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Nissan GTR R35 Bellhousing Repair

GT-R R35 Bellhousing Highline Car Care Mesa AZ

Bellhousing failure is an all too common issue with the R35 Nissan GT-R.  It first manifests itself as a faint rattle at idle, but will eventually become an unavoidable clanking sound that reverberates in your head and sucks the pleasure right out of your Sunday drive.  Let’s take a look at what exactly the bellhousing is, what it does, how it fails, and how the folks at Highline have made them more durable:

First off, the R35 GT-R is an all wheel drive vehicle with the transmission located at the rear of the vehicle (as if you didn’t already know!)  That being said, a simple bellhousing is mated to the rear of the engine in lieu of the contemporary transmission placement. The bellhousing is an aluminum housing with a shaft running through the middle.  This shaft is connected to a damper at the engine end that bolts to the engine flywheel – It looks like a sprung hub clutch disc at a quick glance.

GTR Bellhousing Center Shaft with Bearings Highline Car Care Mesa AZ

Center Shaft Assembly with Support Bearings

 

 

The other end of the shaft bolts to the driveshaft which travels rearward to the transmission/transaxle.  The shaft is supported by two small bearings inside the bellhousing, and herein lies the problem….  This shaft is subject to 500+ horsepower, and well over 6,000 RPM’s at times.  The resulting torque will cause the bearings (made of steel) to wallow out the aluminum bellhousing over time.  The bearings will eventually float freely from the housing, and the clanking sound is caused by the bearings (and shaft) rattling around.  Believe it or not, Nissan has YET to devise a cure for this.  Even a brand new $1600 Nissan OEM bellhousing may only last a handful of launches.  This is where Highline stepped in with their expertise.

A Modified Bellhousing that is Cheaper AND Stronger than OEM – Only at Highline Car Care

GTR Bellhousing Repair Highline Car Care Mesa AZ

A Bellhousing being milled for new sleeves at Highline

If you’ve followed our blog, you might already know that Wes (Our Owner) picked up a 2010 GT-R project a while back.  It had the “rattle” from the very beginning, which progressively got louder.  It eventually got loud enough to sap the joy out of driving and a solution was to be devised!  In typical Wes fashion, he did not rest until the matter was resolved.  The bellhousing was removed from the car – The Nissan labor guide calls for removal of the entire engine to replace this item.  However, we are able to remove it by supporting the engine and lowering the subframe.  Much less invasive, and quicker!

Once the bellhousing was removed and disassembled, we devised a fix.  Replacement bearings were ordered, and the bellhousing itself would need to be repaired so that the new bearings would not come loose.

The “Highline” Bellhousing is bored out and fitted with steel sleeves that have been retained by set screws

The Highline bellhousing uses precision milled steel sleeves and only high quality replacement bearings to ensure trouble free operation.  Nothing is 100% bulletproof, but we have yet to see one of ours fail.  That’s saying a lot,

considering Nissan hasn’t been able to solve the problem in 10+ years.  Give us a call or shoot us a message today if you’d like to have your bellhousing replaced – The experts are standing by

 

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Uber & Lyft Vehicle Safety Inspection in Mesa AZ

Since 2010 our Phoenix clients have been returning to Highline Car Care for quick, consistent, and convenient service.  We always have your best interests at heart, and always promise to install only top quality parts.  We service small families and large businesses alike.  But did you know about our inspection services?  We offer complimentary 20 and 35 point digital safety inspections with every visit.   We also offer comprehensive vehicle pre-purchase inspections for only $104.97.  One of our newest inspection services came in response to a growing demand for Uber and Lyft vehicle inspections.

Uber & Lyft Vehicle Inspections

If you’re reading this, the chances are pretty good you need an inspection.  Both Uber and Lyft require annual vehicle safety inspections, and will not allow you to transport passengers without it.  Fret not, we are here to help!  The experts at Highline can get you in and out with a quick Uber/Lyft safety inspection AND offer 10% off additional maintenance and repair(ask for details).  Our Uber and Lyft certified inspection is only $41.99 plus tax, and will take less than an hour.  Give us a call or shoot us a message today!

