Cool Off with a Port A Cool Evaporative Cooler

I know, I know…Many of us are still struggling  through a winter that just won’t seem to let go.  As much as we’d like to put it behind us, we can’t forget that the Dog Days will get here all too soon.  And I don’t know about you but, I’ve never worked in a shop or warehouse that had much in the way of climate control.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be comfortable working through the hot summer months?   Lucky for us, National Tool Warehouse carries the best name in affordable and practical portable coolers!

For any of you who don’t know what an evaporative cooler is, check out the Port A Cool website. Here are the basics:
“Portable, Powerful, Practical.  American-made portable evaporative cooling units.  Cools anywhere using 115 volts and tap water for a dollar a day.  No assembly required.”
Sounds pretty good to me.

Here are some of best deals from National Tool Warehouse. 

For those with a small shop and maybe a small budget, check out the Cyclone 2000.

Port-A-Cool Cyclone® 2000 Evaporative Cooler (PTC-PACCYC02)

Port-A-Cool Cyclone® 2000 Evaporative Cooler (PTC-PACCYC02)

Another popular model, the PTCPAC163SVT  has got a little more cooling power to cool down a bigger shop.

16" EVAP 3 Speed Cooling Fan with Vertical Tank, 42-Gallon (PTC-PAC163SVT)

16″ EVAP 3 Speed Cooling Fan with Vertical Tank, 42-Gallon (PTC-PAC163SVT)

For a bigger shop or warehouse, the way to keep your cool is with the PTCPAC2K36HPVS.

36”, 1/2 h.p. Variable-Speed Motor (PTC-PAC2K36HPVS)

36”, 1/2 h.p. Variable-Speed Motor (PTC-PAC2K36HPVS)

Any of these should help you and your team keep a cooler head, work happier and stay more productive through the hot days to come.   NTW carries a diverse line of Port A Cool units and accessories.

If you have questions or you don’t see what you are looking for, call for more information or a price quote.  Don’t let the Dog Days get the best of you: Stay cool this summer with Port A Cool from National Tool Warehouse!

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Written by our Guest Blogger Mack Hanson.  Thanks Mack!

Welders…and other welding equipment!

Happy Monday National Tool followers!  We’ve had several questions about welding supplies and the difference between MIG and TIG welders.  We have a huge selection of welding equipment to fit all of your automotive needs!  From Magnetic Induction Heaters all the way to Welding Helmets…we have what you need!

Easy-MIG™ 180 208/230-Volt AC Input Compact Wire Welder (LEW-K2698-1)

Easy-MIG™ 180 208/230-Volt AC Input Compact Wire Welder (LEW-K2698-1)

Stick/Lift TIG Welding System (VCTW1003203)

Stick/Lift TIG Welding System (VCTW1003203)

MIG vs. TIG Welders (courtesy of Lincoln Electric)

GMAW, commonly known as MIG welding, is an arc welding process which produces the coalescence of metals by heating them with an arc between a continuously fed filler metal electrode and the work.

The TIG process derives the heat for welding from an electric arc established between a non-consumable tungsten electrode and the part to be welded. Filler metal, if used, is manually feed into the weld puddle when TIG welding.

For a list of all MIG Welders available from National Tool, click here.
For a list of all TIG Welders available, click here.

National Tool Warehouse has a HUGE selection of welding equipment to fit most (if not all) of your automotive welding needs…be sure to check out our Welding Category page when you have a few free minutes.

We’d love to hear your stories about how you’ve used your welder you purchased from National Tool.  Email and let us know!

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Top DIYer Automotive Tools

Being a DIYer automotive mechanic has its ups and downs.  You get to own some extremely cool tools, which your buddies will be jealous of, but the cost of those tools sometimes outweighs the “cool” factor.  Not to mention some tools take up way too much room in the garage.

Here are a few of the must have tools for the DIYer automotive mechanic.  Prices aren’t terrible and the space needed to keep these much-loved tools will be minimal.

