Russ' Do It Yourself Home Workshop

Finding Fixes to Just About Anything and Everything

Archive for the ‘Auto Repair’ Category

Entering the Maintenance or Inspection Mode on a Prius (1st Gen and 2nd Gen)

Posted by Russell Wright on January 25, 2015

I’m re-posting these instructions from elearnaid.com with a little clean up as I just used them on my 2002 and 2005 Prii.  Additionally, Art’s Automotive has some good info on repairing the MFD (multi-function display), aka EMV. 

Update 2015-01-26

Oh, by the way, I found you can enable this mode while driving (so far, on my 2005), so it doesn’t appear the parking brake is a requirement to enable inspection mode.

The original instructions from elearnaid.com, with a little cleanup

  • The transmission should be in Park with the ignition off.
  • Engage the parking brake (this seems to be an interlock of sorts).
  • Turn the ignition on
    • (2001 – 2003) Turn ignition switch to ON (do not start the engine).
    • 2004+ Press the Start button twice (don’t depress the brake and start the engine).
  • Push Display button.
    • (2001 – 2003) Top rocker to the right of the radio that is labeled “Display.”
    • 2004+ Top right button next to the screen that is labeled “Display.”
  • "DISPLAY" will now appear in the upper left corner of your screen.)
  • Push on the upper left (1) of the display just inside the box, withdraw, push on the lower left of the display (2) and withdraw (see picture for hidden button locations).  Do this slowly and deliberately.
  • Do this three times (or more). Keep trying until the screen changes. If the word "Display" in the upper left hand corner of the screen goes away hit the display switch again.

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  • Push on Menu in upper right of display screen.
  • Push on Display Check
  • Push on Vehicle Signal Check
  • You will see the 12 volt voltage displayed.
  • With no electrical accessories on including lights the voltage should be fluctuate between 12.2 and 11.9. The lower the voltage, the less of a charge your battery currently has. If the voltage is low do not proceed as the load test might totally discharge your battery. (If you see a voltage around 13.5-13.8 you are seeing voltage from the high voltage battery being converted to around 13.5-13.8 in an attempt to recharge your battery. This normally does not occur till after you start the engine but might occur earlier if the battery is very drained.)
  • You can also test the battery by turning on the headlights, rear window heater and the heater fan. For a new battery the voltage would be around 11.3. If the voltage drops below 10.2 it should definitely be replaced. For voltages in between the lower the voltage, the lower current charge of your battery.

Here are some of the screens displayed on the 2002 Prius.

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Here are pictures of the 2005 Prius display.

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Audio H/U (Head Unit?) says CHEK.  Press the CHEK button to view the codes and clear them.

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A bunch of old codes.  Who knows when they occurred?

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Pressing some more CHEK buttons.

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Pressing and holding the Code CLR (clear) button to erase the stored codes.

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Codes cleared!

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More codes to clear!

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Display with the headlights turned off.

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Display with the headlights lights turned on.

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Posted in Auto Repair | Leave a Comment »

Fixing the Volume Control on a 1997 Sebring Convertible

Posted by Russell Wright on October 13, 2012

This has been bugging me for some time now.  My volume control is “flaky.”  When I turn it down, it either doesn’t do anything or it starts getting louder.  By messing with it, I could make it go down, but not before it was so loud I thought I would blow the speakers.  Time to fix it!

My search found this post on Allpar.com by by Jeremy Schrag, which seemed like a good starting point.  However, it was just a starting point!  I had to do quite a bit of disassembly to get to the volume control.  My deck is a six disk CD changer/cassette deck combo.  It doesn’t have a single disk CD in it.  So, of course, my volume control was harder to get to.

After removing the radio (not hard, 10 minutes, be careful and don’t bust your trim), you must remove the knobs as Jeremy describes (20 seconds).  Then remove the four screws holding the faceplate on (two screws on each side). 

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Carefully pry the faceplate off (after removing the four screws), as there are clips on the top and bottom that must be released.

Once you get the faceplate off, you’ll see the first circuit board you’ll have to remove.  There are four tabs (bent) that hold it in place.  Two are soldered.  You’ll have to de-solder them and bend all of them straight to remove.  Here the trick!  At the bottom of the cassette hole, there is a connector that this board plugs in to.  You must slowly wiggle it free from the connector.  Take your time and be patient!  See the other photos.

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Here’s the connector that has pins on the back of the circuit board that stab into it.

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Fuzzy photo showing the connector pins on the back of the circuit board.