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We are conveniently located just south of the US60 and West of Mesa Drive – Next door to La Mesa RV and across the street from the Courthouse and DMV and open Monday thru Friday

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BMW Repair Service in Mesa AZ

Lexus Navigation Repair in Mesa, AZ

Lexus Navigation Unit Screen Repair and Replacement

Highline Car Care has over 20 years of experience maintaining and repairing Japanese vehicles.  Over the years we have tried our best to stay on the cutting edge of technology to best service our customers.  Toyota and Lexus vehicles are some of the most reliable vehicles on the road, and rarely have common issues.  However, since 2006 we have noticed a disturbing trend.  Lexus IS250, IS350, GS430, GS350, ES350, and even the LS430 and LX470 have some very common flaws, most notably being Navigation Unit failure

Lexus Touch Screen Does Not Work

The first and most common issue we have found is that the Lexus touch screen digitizer will stop functioning.  In this case the screen will light up as usual, but it will not respond to your touch.  Take a breathe and be patient – If you keep poking that screen you may crack it and possibly cut yourself!  This common issue is caused by a ribbon failure causing loss of electrical contact between the digitizer and the rest of the navigation unit.  The navigation unit is simply unable to tell you are trying to push that AC button.  The major downside to this failure is that you will completely lose usage of the climate control functions – Your car will simply stay on the last entered setting (Hopefully it’s set somewhere bearable).

Have no fear though, because the experts at Highline Car Care have devised a solution.  We have the ability to replace your digitizer with a brand new OE quality unit.  Some cheaper companies will claim to repair your digitizer.  This is a band aid fix.  Their “repair” involves disassembling the unit, scraping the electrical solder joints with a razor blade, applying a circuit pen cold solder, and then patching up with a piece of electrical tape.  I don’t know about you, but that seems like a pretty janky fix for that nice Lexus of yours…   Anyhow back to OUR repair – We will disassemble and replace your defective digitizer and offer a 12-month warranty on this repair.

Lexus Touch Screen Cracked

We’ve all been there.  We’re driving down the road and the map tells us to turn the wrong direction.  You end up going the wrong way down a one way street, swerve to miss a car, and hop the curb stopping 4 feet shy of the local hot dog cart.  And before your better judgement has time to catch up, your fist has gone half way through your navigation screen.  It’s OK, the folks at Highline can fix this.  Well, the broken screen anyhow.  The anger management issues may take some counseling.

In most cases when the screen has been cracked, we simply replace the digitizer as noted above.  But if the impact was severe enough, you may damage your LCD screen as well.  In this case, we will replace both the digitizer and LCD screen.  We are able to repair cracked screens on just about any factory Toyota or Lexus unit.  Give us a call!  We promise not to ask too many questions…

 

Lexus navigation touch screen display repair in Phoenix and Mesa, AZ

Lexus Touch Screen Black, Blank, Does not Turn on

One of the more difficult failures to diagnose and repair is a black screen.  Simply stated – The screen does not turn on.  We have spent hours and hours diagnosing these units, and have been able to identify the cure for 90% of the units.  In most cases, the main circuit board has failed and your navigation unit fails to power up.  This leaves you in a similar position as the first two failures, with no access to the climate control.  Hopefully the heat wasn’t left on in the middle of the summer!

We do stock the correct circuit board to repair the Lexus IS units, and are able to special order a couple others.  As we have stated, this repair is not effective 100% of the time.  This is a trial and error repair on our end.  We do however, have the technology to confirm functionality before returning the unit to you.  Check out the video below of a recent IS250 main circuit board repair.  We are able to bench test each unit to confirm proper repair.  This is a big deal because if you ship your $4,000 navigation unit to some cell phone repair shop, they are not going to be able to confirm they have properly repaired your unit before shipping it back to you.

Visit Highline Car Care

If you are not local, have no fear!  Ship us your navigation unit IN A SECURE, PADDED BOX with at least $2,000 insurance.  The last thing you want to do is buy a new unit after UPS lost or damaged yours.  We will repair in a very timely manner and ship back the same speed you shipped it to us.

