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Automania/Repair & Maintenance


by Bob Hagin

Q. I can't find any parts for my '64 Dodge Dart sedan. It has a Slant Six 170 engine. I've contacted J.C.Whitney in Chicago, Year One in Atlanta, Steve's Performance in Alabama and many others. I hope you will be able to give me additional leads to find parts for my antique auto.
R.J. San Bernardino, CA

A. Although it's not as active as it once was due to a major illness suffered by its director, the Slant Six Club of America is active through its many chapters around the country. These enthusiasts are dedicated to the preservation and enjoyment of Chrysler products that are powered by its versatile Slant Six engine in general and the Dodge Darts and Plymouth Valiants in particular. My son Brendan has a '66 Dodge Dart and so far, he hasn't had a problem finding what he needs to keep his car operating. He belongs to a local chapter of the Slant Six Club and gets a couple of flyers each year announcing club events. He recently put me on to an internet site called dodgedart.org. It's operated and maintained by Joseph Newhouse and he encourages Dart owners to e-mail him at sragow@juno.com. His states that he doesn't sell parts himself but that he can put you on to shops around the country that can supply you with what you need. Another way is to simply type the words Dodge Dart into any internet search engine to see what comes up. Also, Layson's Restorations in Oregon is a great source for parts.

Q. I have a 1980 Toyota two-wheel drive pickup truck with a manual transmission. It has gone just over 200,000 miles. I've kept it up pretty well and service it pretty regularly. Not long ago I was under it changing the oil and the oil filter and noticed was seemed to be traces of coolant leaking from the left side of the engine just under the manifold. I thoroughly cleaned off the area and examined it with a flashlight and found that coolant seems to be coming from the side of the engine and not from a leaking hose or gasket. Is it possible that there is a crack in the engine block? My friends say that it doesn't happen to a car unless the weather is below freezing and the radiator has only water and no antifreeze in it. Can the engine be saved?
B.K. Grants Pass, OR

A. It never gets very cold in my area of California and I've come across three of those older Toyota pickup trucks with the 20R engine that had cracked blocks. They've all been cracked next to cylinder Number Three and no one has been able to give me an answer as to why it happens. Good ones are hard to find in wrecking yards, but the crack can be repaired through welding. However, welding is almost an art and the welder has to really know his stuff, since the block has to cool slowly so as to not warp. Unfortunately, the engine has to be completely dismantled to do the job. A slightly later 22R "long deck" Toyota engine can be used but it requires a lot of stuff from the old engine.

Q. We have a 1987 Mercury Capri that drops spots of some kind of oil on the floor of our carport. It has a V6 and an automatic transmission. The mileage on it is around 150,000 miles, but we don't know for sure because the speedometer is broken. The whole bottom of the car is covered with oil but the oil levels in the engine, the transmission and the power steering don't go down much.
C.S. Virginia Beach, VA

A. If the underside of your car is really bad, you'll probably need to put it on a lift to check it out. Have a detail shop steam clean the underside, then immediately park it on spread-out newspapers so you can get an idea of the general location of the leak. If you can't spot it yourself, you may need a mechanic to do a dye-check. A dye is put into the suspected oil source, the vehicle is run for an couple of hours, put on a lift and the underside checked with an ultra-violet light.

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