The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)

Car Doctor Q&A

- — John Paul, Senior Manager, Public Affairs and Traffic Safety, AAA Northeast

Q Last weekend my 1970 Oldsmobile overheated and had to be towed home. There was no visible sign of leakage from any hoses so I determined it must be a thermostat problem. In replacing the thermostat was relatively straight forward except when putting it back together I could not get the second bolt of the thermostat housing to catch. Without the housing the bolts catch fine but with the housing always one side seems that it won’t catch no matter how much jiggling it will not catch. Also, when taking it apart one bolt had no washer.

A I would make sure that the housing holes are nice a clear and try swapping the bolts side to side. Also make sure the thermostat is properly seated into the intake housing. There is a cutout for the thermostat ridge to sit down into the manifold. Regarding the washer, I believe the original were a flange style bolt, probably lost over the years. Since you have the housing off, try to pick up a set of thermostat housing bolts (5⁄16-18 x 1-1⁄4) and when reassembli­ng, dab a little RTV silicone on the threads. I would just get everything loose and make sure the thermostat is seated and carefully get both bolts to catch and tighten them evenly to 20-foot pounds.

Q I have a question that I would appreciate your input on. I recently purchased a Chevrolet C3 Corvette with less than 60,000 (supposedly actual) miles. Although not serious, the car does have some leakage. There is a minor leak at the bell housing section, and it also appears that the power steering may be leaking. I brought the car to a mechanic who services my daily driver, whom I have used for years and whom I trust. His response to the leaks was not to repair them. His point is that older Corvettes are prone to leaks, and that once repaired, the leaks would only reoccur before long. I am seeking a second opinion. Should these leaks be repaired, or left as is and replenish the fluids as need be? Thank you.

A Your mechanic is right older Corvettes seem to always have some sort of minor leaks and many owners considerin­g the limited amount they drive their cars just live with it. As I see it, there are three options follow your shop’s advice and leave the leaks alone (although they won’t get better by themselves, they may not get worse and monitor fluid levels. Try high mileage oil with the next oil change it can help swell seals and add a power steering sealer and conditione­r which could remedy a leaking steering box or pump. Finally, fix what is wrong, the oil leak could be an oil pan gasket, rear main seal, valve cover gaskets or an oil sender unit. If it were my car, I would start with the power steering leak since there are a limited number of components, hoses, pump and power steering box. All of these power steering leaks could go from a small leak to a major leak quickly and certainly worth looking at. The engine oil leak could seep forever, although I would like to narrow down what is wrong. Your repair shop could try a dye in the oil and then trace the leak with a ultraviole­t light and then determine the actual problem.

Q I recently had a problem with my old Ford Explorer not starting. It cranked over but wouldn’t catch. A really friendly guy stopped by and asked if I needed help-yes. He opened the hood and did something, and the car started up. Since then, it has been running perfect. Any ideas?

A I suspect your Ford had a faulty fuel pump relay and the “friendly-guy” swapped the horn relay with the fuel pump relay.

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