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Automania/Repair and Maintenance


by Bob Hagin

Q. My 1993 Dodge D-250 3/4 ton pickup has a paint problem. At 68,000 miles, the paint on the right side of the hood near the windshield and also on top of the cab started to crack, split and patches of paint started peeling away. At present, the affected area on the hood is about two feet square and still peeling off as I drive down the freeway to and from work. The area on the cab is getting bigger too. I have contacted the Dodge rep, but he has no answer except that the paint warranty ran out at 36,000 miles. I work in an office so the truck has never been around any construction sites. I purchased it new and it has never been in any kind of an accident so this is the original factory paint.
J.P. Byron, CA

A. At 20,000 miles past the warranty cutoff date, I don't think you're going to get any help from Dodge although I've passed your letter on to its P.R. department for comment. I think that there was some kind of paint booth problem at the factory when your rig was sprayed so there's probably dozens of trucks like yours with the same bad paint. Pay a really good paint shop (maybe a vintage car restoration shop) to give you an evaluation of the problem plus an estimate of what it will cost to make it right. From that point on, I think you'll have to go through the legal system to try to get it paid for. Q. We have a very annoying and perplexing problem with our 1985 Chevy truck which is part of our Dolphin motor home. In 1993 we discovered oil leaking onto the floor boards from the top of the driver's side of the firewall. The carpet was saturated as well as the floor boards and it even leaked onto the outside step. Our selling dealer checked the problem and really couldn't find what caused it. Eventually they did $500 worth of repairs and replaced the booster, push rod and put in a pint of fluid but it's doubtful that they solved the problem. We had the problem again in 1995 but due to illness, we unable to do much driving so we don't know when the problem started again. The mechanic has no idea how to fix it. I'm extremely upset that I must again clean up this oily mess on the carpet and floor boards and I have no idea how to cope with it on a continual basis. It must be fixed.

C.C. Eugene, OR

A. Judging by the parts that were replaced, the fluid on the floor of your RV is brake fluid rather than motor oil or automatic transmission fluid. Your next stop should be at a brake specialty shop to check out the system for a faulty brake master cylinder. It may be that the cylinder has a periodic obstruction that allows too much pressure to be built up or it's possible that there's some other obstruction in the brake hydraulic system. When you finally get it fixed, asked for a detailed description on the repair order of what was done.

Q. I would like to know how I can get oil stains out of the concrete of my driveway. My auto leaks a small amount daily upon the concrete where I park it. I have tried several oil stain removers including cat litter granules. However, none of them are able to remove the stains.
W.W. Franklin, VA

A. The safest method to use to remove oil spots from concrete is to pour on a commercial-grade detergent like Gunk, then brush it around with a sacrificial broom. You can pick up the residue with a drying agent like Kitty Litter but I prefer to use a powder made from burned rice husks instead. I buy it in my local parts store but it may not be available everywhere. It's messy to handle (the residual dust get into everything) but as a drying agent, it can't be beat. I had the floor of my shop painted some years ago and before they did it, the painters stripped it with a muriatic acid solution and then pick up the residue with rice husks. I've seen the job done with battery acid but that's pretty hard on the environment.

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