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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-11-2005, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Car question (long explanation)

Like a stereotypical girl, I don't know a LOT about cars. Unlike a stereotypical girl, I can tell when my car is making noises it shouldn't make. I drive a 1999 Ford Escort LX, with just under 40,000 miles. The oil gets changed religiously every 3 months or 3k miles.

I do not have the $$ this month to take my car in to get it looked at. Recently, the problems consist of: Check engine soon light came on (code P1506 = Idle Airspeed Control, whatever the world that means), a sound similar to a loose heat shield on the driver side (loose piece of metal vibrating and "tapping" against the car), under the car but only when stopped (foot on brake), and in drive, and there is a 90% possibility that my car needs the exhaust fixed.

The exhaust isn't a problem right now. It's not setting off car alarms as I drive by, so that can wait at least until next month. However, I'm not entirely familiar with 1) the purpose of a heat shield and how much it might cost if that is what's loose and 2) what the world the Idle Airspeed Control is, what it would cost to fix and if it has anything to do with the noise I suspect #1 is causing.

Anyone have any suggestions/advice/well wishes/prayers? Just don't tell me it's going to cost an arm, leg and my first born child to fix.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-11-2005, 01:58 PM
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Jade -- actually, the exhaust IS your biggest problem right now. You're in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. Unless you're driving with the windows down, and unless you're coockoo, I doubt you're doing that this time of your where you live.

As far as the engine light, that problem has something to do with adjusting the air/fuel mixture at idle, and as long as your car is running fine and not conking out at idle, it's not going to hurt anything serious. You can clear it by shutting the ignition off, right? And it's not on ALL the time, right? If that's the case, this can be put off.

The heat shield is just that, it shields against the heat your catalytic converter develops. You're sure that's what it is? I suppose it might fall off eventually, but I had a Ford and it's heat shield rattled and needed to be tightened, too. It's annoying, but this can be put off also unless it gets worse (or even worse, if it suddenly stops )
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-11-2005, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Well, regarding the exhaust, it sounds like there's a hole in it (gets louder as I press the gas), but I haven't had any issues with feeling lightheaded, or sleepy when driving, so I don't think I'm being poisoned (I know you can't smell it, but I'm not having symptoms).

My parent's used to have Mercury Topaz and the sound it exactly the same, however, it doesn't get louder when you press the gas (like it did with the Topaz), but rather it stops.

The light comes on when I'm driving a good distance (about 100 miles to get to my parents) but goes off within a day. =o/ I'm so bad to my car.

At this point, it looks like the exhaust is going to get fixed next month (I get paid once a month, at the end of the month, and I only get $1800/month for rent, bills, food for me, food for kitty, and kitty emergencies).

I can't wait til I get 1) a new job or 2) a permanent job here (oh, yeah, I'm temporary!).
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-11-2005, 02:35 PM
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the thing about carbon monoxide is that its effects are so insidious that by the time you realize something is wrong (if you're awake to realize it), you're really well along the road to incapacitation. and that's particularly worrisome when driving. carbon monoxide affects your ability to think clearly. it's not just physical symptoms.

that being said, if it's just a small hole somewhere that you can find, you can patch that temporarily with some ribbon epoxy. then you won't have to worry about getting the CO in the car.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-11-2005, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by timskitties
Unless you're driving with the windows down, and unless you're coockoo, I doubt you're doing that this time of your where you live.
Ha, I guess I'm coockoo then. I drive with my drivers side window half way down while I have the heat on. The heat just burns my eyes and makes it hard for me to breath. Of course I do have asthma, but I still prefer the fresh air, all year round.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-11-2005, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timskitties
the thing about carbon monoxide is that its effects are so insidious that by the time you realize something is wrong (if you're awake to realize it), you're really well along the road to incapacitation. and that's particularly worrisome when driving. carbon monoxide affects your ability to think clearly. it's not just physical symptoms.

that being said, if it's just a small hole somewhere that you can find, you can patch that temporarily with some ribbon epoxy. then you won't have to worry about getting the CO in the car.
I'll crawl under the car with a flashlight when I get off work and see if I can't find it.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-11-2005, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AddFran
Quote:
Originally Posted by timskitties
Unless you're driving with the windows down, and unless you're coockoo, I doubt you're doing that this time of your where you live.
Ha, I guess I'm coockoo then. I drive with my drivers side window half way down while I have the heat on. The heat just burns my eyes and makes it hard for me to breath. Of course I do have asthma, but I still prefer the fresh air, all year round.
HAHA I just saw this! I used to do that in my parent's old Topaz. I don't do it in my car; I just aim the hot air at my feet and I'm generally comfortable!
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-2005, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by emrldsky
Quote:
Originally Posted by timskitties
the thing about carbon monoxide is that its effects are so insidious that by the time you realize something is wrong (if you're awake to realize it), you're really well along the road to incapacitation. and that's particularly worrisome when driving. carbon monoxide affects your ability to think clearly. it's not just physical symptoms.

that being said, if it's just a small hole somewhere that you can find, you can patch that temporarily with some ribbon epoxy. then you won't have to worry about getting the CO in the car.
I'll crawl under the car with a flashlight when I get off work and see if I can't find it.
So that didn't work out well. Considering my car is pretty low to the ground, and the only jack I have came with my car (it's really dinky), I'm not able to climb underneath and get a good look. I might just take it in for an estimate. If it's around $130 or something, I can hand that. If it's less, GREAT!
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-2005, 09:20 AM
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I usually do my exhaust system work with Midas. I think they should be able to do it for that or less*. I'm sure there are places cheaper, and you know they always want to replace ALL the parts, whether they need it or not, , but at least you're in and out fast. And since the muffler is warrantied, and usually goes first, as long as you keep the same car, the next muffler is always free.

You could have them look at your heat shield while it's up. The usual fix is a strap placed around it. That's only loose change.

* that's for muffler, tailpipe, and hangers. Header pipe would increase the total.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-12-2005, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timskitties
I usually do my exhaust system work with Midas. I think they should be able to do it for that or less*. I'm sure there are places cheaper, and you know they always want to replace ALL the parts, whether they need it or not, , but at least you're in and out fast. And since the muffler is warrantied, and usually goes first, as long as you keep the same car, the next muffler is always free.

You could have them look at your heat shield while it's up. The usual fix is a strap placed around it. That's only loose change.

* that's for muffler, tailpipe, and hangers. Header pipe would increase the total.
Well, my boyfriend's car had the crosspipe "blow out" on him (i.e., as he was driving, his car got REALLY loud all of a sudden..I pulled my hoodie over my head in embarassment) and it was around $130 at CarX (I can walk to CarX in about 8 minutes from my apartment). I think they replaced almost everything (his car is about 13 years old). *shrug*

I'm assuming that since I couldn't see a HUGE GAPING HOLE somewhere, that it's probably not going to be a total replacement. If it costs too much more than that, I guess I'll call mom to borrow $$.
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