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DIY Car Repair
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Old 21st December 2003, 09:12 PM   #1
avatar307 is offline avatar307  United States
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Default DIY Car Repair

Can anyone suggest a good DIY Car Repair forum out there? I was hoping to find a site as good as this one, well organized and packed with people who know what they are talking about. Thus far, my search has yeilded nothing.

I have a 1995 Buick LeSabre with an Airbag light that will not go out. The SDM (airbag computer) is mounted under the passenger seat, and the interior got rather wet some time ago. I know how to disarm the system and all, but I still fear doing any real work on it without talking in depth to someone about it.

Why am I attempting such a repair on a car myself? Well, because I am a poor college student. None of the mechanics shops will even touch an airbag, they tell you to call the dealer. The dealer wants $80/hour, and refuses to give me an time estimate, a cost for a diagnostic, or the cost of what a new module is. This is why I refuse to take cars to the dealership to get them repaired.

A SDM out of a salvage yard will cost me somewhere between $100 and $400. But I do not want to install one unless I have a better idea of what I am doing. At this point, because of the cost and risks invovled, I am just going to live with the light and hope I do not hit anything. LOL

Thanks in advance for any advice anyone can offer as to where to look for answers to such a question.

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Old 31st December 2003, 02:56 AM   #2
Brian Donaldson is offline Brian Donaldson  United States
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Not only are mechanics too expensive, most are not that bright. This is what I always do...
Go to the dealer and buy the service manual for your car. Not the Chilton ro Clymer or other bullcrap book that covers all buick from 1947 to 2003. I mean the one that covers only 1995 Buick Le Sabre (and maybe other GM sisiters). I've always owned Chrysler products, but I think all American cars offer the same type of book. The wiring diagrams and diagnosis procedures are very clear and detailed. This book will likely set you back $80.00, but it's worth every penny if you plan to own the car for more than a year or two.

Let me brag on the manual for my old 91 Dynasty I had a few years back.

The transmission had an intermitant problem. 3 or 4 times a month, It would shift very hard, hickup, and get stuck in second gear. If you shifted into neutral, killed it and restarted it, It would be fine for a week or two. (the car had 125000 miles, ran great, looked ok, but had no resale value. That's the beauty of chrysler products used. people almost give them away) Then the problem became more frequent.
I went to a recomended transmission shop and asked them if they could diagnose this sort of a problem. When the car was not acting up, it shifted perfectly. The transmission was electroniclly controlled, and obviously had an intermittant electrical problem. I made it very clear that I wasn't going to spend $1400 to put a transmission in a $1200 car. I was better off leaving the keys and title on the hood and walking away.
Two days later the guy tells me that the transmission needs to be rebuilt.
I bought the book and studied for a few days. I compaired the error codes that I got from the machanic and what the car was doing and theorized that a pressure switch was not making contact. In the yellow pages I found a dealer that sold automatic transmission to shops and found that there was a kit to rebuild the solenoid pack that housed the switch for $20.00
The problem was a rubber seal that tore and was getting in the way of the contacts I suspected as faulty. After my $20.00 transmission rebuild, the car ran faithfully for 2 more years and 22000 miles befor I sold it.

Such a book in the right hads can save a fortune. Even if you decide not to fix a problem yourself, at least you can know if it's something you can try. You'll be pleasantly surprised that all of those computers have self diagnostic software build in. The car that I bought to replace the Dynasty was a 94 Chrysler LHS. Sweet car. 24v 225HP V6 . It had a intermittant A/C problem. Sometimes the compressor wouldn't kick on. through the A/C computer diag and the engine computer diag. I found that the A/C computer had to ask the Body computer to ask the engine computer to turn on the compressor. The engine computer had a error code set saying something about com bus failure. I removed the connector from the engine computer and cleaned the terminals and never had another problem from it in the next 2 years. How much would you think a mechanic would charge to try to sort that problem out? How many months do you think I would have been without my car while he tried in vain.

Let the mechanic change leaky waterpumps and shocks, but the electrical stuff is really out of there leauge.
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Old 25th January 2004, 06:12 PM   #3
offroadbum is offline offroadbum  United States
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Default air bag light

either take the bulb out....
or go to the local dealer bodyshop and talk with a bodyman,not the estimater,but one of the guys in the shop.most don`t mind answering questions.
now for the the big thing with this type of operation,IT IS VERY ILLEIGAL.that is why no one will want to do it for you.
if you taper with this system you can`t sell the car in this country.
thats a federal law.....
and one more thing,don`t use a test light on this system,it will set off the air bag.
you could get another computer from a junkyard for a small price.
Lost in wonderland..........
now where that rabbit go??
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Old 21st May 2011, 03:02 AM   #4
wrightmercy is offline wrightmercy  United States
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well i suggest this one car repair (link added), i got this one when i am searching for the answer in my problem about the how to fix the parts of my honda. actually it has the list car make and the model. i don't think that this site is a forum, i just want to share this one. wondering if this might be a help with you.
*note: if you find this not very helpful and find this a spam, you can delete my post. thanks!
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Old 22nd May 2011, 12:47 AM   #5
nigelwright7557 is offline nigelwright7557  United Kingdom
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Originally Posted by Brian Donaldson View Post
Not only are mechanics too expensive, most are not that bright. .
My son works as a mechanic in the uk, while the garage charges £50 per hour he gets £8 per hour.

It is mostly overheads a garage has that causes the steep charges.
Its not just the mechanic but support staff also required and costs of renting the building and insurance.

I prefer going to a dealer rather than back street garages, you are more likely to get an honest deal from a dealer.

I got fed up of buying dodgy motors from back street garages and have bough the last 4 cars from a main dealer and never had any problems.
PCBCAD51 pcb design software. 2018 version out now with lower prices >> http://www.murtonpikesystems.co.uk
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Old 22nd May 2011, 01:02 AM   #6
Pano is online now Pano  United States
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DIY Car Repair
Old threads never die, eh? Unlike cars.
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Old 22nd May 2011, 10:19 PM   #7
Richard Ellis is offline Richard Ellis  Argentina
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Location: Mar del Plata, a BIG seasonal getaway city, can see the Ocean from our residence.
"Most are not that bright" Yeah...Ok, So how many days, weeks, months did it take you to diagnose your trannie problem?? How many careers do you know of whereby you 'return' to school a minimum of two weeks to eight weeks per year to learn something new in your job?
"Dealership" mechanics are the smartest & the best of the bunch, they get the training & experience unmatched in the independents. Want to learn your car? Get the factory manuals specific for your car & study them ....intently....memorize procedures, learn every little bit........then if you have the makings of working on your own car. But, you will have to study ANOTHER manual.....if your going to work on a different car. Good luck.

__________________________________________________ ______Rick.........
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