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    Replace belt tensioner or just the pulley?

    I've been on a bit of a hiatus from BITOG for the last several months but hopefully back for a while now! Our Mazda3 (~85k miles) has been making a chirping noise from its serpentine belt tensioner periodically. The belt is due for replacement anyway so the timing is convenient! I'm debating...
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    Pennzoil Ultra Platinum 0w40

    Pennzoil labels and markets their Ultra Platinum 0w40 as specifically formulated for SRT vehicles. Obviously this is rooted in marketing but the oil is actually labeled only with API SN and a Chrysler oil spec -- no ACEA or ILSAC labels. Is there any reason to think this oil is really any...
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    Subaru Syn 5w30 - 5141 miles - 2011 WRX, 70k miles

    Just got a UOA done on my 2011 WRX. This run was Subaru synthetic 5w30, which is what I've used since the car was new. I used to be able to get a really good deal on this oil, but not anymore, so I figured I'd stop running it and get one last UOA for comparison to the next run (which is PU...
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    Comparing 3 oils for a 2011 WRX

    I've used Subaru's branded 5w-30 oil in my 2011 WRX since it was new because I was able to get it for a really good price. However that deal is now gone, and the car is out of warranty, so there's no reason to keep using it (although the dealer price is still a couple bucks cheaper per quart...
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    Inside shoulder wear

    I just discovered that one of the vehicles I maintain must have an alignment issue -- it's worn the inside shoulders on all its tires down ~4x faster than the rest of the treat. The worst part of the shoulder has less than 2/32" of tread left, while the rest of the tire (all of the actual tread...
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    Spark plug torque: tapered vs gasket seal

    I changed the spark plugs in a Mazda3 this weekend -- the Mazda MZR engine which is essentially the same engine as the Duratec 23/20 used in the Ford Focus. These are taper seat plugs, and I think every other vehicle with aluminum heads I've changed plugs on uses gasket seat. The gasket seat...
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    What should I do about this nail?

    I rotated my tires this morning and found this in one of them. <img src="http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh169/rationull/tire_zpsd2uswold.jpg" class="post-image" alt="" /> Looks to me like a really small nail. I really wanted to pull it out and see how long it is but given the tire...
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    Dead 4WD switch in GMT400 Suburban

    I’ve got a 1999 (final year of the GMT400) K2500 Suburban where 4WD hasn’t been able to engage for a while. I’ve not bothered looking into it so far because there hasn’t really been a reason, but I want to do something about it now, at least if it’s easy enough. My understanding of the system...
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    Reality check on overtightening drain plugs

    I've had some oil loss via the drain plug in my Subaru over the last 2 or 3 OCIs - just drips but enough to notice on the bottom of the pan when under the car. I'm hoping it's just an issue with the crush washers (which I replace every oil change). I'm going to try something new with the washer...
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    Pushing a clutch slave rod back into the cylinder

    I'm about to embark on a minor "repair" to hopefully fix a squeak the occurs sometimes when pressing the clutch pedal in one of my cars. The recommendation I've gotten is to lube the surface where the clutch slave cylinder pushrod presses (and rubs) against the lever connected to the clutch...
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    Grease for clutch fork/slave cylinder rod contact

    I've got a Subaru with an intermittent squeak on clutch actuation, and one of the common simple causes seems to be a lack of grease where the clutch slave cylinder pushrod contacts the lever connected to the clutch fork. The recommendation is to grease this, and usually it seems like lithium...
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    AC compressor replaced & charged, worked briefly

    I hung out with a friend today to help him finish up an AC compressor replacement in a 2005 Mazda3. It seemed like it was going well, aside from some tool issues, until we hit a snag. His description: <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div...
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    Question about possible play after hub replacement

    I replaced the rear hubs in a Mazda3 this weekend due to the OEM ones making a clicking noise during rotation. When checking everything out afterwards, I noticed something with the new bearings that I’m not sure what to make of — I wanted to describe it here in case anyone can shed some light on...
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    Mazda3 wheel bearing brands and price

    I'm looking to replace the integrated rear bearing/hub assemblies on a 2008 Mazda3 in the near future, and I'm trying to get parts together. The car's got 64k miles on it, and I first noticed they were making noise about 6k miles ago. Can't hear anything while driving, but when spinning the...
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    Exhaust heat shield bolts

    Lately I’ve noticed a rattle that I think is coming from one of the exhaust heat shields on my 2011 WRX. During its oil change today, I investigated a bit, narrowing it down to one particular shield (the left side exhaust manifold one) which is held together by 3 bolts. I thought one bolt in...
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    Toyota Tacoma V6 -- MT or AT for towing?

    The wife and I are considering getting a current generation (2005+) Toyota Tacoma V6 to use in part for towing a trailer that will probably weigh 4500-5000 lbs fully loaded. These trucks are rated to tow up to 6500 lbs. Obviously we'll do test drives but I wanted to check in here too for any...
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    Would these stand welds make you uncomfortable?

    I got some new jack stands a while back because the post top profile is the best I've found for the pinch welds on one of my vehicles. I haven't used them yet and I'm debating whether I should exchange them due to what I naively perceive as iffy looking weld quality (I didn't buy them in the...
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    Replacing shocks with vehicle on the ground

    I think it’s time for me to stop being lazy about it and replace the shocks in a 1999 Suburban 2500. The truck has about 170k miles on it, no idea if the shocks are original but I’d guess they are either original or otherwise pretty old. There’s evidence of leaking on one of the fronts, the rest...
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    Jack stands under "frame rails" on unibody cars

    A recent thread in the tools forum has made me start revisiting different jack stand options to work around issues with weak (OEM recommended) pinch weld stand locations on some vehicles. One option is to use stands with larger contact surface area like the ESCO stands with flat circular tops...
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    Does uneven wear always mean poor alignment?

    I am about to replace my tires (will update my previous post when it's all done) and I'm trying to figure out whether to go get the alignment checked in the near future. In the past I've had hit-or-miss results from alignment shops around here so I'd just as soon not have anyone touch it unless...
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