Author Topic: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles  (Read 156413 times)

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #150 on: January 07, 2014, 04:15:17 PM »
Malibu- I would lean towards the cv joint worn out.

Ranger- I would lean towards the brakes. Maybe the caliper sticking and not releasing all the way, or minor warpage of the rotor.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #151 on: January 07, 2014, 07:42:50 PM »
i talked to my neighbor tonight and he said the malibu sounds like a cv joint, which is what i was leaning towards. tomorrow i'm going to get under it and have my wife turn the wheel while i tinker underneath and try to hear anything.

the ranger looks to be the upper ball joint. everything else looks solid, but when we were looking at it the wheel had slight play moving up and down, but not left and right. i also some some scratches on the dust shield from the rotor, so the noise seems to be coming from the metal grinding and the rotor is scraping the dust shield when it is loaded with all of the weight from reversing and turning.

i'll try to get some pictures up, but i just reloaded my computer and am still putting software back on it.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #152 on: January 07, 2014, 08:19:32 PM »
tomorrow i'm going to get under it and have my wife turn the wheel while i tinker underneath and try to hear anything.
There is a good chance you wont hear it popping or clicking unless its under power. Have the wife drive real slow in circles while you walk next to it.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #153 on: January 08, 2014, 02:16:22 PM »
Today I’ll show you how simple it is to replace lift supports. These are the supports that your car has if you have a hatchback. The hatchback on the Malibu was getting hard to lift (although I didn’t realize how much harder it was until the new supports were installed). The old supports were making noise and squeaking so I decided it was time to replace them. Plus I didn’t want them to fail when my wife or myself was under the hatch. It’s heavy, and that would hurt.

Let’s get started! Here’s a picture of the lift supports that I replaced:



Make sure you have a way to hold up your hatch, like I said, it is heavy. With one support removed it wanted to fall, trying to do this by yourself with no support would be pretty difficult. Either have a second pair of hands or get a long pole or tie it up. I went for the tie it up method:



These are clamped on to ball joints. All you have to do is use a small screwdriver to pull back the metal clips. Here’s the top:



Here’s the bottom, you can see there is an indent for where the screwdriver goes. The indent is in the top as well, but it’s easier to show with the lower clamp:



Just slip the screwdriver right in and the support will come right off:



Here is the ball joint that the supports attach too (cleaned up). It is the same top and bottom:



Here is the opening so you can see how the clamp works. This is with the clamp snug and not spaced out:



Then you slip the screwdriver into the clamp to spread it:



And the inside edges spread back so you can slip the old one off and the new one on to the ball:



All you need to do now is reverse the process. Spread the lower clamp and slide it over the ball:



And to the same to the top:



And just like that you’re done! Pretty simple fix to make sure your hatch stays safe. Once the new ones were installed it was night and day opening the hatch. It pops right up now, before we had to lift it almost the whole way up until the supports were able to hold it up.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #154 on: January 08, 2014, 02:17:57 PM »
There is a good chance you wont hear it popping or clicking unless its under power. Have the wife drive real slow in circles while you walk next to it.

do you mean under weight? for power i can turn the key over to have the ability to turn the wheels.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #155 on: January 09, 2014, 12:53:50 PM »
just called the shop i used to go to, they said to replace the lift supports on the hatch it would cost around $90 + tax :)

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #156 on: January 10, 2014, 12:27:28 PM »
just called the shop i used to go to, they said to replace the lift supports on the hatch it would cost around $90 + tax :)
Thats about right. $40 bucks in parts and half an hour for labor (100 an hour labor rate).

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #157 on: January 10, 2014, 01:05:39 PM »
plus the drive to the shop. sitting around at the shop. driving home from the shop. much cheaper for me to do it :)

i just ordered ball joints all around for the front of the truck, and it looks like a straightforward job. wish i didn't have to get an alignment afterwards, but oh well. the parts should show up next week so i think i will try to get that done on saturday.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #158 on: January 13, 2014, 07:01:17 AM »
so people, what's you take on the fuel system cleaners that you add to you gasoline? i've never used them, but wondered if they really work or if it's just marketing.

Offline Zef_66

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #159 on: January 13, 2014, 01:01:28 PM »
so people, what's you take on the fuel system cleaners that you add to you gasoline? i've never used them, but wondered if they really work or if it's just marketing.

