Show Rundown

#1208: The Elvis Idle

Original Air Date: 02.25.2012
Show Open Topic

"We take your bags and send them in all directions," and other great, terribly mistranslated signs from foreign countries.

Call 1

Arleigh Gibson (Evanston, Wyoming) - 1988 Nissan Stanza

Arleigh’s car has two problems, both intermittent. At times, if he steps on the accelerator, the car won’t go. Also, the car does “the Elvis Idle”--kind of a stutter. Both problems seem to happen more on short trips, and in winter. Ray thinks it’s a bad throttle position sensor, though he’s not sure this car has one. Tom thinks the problem is a vacuum leak.

Call 2

Melissa (, Virginia) - 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

While driving to Blacksburg on New Year’s Eve, Melissa decided to dry some wet clothes on her dashboard, cranking the defroster and heater all the way up. The next day, the blower motor was dead. Did she do it? Probably, though there’s a slight chance it was just a coincidence--it’s likely a burned out blower motor, but it may just be a blown fuse.

Call 3

Jack Renaud (Englewood, New Jersey) - 1994 Volvo 940

Jack’s horn suddenly went from a “James Earl Jones baritone to a Pee Wee Herman soprano” in the cold weather. Tom and Ray say he’s lost half his horn--the low part. He can get a new horn at the Volvo dealer, or find one at a junkyard--he can also get a vanity horn to play something like “Rosalita."

Call 4

Sally Frank (, New York) - 2002 Ford Expedition

Sally was driving under a power line in nearby Waccabuc, when suddenly there was a loud sound in the car like an electrical discharge, and she saw a flash of light on the console next to her. She’s driven under this power line several times, but this only happened once. Ray suggests that she may have dozed off, and been awakened by some radio interference, but the guys don’t really have a good explanation, and promise to post this on the site.

Call 5

Brandon Rogers (Arcata, California) - Volkswagen

Brandon’s car is exhibiting a few problems--it sputters and stalls on acceleration from a dead stop, backfires at low RPMs, and friends tell him they see flames shooting out of the tailpipe. What’s going on? Tom and Ray say his engine is missing--likely because his points are burned up.

Call 6

Brad Rodgers (Baltimore, Maryland) - 1996 Honda Civic

Brad has a Hydrological and Meteorological mystery. Water is getting into the spare tire well in his trunk, though he has no idea how. He hears it sloshing when he makes turns...sometimes up to three inches of water in there. Tom and Ray say the water is getting in through the weather stripping on the hatchback. He can replace it, or drill a hole in the spare tire well for water to drain through--there may also be a plug in the tire well, which he can remove.

Call 7

Melanie Hughes (Sacramento, California) - Saturn

Melanie’s husband owns several older cars which he keeps in great shape, but the Saturn is a mess--papers flying all over the place, empty bottles, etc.---how can she get him to stop this? Tom and Ray say to leave him alone-- the car is his "mess outlet," and he may go off the deep end if she tries to make him keep it neat.