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Automania/Repair & Maintenance
AUTO QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR WEEK 39 YEAR 2000
by Bob Hagin
Q. We have a 1989 Ford Mustang that we bought new to use as the family car for myself and my wife. It's a convertible with a small four cylinder engine. Since then, we've had two children and had to buy a Ford Windstar to carry the family. We've kept the Mustang for sentimental reasons and don't put very many miles on it any more. Mostly we use it in the summer and keep it in the garage the rest of the time. Several months ago when we took it out for a Sunday drive, I noticed a peculiar phenomenon that I'd never experienced before. While I was accelerating in high gear, I felt a vibration that seemed to come through the whole car. It would do it less if I held a constant speed but when I took my foot off the gas, the vibration would go away. The times I've taken it out since then, it has gotten worse. I took it to the service station that services our Mustang but the young fellow who looked it over couldn't find the problem. Is this going to cause a major problem?
A. The chances are good that the universal joints in the drive shaft have worn out from lack of lubrication. The drive shaft is the long tube that transmits the power from the engine to the back axle. It has two and sometimes three of these "X"-shaped devices that allow the rear axle to move up and down as the your car encounters irregularities in the road while the engine and transmission stay rigid in the car. In the "old days" these "U" joints were equipped with grease nipples for lubrication, but later these were eliminated. Have a shop check it out.
Q. I recently took my 1992 Toyota 4Runner into a nationally-televised brake shop because the brake pedal was pulsating when I had my foot lightly on it while coming to a stop. I was told that it needed all new brake shoes and pads as well as new rear brake drums and front rotors. The mechanic showed me where there were groves and scratch marks on these parts and that one of the brake pads was worn down into the metal. The bill was high and I wonder if all those new parts were necessary.
A. They very well may have been necessary. All modern brake drums and rotors have machining tolerances cast into them somewhere. These tolerances tell the machinist how thin the rotors can legally be and how "big" the drum can legally be. If these parts could have been machined and remained within these tolerances, you were sold parts unnecessarily.
Q. For quite a while now I've been trying to find a shop manual for my vehicle. It is a 1988 Mitsubishi van and it is also known as a wagon. I've tried all the dealerships as well as the local parts stores. None of them have been able to help me. Do you know where I can get one?
A. Finding a shop manual for a vehicle that's been out of production for a decade is difficult, especially one that wasn't a good seller. I tried going on line to the websites of Haynes Publications (my favorite) and Chilton Publishing and came up empty-handed. Mitchell Manuals doesn't even list Mitsubishi. Motor only supplies professional general repair manuals that cover lots of Asian trucks and vans and they only have them for '93 to '99 models. I've gotten into the habit of searching used book stores for auto literature and I've often come across odd shop manuals. The 14th edition of Hemming's Vintage Auto almanac has seven pages of auto literature dealers and you can also list what you need on the website of the International Automotive Literature Internet Exchange at www.mclellansautomotive.com. Its "literature wanted" list is worldwide. A friend used it to find a shop manual for his '70 Datsun 2000 Roadster when all else failed.
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