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All removed!

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Now you’d like to remove the nut holding the pot (potentiometer) and take it out, except there isn’t enough room in the back to remove it.  So you have to remove the top circuit board.

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Remove the top of the radio chassis by removing the two screws on the back and you can see what I mean.  The shaft is too long to push it back through and remove it.  No problem.

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Remove three screws on the heatsink side and four screws from the back side.  Un-bend the tabs.  Now you can start carefully prying the board out.  Take your time!

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There are more pins that mate with a connector on the back side of the board, so you’ll have to carefully wiggle the board loose from them. 

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Here’s a picture of the mating pins.  Note the connector for the POT that has been removed.

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All removed.  Pay attention to the thermal grease on the heatsink and don’t wipe it all off.

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Now you can get to the POT connector and unplug it.  Remove the nut from the POT and the whole assembly will come out.

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Here’s your potentiometer assembly.  Now for the disassembly…

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Pry the “Y” tabs using a small jewelers screwdriver.  Once the are all straightened you should be able to separate the halves.

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Time to use your contact cleaner (I also used a small eraser on the disk contacts).  Don’t mess up the spring contacts!

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Here’s the contact disk removed and cleaned.  I used “professional” contact cleaner.

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Now assemble the halves and pry the “Y” tabs back.

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Plug the POT back in and assemble it to the chassis with its nut.

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Be careful not to over tighten and break anything!

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Put the top circuit board back, using your screws and tabs.

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Make sure the connector pins line up and seat correctly.

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I put it back in place by angling it in, insuring the heatsink tabs were inserted prior to the connector being engaged.

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Put all your screws back on the back side.

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Put the top on and secure it with its two screws.

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Put the front circuit board on and engage its connector.

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Bend all four tabs and solder the two that were unsoldered previously.

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Put the faceplate back on and secure it with its four screws and you’re all done!

 

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Posted in Auto Repair | 2 Comments »

Replacing the Door Lock Actuator on a 1st Generation Prius (2002)

Posted by Russell Wright on May 25, 2012

This is how I replaced the door lock actuator on my 2002 Prius.  I took lots of pictures, so I hope this helps others. 

I purchased the door lock actuator from a Toyota dealer on line for about $85 + $12 shipping, so it was < $100.  Some folks have actually split the old actuator apart and replace the electric motor inside. 

Start by removing the door panel.  This is not hard, but it can be tricky. 

First, push in the center pin of the retainer on the outside edge of the door panel.  This will allow you to easily remove the fastener.

 

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This is actually a picture of me installing the fastener, so you can see the pin is pulled out for installation.  However, to remove it you simply push it in and it allows the fastener to be removed.

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Here’s a blurry picture of the final installation.

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Remove the trim piece in the corner of the window by simply pulling it off.  You can see the location of the fasteners in the photos.

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Notice there is a clip at the bottom (hard to see).

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There should be a little clip that can easily be removed from under the cover.

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Open the screw cover in the door opening latch handle area.

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Remove the screw.

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Notice that pull handle trim has a catch that slides into the plastic piece mounted to the door.  It also has “ears” that clip it in place.  This can be somewhat difficult to remove.  If you move the door panel and/or the trim towards the rear of the car, you should be able to slide it out of its latches and hook receptacle.

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Remove the screw in the door grab handle recess.

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You should be able to remove the entire switch assembly. 

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Note the fastener on the front of the switch assembly.  This should pull straight up.

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Now you can start unclipping the door panel.  Note that I used my hands and some plastic pry tools…you don’t want to scratch things up. 

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Note the location of the clips.

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Hopefully you can lift the door panel up and off the door by this point.  I had some difficulty with the door pull handle trim, but be patient and don’t break it!

Now remove the metal bracket.

 

 

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You should be able to peel the plastic away and expose the cover.  Remove three screws.

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Remove the cables from the clip.

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Now we’re going to remove the entire latch assembly from inside the door with the lock actuator attached.

There are actuator two rods that have plastic clips.  You simply push up on the plastic clip to unlock it from the rod and then you can remove the rod from its hole.

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Remove the torx fasteners that hold the door latch in place.

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Remove the bracket bolt.

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If you remove these nuts, you can swing the window rail track out of the way so the latch and actuator assembly can easily be removed.

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As you remove the latch assembly, you should be able to unclip the electrical connector from the actuator.  Greasy and sweaty…

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Now you can remove it from the top hole.

