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Detailing & Visual Maintenance Showcase your methods of detailing, cleaning, and maintaining. So us how you keep your ride shining all year around.

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Old 08-28-2010, 02:24 AM   Thread Starter #1
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Default General Maintenance : Reference Guide and Terms

Courtesy of NiZMo1o1

Well I figure I would sum this up for guys and girls understanding basic info on maintenance !

Car Exhaust Smoke? How to troubleshoot car smoke :

White smoke: White smoke is caused by water and or antifreeze entering the cylinder, and the engine trying to burn it with the fuel. The white smoke is steam. There are special gaskets (head gaskets are the primary gaskets) that keep the antifreeze from entering the cylinder area. The cylinder is where the fuel and air mixture are being compressed and burned. Any amount of antifreeze that enters this area will produce a white steam that will be present at the tailpipe area.

If white smoke is present, check to see if the proper amount of antifreeze is inside the radiator and the overflow bottle. Also check to see if antifreeze has contaminated the engine oil. You can look at the engine oil dipstick, or look at the under side of the engine oil filler cap. If the oil is contaminated with antifreeze, it will have the appearance of a chocolate milkshake. Do not start the engine if the oil is contaminated with antifreeze, as serious internal engine damage can result.

How did antifreeze get in the oil or cylinder in the first place? The engine probably overheated and a head gasket failed due to excessive heat, thus allowing antifreeze to enter the cylinder (Where it is not meant to be).

Blue Smoke: Blue smoke is caused by engine oil entering the cylinder area and being burned along with the fuel air mixture. As with the white smoke, just a small drop of oil leaking into the cylinder can produce blue smoke out the tailpipe. Blue smoke is more likely in older or higher mileage vehicles than newer cars with fewer miles.

How did the engine oil get inside the cylinder in the first place? The car has many seals, gaskets, and O-rings that are designed to keep the engine oil from entering the cylinder, and one of them has failed. If too much oil leaks into the cylinder and fouls the spark plug, it will cause a misfire (engine miss) in that cylinder, and the spark plug will have to be replaced or cleaned of the oil. Using thicker weight engine oil or an oil additive designed to reduce oil leaks might help reduce the amount of oil leaking into the cylinder.

Black Smoke: Black smoke is caused by excess fuel that has entered the cylinder area and cannot be burned completely. Another term for excess fuel is "running rich." Poor fuel mileage is also a common complaint when black smoke comes out of the tailpipe. Black smoke out the tailpipe is the least cause for alarm. Excess fuel will usually effect engine performance, reduce fuel economy, and produce a fuel odor.

How did the fuel get into the cylinder in the first place? Some of the causes of excess fuel are a carburetor that is out of adjustment, a faulty fuel pump, a leaky fuel injector, or a faulty engine computer or computer sensor. If black smoke is present, check the engine oil as in the white smoke example to make sure excess fuel has not contaminated it. Do not start the engine if a heavy, raw fuel smell can be detected in the engine oil. Call your mechanic and advise him of what you have found.

I hope this helps you determine what could be causing your engine smoke, and the possible reasons behind the smoke.
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Old 08-28-2010, 02:28 AM   Thread Starter #2
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Default Re: General Maintenance : Reference Guide and Terms

Spark Plugs and understanding them

Does your spark plugs looks like this ?
http://www.autolite.com/pdf/PlugTips.pdf

Understanding spark plugs
http://www.autolite.com/pdf/UnderstandingSPSizes.pdf
http://www.autolite.com/pdf/SparkPlugTypes.pdf

Torque Specs
http://www.autolite.com/pdf/TorqueSpecs.pdf

Understand Heat Range
http://www.autolite.com/pdf/UnderstandingHeatRange.pdf

Heat Range Facts
http://www.autolite.com/pdf/HeatRangeFacts.pdf
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: General Maintenance : Reference Guide and Terms

Belts - Troubleshooting V-ribbed Belt Noise and Hoses

Terms such as chirp, squeal, rumble and yelp have been used in the automotive industry to describe noises caused by friction-induced vibration in engine accessory drive belts. The following report, based on testing by Gates Corporation, examines primary causes and remedies for this problem.

To the educated ear, drive belt noise can be as
distinctive as the notes on a musical scale.

