Bronko Nagurski football helmet--for extra protection

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

When starting a 1985 Ford Escort one morning, there was a loud explosion. The motor ran extremely rough for a while and the engine area was splattered with oil. The gaskets of the valve cover, the oil pan, and the front engine seal had to be replaced. What could have caused this gasket failure?

RAY: We hear about this sort of thing happening occasionally to diplomats in hostile foreign countries, Willie.

TOM: But assuming that you're not employed by the CIA or State Department, what you probably experienced was a flashback. It's normal for gasoline vapors to be inside the crankcase. Somehow, a flame from a carburetor backfire got in there, and the result, as we say in the industry, was "kaboom!."

RAY: The crankcase ventilation system is supposed to prevent this from happening, but yours must have been malfunctioning.

TOM: You might ask the repair shop if they found anything wrong with the crankcase ventilation system when they performed the repair. If they say "what's that?", make sure you wear your Bronko Nagurski football helmet until you get it checked out.

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