The Blessing of the Trucks

The Puzzler

TOM: I know what it is. Tony was a very heavy drinker. And when he stood in front of that truck and said, "Hey," the fumes from the Jim Beam that he had been drinking all morning went right into ... it was like starting fluid.

RAY: Well, you're close.

TOM: Yeah, I am?

RAY: So the X factor here is time. A diesel engine requires or relies on the heat of compression to combust the fuel. So when it's minus 20, and you get out there and you turn the starter and it goes, you're compressing that ice-cold air, but not getting it hot enough to start the engine because it won't get the air temperature of that compressed air up to the ignition point of the fuel. And when these guys ran off to find Tony, time went by. And the friction that was inherent, and the pistons going up and down in the cylinders, had enough time to expand the pistons and the rings enough so that on the second try the compression would be just enough so the thing would fire up. And that's why nine times ...

TOM: Nine times out of 10.

RAY: Out of 10, the thing would start up, because Tony knew, and Tony never let on. They'd have to torture him to get the secret out of him.

TOM: He's back in the camp now.

RAY: Do we have a winner?

TOM: Yes, the winner is Janice Baxter from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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