Ask the Diesel Dyke: All work and fun on Caribbean cruise

By |2018-01-16T03:27:34-05:00October 31st, 2017|Opinions|

By Lena Thomspn

So, 2007 started with such a bang, I had to skip writing this column for one month, because I’ve just been so busy!
Did ya miss me?
Well, I’m back and revving up my engine for the new year! Ready to tackle your car and truck concerns (we don’t call them “problems” LOL). So make sure to send them to me ASAP!
Before I get into the questions though, I have to share some of my experiences on the Royal Caribbean Cruise I was invited to attend Jan. 24-29. We went to Key West and Cozumel.
The Cruise was actually a lot of work for me, because I had to serve as a host for 300 auto technicians and their wives/guests. I served as an usher, ran the microphone around and was a time keeper – stuff like that. We had “activities” everyday – excursions, a formal dinner, the beach, a business meeting, the spark plug challenge. It was all good. This is the company’s way of recognizing the most highly trained technicians in the industry and having been one (from way back), I knew I could hang.
I had so much fun meeting new people from all over the U.S. There was a group of four-to-five couples I hung around, called the Dicky Doo’s. Dicky Doo is apparently the nickname for one of the husbands, or one of the wives made it up – I can’t remember. But, it all started because D, from Missouri, made us sit in the front row at the comedy show, so she’d be sure to get picked on. The comedian asked one of the husbands if he named it. Ya know. So he said “Dicky Doo” and it just stuck. It was silly. Team Dicky Doo became the name of the team for the Wacky Trike races they participated in and volleyball team, etc. It became a sort of, battle cry. I mean, what else do you do on a cruise ship, right? And being a dyke (and yes, I did come out to them), I still had a great time, dancing, joking, talking and laughing with these people. We formed a strange bond, in such a short time…
I also had a blast talking “tech” with these guys. And the wives were so grateful. One said “thank you so much for talking to my hubby, cuz when he talks to me, my eyes glaze over!” And yes, she was cute, but that’s all I am sharing of THAT story. Time for the questions…

Car sputters in rain

Dear Diesel Dyke,
I own a 2002 Subaru with over 150,000 miles. It stalls out when coming to a stop and also sputters when it’s raining. It’s a manual so I am able to keep it from dieing, but it’s a pain in the butt. What do you think it could be and will it cost me a lot of money?

Well J.W.,
On fuel injected vehicles like yours, the idle is controlled by the computer. There is an air passage in the throttle body that bypasses the throttle plate (which is closed, at idle). Air is allowed to pass into the intake by opening this hole, in small increments. The more the hole is open, the more air is allowed in, the higher the idle speed. Anyway, this part is called an idle air control (IAC) motor and when vehicles get really old like yours, they tend to get caked up with carbon and they seize up. Most likely you need a new motor. The easiest way to check it is to find the electrical connector to the motor and while your engine is idling, disconnect it. The idle should drop. If there is no change, it’s not working.
As far as your problems when it rains, you probably have the original spark plug wires, cap and rotor, on your engine. They take on moisture and leak when they get old. To check that, you can always spray water on the wires and cap and listen for changes in the engine idling. If there is a leak in the electrical wires or the cap, it will run funky. I suspect you need a good tune-up.
Unfortunately, the IAC is not cheap on your vehicle – at least $300 in parts. So, save your pennies.

Good luck!!!

Jeep fan stuck on high

Diesel Dyke,
I have a 2002 Jeep Wrangler six cylinder. Her name is Erin, and she is not only blue in color but in emotion. She has issues with her fan. It only works on high. I would like her fan to also work when low. Can you offer any words of wisdom to snap my Erin out of her blues?


Dear Q,
The high speed blower control is a direct wired from blower relay to the motor. The lower speeds are handled by the blower motor resistor.
The blower motor resistor is mounted on the bottom of the HVAC (heating ventilation air conditioning) housing on the passenger side under the instrument panel. It can be accessed for service by removing the glove box. Changing it is well within your capabilities! And the part should not be too expensive.
Good luck!

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.