Can you tell me where I can get hand controls...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 2000

Dear Tom and Ray:

Can you tell me where I can get hand controls for my gas pedal and brake? Do you know anybody who does this kind of work? I have a 1988 Caddy. Thanks. -- Emanuel

TOM: Sure. Contact the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. They'll fill you in on the regulations and availability (despite my brother's numerous
requests, nose controls for his '52 MG are not available) and refer you to an installer in your area.

RAY: They can be reached at (800) 833-0427, or on the Web at

Dear Tom and Ray:

I'm the original owner of a 1992 Ford F-150 pickup truck that came equipped with dual fuel tanks. I have 60,000 miles on the truck, and I've done all the recommended
maintenance. Both in-tank fuel pumps are very noisy, and the local dealer says they're failing. Replacement costs are $500 per pump. I have always used fuel from both
tanks equally. Using the "wild guess" method, I did the following calculations: Tank 1 capacity is 16.5 gallons, which equals 27,000 miles of use for that pump; Tank 2
capacity is 18.2 gallons, which equals 33,000 miles of use for that pump. Does it make sense that both pumps would fail with this many miles on them? -- Clyde

RAY: Ordinarily, no. But I think I know why yours are failing.

TOM: Me, too. Here's what you probably do. You start out on Tank 1, and you drive until it's empty. You don't worry about running out of gas, because you can just
flip the switch to Tank 2, right?

RAY: So when Tank 1 runs dry, you flip over to Tank 2, and drive for a while. At some point, you refill the tanks, but stay on Tank 2 (you say you like to use both
tanks evenly), and when Tank 2 runs dry, you switch back to Tank 1.

TOM: And the reason your fuel pumps are failing is because you're running the tanks dry. The gasoline in the tank actually serves as a coolant for the submerged fuel
pump. Without the "coolant," you're running the pumps hot and burning them out prematurely.

RAY: In this case, the pumps (the parts only) cost about $265 each, and you might save some money by going to a local, independent garage or gas station rather than the
dealer. This is a job that any decent mechanic can handle, and you're likely to pay less for labor at a gas station or neighborhood garage.

TOM: But whether it's a $1,000 lesson or $700 lesson, I'm sure you'll remember not to run your tanks dry from now on. Good luck, Clyde.

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