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Remove the plastic cover by removing this screw.

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Pull the cover off exposing cables

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Remove the two attaching screws.

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You should now be able to remove the cable and the ball/socket lever.  Note how it fits together while you are removing it.  It’s pretty simple, but make sure you get everything oriented the correct way when installing.

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Old and new.

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Now see if you can do it all backwards to install it.

Testing, 1…2…3.

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Posted in Auto Repair | 11 Comments »

Aftermarket Car Parts Quality: My Water Pump Story

Posted by Russell Wright on February 23, 2012

It definitely pays to understand the quality of the parts you are putting in your car.  If you think about it, auto manufacturers go to great lengths to insure the cars they build have as few issues as possible, as those problems many times result in warranty claims.  We know the Japanese have been famous for their attention to quality and I’ll give you an example.

I replaced the water pump on my 1997 Sebring convertible at the same time I replaced the timing belt, even though the original water pump was fine.  This was at about 107K miles and 8 years (9/29/05).  Well, about 6 years later and < 40K miles (this is no longer my daily driver), the weep hole started weeping on the replacement, indicating the shaft seal is likely leaking on the water pump. 

The replacement pump was only the front half of the pump and was procured at NAPA.  This is the standard way that most water pumps for the Sebring are purchased, unless you buy a dealer pump.  In the case of the dealer pump, you get the whole thing.  But oh my, the cost!

Here’s the $$.  My replacement Napa water pump cost $79.44 in September 2005.  My replacement is a Paraut water pump and was purchased online at PartsGeek.com for $123.95.  Paraut appears to be one of the OEM suppliers to Mitsubishi (source of the 2.5 liter engine).  The other supplier is AISIN.  Both supply the same water pump under part number W0133-1614345 (MD 978743).  So, for $123.95 – $79.44 = $44.51 I could’ve avoided doing this again, or perhaps used the pump I removed and worried about it later.  Oh, by the way, I ordered the pump on Monday and it arrived on Wednesday.  It shipped from Plano Parkway in Plano, Texas, about 5 miles from my house!

I’ve had my car apart for the last 3+ weeks (only working on it on the weekends) and had a heck of a time getting the old pump off the inlet tube (pushes over an o-ring on the inlet tube that was majorly stuck).  Overall, the job is a big job.  I’d say for me, only doing this every 6 or 8 years, takes me 10-15 hours, plus all my parts procurement time.  The $44.51 would’ve been money well spent, don’t ‘cha think?

Here’s what a real water pump looks like!  Notice it comes with the o-ring for the inlet tube and a real metal gasket.

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Just look at all the lovely machined aluminum.  This is the back side of the pump housing that is not normally supplied on most aftermarket pumps.

 

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Take it from me, spend the money!

Here are some measurements of the o-ring that fits on the inlet tube.  They don’t quite add up, but you get the idea.

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Posted in Auto Repair | Leave a Comment »

1997 Sebring Convertible Timing Belt and Water Pump Replacement

Posted by Russell Wright on January 24, 2012

2012-01-24

I found myself needing to revisit a potential leak from the water pump and found the instructions I had written several years ago when I replaced my timing belt and water pump in my Sebring.  These instructions were originally posted on the Sebring Club web site at the following address.

http://www.sebringclub.net/diagrams/96-00-timingbelt-waterpump-replacement.pdf

I’ll be updating them as I do some more work with, hopefully, some better photos.

Original post:

I was motivated to do this work because of a bearing growling sound emanating from the engine. It would grind at low rpms when the engine was cold and then only be noticeable when you initially put on the gas (very quick growling sound). I figured it was the water pump bearing, the tensioner pulley bearing or the idler pulley bearing. At 104,000 miles, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to replace some stuff, anyway.

There were two main reasons that I did this work myself. One, I am a do-it-yourselfer that doesn’t shy away from most any task. Two, I’m cheap! Another motivation was I got several quotes for replacing the timing belt and water pump. The lowest I got was about $600 (and I think it would have been higher). The highest was from the dealer…$1100! All I heard from everyone was how hard this was, so I was thinking I would have to put out some bucks to get ‘er done, but luckily, I reconsidered.

To start this job, jack up the car and support it with a jack stand. I always use the jack and a jack stand for safety. Remove the right wheel so you can get to everything.

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You probably notice the smaller jack that is under the engine. This is used for supporting the engine when you remove the right engine mount. Removing the right engine mount is one of the first things you have to do.

