Q: Hi, Larry. My aunt from Peabody recommended you. I live in New Hampshire, but work in the North Shore three days a week. I have a question, and I'm wondering if you have come across this before? Three dealerships now have failed to diagnose problem. Since last year, it has happened at least five times. The truck will just shut off while driving, no warning — 70 mph, 40 mph and at idle. The only common denominator was it was very cold night before, but started right up first thing. Then the problem starts about 10-15 minutes into driving. Dealer finds no codes, they have replaced fuel pump twice, no luck. They even asked me next time it happens don't try and start and have it towed in, which I did. By the time I get there, it starts and no codes. I'm thinking of buying a scanner and plug it in while I’m driving, so that when it happens next time maybe I'll see a code. Is this wise? Thanks, Brian
A: I would be taking a hard look at the under hood fuse and relay compartment. As the vehicle warms open, the points in the relay for fuel and computer is losing its magnetism, and you are left with this problem. If you tap the relay with the engine running and the truck stops, you have nailed the problem. You can also tug and pull on wire harnesses with the truck running and if you can make the truck stall like that, you now have found the area of a wire harness break.
Q: I am having a problem with my 2006 f350 Ford Truck with a 6.0 diesel engine. When I start the engine first thing in the morning, I get billows of white smoke coming out the tailpipe. After five minutes or so, the smoke cuts down and the truck runs fine. I do want to say, I have had to add about a half-gallon of antifreeze in the past week. I wonder if I may have a blown head gasket. I can most likely take the engine apart and fix whatever problem it is, I just need a path to go. Are there any definitive tests I can do to be 100% sure?
A: Most likely the problem is caused by the EGR cooler. This problem has haunted the six liter diesel engine of Ford once they get up around 200,000 miles. It’s a very labor intensive job, and no real special tools are needed. In a professional shop, the suggested labor for that job is 12 hours plus parts. That’s working under ideal conditions. So, if you decide to do this in your driveway, figure on all day Saturday and Sunday. It is very important to put all new O-rings in the proper position. While changing the EGR cooler, replace the oil cooler, and of course by all means, you want to flush the cooling system and change the oil and filter.
Car Care Tip: Back up cameras have become just about standard equipment on most of today’s cars, and will be mandated on future cars. You can add a backup camera to any car, regardless of its age. Check with your local shop for approximate cost of install.
Submit car questions to email@example.com. For more tips and seasonal articles, visit Rte. 1 Auto Service’s Facebook page at facebook.com/Rte-1-Auto-Service, or the shop’s website at rte1autoservice.com. You can hear Larry and his son Scott on WBZ’s NightSide.