Show Rundown

#1023: Adieu, Puzzler King

Original Air Date: 06.05.2010
3
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Tom and Ray remember the late puzzler guru Martin Gardner.

Call 1

Amy Budde (New Orleans, Louisiana) - 1995 Volvo 850

A heating/cooling/AC question. After three minutes, the AC stops working. If she stops the car again, it will work for three minutes again then blow regular, warm air. She's low on refrigerant--could just be a leak, or compressor. AC repair-- $50 or $1500--this one is probably somewhere in between. She could also re-locate to Minneapolis, where lack of AC may not be a big deal.

Call 2

Craig Vera (St. Louis, Missouri) - 1997 Honda Accord

A body/leak question. Water is pouring through the moonroof, mostly on the passenger seat. His girlfriend has gotten soaked three times. Guys say the drains are plugged, and he just needs to get them blown out. This has been a good relationship test, and girlfriend gets points for not dumping him.

Call 3

Sara (Mukilteo, Washington) - 2002 Dodge Dakota

A suspension problem? It's her husband's truck, he doesn't know she's calling. Above 25-35 mph, there's a metallic-y rat-a-tat-tat from the front driver's side, only when she has her foot on the gas. Worse on hills and when warmed up. Ray thinks it's good old-fashioned pinging and EGR valve isn't working. Been going on for 6 weeks so her husband needs to get it looked at--will eventually turn on Check Engine light, and could melt a hole in a piston.

Call 4

Dan Libman (Oregon, Illinois) - 1997 Jeep Cherokee

A starting question. Occasionally won't start--cranks, but won't catch. Has happened a few times, each time he gets it towed to mechanic, and then it starts right away. He needs to borrow tools from mechanic to try to determine if it's a spark or fuel problem. Could be a bad fuel pump, or a bad fuel pump relay. He can also try the brute force test: jolt the fuel pump and see if it starts working. Also jiggle the wires by the electronic control module. Possible that tow truck is somehow re-establishing the bad connection.

Call 5

Jacquie Nelson (Columbia, Missouri) - 1999 Subaru Forester

A suspension/tire question, back on for Stump the Chumps. Whenever she goes over a pothole or speed bump, she hears a'thud bump echo' noise. Ray said it was likely a broken spring, and gave a broken strut as a back-up answer. Wound up being leaking struts, so a part-wrong, part-right answer.

Call 6

Jennifer Arnott (Garner, North Carolina) - 2002 Mercury Sable

A question about a smell. When she makes a left turn, smells body odor, coming from AC vent. It's been doing this since she got the car a year and a half ago, worse in warm weather. Tom and Ray think it's decaying organic material that's stuck in the heater. Try some Fridgie-Fresh to wipe out the odor.

Call 7

Dustin Stuart (Charlotte, North Carolina) - 1997 Chevrolet Malibu

A body/seat question. The driver's seat is stuck leaning backwards, and it's killing his back. Check against the other seat, to find out what's broken. Use a flashlight and see what happens when you actuate the seat release. Another plan: unbolt the passenger seat, bring it inside the house, take it apart and see exactly how it works.

Call 8

Aaron Williamson (Garden Grove, California) - 2001 Subaru Outback

Car vibrates violently, especially above 50 mph. It gets worse if he takes his foot slightly off the gas. Braking doesn't help, only stops vibrating after he slows down. Could be a bad tie rod end, a bad ball joint, or a bad CV joint--likely something dangerous, so get it looked at immediately.

Call 9

Kim Porter (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) - 1999 Toyota Corolla

A dump/keep/drive question. She loves this car but she is moving to Alaska in a few weeks. Can't decide whether to drive/ship/sell it. Was told she needs a new clutch, after only 40,000 miles, and she killed the old clutch. She needs to learn how to drive a stick--then she can replace the clutch, and if she really loves the car, take it with her to Alaska--but try to bring someone along for the trip.