small-list-digest Thursday, November 19 1998 Volume 02 : Number 321



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Ford Truck Enthusiasts - Ranger, Explorer, Bronco 2 and Aerostar
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In this issue:

FTE Small - oil pressure
Re: FTE Small - Tauri and Aerostars
FTE Small - RE:Tauri and Aerostars
Re: FTE Small - 93 Ranger Hydraulic Clutch
FTE Small - Paint Restoration
Re: FTE Small - Paint Restoration
Re: FTE Small - Paint Restoration
FTE Small - Oxygen Sensors and 4WD
FTE Small - Appreciation and more, Ken and Tim (Aerostar, Mechanics)
FTE Small - Speed Increase
Re: FTE Small - 96 Exploder
Re: FTE Small - oil pressure
Re: FTE Small - Tauri and Aerostars
Re: FTE Small - RE:Tauri and Aerostars
Re: FTE Small - 93 Ranger Hydraulic Clutch
FTE Small - V-6 Exhaust Gasket Help Needed
Re: FTE Small - Appreciation and more, Ken and Tim (Aerostar, Mechanics)
FTE Small - P235/75R15 on 91 Ranger 4x4
Re: FTE Small - Paint Restoration
FTE Small - 92-93 5-Speed Transmissions

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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 07:49:08 -0600
From: frangre rosevax.rosemount.com (Frank Green)
Subject: FTE Small - oil pressure

Hello!
I'm new to this. I have a '96 Ranger 4X4 STX, 4.0L. I read the posts about the "idiot" oil pressure gauges. My truck has the same type, and I am puzzled by
its' operation. When I start the engine in the morning, the gauge stays low for 3 to 5 minutes, then moves to half scale. Other times, the gauge moves to normal right away. Is the morning delay really a lack of OP, or some electrical delay?
Thanks,
Franko
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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 07:50:59 -0800
From: Thom Cheney
Subject: Re: FTE Small - Tauri and Aerostars

Tim Turner wrote:
>
> Okay then.. everybody tired of reading my long replies?
>

not at all... good to hear it "straight from the horse's mouth".

Now then...... what are the "weak spots" on my '97 Ranger X-cab STX
4.0, 5 spd, etc.....

- --
Thom Cheney
Early Bronco Entertainment
http://www.ford-trucks.com//lc/lc.php?action=do&link=http://www.EarlyBroncoEnt.com


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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 08:58:31 -0800
From: "Pete Lawless"
Subject: FTE Small - RE:Tauri and Aerostars

Richard wrote:
> But, I'm also getting the sense that Aerostars rival the Tauri as money
> drains.

Tim Turner wrote:
>Sell the Taurus!!! If you dont know by now they're money-pits.. if I
> >was paid a percentage I'd love Taureses (Taurusi? Tauri?)

Not to detract from Tim's excellent comments and experience.... just
another thought to consider:
MONEY PIT... I've heard this tag placed on many Taurus', Explorers,
Aerostars, etc. (and other popular non-Ford products). I believe that the
failure rate as a percentage of the total number of each specific vehicle
model on the road, for the most part, is relatively low (with exceptions,
of course).
IE: 3% of 3 million Taurus' in the shop creates a public perception
different from 3% of 300,000 Nissan Maxximas (just an example, numbers
surely not accurate). There are just so darn many Taurus, Explorers and
Aerostars out there that this image results. Of course the sales numbers
also speak for them selves.... if they were inherently a high maintanance
product they wouldn't continue to be so popular.

