Why does the coil in Dodge Van die whenever I'm on an Air Force Base?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1989

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have an esoteric one for you. I have a 1977 Dodge Van, slant 6, 4 speed manual transmission. Twice--at 80,000 and 100,000 miles, the coil died. Each time it died within ten minutes of being on the local Air Force Base. Could there be some electrical pulse or field on an air base that would zap a coil?

RAY: Car Talk Pentagon sources tell us that the Air Force has been experimenting with a new electro-magnetic weapon that will disable Soviet manure spreaders. Somehow or other, the weapon seems to confuse these with late '70s Dodge Vans. Give 'em time. They're still trying to get the kinks out.

TOM: Seriously Angela, we can think of no plausible relationship between your '77 Van and the United States Department of Defense. But just to be on the safe side, I'd wrap the whole truck in aluminum foil.

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