  • First up we have a battery powered impact wrench.  This tool is a must have for any self proclaimed DIYer.  DeWalt put out this great 20 volt impact tool recently and once you use it, you’ll never look at the 12 volt or even the 18 volt versions the same.  The DeWalt DCF889M2 comes in priced at $308.75 (a bit pricey but well worth it).
DeWalt DCF889M2 - 20V MAX Lithium Ion Impact Wrench, 1/2"

DeWalt DCF889M2 – 20V MAX Lithium Ion Impact Wrench, 1/2″

  • Moving on to the next coolest DIYer automotive tool – a Steelman brand ChassisEar.  This tool will let you listen to six different under chassis locations in one road test and hear noises that cannot be duplicated in the stall.  How cool is that?!?!  Seriously, with this tool priced at $121.55 you will be the envy of everyone at work.
Steelman ChassisEAR® (stethoscope for your car) Model 06600

Steelman ChassisEAR® (stethoscope for your car) Model 06600

  • Next up comes the underhood light.  Every DIYer knows that car troubles don’t always happen in the daytime and when it’s pitch black outside and your garage lights aren’t doing the job,  you need an underhood light to brighten up your work space.  Check out this light made by ATD Tools and priced at only $99.95, it’s not only affordable but a definite must have in your garage.
ATD Tools 80050 The Saber Light 30-Watt Underhood Light

ATD Tools 80050 The Saber Light 30-Watt Underhood Light

  • Another DIYer garage must-have would be a good flex head ratchet.  GearWrench makes some of the best and this set is reasonably priced and you really get the bang for your buck.  Priced at $103.59, you not only get the three piece set of cushion grip ratchets but you get a FREE flex head ratchet too!
GearWrench 81203FD Mix Cushion Grip Ratchet Set, 3 pc w/FREE 3/8" Dr Offset Flex Head Cushion Grip Ratchet

GearWrench 81203FD Mix Cushion Grip Ratchet Set, 3 pc w/FREE 3/8″ Dr Offset Flex Head Cushion Grip Ratchet

  • Rounding out these DIYer automotive tools is a good brake bleeder.  Most DIYer mechanics change their own brake pads and having a good solid brake bleeder on hand for such a job is a must.  MityVac is a top name in brake bleeding tools.  They have the MV6870 priced well at $81.99.
MityVac MV6870 Vacuum Brake Bleeder

MityVac MV6870 Vacuum Brake Bleeder

We received a great response from last weeks blog (found here) and we’d love to hear your thoughts about any or all of the tools in this weeks blog!  We’ll be sure to include your thoughts in future posts (unless you tell us not to, of course).  

Also, remember that we are sending out specials via email so make sure you are added to our email list to receive the deals offered!

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Robinair Recycling Machines-The Buying Guide!

Even though it’s still cold in most parts of the US this month, the warmer temps are rapidly approaching. Is your auto repair shop equipped with a Robinair Recycling Machine? We’ve had several customers calling in asking which Robinair AC Recovery machine would best suit their needs. Why pay for more than you need?

Whether it’s the fully-automatic 34988, 34788 or the semi-automatic 34288, these machines will test, recover, and recharge R-134a automotive AC systems quickly and accurately. The question is: Which one should you buy? I’m going to break these machines down for you and give you some facts to chew on before making that big purchase.

Robinair 34988

Robinair Recycling 34988 Premium A/C RRR machine

Robinair Recycling 34988 Premium A/C RRR machine

Let’s start with the best of the best – the Robinair 34988 combines simple operation with superior accuracy. The Robinair Recycling 34988 recovers, recycles, evacuates, leak tests and recharges R-134a quickly and accurately.

