I cannot remove the key from the ignition switch in my 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix. The battery drains completely dead overnight unless I disconnect the positive post or the negative post.
QUESTION: I cannot remove the key from the ignition switch in my 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix. The battery drains completely dead overnight unless I disconnect the positive post or the negative post. Can you confirm that I will have to remove the steering wheel and also the complete ignition assembly and replace it and the key tumbler with new ones? If possible can you give me a resource recommendation that would give me the step-by-step instructions to correct this problem? Thank you for your time in answering my questions.
ANSWER: In some cars ignition cylinder removals can be done with the removal of the lower inspection cover and the use of a small pin to release the lock pin in the key cylinder. Note the key has to be correct and the cylinder must be able to turn. As for detailed instructions for key cylinder removal, you can find step-by-step instructions at Alldata.com. You can subscribe for one year on your vehicle. You will be able to download everything that you could ever want including pictures and diagrams.
QUESTION: My wife has a 2001 Dodge Caravan that has 118,000 miles on it. Recently the transmission is making a thud sound. When slowing down abruptly, as soon as it hits 25 miles per hour you hear the thump sound and feel the van jerk slightly. I’m wondering if it’s something to do with the torque converter and how much something like this might cost me to repair. It seems that everyone these days wants to replace a transmission rather than fix it. My wife wants a newer car and we plan to give the van to my son so he can get back and forth to work when he graduates in May. So as you can see, I do need to fix it. I hope you can suggest something that will help.
ANSWER: The thud sound you hear and feel is the transmission actually downshifting into a lower gear. The transmission is electronically controlled. A check of trouble fault codes will reveal the circuit or solenoid fault. Chrysler transmissions have had their fair share of faults and failures. As I have mentioned in other columns the use of correct fluid is a must.
QUESTION: I own a 1999 Jeep Wrangler with a 4.0 six-cylinder engine and five-speed transmission. Three years ago when the outside temperature dropped to 12 degrees the engine would not idle unless I kept my foot on the gas pedal. My mechanic replaced the idle control solenoid. It worked OK until the following winter. He then replaced the part again. Last winter he cleaned it and added Never-seize in it. Now with the brutal winter over the holidays it’s acting up again. Can you help me solve this condition?
ANSWER: There are a lot idle air control motor issues with these vehicles. The design of these idle motors collects with carbon and they do fail. Sometimes removal and cleaning can bring them back to life. I never use or recommend any chemicals on these motors.
QUESTION: I am very interested in the 2011 Dodge Durango. The dealer let me test drive it for a couple of hours and I was impressed. I do have memory of the problems over the years with the Dodge transmissions and electrical systems. What do you think of the 2011 Durango?
ANSWER: I recently spent a week in a fully loaded 2011 Durango with a sticker price of $48,000. This was a fully loaded vehicle. Everything from the heated front and second-row seats, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, 506 watt audio system, steering hub controls, paint, fit and finish were perfect. The power from the 5.7 hemi was more than you would expect, flowing through a five-speed automatic transmission. The all-wheel drive made an easy commute through the snow. This Durango also had the two-speed transfer case with low range. I have to compliment the design team on this vehicle. This is not the old Durango in any way, shape or form. I parked Sunday morning in front of the health club, and two members thought the rear resembled a BMW SUV. Gas mileage average on the highway was 19-20 mpg. There is nothing I could say negative about the new 2011 Durango. Our test Durango was Inferno red and neutral interior.
Junior Damato writes regularly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360, or e-mail email@example.com.