Automania/Repair & Maintenance
AUTO QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR WEEK 24 YEAR 2001
by Bob Hagin
Q. We own a 1995 Ford Crown Victoria. We bought it new and had it
delivered with all the possible accessories. It is a beautiful car and
we have enjoyed very much. It now has 62,000 miles and has given us fine
service. It has one minor problem that so far no one has been able to
find. When I'm stepping on the gas, I hear a slight whine coming from
underneath the car. It isn't loud but I can hear it. I've told the
mechanics about it when I've had it serviced but after a short drive,
they say that it is caused by something in the rear end and that they
have to replace a shaft underneath the car. This will cost a lot of
money and I want to make sure that it's going to stop the whine. If we
don't have it done, will it lead to some sort of big problem?
H.Y. Phoenix, AZ
A. Your mechanic is right about replacing the drive shaft in your Ford
in order to get rid of the whine. According to Ford, the noise is coming
from the rear axle (your car isn't front-wheel drive) and traveling up
the shaft that delivers the power to the rear wheels. The fix is to have
the shaft replaced with an updated model that has a vibration damper
built into the front end of it. Depending on when your car was built, it
may also need a special brace on its frame to further counter the whine.
The parts and their installation aren't cheap and I don't think that it
will cause any damage although you should have your mechanic check out
the universal joints on the ends of your present drive shaft to see if
they show any wear. You may want to check with your Ford agency to see
if maybe there's a "secret" warrenty that will cover the job.
Q. I have a 1987 Toyota four cylinder pickup truck that has 214,000
miles on it. It has a standard shift transmission and it isn't a
four-wheel drive. I keep it in excellent shape and have it serviced
regularly. I've had it for five years and the former owner also had it
service regularly. It wanders on the highway but not enough to be a
problem. A friend has a truck that is like mine except that mine has a
camper shell. I drove his on the freeway and it doesn't wander like mine
although he hasn't had anything special done to it. What is different
about his truck and how can I get mine to drive like his?
T.O. Lubbock, TX
A. When your vehicle has abnormalities such as highway wander, unusual
tire squeal on turns, hands-off "pull" to the right or to the left, or
abnormal tire wear, the problem can most often be traced to incorrect
wheel and/or suspension alignment. Unfortunately most modern cars use
MacPherson strut suspension up front (and sometimes in the rear, too)
and in most cases, the only aspect of wheel alignment that's adjustable
is the toe-in or out. But your pickup is fully adjustable up front and
I'd bet that the alignment on your truck has too little caster angle
adjusted into it. Have a wheel alignment job done on it (which includes
making sure it's at the correct ride height) and your tuck will probably
Q. My bachelor cousin died recently and left no apparent heirs other
than his elderly mother. She had no other children so it was left to her
to dispose of his belongings. He was a lifelong car enthusiast and
subscribed to many auto magazines and saved all of them. He would also
buy any old auto magazines that he came across in garage sales and flea
markets. There are at several hundred of them in seven large boxes and
they go back to the '40s and '50s. How can I find a buyer for them?
C.A. Benicia, CA
A. The Vintage Auto Almanac will give you the names and addresses of
nearly 100 business that deal in old auto literature. You can buy a copy
at large book stores or order one by calling 1-800-227-4373 extension
550. They cost about $13. It might help if you had all your cousin's
magazines on a list but that's a lot of work and may not be worth it.
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