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Patrick Mannion

Capitola, CA

Patrick Mannion Santa Cruz California - Lead Technician/ Shop Foreman with 30 years independent automotive repair shops and dealership experience, Automotive Instructor, and a member of Repairpal staff.


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Questions & Answers | Problem Reports | Reviews | Comments, | Work Orders

Question Answered: 

Did your vehicle "pull to the left" prior to the initial alignment? If so I am sure the basic and most obvious things have been checked (tire pressures and that the tires are a match not just in size but tire make and series of tire). Try rotating the tires and ask for a copy of the alignment specifications. Most alignment machines give a comprehensive print out of before and after specifications that show castor, camber, and individual wheel alignment figures. Have they implied anything may be bent (if so it should be obvious by the alignment sheet readings).


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Question Answered: 

The alternator on this engine is located at the top, front of the engine near the radiator.Prior to replacing the alternator, disconnect the battery (ensure you have the radio code where applicable). You may have to remove the power steering pump and cruise control actuator if your Honda is so equipped. Remove the main battery cable from the alternator and disconnect the remaining electrical plug from the rear of the alternator casing. Remove the alternator belt adjusting hardware and long bolt on which the alternator pivots. Replace the alternator, refit items in reverse order, reattach the fan belt, tensioning the belt correctly, reconnect the battery and start the engine. When replacing and alternator ensure you initially start the engine using a fully charged battery to prevent damage to your new alternator. After running the vehicle for several minutes, switch off the engine, engine the fan belt is tensioned correctly. With the engine switched off and the ignition key in the "on position" the red battery light on the instrument panel should illuminate, when the engine is started the battery light should go out to indicate the alternator is charging.


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Question Answered: 

If you are a car enthusiast and like working on your own car, Alldata offer a one year subscription/ one model specific deal that can save you a lot of money. They offer a lot of information straight out of the factory manual all with step by step instructions. It is easy to navigate and find information. Wiring diagrams, vacuum diagrams, technical service bulletins, fluid specifications and capacities ect.. It is the same information many independent repair shops use. I forget the cost but I think it $50 to $65 a year, but saves you the frustration of damaging or breaking delicate interior trim panels. Perhaps more importantly after reading the repair procedures it allows you to decide which repairs you want to tackle yourself and which jobs are best left to the professionals.


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Question Answered: 

The Vehicle Speed Sensor frequently failed on these vehicles. It is located on the top of the transmission (toward the rear), is black in color, and secured with two bolts (10mm heads). With the hood open, the VSS is visible looking downward into the engine compartment from the right front strut tower.The speed sensor is a "pulse generator" and sends a signal that operates both the speedometer and cruise control. Check to see if your cruise control (if fitted) works. If cruise control works the Vehicle Speed Sensor is working. I have seen intermittent failure of the speed sensor but have rarely seen the speedometer instrument to fail. You said you experience speedometer failure while driving over rough roads, ensure the wires and connections at the Vehicle Speed Sensor are in tact and make a good connection.


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Question Answered: 

As "Hemicuda" has said the blower motor is located at the passenger footwell area (it is relatively easy to replace .6h to 1hour labor), the blower motor has a blower motor resistor that may fail or allow the heater blower to operate at only one speed (to replace this the glove box must be removed to gain access). Before replacing parts ensure that all fuses are OK.


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Question Answered: 

I have checked to see if Hyundai had any service bulletins related to the Airbag System on your Santa Fe. They do not appear have any common problems. Hyundai are very helpful to people in the repair industry and offer much of their training information and workshop manuals online for free, www.hmaservice.com


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Question Answered: 

The gear box "filler plug/level check plug" is just above where the right axle comes out of the gearbox, towards the rear of the engine compartment. It is a 19mm bolt that is removed (with the engine off and the vehicle on level ground), oil should drip out off the filler hole if the correct amount of transmission oil is in the transmission.


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Question Answered: 

I'm sure you are back on the road by now, but I would have brought the gas cap with the broken key in it, to an old fashion locksmith (look in your local yellow pages). Old locksmiths are resourceful and are very reasonably priced. A broken key in an ignition switch, door lock, or gas cap is an easy task for them, and much cheaper than replacing the lock assembly.


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Question Answered: 

Most repair shops will perform a simple test to look for traces of carbon monoxide in the cooling system, (called a block check test) to check for a blown head gasket. Genuine Toyota coolant /antifreeze is red, many aftermarket coolants are green. On Toyota and Lexus products that have higher mileage and neglected cooling system services (coolant flushes), the coolant tends to turn orange and rusty in color on vehicles that have been driven for a prolonged period of time with a mildly blown head. If the head gasket is found to be blown in inspect the radiator for damage. Original equipment radiators had plastic tanks that cracked under increased cooling system caused by a blown head gasket. I have seen many ES300 head gaskets repaired only to experience radiator failure a short time later.


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Question Answered: 

With high mileage on your engine excess "blow by" caused by engine wear is probably the culprit. If you have the valve covers removed make sure the valve covers are straight. The valve covers are made plastic and warp due to fellows not torquing the valve covers correctly (I've seen people break off the "ears" that the Valve Cover bolts go through). The last time I checked the valve covers were no longer available from Toyota and the customer sourced good second hand ones from a wrecking yard. If you do have the covers off again check the valve clearances (shim adjust)!


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