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 itπŸ˜…

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 πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘

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!..

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…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…

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

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…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…

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…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…

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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…

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

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…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…

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…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…

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

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

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

Replacement pistons, crankshaft, bearing caps and rod caps…

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…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…

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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…

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…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…

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…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 findingπŸ˜ŽπŸ‘

It’s been a while since I talked about Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 and a while since I played. So long, in fact that I couldn’t recall where I had got to with my existing job! Having uploaded the game to my new pc while I was feeling unwell last week, I started a new game save and set off on the journey once again. When you’re not well and need something relaxing to do, this game is a good choice because it keeps the brain active without imparting any ‘speed’ stress on the player. You do need to have your wits about you but there is no rush so you can think things through to find a solution to whatever the current car’s ailments are. I did 2 ‘Nuts and Bolts’ posts on gameplay back in September last year and if you were considering playing the game, then I’d recommend giving them a read. In this post I’m going to take a look at a mid-level repair job.

The vehicle involved is a Ford Focus 4×4 – one of the RS series. In game, this is called a Salem GW500. Here it is…

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…And here is the work chit…

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…There are a lot of things that need doing – replace all filters speaks for itself and the customer has listed some items for replacement in the timing section. But, in all the other sections you’re on a voyage of discovery. I’ve deliberately highlighted the ‘Tapping Sounds’ section so you can see that we only know one item at this stage and that’s purely because it also shows up in the timing section. Any ‘Sounds’ or ‘Noises’ sections on a work chit invariably mean a diligent search for the cause – sometimes a very long search as some of the possible culprits may not be immediately apparent!

Lets get started and use the OBD reader to see what that tells us…

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…This can be very informative and immediately gives us one probable answer for not being able to start the car…

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…The Engine Control Unit has died. That ignition coil is also bad enough to prevent starting! Moving on and continuing the pre-work investigation with the good old multi-meter…

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…Still an excellent tool – used one lots at work and while doing Ham Radio😎 Here’s what it found…

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…Another 2 showstoppers when trying to start the car πŸ™„

At this point I could have replaced those 4 items and then run a compression test to check the pistons, etc. But the reported lack of engine power and the ‘noises’ already have me suspicious that I’m going to find issues inside the crankcase after I drain the oil to change the filter. So instead, I moved the car to the lifter and began the physical work. Here’s the view after I’d drained the oil and removed the oil pan…

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…On the upper left, the alternator is unwell and top centre, the Oil Filter needs changing – both as expected from the work chit and testing. Inside the crankcase we can see that the Crankshaft is not in a good condition and it will need changing. If you look closely, you’ll see one of the Crankshaft Bearing Cap’s (below and to the right of the blue oil filter) is also in bad condition – that is our first culprit for tapping noises in the engine bay! We’ll undo all of the bearing caps and the rod caps that hold the pistons in place then lower the car because we need to continue our work from above – we can’t remove the crankshaft until we’ve removed the pistons and that means removing the cylinder head. Fortunately, the work we have to do to remove the timing items ready for replacement will go much of the way to reaching that goal. Here’s the situation after removing the covers above the camshafts…

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…I have already removed the camshaft caps from the left camshaft – two of them were worn, one affecting performance and the other ‘tapping’. The camshaft itself is worn and needs to be changed. The right hand camshaft is fine but the closest camshaft cap is worn and in this case, is another of our general engine repair culprits along with the left hand camshaft. There are other things to note in this image – The timing gears and chain connecting the two camshafts are all worn and joined the queue of items to be changed. On the right, just visible beside the engine, is the faulty turbocharger – a culprit for lack of engine power. Then, in the foreground, we have the air filter box. The cover is fine but we already know that we need to change the filter inside. The key thing to notice here is the mottling on the plastic to the left – that is part of the air filter housing base and it’s a reason for the lack of power too as the filtered air flows through that to get into the engine! On the centre left side of the engine is the intake manifold – nothing wrong with that but hiding below are the fuel injectors and two of those were faulty as well. Some boy-racer has been thrashing this car! After all that work, here’s some of my collection of parts lying on the workbench…

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…The coloured bars indicate their relative health. Now we can pull the pistons and, no surprise, one of them has worn rings! The pile of parts gets ever bigger…

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…On the bottom right is the Water Pump that we knew was faulty all along but was one of the later items to get removed and in the middle line are the fuel injectors. Now it’s time to go back down below and remove the gearbox, clutch and flywheel so that we can finally pull the crankshaft. I found that the clutch release and pressure plate were both worn too although the owner hadn’t complained of gear-shifting issues.

