RockAuto March Newsletter | Early Edition
Go to the RockAuto Catalog

Another Happy Customer!

I could not believe how easy ordering parts could be! I thought my headlight assemblies would cost hundreds of dollars, but both parts were less than a hundred dollars! This is my first time ordering, but it will not be my last!

Joey in Tennessee

Upcoming Events

Need goody bag items and a gift certificate for your show...RockAuto can help! Email with information about your event.

9 Waubonsee Communtiy College Automotive Open House
Sugar Grove, IL Email
10 Carolina Collector Auto Fest
Hillsborough, NC Email
10 4th Annual Las Vegas Nissan Meet
Las Vegas, NV Email
11 American Car Craft Car Show 2017
Hudson, FL Email
11 10th Annual Shamrock Show & Poker Run
Kill Devil HIlls, NC Email
11 Old Car Drop In at Fuddruckers
Columbia, SC Email
12 Xtreme Car & Truck Showdown
Raleigh , NC Email
17 Corvette Expo Spring
Sevierville, TN Email
17 I-X Piston Powered Auto-Rama
Cleveland, OH Email
18 MS Gulf Coast VW Club Annual Car Show
Biloxi, MS Email
18 SWFL Nationals Car Show
Fort Myers, FL Email
18 South Oceanside Car, Bike & Boat Show
Oceanside, CA Email
18 Sandy Lake Classics Car Show
Jonesville, LA Email
18 The Lakeland VW Classic
Lakeland, FL Email
19 Dick Wheeler Memorial Car Show
Glendale, AZ Email
24 San Antonio AutoRama
San Antonio, TX Email
24 28th Spring Daytona Turkey Run
Daytona Beach, FL Email
24 NCIB Wheels Night
Perry, OK Email
25 Lake Dora Classic
Mount Dora, FL Email
25 British Motoring Club New Orleans 27th Annual British Car Day
New Orleans, LA Email
25 2017 CruiZ'n to the Lakes
Goodyear, AZ Email
25 4th Annual Roar for Kids 2017 Bulverde Car Show
Bulverde, TX Email
Power Stop Spring Brake Kit Rebate
See what we have from Power Stop
Power Stop Brake Kit Rebate

Spring is in the air! Power Stop is offering RockAuto customers an exclusive "Spring Brake" Promo on their premium Rotor/Brake Pad kits. Save up to $30 when selecting a Power Stop upgrade 1-Click Brake kit.

Featuring Rotor/Brake Pad kits, Power Stop takes the guess work out of your brake job. Their pre-assembled kits include Rotors and Brake Pads matched to optimize performance, durability and appearance. Hardware and Wear Sensors are included, where applicable. Replacing all the parts at once improves brake performance and helps prevent problems such as noise, excessive dust or uneven wear.

With even more quality-upgrade options available, RockAuto is sure to have the Power Stop brake kit you need for a performance car, tow vehicle or trusted daily driver. To see the brake choices we have for your vehicle, go to the RockAuto catalog and click on the "Brake/Wheel Hub" category.

Forum of the Month
Ecoboost Performance is an online community of Ford Ecoboost owners and enthusiasts. All Ford vehicles with an Ecoboost engine (both trucks and cars) are represented with comprehensive information ranging from "How To" discussions to motor sports to basic maintenance of your Ecoboost engine.

If you are the administrator or member of a forum and you would like to see your website featured in an upcoming newsletter and receive a discount code to share with your members, contact

Repair Mistakes & Blunders
Repair  Mistakes & Blunders

A shade tree mechanic story follows. I own a 2002 Pontiac Montana 3.4L V6 with 180,000 miles. It had been burning oil for the past year or so (blue smoke from the tailpipe on startup), but otherwise in great shape. It had good compression in all cylinders, so I diagnosed the problem as bad valve stem seals. I ordered the seals and rocker cover gaskets from RockAuto (happened to have a great closeout sale on those items). I started the repair, and as anyone who has worked on this particular van knows, there are quite a few steps required to gain access to the both sides of the motor. You have to remove the air box, throttle body, upper intake, EGR, alternator, power steering pump, coil pack, A/C compressor, engine mounts, drain the coolant, remove hoses, unplug wiring, etc. Plus you need to rotate the engine a bit to access the back.

After replacing the valve stem seals, I decided to go a little further and change out the lower intake gaskets (these are known for failures). So, another order from RockAuto (premium Victor Reinz gasket set and platinum spark plugs). There was a lot of work, but I took my time. Everything went back together without an issue. Or so I thought...

I started the vehicle, and it immediately idled at around 2500 RPM. The check engine light came on due to an error code for the MAF sensor. What was the problem? Bad MAF? IAC? EGR? PCV? A problem with the fuel injector o-rings or with the intake gasket? It sounded like a vacuum leak somewhere, but with all the engine noise, it was impossible to pinpoint by ear. So, I started checking all of the obvious hoses and fittings (and there are a lot – thanks California!), but I did not find an obvious leak. I tried several different troubleshooting methods. Even bought a Lisle mechanic’s stethoscope from RockAuto (nice tool with a sound funnel for detecting air leaks), but no luck. I finally found an online video on how to blow smoke into the intake manifold to detect air leaks. I used that method and BINGO, found the leak!

The gasket between throttle body and intake manifold was slightly rotated. I had missed passing the lower “tough to get to” bolt through the gasket. I reinstalled the gasket to its proper position, and the van ran like new! Three orders and less than $100 in parts!

Thanks RockAuto!