Under- The-Hood Harmonics

All sounds that are audible to the human ear have their origins in some vibrating surface. For example, intermittent chirping that increases in frequency as the engine is revved up can be the result of belt vibration caused by misaligned drive pulleys -- a leading cause of belt noise. As a misaligned V-ribbed belt span enters the grooves of a pulley, initial contact is made with only one side of the V-groove. The greater the misalignment angle, the greater the radial sliding length experienced by the belt ribs as the belt seats in the pulley causing frictional vibrations, or chirping (see Figure 1).

Radial sliding motion of V-ribbed belt.

Low belt tension, contamination and belt vibration are other common sources of belt noise. A screeching or squealing noise that occurs when pulling away from a stop normally indicates a lack of tension; check belt tension and automatic tensioners.

A tapping or grinding noise caused by a pebble imbedded in the belt is a common occurrence. Grinding sound also can result from damaged bearings, which must be replaced, aligned and lubricated to eliminate the noise and further damage.

Vibration and noise can develop over time as drive components such as pulleys and spring tensioners wear out of tolerance, as bearings and brackets loosen, or as belts wear and stretch.

Diagnosing The Problem

In ongoing studies at the Gates Belt Testing Laboratory in Denver, engineers have gained the following insights to noise resulting from misalignment:

1. Chirp noise caused by drive misalignment occurs upon entry of the span into the pulley as belt ribs seat into the pulley grooves, not as the belt exits.

2. Belts are less likely to generate misalignment noise when they are in new condition. As belts wear in, they develop a smooth, glossy surface which increases the likelihood for noise. This wear-in process is accelerated when misalignment conditions exist in the drive.

3. The angle between belt span and pulley is the critical factor responsible for causing the "chirp" associated with misalignment noise. Misalignment angle can result from many different combinations of pulley positions -- parallel and angular are two ty pical examples

4. Misalignment noise occurs most frequently on the shortest spans in a drive, most often between a backside pulley and an adjacent accessory pulley. Proper pulley alignment is particularly critical in these locations.
5. Flat or crowned pulleys have no grooves to guide the belt and can be a common source of drive misalignment.

6. Smaller diameter pulleys exhibit less sensitivity to misalignment noise due to their smaller area of sliding contact between the belt and pulley.

7. Misalignment noise is generally loudest at idle speed and diminishes with increasing engine rpm, often vanishing altogether above 2500 rpm.

8. The presence of high humidity (or a damp belt) often increases the likelihood for misalignment noise to occur.

In The Shop

Whenever a vehicle owner complains of belt noise, Gates says it is important to determine the type of noise and under what circumstances it occurs. A solution to a noise problem caused by drive misalignment is not likely to resolve a slip noise problem th at may be caused by insufficient tension or some other problem. Find out if the problem is more noticeable in the morning while the engine is cool (cool, damp belt). Is the noise loudest at idle speed, or when accelerating or shifting gears (rapid changes in engine speed can cause a belt to slip)?

Next, attempt to recreate the problem in the service bay. Using a spray bottle filled with water, mist the belt lightly. If the noise level recedes for several seconds, then returns louder, a misalignment problem is likely. If the noise immediately increa ses after the belt is sprayed, slipping is likely.

If the water spray test is inconclusive, or not successful at diagnosing the problem, attempt to remove the noisy belt and re-install it so that the belt runs in the opposite direction. Because misalignment noise is influenced by the direction of misalign ment in the drive, flipping the belt around in this manner will eliminate or significantly diminish (temporarily) any noise caused by drive misalignment. If the noise remains unchanged, the problem is not likely related to drive alignment.

In actual applications, the highest occurrence of belt noise due to misalignment comes from short belt spans entering large diameter pulleys. Service technicians are encouraged to look for the source of noise wherever these conditions exist.

Also, look for replaced drive components, such as a rebuilt alternator, which may have been improperly installed resulting in pulley misalignment.

Corrective Action

Failure to correct conditions responsible for belt noise will result in the problem returning, usually within 3,000 miles or less.

If the problem is drive-related, depending on the degree of misalignment, it may be possible to modify the noise level by installing a new belt with noise-resistant properties.

Gates engineers have developed new elastomeric compounds that are noise-resistant under various environmental and wear conditions. These new belts feature additives that enable them to slide easily into and out of the pulley. This low-noise construction h elps to eliminate belt noise from most misalignment situations.

In the case of severe misalignment, repositioning of drive components using shims, or by changing the press fit of the pulley or the shaft, may be required. Pulley alignment and tension must be correct on all V-ribbed belt applications for the drive to operate properly.

