Show Rundown

#0922: In Space No One Can Hear You Strip a Bolt

Original Air Date: 05.29.2009
Show Open Topic

The worst driver in all of Ireland-- is Polish.

Call 1

Liz Andrews (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) - 2002 Honda Civic

A question about tranny/engine/wheels. Over the past year, there is a noise at 2500 RPMs. Happened driving through the hilly region of Northern New Jersey. Makes a "eeeerrrrr" noise. Loose heat shield. It will either fall off, or have it welded and repaired, so it doesn't set fire to the grasses of New Jersey.

Call 2

April (Taylorsville, California) - 1997 Nissan 200SX

A question about engine and belts. Thought fan belt was squeaking, and her mechanic told her to spray WD40 on it, and it started squeaking far worse. So she took it to another mechanic, who said she should use "sticky-belt spray" conditioner, but that didn't help. He needs to take off all the belts to try to identify the culprit--likey that she needs new belts just because of age. Could also be the belt tensioner, or the harmonic balancer.

Call 3

Frank (Lee, Massachusetts) - 1939 Cadillac Seville

A starting/fuel/ vapor lock question. When it gets hot, it won't start. As a result, the battery runs down. Starts right up with a battery boost pack. The starter might be binding up. Try getting it rebuilt. If that doesn't work, try higher voltage for the starter--he's using 8 volts now, see if he can rig up a 10-volt system.

Call 4

John Grunsfeld (Houston, Texas)

NASA astronaut and former customer of Tom and Ray's. Was on recent space shuttle mission to repair Hubble telescope, calling to discuss stripped bolts.

Call 5

Marlene Williamson (Denver, Colorado) - 2002 Ford Windstar

A fuel question. Her manual says to only 87 or higher octane gas, but her husband says since the car is at altitude, they can use 85 octane. Is he right? Yes, he is. Less dense air means compression is lower, so less likely to have pinging, so lower octane is okay--at sea level she'd need 87.

Call 6

Mike Smith (Watertown, Massachusetts) - 2007 Chevrolet Aveo

A suspension/wheels/alignment question. He just went on a cross country trip to Mount Rushmore, and the car is now making a weird grinding noise from the front wheels, only when going under 30 mph. At highway speed, the car starts to shake and shimmy. Vibration could be a bad tire. Noise could be the brake wear sensor. Less than $1000 to repair.

Call 7

Gillian Lopez (San Antonio, Texas) - 2001 Volkswagen Jetta

A dump/keep/engine question. Her alternator is dead, the cam chain is slapping against the valve cover due to low oil pressure, and she is going to need a new catalytic converter. Some people have told her that she should get rid of this car, but she really likes it, so she doesn't want to. It could be fixed, but probably $3k or more to make the repairs. If she's nuts about it, then fix it. Or, she can trade it in, and the dealer will wholesale it. Regardless, fix the alternator, or it won't run.

Call 8

Craig (Crockett, California) - 1996 Toyota Previa

An engine question. From under the right front, under the hood, there is a sound like "rolling a marble around on a wooden floor, combined with a growling sound." Happens as he's turning the car off, and continues after the car is off. Sounds like a boiling liquid. Have someone shut off the engine, when he's standing over the hood, listening. Noise could be the coolant boiling. Could be the evaporative emissions pump cycling on, a faulty fan clutch, or he could have air trapped in the cooling system.