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I didn’t get a picture of this, but you need to remove the lower plastic splash shield that covers the a/c compressor, power steering pump, etc. It is held in place with 2 plastic rivets and 3 plastic barbed push fasteners. I was able to reuse all the fasteners when I went to reinstall it.

Take off the power steering pump belt and the a/c-alternator belt. To remove the p/s belt, loosen the bolts and it should come off easily. Notice that the p/s pump has a ½” square socket on it. You can put a ½” ratchet or breaker bar in the socket to hold tension when you reinstall the belt. The a/c belt is removed by loosening the idler pulley bolt slightly and then loosening the tensioning bolt. It’s very easy to reinstall.

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Remove the radiator overflow tank by taking out the two bolts and disconnecting the hose. Unbolt the a/c drier (one 10mm bolt) so you can move it out of the way. I also removed the two bolts that hold the power steering reservoir so it could be moved out of the way of the right timing belt cover. There are 3 bolts that need to be removed to separate the engine mount. You’ll be able to tell you have the engine supported correctly as the bolts will come out easily.

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Here’s a photo showing the p/s reservoir swung out of the way.

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Next, remove the two bolts that hold the engine mount to the frame. This is done from underneath the car. Now you should be able to remove the engine mount from the top.

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Remove the 4 bolts that attach the engine mounting block to the engine. The engine mounting block should be easily removed.

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More engine mounting block bolts, shown from below.

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Now its time to remove the flywheel pulley. There is a 22mm bolt that holds it on…real tightly! I had to use a chain wrench to hold the pulley while using a ½” breaker bar. I’m sure there is a tool for holding the flywheel pulley, but I didn’t have it. I tried using one of those rubber strap wrenches, but it just wouldn’t hold tightly enough.

Here’s a photo of the flywheel pulley. I actually put the pulley back on temporarily to take this photo. It slips easily on and off the end of the crankshaft. Just be sure to align the pin.

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Here’s the wrench arrangement I used. I had to be very careful not to mar the pulley with the chain wrench. Man, was it on tight!

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Now on to removing the timing belt covers. There are three of them. You need to remove the upper left first (near the front of the vehicle), then the lower and then the upper right (near the firewall).

Here’s the lower cover.

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Here’s the left cover. Don’t have a good picture of the right cover, but it’s underneath the power steering fluid reservoir.

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After you get the timing covers removed, take the time to line up all the timing marks. The crankshaft has a mark that lines up with a mark on the engine block. The cam pulleys have timing marks on them that line up with “V” notches.

Here’s the crankshaft and its timing marks.

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Here’s a picture (not very good) of the timing marks on the left cam. Mine had a little bit of white paint on the mark on the cam pulley. The valve cover has a notch in it that should line up with the mark on the cam pulley. There’s also one on the right cam, but I failed to get a good picture of it. Picture, if you can, a similar set of marks under the power steering reservoir.

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The hardest part (and I do mean the hardest) had little to do with the timing belt. It had to do with the power steering pump bracket. In order to remove the right timing belt cover (nearest the firewall) you need to unbolt the power steering pump from its bracket (3 bolts) and take 3 of the 4 bolts out of the power steering pump bracket, and swing it out of the way to provide clearance for removing the cover. Sounds easy, right? This was the most difficult task for me since the top two bolts are in a very tight clearance area. Here are a couple of photos that show what you are up against. It was hard just to get some photos that show much.

Important!!! There are two bolts on the top of the p/s pump bracket. You only need to completely remove 1 (towards the passenger side) and loosen the other. This will allow enough movement of the bracket to swing it out of the way of the right timing belt cover. Unfortunately, you can’t even see the tops of the bolts from this picture. I’d have to have a fiber optic camera to show you the heads of the bolts. Use your imagination!

By the way, I’m about 6’-1” 220 lbs and was able to put my hands up in that area to get to the bolts, so someone with smaller hands will likely have an easier time.

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Here’s another one showing where the lower two bolts are on the p/s pump bracket and the 3 bolts that hold the p/s pump to the bracket.

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And here’s one showing my hand and the wrench working on one of the hard-to-reach bolts. It’s one of those situations where you have to work the bolt a little at a time and, if your hand will fit, finish it the rest of the way with your fingertips. Sorry for the focusing problem.