What does this unit have that the others don’t?
*Automatic dye inject feature – This gives the user the ability to use the machine to inject UV dye into a vehicle’s AC system.
*Automatic oil measure & inject feature – the machine will automatically determine how much lubrication oil needs to be injected back into the AC system based on how much oil was taken out during recovery.
*AC System Flush – Flushes a vehicle’s AC system with refrigerant eliminating any residual oil or other liquid. (Flushing adapters are not included in the purchase of the machine.)
*Save & Print before and after service data – This allows the user to store before and after service information on the vehicle and print this information to provide to a customer.
*Indicator light and notification alarm – Notifies the user when service is complete or if a problem has occurred.

With this machine, automatic operation means less attention is needed. Set the parameters and watch it work! You can view more information on this machine on the Robinair Recycling website. They have also uploaded a video showing the use of this machine here.


Robinair 34788

Robinair Recycling 34788 CoolTech Recovery, Recycling, Recharging Unit

Robinair Recycling 34788 CoolTech Recovery, Recycling, Recharging Unit

Moving on to the middle of the road unit – the Robinair Recycling 34788, like it’s superior the 34988, combines simple operation with superior accuracy. The 34788 also recovers, recycles, evacuates, leak tests and recharges R-134a quickly and accurately.

This machine does not include the items previously noted about the 34988 but it does have a lot of great functions. This is the most popular of the three units I’m discussing today, mainly because it has the automatic function but it’s reasonably priced.

Robinair has a great information section here on their website. Also, there are numerous videos posted about this machine here.


Robinair 34288

Robinair Recycling Cool-Tech 34288

Robinair Recycling Cool-Tech 34288

The Robinair 34288 is the simplest of the three main machines. The main functions of this machine are the automatic air purge, refrigerant charging, refrigerant management, vacuum function and the new 4×20 multilingual display.

If low cost and simple is what you are after, this is the machine for you. You can view more information about this machine on the Robinair website here.

All three of these units use the same maintenance kit which makes it easy when restocking. The Robinair maintenance kits include one quick change filter-drier to be used on both R-12 and R-134a stations, and one 16 ounce bottle of Robinair brand premium high vacuum pump oil.

Robinair Recycling 13172 Maintenance Kit

Robinair Recycling 13172 Maintenance Kit

Robinair Recycling 34724 Recycling Filter-Driers

Robinair Recycling 34724 Recycling Filter-Driers

Whether you purchase the 34288, 34788, or 34988 these units can pay for themselves in as little as 2.5 months (based on the Robinair “Investing In The Future” Return on Investment worksheet).

So…after the analysis is complete, which machine is best for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts on these machines!

Written by: Jay Johnson
Information courtesy of

How to Replace Your Alternator

If your car or truck won’t hold a charge, you probably need a new alternator. Luckily, replacing your alternator is one of the simplest tasks in automotive maintenance. Below, we will show you the few simple steps you need to take to get the job done right, the first time.

Step 1

Start the alternator swap-out by disconnecting both battery cables from the battery. Then remove the wires and cables from the back of the alternator. Then remove the two alternator retaining bolts. The bolts are really long and you’ll be cranking for a long time. If there was ever a time to invest in an air-powered ratchet, this is it. The bolts are usually different lengths, so note where each bolt came from. With the bolts removed, lift out the old alternator and drop in the new one. Then reverse the procedure to reinstall. Below are some pictures with a few instructions.

Disconnect the cables from the alternator

Depress the latch clip on the electrical connector going to the voltage regulator and wiggle it out. Then loosen the locknut to the “BAT” cable and remove the ring terminal.


Rotate the belt tension-er (if equipped) or loosen the ‘tensioning’ bolt near the alternator. Then slide the belt off the alternator pulley.


Until next time, friends!