Our shop is located in the Phoenix metro area, more specifically Mesa Arizona. We have a full-service maintenance and repair facility, Lexus navigation repairs are just one of our many specialties. We are capable of doing the whole job for you or just repairing a navigation unit that you have removed yourself. Get your touch-screen navigation working again, schedule an appointment at Highline Car Care today!

Common Toyota Camry Maintenance & Repairs

If you’re reading this, chances are good you own a Toyota Camry and you already know how awesome it is. The Camry is one of America’s all-time best selling sedans, and one of the most reliable vehicles ever made. As with any machine, it will require maintenance, and occasionally a mechanical repair. We’ve put together a very thorough maintenance schedule to keep your Toyota safe and reliable, so let’s talk about some of the needs that are more specific to your 2002 or newer Toyota Camry.

A Valve Cover Gasket Leak

The engine valve cover is located on the very top of your engine, and covers the camshaft and upper engine components. It is most easily located by finding the engine oil cap, which screws into the valve cover. If you drive a 4-cylinder you will have one valve cover; if you drive a V6 you will have two. The valve cover has a rubber gasket that seals it to the cylinder head, and this gasket will leak over time. When the gasket starts to leak, oil will run down the top of your engine, and in many cases down onto your exhaust manifold. When the oil reaches this very hot exhaust manifold, it will smoke. If you are noticing a burnt smell when parking your Camry in the garage after a long trip, you might have a leaking valve cover.

What does it cost to replace the valve cover gasket on a Toyota Camry? While shops will vary slightly, you might expect to pay $150-$175 to replace the gasket on your 4-cylinder and $400-$450 to replace the gaskets on your V6.

Replacing Your Timing Chain Tensioner

If you drive a 2002 or newer Toyota Camry 4-cylinder, the chances are good that you may eventually need to replace the timing chain tensioner and/or tensioner gasket. The tensioner is located on the rear of your engine, and is a bit tricky to reach. It is sealed with a rubber O-ring that will dry up over time, and eventually leak oil down the backside of your engine. This will not cause your tensioner to fail, but can make a pretty nice mess in your garage.

Toyota Camry timing chain tensioner and/or gasket replacement will cost you anywhere from $125 to $200.

A Failed Alternator

Many years ago (maybe 2004-2005), Toyota decided to reengineer their alternator. They added a clutch in the alternator pulley that engages and disengages as needed. This means that when your battery is fully charged, the alternator can disengage and thus cause less draw on your engine, resulting in better fuel economy.

This system works pretty well in theory, but we have seen these alternators fail prematurely and with no heads up. You might be headed to work one morning, sipping your Starbucks (or Dutch Brothers if you’re like me), and BAM! Your battery light and brake light illuminate on the dash.

Side note, these two lights illuminating simultaneously nearly ALWAYS mean your alternator is not functioning properly. Turn off your radio, air conditioning and lights (if safe to do so) and find a safe place to park very quickly. When your alternator stops charging, your car will run off of the battery for a short period of time (1-10 miles). Your car will eventually die once the battery’s reserves are depleted.

What does it cost to replace the alternator on a Toyota Camry? It will vary based on your engine size, but you might expect $375-$575 as a ballpark.

Power Steering Rack & Pinion, Power Steering Pump, Power Steering Hoses

There are several common failures to be found in the Toyota Camry power steering. First is the rack & pinion (or steering gear). This steering gear is responsible for translating your input on the steering wheel to both of the front tires – it is constantly working to keep your vehicle pointed the direction you want to go. It is powered by your power steering pump. The power steering pump sends pressurized fluid through lines and hoses which assist your rack & pinion to help you steer your 3600 lb vehicle nearly effortlessly.

There are three types of power steering lines/hoses: a power steering feed hose (or suction hose), a high-pressure hose (pressurized hose from the pump to steering gear) and a return hose (used fluid, returning from the steering gear and to the pump to be reused). When any one of these items wear out, you will have a power steering leak. This leak is most often noticed by a whining noise under your hood, and also sometimes by a jerky steering wheel.

If you didn’t notice the puddle of power steering fluid on your garage floor and your power steering begins to whine, pop the hood and check the fluid level. You don’t want to run out of power steering fluid as it can damage the pump, and also make your vehicle very difficult to steer.