For the most part, it is just marketing. If you drive your vehicles with any kind of regularity, there is no need for them. If you have vehicles that sit a lot and the gas gets crappy, it might be worth running. But I've worked on a lot of vehicles, and if you keep up on your maintenance, and drive the vehicle on a fairly regular basis, there is no need for stuff like that.

Offline Greekman

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #160 on: January 13, 2014, 01:32:46 PM »
It is my understanding that they are alcohol based and their purpose is to make a complex with the water in the gas.
But how much will be enough, one cannot know

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #161 on: February 19, 2014, 06:38:11 AM »
had the car in for an oil change and got the list of things that need to be done from them. time to take the list and do the repairs myself to save money (they want $1400!) and am hoping to get a couple questions answered about some line items they have listed.

my right front axle seal is leaking as well as my front crank seal. it is my understanding that the axle seal is where the cv joint/boot goes into the transmission case... yes? so this means there is nothing wrong with the cv joint, just where it joins up with the case? i haven't had a chance to get under the car and look (serviced yesterday) but when i was under it a month ago the cv joints looked good on both sides (no cracks, tears, leaks)

and the front crank seal, what and where is that? i tried googling it and was getting the same pictures as the front axle seal... are these the same things?

also they recommend a decarb and fuel rail service... i can decarb my own throttle body no problem, it's actually been on my to do list and i haven't gotten around to it, but what is the fuel rail service? can i do that on my own? is it needed? i've never heard of it before now. the research i've done leads me to believe it's something to do with cleaning the injector, which i wouldn't mind as i had one go bad a while back, but i'm not about to pay $150 for them to scrape my TB with a toothbrush and spray some cleaner in it.

last thing, shocks and struts are blown. rear shocks are no problem. the front struts... i can buy just the strut or i can buy a unit with new springs and everything... is replacing just the strut easy or is that spring under a lot of pressure? i don't want to kill myself or break the car, and i don't have a spring compressor. struts by themselves are a LOT cheaper, but better to be alive and have spent a few bucks more, i am a survivalist, after all ;)

thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: February 19, 2014, 06:51:33 AM by thewarriorhunter »

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #162 on: February 19, 2014, 07:52:17 AM »
i watched a video and springs are going to be cake and o'reilly's has a compressor i can rent. i found a smoking deal on both struts and both shocks for $212 plus free shipping! woohoo! will order those tomorrow after pay day. are springs something that need to be replaced? i can't imagine that the auto shop would have given me whole new assemblies, i would imagine they were just going to replace the struts and keep the springs, i'll have to call and find out.

Offline Leftout

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #163 on: February 19, 2014, 11:19:11 AM »
thewarriorhunter, you might want to think about replacing the upper strut mount/bearing while you have the struts out.   Have to figure the rubber mount and bearing is as old and used as the rest of the strut.
Also if you have someone to offer another pair of hands, it can help make it go quicker.  As in leverage to pull down the lower arm as the other moves the strut out.
Otherwise lots of penetrate oil on the nuts and studs.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #164 on: February 19, 2014, 11:57:13 AM »
good call, those are about $30 each, so not a bad investment since i'm replacing the whole shebang... i'm going to pop the wheels off tomorrow and take a good look at everything. also i'll try to pinpoint those leaks and see if i can get some pictures to help ID what parts i may/may not need.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #165 on: February 19, 2014, 01:57:53 PM »
so... are new coil springs worth $45? as it stands if i buy the struts/shock package that i found and purchase strut mounts i'm saving $45. if springs should be replaced then i may as well just get the monroe all in one setups that have everything. if not then i'll stick with the KYB set i found and not worry about springs.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #166 on: February 19, 2014, 04:15:59 PM »
Front crank seal = the oil pan gasket. The front and rear part of the gaskets will be rubber half moon shaped and seals the bottom part where the crank is mounted by the 2 bolt mains. This is an easy repair and you can handle it.

Offline cpf240

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #167 on: February 19, 2014, 09:55:10 PM »
Springs... how old are they? Original, I presume... so, the question is, does the car have a noticeable sag at the front end? If not, I wouldn't worry about the springs.

Spring compressor... be REALLY CAREFUL with those things... I used two of the threaded rod with clamps variety many years ago on a MacPherson strut assembly... almost lost an eye when the clamps let loose and sent the upper spring seat into my eye socket. Fun times... not.

