Nuts and Bolts

After Monday’s mid-level standard job in Car Mechanic Simulator 2021, This morning I picked up one of the ‘Story Missions’. Unlike many games where you go off on a quest to collect, find, deliver or kill, CMS 2021 delivers the quest to you. It comes with a hell of a lot of ‘unknowns’ and your task is to fill in the blanks. Unlike Mission Impossible, you don’t get the ‘should you choose to accept it’ line and nor does the work chit self-destruct. Once you’ve taken the job, you just have to get on with it😅

The story line behind this particular job is that the guy has brought in his van to have it serviced. It’s been a long time since it was last checked over and he uses it every day with heavy loads but he doesn’t think there’s too much wrong with it! That’s your first clue – this is going to be a big job. At the time of opening the work chit, you will immediately be confronted with 8 pages of faults and none of them has an identified part. They’re not even itemised into sections like in the Salem we covered in the previous post. The good news is that this vehicle may be a mess, but its bodywork is fine. You can concentrate on the things that make it go 😎👍

So, what do we have? It’s a Bolt Cargo – in real life a GMC Vandura. The first task is to decide how best to approach this when there are 8 pages of faults. I think the best way is to break the task down into two areas. Engine faults and Running Gear faults. Given the information about the engine’s misbehaviour in the story presented I decided to break out the OBD Reader and Multi-meter – start with the engine. It was immediately clear that the van didn’t want to start so taking it for a test run was out of the question anyway. My initial testing showed up the items preventing the engine from starting – the fuel filter and the starter motor. I replaced both immediately because it was clear that there was much more wrong with the engine than the testers used were able to tell me. Now that it was possible to crank the engine, I used my compression tester to look for issues with the pistons, rings and crankshaft – that gave me a clear view of the scale of the engine problems!..


…I took the decision to remove the engine from the van because so much was wrong inside the crankcase and because there’s not a lot of room in the engine bay…


…The engine was placed on the stand in my workshop where I can see all round it…


…and the dismantling could begin. In my previous post I mentioned having a notepad and a coding system to allow you to keep a record of which parts needed changing. The reason for that is so that you only do what the customer needs – you aren’t doing a full engine rebuild like you might on a restoration. I usually start at the top and work down. Here we are at the valve push-rod removal stage after taking off the air filter, carburettor, head covers and the valve rockers…


…and, in the box of bits we had a good mix of things needing changing and quite a lot that we could put back too…


After pulling the cylinder heads, it was time to turn the block on its side to allow me to remove the oil-pan and oil filter before examining the pistons and crankshaft…


…Up above had been carnage – down below was no different…


…Then, after removing the pistons it was time to remove the crank pulley, water pump and brackets from the front of the block to allow access to the timing chain and gear, both of which were worn out…


…And that’s the engine dismantled, ready for rebuild with replacement parts. Now here’s the thing – while the engine is in the vehicle, I can check the work chit anytime I like to confirm that the item I just fitted has fixed the issue. But while it’s on the stand, that option is not available. I’m on my own and that’s why I have a notepad with a coded picture of what parts I need to replace with new…


..If it’s not on my pictogram, then I can use the second hand part. Now I reassemble the engine 👍

Here we are with the front rebuilt – everything on here is reused with the exception of the Alternator – top right…


…and, hidden behind the fan and crank pulley, the crankshaft, timing chain and timing gear.

Replacement pistons, crankshaft, bearing caps and rod caps…


…seen through the ghostly impression of the oil-pan that I’m about to replace.

And, finally, the reassembled engine ready to go back into the van…


This is the moment of truth and it’s good to check the engine’s info for anything that might be missing at this point…


…anything missing should show up as not having a status. You can get a rough idea of the level of new replacement items versus reused bits from this snapshot. And then, once it’s in situ, a check with the work chit should show up anything that you put in the wrong place…


…It all looks good. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of using a crib-sheet like I did to ensure that you get things in the right place – otherwise, be prepared to be swapping things about to clear the faults. You don’t want to go there!

With the engine back in the van I can turn my attention to the running gear faults and, because the engine now works, I can use the Test Track and the Test Path to identify almost all those issues. That’s why I chose to do the engine faults first 😎

I think I’ll do a post on running gear faults another time. I hope you enjoyed this insight into Engine fault finding😎👍

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