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Oldsmobile/Buick Repair/Rear Turn Signals Question and Front End

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Question
Hi Tom!

I have basically two questions I would like help with if you can please.

Essentially, I have a 1997 Buick Skylark Custom 2.4 liter 4-door car with about 150,000 miles.

Recently, I discovered that my right rear turn signal is blinking fast (apparently only one of the two bulbs in the rear.) I have had this problem in the past and some garages tried to sell me new bulbs but another more honest garage told me all I needed was some bulb lube to be inserted in the socket where the bulbs fit and that would take care of it. It did! And thanks to them I saved a lot of money. But this time I tried that and it did not work. The right turn signal is flashing very fast as opposed to the normal slower way of flashing. Also, after flashing fast for about a half minute or less it suddenly freezes and stops flashing or blinking.

The left turn signals were doing alright but all of a sudden they too are freezing after initial blinking of about 30 seconds or less. I talked to an auto parts place about that and after taking a look at the turn signals at work they advised me that I needed what they called a "Turn Signal Switch". They priced the part at about $82.00 or $88.75 Total with core (tax included) and/or $88.75 Total without core (tax included.) Do you think I really need to buy that switch and have it installed or could I just tweak something else to get both turn signals to work right? If I need to take it in to be repaired at a garage about how much could I expect to pay for this service for parts and labor? Thanks!

Secondly, if I may, I would like to ask, concerning this same Buick car, what is involved with replacement of the Right Front CV Axle and/or Right and Left Tie Rod Ends. I was told by one place that I needed the R&L tie rod ends but other garages, including one specialty shop that replaced my shocks and struts not long ago did not mention anything about it at all. Should I ask them about these two items? I am afraid they might just tell me that I need to have both replaced and charge me a phenomenal amount for the work. About how much would you estimate it would cost for this, please? I wish I knew if I really need to have this work done. Can a car run reasonably good if the Rt. Front CV Axle is not replaced nor the R&L Tie Rod Ends, assuming they even need replacing in the first place? Some garages have told me that they are not emergency items for repair but I would like your opinion, Tom, if I may. Thank you for your help in this matter.