What does it cost to repair the power steering system on a Toyota Camry? This is a very open-ended question, which depends on which item has failed. For an exact price, we recommend you stop by and let us take a quick peek.

Your Cylinder Head Bolts Failed

This issue is not quite as common, but is definitely worth mentioning if you drive a 4-cylinder 2AZ-FE Camry. Your cylinder block is made of aluminum which is a fairly soft material (compared to steel). You have 12 bolts that hold your cylinder head to the cylinder block, and are under extreme pressure. In some situations, these bolts can pull the threads right out of your cylinder block. This is BAD, as these bolts are holding the top part of your engine (cylinder head) to the lower part of your engine (cylinder block).

The first sign these bolts have failed is a massive oil leak. If you catch it soon enough, your engine is likely repairable. At Highline Car Care, we have invested in the tools to repair your cylinder block and make it stronger than new. We will remove your cylinder head and enlarge the 12 bolt holes. We then insert 12 hardened time-serts into your cylinder block that have new threads for your bolts to lock into. This process is not cheap, but it beats the alternative – replacing your engine.

You might expect to pay $1,600-$2,200 to have your 2AZ-FE cylinder block repaired.

Rattle From Your Strut Mounting Plates

Your Camry has a very nice riding suspension, and can normally cushion you from potholes, speed bumps and the like. But on some occasions, the strut mounting plates (or strut mounts) will fail. You’ll notice a failed strut mount by its telltale rattle that is heard when riding down a choppy road.

In beginning stages, a failed strut mount is not much more than an audible nuisance, but it will eventually become a safety concern. Your strut mount holds your struts to the body of your car via a rubber cushion. This cushion will crack and fail over time, and in a severe situation will allow your strut to separate from your vehicle. You don’t want your strut to separate from your vehicle – trust me.

Try to schedule a time to have your car looked at if you suspect the strut mounts are failing. Your mechanic will most likely recommend replacing your struts at the same time, as there is no additional labor to do so. Prices can vary, depending on the condition of your suspension. But remember, this is a pretty labor intensive job and will likely cost you $500 or more.

And lastly, make sure to ask for an alignment at the same time. Any time your suspension is worked on, parts will get shifted around, and your alignment will need to be dialed back in.

These are just a few common issues I have encountered over the years. Some of them may seem pretty extreme, but remember you are driving one of America’s most reliable vehicles. Yes, it will need some attention from time to time, but with a little love it WILL live to see 200,000 or more miles.

Auto AC Basics – Quick Guide to Your Car’s Air Conditioning

Automotive AC Service and Repair Basics

It’s summertime here in the valley, and your cars air conditioning has been working overtime for several months now.  If we haven’t heard from you yet, chances are pretty good your AC is doing an OK job.  But let’s talk about the question everyone likes to ask once August rolls around here in Mesa AZ – Does my auto AC need service?  It’s easy for your car’s air conditioner to keep up when it’s below 100 degrees out, but what happens when the thermometer or even the hygrometer (Google this fancy word!) maxes out?

First off, let’s go over some basic terminology so we can better explain how your AC functions. There are five key components to any air conditioning system:

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Refrigerant: The Lifeblood of Your Air Conditioning System

Most newer vehicles use R134a which is a relatively safe and easy to handle gas. This gas is the lifeblood of your air conditioning and it is very important to notate here, that newer vehicles are very sensitive to the refrigerant level. Most newer vehicles contain 16 oz or less of R134a, and being even slightly over or undercharged can wreak havoc on your AC.

Compressor: Turning Refrigerant Gas Into Liquid

The air compressor is responsible for compressing your refrigerant from a gas into a liquid. It is typically run by your engine via a drive belt or serpentine belt. Many newer vehicles are using electric AC compressors that are not driven by the engine and can be run with the engine off. This is particularly beneficial with hybrid or electric vehicles.

Condenser: The Radiator For Your AC System

The condenser is in the very front of your vehicle (right behind the bumper), and is responsible for dissipating the heat from your refrigerant once it has been compressed into a liquid. A quick chemistry break here – compressing any gas into a liquid results in the production of heat. Heat is obviously the enemy here, so it is the job of the condenser to get rid of it. The condenser can be thought of as the radiator for your air conditioning.