Greg in California

Tell us about your most infamous auto repair blunder or unconventional fix. Use your woe to help others avoid similar mistakes or share off-the-wall solutions that worked (at least for a while!). Please email your story to Include your mailing address and if you would like a RockAuto T-Shirt (please let us know your shirt size) or Hat if we publish your story. See the T-Shirts and Hats under Tools & Universal Parts in the catalog. The story will be credited using only your first name and your vague geographic location (state, province, country, continent, etc.) so you can remain semi-anonymous!

Automotive Trivia
Automotive Trivia

Halfway through every race, Formula E race car drivers must stop to do what?

A. "Quick-Charge" the batteries.
B. Install a freshly charged battery pack.
C. Jump into a second race car with a fully charged battery.

Answer below

It Finally Gave Out
Tom's Story

In December, my wife's '93 Ford Tempo spewed coolant on the floor of the parking garage at her office. Like an embarrassed puppy owner, I wiped up the Ford's mess and carefully drove it home, stopping twice to refill the radiator with water.

At home, I discovered the water was streaming out of the weep hole in the OE water pump. A small stalactite of gunk below the hole indicated the pump seals had probably been slowly leaking for a long time before they finally gave out. That explained why it had been necessary to top-off the Ford's radiator once a month!

On many four cylinder engines, the water pump is behind the timing cover. That is why the water pump is often replaced along with the timing belt as preventative maintenance. The Ford 2.3L in the Tempo happens to have the water pump mounted externally like on a typical V6 or V8 engine. (It also has a timing chain rather than a belt.) All that had to be replaced was the water pump (currently starting at about $12 at RockAuto), but I decided it was also a good time to replace the radiator.

Stains around a tube/tank junction showed the old OE radiator had a slow leak. I did not want to repeat the walk-of-shame in my wife's parking garage or pour relatively expensive clean anti-freeze into a seeping, crusty old radiator. A new radiator (currently about $80 at RockAuto) and cleaner coolant should better help protect the seals in the new water pump as well as the heater core and other cooling system parts.

The weep hole in the water pump is there to vent any coolant that seeps past the seals so that it does not build up and damage the water pump bearing. Regular drips from the weep hole indicates the seals are failing and the water pump should be replaced. This week, I took the Ford's old water pump into the lab (the part of my garage where I keep the vise, hacksaw and ball-peen hammer) for scientific failure analysis.

The water pump has at least three seals made out of a rubber-like material. The inner seal is bonded to a metal disk pounded into the water pump housing similar to a wheel bearing grease seal. A middle seal is sandwiched between metal rings. An outer seal is encased in metal and spins with the pump impeller shaft. A spring keeps all the seals and metal rings compressed against each other and/or the pump housing. I could not see any obvious tears in the seals, but they were hard and crumbly. Some of the metal rings were coated with rust and grime. The compression spring probably had lost some of its springiness after countless heat cycles. At least the bearing was rust-free and still spun with nary a squeak!

Water pump seals last longer if the coolant is kept clean and not allowed to become acidic. Also avoid running the engine/water pump when there is not enough coolant in the system to lubricate the seals. Even with the best maintenance, parts still wear out. I plan to start watching the Tempo's water pump weep hole extra closely around 2040!

Tom Taylor,

To read more of Tom's articles, click this link and choose from story titles on the Newsletter Archives page.

James' 2004 Mazda 6 Wagon
James' 2004 Mazda 6 Wagon

I bought my 2004 Mazda 6 wagon back in March of 2015. I searched long and hard for one with all the right options, in good shape, at a reasonable price. Overall, the car was everything I wanted: manual transmission, clean body and interior, seemingly well kept. It did have a bit of an oil leak and a couple odd CEL codes, but I was so excited about the overall condition, and seemingly great price, I just went for it.

On the way home (~50 miles), my friend who followed me back said that he saw a pretty decent amount of oil smoke each time I took off from a stop. When I got home, I took a look at the oil dipstick... It was dry. The car did have a major oil leak, so I filled it up and continued my inspection. The oil leak appeared to be a valve cover seal, and sure enough the leak went away after installing a Fel Pro gasket set I got from RockAuto. But the oil loss and smoke did not stop there.

I drove the car a few days, checked the dipstick after 100 miles or so, and it was down at least two quarts. Ouch. This engine was probably shot. Now I see why the car was $2700. But I still loved it, so it was time to get it back in order.

After some research, I discovered that the Ford Duratec V6 in the early Mazda 6 was prone to catalytic converter failure. Bits of the ceramic break up in the converter and get sucked into the engine over time. Sure enough, the converters in my car were a rattling disaster, so at least I had figured out the cause of the engine issues. I also learned online that a V6 from a 2006-2009 Ford Fusion will fit into a Mazda 6 with a little bit of adaptation. I obtained the Ford engine and went about swapping over the intake, timing cover, oil pan and other miscellaneous items that were Mazda-specific, all the while replacing seals and components as needed.

I also got the rest of the car in order thanks to RockAuto. Brakes, wheel bearings, shocks and struts all-around, a couple control arms and an engine mount later, my neglected wagon was ready for the road.

Since then, I have put about 12,000 miles on the car and love driving it more each day.

Thanks for the great deals on all the great parts!

James in Michigan

Share Your Hard Work
Do you purchase parts from RockAuto? If so, RockAuto would like to give you the opportunity to have your car or truck possibly featured in one (or occasionally more) of our publications such as the monthly newsletter, collector magnets or RockAuto social media. New, old, import, domestic, daily driver, trailer queen, classic, antique, we want to see them all! Please email with your vehicle's history, interesting details, your favorite images (tips for taking pictures of your car) and what parts from RockAuto you have used.

Automotive Trivia
Automotive Trivia

Halfway through every race, Formula E race car drivers must stop to do what?

A. "Quick-Charge" the batteries.
B. Install a freshly charged battery pack.

Answer: C. Jump into a second race car with a fully charged battery.

Back up to trivia question