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Q DURING the recent rains in Victoria, potholes appeared in the Calder Highway that were big enough to catch fish in. I hit one hard enough to pull over to see if there was any damage. There wasn’t, but there were four cars within 100m of me changing wheels. Three of them had 18-inch mag wheels and the other 18-inch steel-chrome, and all had low-profile tyres. I have standardissue 15-inch steel rims, which weren’t damaged. A few years back, I was helping my son buy mag wheels and the salesman did say 18-inch mag wheels were susceptible to damage. Are the larger wheels more prone to damage or is it the lack of give in the lowprofile tyres or both?
Trevor Allan, email It’s really both. The alloy wheels are more susceptible to cracking and breaking than the old steel wheels, which could be belted back into shape if they buckled, and the low-profile tyres do load the wheels more than ‘‘normal’’ higherprofile tyres. We have had a few reports of BMW X5 SUVs cracking their big alloy wheels, and we have been informed by someone who should know that Holden doesn’t run its durability test cars on their big optional alloys because the test is too severe for them.
LOSING ITS COOL
QMY WIFE and I plan to tow a caravan with our 2008 BF Series II Ford Futura and would like to ensure the transmission is up to the job. I believe the car has a small, inadequate cooler located midway along the motor. But both radiator and trans fluid run through it and the pipes have been known to fail, creating major problems. I’m after a larger-capacity cooler, which provides better cooling of the transmission under load and negates the possibility of coolant entering the oil line. A Ford dealer I contacted has a kit but it only works in tandem through the sys- tem that’s already there. That may assist with the cooling but doesn’t resolve the problem of coolant entering the transmission. I also spoke to a Fluid Drive owner who has not come across this problem. The dealer said he’d need to get the car up on the hoist and to use his words ‘‘experiment’’. Can you shed any light on the above or perhaps provide names of transmission companies who may know how to deal with this issue?
Merv Finger, email There’s no system available to do what you want, and with the plastic fittings Ford uses on the heat exchanger it’s not an easy thing to develop. And a note of caution from AW Automatics, who have looked at making an aftermarket exchanger, the six-speed auto tends to run a little hot anyway and replacing the factory exchanger that uses water with an aftermarket one that uses air has the potential to cause the transmission to overheat if the replacement exchanger doesn’t have sufficient capacity to do the job.
TALK TO HOLDEN
Q AFTER asking for the brakes to be checked at the 3000km service on the VE Series II Commodore wagon, I was told the master cylinder needs replacing. That was over a week ago, and Holden is saying it can’t get the part. Have you heard about this issue from anyone else?
Steve Terry, email Why did you ask for the brakes to be checked? Was there a problem with them? It’s most unusual for a master
Warning: A reader is concerned about the steering locking up on an Astra.