@tekochip: I knew sooner or later that somewhere in any problem is a government regulation, issued by a government agency full of bureaucrats. Thank you for pointing it out.
To an earlier poster who stated that stainless steel corrodes in salt water is too simplistic to be taken at face value. There are many grades of stainless and some will stand up better than others. A simple test is just to try a magnet on it. If the magnet will attract, that stainless has a higher percentage of iron, and will corrode faster. Chances are it can also be heattreated and be more wear resistant. The higher the nickle and various other alloy contents are, the less likely to corrode, but it will probably be more ductile.
Chuck, we're seeing a lot of these stories. I would guess that for every one of these stories, there are hundreds, even thousands of consumers who are having the same problem. You'd think we'd hear more about it.
Oldjimh--as long as there are good ole boys, tools, and problems to solve, nobody is ever out of the picture. Where I used to work, all you had to do was open your car hood (for any reason) and 5-6 guys would gather and see if there was anything that needed fixing. Ah, good old ingenuity!
The inexpensive OBD code readers from Sears et al are okay ofr us shade tree machanics. Take a look at them. The cheap ones won't read ABS codes though.
People fluent with computers can buy a USB device that interfaces a laptop to the disgnostic port below steering column, same place you plug in the little hand-held unit.
To overcome initial fear - most auto parts stores(Oreilly, Autozone etc) will let you use theirs in the parking lot. My local Oreily's loaner does read ABS.
Re foreign autos : i owned one Toyota and swore off them as soon as i received the 'factory' shop manual. It was pitifully lacking in detail and illustrations , practically useless. Perhaps 3/4 inch thick. By comparison i have a 6 inch stack of genuine Ford manuals for the Escort i mentioned earlier. They have marvelous drawings, wiring diagrams and step by step troubleshooting procedures.
That old '68 truck IS a delight to work on. To service the distributor and fuel pump I climbed inside the fenderwell. You can stand next to the engine in the shade of the hood with your feet flat on the ground.. I found genuine Ford shop manuals on Ebay. It should be the last vehicle i'll ever have to buy. And it turns more heads than a new one !
I do wonder sometimes, though, Rob, why they can't bring the size and price of the garage equipment down. Everything else in electronics continues to get smaller and cheaper. It would be nice if they could make a low-cost home version.
Ah, man, OldJimH, that Ford pickup will be fun to work on. Tons of elbow room under the hood. That takes me back to my Detroit days when my grandfather was a Ford executive, my Dad worked in marketing for Vicker's, a hydraulics system producer, and I worked in an automotive paint lab. Back then, if you grew up in the Detroit area, good jobs grew on trees. For those who came in from the outside, jobs were not quite as plentiful, but there was still a lot of good work to go around. That started changing in the 70s with OPEC boycotts and great small Japanese cars. Fellow Detroiters did not look kindly on those who bought Japanese cars. The view was that if you bought a foreign car, you were depriving your neighbor of a job.
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