Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Automotive Technology Update #2

Can you believe that some people put stickers on their car?

Here's the latest from our NMS college student with what's new in the Automotive Technology program at York Technical College. I wrapped up the Engine and the Introduction to Automotive Maintenance classes, and managed to both disassemble and assemble the same engine and started work on some other cars with various issues. Some highlights include stuff I've never done before, like replacing motor mounts, head gaskets, and replacing a lower control arm. A few other things I have done before, like replacing a broken wheel stud, spark plugs, oil change, or operating a lift were a bit easier!

Start with something simple, draining coolant before checking for a leaky head gasket. 

With two automotive classes complete (yes, I passed, thanks for asking!) I feel like I've learned a lot so far, but there's plenty more to go too! Last week kicked off Ignition and Fuel System class, so we'll find out what happens when you turn that key or push that start button on the car. At home, our new Honda Accord has push button start that works great, as long as you have the key fob in your pocket. The other two cars have the "old-fashioned" ignition key that you have to actually stick into the car and twist to turn it on. So many cars have the push button convenience that I have seen comments online complaining about the Maverick pickup using a real key. Those dang young people today complain about everything! Another recent complaint I read in a car forum was someone that wasn't sure if their windshield washer fluid sensor was working properly. On behalf of us older drivers, that made me laugh to think that someone has to rely on a dashboard light to know that they are out of washer fluid. Oh well, things change, and that's a good thing, because then we all have more stuff to laugh about!

Chrysler V6, going to check for head gasket leak. Let's go!

Intake, power steering reservoir, and center gasket are out of the way, so you can see into the V of the engine. 

Let me just say a big thank-you again to my wife Julie for supporting me in going back to school, and thanks to the Post 9/11 GI Bill for paying for the first two semesters. After that I'll have to pay for it on my own when my GI Bill is used up (total of 36 months of school.) The good news here is that the State of South Carolina (and some other states I'm sure) have a program where senior citizens can attend or audit college classes pretty much for free, so I'll be learning more about that this coming fall semester. Shoot, if that works out, I could complete the entire Automotive Associates, and then move on to more fun things like body shop, welding, or diesel engines too!

Here's the front bank, pretty good for a lot of mileage!

Here's the rear bank, much dirtier. 

Pro Tip from our instructor: on an Overhead Valve engine like this, you want those pushrods to go back in the same place, so if you don't have a fancy tray for all engine components like pro NHRA drag racers, at least punch some holes in some cardboard and label them! 

This is NOT going to be any kind of step-by-step series or instructional stuff, so I hope you like seeing a little of what we're working on in class. 

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