Later..... Pete
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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 12:42:43 -0500
From: "Bill"
Subject: Re: FTE Small - 93 Ranger Hydraulic Clutch

I agree TIm.
I purchased a small vacuum pump, and with it's aide I was able to maintain
peddle pressure with the Quick Disconnect off. Unfortunately, as soon as I
plug the QD into the tranny, I lost everything so...
Back to the tranny shop. I am now the owner of a brand new slave cylinder,
which on a '93 Splash sits inside the bell housing, making a self
installation very impracticle.
- -----Original Message-----
From: Tim Turner
To:
Date: Tuesday, November 17, 1998 7:28 PM
Subject: Re: FTE Small - 93 Ranger Hydraulic Clutch


>
>
>Bill wrote:
>>
>> Hi all,
>
>> I replaced the clutch master
>> cylinder and reservoir, and bled the crap out of the system, but am
unable
>> to get any response when depressing the pedal.
>> When you disconnect the tranny via the quick disconnect, does that not
>> create a closed line?
>
>Assuming the QD doesnt leak.
>
>> And wouldn't this lack of pedal pressure with the
>> slave cylinder out of the circuit prove that the master cylinder is the
>> culprit?
>
>IF all the air is out yes; but see below.
>
>>
>> What am I missing?
>
>All the air trapped in the master by the odd angle it sits at! I dont
>remember ALL the details of the TSB's concerning this but the gist of it
>is to pre-bleed it on the bench in a level attitude and I believe by
>depressing the center of the QD then install and bleed master and slave
>per normal. Try this and see what happens, also if you can get a copy
>of the TSB locally give it a look. If you cant get any co-operation give
>me a call at 910-791-4440 10-17:00 EST and I'll grab a copy. (Also the
>person that wanted a copy of the B-II tailgate TSB e-mail me again; I
>lost your original in a hard drive crash.)
>
>
>Tim Turner/Manic Mechanic
>Custer Auto Repair
>Wilmington NC
>
>>
>> Bill
>> kiteflyer earthlink.net
>> Get high on the wind.
>
>^^^^^
>I see a LOT of people having fun with those on the beach.. always
>meaning to try it.. :-)
>
>TT
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>

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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 12:52:06 -0500
From: "Bill"
Subject: FTE Small - Paint Restoration

Question for all, and I'm sure opinions will be varied.
What do you find is the best product for restoring the luster to a fading
paint job, and which wax product seems to give the best shine and
protection?

I live in florida, and own a '93 Splash. The paints not in bad shape, but
it's not as glossy as I'd like it to be and I'd like to keep it from fading
further.

Also, is a color restorer better or worse than a polishing compound, as far
as the paint is concerned.

Thanks for replying,

Bill
kiteflyer earthlink.net

Get high on the wind...

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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 10:45:03 -0800
From: Thom Cheney
Subject: Re: FTE Small - Paint Restoration

"Fading" paint is due to the oxidation of the paint. In order to
"restore" it, you will have to remove that faded layer of paint & get
down to "fresh" pigment. No other way around it. Use a mild polishing
compound. I like Turtle Wax White Polishing Compound. It is not as a
gressive as some. I'm sure you would be happy with a Meguiar's product,
but they are usually more expensive. Don't use an "all in one" polish
and wax product. I prefer to get as much of the abrasive off BEFORE
waxing.

1. Wash your truck. Dry thoroughly, even if this means letting it sit
in the garage overnight.

2. Follow the instructions for polishing. I got one of those random
orbital polishers for $29.99. It works adequately for this type of
work. Go easy on the corners, that's where the paint may wear through
first. Don't stay on one spot too long or you could burn the paint.

3. After you have completely gone over the vehicle, wash it again to
remove any residual abrasive.

4. Wax the vehicle. Since you live in FLA, find a good wax that
contains some UV protection. Brand is not critical, more importantly
KEEP A COAT OF WAX ON THE TRUCK. It is your only line of defense in
preserving your paint job. You can probably polish the paint 3 or 4
times before it starts getting thin, but keep wax on the truck & you may
never have to polish it again.

good luck!
- --
Thom Cheney
Early Bronco Entertainment
http://www.ford-trucks.com//lc/lc.php?action=do&link=http://www.EarlyBroncoEnt.com


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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 14:29:33 -0500
From: Jim Storch
Subject: Re: FTE Small - Paint Restoration

