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#2045: The Bionic Bug

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station description America's funniest mechanics take calls from car owners.
The Best of Car Talk
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Duration: 54:44
This week on The Best of Car Talk, Rita's VW won't start after being flooded during a hurricane. Does it have a future on the road or just as a saltwater aquarium? Elsewhere, Bob discovered an unusual feature in his BMW as a result of his father-in-law being locked in the car for a half-hour; Dan's
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This week on The Best of Car Talk, Rita's VW won't start after being flooded during a hurricane. Does it have a future on the road or just as a saltwater aquarium? Elsewhere, Bob discovered an unusual feature in his BMW as a result of his father-in-law being locked in the car for a half-hour; Dan's Acura may have oil problems, if his neighbor's hearing is right; and Chuck thinks his wife's parking brake technique is too quiet. Also, college sudent Kim wants help with a take-home Physics exam. Man, did she call the wrong number! All this, the Great Cathy/Kathy Stump the Chumps Challenge, and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
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hold it together. He just cracked it and he ended up breaking out of the driver's side window and crawled out. So you you didn't lock him in there purposely or you did? Well, I don't think Bob's at liberty to tell, Really. I deny all knowledge denial college. Were you having a senior moment? No. No. He's the life of the party, I guess. Well, you know, I mean, I don't know if there's any ready fixed for this, but I do know, and I've seen some catalogs where they sell a hammer designed exactly for smashing the window. Yeah, it does seem like a rather extreme remedy. No. I mean, there are many people who think that this hammer thing is a really necessary safety device, because off all the electric stuff that's going on, you'd be You'd be amazed how hard it is to break a window. As I'm sure your father in law can attest, we actually bought him one and gave it to him for Christmas. A little late, huh? What are the chances that this is gonna happen again? Well, I really can't think of the advantage we're gonna We're gonna ask him when we're gonna find out if we find anything interesting, will report on our future show on their reason for having such an insane little feature. That's great. I don't have to hear that. Thanks for your call. If possible, we'll get you the money for that broken window. Okay, great. You see a pup. Thanks for calling. Bye. 1888 Car talk or 18882278255 Hello. You're on car talk. Just Rita from Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Hi, Rita. I had a question about R v w van 1974 when we evacuated during the hurricane. We left it sitting in our driveway and I had a storm surge of about 4 ft of ocean water that came in, um sat in our house and came up to the car. And it hasn't started since we came back. We were wondering if it's a dead is the washer dryer refrigerator and everything else that does nothing can hurt a VW. Nothing Well, s so bad to begin with when you you left it with the hope that it would not be there when you came back. Maybe it was your neighbor's driveway with the float away? No, it was still there. It was there, and it had been The engine had been covered with water. Yes. And what did you do to try to start? You just get in and turn the key, right? Did fish jump out when you did this? You can't do that, Rita. E. All kinds of things could have happened. It probably did. When you when you turn the key. Did it crank? Did it go? Uh, did nothing. It did nothing. Okay, so that's your first problem. It's just sort of like when I turn the vacuum. It did nothing. Or the refrigerator, the washing. E motors don't like water, especially saltwater. Very much so. I mean, you're gonna get a toad and say instead, Well, it depends. I mean, if it was like a friend, would you just say you did see you later? Why would you say I wonder if I can help you somehow there a place in the back or fix a reef? It's fixable. E mean, there are probably lots of things wrong with it. The battery's probably full of salt water, and it doesn't work. What salt water. You gotta throw that away and get a new one. The starter is probably full of salt water so it doesn't work full of salt water and the cylinder supporters might be full. Sure. And then the pistons are gonna go up and down because they're all rusted to the cylinder walls. So is it dead? Depends on how much technology did you ever watch the show? The $6 million man way Have the technology Bionic bug. We can rebuild him. Eso it. It could be fixed, obviously, but you really got to get it to some place where they can assess. Wait a minute. Wait. We made the ultimate blood, Rita. But do you want to save this vehicle or are you happy that it's gone? Actually, my husband wants to say that I'm not particularly keen on the idea of saving it. Well, is he listening? Get out of the driveway. Is he listening? Um, he's in the other. Well, he's not listening. The culture is it's dead. You call your repair shop called you repair shop? I asked him to tow it away and and then slipped the guy an extra 20 bucks to give you a bad diagnosis on eso when he calls. You haven't called your husband work. Yeah, I'm awfully sorry, but this is $1000 to fix. You know, That's not that's not enough. It's gonna be at least $2000. Otherwise he might get to fix it s o have them. Tell him it's 2000 bucks and it may very well be and it may need an engine rebuild. You may need break work. You may need all kinds of stuff done to a lot of money. My guess is I mean, the truth. If you put a new battery in it and a new starter motor, I'll bet you it would start. It would probably run just the same as it did before the hurricane, wouldn't you? Thanks for your call, Rita. Thank you. Bye bye.
