ask DangerNerd



read advice get advice make favorite read feedback advicenators



Reason is my language.
If you want to avoid the point, simply take offense. -Intuit


I came here to answer computer questions. (This used to say "...and nothing more.")


What I meant was, I don't know how much help I would be with other things... NOT that I would be upset if you asked a non computer question!


No matter the subject, Ask Away! (I'll do my best.)


DangerNerd.


I am not a doctor, lawyer, etc. All opinions expressed are my own, and are for entertainment purposes only. Use at your own risk. ;-)


'non passus sum stultus ubi spīritusum valeō'


(Thanks for the Latin, Fern!)

Website: Advicenators.com
E-mail: dangernerd@gmail.com
Gender: Male
Location: Montana
Occupation: Computer Technician
Age: 36
ICQ: Skype.com
AIM: Skype.com
Yahoo: Skype.com
MSN: Skype.com
Member Since: March 28, 2005
Answers: 2295
Last Update: October 14, 2014
Visitors: 164822

Main Categories:
Computers
Internet & Web Design
Cars
View All

Favorite Columnists
solidadvice4teens
Razhie
NinjaNeer
Matt
ellekaay
AdviceMistress
ammo
K3587
sizzlinmandolin
AlienHumanologist
russianspy1234
more...

Is it possible to get a rental car with 100$ in NYC? (link)
Hi there,

Enterprise:

http://www.enterprise.com/car_rental/deeplinkmap.do?bid=1131&

... has a car for under $100. With taxes it is still under $100.

I have used them for many years at locations all over the country, and have only had one bad experience in all those years.

Have a lovely trip!

P.S. I know you want to rent a car... but if you are staying in/around the city the whole time, you are better off taking taxis. The traffic can be intimidating and there are places you do not want to get lost, for your own safety. You also will not believe what it costs to park the car. Parking can cost more than the rental if you make many stops in private lots in the same day.


Every time I try to look up cars on ebay I end up on ebay motors with every accessory ever made for the cars I want to find and I have to search through pages and pages until I give up. Is there some way you can see JUST the cars and not all the other stuff related to them? Please and thank you! (link)
Hi there,

There is a simple way to see only the cars on the motors side of eBay:

Search for whatever vehicle you want, just type the name in, nothing special to narrow things down. Then look on the left side and you will see a menu of categories. Select "Cars & Trucks" and it will only show you vehicles.

Example:

Search for volvo 544:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/6000/i.html?_nkw=volvo+544&_dmpt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&_rdc=2

... currently 6,472 items.

Select "Cars & Trucks" and:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/Cars-Trucks-/6001/i.html?_nkw=volvo+544&_vxp=mtr

... currently 1 result.

Mission accomplished. :-)

Happy baying at the E!


So, recently I have decided to try changing my own oil and do some other things on my own car. Because I am a woman it made me think that I get coupons for groceries and all kinds of other things so do car places like the Advance down the street from me ever do coupons or something? I looked in the paper where I get my regular coupons and didn't find anything car-like in there but maybe they put them someplace else? (link)
Hi there,

Yes, there are some places that list everything you asked for as well as rebates for the place down the road from you:

http://www.retailmenot.com/view/advanceautoparts.com

http://www.coupons.com/coupon-codes/advance-auto-parts/

http://www.goodsearch.com/advance-auto-parts/coupons

... and if you look around a little more you will find more places that you normally shop that are listed there.

I use these places regularly. Have fun getting your hands dirty! :-)


Are there other sites or ways to check road conditions? Is there anyone to call about specific routes? The site I know about is down right now and with the weather the way it is, I don't want to risk it without knowing what I am getting into! Thanks, and stay warm! (link)
Hi there,

I have had the same problem where I live, and the solution to finding out the latest road conditions without a website is so simple you are going to kick yourself when I tell you. :-)

As far as I know, all states have a 511 number you can call to get an update. *511, if I recall. If you don't get anything for your area, do what they did for years before the internet, and call the places the info comes from.

Where does that highway info come from? Mostly law enforcement... So if you are travelling in the same county you just call your sheriff, and if you are travelling to a neighboring county, then you can call them both. If you are going further than that, you should call your state police/highway patrol and ask them what they know.

They really don't mind taking your call if you were worried about that. They would much rather tell you where the ice is, than have to see you after an accident, right?

I looked, and found that not only does Iowa have 511 service, they also have a dedicated toll free hotline to check conditions:

1-800-288-1047

If you have a smart phone, they also have apps for Android:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.transcore.android.iowadot

... and iPhone:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iowa-511/id528047799

Please stay safe this winter, and may you always know what you are driving into before you get there. :-)


so I feel I am electronically inclined individual so I put and ad up to install keyless start. Then read your advise some hours later and didn't know about air bag blowing or any other dangers do your have any advice or product rec? (link)
Hi there,

Well, the first thing I would suggest is getting yourself insured and bonded in the amount of the most expensive vehicle you intend to work on, and then some.