Bill wrote:
>
> Question for all, and I'm sure opinions will be varied.
> What do you find is the best product for restoring the luster to a fading
> paint job, and which wax product seems to give the best shine and
> protection?
>
> I live in florida, and own a '93 Splash. The paints not in bad shape, but
> it's not as glossy as I'd like it to be and I'd like to keep it from fading
> further.
>
> Also, is a color restorer better or worse than a polishing compound, as far
> as the paint is concerned.
>
> Thanks for replying,
>
> Bill

Bill,

First of all, you must establish whether your finish is clear-coated or
not. If it
is, use products which specify that they are clear-coat compatable.
There are
many books written on auto detailing which describe how to restore the
shine.
Check out the public library. You'll find that although the products
used may
vary, the steps are pretty much the same...

- - Get the surface as clean as possible. This includes removing existing
wax
build-up, road tar, bird droppings or anything else.
- - Apply a glaze or glaze/polish product. Your luster is fading because
the
surface is covered with minute scratches which difuse the light and
inhibit
reflectivity. Most of these scratches are too small to see with the
naked eye.
The glaze will fill-in these scratches and polishing will smooth the
surface.
- - Apply a Carnuba paste wax product to protect the surface. Applying the
wax to your finish without doing the glaze/polish step will only be
adding a
protective coat to the semi/glossy surface. It will look better than
it did, but,
no way near as good as it could.

A couple other details which are evry important to your success. The
surface of
the vehicle MUST BE COOL. Do not work on the vehicles finish in the sun
or
if it recently came out of the sun. Let it cool down first. I usually do
mine first
thing in the morning after it has sat all night. Another important point
is to be
very careful if you intend to use a power buffer. These things can have
wreck
havoc any your vehicle in inexperienced hands are best left to the pros.

Oh yeah, after you're done with the finish, pull out into the sun and
clean your
windows. You'll be able to see every streak that you would've missed
doing it
in the shade.

Have fun. JimS
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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 16:05:15 EST
From: Blest25913 AOL.COM
Subject: FTE Small - Oxygen Sensors and 4WD

In a message dated 11/16/98 6:34:37 AM, you wrote:


My other question is, how many oxygen sensors should this truck have? The
dealer is
telling me three, but I am only finding one in my parts book at work.
>>>>>>>
My '96 Ranger (3.0L) has one on the exhaust manifold on the driver's side. I
have heard that some engines have another one after the catylitic converter.
If I'm wrong about only one O2 sensor, let me know.
Is your 4WD a full time 4WD?
Ron 'Grampy' Trampe

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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 12:39:23 -0800
From: Richard
Subject: FTE Small - Appreciation and more, Ken and Tim (Aerostar, Mechanics)

Thanks to you, Ken, for providing this forum, and for carrying my long
Aerostar post, as well as Tim Turner's ("Manic Mechanic") detailed
reply.

I feel that I shouldn't take the bandwidth to repost the correspondance,
but will exerpt.

>rear AC,

>.. I hope you live in a cool climate. Stay with R-12 as long
>as you can afford it in this one.

I live near the top of the Berkeley Hills (about 12 miles from San
Francisco). It is moderately-steep, the climate is mild, but hot in
summer. However, I often drive trips of 20-40 miles to places where the
weather is extremely hot most of the year; sometimes the temps hit 104.
My AC is on most of the year, most of the time. Normal California
driving puts a vehicle under extreme heat-stress that I haven't
experienced elsewhere. It is routine for people to be driving up a
5-10-mile freeway grade at 65 mph at 97 deg. F, with the AC on.

I appreciate the Aerostar's optional rear AC since the front unit
doesn't seem to have enough capacity for the van's size. In order to
replace my heater core, the mechanic had to blow the AC. My cost for
the replacement R-12 refrigerant was sobering. Does it make sense to
follow Ford's instructions for an R-134a refrigerant conversion? (I
believe that the bulletin lists an accumulator upgrade as the only
component change). Also, I've noted a different "drop-in" refrigerant
advertised on the Web, with a companion very-compatible compressor oil.
So, here again is that question: "What's a sensible way to live with
this subsystem?"