well, it was historic, I thought, in folkloric and automotive, and and I think I mentioned hopefully not pathetic. And it took place in the early seventies, during the first gas crunch. You remember, there were long lines at gas stations, and Toyota's started looking good to people. Anyway, this was sent in by someone named Laura Adamson and and she wrote. My friend Marianne lived in a rural neighborhood in upstate New York, and someone was sneaking around late at night in the inky shadows, siphoning gasoline while the honest people were asleep. So Marianne and the sheriff got together and hatched the plan to catch this thief, and it involved using Mary Ann's car and it's full tank of gasoline as the bait. Unlike many of her neighbors, Marion did not own a locking gas caps or her tank was extremely Siphon nable, and the idea was not to catch the thief in the act. I mean, that would have been easy to do if you'd be willing to stay up all night, I guess, because the sheriff didn't want to get up in the middle of the night to make the arrest right. The plan was to allow the thief to siphon off Marianne's gas and be tracked down later on, while the thief did strike and did siphon her gas and it was the end of the gas Steffes The question is, What trap did they lay? And what was it about Marion's car that made it easy to figure out who the gas thief was? Yeah, and what was unique about Marion's car was it was a sob. And from 1959 I think to 1969 sob made. He's cute little. I think they started off 1990 for the 95. It was a three cylinder, two stroke engine in a two stroke engine is something you'd have in like your change saw or your outboard motor, perhaps, and it requires that the oil and the gas a mixed together. There's no oil in the crankcase, but the gasoline and oil are mixed together in the gas tank. And of course, they smoked quite a bit. They didn't smoke very much because the engine was a tiny little 40 horsepower thing. But when the gas thief came and put this mixture of gas and oil into his Chevy or whatever the trail of smoke he left behind allowed the sheriff to follow him right home and arrest him. And that's why the gas has to be a small town. Obviously, it had to be upstate. New York suggests it's a small town. And as soon as they saw that car with the blue smoke pouring out the tailpipe, they knew who the gas thief Waas. Yeah, so who's our winner? Well, the winner this week is Cameron Lindsley from Bath. May Miss Cameron a guy or gal? Well, we think it's a guy because rain man, analyze the handwriting. Okay, a guy wrote this. Alright, Well, because it was it wasn't neat. I don't know. I don't know where Rain Man gets the conclusions that he comes to way. Don't want question rain man. We don't question him. Eso cameras a guy and eso from all the correct answers that we got. He's the one that got chosen, and he's going to get a $26 gift certificate to the shameless commerce division at car talk dot com where he can choose from a wide array of fine quality car talk junk. Yeah, this might have something to do with white sales have been down. We should stop calling the stuff junk. It's actually not junk. I mean, we spend a lot of time and effort making it not junk. Yeah, but it just can't escape Anyway. We'll have a brand new puzzler coming up in the third half of the show, so stick around for that right now. If you have a question about your car or anything else, the number is 888 car talk. That's 8882278255 Hello? You're on car talk. Hi there. This is Dan in Atlanta. Hey, Dan, how are you? I'm well, How are you? Pretty good. We're having a hard time today way are I don't know what's going on. My brother just took us pits on thought. This multibillion dollar studio here, it's 100 degrees in here. You sweating? Yeah, I'm dying. But that's not what Drinking on shot s What's up, Dan? All right. Uh, my situation, First of all, my car is a 1992. Acura Integra and e have to give you a little background on this situation. Thio, help explain. I live in a duplex and a gentleman has been living in the basement of this house, and this gentleman is a mechanic. And it's just a small, tiny little dungeon oven apartment that he lives down in the basement and for the most part, mechanics living little dungeon. Okay, he rises very early in the morning and it's, um, in his