What are the Symptoms of a Leaking Valve Cover Gasket?

 

The many gaskets we have in our cars are a small but essential piece in keeping the vehicle running safely and smoothly. There are gaskets in nearly every system within the engine, all working to keep essential fluids like oil where they should be.

Keeping oil in the engine is just as important as having oil in the first place, and that wouldn’t be possible without silicone and rubber gaskets. Metal on metal connections do not form a proper seal, and would allow oil to seep out of where it needs to be.

 

What Does the Valve Cover Gasket Do?

 

The valve cover protects some of the most vital and carefully calibrated parts of your vehicle, and keeps the high pressure oil there to lubricate it all. The valve cover gasket is exactly what it sounds like, a gasket for the valve cover. It essentially maintains the seal between the valve cover and the cylinder head, and prevents oil from escaping. 

Cylinder head and engine internals without valve cover

The gasket is usually made of silicone, rubber, or cork and provides a cushion for the seal. With use though, the gasket is gradually worn down by the oil and heat and can eventually no longer properly serve its purpose. 

 

What Happens When the Gasket Goes Bad?

 

As oil starts to leave the system, there are a host of issues that can come up. As your engine loses oil, the wear on internal components increases.. Low oil levels can lead to catastrophic problems for your engine, and despite a gasket replacement costing a little upfront, it’ll save massive headaches for you and your wallet down the line.

 

How do I know if my valve cover gasket is bad?

 

A bad valve cover gasket has multiple different symptoms, some that are similar to other issues with your engine and some that are unique to the specific gasket. Some of the symptoms that can be signs of a bad gasket include:

 

Visible Oil Leaks 

 

When oil is able to escape, it’ll often leak onto different parts of the engine that may be visible when you pop your hood. Other times, it can drip all the way to the ground and you’ll be left with a blackish brown stain on your driveway under the engine bay. Keep an eye out for these leaks, as having an engine soaked in oil is a good indicator that something isn’t right. 

 

Low Engine Oil

 

With an oil leak comes the accompanying low oil light. If you have an oil light illuminated on your dash or suspect low oil, shut off your car and check your dipstick, as running with low oil can be harmful for your engine even in short periods of time. If you know you have low oil, top off your engine immediately and bring your car to an expert

 

Smell of Burning Oil

 

Often when oil is leaking from the valve cover, it can drip onto extremely hot parts in your engine such as the exhaust pipes or engine block. If you smell burning oil it means your engine is losing oil, and may have or will soon reach dangerously low levels. If you smell this distinct smell, make sure to take it into a service shop to locate and fix the source of the leak. 

 

Misfires

 

With a bad gasket, the oil is able to leak into the spark plug wells and eventually soak the spark plugs. This can result in your engine misfiring, which is the failure of a cylinder to ignite during the engine’s cycle. Misfires will result in reduced performance, and the spark plugs will need to be replaced. In serious cases, misfires can even lead to engine fires. It’s important to look for misfire codes on your dash, and take your car in for service as soon as you see one. In severe instances, you might see your check engine light blinking repeatedly. You should pull over immediately and have your car towed to a professional, as driving with a severe misfire can cause extremely expensive damage to your catalytic converters. 

Valve cover inside engine bay

Valve Cover Gasket Service at Matson Point S

 

If you suspect a problem with your valve cover gasket, or any other gaskets for that matter, Matson Point S has you covered at our Riverton repair shop. Our experienced and certified technicians will make sure your car is all buttoned up so it can spend more time on the road and not in the shop. Call or schedule an appointment online with us today!

Common Problems with Nissan CVT Transmissions

The CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) is a technological innovation meant to create a smoother and more fuel-efficient experience than a traditional automatic. By eliminating gears, CVTs allow the engine to operate at the most efficient rpm.

While the concept of CVTs are good, in practice they were often plagued with issues. This is particularly true for Nissan, which employed CVT gearboxes across its lineup. These transmissions ran into countless issues and were so poorly designed that a class action lawsuit was filed against Nissan. If you are curious about why Nissan’s CVTs are so unreliable, read on to learn more!

What is a CVT?

CVT, which stands for Continuously Variable Transmission, is a type of automatic transmission that uses a belt and pulleys to create an infinite number of gear ratios. With the ability to adjust the gear ratio on the fly, the engine can operate in the most efficient range, regardless of how fast the vehicle moves.

One pulley receives power directly from the engine, while the other sends power to the wheels. Like a traditional automatic, CVTs use a torque converter between the engine and transmission and also use a shifter to engage and drive/lock the transmission at a specific ratio.

Hydraulic pressure actuates the pulleys, allowing them to move between overdrive and underdrive positions and anywhere between.

Nissan CVT Problems

Any time there’s a transmission issue, you will notice it. Whether it’s a new smell, sound, or change in the way your car drives, it’s generally pretty easy to tell when something is wrong. Nissan CVT issues had several symptoms, which will be highlighted below.