>>There's a tendency for many mechanics
>> to become impatient when having to work in cramped spaces. Hell, it's
>> only human. The experience for the mechanic will be uncomfortable,
>> awkward and painful.

>THANK YOU!! You'ld be amazed how many people dont understand that
>simple concept.

Working inside Sony products gave me sympathy for people working in
cramped spaces and trying not to damage other vulnerable items. I'm
afraid that "almost-un-repairable" products are becoming the rule,
definitely including motor vehicles. (Almost-un-repairable means costly
overstressed early-failing parts buried beneath very expensive labor
costs; I got so disgusted with Sony's designs that, like some other
repair techs, just refused to work on their stuff altogether.)

>I'm not paid by hours turned. (And THATS a topic for another place..
I try to keep away from shops where the techs are paid on commission.
Flat rates also trouble me. Here are incentives to bang out the jobs,
fast and sloppy. Do you agree?

A possible topic for the future: how to establish a good working
relationsip with a good mechanic.

But not today. Tim, I appreciate your generosity in providing
experienced, thoughtful answers in this forum.

Richard


- --
!! NOTE: TO REPLY, REMOVE THE STRING: "REMOVE.THIS.TO.REPLY" FROM MY
ADDRESS !!

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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 16:15:42 EST
From: Blest25913 AOL.COM
Subject: FTE Small - Speed Increase

In a message dated 11/17/98 6:37:43 AM, you wrote:


driving through the mountains and going downhill, my truck gradually picks up
speed. I'm not sure what is causing this. Anybody else have this problem?
>>>>>>>
I've got the same problem. Its annoying. Especially when there's a stop sign
at the bottom of the hill.
Ron "Grampy" Trampe

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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 18:25:54 -0500
From: Tim Turner
Subject: Re: FTE Small - 96 Exploder

"David J. Olsen" wrote:
>
> Does anyone know who to check engine codes on a 96 Ford Explorer (XLT, 4x4,
> 4.0 OHV V-6)
>

If you have the two row oval shaped connecter under the dash you have
OBD-II (On Board Diagnostics generation 2), and unfortunately there IS
no method of retriving codes without a scanner that I'm aware of. :-(
There might be someone else out there that knows of an inexpensive
scanner though! (I dont think you want the $2500 one I use daily )

Tim Turner/Manic Mechanic
Custer Auto Repair
Wilmington NC
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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 18:33:54 -0500
From: Tim Turner
Subject: Re: FTE Small - oil pressure

Frank Green wrote:
>
> Hello!
> I'm new to this. I have a '96 Ranger 4X4 STX, 4.0L. I read the posts about the "idiot" oil pressure gauges. My truck has the same type, and I am puzzled by
> its' operation. When I start the engine in the morning, the gauge stays low for 3 to 5 minutes, then moves to half scale. Other times, the gauge moves to normal right away. Is the morning delay really a lack of OP, or some electrical delay?


I'd try replacing the sender, but while you've got it off spray some
carb cleaner or similar in the hole just in case theres a slight
restriction in the passage. Generally the OP should be 5-20 PSI higher
cold so I wouldnt think it's something to worry about.

Tim Turner/Manic Mechanic
Custer Auto Repair
Wilmington NC
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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 18:56:29 -0500
From: Tim Turner
Subject: Re: FTE Small - Tauri and Aerostars

Thom Cheney wrote:
>
> Tim Turner wrote:
> >
> > Okay then.. everybody tired of reading my long replies?
> >
>
> not at all... good to hear it "straight from the horse's mouth".
>
> Now then...... what are the "weak spots" on my '97 Ranger X-cab STX
> 4.0, 5 spd, etc.....
>
> --

The gas cap.


