Tires, Transmissions and Water Pumps

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Dear Bob,
I have a 94 CHEV Corsica that vibrates at speeds of 40 and 60 - 70 mph. It does this when I press down on the gas pedal and keep it steady. When I ease off the pedal, the vibrating stops. I took it in to 3 different mechanics with conflicting stories. One said that it was my tires and/or wheel alignment. Another, said I need a 36K service which costs about $375. A wheel alignment specialist didn't have a clue after he checked out my tires. Now, I'm hesitant on taking it anywhere in fear of paying for a job and not having the problem resolved. What are your ideas?

Well Monte,
If you did not say that the vibration stops when you let off the gas, I would say that you have a bad tire! But since you can be at speed and not have the vibration by coasting then it must be engine related. You might need a new motor mount or a fuel injector service. With out seeing the car it would be really hard to tell. There are some things that you can do on your own to see. Drive the car for a while, then let it cool down enough to be able to work on it. Pull out the spark plugs on at a time and look at them. They should all look the same. They should not be black or corroded and white to gray to orange is okay. You are probably asking yourself, "what the h-ck is the orange all about, is he nuts?" Well the orange is the residue from the additives that they put in the gasoline and is harmless. Also check the gap to make sure that they are within manufacture tolerances. Located somewhere in the engine compartment will be a tune up sticker that will tell you what the gap should be. Also check the air cleaner and the pcv valve and even the fuel filter if you can get to it. check the wires and the distributor and rotor. These are all things that are performed during a tune up... if these all seem okay, but the spark plugs differed in color from on to the other or they looked spotty, then you might need an injector service. There are some chemicals on the market that you could try that are a lot cheaper, but I do suggest that you get them professionally cleaned. This will run you about $85. The tune up if you do it yourself around $100-$120 in parts.

Hello Bob,
I have a chronic/prevalent problem with my vehicle and I am hoping you can lend some advice in regards to it. My '84 Nissan Pulsar, with an automatic transmission, appears to shift very late. For example, when I try to accelerate to 30 mph, the car revs up to between 3k-4k before the gears change and the car noticeably lurches at this point. It does this twice when I try to accelerate to 60 mph. I've also noticed that the car has no power when I try to drive up a steep hill. I'll max out at about 45 mph with the gas pedal floored when going up the hill. I've just had the transmission fluid replaced and the filter cleaned out and the late shift problem still occurs and in fact, it seems to be worse! They found parts of a plastic o-ring at the bottom of the filter. Any idea as to what I can or should do? Replace the tranny? Is the car still safe to drive?

It sounds like your tranny is gone! And since you indicated that after changing the fluid things got worse was the kicker. You might want to check out getting it rebuilt. It could cost up to $1500.00

Dear Bob,
I have a 93 Pontiac Grand Am (Yes, I've written before with my little headache car) and had to have a new water pump installed in October '96, after only 30,000 miles. It was leaking coolant like crazy & overheating. It first happened that September while in my way to Las Vegas.

Ok, so a new water pump was installed and I've had no problems with it, until tonight. While waiting in the drive-thru lane at a fast-food restaurant, I smelled what seemed to be coolant and then my "low coolant" light came on. I've only put about 3,000 miles on my car since October and this is happening again! What's wrong with my car?
Peaches F

Are we sure that the water pump is leaking again? Could it be a hose decided to start leaking? If it is the water pump, check but there should be a warranty on it. If you had it installed at the dealer I am sure there is, if you had it installed at Pep Boys, then there is either a year or lifetime warranty. You might have to pay for labor, but the part should be covered. This also might be covered under your vehicle warranty. Look into it a little further. If it actually is the water pump that is bad again, then I would suspect that the belt is tooo tight!
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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