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I have a garage full of tools (well, actually TWO garages full of tools), so I thought I would have most of the tools needed to do the job. Turned out I still needed to make one tool, but hey, now I have it. Here it is:

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It’s made out of a piece of 1/8” x 2” steel bar (could have been 1/8” x 1-1/2”) and two #6 hex standoffs. I measured the distance between the holes on the tensioner pulley and punched and drilled the holes for the screws to hold the standoffs. After determining that the original length of the bar caused some interference problems, I cut out a square 3/8” hole so I could put a socket wrench on it. I could have cut it off to be 1” long, but I was lazy and didn’t want to get the hacksaw out again!

This tool is used to preload the tensioner pulley with 3.3 ft-lbs of torque prior to releasing the hydraulic tensioner. Took me a little while to figure out what they were trying to accomplish in the shop manual, but after careful studying, I finally got it. There are two holes in the tensioner pulley that accept the #6 male ends of the studs. Basically, you loosen the tensioner pulley bolt and put 3.3 ft-lbs of CCW (counter-clockwise) torque against the timing belt and then tighten the pulley bolt. This is all done with the hydraulic tensioner in a compressed mode. To compress the tensioner, remove it by taking out the two bolts. The, using your handy vise on your workbench (everyone has one, right?) compress the tensioner. I suppose you might be able to use a C-clamp to compress it, but I’ve never tried this. The hydraulic tensioner is held compressed with a pin (small allen wrench or cotter pin). The pin is removed after you have preloaded the pulley with the 3.3 ft-lbs of torque and tightened the bolt. You know if you have correctly torque the tensioner pulley as you should be able to remove your “pin” without any excessive force, i.e., the forces are balanced between the tensioner and the pulley.

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To remove the old belt you can loosen the bolt on the tensioner pulley and then remove the bolts on the hydraulic tensioner.

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Installing the belt involves lining up all the timing marks and installing the belt over the pulleys in the order specified in the instructions. The instructions that came with the timing belt kit didn’t match up with the instructions in the shop manual. It appears either set of instructions should work.

I used some plastic clips that I got at Harbor Freight to hold the belt on the pulleys while threading over the pulleys in the correct order, as specified by the instructions.

I’ve included a scan of the instructions that came with the timing belt kit I purchased at NAPA.

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Posted in Auto Repair | 3 Comments »

Notes From a Failed Installation of a Parrot CK3000 Evolution Bluetooth in a 2002 Prius

Posted by Russell Wright on January 2, 2012

1/1/2012

These are my quick notes so I don’t forget what I spent a great deal of time doing on 12/31 and 1/1, without a positive outcome.

Purchased a used CK3000 on eBay and took my chances on whether or not it would really work.  Tried to save a few bucks…probably a bad idea.  The CK3000 in my 1997 Sebring convertible works great.

Removed the dash to get to the radio using the instructions located on Coast Electronic Technologies web site.  Relatively easy process, but quickly found that trying to release the clips on 10+ year old plastic quickly yields a handful of broken plastic clips.  Also had to glue the left vent back in place, as it snapped off its standoff that it is screwed to.  Very fragile after 10 years of Texas heat.

Purchased a Metra BT1761 for $29.99.  I think the QCTOY-1 wiring harness is the same.  Found that the CK3000 (s/w 5.11) was an Eclipse model (not marked as Evolution, but is supposed to be the same).  Also found the CK3000 didn’t ship with the ISO power adapter, so I had to do some soldering of the CK3000 power cable to tap into the power.  Since I didn’t have the correct power cable with its connectors, I had to cut the double female ISO connector in two with a hacksaw so each connector was separate.  That way I could plug it into the duplex male connector and feed the power back to the radio.

The speaker connectors and the muting relay box seemed to work, since the speakers on the car correctly worked when everything was connected.  The problem, however, was when power was applied to the brain, there was no indication of power on the controller (no lights).  Even opened up the controller to make sure the wires were attached.  There was also a pin on the small brain connector (white wire) that was pushed out of the connector.  I had to bend the lock back so it would stay in place.

The operation is straightforward.  The speaker relay box is wired so as to disconnect the back speakers and route the phone audio through the front speakers when the phone is active.

Not sure if there is really a TEL/MUTE function on the radio, although the wire is there on my Prius harness.  Doesn’t really need it because the speaker relay box would take care of muting the radio.  The mute wire (yellow) is there if you have another function that needs to operate the mute functionality.

Prius radio connector diagram

Connectors from the back of the radio (2 of 3).

