid will act as a plug. You'll suck it up REAL fast! I sort of skim on the fluid, not just dump the vacuum line in, or else you may stall out before you finish sucking the fluid, and i've heard you can hydrolock your engine.

after all the fluid is all gone, take the vacum line out of the bottle and let the car STALL. don't shut it off. don't know why, it's just what seafoam told me.

wait 10 minutes, start the car, and it will be like a 007 movie, it'll smoke for miles! i had ppl looking at me like 'hey! your cars on fire'

you need to drive the crap out of the car, high revs, full throttle, so you knock the carbon deposits off. the harder you drive; the better. don't drive fast, but aggressive.

if the smoke doesn't turn white when it stops smoking, repeat the application untill it turns white. if your cars clean, it may be white to start off with.

i am convinced the best vaccum line is the manifold, not the throttle body. i've also known ppl who dump the seafoam into the throttle body. for most cars, the brake booster reaches more of the cylinders.

if you want, use half a bottle in the vacuum line, as tahts what makes the most diffrence.

and put half of that into the gas.
personally, i tihnk that Techron complete fuel system cleaner or BG44k does a better job at cleaning the system than seafoam.

and the rest into the engine. seafoam is the only thing other than oil i'd oput in my engine. it will thin it out real fast, and could knock deposits into the oil. it's not harsh, but it thins out the oil so change the oil within 1 or 2 weeks.

Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 8:56 pm
by JackBauer
to dispose the filter, you can go to any quick lube place, they have a special dumpster for the oil filter, or go around back to where the dumpsters are and the filter dumpster may be there too.

Posted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:40 pm
by eaglecatcher
Window Tint Removal

I'm in the process of removing my window tint, and its not nearly as difficult as I had thought, it just takes time to be careful.

To remove tint on the rear window with defroster lines and other windows, but mainly for the rear window to preserve defrosters


spray bottle
trash bags
sunny day
razor blades
paper towels
windex/soapy water/glass cleaner
clay bar and lube

Get a large black plastic bag, and cut it to the shape of the window, using the outside of the window as a guide. once this is done, get a tarp, and lay it on the insde of the car, covering the rear seats and deck, or wherever ammonia may spill on when you spray it. Ok, now you have covered all the fabric, spray ammonia very liberally on the inside of the window tinting. As you spray, put the plastic trash bag on top of it. This keeps it from evaporating, and it will stick to the window, so you don't need tape or anything. Let it sit with the window facing the sun, for about an hour. I suggest leaving all doors and windows possible open, because that way you will be able to breathe during the applicatoin process. Holding your breath is also quite effective, and then hanging your head out of the car to take a fresh breath.

Now, you've had the rear window facing the sun for an hour or so, and its heated up pretty good. Get inside the car, and start peeling back the trash bag, and when you peel it back, start pulling off the window tint. it should come off very easily. If its still stuck to the window, you either didn't use enough ammonia and/or let it sit long enough. You can keep spraying small amounts of ammonia to keep it from drying out. Just keep pulling back little sections at a time, and peeling the tint off as you go. You will probably see a steam, which is the ammonia evaporating, so you have to be quick, or you wil have to start over. Keep peeling until the entire sheet of film is off. It should come off in a piece or two, maybe 3.

If done correctly, it should come off the entire piece of glass, leaving no tint behind. Some may get stuck on the sides, and that will just take some picking with a razor blade, VERY CAREFULLY!, but this process taes off both layers of film, and also takes off most of the adhesive.

If you have already started picking at it, you may be S.O.L. because once the top layer comes off, this method is not nearly as effective, as the tint tears much easier. The ammonia weakens the adhesive, so it peels off easily.

Now, you've got all the pieces of tint off, and there is some adhesive left on the windshield... simple enough. Get some 0000 super fine steel wool, and some soapy water/windex/other glass cleaner, and go to work. spray it down, use the steel wool to scrub it off, and use paper towels to wipe up the goop from the window.

That may take several applications, but it will remove it all.

For other windows, you can either use the same technique, and peel it off, or you can just go to town with a razor blade. If its a large window, I recommend using the ammonia method, but for small windows, such as the quarter windows on my mustang, peeling and a razor blade is much more time effective.

Some people also use proffessional clothes steamers, and just steam a spot for a minute, and peel the tint off. I have not tried this, so i do not know if it will work. It may, it may not, but I have used the ammonia trick, and it works very effectively.