If you forget a fuse someplace, for example, you can burn a vehicle to the ground. Where you have a remote start, this is extra important since there isn't someone in the car that would smell that something was getting hot. Just one of the many things to consider.

Dealing with the various security schemes in newer vehicles is going to drive you out of your mind, by the way. If you don't like a challenge, don't start doing this.

You may want to be very selective of the cars you take on. I would suggest that you look up the model on-line and search for remote install questions related to it. You will find some models where there are many posts in forums declaring the madness they have gotten themselves into. When you find one of those, tell the customer no, and tell them why you said no. Beyond that, suggest they take it only to the most reputable place they can... a place you suggest.

Trust me, always have a quality place to refer them to. There are many customers you will not want to do this for. Example: One lady has dogs that go everywhere with her... and you cannot fathom the smell of the carpet I would have had to lay on for several hours.

As for products, well, make sure the systems you offer do everything the customer wants, because you do NOT want to have to add anything else in the mix later, if you can avoid it.

If they want a remote start, and an alarm, then offer them one unit that does both jobs.

If you are just starting out, it is tempting to try and sell an inexpensive unit, but I am telling you now that going with a no-name remote starter is a seriously bad idea. There will come a time that you will need support, and when that time comes you are going to want the person's car running again as soon as possible.

If I were you, this is what I would do: I would sell the install, not the unit.

Unless you buy in quantity, you will have to gouge the customer to make anything on it, and that is a bad idea.

Crutchfield isn't the cheapest place to buy things, but the prices aren't far over normal market either. They offer good support, and they know what works and what doesn't. Since they support everything they sell at no additional cost, they have a tendency to sell only the things that work the best, hence needing the least support.

I would guide the customer through picking out a unit, then make sure you include any security bypass widgets they tell you you are going to need. When it comes, you do the install for whatever set fee you agreed to.

When you do your first of these, set aside enough time to get it done. Whatever time you think you can do it in... double that, add an hour and tell the customer you will call them then. Some you will have done in an hour, some you will work on for two days.

Other suggestions:

Buy dielectric gel, and use it when crimping your connections. Some people use vaseline, which I don't suggest unless it is an emergency. This will keep your connections from oxidizing. You don't want a call in the dead of winter to come out and wiggle the wiring harness so their car will start. ;-)

Newer cars have the airbag wires sheathed in a yellow harness. Don't touch it. Don't move it, don't pull on it, don't try and shove something behind it, don't loop and wires around it, try not to pass any wires especially close to it. I can't overstate this... leave it alone.

Here is something that I never hear anyone talk about before it is too late: More and more vehicles are coming with 120VAC outlets in them from the factory. These are powered by an inverter which may, or may not be under the hood.

If you probe one of these while live, especially while you will be in direct contact with various grounding points, and you may well die. So, when you are doing the initial inspection look for outlets, and be all the more cautious if you find one or more of them.

Speaking of initial inspections... I almost forgot: Do one.

Make sure every electrically switched thing in this car works before you touch one wire, because anything that doesn't work when it leaves will be your fault... even if they knew about it when they brought it in. Some people are just bad that way, and they will extort you into fixing things you did not break.

Protect yourself. This WILL happen to you if you do enough of these, and fail to inspect and notify the customer of what you find before you start.

Buy a good crimper. The flat-handled combo wire stripper, crimper, cutter, etc. is a really bad idea for any number of reasons: Awkward to use, the handles will make your hands so sore you won't even believe it and they don't fit into places you want to do a crimp under a dashboard.

Directed Electronics has a helpful resource for people who bought their DIY alarm and remote starter combo package:

http://support.directed.com/LearningCenter/DIY.aspx

... which covers many things I would have placed in here. Instead, I added here only the things that I felt either they had left out, or that applied to your specific situation.

I hope all of this helps you avoid mistakes made by myself and others over the years, and if you have any further questions, please ask.

May I suggest you create an account here? Sometimes I may be on the road and it will be a while before I respond to you (days, sometimes weeks) and if you have an account, you will get an e-mail when I answer you.

Don't let all this scare you off. ;-)

Oh, I thought of something else: If your car doesn't have one, you should purchase one and install it there first. It will let you see what you are getting into before you involve a customer. It also lets you demonstrate the cool features to someone who is on the fence about buying one.

