Show Rundown

#1339: Not the Wiggly Road!

Original Air Date: 09.28.2013
Show Open Topic

What's the optimal speed for a washboarded dirt road? Tom and Ray are flummoxed.

Call 1

Kim (Raleigh, North Carolina) - 1991 Subaru Legacy

Kim's Subaru recently started making a “clacking” noise from the front driver’s side wheel. The noise speeds up as she shifts into higher gears, but seems to go away when the clutch is in. Tom and Ray think she has a bad axle.

Call 2

Jason Anderson (Wooster, Ohio) - 1987 Dodge Colt

Jason’s car has three problems. A year ago, it was leaking oil, so Jason replaced the seal. A month later, the oil light came on and stays on even though there is plenty of oil in the car. Second, when he starts the car, the main belt screeches for 15 to 20 seconds. Third, when he starts the car and gives it gas, it occasionally stalls, and he has to try four to five times to get it to go. Tom and Ray’s answers: 1. The oil light is likely because of a bad oil pressure switch, or a faulty wire. It would be good to get it fixed so he'll know if he ever really is low on oil. 2. He can try replacing the belt--could also be the pulley, but is not serious. 3. He has a weak accelerator pump in the carburetor, which would be complicated to fix--he can live with this--he can avoid the stalling by letting the car warm up before driving.

Call 3

Thom (Stamford, Connecticut) - Volvo

Tom hears a “thunk thunk’ sound when he makes low-speed, sharp left turns on smooth pavement. He doesn’t feel any vibration, just hears the noise. Its likely a worn out strut rod bushing, but there's a remote possibility it’s a ball joint.

Call 4

Nancy Boaz (Berkeley, California) - 1990 Acura Integra

Nancy’s three-year old son vomits whenever she drives on curvy Highway 1. The kid never gets sick when Nancy’s husband drives. Tom thinks she’s a lead-foot, but Ray thinks she may be driving too tentatively, changing speeds too much. If she can’t change her driving style, Ray suggests giving the kid a paregoric before driving.

Call 5

Jake Crawford (Pescadero, California) - 1988 Pontiac 6000

Jake’s car appears to be growing hair on the roof and the hood. It’s sort of a dishwater-blond color. He washes it off, but it grows back. The dealer says Pontiac was using special paint in the 80’s. Ray thinks it’s a fungus of some kind. The only long-term fix may be to grind everything off and get the car re-painted. Or Jake can just live with it.

Call 6

Mike Honorsham (Rochester, Michigan) - Chevrolet

Mike agreed to pull the engine from his neighbor’s car. Can he do so without removing the transmission? Tom and Ray say no. In this car he has to remove both. It should be doable, if he has the right tools.

Call 7

Sally Fessler (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) - 1963 Dodge Dart

Sally’s husband gave her this car as a 40th birthday present. Since May, her brakes have failed three times while driving--the pedal goes all the way to the floor, but the car won’t stop. She’s pumped the pedal, downshifted and used the automatic brake to stop. She’s had the master cylinder replaced twice, and the fluid checked, and her mechanic is stumped. Tom and Ray think there is a restriction in the brake line, which is causing fluid to boil, and the brakes to lock up.