Differnt type of Belts: Automotive Belt, Fan Drive Belts, Supercharger Belts, Serpentine Belts

Among all the equipment in your vehicle, belts and hoses have the shortest lifespan. Due to constant exposure to heat, vibration, and harmful chemicals, these components invariably crack, leak, fray, and peel. If not promptly replaced and maintained, this could spell disaster for the performance of your vehicle. And evaluating the condition of your belts and hoses only on their appearance is not enough! Diligent inspection is required, and we are here to do it. Here is a sample of how we ensure belt and hose quality:

Visual Inspection of Belts

  • Search for clear indications of damage (cracking, glazing, softening, or peeling)
  • Test for correct tension
  • Test for correct alignment
  • Record belt condition for future reference
It is vital to inspect your vehicle's belts and hoses on a regular basis because often times a damaged piece has serious effects on the condition of your vehicle. Research shows that while most people are attentive when it comes to regular oil changes, they hardly devote any concern at all to the condition of their belts and hoses. A leaking hose or a cracked belt will cause you more trouble than an overdue oil change ever will! The following is a brief description of some of the different belts and hoses we inspect:

Drive Belts:

The engine itself is used as a power source to drive some of your vehicle's accessories. Instead of being supplied by electric power, these accessories rely on a series of pulleys and belts to operate. Some of these accessories include:
  • Power steering pump
  • Alternator
  • Air conditioning compressor
  • Radiator cooling fan
  • Water pump
Most older vehicles require a single serpentine belt to power these accessories (as opposed to several individual belts).

Hoses:

If you think of hoses as your vehicle's circulatory system, then you'll have an appropriate representation of how important they are. Channeling car fluids to their correct destination, hoses are composed of two rubber layers with fabric in between. Types of hoses vary on make and model, but typically they include:

  • Fuel hose (sends gasoline from the gas tank to the engine)
  • Radiator hose (delivers coolant to engine)
  • Power steering hose (connects power steering pump to steering equipment)
  • Heater hose (provides coolant to heater core)
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: General Maintenance : Reference Guide and Terms

Hoses

Radiator hoses connected to the radiator carry the coolant to and from the engine. If one of the hoses ruptures, the coolant is dumped out very quickly. The hoses should be checked so that they can be replaced before they cause a problem.

The hoses should be checked when the engine is cold so that you can touch them safely. Inspect each hose closely using a trouble or flash light. Make sure to check the underside of the bottom hose. It is this hose that causes the most trouble.

Squeeze each hose with your hand as shown below
http://www.angelfire.com/ia3/autocar...nspecthose.gif

The conditions to look for on the hoses are shown below
http://www.angelfire.com/ia3/autocar...seproblems.gif
Old hoses can become so stiff and brittle that vibration can cause them to break. Check hoses carefully for signs of hardening or cracking. Even a small crack can soon cause trouble. Swollen or soft hoses indicate that the material has begun to deteriorate. Any of these conditions warrants replacement.

SERVICE TIP:
When you find one bad hose, the other hose will probably turn up bad shortly. Because the coolant must be drained to replace the hose, most technicians prefer to replace both at the same time.Insects, paper, and leaves in front of the moving car can get drawn into the radiator and clog up the small air passageways. When the passages get plugged, the radiator does not work as well and the engine can overheat.Look through the radiator core when the hood is up to see if the passageways are plugged. Use an air hose to blow air out through the radiator from inside the engine compartment. This will force out bugs and other debris. Be careful to use very low air pressure when doing this job or you could damage the radiator core.
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Default Re: General Maintenance : Reference Guide and Terms