When you use razor blades, buy a lot. They are much more effective, and they are much safer, when they are sharp. They wear down pretty fast, so I used about 2 razor blades for my small 1/4 windows. Just remember to be careful. Don't touch the defroster lines, and when using it around the frit (black border around glass) be very gentle so you don't scrape it up too much.

Thats really all I've got for now. if you've got any questoins, or need tips, feel free to PM me.

I've been working like crazy to finish gettin the last little bit of tint off.

Ammonia works even better than windex for removing stubborn tint adhesive at the end. Once you've got as much off as you can using the ammonia, use a clay bar on the inside (and outside if you wish) to remove any other crud still ont eh window. I used it on my window today, and I was able to remove the last layer of junk that was on my window, and now its crystal clear.

Another thing, keep the ammonia and other chemicals out of the top and side areas, where the little black dots are. The chemicals will dry in between the dots and make a white haze. I have yet to figure out how to get this off, but I will update when I do.

Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 4:41 pm
by eaglecatcher
Fuel Filter Replacement

I changed my fuel filter today, and it made a huge difference. My car runs much better now. Idles smoother, revs better, and its not as sluggish anymore (still not fast, but better). It was pretty nasty, because the gas coming out of the filter had a brown hue to it. Not exactly good.

First, depressurize the fuel system. It is different for most cars, but on mine, there is an inertia switch that shuts off the fuel pump in a crash, so you just unplug that, start the engine, an let it stall out. Check online to find out for your specific car.

Second, unhook the battery, negative terminal first, then positive.

Jack up the rear end, or front end, either one, but the rear end gives you more clearance. Put it on jack stands and all that jazz, and you're ready to get dirty.

There should be two clips that connect the fuel lines to the fuel filter. Unhook these clips. Now, you need to slide the lines off both ends of the filter. You may need a quick disconnect tool like I needed, and it can be bought at autozone for like 8 bucks. This slides under the casing on the end of the line and lifts up the clip, allowing the line to slide off. Do this for both ends of the filter.

Caution: Gasoline will drip/pour out of the end of the lines and fuel filter. Be sure to protect your eyes with something, and have lots of paper towels to clean up, you don't want gasoline getting all over the place.

Each time you disconnect a line, it will drip gasoline, so just cover it up with a big ball of paper towels until it stops, then move onto the next step.

Once both ends of the filter have been disconnected, undo any other hose clamps or anything else holding the filter in to the mount, and remove it.

Then, take the new filter, being 100% sure it is pointing the same direction (there shoudl be arrows, but just be sure before you do anything) and get it mounted back in securely. Once its mounted, snap both lines back on. You don't need the tool, because they slide on and then clip on and stay on. Once thats done, clean up all your mess, take the car off the jackstands, plug the inertia switch back if applicable, or whatever else you had to do to relieve the fuel pressure, then hook up the battery.

Then, you need to start the engine up, and let it run for a minute, and check for any fuel leaks. If there are any, shut it off and find the problem.
If there are no signs of leaks, take the car for a short spin around the block, then check again. If everything is looking good, you are set to go.

Suggestion - Start up procedure
Written by: Slicky
Submitted by: Johnf514

When I watched my mechanic do this to my car, he had me put the car into the 'run' mode w/o cranking the engine, and then turn if off, and repeat that about 3 or 4 times. Doing this, in my car anyway, would start the fuel pump, doing it over and over, will get the fuel filter 'filled up' and will help push any air gaps in the line through. Finally cranked it, and it started up like a charm, and indeed ran much better. He showed me the old filter, and there was sand and nasty gunk in it that it kept out of the fuel injectors. Something everyone should consider changing every so often.

When starting, make sure the car is 10000000000000% cooled off. You don't want a drip of gas to hit the exhaust pipe and bust in to flames. I just left my car out in the driveway where its been sitting for a day and did it.

When starting the car to check for leaks, wait about 15 minutes after finishing to allow any spilled gasoline to evaporate so it does not cause a fire.


This is not something to take lightly. Gasoline is very flammable and volatile as you very well know, and if you do not feel competent in your skills, please let a person who knows what they're doing work on it.

I accept no responsibility if anyone gets injured following these directions, they are just a write up of my project, and not strict guidelines to follow.

Now on a lighter note, I hope anyone who gives this a shot has fun with it. I did, and it made my car run better.

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:07 pm
by jomotopia
Changing Gear Oil

potownrob did an excellent write up with pictures when he changed the gear oil on his Maxmia

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 1:56 pm
by potownrob
Here's an excellent write-up on how to change your brake pads and rotors!

Re: Basic Maintenance FAQ

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:12 pm
by Rope-Pusher
How to turn your rotors