Chipped over sil­i­cone

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Ask Smithy - GRA­HAM SMITH

My un­der­stand­ing as a me­chanic is that us­ing ex­cess sil­i­cone sealant in the as­sem­bly of en­gines and au­to­matic trans­mis­sions is an ab­so­lute no-no. Par­ti­cles of sealant can con­tam­i­nate the oil, lead to the block­age of oil gal­leries and cause the demise of en­gines and trans­mis­sions. Well, I bought a new Ford Ranger PX 4WD util­ity in July and have no­ticed ex­ces­sive sealant has been used in the as­sem­bly of the diff. This may not be as crit­i­cal as with en­gines and trans­mis­sions — but if the amount of sealant on the out­side of the diff is any in­di­ca­tion of what is in­side, do I have a prob­lem? Is my ute the vic­tim of a bad bond­ing job? What should I do?

Rick Camp­bell, email Ex­cess sealant sug­gests sloppy work­man­ship. Men­tion it to your dealer and sug­gest they dis­as­sem­ble the diff and put it back to­gether cleanly — or you could let it go and hope it doesn't cause any later prob­lems. If it was the en­gine I would want to fix it but in the case of a diff I’d be tempted to re­port it in case some­thing does de­velop, and let it go.


I read a com­plaint in your col­umn about a MercedesBenz pulling to the left. Here’s a sim­i­lar prob­lem, which I had for nearly a year and a half be­fore I went to a tyre re­pairer and was told my front tyres were too wide. The ad­vice was to go to a nar­rower tyre and this fixed the prob­lem. The load on the tyre was too great and the car was mov­ing on the tyre and then pulling to ei­ther the right or left. My car wasn’t a ML300, it was a 380 SEL, but it had the same prob­lem.

Michael Wrob­lewski, email Low-pro­file tyres are more prone to fol­low­ing the changes in the road sur­face than higher as­pect ra­tio tyres, which is prob­a­bly what you were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing. My Kia Sorento, as in an ear­lier re­port, has had in­ter­mit­tent power loss over about six months. Kia tried many things, re­mov­ing the in­jec­tors and check­ing the pres­sure, even re­plac­ing the en­gine man­age­ment — but as it was in­ter­mit­tent they couldn’t find the cause. About four weeks ago I changed the bat­tery and haven’t had a prob­lem since. A truck fleet owner told me a faulty cell in the bat­tery could cause this is­sue. So far so good.


I bought my Ford Fo­cus hatch new in Novem­ber 2010. Af­ter 10 at­tempted fixes over the past 18 months, I’m still chas­ing the lo­cal deal­er­ship and Ford about the leak in the boot. By re­pair No. 6, all I wanted was a new car. Con­sumer Af­fairs has helped but ac­cord­ing to con­sumer law Ford is do­ing what it should be do­ing, re­pair­ing the ve­hi­cle. Where do I stand and what more can I do?

San­dra Padth­away, email Yes, the con­sumer law re­quires the maker to try to fix a prob­lem. That said, there has to be a rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tion of an out­come, and the fact there is no sat­is­fac­tory out­come af­ter 10 at­tempts I would think is quite un­rea­son­able and per­haps you do de­serve to have a new car. Consult Con­sumer Af­fairs again for the of­fi­cial view, then con­sider le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion. You could also speak to our body re­pair spe­cial­ist, Graeme Cuth­bert, on 0422 444 335, and get his opin­ion on what might be caus­ing the leak.


Seal of dis­ap­proval: A reader is con­cerned about the bond­ing job on his Ford Ranger

John Arm­strong, email

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