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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

'86 Nissan Maxima

Q: I have an '86 Nissan Maxima. A couple of weeks ago I drove home from work and the car was working fine and was quiet. I did not drive it anymore until the next morning when I started it to go to work. Evidently the muffler decided to die overnight because it was extremely loud driving to work and has been since that point. I drove it for about a week and it was running fine (except for the noise) until suddenly it started shutting down while driving. I assumed it must be related to some sort of computer exhaust reader being temporarily thrown off by the bad muffler and was probably not a big deal. But then one afternoon I turned left onto a four lane road and the car stopped in the middle of the road with cars flying down a hill towards me! A bit of smoke was spiraling up from under the hood on the driver's side and it wouldn't start back up immediately like it had been. It eventually did, and believe me I drove straight home and have been riding the bus since! How could my muffler have died so suddenly (literally in its sleep) and is the stopping really related to the exhaust system somehow?

- Sarah

A: How do mufflers die in their sleep? You have to understand how much the exhaust system grows and shrinks "measurably" during normal operation. Of course the growth occurs as the vehicle is driven due to heat and when you park the vehicle the exhaust shrinks as it cools. If there is a weak area in the exhaust this normal cycle can cause the weak area to break after the vehicle has been parked. As for the exhaust system problem causing your vehicle to just stall and have restarting problems, not likely. The computer or program just doesn't know. Get the exhaust system repaired and then ask for an inspection under the hood of the vehicle. That smoke that was spiraling out has a cause that may provide a solution to your stalling problem.

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