I'm not kidding.. make sure you tighten it WELL unless you want that
yellow engine light to come on and stay on until reset with a scanner.
The OBD-II vehicles are SO sensitive to malfunctions that the simple act
of leaving the gas cap loose trips a code for the evaporative emissions
system. Other than that remember that 5th gear (like most vehicles) is
a light duty unit, dont use it at low speeds, towing, off-road, steep
grades etc. also dont go for 2nd too quickly (speed shifting) unless
you want to replace the synchros. Overall seem to be pretty good trucks
so far. If I could afford it I'd probably have 4.0 Ranger 4x4 myself
since the demise of the B-II left the less capable Explorer and leaves
me limited choices. (Please dont flame me for the Explorer crack;
they're fine for all but the most arduous off-road tasks!) I'd take a
Land Rover too while I'm wishing.. They've got a good website that has
a lot of information for the new 4x4'er also; worth a look regardless of
the make you drive.



Tim Turner/Manic Mechanic
Custer Auto Repair
Wilmington NC
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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 19:48:52 -0500
From: Tim Turner
Subject: Re: FTE Small - RE:Tauri and Aerostars

Pete Lawless wrote:
>
> Richard wrote:
> > But, I'm also getting the sense that Aerostars rival the Tauri as money
> > drains.
>
> Tim Turner wrote:
> >Sell the Taurus!!! If you dont know by now they're money-pits.. if I
> > >was paid a percentage I'd love Taureses (Taurusi? Tauri?)
>
> Not to detract from Tim's excellent comments and experience.... just
> another thought to consider:
> MONEY PIT... I've heard this tag placed on many Taurus', Explorers,
> Aerostars, etc. (and other popular non-Ford products). I believe that the
> failure rate as a percentage of the total number of each specific vehicle
> model on the road, for the most part, is relatively low (with exceptions,
> of course).


I havent called the Explorers one yet. :-) You raise a good point
though and I'll address it.

> IE: 3% of 3 million Taurus' in the shop creates a public perception
> different from 3% of 300,000 Nissan Maxximas (just an example, numbers
> surely not accurate).

Probably relatively close though..

> There are just so darn many Taurus, Explorers and
> Aerostars out there that this image results.

Millions of 'em!!

> Of course the sales numbers
> also speak for them selves....

Good advertising.. Ford learned it's lesson after the Edsel!
(Seriously I wouldnt mind finding an old Edsel somewhere to play with
and rebuild.)

> if they were inherently a high maintanance
> product they wouldn't continue to be so popular.

I'm not currently subscribing to 'Consumer Reports' but I'd be
interested to see their 'frequncy of reapir' data for the Tauri Vs. the
Maxima; there's enough of both on the road so that the statiscal results
shouldnt be skewed too much. I base the label more on what I actually
see for needed repairs and the costs involved than the number I see.
The number of TSB's on a vehicle is a factor as well (and there's page
after page just for the TITLES for Tauri. They finally did admit the
P/S hose problem though;the fix is new hoses with a heat shield thats
gigantic compared to the original.. shame it takes 3-4 hours to replace
them boogers though!

If i really comb an average Taurus (1e: 9 years old 100K+ etc.) I can
usually find $1000 or better of needed work; obviously I DONT try to
sell all that nor is it really critical, but I'd be hard pressed to find
that amount needed on the Maxima. (Well.. then again knowing the
difference in PARTS cost I might, but the actual number of faults found
would be less on average.) Some of this may also be attributable to the
OWNER and that's the subject of my next paragraph.

A long held theory of mine is that the 'cheaper' cars get a bad rep.
just simply because people buy them that cannot afford to maintain them
and beat 'em into the ground. I still see Pintos and Vegas running on
the original untouched engine with owners that cared for 'em. I also
see Sentras/Escorts/ Grand Ams with 70K that I wouldnt pay $300 for.
Some of this may factor into the 'money-pit' equation as well as these
vehicles entered the used car market and were 'rode hard & put up wet'.

