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  #1  
Old 12-31-2011, 12:54 PM
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Safety Lecture - Inspect Your New2You Used Car

I am going to put this in several of the forums here because it is an important point for those buying used cars of any brand. I am putting it in Diesel Discussion most importantly because there are many here who buy used diesels for daily service.

About 10 years ago I bought an 80 model Euro 240D at a super bargain price simply to rob the engine out of it. I drove it home about 100 miles knowing for sure that it would be the last motion the car would ever make under it's own power.

I got it home and robbed the engine and a few small pieces, then pushed it out into a field out of sight.

I've had a few members here want the manual steering box out of it. Tom Walgamuth wanted it for his Solo II car and I told him that it was a slow ratio, so I think he decided it wouldn't be ideal for a race car. Another member has wanted it for a long time and I finally got around to pulling it off the car yesterday to give to him as a belated Christmas present. I don't think he'll be happy with the slow ratio, but he wants to try it.

When I pulled the box I discovered something very alarming that made me start thinking about writing such a thread as this. While pulling the box, I discovered that one of the ends, connected to the Pitman Arm HAD NO COTTER KEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FOLKS! When I buy a used car to drive, I inspect all safety items thoroughly. I typically go through the whole car changing fluids and inspecting everything, but I will put here a partial list of safety items that should be checked no matter what before driving a used car of any brand. If others want to add items to the list, please do so in the interest of keeping ALL our Peach Parts Brothers and Sisters safe.

At a minimum check:

o All steering linkage for correct locking nuts on rod end studs, or for cotter pins in the case of castellated nuts.
o Check the brake fluid as a bare minumum, it would be much better to flush it with fresh.
o Check brake pads and inspect brake hoses for cracking.
o Put a wrench on each brake caliper bolt and make sure it's tight. Wouldn't hurt to pull the bolts, clean them and add some blue loctite.
o Check vacuum hoses to the brake booster
o Check power steering fluid level and belt condition
o Pop the front hub covers and check for locknut tightness
o Wouldn't hurt to put a wrench on the steering box bolts inside the drivers side wheel well.

This is a MINIMUM safety list. When I go through a used car, this is probably only about 20% of what I do to it, but PLEASE do the above as a minimum before risking the life of yourself and your family using the car for daily transportation.

Happy Motoring,
Larry

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  #2  
Old 12-31-2011, 01:07 PM
Gene
 
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Excellent advice. To add my new to me motto, never assume!
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  #3  
Old 01-02-2012, 07:11 PM
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I once had the front lug nuts loosen up on a VW I'd bought about a week earlier. Fortunately the odd clunking noises alerted me to the problem before a wheel came off.

Just a few days ago I had the left engine mount center bolt almost fall out on a used Honda. I'd noticed it looked a little odd when I looked the car over before buying it, but then it slipped my mind. I think in the future I should write stuff like that down instead of trusting my memory.

Generally every time I go looking at used cars I run across at least one that seems like a genuine threat to life and limb. Experience has taught me to stomp hard on the brakes and also make sure the driver's seat is actually anchored to the floor before setting off on a test drive.
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  #4  
Old 01-02-2012, 10:48 PM
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OK, to add to this post, a customer brought his astro van to me for some parts swapping... I pulled a differential out of one in my yard, then went to pull his, took the drive shaft bolts off the yoke, and it fell off... the yoke fell off the DIFFERENTIAL... the PINION nut was noplace to be seen... and the customer DROVE THE VAN TO MY SHOP!!! one of his issues he had was clunking in the differential... now, weak spiders are common in the 7.5 diff... so i just figured a swap was in order... WOW!!!
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My drivers:
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  #5  
Old 01-03-2012, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orv View Post
..... also make sure the driver's seat is actually anchored to the floor before setting off on a test drive.
Boy that brings back memories.... I once test drove a 64 Impala, 409, 4 speed car and when I dumped the clutch at a red light the seat flipped me into the back seat. Turns out the floor pan was rusted and the front bolts pulled out. It is interesting trying to get ahold of the steering wheel from the rear seat
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  #6  
Old 01-03-2012, 08:00 PM
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Great Advice !

When I install the slow ratio box (mechanical steering box), I guarantee all cotter pins, et cet. ! One thing I will add -- don't use used cotter pins. The .25 investment per pin is worth the safety factor. Thanks again Larry. BTW -- that was a great belated Christmas present.
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  #7  
Old 01-03-2012, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mechmagcn View Post
Boy that brings back memories.... I once test drove a 64 Impala, 409, 4 speed car and when I dumped the clutch at a red light the seat flipped me into the back seat.
Yeah, that comment was inspired by the time I was test-driving a VW Cabriolet and, when I stopped on a steep hill, the seat adjuster latch gave out and the seat slid all the way to the back limit of its travel. It turns out if you're 6' tall you can just barely still reach the pedals from that position.
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  #8  
Old 01-03-2012, 09:54 PM
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It should be noted that this doesn't only apply to fixer-uppers or cars you buy from some estate sale or other....