Time to get the replacement parts – Here’s the shopping list…

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As you can imagine, all those items cost a lot of money – you need to make sure you have plenty of cash in your account. Reassembling the engine is a calm and steady process although making sure you put the new items in the correct location to replace the removed faulty items is important. For example, if I put the new crankshaft bearing cap at the fan belt end rather than the flywheel end of the block, the game will not see it as fixed! I suggest creating a form of notation you can use as a reminder on a notepad. Once I had completed the rebuild it was time to review the work chit to make sure I hadn’t missed anything…

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…All the areas are greyed out and, with the ‘tapping’ section selected you can see the green ticks on all the parts that were guilty of contributing to the noise the customer was experiencing. Other things to note are the credits on the top right – 15540. That means I spent Cr2808 on parts for this job. Then on the centre-left note that I will be getting a 25% bonus to my payment because of the complexity of this job. Time to finish off by restoring the oil to the engine and refilling the cooling system…

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And that’s it – Job done. Time to check on my XP level’s…

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…A quick look on the top right corner and there’s my credits after payment – 23203. That means I made Cr4855 profit on this job πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘

I hope you enjoyed joining me for a simulated car repair session πŸ˜…πŸ‘

More about gameplay in the 2021 edition of Car Mechanic Simulator. Lets start with fluids. Previously, the only fluid represented in the game was Oil. If you forgot to drain it before taking off the Oil Pan or the Oil Filter, then you had a spillage and had to pay a clean up fee. For newcomers to the game, the Oil Drain tool can be found next to the computer terminal…

…In CMS 2021 this has been expanded to include coolant, hydraulic fluids for power-steering and brakes, and washer fluid. There is a tool provided in the tools menu to drain these systems.

During testing I confirmed that if you accidentally remove the washer bottle without emptying it, you get the fine and the same applies for the water pump and dumping coolant on the floor. I’m not sure that it’s working for the steering pump, but if you don’t want a 50cr fine then I’d advise caution with all items that would have fluids in them. As there are no hoses implemented in the game, you’re ok to change brake callipers without draining the brake fluid.

As you play and obtain the skills to repair items, you will learn that some items can’t be repaired. Nothing with lower that 15% condition, for example. But there are also a lot of classes of item that you can’t fix anyway. Lights and windows in the bodywork area are one example. Wheel bearings, shock absorbers and tie bars for the chassis are another. A number of engine parts like pistons, push rods and rocker arms are also non-repairable. No exhaust parts can be repaired So when buying a car to rebuild you need to deduct the replacement cost of these items from your possible profit. One of the improvements in the 2021 edition of the game is giving control of the repair to the player with a simple ‘stop the pointer in the green’ minigame accessed from the workbench once you have one…

…It sure beats the RNG system it replaces πŸ™‚ Another improvement is a tool to re-skim brake discs if they’re over 15%…

…That saves buying quite a few new discs πŸ™‚

Lets go visit a barn and see what that’s all about πŸ™‚ Barn’s are one of the rewards you can receive for climbing the experience ladder and for the jobs you complete. They are delivered in cases with other rewards, here’s an example…

…Cases used to give you three items, a mix of car parts and the occasional barn map. Now you get 5 cards and can choose 2 – they give a mix of Barn maps, XP, credits and scrap (and sometimes another case). This means you no longer get a load of car parts that you might never use – definitely an improvement πŸ™‚ Barns are accessed from the top right corner of the main map and cost 100CR to get to.

Here’s what you might see when you enter a barn…

…Previously, barns were different sizes and might have 1, 2 or 3 cars present. Now they all seem to have 3 cars but unique layouts. The car on the left is an Edgewood Wildcat (Oldsmobile Cutlass)…

…and it’s a good example of a car that is overpriced…

…All of the cars in this barn were overpriced, so I didn’t buy any of them. However, there are parts to be found in barns too. As long as you remember which parts you can’t repair and the simple 15% and over rule, you can pick up some useful bits by checking the various collections of boxes and cupboards around the barn…

…Here’s an example of what might be available…

…And here’s what I left with…

…There’s always a case hidden in there somewhere too πŸ˜‰

I visited 2 more barns yesterday and bought 3 cars. Lets take a quick look at how I choose. Firstly, price is important…

…and that bought us a nice example of a ’65 Chevy Impala…

…Looks good but will need a lot of work! You can form a judgement on the amount of work by using examine mode. This will show the condition of most parts that are still fitted in the car…

…Of course, it can only show parts that are still there and usually many parts are missing πŸ˜‰ This is a Katagiri Tamago (Honda Civic). I came back with that car too and from that final barn I also bought an FMW Panther (BMW 3 series)…

…All at a good discount compared to their value πŸ™‚

That’s the joy of Barn visits – you never know what you’ll find. As long as you stick to the rules of car price checks and part condition, you should maximise your profits. The same process can be applied when visiting the Junkyard – the only difference is that you will be buying wrecks that will need a lot more work and new parts to complete the rebuild!

Hope that’s given more of an insight into Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 gameplay and some of the improvements over its predecessor πŸ™‚