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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

92 Honda Accord EX, Embarrassing Rattle and Idle problems
Q: I have a ‘92 4 door Honda Accord EX with 116k miles on it. It has been a good car except for a few things and I think they might be related. When Idling the car vibrates like crazy! It makes a very embarrassing rattling noise and sometimes while idling the cooling fans will come on and turn off, repeatedly which makes a lot of noise. The RPMS will rise and fall constantly.. anywhere from 400 to 1100 RPMS. I want it very badly to idle constantly at around 800 and not rattle. If you can help me I would be so thankful! I've tried everything and paid everyone to get it fixed but nothing seems to work.......Bobby Byrd

A: More often than not the rattle you’re describing is due to a loose exhaust shield. The vehicle should go up on a lift and the exhaust should be inspected for loose shields or brackets. Usually a little welding or stainless clamps will fix the offending clatter. As for the unstable idle, there may be underlying factors. When the computer in your vehicle senses additional load, something that slows the idle speed, it will compensate by increasing the engine’s idle speed. Additional loads come in different forms, like the electrical load of the cooling fans, rear window de-icer or the A/C system. Most of these components have a direct communication link to the computer to let it know that a decision has been made to activate. The computer knows that additional load is going to be added so, in response, it will elevate the idle speed of the engine. Pretty smart, huh? Well here’s where it gets dumb. All the computer understands is it’s either time to up the idle speed or drop the idle speed. It has no clue that there may be a bad switch causing the system to cycle on and off. A perfect example is a failing cooling fan switch or an A/C system that is low in refrigerant, (note that many A/C systems are activated when the defrost mode is selected at the heater control). It is probable that if you have the cycling cooling fan problem diagnosed you’ll like be on the right track for correcting your unstable idle speed.

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