Motor Oil and Weight

The Nature of Motor Oil
Motor oil is of course a lubricant. To lubricate is to reduce friction, so the first and foremost desired quality of any engine oil is friction reduction -- keeping moving parts separated. That in itself presents problems, of course, but we'll get to that in a bit. Besides lubrication however, motor oil is burdened with many other tasks. For example, the oil must also fight corrosion, cool, seal, and clean. A lot could be said just about these five things, because they are a lot to expect from an oil. In fact, the wonder of modern engine oil is that it performs these many wonders despite having several significant handicaps, just a few of which we'll address here. First, while an oil's viscosity has traditionally been viewed as its major friction-fighting property, that viscosity invariably thickens when the oil is cold and thins when it is hot. This is unfortunately exactly the opposite of what an engine needs the oil to do. So right off the bat, motor oil is falling down on the job. Multiviscosity motor oil addresses this very fundamental problem to a degree, by having chemicals added to it (long-chain molecules called polymers) which cause it to thicken less when cold, and thin less when hot, that is, less than the oil would if it were a straight weight oil. Interestingly, these polymers "unwind" when hot, resulting in increased viscosity. The fact is, the basic definition of the multi-vis oil is that its viscosity index is above a certain very high point, that is, its resistance to viscosity change due to temperature is much less than that of a single-weight, unmodified oil. On a graph, the multi-vis is depicted by a straigher line, while all single-weight oils have steeper lines of change. The dual designation in a multi-vis oil, besides being a tip-off that it is multi-vis, communicates these temperature characteristics at temperature extremes. With a 10W-40 for example, the oil will thicken no worse than would a 10 weight oil under identical cold conditions, and thin no worse than would a 40 weight under the same hot conditions. The "W": by the way stands for winter (not weight. The winter designation is the result of a 0 degree F test procedure. The second number, in this case the 40, is the viscosity tested at over 200 degrees F. Another one of motor oil's significant drawbacks is that it is to varying degrees quite volatile, meaning that it has a tendency to boil away into a gas when churned and heated. In fact it does this readily in high rpm, high temperature powersports (motorcycle, ATV, scooter, snowmobile, personal watercraft, and utility vehicle) engines. It is not widely understood among users, but oil consumption in powersports engines, when observed, is due much more to oil vaporization than to the oil's burning in the combustion chamber. Interestingly, the engines which vaporize their oil the most are those in single-cylinder, high-output off-road bikes. A third issue in the motor oil world is that the high output engines found in most powersports vehicles also mandate the addition of zinc and other anti-wear agents in today's oils, because unaided, these oils just aren't inherently up to the task. More about that later. And finally, in order to do more than simply lubricate, today's motor oil must also contain anti-oxidants, anti-foam agents, corrosion inhibitors, and other ingredients designed to "keep house" within the engine. For example, detergents are added to scour up contaminants, and dispersants are included which keep these contaminants in solution until they can be emptied out with the oil change. Without these many hard-working additives, modern motor oil would simply be useless. And all this is just the beginning.

Additives
Clearly, petroleum motor oils fossil material base stock is by itself far from adequate to meet modern engine lubrication needs. Additives must be included to the base oil to make the final product perform as desired. Unfortunately, these chemicals dont actually improve the oil, they just temporarily change its behavior. These additives eventually wear out, and when they do, the oil must then carry this "dead weight" around. This is the number one drawback of conventional, petroleum-based motor oil. Its strength comes from ingredients that do not last as long as the oil itself lasts. This, incidentally, is why racers often prefer single-weight motor oils. They do not break down into lower viscosity grades as quickly as do multi-vis oils. But don't confuse the racer's needs with yours. One-day use is very different from starting and stopping, temperature extremes, and other variables that the racer does not encounter.

Synthetic Motor Oil
There is much that is misunderstood about synthetic motor oil, and controversy and misinformation continues to surround it. In the early days of the synthetic motor oil industry, the most exotic examples got all the limelight. Oils containing graphite and others claiming miracle engine parts "re-plating" abilities quickly came to represent the synthetic lubricant industry. Unfortunately, in the face of this "snake oil" spectacle, honest hard-working synthetic motor oil products were overlooked, and trust in really good synth motor oils was slow in coming. Today, powersports OEMs themselves sell their own synthetic motor oil, and the situation has ultimately leveled out. Misunderstanding still remains however. In order to understand what synthetic motor oil is, it helps to first consider how conventional petroleum motor oil is developed. Petro motor oil production starts when crude oil is separated into several different products, including propane, diesel oil, and other things. Two kinds of lubricating oil are also produced, distinguished primarily by their viscosity and volatility. One of these two "base stocks" is then purchased by a motor oil developer, who adds to the base stock a commercially purchased package of lubricating oil additives such as were described earlier (i.e. anti-wear, anti-foam, corrosion inhibitor, etc.). These additives give the base stock attributes it did not have before, and make it more suitable as an engine lubricant. As already mentioned, the additives are short-lived, and vary from retailer to retailer, making petro oil an oil with a self-destruct timer built into it. Synth motor oil on the other hand is made very differently. The petroleum scientist starts with the same base stock, but he kind of reverse-engineers it. He breaks it down chemically into its molecular parts. The petroleum is divided, and divided again, until the remaining part is the smallest piece that still possesses lubricating quality. This piece is an ester, a sort of greasy group of atoms. Then the scientist rebuilds the base stock with high-end petroleum and chemical compounds that have the qualities he wants in a motor oil. At this point it's still just a base stock, but the result is a base stock that already, without additives, is superior to the additive-laced finished petro oil product. This base stock is then sold to the motor oil developer who adds and tweaks until it is a complete synthetic motor oil suitable for his label. Because the base stock is so good however, very few additives are needed. Two things result from all this. First, because the base stock was synthetically built, basic lubricating properties such as viscosity index and volatility index are extremely good, making this oil potentially better at handling heat and at resisting vaporization, to name just two qualities. Second, the superior base stock eliminates the need for the huge load of fancy additives that petro oil requires, meaning that there is less "junk" swimming around in the oil to take up space and wear out quickly, resulting in an oil that is more, well, oil, and one that lasts longer. In fact, higher heat carrying ability and fewer required change intervals remain two of the synth oil's major attributes even today. Incidentally, a good synth oil also has more pourability, meaning that it pours easier at cold temperatures, which is why it is used in equipment on duty in the Antarctic.
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Default Re: General Maintenance : Reference Guide and Terms