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Good source of Toyota radio connector diagrams/pictures.

http://www.sw20.jp/20/Tech_Articles/Radio_information/Radio_Information.html

http://www.installdr.com/Harnesses/Toyota-Wiring.pdf

Posted in Audio and Video, Auto Repair | Leave a Comment »

Installing PAC AAI-FRD04 Auxiliary Input in a 2006 Ford Focus

Posted by Russell Wright on December 27, 2011

My daughter has a 2006 Ford Focus and has been really wanting a plug-in auxiliary input to connect her phone/iPod.  She’s used several different wireless interfaces but has not been happy with them.  So, here’s what I did.

I purchased a PAC AAI-FRD04 Auxiliary Input for about $67.49 (shipping included) from ELEKTEK on eBay.  It plugs directly into the CANBus port on the back of the Ford factory radio (single disc player, NO 6 disc installed) and provides a set of RCA input jacks that can be adapted to about anything.  In this case, I adapted them to a 3.5mm (1/8”) stereo jack that was installed on the dash.

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The part that took the longest was purchasing the 3.5mm chassis stereo jack (obtained at Fry’s) and adapting an RCA stereo cable to the jack.  I had several RCA stereo cables, so I simply cut the connectors off one end and soldered the ground, right and left channels to the chassis mount 3.5mm stereo jack.  Here’s what it looks like when installed.  You can see I meticulously soldered and applied heat shrink tubing to all the connections.  The wiring is pretty simple.  The tip of the 1/8” jack is the right channel, the next ring is the left channel, and the sleeve is the common ground for both channels.  See this article on TRS connectors for more details.

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To access the radio, you need to remove the trim from around the radio.  To easily accomplish this, remove the junk holder by pushing down on the top to release the clips.  After removing the junk holder, you can reach up inside the exposed hole and push on the trim bezel from behind to begin removing it.  I would suggest using a plastic prying tool to release the other clips.

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You can see the top right clip in this photo.  Pry near the clips, not in the middle of the bezel.

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Once you have the bezel removed, you should probably disconnect the connector on the back of the lighter socket, as it’s the shortest of the cables and restricts movement of the bezel.  I turned the ignition on and pressed the brake in order to move the shifter out of the way so there was room to move the bezel.

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Lighter socket connector.

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The radio is held in with four 8 mm screws.  Easy to remove.  Pulls straight out.  No special tools required.

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The connector on the back of the radio is also easy to remove.  I disconnected the connector and antenna from the back of the radio so it would come completely out.  On the back of the radio is the Rear Seat Entertainment (RSE) port, AKA CANBus connector.  The AUX device simply plugs into this connector.  It also has another CANBus connector that I assume will accept a CD player, but I’m not sure how it resolves which device to use when you press the AUX button (perhaps it cycles through them).  Perhaps that’s not supported…I don’t know.  It’s down there and available, if it is ever necessary.

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Power is always a fun thing to find and connect.  All you need is a little IG-ON power and a ground.  I got it from the radio connector.  I’ve see others get it from the lighter socket.  The black/green wire is ground and the yellow/green wire is ignition-on power.  I used wire taps that worked perfectly.

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Of course, drilling the 1/4” hole in the bezel and mounting the stereo jack may freak some people out, but I was very careful to insure clearance on the back of the mounting location.  I used a brad-point drill bit and drilled through the plastic using a fairly high speed to create a clean hole.  I de-burred the hole on the back and mounted my cable/jack assembly and connected it to the FRD04. 

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Putting everything back was a snap…literally!  I just stuffed the FRD04 behind the radio, as it is very lightweight and was snugly held in place by the existing wiring.  It ain’t going nowhere.  The cable routed nicely on the right side of the radio towards the bottom.

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The final installation.

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All fired up and connected.  Pressing the AUX button selects the device.  Works like a hose, and my daughter is ecstatic!

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Keywords:

Ford Focus auxiliary input installation.

Pacific Accessory Corporation AAI-FRD04 installation instructions

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Replacing the Inverter Assembly on a 2002 1st Gen Prius

Posted by Russell Wright on September 18, 2011

As my wife and I were driving to Lowe’s the other day in my 2002 Prius, it suddenly started to shudder and run very rough.  We weren’t but about a mile or two from home, so we immediately turned around and limped home.  After we made it home, the car wouldn’t even start…it would simply shudder when starting was attempted. 

I went to the local Auto Zone and “borrowed” one of their code readers and found P3125 – Bad Inverter.  A quick search on the internet and I found the price for a dealer replacement was about $4500.  Ouch!