Lets be careful out there everybody!

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #168 on: February 19, 2014, 10:16:07 PM »
Yeah, i plan on keeping the springs perpendicular to me when working on them.

Offline Zef_66

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #169 on: February 20, 2014, 10:17:42 AM »
it is my understanding that the axle seal is where the cv joint/boot goes into the transmission case... yes? so this means there is nothing wrong with the cv joint, just where it joins up with the case? i haven't had a chance to get under the car and look (serviced yesterday) but when i was under it a month ago the cv joints looked good on both sides (no cracks, tears, leaks)


Typically, there is nothing wrong with the CV shaft itself. Just the seal is worn and leaking. But in some instances, the seal can wear a groove into the CV shaft and cause the leak. This isn't typical, but something to look for if doing it yourself. But typically one of those jobs where the parts are like $30 and it takes you 4 hours to do.

Quote
and the front crank seal, what and where is that? i tried googling it and was getting the same pictures as the front axle seal... are these the same things?

ncjeeper mentioned that the front crank seal is the same as the oil pan seal. I going to say it is not. The crank typically extends out the front of the engine block and will have a large pulley on it. The belt will run around this pulley and drive the accessories on the front of the engine. The front crank seal is usually behind this pulley and either in the engine block itself or in some kind of cover. Again, not usually an expensive part, but just labor intensive to replace it. Not usually anything hard. Just a lot to remove to get to it.

Quote
also they recommend a decarb and fuel rail service... i can decarb my own throttle body no problem, it's actually been on my to do list and i haven't gotten around to it, but what is the fuel rail service? can i do that on my own? is it needed? i've never heard of it before now. the research i've done leads me to believe it's something to do with cleaning the injector, which i wouldn't mind as i had one go bad a while back, but i'm not about to pay $150 for them to scrape my TB with a toothbrush and spray some cleaner in it.

Yes, decarbing the TB is easy. A fuel rail service is just cleaning the inside of the fuel rail and injectors. Not typically a problem, but it can help the engine run smoother and a little more efficient. But usually this is a service that is sold or added on when they have no clue if it is needed or not. I wouldn't pay someone to do it. But I would rather run some fuel injector cleaner through the fuel myself. Seafoam or Lucas products is what I would recommend.

Quote
last thing, shocks and struts are blown. rear shocks are no problem. the front struts... i can buy just the strut or i can buy a unit with new springs and everything... is replacing just the strut easy or is that spring under a lot of pressure? i don't want to kill myself or break the car, and i don't have a spring compressor. struts by themselves are a LOT cheaper, but better to be alive and have spent a few bucks more, i am a survivalist, after all ;)

thanks in advance!

Depends on the mileage about replacing the spring. If they are more than say 8 years old or have over 100k miles, I would replace them. Springs get weak and wear out. They will sag and just not support the car as well. If you are doing it, I would do the whole things, springs, struts, mounts, etc. Monroe usually makes a quick-strut assembly that comes completely assembled. That is the easiest thing to go with. The strut/spring compressors work, but they are a pain. I've done quite a few sets, and if I can get out of using them and put in a full assembly, I would do it.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #170 on: February 20, 2014, 04:27:01 PM »
Here are some pictures of the axle leak and the crank seal leak.

The axle leak I’m not too concerned about replacing, I just need to know WHAT exactly to replace, just the seal or the whole half shaft? I want to do this at the same time as the struts since I will need an alignment.

Also keep in mind I’m pretty sure these are the original parts and the car is 10 years old with 110k miles. What is the realistic life expectancy of these parts? If they are nearing their end of life I’d rather just buy all new components now and get everything done at once.

All of the leak/grease/dirt is on the half shaft where it goes into the transmission. The actual joints of the shaft looked good with no tears or dirt on them. These are the best pictures I could get, part of the car frame runs directly under where they connect to the transmission:









So, just the seals? A whole new CV Joint/half shaft? What do my gear head friends suggest?

I think the crank shaft seal is going to be the tough one… not a lot of room to work as it’s right next to the frame. I got the best pictures I could, but I can definitely see leaking oil around it and on the oil pan. Here are the best pictures I could get, along with evidence of the leaking.

Looking down, the bolt belongs to the crank pulley:



The next two are from underneath the car, best angle I could get, that pesky frame was in the way again.





