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Jim Grant Tech Tips Jim Grant Tech Tips
A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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  Jim Grant's Tech TipsJim Grant's Tech Tips
Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.



Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

90 Chevy Beretta, Stalling Problems
Q: I bought (with a lot of his money, too) my 17 year old son a '90 Chevy Beretta. It's great looking and I had it checked out by my mechanic. About 1 week after he had it , it started to stall out periodically. This happens when he first starts it and begins to drive. He can only go 10mph and then it will stall. If he pulls over and shuts it off and restarts it, it's fine. Neither the dealer nor my mechanic can find anything. They put in a new ignition module and coil pack (whatever they are) and checked the grounds and the wires. One mentioned the computer being replaced. I'm frustrated and thinking about asking for my money back, if that would even work, but my son just wants it fixed...Sally.

A: We've seen some strange computer problems with vehicles of your type. The difficulty is in proving that the computer is the problem\cause. The procedure we use to identify a problematic computer is about as odd as the problem itself. The vehicle's computer is removed from its hiding place in the dash and the electrical connectors are inspected. Then with the engine running the computer gets a slap. If the engine shutters or stalls then the computer has a problem. If the engine doesn't act up, the computer is left hanging by its electrical harness and a hair dryer is positioned to blow hot air on the computer. Heat helps to aggravate computer type problems. In the meantime, a computer scan tool and PC is connected to the computer's diagnostic connector. With the engine running the PC is commanded to download the data from the vehicle's computer. Once again the computer is slapped and the electrical connectors are wiggled. Then the data recorded from the vehicle's computer is reviewed. Because the vehicle is just idling in the shop bay there should be no sudden changes in the recorded data. Example; one problem computer was thinking that the vehicle was going from 0 to over 200 mph in the shop bay in two seconds. A replacement computer corrected that vehicle's problem. Diagnosis of difficult computer related problems is not a 15 minutes job. Careful diagnosis by a qualified technician should pin down the cause to your stalling problem.

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