Shuddering Transmission

Often referred to as “the judder”, this issue occurs when the belt or pulleys begin to wear out, which would happen far more quickly than it should have on these transmissions. When the components wear out, the steel belt will slip.

Nissan offered a software update to the Transmission Control Module (TCM) that would help technicians diagnose the juddering issue. Two “judder codes” could be triggered and stored in the TCM:

  • P17F0: Replace the Entire CVT
  • P17F1: The technician should inspect the CVT belt before replacing the unit. Replacing the valve body could fix the issue. 

Grinding or Whining Sounds

Another commonly reported issue with Nissan CVT gearboxes is a whining or grinding sound while driving, which can change depending on how fast you are driving. Typically, these sounds are the result of a worn bearing, but they could also be the result of a problem with the CVT belt.

Overheating, Burning Smell, and Limp Mode

The third main issue that plagued Nissan CVTs is overheating. This problem normally occurs when traveling long distances at highway speed or when putting the transmission under a lot of load, such as going up a steep hill.

When the transmission overheats, it can produce a noticeable burning smell while you drive. A bigger problem though is high transmission temperatures sending the vehicle into limp mode. The cooling system on the CVT cannot handle the amount of heat generated by the belts and pulleys.

As a solution, Nissan offered an external transmission cooler upgrade, but even that did not always help. The entire unit may need to be replaced.

How to Prevent Nissan CVT Issues

Due to the underlining design flaws of this transmission, there is no surefire way to prevent problems. With that said, following a strict, routine service schedule can reduce the likelihood of running into issues. Regular inspection and transmission fluid flushes make a big difference in the longevity of any transmission, CVTs included.

CVT Service at Matson Point S

If you need help with your problematic Nissan CVT transmission, come on into Matson Point S! Our Riverton auto repair shop is staffed with skilled and experienced technicians that know the ins and outs of CVTs and can help you figure out the best path to getting your car running as it should again. Call or schedule an appointment online today!

 

How Often Should I Service Boat Trailer Bearings?

It can be easy to overlook servicing your boat trailer. Other than the lights, brakes, and tires you may not give it much thought. One of the most important components on your boat trailer, the wheel bearings, should be on your list of regular maintenance items. Bearing failure can prevent you from trailering your boat or leave you stranded on the side of the road. 

Boat trailer bearings require more frequent maintenance than those found on a regular trailer due to water exposure. 

In this article, you will learn about the importance of proper boat trailer bearing maintenance, and how to perform the service at home!

How Often Should I Grease Boat Trailer Bearings?

There isn’t a hard and fast rule on how often you should service the bearings. The way you use your trailer impacts how frequently you should service the bearings.

If you trailer your boat to and from the water every time you go out, the bearings are exposed to water a lot more frequently. If you don’t keep your boat at a marina all summer, you should service your bearings a minimum of once a year.

If you go out infrequently or keep you boat at a marina, you can probably get away with servicing them every two years. 

How to Grease Boat Trailer Bearings

It’s easy to service the bearings on your boat trailer at home. With a bit of mechanical knowledge and a willingness to get a little greasy, you can perform this service in your driveway in an afternoon!

Secure the Trailer

Before beginning the project, make sure to secure the trailer. The safest way to do this in your driveway is to hook the trailer up to your truck, put it in park, and chock the wheels with a cinderblock, block of wood, or wheel chock. Be sure you are working on the flattest surface possible.

Jack Up the Trailer and Remove the Wheels

Break the lugs loose on the wheel while it’s still on the ground. Using a floor jack, jack the trailer up enough to get the wheel off the ground. If you have a dual-axle trailer, do one wheel at a time per side.

Remove the Dust Cap

Dust caps prevent contaminants from entering the bearing. To service the bearings themselves, the dust caps need to come off. Using a flathead screwdriver, gently pry the cap off. You can use a hammer or mallet to lightly tap the screwdriver if needed.

If your trailer has Bearing Buddy’s or bearing protectors, a screwdriver will not work for removing them. Instead, gently tap the bearing protector while rotating the hub, and they should come off.

Remove Cotter Pin and Spindle Nut

With the dust cap off, you will see a spindle nut with a cotter pin going through it. remove the cotter pin with plyers. Once the nut is off, you can remove the hub -and the bearings contained within it- from the spindle.

Remove the Bearings 

With the hub off, you can remove the bearing components. They shouldn’t require much force to remove as long as they are not severely rusted or corroded. The front bearing seal can be removed with a seal puller or a screwdriver (the seal will be replaced, so you don’t need to worry about damaging it). With the seal removed, the bearing components will come out easily. To remove the rear bearings, a block of wood can be placed through the hub and tapped, pushing both the bearing and seal out.

