Category Archives: Engine

How to inspect flex plate for cracks using a borescope – 2001 Toyota 4Runner

transmissionWe started having a clicking sound coming from beneath our 4Runner, somewhere between the engine and the automatic transmission. After doing a lot of searching online to figure out what it might be, I concluded that it might be a cracked flexplate. Replacing a flex plate is a big job, since it requires removing the transmission. Before paying a lot of money to get it checked before even knowing if that was the problem, I decided it would be best to first inspect the flex plate myself to verify that it was broken/cracked. Continue reading How to inspect flex plate for cracks using a borescope – 2001 Toyota 4Runner

Replacing engine thermostat: 1998 Saturn SL2

Thermostat and gaugeAfter purchasing a used 1998 Saturn SL2, one of the first things I noticed was that once the car had warmed up the dashboard temperature gauge was always pointing slightly less than the 1/4 mark and never went any higher. The coolant temperature sensor was malfunctioning, so I replaced it. However, whenever replacing the temperature sensor it is also a good idea to replace the engine thermostat. It is a cheap part and is very easy to replace. Since you have to drain the coolant for both repairs, you may as well get both parts replaced at the same time to save some time and money. Continue reading Replacing engine thermostat: 1998 Saturn SL2

Replacing engine coolant temperature sensor (ECTS) – 1998 Saturn SL2

ECTS and gaugeI recently purchased a used 1998 Saturn SL2, and one of the first things I noticed was that once the car had warmed up, the dashboard temperature gauge was always pointing slightly less than the 1/4 mark and never went any higher. I thought this was a bit odd, since all my previous vehicles would usually stay just below the 1/2 mark, but then I figured that maybe the SL2 engine just stays cooler. Not so. Doing a quick search online uncovers the fact that one of the most common problems with the SL2 is a cracked coolant temperature sensor and/or a stuck-open engine thermostat. Continue reading Replacing engine coolant temperature sensor (ECTS) – 1998 Saturn SL2

How to clean air intake throttle body – 2001 Toyota 4Runner

Throttle bodyMy 4Runner will occasionally behave weirdly when pressing on its gas pedal. When it happens, it is usually when at a standstill and then pressing the gas pedal to move forward doesn’t do anything, not even rev the engine up. The vehicle just idles forward, which is very dangerous if you are in an intersection and can’t move anywhere! (Note that the 4Runner starts and idles just fine.) This can be due to two possible problems. Either the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system needs to be recalibrated (the fix is described in one of my older posts), or the throttle body is dirty and is sticking shut (the fix – cleaning the throttle body – is described below). Continue reading How to clean air intake throttle body – 2001 Toyota 4Runner

How to recalibrate VSC system on 2001 Toyota 4Runner

VSC TRACOver the past few weeks my 4Runner will occasionally behave weirdly when pressing on its gas pedal. When it happens, it is usually when at a standstill and then pressing the gas pedal to move forward doesn’t do anything, not even rev the engine up. The vehicle just idles forward, which is very dangerous if you are in an intersection and can’t move anywhere! (Note that the 4Runner starts and idles just fine.) This can be due to two possible problems. Either the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system needs to be recalibrated (described in this post), or the throttle body is dirty and is sticking shut (I describe how to clean it in a different post). Continue reading How to recalibrate VSC system on 2001 Toyota 4Runner

How to change engine oil – 2001 Toyota 4Runner

Changing oil and filterRather than go to a mechanic to get oil changes for my cars, I always do it myself. It is faster, cheaper, and I can ensure that I get better quality oil this way. Since I just changed my 2001 Toyota 4Runner’s oil last week, I figured I might as well take some pictures and blog about it here since there can be some tricky things with changing the 4Runner’s oil. In fact, the first time I changed the 4Runner’s oil after I bought it I almost resolved to never again do the 4Runner’s oil change myself – simply because I could not get access to the oil filter! Well, now I know better and can give some tips here about doing it yourself. After doing it a few times, you will be very quick at it (this takes me about 20 minutes now), and you don’t have to wait around at your local lube shop! Continue reading How to change engine oil – 2001 Toyota 4Runner