Sources: WikiHow, The Family Handyman & Google Source

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How to Replace Your Car's Radiator

Say you’re cruising along and notice a strange whiff of something. It’s an unnaturally sweet and puzzling odor. But after you round the next corner, it’s gone. As the road straightens out again, it’s back. Within a few more miles, that whiff of sweetness has become cloyingly overwhelming. Soon, it’s clear what the problem is: That stench is coolant, leaking from under your hood. Sure enough, before you manage to scoot home, the temperature gauge starts to creep upward and small curls of steam are peeking out of the grille. After letting things cool off for a half-hour, you gingerly open the hood, expecting to see something obvious, like a loose cap or a split hose.

Now it is time to replace your car’s radiator. Follow these steps and you’ll be home free with a nice, cool engine to get you from point a to point b.

1 Consider the parts you will need for this job and make a list.
Depending on how thorough you would like to be and/or your budget, this list can vary. The main shopping list contains the radiator and coolant. As necessary you may need hoses, hose clamps, various nuts and bolts, or a thermostat.
2 Take a look at the hoses and connections to and from the radiator. Squeeze the hoses to check for deterioration. If any hoses are swollen near the hose clamps or have soft spots or cracks, replace them. Replace hose clamps if they bind or will not tighten. Replace the thermostat since it’s cheap and your draining the coolant already
3 If you feel a crunching sensation when you squeeze the hoses you probably have rust in the cooling system. The system will need to be flushed before filling with new coolant. There are kits to do this at your local auto part store, but if you would rather do it yourself follow this procedure:
  • Drain old coolant into appropriate container for disposal.(most radiators have a drain plug on the bottom)
  • 670px-Change-a-Car-Radiator-Step-3Bullet1
  • Locate and remove the thermostat.
  • 670px-Change-a-Car-Radiator-Step-3Bullet3
  • Insert garden hose into where upper coolant hose enters engine.
  • 670px-Change-a-Car-Radiator-Step-3Bullet4
  • Remove the coolant reservoir and flush it with water.
  • 670px-Change-a-Car-Radiator-Step-3Bullet6
  • Drain all water and re-install thermostat and reservoir.
  • 670px-Change-a-Car-Radiator-Step-3Bullet7
4 Now that you have your parts and (if necessary) have flushed your cooling system, you are ready to begin! If you haven’t already, drain old coolant into appropriate container for disposal (most radiators have a drain plug on the bottom) and remove thermostat.
5 Locate and disconnect all hoses leading to radiator. Use penetrating oil on all hose clamps to avoid breakage/stripping. In some cars, there may be a transmission fluid cooler built into the radiator. If there are hoses running from the radiator from the transmission, be careful to catch the trans fluid that drops when you disconnect those lines (don’t reuse that fluid either). Be careful with all fluids as they are very toxic.
6 Locate and disconnect the fan motor electrical connector and any other electrical connectors. Usually it is necessary to remove the fan assembly in order to remove the radiator. It should be bolted to the radiator directly. Use penetrating oil on bolts to avoid stripping/breakage!
7 Look at your radiator. There should be no hoses, electrical connectors, and it should have sufficient clearance to be removed. If not, study the layout and think before disassembling anything else.
8 If it looks like you are a go, look at how your radiator is attached to your car. Usually there are braces bolted to the frame on top, and the bottom rests on rubber feet within an indentation. Remove the top braces (Use penetrating oil on bolts to avoid stripping/breakage!) and pull upwards on the radiator. If it comes out, congratulations! If not, don’t yank or pry. Study it and find the other bolts.
9 Installation is the reverse of disassemble. Remember not to over tighten hose clamps. Go over everything you took off in your head! If you forget the fan motor connector or a tiny water pump bypass hose you can waste a lot of effort and time.
10 When everything has been assembled, refill the cooling system with coolant. To do this remove the cap from the radiator, fill until coolant is visible but a few inches below cap level. Start the engine (Don’t rev or accelerate), the coolant level will lower as the engine sucks in coolant, continue to fill with coolant until the level stabilizes then install and tighten the cap. Lastly, fill the coolant reservoir with coolant to the appropriate level. If transmission fluid was spilled, check trans fluid level and add NEW trans fluid if necessary.
You’re Done!
We hope this helps! Happy Holidays, everyone!
Sources: WikiHow – –

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Holiday Gifts for your Mechanic

Tis’ the season for giving! I thought I would share some of our favorite holiday gifts for our mechanic and hands on friends out there in the blogosphere. I won’t overload you with 10 different products, but here are three great deals that go through the 15th of December.




