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Fixing Your XR
Carlisle 2000 - Emergency Showfield Repairs
Lets face it... Cars break down... Merkur's are cars... Therefore Merkur's break down. Here are a few of the problems that I have encountered with my XR, along with the solutions to some of those problems. They are listed in order of most recent first... Enjoy.
Problems and their Solutions
Here are a few problems I have run into with my latest XR since purchasing it:
["Bold"=the problem "Italics"=the symptoms "Plain"=the solution]
- "Slow" or no start condition when hot - Progressively getting worse over time... when the car has been run for a while and shut off, it is very slow to start back up. It sounds as if the battery is dead on one turn of the key, then the very next crank it will start fine. The problem progresses to the point where the car will not even crank fully when the engine is hot. Battery replacement and checking ground straps turns up nothing. - Verdict is still out on this one as of 8/19/00 at midnight... 10 out of 10 responses from the mailing lists point me to the starter as the cause of the problem, especially based on the fact that it gets worse with increased temperature... I bought a replacement from Murray's, so we'll see how it works tomorrow morning.
- RPM jumps from 3000 to 4000 with no speed increase - Getting onto the expressway I floored it in 4th gear starting from about 2000 rpm (yeah I know... low RPM to start out at) the boost came on hard, and at about 3000 rpm the tach just skipped up to about 4000 rpm... the engine raced and the car slowly caught up with speed - not normal!! Later that day it did the same thing in 3rd gear, and in 5th gear. - Clutch was slipping!!! NOOOOOOOO!! The clutch only had 8,000 miles on it!! Apparently my learning to drive a 5-speed and having a few "slips" in the process managed to do in a brand new clutch in just 6 short months. Clutch was replaced again by Cottman Transmission in Howell Michigan under warranty. I still DO NOT recommend going there... my car left with gear oil leaking from the speedometer cable again.
- Dripping lots of coolant!! - This one was just plain annoying for a few weeks. After letting the car sit for more than one day at a time (which is a rare thing) there will be a large puddle of coolant under the front of the engine with very little left in the tank. Closer inspection reveals that coolant is usually dripping off of the pulleys on the front of the engine. Driving the car would usually cure the problem. I let it go on like this for a little while because I could make it go away. - I had originally planned to just replace the water pump gasket, then I found out that a new water pump would only cost me $18 from Murrays, so I went ahead and did it. The removal and installation was fairly easy and straightforward, definitely not something that you need to have done by a shop. Be sure to get some gasket goop to seal that gasket up good though!
- BLACK SMOKE!!! Lots of it!!! - On the way to the showfield at the Carlisle show my car started blowing large clouds of black smoke whenever I hit the gas hard enough to bring boost on. Running exteremely rich was the basic diagnosis. The problem progressed to the point where it was blowing black smoke at idle by the time we got to the field. After a lot of playing under the hood, I bought a Fuel Pressure Guage and mounted it on the fuel rail (with some help from Steve Radosevich). The gauge revealed that the fuel pressure was WAAAAY to high. - The fuel pressure regulator was blown! Purchased a used one from Steve DuChene and installed it. No more running rich problem.
- High RPM bogging - Hitting the gas at over 4000 RPM doesn't make the car accelerate like it should. After 4000 RPM the car loses its pull even with full boost. - There are a few things that were discovered that were fixed: Bad TPS was one of them and was likely a large part of the cause. Later it was also found that having the VAM mounted on its side in my custom airbox setup caused the bogging problem after the TPS was changed. Mounting the VAM flat and in the correct position has cured the problem and increased fuel economy.
- Too much boost!! - Driving down Woodward, floor it to pass someone, hear a horrible squealing-buzzing sound followed by what sounds like someone setting off firecrackers in my intake manifold. The next time I hit the gas, I watch the boost guage shoot all the way up past 25. Test the wastegate acutator and discover that it doesn't hold a vacuum. - Removed a known good wastegate actuator from my parts car (TIP: Removing the turbo oil return line makes this easier, but its hard to get the line back on). Stuck the new WGA on my car... good as new (except for the part about not being able to put the oil line back on yet.
- Speedo cable fixed, leaking gear oil - After driving 200 miles the day my speedo cable was replaced, there was a nice burning smell coming from under the car. When I went to look there was gear oil dripping out all over the driveway and my exhaust system was coated in it from being sprayed while driving. - They forgot to seal it up after having to remove the speedo gear to put in the new cable. I took the car in to have it fixed, they fixed it once and it still leaked. Took the car back a second time and had to leave it for a day... It no longer leaks. DO NOT GO TO COTTMAN TRANSMISSION IN HOWELL, MI.
- No boost - While driving home from work I went to pass someone and noticed that the turbo did not get past 0 psi at high RPM - The clip holding the waste gate actuator arm in place fell off of the wastegate allowing the arm to slip off its post. Easy fix - cost $0.15 for a new clip and 5 minutes to get the arm back in place and the clip on.
- No speedometer - After getting the clutch replaced the speedometer stopped working on the drive home, it was later discovered that the gear end of the cable had snapped off in the transmission - The speedometer cable was broken off in the speedometer gear. I bought a new cable from Rapido and had it installed and for free by the trans shop that did my clutch. Took them 2 hours, but they got it in and working. Of course now the transmission is leaking all over the place...
- RPMs race, but car doesn't move - Clutch was burned up along with the pressure plate and flywheel - Replaced clutch and pressure plate, remachined flywheel at Cottman Transmission for ~$750. Done 2/12/00 - got to drive the car almost 50 miles before it needed it :P