The car runs (mostly) better than ever. The new harmonic balancer
works, and it seems there's no damage to the valves after all (just
had the head gaskets replaced for kicks; this is my "learning" car).
The Seafoam actually cleaned up the engine really well; the mechanic
that replaced the gaskets (while I watched, yay) was quite amazed at
how...shiny the internals were, though I did have to also get a new
gasket on the exhaust reclamation (EGR?) valve. I guess the carbon
buildup was all that was left.
But now: why would the PS fluid foam up? Why also would the PS whine
like our old 83 Ford Ranger? I've tried to bleed the system (jacked
up front of car, turned wheel to lock either side 30 times, slowly and
quickly, and added fluid). Doesn't whine unless wheel is turned.
Does the car use regular PS fluid, or AT fluid? Maybe I should do
another power steering flush?
Seafoam is an anti-carbon additive: you can put it in your gas tank
(to maintain injectors/pump, kinda like Techron), directly into your
crankcase to "dry out" oil, like HEAT, or (my favorite) directly into
the engine to remove buildup. For my car (since it's an automatic), I
pour it directly into the powerbrake vacuum line; pouring it in there
pulls it directly into the engine, and makes it puff smoke out of the
tailpipe. The first time I did it, the smoke that it made was a
really dark brown (supposedly, that's the gunk it's cleaning out).
The second time I did it (hence the "double"), the smoke was lighter,
almost bluish (like burning oil, makes sense since it's a petroleum
product), but still brown. After "Seafoaming", you take the car for a
spirited drive and watch as it smokes up the whole neighborhood.
Also, after Seafoaming, you'll have to change the oil, especially on
old cars, because a bunch of buildup will drop into it.
I used the Seafoam right after changing my oil, and had to change it
immediately thereafter because it turned the oil a pitch black. The
good news is it gave my car a TON of power, and also smoothed out the
idle a great deal. I was afraid the Seafoam had done something to my
car; the bottle itself warns about doing it on cars with more than
100,000 miles because removing the buildup can also remove what's left
of seals and gaskets. There have been a couple of stories of people
using the Seafoam and immediately starting to burn oil, or blowing a
head gasket altogether. But Seafoam isn't going to completely smash
my harmonic balancer, so the two were probably mostly unrelated (I
Actually, I've had code 41 for a LONG time. At first it was
intermittent, then it became constant. I've replaced the sensor and
the wires themselves to no avail, and have just come up with the
conclusion that the magnet itself is completely gone. The shop I took
the car to flat-out refused to replace the timing chain, and said that
it would cost a bit to replace the damned $2 magnet. I'm tempted to
turn the engine over manually and epoxy one in there...I saw a guide
for it floating around the intertubes awhile back. I didn't think it
would be anywhere NEAR $1k to replace the magnet, especially since
it's right there on the big timing chain sprocket. Since they weren't
actually going to replace the chain, they never opened up the area.
Any advice you guys have on this would be nice, too :)
Oh, and no dealers or shops locally (Two GM/Pontiac/Buick dealers, two
Shuck's, one Autozone and one NAPA) sell the cam position interrupter/
magnet, and I can't find one online. I'm probably searching for the
wrong thing, and don't want to pay $50 (!) to have one ordered.
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