Show Rundown

#1215: Beth's Road Ugly Thesis

Original Air Date: 04.14.2012
Show Open Topic

Assertiveness Training: A Cautionary Tale

Call 1

Paula (Tulsa, Oklahoma) - 88 Ford Bronco

Paula’s car makes a noise-kind of a kazoo/whistle. It usually starts at 2,000 RPM’s, and goes up in 3rd’s as the engine revs higher. If she takes her foot off the gas, it goes away immediately. The noise seems to be coming from behind the dashboard. Tom and Ray think it’s a vacuum leak--could be in the heater control or fuel pump regulator. Should be easy to find if they cap off the relevant hose.

Call 2

Jonathan (New Haven, Connecticut) - Saturn

Jonathan’s Saturn is “running like a tank”--laying out a thick stream of blue smoke. He took the valve cover off, but didn’t see anything obvious. The problem is deeper--probably worn rings. If he wants to keep the car, it needs a new/rebuilt engine, but before he does that he should make sure the body is okay.

Call 3

Michelle (Eugene, Oregon) - 2002 Honda Civic

Windshield wipers make a horrible screeching noise. They scrape across the windshield, makes horrible noise, can’t see out of. Bought new blades, wipers, put things on blades. Most likely, arm is not tight enough-- spring needs to be tighter. Or it could be the wiper transmission. Try lifting the blade to see if the noise stays,if it does, it’s the wiper tranny.

Call 4

Helen (Boulder, Colorado) - 1978 Volkswagen Van

Helen and her boyfriend live in the bus. Recently, it’s developed two problems. First, the engine seems to miss--usually in 2nd gear, and while climbing a hill. Only lasts a couple of seconds, but it happened more often at higher altittude. Second, thepropane heater they hooked up with a 2nd battery in the van stopped working. Can these be related? Yes, they can! The problem could be a short in the relay system they hooked up for the 2nd battery, which could make the coil cut out for a second, and cause the heat problem.

Call 5

Tim (, Vermont)

Tim is a recent transplant to Vermont from Boston. He’s getting frustrated because at a main intersection in Montpelier, he has a very short green light, and other drivers often let pedestrians jaywalk, so he can sit there for a long time. Tom and Ray say he’s not going to change others’ behavior, so he needs to adapt, and get used to the Vermont way.

Call 6

Mabel (Boston, Massachusetts) - 96 Mazda 626

Mabel’s brake light came on, so she went to a gas station, and mechanic told her she was out of brake fluid. He added some, gave her the bottle, and as she drove off, she realized it was power steering fluid. She went back, they admitted the error, and replaced her master cylinder for free. But are her brakes okay? Tom and Ray say she should be fine--in fact, just draining the fluid would have probably been enough. And, by the way, brake light actually meant her brakes are getting worn out--probably needs new pads, so take it back in.

Call 7

Tony (Memphis, Tennessee) - BMW 318

Tony got his clutch rebuilt a year ago. Last week, he hear a “thud” as he stepped on the pedal, and ever since, it’s required more pressure to shift, and he can feel the clutch slip if he’s applying a lot of gas. Tom and Ray think part of his pressure plate is broken--guys who did clutch may not have tightened bolt properly, it worked its way loose, and flew off, making the noise he heard.

Call 8

Beth (North Bend, Oregon)

Beth and her sisters have developed a “road Ugly” theory. After three hours of driving, they say a woman’s looks start to go--they’ve never seen this happen to a man or a kid. Tom and Ray think it may be because women drive more stressed than men, and that takes its toll.