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Learning from bad judgement in auto diagnostics

Tuesday, January 1, 2019 - 09:00
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The SRXs

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This family has two Caddy SRX rides, a 2005 and a 2008. The 2005 came awhile back needing front shocks (the front would bounce up and down for about seven seconds on a sudden stop) and with transmission concerns — erratic shifting, and when we checked the transmission oil it looked like brake fluid, dark and strange — so we did a full fluid exchange, then followed up by yanking the pan, replacing the filter, and adding the necessary quarts for that, and those shifting problems were gone. We also popped a set of front struts on there to handle that bouncing issue.

This was the leaky lower radiator hose we discovered while investigating the high-pressure cutout switch on the Cadillac. I’ve seen more of these clamps breaking this way over the past couple of years than in the previous twenty combined.

The 2008 SRX belongs to the parents of the lady who drives the 2005 model, and she showed me a nasty clunking noise under the front end while driving around the parking lot and over small bumps as well as an inoperative A/C concern.

This steering rack leak and the pricey high-pressure cutout switch, when added together, drove the estimate high enough that the owners decided it was time to trade the Cadillac in and let somebody else deal with the problems.

We didn’t see anything that was loose or needed replacing on the front end, but we did apply some heavy torque to the control arm bolts (we got a full turn on each bolt) and the clunking was gone.

As for the A/C problem, the registers were almost always hot, but sometimes they’d be nice and cool. There was plenty of good clean juice in the pipes, but no compressor operation, and our testing (scan tools and schematics) led us to the high-pressure transducer, which is very pricey and mounted just inboard of the driver’s front wheel well.

Well, while we were there, we also noticed a leaking lower radiator hose due to a rusty and cracked spring clamp (this one lives up north with the salt) and we also discovered a nasty power steering leak at the driver’s end of the steering rack.  When I priced out all the repairs, rather than giving the go-ahead, this lady called her husband and they agreed together that this vehicle needed to belong to somebody else; she decided her folks needed to trade it in without making any repairs, but we did replace that broken spring clamp with a nice stainless-steel Gates screw clamp. All in all, it was a good day, I guess. 

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