We have seen a large number of Toyotas with this slow forming cancer with potentially catastrophic results. Take a look at the pic below… Where’s Waldo


There he is!
This 2002 Tacoma was the most recent case of this phenomena.
The vehicle came in with the performance complaint of no power and heavy exhaust smell. A quick scan brought up trouble codes for oxygen sensors and fuel control near limits. Idle was slightly rough but acceptable.  The exhaust smelled rich which could be expected. Scan data ruled out plugged exhaust but showed that the computer was loosing a battle constantly trying to lean out a runaway mixture.

Having seen this many times before I decided to inspect the lower timing cover for signs od coolant leakage or residue near the lower timing cover while pressurizing the radiator. This is the area where coolant makes its way out of the timing cover when the water pump leaks. This one looked clean. We detached the upper timing cover to examine the synchronization of the camshafts and crankshaft and what we saw confirmed our suspicion that the timing belt had skipped four teeth on one cam ans two on the other. Now, I should say that we see what we call “jumped time” often and that by itself does not a phenomenon make. However deeper behind the mid and lower covers lied the automotive equivalent of kidney stones or perhaps an artery jamming clot of cholesterol. The infamous Waldo in this case was an ever so slow coolant leak. Too slow to leave a mark on the garage floor, too slow to show up as anything more alarming than a quart top off at each oil change, and too slow to cause an overheat. These water pumps can leak so slow that the hot coolant that leaks out instantly evaporates on the hot engine surface insulated by the timing cover. When the moisture evaporates the residue left behind accumulates and forms shale like stones that eventually beak off of the surface and fall into the cogs and sprockets below forcing enough stretch in the timing belt to disengage the teeth and skip enough teeth to cause the whole problem. If the timing belt breaks or enough teeth are jumped at a high enough engine speed the motor will be destroyed.

We can check this with a special snake spy camera that can view this area without having to disassemble the entire timing cover.


Calling All Gearheads…

Posted: November 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

We’re piston deep into a 2006 Subaru Legacy Sedan 2.5i.
It needs a right side cylinder head. The head removed has a casting number of T25.
We have found rebuildable candidates with casting #s B25 V25 and Z25. We know that the differences equate to combustion cc’s and valve diameters but can’t find a data source to determine interchange or comparability.

Let us know if you have some helpful info. We will shower you with goodies and services!

Click here to nominate a person/familyNominate Someone In Need to Win Up to $500 in Needed Repairs

Finn Mototech and NAPA are teaming up together to help someone deserving with needed care repair or maintenance. Offer includes necessary parts and labor up to $500.00 value in needed (safety) repairs or maintenance.

Come in to Finn Mototech to fill out a nomination form or see our website to nominate someone.

Image  —  Posted: November 10, 2013 in Uncategorized
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J2534 Flash Reprogramming

Posted: October 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

Well this post won’t be interesting to most of our visitors but after some of the trials by fire we have experienced,  karma tells me that we had better share the lessons learned.

Neighbors bought a used instrument cluster for theie 2001 Ford F150. They installed it, rhen came to us for programming because it wouldn’t start. The computer in the cluster didnt share the same immobilizer code so the truck wouldn’t start and diag equipment wouldn’t communicate.  They had to reinstall the old cluster so that the flash process could access the network collect the stores VIN, mileage, and other pareters, and then install the used cluster to continue.

Once in, the next problem was that they only had a single key for the truck. The flash process requires that 2 keys be programmed in to complete the job and have the truck actually start.

Lessons learned:

1. Most reprogramming procedures have a prompt in mid process to replace a module. The process wants you to start with the old part still in line.

2. Always make sure in advance that all chipped keys that need to start the car are with you before you begin. Ford requires that a minimum of 2 keys be programmed for some passive antitheft PATS replacement procedures.

Regarding Ford’s 2 key requirement… Beware of aftermarket clone keys. They look different and will not be recognized by the vehicle as a separate key because the RFID is a mere dupe of the first key. Sometimes needing 2 keys means more than just 2 keys.

Cheers and happy flashing!

This car is a good illustration of one of the many ways that timing belts fail.


As you can see, visual inspection wouldn’t have tipped anyone off that failure was coming!

It wasn’t until recently that I truely experienced a particular engine’s absolute need for synthetic oil. Sure I have read the articles about the Volkswagon 1.8L turbo and the sludge-induced death of similar engines as early as 15,000 miles. I had even pulled off many a sludged up valve covers in my days as a tech. But when I experienced an automobile that spat and sputtered and ran like crap on conventional oil until it had the exact weight and synthetic blend of oil, it was a shocking first.

Not too long ago, a frequent and friendly customer of ours came in. We always enjoy this particular customer’s visits because she keeps us on our toes as a witty and arnry, older lady. She has sworn to us on multiple occasions that an appropriate oil change schedule/frequency should involve something about the moons/starts position in a calendar year or some other scheme that I can’t quite remember. She insisted that the manufacturer recommended frequencies were a market result of the car-makers being “in cahoots” with the oil cartels. We have known her long enough now that there is no use trying to convince her of the scientific principles behind the expectations of your engine oil’s practical lifespan lest we become lumped in with the cartels and loose her favor forever.