If your car came with one, then find a family member or friend and offer to install one for free for the practice. If they know how handy you are, they will be happy to have you do it.

Your first one will take longer that you think, the ones you think will be easy, won't, and the ones that terrify you will be some of the easiest installs once you get into them.

Ok, now I am done. :-)

All the best,

DN.


I have a 2007 Kia Sportage and I just got a new CD. I tried to put it in and it won't go in because it feels as if there are 2 bars (an inch on both sides) blocking it. I have a CD Radio installed (it came with the car). I tried doing stuff with the fuses and all of that and I don't want to buy a new or used system. Do you know how I can get the CD in or get those bars out?

Thanks (link)
Hi there,

This is a known problem. It is likely that there is a CD stuck in the player unit already.

The nice people over at Kia Forums:

http://www.kia-forums.com/kia-cerato-shuma-spectra-forum/46483-stuck-cd-cd-player.html

... have addressed the known ways to handle this.

Hope your problem is an easy fix!


I have my learner permit. I was driving my friend car. I hit the car in front of me. I am 18 year old. and my friend is 21 years old. who take the responsibility for the car's damage? thanks (link)
Unless there is something you left out, then whoever was driving the car that caused the accident, in this case you, is typically responsible for paying the damages.


Thank you for your alternator advice. It looks like mine was a battery problem even though it was showing 12 volts when charged.

Would you have any advice on checking for battery drain by shorts in the system? Ammeter in series from the battery when everything is turned off? What ammeter range would you start with?

Thanks. Paul Tatarewicz (link)
Howdy Paul,

The first answer depends on if you have help or not. If you have help, you can place the ammeter in line with the positive terminal, and have someone under the hood watch the meter.

After that, you can access the fuse panel, and remove each fuse, and ask if there is a change. Take note of any fuse circuits that are drawing current, and see if they should be. Your radio draws for storing settings, and some cars computers are always on. Your alarm system is another one which is always on.

If you find something that shouldn't be drawing power, then you know where to start looking.

Most cars now have inside and outside fuse panels. You can check the ones under the hood by yourself this way, and then use the next method I am going to describe to check the interior fuses if you don't have help.

If you have no help, then pull each fuse, one at a time, and place the probes in line with the contacts where you took the fuse out. Any draw on that circuit will be shown this way.

Be careful not to jam the probes in the contacts. You want the fuse to make firm contact again when you are done, so spreading the contacts is a bad idea. Just use enough pressure to make good contact, and you should be fine.

As to which setting to use: The highest one your meter offers. If the draw is enough to prematurely drain your battery, it should show just fine.

Let me know how you make out with all this.

DN.

P.S. Just for future reference, I had an internally shorted (mineral buildup) battery show 12 volts, and discharge over a short time. Went just about nuts trying to figure it out back then. You said it was a battery problem, so I am assuming you changed the battery. If you haven't, then that would be something to check if you don't find anything odd in your electrical system.


What's the simplest way to to test a car alternator (12 volt system)? Type of testing instrument needed and range calibration?

Gauge in van is stuck, doesn't move during charge or discharge. Battery seems ok when externally charged.

Alternator may have been damaged by antifreeze "flooding" due to insecure radiator cap. (link)
Well, the easiest way to do this is to take the van to the nearest parts store or garage. Most parts places have a test rig that tests alternator output under load as well as battery condition. If you are nearby such a place, just fully charge the battery and drive there during the daylight (so you don't have to use the lights.) Please also remember not to use any electrical items you don't have to. Radio, A/C, blower motor, and anything else you don't absolutely need, should be left off while you are taking care of this.

As far as testing it at home, the fastest way would be to set your multimeter to DC and the appropriate range (if your meter isn't auto-ranging, that is.)

Before you start the vehicle, place the multi-meter leads on your battery terminals and see what the voltage is, without a charger connected.

Then start the vehicle, and go out and repeat the measurement you just did. At the very least, your voltage should have climbed substantially. Most vehicles these days seem to charge between 13.8-14.4 VDC.

If you aren't seeing that, then it is time to replace your alternator, or voltage regulator, if it isn't built into the alternator already.

Your local parts store will be able to tell you if the voltage regulator is internal or external to the alternator, if you don't already know.

While you are at it, I would get an aftermarket ammeter and voltmeter for your van, if you are fairly handy and feel it wouldn't be much of a challenge to install. This way you can always see your charge state and alternator output voltage at a glance.

Hope the repairs go easy for you.


I want to buy new or used RVs, can anyone suggest me dealer or any other help (link)
Hi there,

Please consider RVTrader.com:

http://www.rvtrader.com/

... and NationalMultiList.com:

http://www.nationalmultilist.com/

... as the two big sites for finding used RVs.

