#1046: Math Geeks to the Rescue!

Original Air Date: 11.13.2010

   Best Moment

This week on Car Talk, after a few sleepless night, and a few thousand listener emails, Tom and Ray are now able to answer last week's question about how to measure the fuel level in a cylindrical tank. Then, with math class adjourned, it's off to New York, where Dale took her Jeep in for a new starter-- and got a car back with so many new problems she's starting to think it might not be hers. Meanwhile, out in Pittsburgh, Rick's Corolla is veering to the right. Could his 350- pound carpool passenger be the cause? Also, the best way to sell a former fire chief's crown Vic, and how do you nicely get your neighbor to stop poisoning you while he's working on his car? All this, plus a historic, folkloric, and hopefully not idiotic Puzzler and lots more, this week on Car Talk.

Review this Show | 5 Reviews | Need Help Listening? View Call Details

This Week's Puzzler

The idea wasn't to catch the thief with a secret alarm or hidden cameras. They would catch the thief just by allowing him to siphon the gas and use in his own car. What was it about Maryann's car that made it easy to figure out who the gas thief was?

Last Week's Puzzler

What happened to the missing one dollar on the second sale day at the record store?

Show Open Topic

Tom and Ray explain how to solve the question from last week's show regarding how to measure fuel in a cylindrical gas.

Login or Register to rate and post comments

Show Review - 1379

by Anonymous

Fire Chief's Red Crown Vic

by vmramsey

These cars have a great market in the taxi industry. Many of the ex police cars are bought by Taxi company's and the spotlights are a definate plus. She should also try Craig's list.

Can't sell a fire chief's Crown Vic?

by robertjreina

I can't understand why this young lady can't sell a fire chief's red Crown Vic from the late eighties. The car is a classic and that was the peak era of this car. The car seats six comfortably, has a trunk big enough for several bodies and it has Ford's 5 liter, the most reliable engine Ford ever designed. (Ever wonder why all those NYC cabs get over 200000 miles on them?) And it's wonderful for towing a small boat, which is what my 1986 (actually a Mercury Grand Marquis, the fancier version of the same car) will continue to do so for many years (with only 75,000 miles on the engine). I was tempted to pick up the fire chief's car myself as a spare! Actually, have the young lady contact me, maybe I will!

Hondas are Junk - BMW E30s Rule!

by CraigBMW2002

SHAME, SHAME SHAME on Tom & Ray for suggesting that Rebecca of Portland should dump her '85 BMW 325e (a present from an ex-boyfriend) and buy a Honda Civic or Fit. Honda's middle name is RUST as in Ferrous Oxide. Not only do I challenge you to find any '85 Hondas remaining on this planet outside the bounds of dry, desert climates, but the E30 three series chassis is one of the best ones that ever came out of Munich. It has all the driving virtues of the venerable 2002 plus modern refinements (like ABS brakes, AC, a 5-speed manual tranny, power windows and superb corrosion protection). Moreover, Rebecca needs a new and improved boyfriend, and what better place for her to find one than in her local Oregon Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America OR the annual E30 picnic that attracts over 200 BMW E30 owners to the Seatle area for a weekend every Spring. See www.e30picnic.com for details. The E30 is easy enough for a shade tree mechanic or indpendent shop to maintain. Please advise Rebecca to keep the E30 and not even entertain thoughts of Hondas. Personal experience - When I met my wife in 1992, she owned an '85 Accord Hatchback, 5-speed that was already a rust bucket. In November of '97, she replaced that hunk of junk with an '89 BMW 325i - two door, five speed with 101,000 miles. She kept that Bimmer for nealy ten years & 84,000 more miles and sold the Honda for parts ($350). The floorboard of the Honda was rusted through, as was the fuel filter neck + the interior of that car was a mess. She only sold the E30 in May of 2007 because as our extra car, it would have been too fast for my 15½ year old (step) son. Even after 12 Nebraska winters (lets hear it for quality snow tires), there were no rust performations in the body and the vinyl interior showed very little wear. Sincerely (and "Aus Freude am Fahren") Craig Reisser of Omaha (BMW CCA member since 1974) - '98 BMW 323iC Convertible, '71 BMW 2002 (since new), '05 Chrysler Town & Country Van, and '98 Taurus for a winter beater!

Favorite Moment: When Rebecca did not realize how much more attractive her '85 BMW 325e would make her to prospective boyfriends!

Tell the E30 BMW girl I'm currently single...

by DotCommie

I agree with everything the previous reviewer says about girls in older bmws(and other good cars) and I also think if she switched to a plain Honda, she would realize how much she enjoyed driving the BMW with a race-winning chassis...at least I did every time I tried to switch cars. I'm not sure if it slipped your minds, but the problem with her 84 BMW sounded like a very typical issue with those cars. It probably has a bad flex disc(aka guibo) that connects the transmission to the driveshaft. When you accelerate fast enough, it will wobble and rub against the shift linkage until the torque is transferred off the bushing and the driveshaft stabilizes. If it gets even more cracked and worn, it will start to rub in most gears if you give it enough gas because it can't hold together under the torque. Another thing that may be a secondary sound from that problem could be the center bearing being bad as well and allowing the driveshaft to move more in the rear and rub on any of the heat shielding, etc.

Favorite Moment: Everyone trying to mimic the sound her BMW made.

Support for Car Talk is provided by:

Donate Your Car,
Support Your NPR Station

...and get a tax break!

Get Started

Find a Mechanic

Promo tile

Rocket Fuel