After further reading I also found that it may not be as simple as replacing the inverter, as P3125 can also mean other things.  So I decided I’d take it up to the Toyota dealer and let them diagnose the problem to see if our diagnoses agreed.  I got my brother-in-law to hook me up behind his Toyota Tundra with my tow strap and haul me the 8 miles to the dealership in Richardson.  $54 later, the dealership confirmed my diagnoses and quoted me about $4400 to replace it.  I asked if they would consider using my salvage part I purchased for $350 and they said, “No, too much liability.”  OK, I thought, I guess I’m on my own…

So we hauled it back and I finally got a round-tuit yesterday.  Since I couldn’t find a good procedure that anyone had documented online, I decided I’d document it and take a few pics along the way.  Here’s my result.

Disclaimer:  I R an electrical engineer, so I am comfortable working around electricity.  If you aren’t, perhaps you should befriend someone who is.  Engineers need friends, too!  Also, anywhere there were big orange HV cables I always checked the voltage between all connections with my meter before touching anything with a wrench.

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Before you start working on this car where you’ll be dealing with the high voltage (HV), you need to disable all the power and let it sit a few minutes to insure all the HV capacitors have had time to bleed down.  I’ve heard many time tables on this, such as “let it sit an hour,” but the Toyota dismantling manual states five minutes, so I figured by the time I got to working on that part plenty of time would have passed. 

First, disconnect the 12v “auxiliary” battery (located in the trunk) and pull the safety plug on the high voltage.  I disconnected the ground (-) battery cable.  Here are a few pics in the trunk showing the location of each.

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Pull the lever down to unlock the safety plug.

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Me pulling out the HV safety plug.  Hmmm, perhaps I should’ve worn insulating gloves (and a bunny suit).

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Now drain the inverter coolant.  It’s kinda’ scary because you might think you are going to drain the transmission fluid.  Oh, wait!  You will if you remove the wrong plug!  Don’t do that!  There are others that have much better photos of this.  Check out YouTube.

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Now you can remove the hoses to the inverter cooling system.

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As I started this process, I did things in the wrong order (of course) and found there were a couple of bolts I couldn’t get to.  I sent a text to the nice folks at Luscious Garage asking how I get to the bolts and they texted back (amazingly!) to remove the windshield wiper cowl.  Duh!  Should’ve done that at the very beginning.  My loss is your gain!

Remove the seal.

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The windshield wipers are held on with nuts that should be pretty easy to remove.  After the nuts are off, remove tension on the windshield wipers by pulling them away from the glass and see if you can’t easily remove them from the shafts. 

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The cover is essentially held on with two phillips screws (one on either side) and the fasteners that snap in the rubber seal.

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You do have to remove both sides of the cowl cover. 

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Once you get all this windshield wiper stuff out of the way, you can remove the cowl pan it sits in.  I didn’t get a picture of this for some unknown reason, but it’s pretty easy.  It just takes 5 or 6 bolts and you lift it out.  Be careful not to cut yourself (I did) on the sharp edges.

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Once you get the connectors out of the way you can get to the two gray connectors on the back and have easier access to the HV cable connectors (which can be somewhat difficult to wiggle loose, but be patient).

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Posted in Auto Repair, Instructions | 37 Comments »

P0124 and P1494 Trouble Codes on Chrysler Sebring Jxi Convertible 2.5 V6

Posted by Russell Wright on December 19, 2010

I had recently finished up replacing the distributor (for the 3rd time) in my Sebring convertible and was doing some city driving when I noticed the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp aka Service Engine Soon) was on.  I pulled into an Autozone and had the Autozoner hook up a DRB scan tool and pull the codes.  There were two:  P0124 and P1494.  The description of these codes, as taken directly from the 1997 Sebring Convertible Service Manual are:

P0124:  Well, this one was not in the service manual, but the Autozone printout says “TPS/APP intermittent.  Probable cause: 1. Open or short circuit condition.  2. Poor electrical connection.  3. Faulty APP (Accelerator Pedal Position) sensor. 

P1494:  Leak detection pump switch does not respond to input. 

For P1494, there are several paragraphs of explanation in the service manual that describe the leak detection system. 

“The leak detection assembly incorporates two primary functions:  it must detect a leak in the evaporative system and seal the evaporative system so the leak detection test can be run.

The primary components within the assembly are:  A three port solenoid that activates both of the functions listed above; a pump which contains a switch, two check valves and a spring/diaphragm, a canister vent valve (CVV) seal which contains a spring loaded vent seal valve.”

