Show Rundown

#1304: How to Lose a Pinewood Derby

Original Air Date: 01.26.2013
Show Open Topic

Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive faster, and other questions to ponder.

Call 1

Sophie (Saint Louis, Missouri) - 1991 Saab 900

Sophie thinks her car is laughing at her. She hears a noise that sounds like laughing, usually at low speed, when the car is in a lower gear and she has her foot on the gas. She thinks it’s coming from the trunk or back seat, but her mechanic could not find anything. Tom and Ray think it could be a stuck brake--she should get a mechanic to ride with her, and try to trace the noise while it’s happening.

Call 2

Matthew Clark (Woodbridge, Virginia) - 1993 Mercury Sable

Matthew’s car vibrates, around 66 mph. It starts in the front right of the car, and eventually even his dashboard is shaking. He’s had the car aligned, and gotten new tires, but no help. Tom and ray think it’s likely either a bad axle, or a bad wheel bearing in the front.

Call 3

Julie Taylor (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Julie is wondering why we drive on the right, even though we were s British colony. Tom and Ray speculate that it was our way of thumbing noses at the Brits.

Call 4

Ainsley Rossie (Buffalo, New York) - 1997 Honda Civic

Ainsley’s front bumper is more or less being held on by Epoxy. Her husband won’t let her take the car to a car wash, because he’s afraid it will melt the Epoxy. She’s worried about road salt destroying her car. Tom and Ray say she can go ahead and get the car washed -- the Epoxy won’t melt.

Call 5

Richard Garno (Williston, Vermont) - 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Richard drove 95 mph to deliver his boss’s passport to the airport. After this drive, the car began sputtering and bucking between gears, mostly 1st and 2nd. He had a tune-up and other work done, but the problem did not go away. Mechanic wants hundreds of dollars just to scan it. Tom and Ray say it’s likely a bad sensor is the engine--a bad throttle position sensor is the first guess, and unrelated to the airport drive. Mechanic should have scanned the engine during the tune-up, go back and ask them to scan it for free.

Call 6

Tomiko Whittaker-Blackwell (Oka, Michigan) - 1991 Honda Civic

Tomiko bought this car used in the Summer. The first time she turned on the AC, sunflower seeds flew out of the side vents. She though tit was some “new car” thing, like throwing rice at a wedding. But, it’s happened repeatedly. How are sunflower seeds getting in there? Tom and Ray say she has a rodent of some sort storing them under the hood. She either needs to track down the rodent, or kill the neighbor’s sunflowers.

Call 7

Mike Hammerdes (Palos Heights, Illinois) - 1989 Honda Accord

Mike is preparing to hand this car down to his kids. The last time he started it, the alternator failed, so he wants to replace it. But, on this car it’s under the engine and brake cylinder. Does he have to remove the engine tog et the alternator out? No, he can get it from underneath--two bolts and some twisting should do it. He needs to make sure he has good jack-stands, though.

Call 8

Kathy Lambeth (Tualatin, Oregon)

Kathy is a Cub Scout Den Mother, “helping” her son build his Pinewood Derby car, looking for tips on how to make it faster. Tom reminds everyone why he failed Physics--twice. Ray offers some suggestions on weight.