Show Rundown

#1219: The LTD of Destruction

Original Air Date: 05.12.2012
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Brace yourself for a few compelling examples of how a little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing.

Call 1

Peter (Sitka, Alaska) - 1984 Ford F250

Peter checked his dipstick, and his oil looked gray and goopy. So, he pulled the drain plug, and got about a gallon of clear water, and the gray goop. He uses this truck rarely-- he hasn’t changed oil in years, and only drives a hundred miles or so a year. It had sat since December. Did he blow a head gasket? No, Tom and Ray thinks he’s just seeing water, because he doesn’t run the car long enough. Either he needs to drive the truck more or change the oil more often, but nothing serious is wrong.

Call 2

Patty (Belmont, Massachusetts) - 1990 Honda Civic

Patty hears a tapping/clicking sound when she turns right or left--seems to be coming from her front passenger wheel. It’s been doing this for a couple of weeks. Tom and Ray say it's likely a bad axle.

Call 3

Kate Merriam (Charlottesville, Virginia) - 1995 Volkswagen Jetta

Kate went to a horse race with some friends. They decided to drive her car there, except the person driving had very little experience driving a stick. The clutch is burned out, and will cost $600 to fix. Should Kate get her friends to pay? Ray thinks the clutch was on its last legs, and would have gone soon anyway--maybe Kate can ask her friends for $100. Tom thinks Kate’s friends should be held more accountable.

Call 4

Matt (Richmond, Virginia) - 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis

Matt seems to have lost 4th gear, in Overdrive. At around 40 mph, instead of u-shifting, his car goes into Neutral. This only happens if he has the Overdrive on. If he’s lucky, it may just be a vacuum modulator on the transmission. If he’s unlucky, he could need a transmission rebuild.

Call 5

Amanda Page (Sante Fe, New Mexico) - 2001 Nissan Frontier

Amanda’s car is making a “clickety-clackety” sound when it goes over bumps. It’s coming from the front driver’s side wheel, and has been doing this for about a year! Her family is supposed to drive this from Oregon--is it safe? Ray thinks it’s likely a broken stabilizer link, which may not be dangerous. But, she really needs to get it checked.

Call 6

Sven Nystrom (Lake Worth, Florida)

Sven owns a 1962 Austin Healy. He has long dreamed of owning a ‘62 Mini. His friend is offering to sell him one, but it’s been sitting on blocks for 25 years, and his friend won’t really let him look at it. Should he go for it? Whatever it costs, he should go for it. But, he needs to know what caused the problems, and should get it looked at before he tries to drive it.

Call 7

Dari (Red Lodge, Montana) - 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Dari’s truck fell off her mechanic’s lift while it was being worked on. Her mechanic says it will cost about $6,000 to fix, but she’s concerned about whether the truck will be safe. Tom and Ray think there’s a conflict of interest--the guys who caused the damage are the ones telling her how much it will cost, and offering to do the repair. Get an independent body shop to look at it, and assess the damage.

Call 8

Todd Cutlip (Orlando, Florida) - 1973 Ford LTD

Todd bought this LTD for his girlfriend because he thought it would be safe and easy to work on. But, it backfires so loudly that it gave his neighbor’s cat a heart attack, and it died. It’s also belching smoke. The problem is likely the timing chain, and Todd may be able to fix it himself. But, he'd better off dumping this and getting his girlfriend something more modern with airbags and ABS,