Special Powersports Issues
However, whether you use petroleum or synthetic motor oil isn't really the most important issue. The fact is, there are certain special powersports engine oil needs you should be aware of.

Common Engine and Transmission
First, unlike cars, most four-stroke powersports vehicle engines combine the engine and transmission together in one housing. Consequently, these engines use one lubricant to lubricate parts that in other kinds of vehicles, most notably cars, are lubricated by two or three different oils. Unfortunately, the automotive industry drives the engine lubricating industry by and large. That is, the auto industry calls the shots, and determines the rules. The problem is, in recent years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has forced the engine lubricating industry to make motor oils that are so slippery they actually can improve the fuel economy in car engines, which is in essence an emissions issue. However, the motor oil companies are using friction-reducing chemicals in these modern auto lubricants to make this happen. These friction modifiers are highly incompatible with the oil-bathed clutches and sprags (one-way bearings) that are used in most powersports engines.

High Engine Output
The second consideration is the powersports vehicle's high specific engine output. On average, our engines deliver more power per cylinder displacement than do all but a few specialized car engines. This higher specific horsepower demands a lubricant with high amounts of anti-wear agents. Unfortunately, automotive motor oil makers are systematically reducing anti-wear agents such as zinc.

High Engine Rpm
Third, there is the powersports engines higher rpm and higher temperatures. The use of thinner, higher volatility automotive oils results in excessive evaporative loss in powersports engines, leading quickly to oil consumption related engine failures.

The Solution
These are very real needs of a very specific industry, the powersports industry, and they are now at odds with the objectives of the automotive industry. Because of this, the powersports industry in 1998, after recognizing that the auto lubricant industry is no longer supporting the powersports market, established special powersports-specific motor oil standards. In effect, all powersports vehicle manufacturers today categorically (through service bulletins) bar the use of todays automotive spec motor oil, from API (American Petroleum Institute) classification SJ and forward, in their products. This new standard is known as JASO, and it specifies completely new motorcycle motor oil parameters which address the powersports vehicles special lubrication needs, particularly in the areas of friction and wear. The JASO motor oil classification of most interest to us is JASO MA oil.

Conclusion
The bottom line? Just remember three things. First, use a multi-vis oil within the viscosity ranges specified in your owner's manual. This will be 10W-30, 10W-40, 20W-40, or 20W-50. Don't for example use a 5W-30 motor oil. Second, this oil can be either petroleum or synthetic, but should not include any exotic material additives. Finally, chose an oil with an API service rating of SH or earlier, or if it has a later API service rating such as the current SL classification, it must also be labeled JASO MA to designate that it was developed without the automotive-mandated friction-reducing components that are a standard part of the API's latest specification.

What Is the Viscosity Index?

Viscosity Index is a scale used to measure how much an oil's viscosity, or resistance to flow, changes depending on its temperature. Generally speaking, the less it changes, across a range of temperatures, the better. The scale of viscosity index is numerical in nature, with zero being the most susceptible to changes in viscosity. It is a frequent basis for comparison in the automotive oil industry, and is often abbreviated as VI.

As oil heats up, its ability to provide effective lubrication diminishes. As this decreases, friction and heat increase, which can lead to mechanical failures. Therefore, the longer an oil can retain its optimum viscosity, the more effectively it will lubricate an engine and prevent damage. In this way, viscosity index can be a useful way of judging an oil's overall quality, and is an essential piece of information when selecting an oil for heavy-duty use involving wide variations in temperature.