We have tons of other specials going on for the holidays right now as well. If you would like to view all of our specials, you can click here, or sign up for our email list and we’ll send them to you weekly.

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Why to Add a Cat Back Exhaust System

Here is another post for you go-fasters, drag racers and those of us that like that deep growl flowing out of our exhaust pipes. We don’t want an exhaust system that makes car alarms go manic or requires the girlfriend to wear earplugs. Upgrading your exhaust lets you hear the best underneath your hood. To us gear heads, that is a beautiful noise. You can legally upgrade your exhaust to gain power and efficiency. However, federal emissions regulations won’t permit just any exhaust system. One upgrade that’s almost universally permissible is in the exhaust system downstream of the second oxygen sensor. That sensor is always located right after the catalytic converter, we refer to these systems as “cat-back.”

How Exhaust Works

The exhaust system is basically a long funnel to expel spent gases from the combustion process. The gases dump from individual cylinders into the exhaust manifold. On cars with a V-type or boxer engine, there are two manifolds, one on either side of the engine block. Inline engines have only one manifold. The manifold’s snakelike tubes collect the gases and, on newer cars, send them down a pipe (or two if it’s a dual exhaust) and into the catalytic converters. The catalytic converter is a major component responsible for reducing emissions. At the front half of the cat is a reduction catalyst which uses platinum and rhodium to remove NOx emissions. In the second half, the cat burns carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. The result? Up to 90 percent of these damaging gases never reach the sky. But cats won’t scavenge this stuff until they reach operating temperature. So automakers mount them as close to the exhaust manifold as possible to capture engine heat quickly.

After the cat, the exhaust travels on to the resonators and mufflers to cancel sound. Without mufflers, your car would be as loud as a Sprint Cup Car. Cat-back systems often include new middle pipes, resonators and mufflers, and are often less restrictive (less back-pressure) so they can build more power and make better noises, too.

What’s Legal

In the good but smoggy old days before emissions standards, you could freely modify your exhaust, as long as the local constabulary didn’t object to the noise. Times have changed; California’s strict smog regulations have influenced the nation. Aftermarket speed parts built for newer vehicles are almost all 49-state-compliant. In the Golden State, they must pass stricter California Air Resources Board (CARB) standards. So, unless you own a smog-exempt car (1975 or older in California), it’s verboten to modify anything that might change the emissions profile. And that’s why the most common exhaust modification is a cat-back system.

Here are a few images that explain how it all works:

When it comes time to find the right exhaust system for your vehicle you have a lot of options. There are hundreds of websites out there, filled with posts from guys and gals that have put cat back systems on their rides. You can also go down to your local performance shop and talk to the experts. We always recommend knowing all of the facts before you purchase and install.

If you want to install your new cat back exhaust system yourself, here is a video with step by step instructions:

Sources: Car & Driver, Summit Racing, Engine World, and

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The Hottest New Cars for 2014

With 2014 right around the corner, I thought it would be a lot of fun to write a post about the hottest new cars for 2014. As most of us know by now, I am a speed junkie with a soft spots for the classics but I won’t let that cloud my judgement when looking at these cars.

1. Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Chevy brings an iconic name back to the American sports car scene. The Stingray is available in coupe and convertible versions. She has been completely redesigned. Chevrolet gave the Stingray an all-new chassis and new mechanicals. The high-tech 6.2-liter V8 engine posses 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque through the rear wheels that encourages fast driving, helping you beat your friends off the line with a launch from 0 to 60 mph in a screaming 3.8 seconds. Lighter in weight, but with a more rigid structure, an ideal 50/50 front-to-rear weight ratio, re-engineered steering and suspension systems and an array of sophisticated chassis-control hardware, the new ‘Vette’ promises unswerving handling. A new Drive Mode Selector allows the driver to tune 12 separate performance attributes according to five different driving situations, including one for use on wet roads and another that enables the engine to run on only four cylinders to garner maximum fuel economy. Oh, did we mention the new interior? It’s pretty designed for a rock star with the functionality of a race car. This is our favorite new car for 2014, hands down.

2. Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Featuring bold and elegant new styling, it comes powered in the S550 version by a 455-horsepower twin-turbo V8 or a 5.5-liter twin-turbo 577-horsepower V8 in the higher-performance S63 AMG 4MATIC model. Over-the-top-shelf options include rear seats that simulate a hot stone massage, heated armrests and an ionizing and perfuming feature for the climate control system. Talk about riding in style…this is what I am talking about.

3. Jaguar F-Type

It packs a powerful 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine that puts out either 340 or 380 horsepower, depending on the version. A 5.0-liter 495-horsepower supercharged V8 is also available; it’s estimated to enable the F-Type to hit the 60 mph mark in just over four seconds. All engines come mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission that includes a manual gear-select mode with steering wheel-mounted paddle-shifters.  Its lightweight, yet-rigid aluminum structure, rear-drive configuration and sophisticated suspension promise sporty handling abilities in the British sports car tradition. A closed-roof coupe version will follow within a year.

4. Jeep Cherokee

Replacing the former Liberty model in Jeep’s lineup, the new midsize Cherokee SUV features a new Jeep that should brighten up the faces of traditional Jeep enthusiasts. It packs either a Fiat-supplied 184 horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine or a new 271-horsepower 3.2-liter V6, with an advanced nine-speed automatic transmission standard. The Cherokee offers many high-tech safety features, along with niceties like a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats and a wireless charging pad for portable devices.

5. Mercedes Benz CLA-Class

Mercedes says it will be among the most-aerodynamic car designs among production cars, with a coefficient of drag at just 0.23. A 208-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes with the base CLA250, while the high-performance CLA45 AMG variant packs a specially tweaked hand-built 355-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four. The only available transmission will be a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual, with Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive optional on the CLA250 and standard with the CLA45 AMG.

6. Cadillac ELR

The midsize Cadillac ELR coupe is essentially a luxury-minded two-door version of the Chevrolet Volt extended range electric car. The ELR features distinctive styling that borrows cues from other Cadillac models, with a posh high-tech-looking interior and assorted amenities, though its electric powertrain and engineering largely carries over from the Volt. It’s powered by an electric motor and a plug-in chargeable battery pack, but once the battery runs low (it should run in full electric mode for about 35 miles on a charge), a small gasoline engine engages to run a generator that, in turn, powers the motor. Those with a modest commute may rarely have to visit a gas station. If the Volt is any indication, the ELR should be quick off the line and deliver reasonably sporty ride and handling attributes, though back seat space and cargo room look to be tight.

7. Chevrolet SS

The new leading sedan at Chevy is an aggressively styled rear-drive model that comes by way of General Motors’ Holden subsidiary in Australia. In homage to classic SS-designated models from the 1960’s, this bad boy goes fast with Corvette’s 6.2-liter 415-horsepower small-block V8 engine, and can go from 0-60 mph in around five seconds.

8. Chevrolet Silverado / GMC Sierra

Fully redesigned for 2014, General Motors’ full-size pickup trucks come with myriad structural and engineering revisions to enhance their already decent ride and handling characteristics. We have to admit being disappointed with the Silverado and Sierra’s only modestly revised exterior designs that seem dated from day one. The trucks’ trio of “EcoTec3” engines include a new 4.3-liter V6 with 285 horsepower, a revised 5.3-liter V8 with a beefier 355 horsepower and a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 horses for heavier-duty use; all incorporate direct fuel injection for improved performance and selective cylinder shutdown for better fuel economy.

