Niagara Gazette

Features

June 27, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: What can be done to improve fuel mileage

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — •••

PEPPER FROM MARGATE, N.J.: Why do the throttle-valves on injected vehicles get “gummed” up and cause various operational problems? Where does this “sticky stuff” come from? Can it be prevented and, if so, how? It seems to me that this valve is upstream to where the fuel enters the cylinders, so how does the “gum” get to the throttle valve? I’ve cleaned mine and everything is okay. I’m just curious. Thanks.

TOM: The reason the throttle body gets gummed up with varnish is because fuel is injected into the air stream rushing through the throttle body above the throttle valve. The constant injection of fuel results in varnish deposits being left on the throttle valve shaft. Because of this, it’s recommended that the throttle body be cleaned on a regular basis (following suggested maintenance schedule).

•••

MARIO FROM NEW YORK CITY: My ‘98 Nissan Maxima has a new battery. However, sometimes when I start the car it drags slowly (acts like the battery is dead). When I put the car in neutral and push it forward a little bit to get it to roll, and then put it back into park, then the car will crank again and start. Is the starter going bad, or is there more to the problem?

TOM: Have the starter motor checked for excessive electrical draw while cranking. It sounds like the armature bushings are worn, which would cause this condition. When the armature bushings wear out, the armature drags in the field windings inside the starter motor. This would cause the slow dragging cranking speed you hear. A reputable starter rebuilder can confirm my suspicions. Success to you.

•••

JOE FROM DALLAS: I own a ‘99 Buick Regal with a 6-cylinder engine. I need to flush the radiator but I can’t locate the drain plug in the radiator. Can you point it out to me?

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