The viscosity index of an oil is based on its measured viscosity at 100F (40C) and 210F (100C), which approximate the temperatures present in an engine when it is first turned on, and then after it has warmed up. The smaller the variation, the higher the score on the index. Since the development of viscosity index as a comparative tool, oil technology has improved and outgrown the original scale, which only ran to 100.The best modern synthetic that is, man-made oils can rate over 400 on the scale, while petroleum-based oils can similarly exceed the 100 mark. For ease in comparison, the scale is sometimes split into several broad categories, with oils scoring below 35 classified as 'Low VI;' those scoring between 35 and 80 as 'Medium VI;' oils between 80 and 110 rated 'High VI;' and those above 110 classified as 'Very High VI.'

There are drawbacks to a high viscosity index, however. To achieve very high VI scores, oil manufacturers typically inject additives specifically designed to resist the effects of temperature change. There is a limit to how much of these additives can be added, without impacting the other desirable properties of oil.

Perhaps more importantly, additives tend to burn off under pressure. This can leave oil unable to resist thinning, and ultimately incapable of protecting the engine at high temperatures. As a result, viscosity index should not be the sole deciding factor when choosing which oil to use, though it remains a highly useful piece of data.

What Is an Oil Cooler?

An oil cooler is a separate, smaller radiator from an engine's main radiator, which maintains an oil supply at a consistent, optimal temperature. Broadly put, lower oil temperatures prolong the life of an engine or transmission. An oil cooler can play an important role in the smooth running of a vehicle by dissipating heat while transporting oil away from moving parts into the oil pan.
The optimum temperature for oil is between 180 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit (82-93 C). Failures start to occur when oil cannot dissipate its collected heat fast enough and rises past this threshold. As it begins to break down, oil loses its lubricating, as well as its cooling, properties.

While a majority of cars are not manufactured with proprietary engine oil coolers, there is a large aftermarket for them, and they are common accessories in vehicles involved in towing and other heavy-duty applications. Oil cooling kits exist for both motors and automatic transmissions. In engines, oil not only functions as a lubricant but also as the coolant for a number of parts. A motor's bottom end, which includes parts such as the crankshaft, bearings, camshaft, rods, and pistons, is cooled only by engine oil.

Engine oil cooler design can be split into two types tube and fin style, and stacked-plate design. Tube and fin style oil coolers are designed so that oil circulates through cooler lines the tubes. As the oil circulates, the lines dissipate the heat through the fins. The stacked-plate design forces oil through a series of plates, with heat extracted as air moves across the plates. This more passive design is significantly less effective at cooling oil than tube and fin.

A transmission oil cooler can be essential for automatic transmissions used in high-strain applications, because a transmission's lubricating fluid heats up with each gear change. While not crucial for highway driving, in which gear changes are minimized, transmission oil coolers can markedly improve the performance and longevity of transmissions that are subjected to a great deal of stress. Overheated transmission oil can lead to slower gear shifts, worn seals, lower mileage, and, ultimately, premature failure.

In a stock setup, transmission fluid is cooled as its collected heat transfers to the colder engine coolant that surrounds it. For maximum effectiveness, an oil cooler works best when mounted in front of a stock radiator, as it is there subject to an unobstructed source of cool air. This, in turn, allows much cooler fluid to return back to the transmission case.
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: General Maintenance : Reference Guide and Terms

What is Synthetic Oil?

Synthetic oil is an oil product that contains additional chemical ingredients that are not present in crude oil. These additional ingredients are synthesized or created artificially and added to petroleum as a means of meeting specific needs for lubrication. Synthetic oil products are used for everything from lubricating large machinery at production plants to use in the engine of the family car.

The creation of synthetic oil can be traced back to the first half of the 20th century. Germany made great use of synthetic oil products during World War II, since the nation had very limited resources in terms of crude oil. The synthetic oil was used to maintain motors in factories, keep ground vehicles operational and even for use as heating oil in some cases.

By the 1960s, the production of synthetic oil had become commonplace. Oil corporations in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and South Africa all developed artificial oil products for use in industry settings as well as for consumers. Today, synthetic oil is routinely used in many different settings, especially with the automobile industry.