The bearings themselves are contained in a metal ring called a race, which will come out of the hub with it

Clean and Inspect the Bearings 

Now that the bearings are out of the hub, it’s time to clean them up. Using a rag, wipe off any excess grease. Using a solvent like kerosene, wash the components clean and inspect them for any rust, corrosion, or damage.

Pack the Bearings with Grease

You can pack bearings by hand or with a packing tool. A bearing packer makes the job far less messy but isn’t required. To do it by hand, take a palm full of high-temperature grease and begin working it into the bearing. Keep doing this until the cage and rollers are filled. Be sure to grease the inside of the hub as well as the bearing races.

Install the Bearings in the Hub

With the bearings packed, you can install them back into the hub. Place the rear bearing into the race and insert it into the back of the hub, followed by the seal.

Take the hub and slide it back over the spindle, with the bearing you just installed going on first. Next, insert the front bearing and race, followed by the washer and nut. If you are having trouble, using a large socket and a hammer can help get the rear bearing flush with the hub. 

Secure, Tighten, and Finish

Using a wrench, tighten the spindle nut to seat the bearings. Next, loosen the nut with the wrench and tighten it again with your fingers – it should only be finger-tight so the hub can rotate freely. Install a new cotter pin and lock the nut in place. Replace the dust cap and that’s it, you’re done!

Boat Trailer Bearing Service at Matson Point S

If you’d rather a professional service your boat trailer, make an appointment at Matson Point S! Our marine specialists will ensure your trailer is ready to go, and won’t leave you stranded on the side of the road on the way to the lake. 

How Do Boat Engines Stay Cool?

Cooling systems in car and truck engines are all the same. Coolant is cycled through the engine block, heater core, water pump, and radiator, removing excess heat from the engine and preventing overheating.   

On the other hand, boats utilize two distinct types of cooling systems. In this article, we will go over how boat engines stay cool when you are out on the water!  

What Does the Cooling System Do?  

Internal combustion engines generate power with thousands of tiny explosions per minute, and all that combustion puts off lots of heat.   

With no place to go, all that heat would quickly lead to lots of issues, from a blown head gasket to catastrophic engine damage. Cooling systems solve this problem by cycling a liquid (antifreeze or water) through the engine block with a pump. The coolant absorbs heat from the motor, and then passes through a heat exchanger, allowing it to dissipate.  

While variations of this system are used across all internal combustion engines, there are some differences in the way boat motors are cooled.   

Raw Water Cooling  

Most small boats use a cooling system called raw water cooling. Unlike cars and trucks, boats operate in an unlimited supply of cold liquid, a lake or river! Raw water systems take advantage of this by continuously drawing water from the lake, pumping it through the engine, and expelling the hot water back out.   

A big advantage of raw water systems is simplicity. A rubber impeller pulls water from the lake or river, and expels it out through the exhaust. Raw water cooling is used on all outboard motors and many inboard/sterndrive systems.  

Without coolant on board, there is no risk of antifreeze leaking into the body of water a boat is on. This added benefit is a significant reduction in environmental risk, as coolant is extremely toxic to wildlife.  

Enclosed Cooling System  

In marine applications, an enclosed cooling system uses a combination of internally circulating coolant and raw water to keep the engine cool. Much like a car or truck, an engine with enclosed cooling has a reservoir of antifreeze that circulates through the engine. Unlike a car or truck, however, the coolant passes through a heat exchanger which is cooled by a separate raw water system instead of a radiator cooled by air.   

Enclosed cooling systems are more complicated than raw water but offer performance advantages. Enclosed cooling systems are more effective at cooling the engine, allowing it to operate at higher temperatures safely.   

Additionally, enclosed cooling is beneficial for boats operating in salt water. Keeping saltwater separate from the engine prevents corrosion and extends the life of the motor.   

Marine Engine Cooling Maintenance  

No matter what cooling system your boat has, regular maintenance is essential. If something goes wrong and your engine overheats, the repair bill can get expensive quickly. Raw water systems will require periodic impeller replacements and proper winterization every year to prevent cold weather damage.   

For boats with enclosed cooling, it is important to check and replace the raw water impeller if needed and make sure there is no buildup or corrosion preventing water flow in the heat exchangers. This is especially important for boats that operate in salt water, whether it is the ocean or the Great Salt Lake.   

Marine Service and Repair at Matson Point S  

Matson Point S is your go-to boat repair shop in the Salt Lake Valley. Our facility in Riverton is staffed with some of the most skilled marine technicians in Utah. You can trust our team to handle all your marine services, from general maintenance to diagnoses and parts replacement. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today! 

 

Best Lakes for Boating in Utah

Utah is best known for its winter activities and national parks. After all, we have the “greatest snow on earth” in the Wasatch Range and world-famous parks like Arches and Canyon Lands in the south. These attractions bring in lots of visitors and keep locals from leaving.

