Show Rundown

#1117: Bird Doo Due Diligence

Original Air Date: 04.23.2011
Show Open Topic

Tom and Ray share some useful English system conversions that are a little... different.

Call 1

Dale (Muskogee, Oklahoma) - 1991 Nissan Sentra

A question about spark plug wires. When he 'gooses' engine, passing someone on a hill, spark plug wires pop put of their holes, and car runs lousy. He recently got plugs replaced. Ray thinks they may not have tightened plugs properly, so extra force from 'goosing' is loosening wires. Tom thinks the wires are already off, and he's just noticing it because of lack of power when he he needs it.

Call 2

Hope Brennan (, New York) - Chevrolet

The exhaust manifold is cracked. She plans on getting rid of the car in a few months. Does she need to get it fixed? Ray suggests getting it welded, as cheap fix. Problem with not fixing is, she'll be inhaling exhaust fumes-- which may not be so bad for just a couple of months, so she may be able to ignore, or just drive wearing a gas mask.

Call 3

Amy Hollins (Dallas, Texas) - 1992 Buick Skylark

An engine question. When she puts the car in "Park", it lunges forward a bit, then rocks back and forth before coming to rest. Is this dangerous? Tom and Ray say all modern front wheel drive cars do this a little, but hers' sounds extreme--likely the 'dog-bone', a broken torque strut, which should be fixed.

Call 4

Elizabeth Corman (Seattle, Washington) - 1994 Nissan Altima

A starting question. After driving a short distance, if she turns car off, it won't restart, unless she waits about 20 minutes. Happens pretty regularly, so she should be able to take it to a mechanic and get problem replicated. Could be electrical--bad starrter. If that's not it, could be a bad interlock switch.

Call 5

Phil Martin (, New Jersey) - 2003 Saturn Ion

A suspension question. He hears a clunky noise from left front wheel well when he goes over a bump or pothole. Sounds more plastic-y than metallic, doesn't happen on the right. Could be a bad strut, or something more serious like a tie rod end or ball joint. Get it checked--could be very dangerous.

Call 6

Caitlin Archdeacon (, California) - 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass

An engine/carburetor question. When she comes to a stop, the car stalls out. Also smells of gas. Otherwise, it drives fine. She added carburetor cleaner. Tom and Ray think she's flooding, because of dirt in the carburetor float chamber. Take the carburetor apart, clean it, and replace the needle and seat, and problem should go away.

Call 7

Linn Gillbertson (Westminster, Colorado) - 1994 Ford Taurus

A question about the speedometer head. She hears a rhythmic 'whoop' noise coming from the dash. Mechanic told her it's the speedometer head, and would cost 732 dollars to fix. Is that really it, and does she need to fix it? Have mechanic disconnect speedo head to see if noise goes away--if it does, that's the problem, and she could leave it disconnected, but she won't have speedometer or odometer, which is illegal.

Call 8

Cliff (, Washington) - 1990 Nissan Maxima

An ignition question. After a short drive, he can't get the key out. If he waits a few moments, it'll come out. Not a problem on longer drives. Ray suggests theory involving gravity, which Tom calls bogus. Likely problem in shift interlock.

Call 9

Lisa Spahr (, Florida) - 2005 Toyota Prius

A body question. It's a new car, husband says she has to clean bird poop off every 24 hours, or it will damage the finish. True? No, her husband is nuts. But, occasional waxing is a good thing. Tom and Ray suggest she and husband experiment--he cleans poop on his car, she doesn't, and see if there's any difference.