There are a number of advantages associated with the creation of synthetic oil products. First, the addition of artificial ingredients helps to ease the burden on dwindling crude oil reserves, making it possible to use natural oil more efficiently. Synthetic products often minimize oil sludge issues in automobiles and machine engines, which is a benefit for cars and other motor driven machinery that are older. The viscosity performance of synthetic oil compares favorably with natural oil products and in some cases may be preferable. For example, a car engine that has over a hundred thousand miles on it will likely encounter less wear and tear by making use of synthetic oil.

Another major benefit of synthetic oil is a more efficient performance when an engine or motor is started in cold weather. This means that the oil begins to lubricate all the working parts more quickly than crude oil products. This means less of a chance of gumming and unnecessary wear on the individual components of the engine.

While synthetic oil was originally developed as a way to deal with a shortage of crude oil products, the artificial oils of today are often utilized due to the better performance. During periods when the price of crude oil rises significantly, synthetic oil may also be a less expensive lubricant option.

Cooling System

What is Coolant?

Coolant refers to the mix of antifreeze and water that circulates through the engine, radiator and heater core. Heat generated in the engine is picked up by the coolant, and circulated by the water pump through the radiator in the front of the car and the heater core. Air blowing through the radiator cools the coolant, and it returns to the engine to cool the engine. In cold weather, coolant circulating through the heater core is used to provide warm air inside the passenger compartment.

There are a number of things that can go wrong with your car's cooling system, causing the engine to run warmer than it should.

The following is a list of things that are easily checked at home by yourself.

Check under the car, inspect the radiator and look around the engine compartment for telltale signs of a coolant leak: Coolant is greenish, slippery and sweet-smelling.

Visit your mechanic if you know there's a leak but can't find it. A mechanic can detect a slow or small coolant leak by pressurizing the cooling system.

A loose fan belt or an electric fan that isn't working correctly can cause overheating even if there's enough coolant in the cooling system.

A loose water pump belt or a broken water pump can also cause overheating even if there's enough coolant in the cooling system.

Coolant can leak into the car (on the floor by the passenger's feet) if there's a leak in the heater core.

A thermostat stuck shut can produce similar symptoms resulting in coolant not flowing.
  • The engine's coolant level may be too low.
  • The engine's drive belts may be broken or slipping.
  • The electric cooling fan may not be coming on.
  • The ignition timing may be set wrong.
  • There may be a vacuum leak.
  • The engine may have mechanical problems.
  • You have been pushing the car too hard and making it work too hard.
  • There may be a leak in the cooling system.
  • The engine's head gasket may be leaking.
  • The radiator may be clogged.
http://www.angelfire.com/ia3/autocar...lingsystem.gif
http://www.angelfire.com/ia3/autocar...uidcooling.gif
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: General Maintenance : Reference Guide and Terms

Understand that overheating problems may be caused by a low coolant level.

Inspect Coolant Level and Cooling System Components

You should check the coolant level in the cooling system anytime you have the hood up. If there is not enough coolant, the engine can overheat and be damaged.

CAUTION:
The radiator cap keeps the coolant in the radiator under pressure to raise its boiling point. If the cap is opened when the engine is hot, the coolant may overflow. Do not open the radiator cap on an overheated radiator until you allow it to cool. Cover the radiator cap with a rag and wear eye protection anytime you open it. Always use caution when opening any radiator cap.

Vehicles with a recovery system may be inspected for proper coolant level by simply observing the level in the transparent recovery tank. Most tanks have lines showing the proper coolant level as shown below

The hose leading from the reservoir to the radiator is a tip off that you aren't pouring coolant into your windshield wiper reservoir.
http://www.angelfire.com/ia3/autocar...treservoir.gifYou will find two lines on the recovery reservoir. The highest line is typically marked "hot" or "maximum." The lower line is typically marked "cold" or "minimum." There are two lines because the level of coolant changes as the cooling system warms up.

If the engine is cold, you should use the bottom line. If the engine is hot, you should use the top line. If you find the coolant below the specified level, you must add coolant. Remove the cap on the reservoir. Use the recommended type of antifreeze coolant specified in the owner's or shop service manual. Place a funnel in the reservoir and add coolant to bring the level up to the correct mark as shown below.

http://www.angelfire.com/ia3/autocar...addcoolant.gif

If the recovery reservoir is completely empty, add coolant up to the hot or cold line as determined by engine temperature. Then start the engine and allow it to run long enough to bring the coolant up to operating temperature. Observe the level in the reservoir. You will probably need to add more coolant to get it to the correct level.

