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Automania/Repair & Maintenance

AUTO QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR WEEK 47

by Bob Hagin

Q. We have a '91 Lincoln Continental (bought used) and the car was riding well until we had to take it to a Lincoln dealer after receiving a recall letter from Ford to have the transmission changed. We had not experienced trouble with the transmission. Since that time, whenever we take the car over 58 MPH, it starts to shake. We stop on the side of the road, turn off the engine and then restart it. This can happen two or three times in a one hour ride. We have taken the car to two dealers, had the old tires balanced, bought new tires and had them balance but it still shakes. I took it to our local mechanic but he couldn't help. I even wrote to Ford Customer service and received a letter from them stating that they couldn't help and to take it to a dealer for service. It has gotten to the point where I'm afraid to take the car on the road.
I.K. Huntingdon, PA

A. It's pretty hard to determine what another mechanic did wrong but that's obviously what happened. I'd guess that the problem is in the output side of the replacement transmission or in the drive shaft but it would take some in-depth trouble shooting to find it. Try to get a detailed report of what was done to your Lincoln and what new parts were involved. You were entitled to one when the job was done. Discuss the problem with the service manager of the shop that did the job and maybe he can come up with an answer. It may be worthwhile having a discussion with the Lincoln field representative about the problem but it's been my experience that factory field engineers only want to discuss things affecting current model cars that are still in warranty. The problem could affect the safe operation of the car so register a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 1-800-424-9393.

Q. We have a '92 Toyota Previa that has had regular service at the dealer's shop. The vent put out such hot air that you'd think you had heater on. Switching the several times between the vents for recirculating and fresh air used to take care of the problem but no more. We have to either run the a/c or shut off the vent and open the windows. Has Toyota reported having this type of problem?
B.D. Redlands, CA

A. "Regular service" usually means that a dealer executes the items that he has put on his own in-house service menu for your car which doesn't include taking car of individual problems. A quick test would be to shut off the heater core (a small radiator that heats incoming fresh air) at its valve, by-passing the operating lever. If this doesn't keep the core from getting hot, the valve is at fault. Your Previa may also have operating levers and cables that have come adrift behind the dash. We have a couple of Previas in the family and neither have had the problem. My source of Toyota mechanical information tells me that the problem is not common and couldn't provide a specific answer since he hadn't come across it. Be ready to pay the going shop rate for a fix.

Q. I recently bought a '75 F-250 Ford Camper Special pickup truck. I replaced the controls that regulate the water flow and also thoroughly flushed the system. Although the heat coming from the heater is much hotter, the four-speed fan is quite unimpressive as to the volume of air it shoots out. It appears that the only outlet is right in the center of the cab and blows to both the right and left sides. Does this sound normal for a truck?
L.W. Boise, ID

A. Twenty-one years ago, pickups were considered just trucks and didn't have car-like amenities built in. If you're unhappy with the air output of variable-speed fan, you can by-pass the switch electrically to see of there's age-induced resistance in the switch. If it spins considerably faster, the switch should be replaced. If it doesn't, you'll have to reengineer the system or wear warmer clothes.

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