The fact is, the automotive industry has gotten better. I know its hard to believe with all of the recent memories of runaway Prius Hybrids and bankrupt big guys in Detroit but it has. We are making better engines with tighter and more accurate tolerances and we are able to produce engine oils that can be certified to contribute minimal amounts to particulate emissions. This is why we are running thinner oils and sometimes expecting them to be replaced only once a year. 5,000 7,000 and 12,000 mile oil change intervals are becoming commonplace. No the truth is not setting us free, the technology and science is getting better.  However, don’t expect a new variable valve timing Ford engine to accept the 15W40 summer oil of yesteryear or you’ll be stuck mid intersection in your brand new ride.

Vehicle MD – A Driver’s Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Car.

Finn Moto’s Detail-Detox!!!! A completely friendly chemical product that kills practically everything… Even Anthrax!

Environmentally friendly and biodegradable
Practically non-toxic (EPA Category 4 toxicity, i.e. less toxic than toothpaste!)

Incredibly powerful. Has been proven effective in many laboratory tests against some of the nastiest organisms, spores, and fungi.

Finn is the only shop in Colorado, that currently has access to this chemical for use in disinfection, decontamination, and restoration of your ride’s interior fabric, cloth, and carpeted surfaces.  Not only can we reverse the aging of your door panels, seats, headliner, and carpets back three shades cleaner, but we can mist and recirc the HVAC thoroughly killing the stench-causing crud that can threaten your health.

Drivers wreck once a decade; are you ready to crash?.

Great article!

I remember when I first bought my 2009 Tacoma how surprised I was to see not only the roll side curtain airbags but it actually had a deactivation switch for them. As it turns out, while most of these safety enhancements are becoming standard equipment, we also have to be able to prevent the computer from anticipating a vehicle roll when we’re off playing on the trail. The Tacoma had a nice placard above the visor and a deactivation switch on the knee panel. I would hate to be the guy who forgot to deactivate and then was surprised at full tilt on the trail… Yikes

Many of you have been to our service counter and felt the compulsion to pick up our Napa logo magic 8 ball to get a sample of its fortune and wisdom. Unfortunately, much like its cousin (Mr. fortune cookie) it lacks a bit in the area of accurate fortune telling. However, as promotional swag, it is likely to tell you an interesting fact about your shocks and struts.

During the months of September and October, Napa will be offering a great discount and campaign around some of the best name brands in shocks and struts. Did you know that the average lifespan of your shocks/struts is between 50,000 and 75,000 miles? If your in or past that range, you may be inclined to save money and just accept the reduced ride quality but before you’re convinced the “sauce aint worth the scratch”, you should know that your shocks/struts are one of the largest factors in safe braking and stopping distance in general. We’ve all felt the rumble of washboards on a dirt road, heck, even I270 westbound tries to toss my rear end around even at ten miles under the limit! Well, shocks and struts contribute to the stability of your ride and help to prevent the spin outs and frightening ditch dives that can be the result of our upcoming weather change.

Be proactive and stop in for an inspection.

About the campaign…

(On the Radio)
Listen for more information about the offer on the Bob & Tom show
Sirius & XM’s NFL Radio will be highlighting the deal

(Baseball Fans)
Catch details durring game-breaks on CBS Sports

About.com always has relevant Napa articles and will feature the offer

Look out for the promotional paint schemes on the number 56 Toyota car driven by Martin Truex Jr in the NASCAR sprint cup series
The Dodge Charger funny car driven by Ron Capps in the NHRA Full Throttle series will also be sporting the deal

The trend that just wont go away. I remember an old timer named Ed who I worked with about a decade ago. Ed was a long time Dodge/Chrysler mechanic and it showed. While that may paint a picture of the humpback of Notre Dame Ed was (and still is) pretty spry. Ed used to complain about weird noise symptoms and running quirks that Dodge Caravans, Chrysler Town & Countrys and Plymouth Voyagers (all the same game, different name) would have and were always tough to pinpoint and verify. The bucking, jerking, banging, and sometimes rattling symptoms were always caused by a broken flexplate. The main impulse absorbing, thin tensile disc that couples an engine to the torque converter of an automatic transmission. But now, its nice to see, fast forward about a decade and change, that they are still common failures and gremlin sources for the newer models.

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To paint the picture for you, the inner bolt circle is what bolts up to the engine crankshaft. The outer bolt circle is what bolts up to (on the opposite side) to the torque converter. When test driving this van, it would accelerate normally off of the line and shift fine all the way through the gears. However, if you really ‘got on it’ you would feel a jerk, hesitation, and of course set a myriad of trouble codes in the computer. The codes would suggest a problem with the camshaft position sensor. Just imagine how many unnecessary cam sensors Autozone sold off of these failures! In reality, the cam sensor position was in conflict with where the computer ‘thought’ the crankshaft was simply because the crankshaft exciter ring mounts to the edge of the flexplate. At any moment, depending on where the outer portion of the flexplate had landed after popping loose and then binding up again, the vehicle would still drive forward, but the computer was being lied to by the crank position sensor. In the end, nothing ate my flexplate, but it was pretty chewed up.