View Full Version : Sharing knowledge and experiance with youth

08-19-2010, 10:00 AM
Yesterday the kid had problems with her Jeep overheating and I had to go and rescue her. She was in the parking lot and a bunch of her friends were with her. And of course they all had their opinions of what was wrong, anything from the water pump to the thermostat.

So I started looking at the Jeep and asking questions on what happened, what the temp was and stuff like that. I checked the coolant level and checked the oil for water. Took off the radiator cap and checked for oil in the water and started up the Jeep and checked for circulation and checked the exhaust. I also checked the upper and lower hoses for heat and firmness.

After all of that I was able to verify no blown head gasket, good coolant level and proper circulation, thus ruling out water pump and thermostat. From there I put the radiator cap back on and left the Jeep running. The temp had been staying right around 185. Turned the air on the temp started to climb up around 200-210. This was when I noticited leakage around the raditor cap. Repleaced the cap with a new ($5.45) and so far it seems to have fixed the problem.

Point to this whole thing is that I was able to show the kids that you don't just take a stab in the dark, that you do sestamitic anaylizes and rule out possibilities and see what is left. The kids (other than my kid who has zero intrest in all things mechanical) were attentive and I think they learned something.


08-19-2010, 10:24 AM
I agree but disagree. The mechanics of an engine and how it operates is still the same. Sure today's electronicly controlled engines are a bit more complicated, but if you break it down to its core it still works the same way. Today's mechanics are nothing more than parts swappers depending on the computer to tell them what is wrong. A little knowledge of what is wrong and how to look for it can be very benifitul.

And I think the lesson goes much deeper than just cars. Kids need to learn to look beyond the obvious and deeper into the problem and break it down and anaylize, whether it is a car problem or a math problem. This what needs to be taught to the kids and what I think I showed them.


Jim Ledger
08-19-2010, 11:23 AM
Sometimes all you need to do is clean the plugs, set the gap, adjust the points and she'll be purrin' like a kitten.

08-19-2010, 12:11 PM
Here's a boating example that kinda proves both points of view. I was delivering a largish power cruiser to florida. Brand new, it was equipped with Cummins Zeus drives, elctronical;;y-controlled via a joystick. Also has lever controls but they are electronic as well. On the ICW , the Atlantic Ave bridge in Ft. Laud area, and the drawbridge breaks. Winds pushing me onto the bridge and .....you guessed it...no response from either set of redundant controls. Engines are running, I just cant shift or accelerate in an direction.

HMMM, says I. Its a computer. Maybe it needs a reboot. So, shut em down, run below decks, power off the engine ECU breaker, count five, turn back on adn rush to the helm. fire-off both engines and backed and pivioted away in the nick of time.

I'm not patting my own back. Just saying that not knowing how to reprogram a , nor having the expertise to power down the ECUs at the engines, was usurped by my traditional knowledge that everything electric goes through the panel. All I had to do was find the right breaker.

So I think your both right.


08-19-2010, 04:32 PM
Well done, both of you. Chad, your daughter may remember this some day when she needs to do it herself. Breakaway, my first thought is "be sure it's turned on, then check that it's plugged in!"

08-19-2010, 05:31 PM
I've made it a point to try to include my son in all sorts of repair/rebuild/construction jobs around here. Gave him a chance to repair our soffett, install soffett vents, and paint the entire house recently and he did an excellent job. Yes, I did pay him for the work.

Keith Wilson
08-19-2010, 06:18 PM
Excellent! Y> Let's hope those kids remember some of the logic of diagnosing problems.

Unfortunately, in today's cars, the likelyhood of a very traditional failure (defective radiator cap) takes a back seat to failures which are not only impossible for even a mechanically inclined owner to diagnose and fix, but even difficult or impossible for an independent mechanic to fix.I vehemently disagree. Failures of this kind are not only rarer, they mostly announce themselves and provide their own diagnoses, at least if you have a scanner. I have done almost all the work on my own cars for many years now, with the exception of jobs that are unpleasant and cheap to farm out (oil changes), and ones that go much easier with a lift (in-tank fuel pump with a full tank; they never fail when the tank is empty). With very rare exceptions, the things I've had to fix are all "traditional" failures: water pump, alternator, leaking radiator, wheel bearings, plugs, belts, hoses, intake manifold gasket, brakes. There was one sensor failure, diagnosed by the trouble code and easy to fix, and I had to clean out the EGR valve once. Despite all the fancy electronics, the same things that always went wrong with cars still go wrong.

08-19-2010, 09:17 PM
Well spotted Chad. One thing you have that the youngsters dont have is experience. The alert/interested ones amongst her friends will have gained some thanks to you.

I agree with Norman, The electronic componentry in today's cars easily exceeds the mechanical stuff in its complexity.

Solving those types of issues needs a much more modern skilset than shade tree mechanics like myself can usually come up with without internet research.

PS. Today's youngsters have no trouble using a spellchecker for example.;)