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Previous mechanical questions & answers

Below is some of the more common questions asked by our visitors & answered by our mechanics through our online mechanical assistant service.

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If you still cant find the answer to your problem you can ask our mechanics. Make sure you give as much details as possible so we can give advice and possible causes of the mechanical issue.

Hi, I bought a VW polo 1.2 2002 model about three weeks ago. At the start of the week I noticed that the drivers floor panel is completely soaked. I thought it might be a leak as it rained the night before, but it is still soaked although I dry it every day and it hasn't rained for two days. Could it be something else, maybe the air-conditioning? Please could you help!

Providing you are sure that the fluid is water it has to be coming from a source within the car. Have you noticed the water levels in the radiator getting low. You could have a leak from the heater matrix. Do you use your washers on the days the water has appeared? There could be a leak in the pipe that carries the water to the rear washers. Did you get a data check done on the vehicle before you purchased it? If it has been in an accident and had the windscreen replaced again it may be leaking when using the washers if the screen has not been fitted correctly.

Its highly unlikely the water is coming from the Air Con. The system does produce moisture from the condensing process which is expelled under the car however the amount of water you speak of would only be produced when the air con is working very hard on a hot day not at this time of year.

As with most problems we help with it is always difficult to give an accurate diagnosis from a written description and simply offer possible causes.

My car is a Calibre c20xe 1992 127000 miles and just failed emissions for mot I know it is running too rich. Im needing to know faults that could cause this and answers to fix if possible. I checked my spark plugs and they had a black soot coating on them the car also sometimes just out the blue... could be months at a time goes into a misfire mode like there's air in the fuel line then clears before returning to normal also management light comes on now n then with this problem any help would be great thanks.

The key here is the ECU light coming on which suggests the reason for the engine running rich is a problem with the injection timing. There should be a fault code logged if the light stays on long enough which can be read by diagnostics equipment at a garage to determine the cause of the fault. It will cost you to have this equipment connected however there is another method which may help if you wish to try. It sounds tedious and I personally have never tried it but a colleague has and pointed me to this article on the web.

My car miss-fires on starting but only for a while (just after it has warmed up a little, choke still on) then runs ok. The radiator often needs bleeding to release build up air in the system .(a large amount) no visible signs of water in the oil and no real signs of water at the exhaust. Is it possible the head gasket is only slightly blown? hence a damp plug on start up? Any thoughts, checks that can be done to eliminate this? thanks for any advice.....!!!!!!!

It sounds like you have the fault correctly diagnosed already. All the symptoms point to a small head gasket failure. I once dealt with a Peugeot 306 diesel with exactly the same symptoms without showing oil in the water or water from the exhaust. The car ran for over two years like this and never failed!! The problem with starting was over come by releasing the pressure from the radiator after every journey so the pressurised system did not force water into the cylinders.

The simplest way to test the head gasket is to do a 'sniff' test. This is a check for exhaust gasses in the coolant. Water from the radiator is mixed with a chemical and if exhaust gasses are present the chemical changes colour.

The timing belt was only changed about 30,000 miles before it snapped i have a new head and belt head gasket and everything I should need to do it I just don't know where to start. The Van is a 1997 P Reg and is a 1.8 diesel it was fine till it snapped the cambelt and i have looked every where on the net to try and find some info on setting the timing up but can not find anything so if you could help with info it would be great thanks.

The best thing to do here is get yourself a Haynes manual as all the location points for setting the timing and the tolerances will be shown with photographs. The book only costs 18 and if you consider the cost of making a mistake its well worth it.
I've found the book you and placed the link below (assuming its a transit)

Haynes Manual

I own an M Reg 2 door Honda Accord Coupe Ls, 2 litre injection. After bleeding the brakes the calliper on the front drivers side locks when the brake is applied. I have changed the calliper but the same thing happened again. The other three callipers works just fine. What could be the problem and what is the correct way to bleed the brakes.

To bleed the brakes you need two people, one to press the brakes and one to do the bleeding. Make sure you have plenty of brake fluid in the master cylinder and get your friend to pump the brake pedal three or four times then keep the pressure on. Unscrew the bleed nipple on the brake (its best to attach a pipe to the bleed nipple and place the other end in a jar to avoid getting brake fluid on yourself or the car as its like paint stripper) and bleed out the fluid and air. Once the flow stops tighten the bleed screw and have your friend pump the pedal again and again keeping the pressure on. Repeat the process until the bleeding brake fluid is free of air.

If you are having trouble bleeding the brakes and/or they are still sticking after the brakes have been applied you may have a fault with the speed sensor or the inline valve which is part of the ABS system. If the ABS system on the car is the Four Channel type there will be a sensor for each wheel which would explain the reason for only affecting the one brake.

Have you changed the rubber hoses that connect directly to the calliper? Given the car is 13 years young the rubber may have perished inside the hoses and collapsed causing a blockage. Because a large amount of pressure comes from the brake pedal and servo there is sufficient force for the brake fluid to pass to the brakes past the collapsed section but as only the pressure of the calliper on the disks forces the release of the brake it wont be sufficient to allow the return of the fluid past the blockage therefore causing the brakes to stick on.

When driving an 02 Reg ford Mondeo, the seems to be a clicking noise from the wheels, cant be sure if its the front or back as its difficult while driving, but also when slowing down sometimes I get a small grinding noise, I don't think its the brakes because i have tried braking hard, and there's no noise from the brakes, it seems to happen more when driving slowly round corners, or should I say that's when you hear it more.

As im sure you can imagine this is difficult to diagnose without hearing the actually noise.

There could be a number of reasons for the noise;

Try looking for anything that has come loose or a small twig that may have got lodged and is catching on the wheel.

Another possibility is the wheel may have come loose. This has happened to a car I have examined before when it had just come from a tyre fitting company who had obviously not tightened the wheel correctly. If this is the problem it's likely the noise when turning would be more apparent one way than the other depending on which wheel it was (if its only one wheel that's loose)

Worn wheel bearings can make a noise if they are in immanent need of change.

The drive shaft can also making clicking noises if the shaft is worn or the universal joint has become dry due to a split gaiter. Gators do perish and crack which allows the grease to leak out. This would also become more apparent when turning as more stress is placed on the universal joint during the turn.

Try turning whilst free wheeling and if the noise goes away or is much quieter its likely to be a drive shaft problem as the driveshaft will not be under any pressure if the engine is disengaged.

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