doorway and reads his paper. And so every morning is I go out and get in my car and started up and drive off. He's there hearing me start this car. Uh huh. And probably about two months ago, I drove home one day, got out of my car and was just proceeding into my house when he said Came out. You better adjust those valves sunny. Exactly. He well, first he just started enquiring about. Have I had my oil changed recently? Have I put in a new filter in my leaking oil? And he continued to ask me these questions on occasion when I had come home and I would for the most part disregard his enquiries. Yeah, straight. He was annoying little troll troll under the bridge on, and it was probably two weeks ago I came home one time and he said. I really think you have a problem, he said. I believe that your car is not building up oil pressure e is this guy currently employed are just sits there, reads the paper all day. No, he is employed. He works in a small garage, not too far from where we live. About two minutes later, there's a knock on the door and it's this gentleman and he's written out for me everything that I should have checked, uh, in regards to this problem that he thinks exist. What a wonderful, nice, considerate role. I can read you the things that he wrote out. Yeah, I thought the oil pump was not producing pressure, and he could tell that because he could hear the valves clacking away. Exactly. So I had to take my car into my mechanic foran unrelated problems. So I figured Well, while I have it in there, I'll mention this to them and get their opinion on him. So I took the car in. They let it sit overnight and did a cold start, and when I went back to pick it up the next day, they said, We don't think you have a problem, and their explanation was this. They said that the clearance on the valves is so small and so close that when it's cold and you start the car up, you're gonna hear rattling. And it's just a noisy engine, but that once it warms up, uh, that noise should go away. And there really is nothing to be worried about. No problems. Well, it's interesting. The one piece of information that you mentioned was that one day when you were coming home from work, he stopped you and evidently having her your engine when it was warmed up. Hey, still felt you had the problem. Here's here's the thing with oil pressure. When you start the engine in the morning, the engine is called. You get lots of oil pressure because the engine's cold and the engines revving and the oil is viscous. And if the story they have about the clearances is true, and I don't know that it is or not, Uh, then maybe that would cause engine noise when it first is started. But it's not because of oil pressure. Later, when the engine warms up, like when you're on your way back home at night, when you get home, Theo engine is all warmed up, and that's when the oil pressure is the lowest. If you have the noise, then then these guys are not right. Uh huh. See, unfortunately, these guys didn't really do anything because all they did was started up and listen to it. What they should have really done is measured the oil pressure when the engine was hot. If they really cared about you like this guy like this guy does. Well, let me throw in this factor as well. Our land lady. She has known this mechanic known this gentleman longer than I have. I mentioned this there and she said, Don't let him anywhere near your car. Oh, boy. Oh, maybe I need a third party to take this Thio. So you gotta I think you have to go to a neutral party. I agree. And ask him, Simply warm up the car and tell me the oil pressure cold and hot. Okay. You want to know if it's within spec? Okay, If it is, don't worry about it, okay? Okay. Danny, baby, Thanks so much, guys. Yeah, Goodbye. Hey, do you know what time it is? Time to move those campaign matching funds to our bank account in Aruba. No, it's time to place. Stump the chumps thing is the part of the show, where we check in on a previous call to see if the advice we gave was full of certitude, rectitude or just plain attitude. And so who is our lucky contestant this week? Funny, you should ask, because our lucky contestant is you Now. A couple of weeks ago, you made a very bold claim. Let's let's hear, like we bring up the cut.
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