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Thread: Diagnosing cars in the old days

  1. #61
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    Me three.
    AMC has not existed since the mid 80's when Chrysler bought them and reports show that almost no daily driven AMC's exist out east without rust issues. Most of the survivors out west are still on the road simply because we don't use salt.
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  2. #62

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    That Eagle is awesome.

    Perspective...
    I own 5 vehicles: 83 Grand Marquis, 84 Town Car, 85 Country Squire, 85 Ranger (newly swapped to 93-era fuel injection from carb), 91 Grand Marquis. I also do all of my own repairs, troubleshooting, maintenance, etc.

    Accordingly, I have a pretty good grasp of how Ford EEC-IV fuel injection works, in both CFI (throttle body injection) and SEFI (multiport injection) applications.

    Like anything else, it pays to understand what you're working on. There are people (many) who totally disregard the Ford CFI setup as a viable engine management system and if you press them for why, it invariably reveals it's because they don't really know pretty much anything about how it's meant to work. The kind of hackjob repairs people do like manually stepping up the idle instead of fixing vacuum leaks (??? why do so many people do this ???) really complicate things because suddenly the manufacturer troubleshooting routines don't apply anymore and the hack making the hackjob repairs assumes all problems will go away by swapping to a carb. Which is true, but not really the best answer to all relevant questions.

    As for Detroit, I go there often for the plentiful, amazing self-serve junkyards. I have in fact seen 80s AMCs in regular traffic, just as I see all domestic brands from the 80s and 90s in mass quantity.
    Enthusiast of keyboards with springs which buckle noisily.

  3. #63
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    Huh. That's actually cool to hear that you can still find stuff that old still creaking around the Car Capital.

    [quote]The kind of hackjob repairs people do like manually stepping up the idle instead of fixing vacuum leaks (??? why do so many people do this ???)[quote]
    I'm partial to this in that when I had to redo the lines in the Tracker I had a hell of a time finding the correct diameter lines and ended up raiding at least three different parts shops and waiting for new hose clamps to come in. That coupled with there's two ways to change the lines and one of them is the wrong way. It takes longer but replacing hoses one end at a time instead of pulling it all and reinstalling it saves SO MUCH DAMN TIME later when hunting down misrouted lines.
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  4. #64

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    I've thought of it like this: cars are mass produced, every possible avenue for saving money in manufacturing phase has been explored. Every single part has a function. Every part is there for a good reason - unless you can provide a 100% better reason, do not try to improve it.

    There's a weird backstory to the reason why we used to have a lot of '80s American cars, mostly GM station wagons, here in Finland. I can relate that some other time, but now I'll just tell this.

    Among the people who own the less-loved specimen of that crop nowadays, many aren't really fluent or even comfortable working with anything that has any electronics in it. There's a saying that "electricity is blue and hurts" and that pretty well sums it up. So, what these guys do is replacing the EFI systems with cheapest aftermarket carbs and distributors - usually adjusted by ear - and then they're just happy with the end result - 20% less power and 20% more fuel consumption, but hey, at least it's a "real American engine" in it.

  5. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC9UDX View Post
    Well, potting them wasn't so stupid, in retrospect. These potted ones almost never failed in any way. But those GM ones from the mid 80s to the early 00s were nothing but grief.
    There's an issue with the solid state device controlling the HVAC blower motor speed in certain BMWs (early 2000s E39s and E46s; I don't remember the name of the part) where the potting material may eventually contract or expand with temperature and / or age and rip components from the PCB and such. Well, that's the theory, anyway. The existence of the potting material basically has two purposes: protection of the hardware within, and protection of the design from tinkering or vandalism. My experience with my fiance's '01 E39 and my '00 Z3 suggest that BMW primarily used the potting for protection of the hardware during the production of these vehicles, as none of the more interesting control units are potted, but the previously mentioned motor speed module was.

    I hear people complain about BMW reliability a lot and the cars depreciate in the blink of an eye, but it seems to me that 95% of the time, people don't want to shell out the funds necessary to maintain an older performance or luxury vehicle because "it's not worth enough money," and then the car starts falling apart because you need to replace every single plastic engine part after about 10 years (which is exactly what the owner who bought the car used doesn't want / cannot afford to do). Otherwise, my Z3 has been incredibly reliable.

  6. #66
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    By accident I discovered what the actual name and part number is for the original AMC diagnostic unit I mentioned earlier in the thread.

    CEC Fuel Feedback System Tester - Model ET-501 - Manufactured by the Owatonna Tool Company (More commonly know today as OTC)



    (reposting for possible future reference)

    As the Popular Science article pictured, it's a small box with a VFD screen. Not pictured was the grey carrying case that held it, the documentation and about a half dozen other cables used to test the various other computers the Eagle/Concorde Jeep used. Of course at the same time the opinion on the use of these things is out there. Some peopel want $500CAD for the whole kit, others want $60USD for the module and nothing else, plus no shipping out of Buttstown, IL. There's forum threads talking about how it's a great tool while others don't even get to that point and tell you to rip that parasite off your carb before it saps any more life out of the engine. It's like listening to mac people. Some of the crap they spout is amazingly stupid.

    Anyways with that kind of a price limiting me from just getting one right now, I've spent the winter building an equivalent device which is a bit easier to understand what the car is doing at a glance.




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  7. #67
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    I caved.
    With the "unofficial" tester now working almost perfectly I saved up a bit of money and purchased the official OTC tool seen above for about $275CAD after shipping and import fees. Should be here in a week ro two but we'll get to hopefully soon crack er' open and see how things REALLY ticked. Anyone want to make any guesses?
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