Answer
HI MITCH, THE GREASE IN THE SOCKET TRICK WORKED FOR A WHILE BECAUSE THE CONNECTION INSIDE THE LIGHT SOCKET IS CORRODING..WE SEE THIS ALL THE TIME..LETS START OUT LIKE THIS..TURN YOUR 4 WAY FLASHERS ON NOW GO OUT AND LOOK AT ALL THE LIGHTS FRONT AND REAR AND MAKE SURE THEY ARE ALL WORKING AS THEY SHOULD..ALSO MAKE SURE EACH BULB IS AS BRIGHT AS THE ONE NEXT TO IT OR ON THE OTHER SIDE.THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. ANY BULB NOT FLASHING OR NOT AS BRIGHT THIS IS YOUR PROBLEM.
A BULB THAT IS NOT BRIGHT AS THE OTHERS 99% OF THE TIME THE BULB SOCKET IS GOING BAD FROM A FAULTY GROUND..WE REPLACE THE ENTIRE SOCKET..WILL COST YOU ABOUT $8.00 AT ANY PART STORE FOR A NEW SOCKET. WE REPLACE RATHER THEN TRYING TO CLEAN THEM BECAUSE WE DO NOT LIKE COMEBACKS,, JUST WIRE IT IN TO THE OLD HARNESS..IF YOU FIND OUT THAT THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO REPLACE WITH THIS PROBLEM WHEN YOU WIRE THE NEW SOCKET ASSEMBLY INTO YOUR WIRING HARNESS GET YOUR SELF SOME SHRINK TUBING AT THE PART STORE AS WELL. AFTER YOU CONNECT THE WIRES TOGETHER WITH THE BUTT CONNECTOR WHICH YOU WILL GET AT THE PART STORE AS WELL YOU PUT THIS SHRINK TUBING OVER THE CONNECTOR AND USE A LIGHTER TO MELT THE SHRINK TUBING AROUND THE CONNECTOR TO SEAL IT FROM WATER...[THIS ALSO IS VERY IMPORTANT]YOUR PART STORE WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO USE THIS ..ALL OF THE ABOVE IS VERY EASY..DON'T LET IT SCARE YOU..IF A LIGHT DOES NOT WORK AT ALL CK THE BULB REPLACE IF NEEDED.THE BEST WAY TO CK TO SEE IF THE BULB IS BAD OR WIRING PROBLEM IS TO GET A 12 VOLT TEST LIGHT AND CK FOR POWER AT THE LIGHT SOCKET..IF NO POWER THERE THE WIRING IS FAULTY TO THIS BULB IF POWER TO THE LIGHT SOCKET IS THERE AND STILL WILL NOT LIGHT THE BULB AND OR SOCKET IS BAD..YOU WANT TO CK POWER GOING INTO THE SOCKET DO NOT CK ON THE BULB SIDE OF SOCKET. CK BEHIND THE SOCKET.
NEXT QUESTION: AS FAR AS THE TURN SIGNALS JUST STOPPING AFTER 30 SECONDS YOUR PART STORE MAYBE CORRECT,BUT BEFORE REPLACING THIS TURN SIGNAL SWITCH I WOULD BE LOOKING AT THE FOUR WAY FLASHER ASSEMBLY,THIS ALSO CONTROLS YOUR TURN SIGNALS.THIS UNIT IS THE PUSH BUTTON OF THE 4 WAY FLASHER,, IT IS ALL IN ONE...WHEN THIS HAPPENS TURN YOUR FOUR WAYS ON AND SEE IF THEY WORK..IF THEY DO I WOULD START OUT WITH THE FLASHER UNIT NOT EXPENSIVE AT ALL.$40.00 I THINK..THERE ARE WAYS TO CK THIS BUT YOU NEED SOME TESTING TOOLS FOR THIS..
LAST QUESTIONS: WELL FIRST THINGS FIRST YOUR CAR HAS 4 TIE ROD ENDS 2 OUTER AND 2 INNER..THIS IS A SAFETY ITEM. YOU NEED TO GET THIS CHECKED BY SOMEONE YOU CAN TRUST. DO NOT FOOL WITH THIS
HOWEVER IF YOU CAN JACK THE FRONT OF YOUR CAR UP IN THE AIR SO IT IS 2 INCHES OFF THE GROUND YOU CAN CK THIS YOURSELF..JUST GRAB THE WHEEL AT 3 AND 9 O-CLOCK POSITION NOW PUSH AND PULL IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS.DON'T USE A LOT OF FORCE. ANY PLAY IN THE WHEEL THE TIE RODS ARE BAD.YOU WILL KIND OF FEEL IT LIKE THUNK-THUNK. NO IFS ANDS OR BUTTS. NOW YOU JUST NEED TO FIND OUT WHICH ONE IS BAD INNER OR OUTER. GET IT REPLACED ASAP..IF ONE OF THESE BREAKS YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OF THE STEERING..MORE THEN LIKELY THE OUTER TIE RODS ARE THE ONES THAT ARE NEEDED..IF AT ALL. THEY WEAR THE MOST: ESTIMATE ON BOTH OUTER TIE RODS AND LABOR WITH ALIGNMENT.YOU WILL NEED A FRONT END ALIGNMENT AFTER REPLACING THE TIE RODS..==== $315.00[[[ 2 OUTER TIE RODS 120.00 LABOR 110.00 ALIGNMENT 84.50.
AS FAR AS THE CV JOINT GOES OR AXLE ASSEMBLY THIS IS IMPORTANT BUT NOT A SAFETY ISSUE..WHY YOU ASK I BET ? IF THE CV JOINT BREAKS YOUR CAR STOPS MOVING BUT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO STEER IT OVER OFF THE ROAD WHILE IT IS STILL ROLLING ON ITS FREE POWER FOR BIT. ONCE THE CAR STOPS ROLLING YOUR CAR WILL NO LONGER MOVE. THIS AXLE GOES TO THE TRANS-AXLE AND SUPPLIES POWER TO  EACH FRONT WHEEL..YOU HAVE A LEFT AND RIGHT AXLE..USUALLY IF THE CV JOINT IS BAD OR GOING BAD WHEN YOU TURN A SHARP TURN LEFT OR RIGHT YOU WILL HEAR A LOUD CLICKING NOISE,CLICK CLICK,CLICK CLICK
ONCE YOU GO STRAIGHT THE NOISE STOPS..THE NEXT THING TO CK IS LOOK AT THE OUTER CV BOOTS AROUND BOTH JOINTS..IF IT IS SPLIT THEN, YOU NEED TO REPLACE IT.THIS BOOT CONTAINS GREASE WHICH PROTECT THE CV JOINT..TO CK TURN THE WHEELS LEFT TO CK THE LEFT ONE AND RIGHT TO CK THE RIGHT ONE..ESTIMATE: AXLE ASSEMBLY =98.00 LABOR 1 HOUR..I JUST WANT TO GO BACK TO THE TIE ROD ISSUE THIS IS A HUGE SELLER FOR MANY RIP OFF SHOPS.. SHOPS AS MONRO MUFFLER BRAKES AND PLACES LIKE THIS..I CAN NOT TELL YOU HOW MANY PEOPLE WE CAN IN OUR SHOP TO CK THERE CARS FOR THEM FROM PLACE LIKE THIS..PLEASE FIND A SHOP THAT YOU CAN TRUST AND STICK WITH THEM..THESE OTHER PLACES WORK OFF COMMISSION AND THEY NEED TO SELL PARTS OR THEY ARE GONE...HONEST NO FOOLING..GOOD LUCK TO YOU I HOPE THIS HELPS YOU,,,TOM...  

Oldsmobile/Buick Repair

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TOM SHEETS

Expertise

Can answer all questions pertaining to mechanics of GM cars from 1965 to present. I will answer questions from 6:00 am to 10 pm est.. I will not take diesel or paint questions. If this olds and buick section is maxed out you can get to me in the chevrolet section...

Experience

I have 30 plus years experience in servicing these cars. I can answer questions on carburetor, fuel injection,ignition systems, suspension, brakes and abs, cooling systems,a/c and heater,manual transmissions, rear differential and electrical system,charing system and battery. I am a Master ASE certified mechanic in all 8 categories: - Brakes - Heating and Air Conditioning - Automatic transmission - Clutches and Transaxle - Engine performance - Engine repair - Electrical - Steering and suspension I am certified for NYS inspection and clean air insp.

Organizations
ASE

Education/Credentials
I am a Master ASE certified mechanic in all 8 categories (see above) I am an Air Conditioning/Freon recycling specialist with ASE. I have at least 4 years of technical training and many hours of continuing education.

Past/Present Clients
many customers in our busy shop for the past 30 plus years

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