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A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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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

'88 Chevy Astro, Electrical Woes and A/C problems

Q: My '88 Chevy Astro van has developed some odd occurrences since the engine was replaced (used). First when you turn the headlights on - the RPMs go up and the right side light goes dim. Second, when you turn the headlights on and turn the wipers on the wipers won't go back off. Also if my a/c compressor is noisy what could of been missed during the replacement of the system? We have had to replace the compressor and accumulator and orifice tube about once a year for the last 3 years.

- Art C.

A: Your head light dimming and running problems are both likely related to a poor ground. There are many ground wires on your vehicle and they are there for a reason. The more common problem I've seen with replacement engines is that the ground wires are not connected to clean surfaces. Grease, paint, rust and dirt will cause any ground strap, no matter how tightly bolted, to cause electrical problems. Problems much like the one you're describing. Here's an example. An area automotive machine shop called in desperation. It seems that after the engine was replaced in said vehicle the engine would not crank over when hot and the computer codes were just spilling out. The shop that installed the engine replaced some sensors, the battery and starter more than once. After giving up the owner went elsewhere. The elsewhere, replaced the starter again and flywheel to the tune of about $500 with a diagnosis of a bent crankshaft. The machine shop owner was only hearing law suit from a really PO'd vehicle owner with no real answer to the problem! The cause? The ground cable from the battery was bolted over the transmission oil cooler line support and the fresh paint on the engine block. The fix took less than 30 minutes. The vehicle owner sat out in the garage, no joke for the better part of a half an hour starting the engine. The machine shop was ecstatic the customer was madder than hell. In fact he apologized several times while he was screaming. They were very mixed emotions. Fix the ground right and your light and running problem will be likely gone. As for your A/C. After replacing the compressor, accumulators and orifice tubes someone should check the condenser to see how plugged/restricted it is from all that junk that went through the system. A plugged/restricted condenser will rip compressors apart in no time. After you get it fixed right have an inline filter installed in the system too.

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