9. Toyota Corolla 

I know, I know…this doesn’t really fit in with the other machines we have talked about thus far. But check out this little Corolla, you’ll be impressed.

10. BMW 4 Series

For 2014, the former BMW 3 Series coupes and convertibles get a major redesign and are reclassified as 4 Series models. Fresh exterior designs borrow front styling cues from the sedans, but they otherwise resemble smaller versions of BMW’s 6 Series models. There’s a choice of a 240 horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the 428i, and a faster 300-horsepower 3.0-liter turbo-six in the 435i, ad both can be mated to either a standard eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission; BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system will be optional with the coupes.

11. Cadillac CTS

A third-generation CTS sedan debuts for 2014 that’s longer, lower and lighter in weight than before, with more athletic-looking exterior styling that’s highlighted by an striking new front end treatment that announces its arrival with authority. Three separate engines are available, including a base 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with a just adequate 272 horsepower and a 3.6-liter V6 with a livelier 321-horsepower. Meanwhile, a new Vsport version features Caddy’s first ever twin-turbo V6 that delivers an eager 420 horses, along with other performance-minded steering, braking and suspension upgrades.

12. Infiniti Q50

13. Kia Cadenza

Kia, a brand known more for its budget-minded models, takes a step deep into luxury-car territory with its new Cadenza sedan. While it sits about five inches longer than Kia’s popular Optima, it affords only equivalent interior room. Power comes from a 3.3-liter direct-injected 293-horsepower V6 engine that would seem to be only about as quick – though perhaps smoother and quieter – and somewhat less fuel efficient than the Optima’s excellent 2.0-liter turbo-four engine.

Sources: Fobres, Car & Driver,, Market Watch & U.S. News

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How To Change Windshield Washer Pump

Today we’re going to discuss changing your windshield washer pump. We’ll go ahead and categorize this task as an intermediate level project (if you’re thinking beginner, intermediate and advanced) You’re going to need some tools to knock this project out. Here is a list of what you will need:

  • voltmeter or 12VDC test light (to check voltage at connector)
  • piece of hose / siphon (to remove as much washer fluid as possible)
  • small flat tip screwdriver
  • 10mm socket & ratchet
  • vise grip or decent pliers
  • brass or steel brush (old toothbrush also helpful)
  • Q-tips for additional cleaning
  • hot water (works well at removing loose rust/dirt)
  • CRC Electronic Cleaner (MAF Cleaner works too)
  • Electrical tape (if housing is cracked)
  • about 45-60 minutes (a refreshing drink wouldn’t hurt either)

Step 1:

First siphon as much washer fluid from the tank as possible. If your tank is already empty then great! But if you have a lot of fluid still in the tank it would be best to drain it or be quick with the tank removal so that all that fluid does not wind up all over the place.

Then remove the 10mm bolt holding the windshield washer tank in place:

Step 2:

Unplug the electrical connector from the washer pump:

Step 3:

Lift the washer tank up slightly and using a small flat tip screwdriver gently pry the black plastic bracket tab from the tank and remove the bracket:

Step 4:

Remove the washer jet hose from the pump outlet (if tank is full be prepared for fluid to come gushing out):

Step 5:

Disconnect electrical connector for the ‘washer fluid low’ sensor:

Step 6:

The washer tank & pump can now be removed from the engine compartment. If you have to drain the tank now; do so. Once drained remove the washer pump by pulling the pump straight up.

If you have a new washer pump then place the new pump into the tank and install everything in back into the engine compartment. If you are going to repair your washer pump then continue reading.

