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Auto engineer rant


AZVET
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 I get the feeling that a long ago retired Buick engineer is having a good laugh today.

I'm talking about the fine fellow or gal that decided to place the Reatta fuel filter where it ended up.  I've changed the same type of filter on several GM cars over the years but never had one give me such grief.

It is a good thing that my 88 is a no-rust Arizona car.  I can't imagine changing that thing on a rust belt Reatta!

And no love here to the person who assembled my metric flare wrench set either.  Would it have killed you to include a 16mm in the set!

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Ah, the dreaded 16mm. Seems very few wrench/socket sets ever include it. I suppose it is a very seldom used size in metric dimensioned fasteners, but I do run across it every once in a while. Will concur with the criticism of the fuel filter placement, it wasn't very well thought out.

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I was the transmission mechanic for an Olds Dealer in Michigan and was constantly being called into other mechanic's stalls to help diagnose problems and I was getting angry that I was being bothered so much so I told the service manager ether stop bothering me or make me the shop foreman. I was made the shop foreman I'm telling you this because the dealership sent me to a management class. When I walked into the GM training center class room I saw someone took chalk and wrote in big letters "profit" on the black board. I asked the instructor why do they make things so hard for the mechanic? He told me they could care less about the mechanic's their only concern is "profit" and that the car gets through the warranty period with the least amount of repair as possible after that the mechanic's can complain all they want.. 

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concerning the tools needed for these new cars, if you don't have a 5.5 mm socket in your 1/4 drive set make sure you add one.

i checked my 91 and that is the size of bolt that holds the coils on. you can buy them individually from craftsman or husky at Home Depot.

for the price you might want to get a couple, very easy to lose. That size appears more on even newer models.

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28 minutes ago, MRJBUICK said:

if you don't have a 5.5 mm socket in your 1/4 drive set make sure you add one.

 

14 minutes ago, Ronnie said:

My 1/4" Craftsman set has a 7/32" socket that seems to fit perfectly. Have you tried one of them?

 

7/32" is 5.556 mm. May be close enough.

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While we were in New Orleans and waiting for the street car [trolley] and a woman from France came up to me and asked about the U S currency. I said it was a metric system. Pennies were millimeters, dimes were centimeters and dollars were meters. She said that would be easy to remember and walked away happy.

 Now when it comes to bolt heads we have both metric and U S and on some cars... both. 

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Northstar placement of starter......read someplace that the powertrain engineers said that was the ideal place for the starter,  it doesn't get dirty, get wet and is much cooler in that valley and will last longer than in the conventional location.

 

My favorite thing to hate on the Reatta is that 1/4 hex head screw located behind the front bumper shock, it holds the parking lights in place....there are 4 other so I leave it out when I put the parking light back.

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You think the starter is bad on a Northstar, try the alternator. My mom had a 97 Deville, my one brother a 99 Deville. Both had to have the alternator replaced twice (each). First time was about a 6 hour job. I learned a few tricks and then it took 3-4 hours for each subsequently. Was never so glad I went with the Reatta instead of an Eldorado  (my original plan) as I was after that snafu.

Edited by KDirk (see edit history)
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Just read on another discussion ......a fellow just had the water pump replaced on a Northstar and the charge was over $1000, plus it took them two days and he was on vacation so that was 3 nights in a hotel.

I did a Google search and there is a UTube video of a guy replacing the water pump and he says 1 hour.  Sounds like the shop either had no clue how to change it and/or they way overcharged

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1 hour ago, Barney Eaton said:

Just read on another discussion ......a fellow just had the water pump replaced on a Northstar and the charge was over $1000, plus it took them two days and he was on vacation so that was 3 nights in a hotel.

I did a Google search and there is a UTube video of a guy replacing the water pump and he says 1 hour.  Sounds like the shop either had no clue how to change it and/or they way overcharged

It never stops to amaze me of the ripoff artist that are out there. The waterpump on a Northstar is a self belt driven divorced pump and the hardest part about changing it is the pulley. You have to remove the pulley in order to remove the pump. The pulley is fiber with a brass sleeve in the center and the fiber will break loose from the brass. New pump and pulley about 1 1/2 hours to change and under a $100.00 for parts. Tops about $200.00 for the job. 

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Key thing I remember about changing a northstar water pump is it required a special large toothed socket to remove and install. Don't recall it being too bad to change overall. Plenty of things on that engine that really sucked to work on though, and I wouldn't want to own a car equipped with one.

 

Yeah, lots of horses for the displacement and all that, but it came at a price of over-complexity and many repairs that require dropping the power train to complete. Kind of like the Ferarris that require the engine to be removed to change spark plugs. 

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If it's a part I may take off again I write down the socket sizes on the part or near it, along with in my maintenance log. It has saved me a little time on a few things here and there.  The starter on the LeSabre wasn't in the easiest to get too spot either.

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  • 5 months later...

Having bought nearly everything Sears or HF offers, I often make my own tools anymore, have bent up a number of wrenches to reach things.

 

BTW think a NorthStar is bad ? Try a Mercedes with the M272 six cyl. They stole much of the design from the 3800 but in their infinite wisdom they put a bolt on the end of the balance shaft. They then proceeded to be supplied with defective balance shafts. This prompted a class action suit since that one %$&%&%^ bolt is behind the flywheel and to replace the balance shaft you need to pull the engine, a $4000 dealer job.

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