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Here’s why working on a family member’s car can be dicey

My first book includes five chapters under the section title, “Why I Don’t Fix Cars For Other People, Part XXX.” It’s something of a running joke, since, in each, I describe doing a favor for someone only to have the repair go wrong, cost them more money than either of us expected, and leave me with the feeling that no good deed goes unpunished. The fact that I give five examples shows that either I’m a ridiculously good guy or I’m someone who’s really slow to learn a lesson.


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Does anyone truly know why the 1981 Cadillac 6.0 liter gas 4/6/8 motor got such a bad reputation that Cadillac killed it in 1982? I do because I owned one for many years and drove it for well over 130K miles until it literally the body rusted away and loved it so much that I recently bought another "cream puff" with low mileage. It was claimed that the engine would run away at stoplights by running up to 3000 RPM for no reason. The cause of that was the same as pointed out in this article. People went under the hood, owners or mechanics, that had no idea of how the new EFI systems worked back then and as a result they turned screws that caused this to happen. All it took was an owners complaint that the idle speed was too low. Up went the hood and they turned out the nut headed bolt in the IAC actuator/valve which caused the TPS calibration to be off and the EFI ECM/ECU to make incorrect adjustments which result in this happening maybe with a simple thing like turning on the AC system at a stop light. Those motors/cars had the best onboard diagnostic systems on them that would rival anything in a car today and that same system is back in use in many EURO and US made cars today but renamed as a "Variable Displacement" motor system. Luckily, I was working a the German OE/OEM parts supplier for all these EFI systems for cars around the World back then and they had hired in a Cadillac repair technician, sometimes called a auto mechanic or nut and bolt turner, who knew his stuff on that system. I learned it all from him and with knowing all those other systems in play at that time by working many years in the shop that evaluated the failures for all those cars that were sent back as warranty returns, I truly learned how it all worked. My own cousin tried to impress me with how his new GMC with its new updated SBC worked with this new "Variable Displacement" motor I just kinda just smiled and let him explain to me how it all worked. The basic origin came from HD trucks with "Jake Brakes" but that's another story because I worked 7 years for a World wide supplier of HD trucks made in the USA before moving on. If people truly know what and how things work, then fine, but if you don't please find someone who does before someone gets hurt and car companies get falsely blamed for your mistakes.

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