Some of you may remember my car posts last year about this time. Actually it was on Thanksgiving day when it happened... wow.
Anyhow, long story short.
Fall of '16 we bought a car. I should say my wife bought a car, but I shouldn't have let her. It's a Sebring with what i didn't know at the time was the dreaded 2.7liter engine. It's infamous, and if I'd spent 2 minutes researching I would have known to run away from it instead of letting her get it.
The day we got it home it was leaking antifreeze. I'm no super mechanic these days, but started working on engines on the farm when I was in grade school. It's not hard to tell what antifreeze is. Called the dealer (shady guy buying cars from the local auction and selling them immediately.) and after trying to blame us, he "replaced the radiator". Then when I talked to him, he told me that it wasn't the radiator, but that it was the green stuff that's in the air conditioner coolant. Either way it was "fixed".
Within a couple of weeks we were traveling for Thanksgiving. The first trip of over 30 miles we'd put on it. It overheated going down the hwy and blew up by the time we got pulled over and stopped. It ended up basically getting the top half of the motor rebuilt.
I'm putting things together in my head and thinking, radiator leak + overheating = stop leak. I couldn't prove it, but I guarantee that the "dealer" dumped some stop leak in it and it clogged something up to cause the overheat. The mechanic claimed he didn't find anything faulty other than the water pump had some wiggle in the pulley which leads me to think it was stop leak even more.
When he's testing it, he thinks the heater core might be plugged because the heater isn't blowing hot air. He flushed it, etc, but it didn't improve. It hadn't been cold when we bought it, so we don't know if the heater was working before hand or not. We crippled through the winter with it last year, but as it's getting cold I'm reminded of it.
I've been testing and such and decided it must be the hot air blend door. There are 3 identical actuators in the climate control. 1 for recirculate, 1 for vent selection, and 1 for temperature. Nothing I found really identified which one did what. So I crawled under the dash and started pulling them out to see what they were attached to. Of course, the first 2 were the incorrect ones. While not HARD to remove, they were still a PITA. I looked everywhere and could not find the third one. I started looking for shop manuals, etc and asking on here.
Finally after not being able to find the 3rd actuator, I'd decided I was going to just buy an online manual. I googled, and low and behold I found this site. http://workshop-manuals.com/ it's free and seems to be legit manuals. It turns out the actuator I needed was on the driver's side of the console and had enough room I could get to it with my screw gun. It would have taken 15 minutes if I'd had this illustration to begin with. It turns out the actuator was definitely not moving the door it needed to. I pulled it apart, cleaned it up, lubed it and it's working!
I'm angry, yet relieved that it's not actually the heater core. I guess writing this out is my therapy helping me vent the frustration.
Moral of the story is just spend the $20 on the used manual on ebay. I easily spent enough hours with this that the manual would have averaged out to a 2-3 bucks an hour. I'd gladly have spent that to have my time back.
But, before you buy the manual, check out this guys site.http://workshop-manuals.com/ it's a bare bones, black and white page that looks like it's from 1998, but it has the materials for free!
Now I'm off to solve some other great world mystery!
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