Talking Cars: 2011 Mustang all it could be

Junior Damato

QUESTION: I own a 2007 Mustang GT five-speed manual transmission and want to either add some performance equipment to it or upgrade to a 2011 GT. My question is, Have you driven the new Mustang with an automatic transmission? Is the 5-liter that much better than my 4.6?

ANSWER: Our test Mustang was the new 2011 5.0 automatic convertible and what a car it is for the money. In stock form with the six-speed automatic, 412 hp stock, you are in for one giant step ahead. Ford has done it right with this car and drive line package. The car has more power and performance than you would believe. A few add-on performance parts right from Ford Motor Sport will make it even better, if you want. The lined convertible top is very quiet on the highway, and gone is the wind noise from the old convertible tops. This is a car that you need to test drive before spending any money on your current Mustang.

QUESTION: I own a 1987 Cadillac 5.0 V/8 purchased new in 1988. My problem is the a/c got very weak this year. It does not blow as cold as it used to. Before I take it into the shop, what can I expect for a repair and at what cost? I understand that the old R12 Freon in no longer available.

ANSWER: From your letter it sounds like the refrigerant has leaked out, which is not unusual for a lot of vehicles of five years and older. A simple recharge will usually make the a/c cold again. The conversion from the old R12 to the new friendly R134a is simple and inexpensive. The technician will simply evacuate the system, suck out as much oil in the system as possible or remove the a/c compressor and drain out the old oil. Next he will install the new fittings on both a/c lines, and hook up the a/c machine and enter into a vacuum. The new a/c oil is put in then the most important part, only add 75 percent of the new R134a a/c refrigerant, not the full amount listed on the a/c system. The new R134a needs more room for expansion.

QUESTION: I have a 1990 Eagle Talon Tsi (turbo) that bucks when put into gear for about a minute or two after I start the car. After that the car runs just fine. Even after a drive, when I turn it off for about half an hour it will buck again for a minute after starting it. The technician cannot diagnose the problem because he has only a minute to catch it. What do you think it could be?

ANSWER: The bucking for a minute or so on a fuel-injected engine when started, after an engine has sat a while, usually indicates a fuel injector not spraying the correct fuel ratio. It could be air at the injector, lack of fuel pressure, dirty injector, etc. A very minor head or head gasket leak could also wet the tip of the sparkplug and also cause this problem. Your technician will need to have the car in the shop and perform a few tests and inspection of the plugs. A fuel pressure test is also a must to see if the fuel pressure drops below specs after the engine has been shut off for an hour plus.

Junior Damato writes regularly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360, or e-mail