Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

My Photo
Location: Texas, United States

Friday, April 12, 2013

Silence of the (Dia)Phragms

Yet Another $1100 Vacation Spent In A Repair Shop

More monkey business with the Big Red Ford...

After dropping $1400 two weeks ago on miscellaneous under-hood expenses and a shiny new set of brakes on all four paws, I was treated to another round of coughing/choking/lagging engine and adding to the fun, a mysterious loss of engine coolant.

Most mornings the truck would run fine, but if you sat somewhere and idled for longer than the length of a traffic light, the engine would bog down, cough, sputter and blow clouds of white vapor out the tailpipe.

Lighting the dipstick on fire didn't produce the sputtering/spitting flame that indicates water mixed in the oil, but there was some milkshake-looking foam under the oil filler cap.  I was a-feared that the head gasket had blown, and the foam and the white smoke were dead giveaways of that malady.  Sooooo.... back into the repair shop!

Pressure tests and computer scans showed no indication of a head gasket rupture, instead pointing to a faulty temperature regulator.  That Ford engine with a misbehaving temp regulator will shut down cylinders to prevent heat damage, which would account for the rough idle, but not the lack of coolant.

Whilst tearing apart the engine intake manifold, the problem revealed itself.  Ford also decided it was a good idea to run a coolant line into the throttle body to prevent it icing over in extremely cold weather.  It's not needed down here in Texas, and years of boiling coolant running through a plastic fixture had eroded it, causing coolant to get into the manifold, effing up the engine performance and losing coolant volume.

So, problem found!  They just bypassed the throttle body by capping that coolant line.

I also dropped another Benjamin on a replacement EGR (exhaust gas recirc) valve.  The old one had been giving me grief for years, but the $400 repair quote kept it in place.  I finally drove to the Ford dealership, took a pic with my cell phone and said "Sell me one of these!!" and put it in myself.

The old EGR valve had old corroded valve diaphragms, causing the valve to vibrate and hum VERY VERY LOUDLY!!!  It would either hum in F# or B, depending on the throttle speed.  That constant hum was survivable for a 20 minute ride to work, but on a 3 hour trip across Texas, it would drive you nucking futs.

Well, the 'phragms are quiet now, Clarice!  Maybe I'll drive somewhere, once I get some more money...