>
> Later..... Pete

Good points Pete! :-)

Tim Turner/Manic Mechanic
Custer Auto Repair
Wilmington NC
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------------------------------

Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 19:59:53 -0500
From: Tim Turner
Subject: Re: FTE Small - 93 Ranger Hydraulic Clutch

Bill wrote:
>
> I agree TIm.
> I purchased a small vacuum pump, and with it's aide I was able to maintain
> peddle pressure with the Quick Disconnect off. Unfortunately, as soon as I
> plug the QD into the tranny, I lost everything so...
> Back to the tranny shop. I am now the owner of a brand new slave cylinder,
> which on a '93 Splash sits inside the bell housing, making a self
> installation very impracticle.

Hell of a place for a slave aint it? I much prefer the externally
mounted ones! I really hate telling someone the tranny's gotta come out
for such a simple part.. For what it's worth I usually suggest
replacing BOTH cyl's when there's a failure as I've seen too many
instances of the other failing shortly after the replacement of one, but
in this type I just advise it's a very real possibility.

Tim Turner/Manic Mechanic
Custer Auto Repair
Wilmington NC
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------------------------------

Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 20:14:40 EST
From: BowmanTK AOL.COM
Subject: FTE Small - V-6 Exhaust Gasket Help Needed

How difficult is it to replace the right side (passenger) middle donut gasket
on an '87 Ranger V6? It looks to be a tough job. Does one have to remove the
exhaust manifold from the engine? I don't need a blow by blow description,
just the major points and items to look out for.

Tim Bowman
(Helping Son on newly acquired 87 Ranger)
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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 22:17:58 -0500
From: Tim Turner
Subject: Re: FTE Small - Appreciation and more, Ken and Tim (Aerostar, Mechanics)

Richard wrote:
>
> Thanks to you, Ken, for providing this forum, and for carrying my long
> Aerostar post, as well as Tim Turner's ("Manic Mechanic") detailed
> reply.
>

My thanks also.. this and 'aircondition.com' are my top two sites for
taking my evening hours. ;-)


> However, I often drive trips of 20-40 miles to places where the
> weather is extremely hot most of the year; sometimes the temps hit 104.
> My AC is on most of the year, most of the time. Normal California
> driving puts a vehicle under extreme heat-stress that I haven't
> experienced elsewhere. It is routine for people to be driving up a
> 5-10-mile freeway grade at 65 mph at 97 deg. F, with the AC on.

We get pretty good heat here on the SE coast of NC too; my thermometer
showed 76F this afternoon and the humidity really taxes A/C during the
summer; 110-115F Heat index isnt uncommon from June-September.

>
> I appreciate the Aerostar's optional rear AC since the front unit
> doesn't seem to have enough capacity for the van's size. In order to
> replace my heater core, the mechanic had to blow the AC.

Please tell me he did NOT just release it into the atmosphere.. that's
illegal nowdays. I'll recover the gas and recharge what you had IN it
myself; your option if you want it filled to capacity assuming it was
low. If you dont carry passengers the front only A/C seems to do better
in my opinion for the front seat.

> My cost for
> the replacement R-12 refrigerant was sobering.

No doubt!! I know of shops charging $60 or more/Lb for R-12 in the area
and I think yours holds 3.75 or 4 Lb.

> Does it make sense to
> follow Ford's instructions for an R-134a refrigerant conversion? (I
> believe that the bulletin lists an accumulator upgrade as the only
> component change).

Yes; given the PROPER procedures a retro-fit will be within 3-5 degrees
of your original system but there's a lot of people doing 'low-ball'
conversions and it wont do well in your application. Given your heat
load you *may* need to add an aux. fan in front of the condensor for
best results. Check the aircondition.com website out and post a
question or two there; you'll have a bunch of people say "stay with
R-12", but listen to the helpful posts about actually converting (Warren
Willingham and others have *real* info) and make your decision from
there.

> Also, I've noted a different "drop-in" refrigerant
> advertised on the Web, with a companion very-compatible compressor oil.
> So, here again is that question: "What's a sensible way to live with
> this subsystem?"

AVOID BLENDS!!! Lots of reasons I say this:

1) Legally there IS no 'drop-in'; the system MUST be emptied and
fittings unique to the gas involved installed.