Outdoor activities in Utah aren’t just limited to wintertime and national parks. Our state has some great lakes that provide ample space to get out on your boat and explore. Whether you like water sports, fishing, or just cruising on the water, Utah’s lakes provide ample water space for all activities. In this article, we’re going over some of the best lakes in Utah to go boating!

Lake Powell

Lake Powell is a reservoir in southern Utah, right on the border with Arizona. A series of narrow channels cut through the desert, Lake Powell offers stunning views of high red stone cliffs and arches.

Lake Powell is a man-made reservoir located in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. It has an average depth of 132 feet and is home to fish including bass, crappie, catfish, carp, brown trout, and more. Being in southern Utah, you can expect warm water temperatures of around 70-80 degrees in the summer.

Lake Powell has several large marinas. Wahweap Marina is the largest on the lake and is located in Page Arizona. Bullfrog Marina, the second largest, can be found on the Utah side, located in Hanksville.  

White boat docked at Lake Powell

Depending on where you live, it can be a bit of a drive to get to Lake Powell. The closest major cities are St. George and Cedar City, both of which are 150 miles away. If you live in the Salt Lake or Utah County area, expect a drive of over 350 miles. While Lake Powell may not be ideal for a weekend trip, a long vacation here can be perfect.  

Bear Lake

You can find Bear Lake on Utah’s Northern border with Idaho. Sometimes called the “Caribbean of the Rockies” due to its turquoise-colored waters, Bear Lake offers incredible views to visitors, whether you are sitting on the shore or out on the water. The lake has an average depth of 94 feet and over 69,000 acres of surface area. Services can be found at State Marina, Marina Rentals, and North Beach Rentals.

Bear Lake’s location in northern Utah means the water temperature is colder. In the summer, you can expect the water to be around 55-65 degrees. For fishermen, the lake houses cutthroat trout, lake trout, Bonneville whitefish, Bonneville cisco, and Bear Lake whitefish. The latter three species are endemic to Bear Lake, meaning it’s the only place in the world they can be caught!

orange sunset over Bear Lake

Northern Utah cities like Ogden and Logan are closest to Bear Lake, with 40-mile and 87-mile drives respectively. If you live in Salt Lake City or Utah Country, the drive to Bear Lake is well over 100 miles.

Flaming Gorge

Located in the Uintah’s in eastern Utah near the border with Wyoming, Flaming Gorge is nestled in the Ashley National Forest. This man-made reservoir is named for the orange and red rock colors surrounding the water.

Flaming Gorge shoreline with trees

The water in Flaming Gorge ranges from 60-68 degrees in the summer. The reservoir has an average depth of 212 feet and is home to 9 species of fish, including Kokanee salmon, brown trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and burbot.

This reservoir is pretty far from most major cities in Utah (203 miles from Salt Lake City, 194 miles from Ogden, 183 miles from Park City) but its remoteness is part of the draw. If you live in Vernal or Naples, the drive is much shorter, only around 40 miles.

Once you are at Flaming Gorge, services can be found at Cedar Springs and Lucerne Valley marinas. The lake offers 42,000 acres of surface area and camping in the surrounding forest.

Jordanelle Reservoir 

So far, the lakes on this list have been a significant distance away from the Salt Lake Valley, meaning for a large portion of Utahans, a planned multi-day trip is often required to visit them. Jordanelle Reservoir is located in Wasatch County, only 10 miles from Park City and less than 40 miles from Salt Lake City.

Jordanelle Reservior with snow-capped mountains

The reservoir is home to yellow perch, smallmouth, and largemouth bass, as well as rainbow and brown trout. It has an average depth of 109 feet. Due to its elevation and water supply coming from snow melt, the water can be colder, usually below 70 degrees.

Jordanelle Rentals and Marina offers boat, kayak, and jet ski rentals. The reservoir is located in Jordanelle State Park, which offers camping and hiking in addition to lake activities.

Utah Lake

Located in Utah County, Utah Lake is a shallow body of water only a few miles from Provo and Orem. Despite having a maximum depth of 14 feet, its proximity to the surrounding cities makes it a popular destination.

You can catch Bullhead and Channel catfish, Common carp, walleye, and more in Utah Lake.

Several marinas around the lake offer rental services, boat launches, and picnic areas.

Utah Lake in the distance with city

Conclusion

This is far from an exhaustive list. Utah has many more lakes to explore, but these are some of the most popular, and for good reason. No matter where you live in the state, you aren’t too far from great boating.

Marine Service at Matson Point S

Matson Point S is the Salt Lake Valley’s best marine service shop. Our experienced boat technicians can handle everything from general maintenance to in-depth repairs. Need some work done before you head out for a weekend on one of Utah’s lakes? Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

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