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Malicious devil rumors plague P&G

A friend said the enclosed letters were handed out in her church recently. She swears the information about Procter & Gamble's association with the Church of Satan is true.

Could you check on this? I don't believe it but I don't like to argue with a friend. D. Jacks

Response: The letter says that the president of Procter & Gamble appeared on the Phil Donahue show on March 1, 1994 and announced he was coming out of the closet about his association with the Church of Satan.

He supposedly said that a large portion of profits from the company's products goes to support this satanic church and that his saying so on TV would not hurt the business because "there are not enough Christians in the United States to make a difference."

The letter urges readers not to buy Procter & Gamble products and to make copies of the notice and pass it on to others in order to "be counted as a Christian."

You were right not to believe this letter. It is malicious claptrap.

This ugly rumor has been going around the country since the early 1980s. It claims Procter & Gamble's registered trademark incorporates the number 6, which is supposed to be linked with the devil.

Procter & Gamble has tried to debunk the rumors with letters from the Revs. Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell and from Donahue's producers saying there have been no such TV appearances. The company has even changed the logo on its products.

However, last we heard, Procter & Gamble was still getting up to 200 phone calls a day on this topic.

No doubt the rumor will continue to spread, human nature being what it is.

Old van's engine needed rebuilding

I took my 1982 Plymouth Voyager van with more than 121,000 miles to Precision Tune in St. Petersburg where I have been a longtime customer. They diagnosed the problem as a burned valve.

I told them I was concerned about the condition of the pistons and cylinders because of the high mileage. The mechanic said there should be no problem once the valve job was done.

But upon completion of that job (which cost me $850), I had problems with oil burning, rod knocking and collapsed lifters. The mechanic suggested I get a rebuilt engine for $1,995 (lowered to $1,500 after many days of discussion).

Later I found out that the mechanic who repaired the valve had questioned the extensive damage to the valve and said he wasn't surprised that the engine now had "bottom-end" problems. His diagnosis was never relayed to me at the time of repair.

Had Precision mentioned the extent of valve damage before they finished the valve job, I could have made a more informed decision on repairing the engine and saved some money.

My efforts to receive satisfaction have been unsuccessful. Gary Hamilton

Response: W.F. Williams of Precision Tune says you brought in your van with a knock in the top portion of the engine. It was also determined that your No. 7 cylinder was dead. You said the knock just started and you didn't know anything about the dead cylinder.

Williams said you were told you needed to have at least the upper part of your engine rebuilt but you might consider rebuilding the entire engine because it may have run too long with a dead cylinder and done damage to the bottom part of the engine.

The mechanic who did the valve work saw that a hole had burned through the valve, which would allow gas and oil to leak into the lower part of the engine, but because you said the knocking had started only recently and you did not want to rebuild the whole engine, Williams said, Precision did not authorize tearing down the complete engine.

Apparently when the newly installed parts were functioning properly, the weaker parts gave way, Williams said.

People who do not service their cars regularly should accept responsibility for these actions and not expect someone else to pay for their mistakes, he said.

Sorry we couldn't help resolve this.

By the way, your bill from Precision Tune shows your van having six cylinders.

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write: Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call your Action number, 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, (800) 333-7505, ext. 8171, to leave a recorded request for Action.

Requests will be accepted only by mail or on our voice mail system; calls cannot be returned. Please send only photocopies. If your complaint concerns merchandise ordered by mail, we need copies of both sides of your canceled check.

We may require additional information or prefer to reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a full mailing address, including ZIP code. Upon request, names will not be published.

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