2) If one of the components is R-22 the hoses must be 'barrier' type or
replaced with same.

3) R-12 and R-134a are 'single molecule' compounds while blends are
various gasses mixed and hence leak out at differing rates. (Also
R-134a is smaller so it leaks out quicker than R-12; this is why you see
so many posts about failed A/C on late model vehicles.)

4) Most shops have R-12 & R-134a equipment but few have equipment for
other gasses. By law EACH gas requires a single machine at $1500-3000 a
pop.

5) Most A/C parts suppliers will only warranty their parts with R-12 or
R-134a.


Yes you can actually mix refrigerants such as 'Freeze-12' & R-12 with
good results but it's not legal and since gasses *MUST* be recovered it
leads to contaminating the existing R-12 supply. Kim's Omni (I know..
it's not a Ford but I got a steal on a low mileage one) has approx. 50%
Freeze 12 in it according to my identifier so I'm at a bit of a loss
what I'm going to do when it needs work down the road..

>
> >>There's a tendency for many mechanics
> >> to become impatient when having to work in cramped spaces. Hell, it's
> >> only human. The experience for the mechanic will be uncomfortable,
> >> awkward and painful.
>
> >THANK YOU!! You'ld be amazed how many people dont understand that
> >simple concept.
>
> Working inside Sony products gave me sympathy for people working in
> cramped spaces and trying not to damage other vulnerable items. I'm

"It's a SONY" :-) I guess that went out with the "Honda; we make it
simple" ad campaign.

> afraid that "almost-un-repairable" products are becoming the rule,
> definitely including motor vehicles. (Almost-un-repairable means costly
> overstressed early-failing parts buried beneath very expensive labor
> costs; I got so disgusted with Sony's designs that, like some other
> repair techs, just refused to work on their stuff altogether.)

Not quite; but sometimes it seems that way.. Saturn calls the engine a
'power module' now. :-) Unfortuantely component replacement has become
the norm now rather than repair. (Replace just the regulator in your
alternator rather than installing a reman? Unheard of.. solder in a new
resistor/diode that blew in a 'black box'.. nope! get a new one for
. There ARE tech's that'll do it, but rare and far-between. (As an
aside.. how do you feel about RS's 'Optimus' brand? I've got the same
CD player in my truck and Kim's car.)

>
> >I'm not paid by hours turned. (And THATS a topic for another place..
> I try to keep away from shops where the techs are paid on commission.
> Flat rates also trouble me. Here are incentives to bang out the jobs,
> fast and sloppy. Do you agree?

Yep.. even a small example; at the shop I *used* to work at the owner
decided to pop $25 cash nightly to anyone turning $1000. While I didnt
see any fraudulent work found/sold I sure saw guys digging/reccomending
things they might not have without that incentive. I was guilty as well
(hey.. beer money ya know!) I didnt mention anything not um..
justifiable but certainly did mention things to sell that otherwise I
might have just noted as items for future reference. Being engine
performance and A/C man I made it pretty often.. I could withOUT the
incentive though during the summer. (Dont ask the ratio of $ made Vs. $
paid.. it was depressingly low.. guess that's why he has a $400,000
house and I'm in a single-wide.) The only 'control' on flat/comission
is warranty work, but again that just invites 'quick fixes' to get back
on the clock again.. I'm happy with a straight salary per REAL hour and
a boss that knows that labor times are just a guide and prefers quality
over quantity. We might price by labor time but at least we're flexible
and caring.. I dont mean to put down shops/dealers that DO pay that
way, but the pressure IS there in that environment.


>
> A possible topic for the future: how to establish a good working
> relationsip with a good mechanic.