Expansion Valve: Converting Refrigerant Liquid Back to Gas

The expansion valve (or orifice tube, as used in some older vehicles) is responsible for converting your liquid refrigerant back into a gaseous state. Going back to our chemistry break, as a liquid is converted back to a gas it cools. Think of how much cooler a freshly watered lawn is than the Phoenix asphalt on a summer day. This temperature difference is caused by the evaporation of water, the same theory holds true with your air conditioning. The expansion valve is no more than a fancy device that forces the liquid to evaporate into a gas and this is where the magic happens.

Evaporator: A Tiny Radiator

The evaporator is a small aluminum box that is typically located under your dash. The freshly evaporated refrigerant travels through the evaporator and is dissipated into the interior of your vehicle. You must also picture your evaporator as a tiny radiator, air is forced over it (by your blower motor) and then through the vents, and onto your happy face.

When Does My Vehicle’s AC Need To Be Serviced?

Now that we’ve got the technical jargon down, let’s move on to the original question – when does my auto’s AC need to be serviced? The short answer is simple – If your car is six years old or older, it is likely noticeably low on refrigerant.

Even a properly functioning AC with no visible leaks will lose small amounts of refrigerant. This is due to the fact that your AC may be operating at refrigerant pressures well over 350 psi in the heat of the summer. This pressurized liquid will slowly escape through your air conditioner’s rubber hoses and sealing O rings.

Why Shouldn’t You Use a DIY AC Recharge & Service Kit?

The simple answer is that they are an inaccurate and sometimes unsuitable solution to recharge your car’s air conditioner . But here are a few more reasons why:

  1. The only true way to know exactly how much refrigerant is in your system is to completely recover the old refrigerant, and recharge it with the precisely recommended manufacturer’s capacity. When you use the do-it-yourself kit, you are just topping the system off.
  2. By just topping the system off, you are essentially guessing. The do-it-yourself kit relies on a gauge that reads the pressure on the low side of your vehicle’s AC. While this is “close,” it is definitely not precise.Your system’s pressure can vary greatly, depending on the ambient temperature outside, and even the temperature of your vehicle. So by guessing, you can potentially overcharge or undercharge your vehicle’s AC, and either situation can dramatically decrease the life of your air compressor. An overcharged system can cause your compressor to turn on and off excessively, and also potentially damage components due to the sheer pressures we are talking about. I have seen a couple cases where an AC compressor has actually exploded! In the case of an undercharged system, your AC compressor cannot be properly lubricated. You see, it is also the job of your refrigerant to transfer the AC oil through the moving parts of your AC compressor. When this does not happen, your compressor will end it’s life at an undesired time.
  3. Some do-it-yourself kits contain “stop leak.” Now I don’t know who came up with this, but it is absurd. Stop leak is a very nasty substance that will gum up your AC system and eventually stop the compressor from being properly lubricated.
  4. When you recharge an AC system, you must also add the proper amount of oil. Yes, do-it-yourself kits do contain oil, but who knows how much is making it into your system. Too much or too little will damage your compressor.

How Do You Service Your Car’s AC in Mesa, AZ?

Short answer – take it to your mechanic! We invest in state of the art (see: very expensive) air conditioning machines, and will recover and properly recharge your system with the precise amount of refrigerant and oil.

This is the only way to do it right with today’s sensitive systems. This will ensure a long lasting, trouble-free operation. And remember, most auto AC services are under $200. It can cost upwards of $2,500 to replace a damaged AC compressor. So what are you REALLY saving by doing it yourself?  Let the professionals service your car AC.

Need a FREE AC quick check?

Let the Pros at Highline perform a 5 point AC quick check to pinpoint any issues with your car's air conditioning.

Want to share this?

We’ve put together this very easy to read and understand infographic that you can share on social media or print off for your own reference.

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The Experience of Owning a Toyota 4Runner

Maintain your vehicle properly and it will last you for years. This article shows how preventative maintenance can keep your Toyota 4Runner running great.