Show Rundown

#1202: Mud Chiggers in the Fuel Line

Original Air Date: 01.14.2012
Show Open Topic

Tom and Ray share a few handy metric conversions.

Call 1

Drew Solari (Denver, Colorado) - 1991 Toyota Pickup

Drew just moved to Denver from L.A. Now when he drives in 1st and 2nd gear in really cold weather, he hears a loud noise coming from the front axle area. If he takes it out of 4WD, noise goes away, but may come back after a while. Tom and Ray think the grease in Drew’s locking hubs is too viscous, so the hubs are acting like the truck is still in 4WD, even when it’s not. Tom and Ray suggest he try lighter weight grease.

Call 2

Susanne Rubin (Syracuse, New York) - 1993 Mazda Protege

Susanne had a new radiator put in, and then her car started overheating. So, she decided to change the thermostat herself, and in the process, broke a sensor, and a spark plug, which caused a bunch of problems. She had all the other stuff fixed, but the car is still overheating when she drives in the city--if she steps on the clutch, temp seems to go down. Tom and Ray think her electric cooling fan isn’t coming on at the right temperature--could be an easy fix.

Call 3

Jim Davis (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Car Talk's staff chemist, calling to explain how wood-chip engines work. Jim says the engines heat the wood chips, rather than burning them. This produces carbon monoxide, and hydrogen, which is what the cars can run on.

Call 4

Daniel Kuzmic (, California) - Hyundai Elantra

Dan and his wife are having a hard time sharing the arm rest console. Who gets first dibs on it? It always belongs to the driver--unless he’s riding with his wife, and she wants to use it. Tom and Ray's answer? "Which would you rather be married or right?"

Call 5

Betsy Hibbets (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Betsy just moved to New Orleans. After a few days there, her exhaust started making noise, and then one day, she turned off the truck and gas started pouring out. Took it to mechanic who fixed the exhaust, and said gas problem was due to “mud chiggers in the fuel line”--thought he’d cleaned it out, but gas is still pouring out. Her mechanic is stumped, and so are Tom and Ray. Ray’s convinced something is crossed up between gas tank and canonizer. He suggested that Betsy have her mechanic drop the fuel tank, and he should see what’s wrong pretty quickly.

Call 6

Becky Eakin (, Georgia)

Becky can’t park in her garage because her husband’s “redneck gear” is taking up too much space. How can she get him to organize it, or lessen it, so she can get her car in? Tom and Ray tell her not to disturb his stuff and suggest she buy him a shed to keep it in.

Call 7

Rob Yasway (, Pennsylvania) - 1998 Toyota Camry

Rob’s wife backed into his sister-in-law’s car, and dented the door. In the process of trying to take the door off to replace it, they flipped the child safety lock, so now the door won’t open from inside or outside, so they can’t get it off. Ray says Rob needs to cut away part of the door from outside, so he can get to the lever that controls the safety lock--then they should be able to flip it back so the door can open from the inside.

Call 8

Nancy (, Wyoming) - 1992 Nissan Pathfinder

Nancy’s car won’t start in extremely cold weather, unless she turns on the heater first. Tom and Ray discuss theories that suggest when it’s really cold, the car can’t handle the amount of power required to start--it has to be “eased in," with something requiring less power, like the heater. Tom thinks this is completely bogus. Ray thinks there’s a bad connection between a battery post and the terminal, and uses an ant metaphor to explain how power comes gradually.