Oil pan with fresh oil on the underside, looks like it is running down from the crankshaft area:



Frame underneath the crankshaft:



Offline Zef_66

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #171 on: February 21, 2014, 08:35:49 AM »
Here are some pictures of the axle leak and the crank seal leak.

The axle leak I’m not too concerned about replacing, I just need to know WHAT exactly to replace, just the seal or the whole half shaft? I want to do this at the same time as the struts since I will need an alignment.

Also keep in mind I’m pretty sure these are the original parts and the car is 10 years old with 110k miles. What is the realistic life expectancy of these parts? If they are nearing their end of life I’d rather just buy all new components now and get everything done at once.

All of the leak/grease/dirt is on the half shaft where it goes into the transmission. The actual joints of the shaft looked good with no tears or dirt on them. These are the best pictures I could get, part of the car frame runs directly under where they connect to the transmission:

So, just the seals? A whole new CV Joint/half shaft? What do my gear head friends suggest?

I think the crank shaft seal is going to be the tough one… not a lot of room to work as it’s right next to the frame. I got the best pictures I could, but I can definitely see leaking oil around it and on the oil pan. Here are the best pictures I could get, along with evidence of the leaking.

Looking down, the bolt belongs to the crank pulley:

The next two are from underneath the car, best angle I could get, that pesky frame was in the way again.

Oil pan with fresh oil on the underside, looks like it is running down from the crankshaft area:

Frame underneath the crankshaft:

From the pictures, it looks like just what they told you. Front crank seal and axle seal. I'm not sure what kind of vehicle it is on (I can't remember and didn't bother looking), but I would guess the crank seal is the harder of the two.

With the axle seal, 98% of the time just replacing the seal will fix the leak. But those few instances the seal will wear the shaft of the axle. This is probably more common on aftermarket axles where the hardness of the shaft is questionable and the rubber can actually wear into the softer metal. With OEM axles like you should have at that low of mileage, I don't think that should be a concern. So I would just plan on replacing the seal. But make sure to check the axle shaft when you remove it and feel for any grooves. But planning to just replace the seal should be sufficient.

I wouldn't worry about replacing components that aren't bad. On most vehicles, CV shafts don't go bad that often. I would think 150-200k miles should be an average life expectancy. Not worth replacing at this point IMO unless they are cracked or leaking.

With the crank seal, the hardest part of it all will be getting the bolt loose on the center of the pulley. If I remember correctly, you don't have a whole lot of tools, so I'm guessing you don't have an impact gun. Usually, that is what is needed to remove those crank bolts. They are TIGHT. And when you try to loosen them with a regular ratchet, the engine will just spin. So either you find some way to hold the engine from turning over (like a screwdriver in the flywheel) and use a breaker bar and long pipe on the end, or use an impact that uses a lot of short blows to break the bolt free. The second hardest thing will be space, as you mentioned. You have to remove a lot of stuff (belts, alternator, pulleys, etc) to even get to the thing. Then you are working against everything to try and remove the seal. But with the way it looks, it needs replaced or will just get worse. It's definitely a moderately difficult job. But doable.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #172 on: February 21, 2014, 09:07:55 AM »
ok... i'll have to research the crank seal more, but it is literally right next to the wall of the engine compartment, that first top down picture is all the room i have. unless i pull the engine out there is no way any type of impact gun is getting in there. stupid question (wait, there are none, right?) if/when i do this job i'll have to drain all of the oil, right? that crank seal is at the bottom of the engine/oil pan so my guess is behind that seal is a lot of oil.

the malibu forum i go to sucks on responses and i haven't heard anything back from there :(

EDIT: autozone rocks! just learned they have repair guides with diagrams for a bunch of vehicles. aparently that section of engine compartment can be removed and allows access to the crankshaft, then a special tool can be used to remove the crankshaft. looks like i just need to get all of the parts, i bet this will be easier to do if i do it after removing the old strut so i have even less in my way.

but... i can't find a place to rent the flywheel holder... anyone have one i can borrow? i'll pay postage. i guess i can go with the screwdriver method, but the right tool for the right job is always nicer.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2014, 09:23:41 AM by thewarriorhunter »

Offline Zef_66

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #173 on: February 21, 2014, 09:42:54 AM »
ok... i'll have to research the crank seal more, but it is literally right next to the wall of the engine compartment, that first top down picture is all the room i have. unless i pull the engine out there is no way any type of impact gun is getting in there. stupid question (wait, there are none, right?) if/when i do this job i'll have to drain all of the oil, right? that crank seal is at the bottom of the engine/oil pan so my guess is behind that seal is a lot of oil.

