DEAR CAR TALK: On a current enterprise journey to Minnesota, I succumbed to a neighborhood Craigslist posting for a 1988 Mercedes 560 SL convertible. Rust-free and smooth-shifting, it was greater than your brother ever requested for in a automotive. I purchased the automotive, parked it in a good friend’s barn and flew dwelling to Oregon till I can return to make the street journey.
I do know the timing chain and slide rails had been not too long ago changed, and the brakes had been serviced with new pads and rotors not 10,000 miles in the past. The battery is new, the tires are good and the transmission fluid and coolant have been flushed at an acceptable interval.
I’m not a mechanic. What preparations ought to I take to make sure strife-free journey to the West Coast so I do not find yourself as bison meals whereas passing via Yellowstone?
That is what I’ve on my guidelines to this point: screwdrivers and crescent wrenches, multi-tool with assorted torques and different bits, flashlight, small battery leap pack, mini air compressor, assorted fuses, rags, spare set of belts, two quarts of oil, a spare oil filter, a gallon of water, AAA membership with 200-mile tow, and a cellphone with the Greyhound bus reservation line on pace dial.
What else ought to I contemplate when taking a street journey with this 32-year-old automotive? I will ship you a postcard from wherever I break down.
DEAR READER: Properly, be sure to have your hairpiece glued on rather well as a result of the very first thing to interrupt would be the hydraulic mechanism that places the convertible high again up. The issue, Richard, is that there is actually no technique to totally put together for an journey like this. You have lined your self for 15 or 20 issues that may go incorrect. However there are millions of issues that may go incorrect. And it is merely unattainable to anticipate all of them. And Murphy’s Legislation (which is named Mercedes Legislation in Germany, by the best way) says that what does go incorrect will probably be one thing that requires a component that hasn’t been in manufacturing since 1998.
So you will have to select. Both you need the journey of constructing this journey, with all of the thrills and potential tragedies and tales to inform that come together with it. Otherwise you actually simply need to get the automotive dwelling, wherein case you possibly can pay a automotive provider $1,200 to trailer the automotive dwelling for you and uncover what’s incorrect with it whereas staying inside “Hello hon, are you able to come choose me up?” distance.
In case you actually need the journey, then settle for that it is largely unpredictable, and you would get caught for a month ready for elements in Wyoming. If I had been you, I would plot out any Mercedes dealerships between Minnesota and Oregon on a map and plan a route that takes you proper by each one in all them. Discovering somebody who can work on this automotive and getting elements could also be your greatest challenges if in case you have an uncommon downside.
After which, plan to make the journey in the summertime, once you will not freeze to dying for those who do get stranded. However take some fall and winter garments with you, simply in case. Get pleasure from, Richard.
DEAR CAR TALK: I’ve a 2004 Nissan Xterra with a regular transmission. There’s a fairly substantial leak that’s darkish. It seems like oil, however my oil stage is not dropping.
The leak is beneath the engine on the passenger facet. For the reason that oil stage is not dropping, what may it’s? My energy steering stage is ok. Thanks.
DEAR READER: If it is actually darkish, it might be a 2016 Preston Vineyards Petite Syrah. However extra possible, the leak is coming out of your entrance differential.
Differentials enable the left and proper wheels to rotate at completely different speeds, which they should do once you’re turning, otherwise you’ll drag your exterior wheel right through the flip. You’ve two differentials on this Xterra as a result of it has four-wheel drive; one on the entrance axle and one within the rear. And guess the place the entrance differential sits? Underneath the engine, simply to the passenger facet of the oil pan. Bingo!
Sadly, it is exhausting to examine the oil stage within the differential, as a result of it would not have a dipstick. We examine it by eradicating the plug on the surface of the housing, sticking a finger in there (the unique dipstick!) and seeing if our finger comes out with oil on it. My guess is yours will not, Jeff. So you will save somewhat cash on cleaning soap, and you may put that towards your new differential.
Truly, you is likely to be OK. It will depend on how low the oil stage has gotten and the way lengthy you’ve got been driving it this fashion. In case you already hear a howling sound once you drive — for those who maintain trying within the rearview mirror, questioning why the state police are after you — then the differential is shot, and you will have to interchange it. But when it is not making noise but, you possibly can have your mechanic discover the leak and repair it. It is almost definitely leaking from the pinion seal, which is correct subsequent to the oil pan. Though it might be one of many axle seals, too. Changing the seals is definitely a comparatively simple job. It would not require eradicating the differential, and it will in all probability price you within the neighborhood of $250.
Alternatively, if it begins howling, you will want to seek out your self a superb, used differential, and you will be taking a look at three to 5 occasions that value. So cease studying and go get it taken care of now, Jeff.
Ray Magliozzi dispenses recommendation about vehicles in Automotive Discuss each Saturday. Electronic mail him by visiting cartalk.com