Here is a tip from someone who has been there: Take the RV to an independent mechanic BEFORE you buy it! Everything costs an arm and a leg on an RV, so make sure you aren't buying someone else's problem.



I need know if i can fit a oil pan from 95 neon on my 2000 neon (link)
Hi there,

I looked it up and found different part numbers for the years you asked about, so it doesn't look like the part will swap between a 1995 and 2000 Dodge Neon.

Sorry about that.

On the high side, though, it is a fairly inexpensive oil pan, as these things go.

Good luck with the repairs.


1) How do you change the rear wheel bearings on a Mercedes W124 E280 1994? Can you provide step by step instructions?
2) Is it really difficult without special tools?
3) How long might it take per wheel? (link)
Hi there,

If this was a front wheel drive vehicle, it might be worth your time to try and do this by yourself, but even then you would be working with the brakes as well, which I wouldn't suggest to a beginning mechanic. As this is a rear wheel drive or all wheel drive model of Mercedes car, depending on sub-model designation, I wouldn't even think about doing it yourself.

There are brake tools you are going to need, as well as the possibility of needing to rebuild the rear-end. Now, that isn't likely, but if the bearing has been bad enough, long enough, it may have damaged the internals of the rear drive line.

You aren't likely to know enough to tell if this is the case, judging by the things you asked here.

Please take it in and get the work done by someone with a little experience working on RWD Mercedes cars.

I mean no disrespect, and I admire your passion to DIY but this wouldn't be the project I would start with, unless this is something that isn't a daily driver. That way if you screw things up, it can sit in the garage for weeks or months until you have the money to fix what you break. ;-) Even then, where safety systems like ABS are involved, I would have the work inspected by a certified mechanic before I took it out on the road.

Good luck!


How do I start a coulem
(link)
Hi there,

I looked, and couldn't find any reference to the word "coulem."

Could you please take a little more time to explain what it is that you are after, so we can help you better?

Thank you,

DN.


I have a 2004 Chevy Ventura mini van. It dies a lot usually when driving but sometimes when ideling. I had a local mechanic check it once when it wouldn't start and he found it was getting no spark. He replaced the electronic ignition module and the crankshaft sensor but this did not fix the problem. He checked an air flow sensor and determined that was not the problem. It usually starts after 5 to 40 attempt to restart, except once it didn't start for two hours. The Chevy Dealership can find nothing wrong with it. It has a new battery. It has about 100,000 miles. Today it died five times in twenty minutes. Please help me. Thank you. (link)
Hi there,

My friend, I am sorry to tell you that you have a vehicle that is legendary for problems like what you are describing. In fact, it is so famous for this this that I can't believe the dealer didn't help you. The only thing I can think is that the mechanic was new there. :-(

The reason that these things are such a beast to get taken care of is that they are prone to several problems; all of which have very similar symptoms.

First things first. If there is another dealership within driving range, I would take it to them, and ask to speak to the senior mechanic. Ask him if he has experience with the legendary runs/dies starts/dies problem these have. If he says no, then I guess I would start calling independent mechanics and asking the same question until you strike gold.

One of the single most hateful things that can be wrong is the intermittent failure of the PASSlock security system that GM uses. You know that chip in the key routine? Well, when it fails it causes problems that are hard to diagnose since it rarely shows a diagnostic code. So the mechanic hooks up to the computer, and it is showing that nothing is wrong... even though you and I both know there is an issue no matter WHAT the computer says.

The problem is so severe that a genius by the name of Luke Lambruschini built a module that bypasses the entire system. The only problem is that the 2004 Venture uses a different system which he doesn't have a kit for. If it turns out to be that this is indeed part of your problem, then you might write to him and ask him if it would be possible for him to design one for you and all the other people stuck with this problem.

Here is a link to his site:

http://newrockies.com/


My understanding is that the security failure will not cause it to die while you are driving, but could cause the repeated inability to start it.

So, what could be causing the death while driving situation? Here are the things that spring to mind:

1) Fuel pressure regulator. (Have the rest of the fuel system checked while you are at it.)

2) I know you had someone check the mass airflow sensor, but I had one on a Pontiac that was intermittent. Sometimes it would work fine and not show as a failed part... and other times it would be just like you describe.

3) TPM/TPS (throttle position sensor)

4) IAC valve (Idle air control)

5) The ECM and BCM (body control module) talk to each other. If the signal is interrupted all kinds of NOT fun things can happen.

6) Camshaft position sensor (You mentioned the crank sensor had been changed, so this is another logical step since they both feed the same computer the data it needs to decide when to allow ignition to work.)