I started checking all the lines in the EVAP system, as I had to repair one of the vacuum lines that had become brittle and broke as I was rooting around with my big hands.

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What I had temporarily forgotten was that the purge hose vacuum line that is attached to the throttle body had split a little and I had reattached it and placed a tie-wrap on it until I could get a new hose.  It didn’t occur to me that the hose had split enough where it had a significant leak that could be causing my problem.  I failed to take a picture of the line attached with a tie-wrap, but here’s what it looks like after replacing the factory formed vacuum line with an aftermarket right angle vacuum line.

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The part I used for this is in the HELP! section of Autozone.  Part number 47092, vacuum elbow, 1/4 inch.  If you notice it’s a little longer than the original elbow, so I took a sharp knife and trimmed both ends a little to get a factory-looking fit.

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UPDATE 2011-01-08

Well, I finally got around to looking and this and found my problem.  Seems like every time I go to fix something on this car, I end up breaking something else. In this case it was the EVAP vacuum line that runs from the evaporative canister (located behind the passenger side headlight) to the vacuum inlet on the rear of the intake plenum.  Somehow I managed to NOT hook it back up and crush it between the intake plenum and the valve cover.  Great…just great.  All the hard plastic vacuum lines are extremely brittle after 13 years.  It broke the hard plastic vacuum hose and I replaced it with some off-the-shelf (3/16”) vacuum/fuel line.  Turns out the correct size for the vacuum line is really something more like 7/32”.  1/4” is a wee bit too big and 3/16” is a wee bit too small.

After fixing that, I still heard some hissing around the vacuum line that connects to the throttle body valve and found yet another plastic line broken!  So, I used another piece of hose to patch that one up.  I drove the car to Autozone and used their scan tool to reset the light.  So far, so good.

If I want to replace all the EVAP vacuum lines, Chrysler (http://wholesalemopar.com) sells the complete "harness" for about $60 plus shipping. So far I’ve purchased 4.29 worth of vacuum hose…with lots left over. I wonder…if I try and replace the entire vacuum harness how many other things will I break?  Probably makes more sense just to replace the pieces I need with aftermarket hose.

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Replace the Heater Hoses on a 1997 Chrysler Sebring Convertible

Posted by Russell Wright on December 8, 2010

While I was replacing my distributor, I found that I had at least one heater hose that was leaking.  Since I had the car apart, I made the decision to replace both of them.  I ordered them through WholesaleMopar.com for what I thought was a reasonable price.  It was actually cheaper than buying hoses from Autozone or NAPA and rigging them to make them work as the hoses they sell don’t have the clip-on ends (they sell the clip-on ends separately, which are about $8-$10 each).

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In order to get to the hoses where they attach at the firewall to the heater core, you need to remove the intake plenum.  Seems like you have to remove the intake plenum to get to just about everything on this car.  Luckily, it’s not quite as bad as it seems.  But it does take some time.  One of the trickiest steps is removing the two bolts on the left and right back sides that bolt the plenum to the brackets.  You can see in some of these photos the wrench arrangement I used to accomplish this.  Thank goodness for swivel sockets and long extensions!

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Getting the hoses off was…how do you say…not easy.  The first one wasn’t too bad, but it still took a lot of squeezing of the retainer clip and twisting with pliers to get the not-so-quick disconnect to release.  I found that it was just as easy to put a pan underneath the car and catch the coolant as trying to drain coolant from the drain (which only seems to work if it is warm and under pressure).  The back hose was way more difficult.  I had to finally resort to cutting the hose and pretty much destroying the quick connect to get it off.

If you purchase aftermarket replacement hoses from NAPA or Autozone, they don’t come with the quick connects.  I guess they assume you can simply use a standard hose clamp for the replacement hoses.  Probably not a bad idea, since getting these puppies off was way too time consuming!

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After I finally got the hoses off, I cleaned up the ends of the tubes by using 500 grit wet/dry sandpaper and some steel wool.  I also used a small razor knife to scrape some of the crap off the end of the tube.  The rubber from the hose seals was embedded pretty good.  I think I got it looking pretty good!

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Here where the hoses connect to the heater core at the firewall.  These use standard spring loaded clamps, but it’s still kinda’ tight back there for pliers and such.  There’s a neat tool that you can get that might be helpful for some spring hose clamps.

http://www.astrotools.com/LargerImage.aspx?toolsnum=9409A

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Posted in Auto Repair | 8 Comments »