The vast majority of independent sellers and used car dealers don't put any time or effort into checking their stock over. No matter how much faith you take in your own abilities and background knowledge, taking any prospective (or recent) purchase to a shop for a look-over is a wise investment.

A good mechanic's eyes pick up stuff that isn't right as fast as a vet can spot a dog that just isn't acting right.
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  #9  
Old 01-04-2012, 07:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mechmagcn View Post
Boy that brings back memories.... I once test drove a 64 Impala, 409, 4 speed car and when I dumped the clutch at a red light the seat flipped me into the back seat. Turns out the floor pan was rusted and the front bolts pulled out. It is interesting trying to get ahold of the steering wheel from the rear seat

Pilots don't make this mistake. Checking the seat latch is on the checklist. If the seat were to slide back when the nose is pitched up for takeoff, the result could be fatal by accidentally pulling back on the controls and stalling the airplane at low altitude.
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  #10  
Old 01-04-2012, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zacharias View Post
It should be noted that this doesn't only apply to fixer-uppers or cars you buy from some estate sale or other....

The vast majority of independent sellers and used car dealers don't put any time or effort into checking their stock over. No matter how much faith you take in your own abilities and background knowledge, taking any prospective (or recent) purchase to a shop for a look-over is a wise investment.

A good mechanic's eyes pick up stuff that isn't right as fast as a vet can spot a dog that just isn't acting right.

Good point! The way I framed the post, it might have come across that I was only recommending such safety inspection for old, beater cars. If I were to buy a 10,000 mile used car in beautiful condition, I can assure you that I would spend the hour or less to check the safety items, CERTAINLY before I hauled a family member in it.
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  #11  
Old 01-31-2012, 12:14 PM
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I second the lug nuts and brakes! I've had two problems with mechanics working on my vehicles. My first car I had a mechanic put brakes on it and he didn't look at my brake lines. Needless to say I was pulling into a parking lot and the brakes went out, nothing bad happened because I used emergency brake and slammed it into park.

Just recently (fall 2011) I had a mechanic put shocks on my truck (91 dodge w150 w/ 3" lift) and the damn driver's side rear tire flew off (RIM AND ALL!) doing 65mph on the interstate pulling a trailer with a lawnmower on it. Not fun. Had to run 1/8 to get the tire, luckily no one was beside me.

I know, why didn't I do the shocks myself since it's easy? Was busy with work.
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  #12  
Old 01-31-2012, 12:18 PM
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Unless I"m trailering a car when I buy it, (which is often the case...) before I attempt to drive it I'm going over every detail the seller has, as well as my LONG list of checkpoints to see if the vehicle is safe and suitable.
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John HAUL AWAY, OR CRUSHED CARS!!! HELP ME keep the cars out of the crusher! A/C Thread
"as I ride with my a/c on... I have fond memories of sweaty oily saturdays and spewing R12 into the air. THANKS for all you do!

My drivers:
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5-5SPEED!!!

1987 300TD
1987 300TD
1994GMC 2500 6.5Turbo truck... I had to put the ladder somewhere!
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  #13  
Old 01-31-2012, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryBible View Post
While pulling the box, I discovered that one of the ends, connected to the Pitman Arm HAD NO COTTER KEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Larry

Oh, it's flashing and its flaming ,. . .Oh get out of the way please. . . 4 - 500 feet in the sky, oh the humanity,, oh the people.

Your post is a bit of a over reaction, sure there should be a cotter pin in the stud, but the chance of the nut coming loose is near zero. Did the nut have slots for the cotter pin?

As for the missing Astro pinion nut, chances of this happening on it's own is zero. There isn't enough relative motion between the pinion and flange to work the nut loose. The nut also has locktite or a prevailing torque design and a very long thread. Its unlikely there is enough room for he nut to escape even it loose, someone let the nut off recently.

The loose wheel situation ( or other nut / bolt items ) can be avoided by, never putting all the lugnuts on finger tight. If some need to be installed before the car is back on the ground, leave one off and set it in a conspicuous place, a missing lug nut is pretty obvious.

In a large assembly where is common to install all bolts before tightening, leave them many turns loose so it is obvious there are not tight.
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  #14  
Old 01-31-2012, 08:16 PM
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[QUOTE=thatguyinky;2875601]
Just recently (fall 2011) I had a mechanic put shocks on my truck (91 dodge w150 w/ 3" lift) and the damn driver's side rear tire flew off (RIM AND ALL!) doing 65mph on the interstate pulling a trailer with a lawnmower on it. Not fun. Had to run 1/8 to get the tire, luckily no one was beside me.
[QUOTE]


The big question is: Did the wheel need to be removed to change the rear shocks? If not and the shop didn't remove said wheel, it was not their fault.
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  #15  
Old 01-31-2012, 10:57 PM
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Just a couple weeks ago I had a weird noise under the hood of my Honda...checked it out and found one of the engine mount through-bolts had backed out far enough to come out at one end and let the engine drop slightly. I had the same thing happen on a VW once, too. It's weird because it's a long bolt with a lot of threads on it, and it's exposed to vibration but no actual torque...you wouldn't think it'd be able to back out.

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