Inspect the washer pump for damage (my pump has a large crack along the top half of the housing):

Step 7:

Separate the top half of the pump housing from the bottom half using the small flat tip screwdriver (use a twisting motion instead of prying):

Step 8:

Once the top half of the pump is loose remove it. You should end up with these two parts:

Step 9:

Using the flat tip screwdriver GENTLY pry the side tabs the connect the top of the pump motor to the can (metal housing):

Step 10:

Once the tabs are moved gently remove the top half of the pump motor from the can (metal housing):

Step 11:

The underside view of the motor top. You can see the electrical components and the motor brushes (use q-tips to clean between the brushes):

Step 12:

A view of the electrical pump motor. Rust has seized the armature to the field magnets in the can and will not turn by hand:

Step 13:

Using a vise grip at the lowest setting needed to grip the armature axle turn gently twist the axle until the armature breaks free from the field magnets:

Step 14:

Once the armature can be moved gently remove it from the can (this armature shows signs of rust starting from the bottom – possible leak within the pumps impeller housing):

Step 15:

A look inside the motor can and field magnets (lots of rust from the bottom – up):

Step 16:

Using hot water, your finger, an old toothbrush, a metal brush and q-tip remove as much rust / dirt / debris from the pump housing:

Step 17:

Using a metal or brass brush clean all contaminates from the electromagnets. Be careful NOT to break the armature coil wires or damage the communicator (small brass piece atop the electromagnets). Clean that with your finger or VERY gently with a brass brush:

Step 18:

Once you have as much as you can clean; use the Electrical Cleaner (MAF Cleaner) to rinse off all the components. Let the components air dry. Before assembly blow air into the outlet port of the pump assembly. If the impeller is still working you will hear a whirling noise as well as see the movement of the white plastic piece at the inlet port.

Step 19:

To assemble, be sure to insert armature back into pump housing (can) with the notched end of the armature axle at the bottom. You will have to twist gently to get armature to seat correctly in between the field magnets:

Step 20:

The armature is fully seated when the electromagnets are just below the top of the field magnets (can assembly):

Step 21:

Now line up the pump motor top with the housing by using the plastic tab and notch available (the blue capacitor is right behind the plastic tab) – only line up these points – DO NOT attempt to seat pump motor top yet:

Step 22:

With the tab and notch aligned look at the underside of the pump motor top to get a view of the motor brushes:

Step 23:

Use the flat tip screwdriver to gently move the motor brushes aside in order to secure the pump motor top to the housing (the brushes should end up resting on the brass communicator):

Step 24:

With the motor top fully seated; bend the metal tabs of the motor can inward to secure the top to the rest of the housing (I found it easier to first tap in from the side of the tab and then from the top):

Step 25:

Carefully line up the top half of the pump housing with the pump leads and secure the top half to the bottom half. Be even with the pressure and gentle so that you don’t force the top half farther than it needs to be or you might end up cracking it.

If you have a battery charger or a 12VDC power supply you can test the washer pump motor before installing into the tank. My pump kicked on right away using the maintenance charger I use for my motorcycles.

Now would be a great time to flush out your windshield washer fluid tank. Washer fluid can gel and gum up the tank over time (use LOTS of hot water):

Step 26:

Also flush out your washer pump filter / seal (this one was covered in blue gel before I washer it):

Step 27:

Now place washer pump filter / seal back in the tank opening (make sure it is flush not half in like this picture):

Step 28:

This is a properly seated washer pump filter / seal:

Step 29:

Place repaired washer pump assembly back on the tank (you can see that I used electrical tape to wrap around the top half of the washer pump due to the crack it had):

Step 30:

Install washer tank & pump back into engine compartment. Connect ‘washer fluid low’ sensor, washer jet hose, black plastic bracket to tank, washer pump connector and 10mm bolt to metal body. Make sure tank seats properly at the bottom (there are small alignment tabs that go into the metal).

Now add washer fluid to tank, key on (position 2) and activate the windshield washer system. If the washer jets spray fluid then congratulations on a job well done:

We’re All Done!

Now where did I leave the refreshing drink I had made myself at the beginning?

Sources: BMW Forum, E46 Forum

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