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#0901: Greetings from Antarctica!

Original Air Date: 01.03.2009

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Description: 
On this week's encore edition of Car Talk, winter is in full effect - except at McMurdo Station, where balmy 32-degree temperatures may be responsible for the bumpy ride in John's Delta. Tom and Ray's very long distance diagnosis is also our Call of the Week. Meanwhile, back in the Great Frozen North, Kelly is wondering whether to heed her mechanic's advice to "let sleeping block heaters lie," and Gladys is scared to use the remote starter Santa left her under the tree. Also this week, a Peugeot owner's got a serious steering problem, and an even more serious problem trying to find someone willing to fix it, Tommy wins a bet from his brother, and we've got the initial results of the first Car Talk Guy Car/Chick Car survey. All this and more, this week on Car Talk.

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This Week's Puzzler

No new puzzler-- the puzzler is on vacation this week.

Last Week's Puzzler

No answer-- the puzzler is on vacation this week.

Show Open Topic

Polka crimes... and the punishment

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Show Review - 710

by Dave Lee

Show Review - 708

by Dave Lee

Show Review - 709

by Dave Lee

McCurdo help

by romicf

Tom & Ray; Its no wonder you guys were 'Banned in Boston', you totally missed the problem of the Delta Snow Rover bouncing around. You should have been thinking of 'worn shocks'. You see, momentum plays a large part in how well a vehicle handles, stays on the road, corners, etc. One of the cures for momentum problems is Shock Absorbers, they help dampen the effects of momentum. Let me explain; When you have worn shocks, and your tire hits a sharp bump in the road, the natural reaction of the wheel assembly is to continue on as it had been before hitting the bump. Once the bump has compressed the tire more than its operating limits (compressing the air in the tire more than it had been), the tire wants to 'spring' upward (because of the bump and the air compression in the tire), however, the shocks absorb some of this bump action and dampen it, stopping the 'dribble' effect that takes pace without shocks. Next (yes, there's more!), there's Newton's first & second laws of Physics- "An object at rest tends to stay at rest", and, "An object in motion tends to stay in motion." Analyzing the length and width or the Delta and the large tires involved, one may be able to compare it to a Jeep, a relatively short wheelbase vehicle, while the Delta is 37' long, because of the huge tires and elevation above the snow, it could be calculated as a relatively short wheelbase vehicle (compared to its center of gravity. A Jeep, as you know tends to bounce around a bit more on the highway than a passenger sedan. This is due to the 'short wheelbase high center of gravity' of the vehicle. How do you 'dampen' the bouncing around of the rear of the Delta? Shift mass! No, don't go to Church on Friday night instead of Sat nite. Mass means the Newton's laws stuff. Imagine a safe falling from the Prudential tower. While it is falling, it is, in essence 'weightless', because if you put a scale under it, it would weigh nothing. But put an immovable object under it (like the ground) and see what happens. Or, think of opening a six ton bank vault door. In essence, because it is on its hinges, it weights nothing, but try and abruptly stop that door once its swinging - this is a demonstration of mass. get it. So, back to the Delta (and the shocks), by reducing mass (also known as 'unsprung weight' on wheel assemblies) you can help dampen the effect of the bouncing. The correct answer would have been to inflate the tires to the maximum that they could be (while taking into consideration its traction and floatation on the snow. Hard tires have less traction and don't float as well as softer tires. (Think of Ted Kennedy's tires at the beach at Chappy)) and working with whatever adjustments could be made to the shocks (soft - hard, etc) and the bounce could be reduced. Next, 'Shift Mass' to the middle of the vehicle. Mass in the middle creates less mass over the tires. Remember Newton? Once the tire starts to bounce the back of the Delta up, its wants to continue to go up, until some force changes that, like gravity. If you have more mass over the tires, there more mass wanting to continue the upward trajectory, less mass recovers faster. mass located at the middle of the Delta is, in essence, unsprung weight, so there's not as much bounce. All this is why the Formula and Indy race cars have such light suspensions and inboard brakes - less unsprung weight - less momentum keeping tires bouncing around - better traction, smother ride, better control. Do you think you could possibly explain this to your audience? Do you understand what I'm even talking about? Hello? Tom, I saw your eyes glaze over as soon as I mentioned mass - you remember Vespres during Lent and having to go to mass everyday for forty days when you were a kid. And Ray, as soon as I said Newton, you remembered that girl in Newton, MA - and those nights in the cemetery. Have fun!

Favorite Moment: I love when you announce all the members of the production crew at the end of the show, and all the great names you've invented for them. My fiance's eyes glaze over whenever we're in the car and your show starts - "Here's your buddies Quick and Quack! Deep down, she really likes the show! Ha!

Remote Starters

by Dave Lee

I thought you enviro. types wouldn't like a car running cold because of waste of fuel or high emissions due to no load running. That's all we think about out here in Calif. Save the cat. Great show, thanks.

chick cars

by drmark

hey guys i think you missed the point when you were discussing how to attract chicks with your cars. It doesnt matter what kinda car you drive. if you have a nice dog in the car, you'll get a chick every time! (from personal expierence!)

Favorite Moment: the final credits when you announced the names of your staff, my wife doesnt appriciate it, but I do :]

Polka Punishment

A man with a loud stereo faces an unusual punishment.

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Arup Gupta sets the record straight.

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