Kent's Exploding Ford Aerostar

May 05, 2018

RAY: This puzzler is from Kent Hartfield from Texas. He says:

I was driving my Ford Aerostar down the road in Arlington, Texas, last June, when all of a sudden I heard a muffled BANG that was immediately followed by the motor dying.

I pulled off to the side of the road and popped the hood. This has a little hood because the engine is kind of buried. And looked to see what had happened. Once I saw what had happened, I thought, Gee, this is gonna cost a lot to have fixed. I closed the hood, got back in the van, started the engine and drove off.

TOM: He didn't say where the boom-bang came from. But since he opened the hood, we can assume that it came from the front of the vehicle?

RAY: Well, I'll give you that. The muffled bang came from under the hood.



TOM: It's hot. The question is, what happened to the car, and the hint is that it's June and there was a muffled bang.

RAY: It's June. It's hot, and he has the air conditioner on. And when he's driving along the high pressure hose from the air conditioner compressor blows; filling the engine compartment with what? Refrigerant. It blows all the oxygen out of the engine compartment. Because it comes out in such a huge volume and such high pressure, it displaces all the oxygen necessary for combustion, and of course the freon—

TOM: And the engine stalls.

RAY: As soon as he opens the hood, the stuff has a chance to dissipate. He sees the broken hose—

TOM: This is going to cost a lot to fix.

RAY: This is going to cost some serious money and of course he closes the hood and drives off.... And he makes a hole in the ozone layer.

TOM: Kent himself, personally, is responsible for a little bigger hole in the ozone layer.

RAY: Another pin hole in the ozone layer that's making our temperature go up here in greater Boston, and I thank you Kent. You're doing—

TOM: A great job.


Get the Car Talk Newsletter