A VERY good topic.. *IF* Ken can find a few more Techs willing to help
there could even be a whole topic devoted to something like that.. I'm
willing.. One BIG thing (at least in my case) PLEASE dont stand over
my shoulder or worse yet try to help!. I understand your concern over
the vehicle and try to treat it like it was part of the family (and it
*is* for most people!), but I get nervous and 'butter-fingered' with
someone over my shoulder.. even my fiancee knows to leave me alone if
I'm working on her car by now. I dont mind if you come out and discuss
the problem(s) with me and maybe even observe for a moment, maybe a
quick visit every so often during a 'hairy' problem requiring deep
thought but just leave me be so I can maintain my thoughts while I
work. Another point is safety; I have to think about what's safe for me
for possible trajectories of rotating parts if they fail, now I have you
to consider.. Fans *DO* come apart.. I saw one luckless (Lucky?) guy
have two close calls in 6 months where the fan blade missed him by
inches. I'm concentrating on your vehicle and it's problem and your
presence does nothing but distract me from that. I'm more than happy to
discuss the problem before it's in the bay and AFTER the diagnosis I'll
discuss it with you in the waiting area or wherever you wish and SHOW
you all the results and why it's bad before I do ANY repairs including
of course on-vehicle demonstration if needed. I'll admit the "manic"
moniker fits as I'm phobic about crowds or strangers but most of my tech
friends are the same way.. (And the handle actually come from an OLD
ZZ-Top song but I've grown into it I guess.)

It boils down to talk to me before/after looking at it but leave me
alone DURING..Just as I'll spend hours with e-mail lists I'll do the
same in person; but my view in the shop is that if you come in the bay
where I belong I'll go in the waiting area where you belong.. Most of
that is *MY* personality, but talking to other people in various
professions reveals the same; I *finally* got the hint from the guy that
fixes all my radio equipment (CB) when he was working on one and asked
"Do you like being watched?" I just drop 'em off or wait in his
driveway now.

>
> But not today. Tim, I appreciate your generosity in providing
> experienced, thoughtful answers in this forum.
>
> Richard
>

I plan to be here for a while.. I used to spend hours doing this
helping other techs in a closed forum but got tired of Q's that a good
DIYer would know. I'd rather just share my knowledge and let *BOTH* of
us feel good since I gave an answer/advice and you fixed it. It's no
cut in MY pay as you wouldnt be here if you werent comfortable doing it
yourself or even if you arent it's unlikely to be in my town so
hopefully you find a decent shop for the repair. (Plus anybody that IS
in my locale might come by and I know they'll be treated right.)


Tim Turner/Manic Mechanic
Custer Auto Repair
Wilmington NC

Dang.. meant to fix my PC tonight, but here I am doing e-mail on Kim's
again.. I must be a sucker for punishment. :-)

TT
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------------------------------

Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 22:24:17 EST
From: MEB8100 AOL.COM
Subject: FTE Small - P235/75R15 on 91 Ranger 4x4

I have a 91 Ranger 4x4, Xtracab, 4.0 w/ automatic, 3.73 axle ratio. Presently
have LT215/75R15 (Wildcountry RVT) that need to be replaced. Local tire
dealer has a good deal on Firestone Wilderness AT but only in P235/75R15.
Some questions:

1. Any comments on this tire type? I think they are standard on new Rangers
& Explorers w/ 4x4. Road noise, grip, wear?
2. How about this size on my truck? Any fit problems (lift-kit is out of the
question)? How about power loss or fuel mileage gain due to the extra size
(about 1" taller)? I tow a lot so don't want to sacrifice torque at the rear
wheel.
3. Has anyone tried BOTH of these tires and can recommend one over the other?

Hurry please! I need to get the tires soon, had a blowout on one of mine.
Thanks in advance for any advice. This list has been real good for providing
answers.

One last tidbit, is anyone interested in how to "silence" the door-open alarm
common to all Fords? To silence this, but leave all other alarms functioning,
take apart the steering column cover and remove the wire going to the ignition
switch. On my vehicles, this wire could be removed and taped over w/
electrical tap. All of my Fords have had this treatment, above vehicle, 87
Ranger and 93 Aerostar. Silence is golden!

Mark Biederbeck

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------------------------------....


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