I am sure there are other items I am unaware of, but you have a lot of company in this situation so I would like to point the way to some of your new friends:

There is a Yahoo group for owners(victims?) of Chevy Venture or Lumina and Pontiac Montana or Transport mini vans:

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/chevyventureluminapontiacmontanatransport/

... posting there will let you hear other people's experiences with this as well.

If you would like to have a look at what else is on the internet already about this frightfully common problem:

only search advicenators.com


You will quickly see you aren't alone. Pages and pages of people having issues similar to your own.

Good luck!

P.S. If you wouldn't mind, would you please tell me, in feedback, which part(s) were actually causing your particular problem? Just so I know for the future when someone asks again. Thank you.


what is INR 29300.00 in dollars
(link)
Here is a link to the answer for now, and all other times you will have questions like this:

http://www.xe.com/

... Very reliable currency converter, in my experience.


The IP Brake light comes on when I get above 35 MPH on my 92 GMC truck. Have all new brakes, & full pedal, stops good. (link)
Hi there,

Just for reference, and so they don't laugh when you take it in, that is the ((!P))Brake light. :-)

This could be any number of things, but the last one I saw was a wheel sensor (for the anti-lock brakes) malfunctioning.

If you need to replace that wheel hub assembly, have a look at eBay... I found one for my car which was American made and cost one THIRD what my parts store wanted.

The company I bought from was Dearborn Rack and Axle, if I recall correctly.

Good luck!


So I got really sick this year during the month before the last month of school and I wound up missing 16 days of school. My doctor actually called the school and alerted them of what had happened. Nobody said anything when I went back to school after missing 16 days so I figured I was fine. Then during the summer I got my last report card in the mail and it said I had 16 unexcused absences.

I called the school and the only lady that was still there told me that I was labeled a "truant" and that I wouldn't be able to get my license!

I told her what happened but she said she didn't have the rights to change it because she was only a librarian and not an attendance worker and that seeing as it was so far in the future now that I probably wouldn't be able to get it changed anyways and that the only way it would be removed is if I attended school next year for 30 days in a row without missing any days.

The problem is I really wanted to be able to take my written test in the next few weeks and to be able to get my permit at least but now I'm wondering if the person at the DMV is going to check my attendance and then see that they labeled me a Truant and not allow me to get it.

So will they check my attendance when I go to take my written test?
(link)
This would vary by state, I am sure.

If you have a medical excuse, then there should be no problem. Even if they do check your attendance, just bring a note from your doctor excusing your absence, and all should go well for you.

You can also call the DMV and ask the testing division this question. They will tell you right away just what you can expect, so that you don't have to worry about it when you go in there.

One thing to consider: If you didn't finish your driver's ed, you mat not have all the skills you need. If you feel like this may be the case, then please consider driving school to pick up what you may have missed.

The most important thing here is your permanent school transcript. Make sure you have written documentation from your doctor, which you can present to the office when you return to school.

Your transcript can ALWAYS be amended if you talk to the right person.

Good luck.


I turn on ac in car but get no air movement from vents (blown fuse ),bad fan motor ? thanx for any help Sonny (link)
Hi there,

Both of these are possible, and both are easy to check. First, set the controls to heat. If you turn the fan on and it works, then it is not the blower motor. Replace the fuse for the AC, and check the AC relay (in the box under the hood) and see what happens.

Other things that you should look into if that doesn't solve your issue:

Bad AC switch in the dash.

Intermittent wiring somewhere between the AC switch and the AC control electronics, if any.

In a 2003 there may be a dedicated climate control computer. If so, the problems can get more complicated to diagnose. Just remember: Simple things first, and when things start to get scary... get some help with it.

Good luck, and I hope it is a cheap fix.


shut up you do not know how it feels to have a cycel
bicth (link)
LOL! What? No really, what?

I know you didn't mean to send this to me, but the user you wrote doesn't allow annonymous users to contact them... golly, I wonder why?

Thanks for the laugh.


my car keeps dying. Sometimes it dyes when I am at a stop light or sign. I don't know what the problem is. Can you help me? (link)
Hi there,

There really are too many possible causes to diagnose remotely. Even if we were able to tell you what it was, do you feel you are able to change the parts yourself?

If you are mechanically inclined, please respond with more detail, and I will do my best to help.

If you aren't a mechanic at all, then the best bet is to take it into your local garage, or contact a friend you may have who happens to be handy with cars... a shade-tree mechanic, if you will.

Either way, I wish you only the best with this problem.




read advice get advice make favorite read feedback advicenators

<<< Previous Advice Column
Next Advice Column >>>
humorist-workshop
eXTReMe Tracker