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Getting Your Vehicle Inspected Before A De ver Colorado Mountain Road Trip

Good morning. I’m Saul Reisman here at Saul’s Automotive, and today, we’re going to talk a little bit about inspecting your vehicle before you go on a trip.

Sometimes, owners will come in last minute wanting to get their vehicle checked out before they go out and hit the road. We truly appreciate that sentiment, as you want to ensure your safety and reliability on the road, and as the technicians supporting your vehicle, we have the same goals in mind.

In the case of In the case of this 1991 Dodge Stealth Twin Turbo, the owners came in and asked simply to do a pre-check before heading out on a road trip that would take them several weeks across several states. Upon our inspection, we found a few things out of the ordinary, some minor suspension concerns, a few odd leaks, nothing too scary. We did, however, find a little bit of a coolant leak coming through the water pump of the vehicle, and before going on any road trip, that’s definitely a concern that needs to be addressed.

Upon our inspection further into the vehicle, we found a stamp mark that indicates that the timing belt and water pump had recently been replaced. There’s no information filled out on it, so we can’t see what shop had previously done this repair, and at this point, externally, we weren’t quite sure why they would have left their mark blank. However, once we investigated into the vehicle and we began the tear down into the engine, we removed the covers over the timing belt drive, and we were able to see that the brand new water pump that the owner of the vehicle claimed they had just had installed recently had some small issues, and by small issues, some small bolts that weren’t there and were loose and were in some of the wrong places. It literally looked like it may have been put together by whoever had the bag of bolts last.

When we removed this water pump from the vehicle, on the back of the pump’s surface, where it mounts to the engine, we can actually see moisture where coolant was coming out through the corner right here on the bolts. Both these lower bolts were so loose in the vehicle, the bolt’s head were actually backed out about an inch off of the engine, and due to the harmonic vibrations of the engine, were slowly rotating further out. In this case, this water pump is driven by the timing belt, and the timing belt rests right across this surface, so as these bolts were backing out, they were pushing the timing belt off the engine. Had the timing belt slipped, this engine would have catastrophically failed, valves hit pistons, and quite literally, this car would be totaled. It would not be financially worth repairing.

But, because they brought it in to get it checked out ahead of time, we were able to catch this leak, investigate the problem, and solve them a potential engine failure, even though their local mechanic claimed this had already been replaced and addressed. Now, not only do they have a claim with their regular Joe that they’ve been seeing, but they can rest assured that Saul’s Automotive got their vehicle back together, on the road safely, and that they can have a reliable drive across the country. If you have any concerns about your vehicle before hitting the road, please feel free to give us a shout or stop on in for a free road trip inspection at any time, whether it be your regular daily driver or something like this, your 25-year-old ultra-high performance sedan. We can service all of them. Thank you.

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About the Author

Picture of Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman has been helping the residents of the Centennial State with their automotive needs for over ten years now. He finished his Associate Degree in Physics at the Community College of Denver. Saul is an active member of the Specialty Equipment Market Association and a board member of the Young Executives Network. He undergoes constant educational training through GMC, MOPAR, Ford, Snap-On, Borg-Warner, and Ozark Automotive, with an emphasis on diagnosis, repair, and improvement.

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