The coolant level should not drop below the minimum level in a properly operating cooling system. If you find a low coolant reservoir level, you should check the system for leaks

Thermostat

Engine temperature must be regulated. If the temperature gets too high, engine parts can be damaged. If the temperature is too low, poor fuel mileage and sludge build-up in the oil results.

Efficient temperature control is achieved in the cooling system by regulating the flow of coolant with a thermostat. The thermostat is located in a housing where the upper radiator hose is connected.
http://www.angelfire.com/ia3/autocar...rmostatpic.gif

The thermostat is a temperature-controlled valve that regulates the flow of coolant into the radiator from the engine.

In a pellet thermostat, a wax pellet (also called a power element), inside it grows when heated and shrinks when cooled.

It is connected through a piston to a valve. The heated pellet pushes against the piston, which forces the valve to open. As the pellet shrinks on cooling, it allows a spring to close the valve and stop circulation of coolant through the radiator. Coolant then goes through a bypass passage back into the block.

http://www.angelfire.com/ia3/autocar...oolantflow.gif

As the engine becomes warm, the pellet gets big and the thermostat valve opens, permitting the coolant to flow through the radiator. This opening and closing of the thermostat valve permits enough coolant to enter the radiator to keep the engine within operating temperature limits.

Cooling Fan

The coolant in the radiator is cooled by forcing air through the radiator's core. This air movement is caused by natural draft or by a fan. The radiator is often mounted in the front of the car, right behind the grillwork. As the car moves forward, air is pushed through the grill and through the radiator core. When the car is moving, there is enough natural draft air flow for cooling.

There is not enough natural air flow through the radiator core when the engine is running and the car is stopped. For this reason, a fan is placed between the radiator and the engine. It may be driven by a drive belt or powered by electricity.Most newer cars use a fan driven by an electric motor. A temperature-sensitive radiator fan switch turns the fan motor on when the engine is hot.
http://www.angelfire.com/ia3/autocar...es/fanelec.gif
An electric fan can switch to ON even when the engine is not running. Never have your hands or tools near an electric fan.

Older cars use a fan that is normally mounted to the same pulley that drives the coolant pump. When the engine is running, a drive belt turns the pulley, which turns the fan. The fan pulls air through the radiator core.

These fans often have a clutch between the pulley and the fan blades. The clutch is a hydraulic unit. A temperature sensor on the fan activates the clutch. It adjusts the speed of the fan to engine temperature. Fan clutches provide adequate cooling at reduced engine speeds while eliminating overcooling, excessive noise, and power loss at high speeds.

Where the amount of air moved by the fan must be increased, a sheet metal (or plastic housing) called a fan shroud is used
http://www.angelfire.com/ia3/autocar.../fanshroud.gif

Test, Drain, and Refill Engine Coolant

The coolant in your car's cooling system needs to be changed every year in cold climates or every two years in temperate climates. If the coolant is changed regularly, there's no need to flush the cooling system.

Coolants are a mixture of an antifreeze called ethylene glycol and water. The correct mix protects against both freezing and boiling. At regular intervals, the coolant must be drained and replaced. From time to time, the coolant level must be adjusted. During cold weather operation, coolant strength is important in preventing freezing. The percentage of ethylene glycol in the coolant will need to be checked and adjusted as necessary.

CAUTION: Coolants contain ethylene glycol, which is a poison. Dispose of the drained coolant properly.

WARNING:
Never use more than 70% antifreeze in a cooling system. In very cold temperatures (around -68F), high concentrations of antifreeze can turn into a thick gel. This gel will not circulate properly through the system. Too much antifreeze can also cause the cooling system to overheat in hot weather.

The mixture of antifreeze and water determines the freezing point of the coolant. If the coolant freezes in the system, the expanding ice can damage the cooling system components. A mixture of half antifreeze and half water is called a 50/50 solution. A 50/50 solution has a freezing point of -34F (-51C). If the mixture has a higher percentage of water, the freezing point will be higher. Pure water has a freezing point of 32F (0C). You can mix different percentages of antifreeze and water to prevent the system from freezing at different temperatures. Mixing instructions are printed on the container of antifreeze.

The coolant mixture can be tested with a hydrometer. The hydrometer test tells the mixture of antifreeze and water in the coolant by measuring its specific gravity. A hydrometer is a glass tube with a float in it. Following the precautions described earlier, remove the radiator pressure cap. Place the tube of the hydrometer into the neck of the radiator as shown below.
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