the malibu forum i go to sucks on responses and i haven't heard anything back from there :(

EDIT: autozone rocks! just learned they have repair guides with diagrams for a bunch of vehicles. aparently that section of engine compartment can be removed and allows access to the crankshaft, then a special tool can be used to remove the crankshaft. looks like i just need to get all of the parts, i bet this will be easier to do if i do it after removing the old strut so i have even less in my way.

but... i can't find a place to rent the flywheel holder... anyone have one i can borrow? i'll pay postage. i guess i can go with the screwdriver method, but the right tool for the right job is always nicer.

Yes, it would be a good idea to drain the oil and replace with new. I wouldn't worry about changing the filter. But once the oil is out of the engine, I don't trust it to go back in. Only use new.

Yes, usually there is a plastic shield covering the lower portion that can be removed and allow access to the lower parts of the engine. That is how you would get an impact gun in there.

Wife used to have a Malibu and I had the same experience about their forum.

I've never used a flywheel holder. It doesn't take much to hold with a screwdriver and that is what I have always done. If a friend, or even the wife is close by, I have them do it. Otherwise, I find a way to wedge it down to the floor. Yeah, I'm cheap.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #174 on: February 21, 2014, 10:19:54 AM »
i'm cheap too, luckily both auto shops have the puller and installer tools that i will need, so this is getting easier and easier as i research more and watch more videos, gotta love youtube. harbor freight has a tool i could buy, but why buy when i can rent? a screwdriver jammed in will work for holding the flywheel in place. i think my dad is going to come down when i do the work so i'll have a second set of hands to help with everything. after watching the repair i see why the shop wants $200 for a $20 part.

i think the biggest issue with this will be leverage for removing/installing the part.

what's a good torque wrench recommendation? at the tire shop i see them using ones that have and audible click, i'm assuming when they reach the desired torque spec. that'd be a nice tool to add, especially since this will need to be torqued down pretty good.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #175 on: February 21, 2014, 11:07:34 AM »
what's a good torque wrench recommendation?
I use snap on wrenches. Click type for most applications. I use the dial type for checking preload on pinions and such.
Peterson's 4 wheel drive had an article awhile back where they tested different brands of torque wrenches. Actually the harbor freight wrenches faired very well. So for the weekend mechanic I would recommend to just buy a HF one.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #176 on: February 21, 2014, 12:28:29 PM »
if HF has a clicker that will work for me. i always have a 20% off coupon or two lying around, plus their freebies that i can get. they also had some puller/installer kits for the crankshaft but since i can use those for free from the auto shop i'm going to pass.

Offline Zef_66

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #177 on: February 21, 2014, 01:41:42 PM »
Actually the harbor freight wrenches faired very well. So for the weekend mechanic I would recommend to just buy a HF one.

I was going to recommend the same thing. Overall, a good torque wrench for a weekend warrior.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #178 on: February 22, 2014, 08:16:05 AM »
Remember, vehicle repairs aren’t always ripping your car apart and getting fluid everywhere. My license plate light went out on me so it was time to change the bulb. If anything is going to get you pulled over it’s a broken light, and while I’m not anti-cop (some of my best friends are LEO), I am anti-give-the-cop-an-easy-reason-to-pull-you-over.

The bulb is a real simple one & look! I’m green! Eiko Certified Green bulbs! Polar bears and baby seals around the world rejoice!



All lights are different, my car only has one and it mounts right above the plate under the bumper. Those two screws are holding it in place:



Once the screws are out the light comes out. I had to wiggle it around a little bit so it would fit through the opening:



Here is the housing. The plug going into the housing needs to be twisted about a quarter turn and it comes right out:



Here’s the old bulb, burned out so bad it blew up inside and cracked the glass:



Before you put everything back together make sure the new bulb works:



Put it back together and you’re all done. Not being able to hold the housing made reinserting the screws a little difficult, but a pair of needle nose pliers really helped to hold the light in place.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: My journey to maintaining my own vehicles
« Reply #179 on: February 22, 2014, 11:31:47 AM »
The 194"s are a common bulb. Never hurts to have a spare pack. You will find them used in side marker lights and as dash lights too.