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Author Topic: 03 Aztek Find  (Read 41 times)
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wstefan20
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« on: June 06, 2018, 09:05:14 PM »

Well, I've long been an admirer of the Tek (yes, even before I watched Breaking Bad), but I couldn't afford one, so I've been looking for a project Aztek!

As an introduction on me, I am a college student who is married and looking forward to starting a family, thus why having something other than a two seater would be nice... I'm studying to be an electrical engineer, so I know a few things about wiring. I started working on cars just out of high-school out of necessity, and have since made it a hobby. I specialize in custom wiring and mods that others might not be able to do. I've rebuilt a few engines and transmissions, and do lots of work for friend's and family, but I do work in Research full time and go to school full time, so I don't have a lot of time, or money... I'm big into junkyard finds, and always looking to save a buck!

A few weeks ago, I finally found the one!

Posted for $500, it was a 180,000 mile 2003 base Aztek with some "electrical issues", and a slipping transmission.

Checked the vehicle out, and it was rust free and the body was in great shape, also the engine ran well, and no codes so I checked the usual stuff and made the purchase.

I immediately noticed that the transmission would "slip" and the speedo would drop to zero and the car was basically in "neutral". I've rebuilt a few 4T65E's so I immediately knew this probably wasn't a trans issue 1. since it was rebuilt by certified transmissions less than three years ago, and 2. because of the speedo. I started by changing the vehicle speed sensor and things improved, but not entirely, so I ended up running new wires all the way back to the ecm. Problem dissapeared, and she's driving great!

Only down-side, is that the intake gaskets have never been changed and it's still running DEX-KILL.... the prior owners did the basic to keep this car on the road and nothing more.

Tire's are shot, but the brakes are fortunately good.

Went to get her inspected and of course, they failed it for the control arm bushings, which admittedly were on the way out, but quoted me $780 to repair. I laughed and walked out. Came back with $42 less money in my pocket and hour and a half later after eating lunch and replacing the bushings. They were stunned. I simply tossed the keys and said: "you gonna fail me for anything else?" to which they quickly signed my form and I left with a clean inspection!

Catalytic converter is slightly clogged for sure, and the o2 sensors are definitely overdue for a change, so I'll be doing that.

Just because I'm paranoid, I'll also be replacing headgaskets, intake gaskets, bolts, flushing coolant, trans filter change, water pump change, hoses, belt, plugs, wires, and a few other things while I'm in there.

Haven't had time to take a lot of pictures so I'll add those as I go.

Windshield is cracked so that's not great, but it is high enough to pass inspection.

Electrical ended up being a blower motor pin that needed "re-bent", a window relay, and a bunch of the cluster bulbs including the odometer bulb. All easy stuff.

I'll also expound upon some junkyard finds of mine, namely I grabbed roof rails, pioneer speakers, rear radio controls, and a few other things.

One notable mod that I'm in progress of doing is I noticed the 05+ grand prix radio is the same, and they had an upfitter provision for a monsoon amplifier with center speaker, so obviously, I grabbed one, and am in the process of wiring that up too!

More to come!
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