By Doug McAllister
Q. This is my third Mercury Grand Marquis, a 2005 with 78,000 miles bought new. Last winter, after the car had been sitting over night, when I started it up in the morning the valve lifters were very noisy.
After running for a short time, they quiet down and subsequent starts are quiet and normal. All service has been done in a timely manner and done at the dealer. Thee oil has always been the Motorcraft synthetic blend as specified. I suspect the lifters are draining down overnight.
Is there a fix for this without putting in new lifters (That's not going to happen)? Any suggestion will be appreciated.
A. You might want to have the vehicle checked to make sure it is the lifters; it could very well be the lifters but sometimes the camshaft chains can get a little loose and slap a little on start up.
My technician also found a post online about being sure to use the correct oil filter, which we would assume the Ford dealer is using. The other thing you could try is putting in a can of BG MOA, an engine oil supplement. Most stuff you buy in a can I would classify as "snake oil," but the BG products are really good. If it is the lifers, it might just help on start up.
Q. I notice a vibrating noise in my Toyota Camry XLE 2002 model. The noise is more when you are moving slowly. What could be the possible causes and the remedy to apply?
A. There is not enough information here to really know how to advise you. However, the first thing that comes to mind is you might have a heat shield loose on the exhaust system somewhere.
You generally hear this noise at lower speeds and it changes with different engine loads. It typically is a metallic, vibrating rattle sound that comes and goes. It is also an easy fix in most cases.
I recommend you bring the Camry to your shop and go for a ride with a technician so he can hear exactly what your concern is.
Correction: A few weeks back I wrote about a Lincoln Continental with an intermittent electrical problem. I suggested that there may be a short in the wiring. Tom Conley wrote and correctly pointed out to me that what I called a "short" in my write-up was actually an "open" circuit.
I used the wrong term three times in that column and I thought it was important enough to clarify. What I suspected in that car was a broken wire somewhere or a bad connection, not a "short to ground," which would have blown the fuse for that circuit.
• Douglas Automotive is at 417 W. Main St., Barrington, (847) 381-0454, and 123 Virginia Road, Crystal Lake, (815) 356-0440. For information, visit douglasautomotive.com. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.