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Highlight of Episode #2039: Fell Off Truck | Car Talk

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Last Played: December 08, 2020
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This week on The Best of Car Talk, Matt's bad day got a little worse when his Volvo fell off the tow truck that was hauling it from an accident. Will Tom and Ray's vast experience dropping cars help Matt figure out if his is still safe to drive? Elsewhere, should Jackie go braless when washing her car? We're talking about the car's bra here, not Jackie's. Also, Peter thinks he has a theremin player living in his car; Barb's smart-aleck son may actually be smarter than she thinks; and on Stump the Chumps, we find out if Victoria bought cars for her three sons and opted for a career in flower arranging over business school. All this and more, this week on The Best of Car Talk.
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compromise podcast from NPR. Hi, we're back. You're listening to car talk with us. Click and clack the Tablet brothers, and we're here to talk about cars, car repair and, uh, the answer to last week's puzzler. I can hardly wait, and this puzzler was inspired by email I got from a guy named Dave. Traitors, I think on Does that mean like you stole it from him off course, you know, here it is. Last week I was sitting at a restaurant, and at the table next to me were two old geezers chatting away about the good old days, lamenting how all modern cars look the same and going on and on about how much they miss their old cars and how much they hated their new cars. At some point, I had to place my order, and I kind of lost track of the conversation, and when I tuned back in, I heard one of them say, Oh, yeah, I missed that, too. And the other one time did she? So do I. I used to look forward to seeing that every year or so in my own car. The first one says, Jeez, I kind of look forward to seeing it, too. Do you see it in your new car? The second guy says No. No way. Not likely to see it the way I drive, either. Yeah. And the question is, what the heck were they talking about? What is it that you could see pretty much every year in your older car? But you wouldn't see in modern cars. At least not for a long time. A broken water pump. E used to look forward to that broken water pump all the time. No wrong. All right. You couldn't get it. You don't You don't realize how close you are. Know what they lamented? Not seeing was all the digits on the odometer reading the same. You're back. In the old days, your odometer would would read five digits. So we go up to 99,999 and then it would flip all zeros. But just about every year, assuming you drove 11,111 miles, you would see all once and then the next year you could see all twos and all threes. But with newer cars having six digit all Dahmer's, you're not gonna see that until you get to ah, 111,000, 111 miles, and you may only see it once in the time that you own the car. It's pretty sad you and and the way these old guys in driving 700 miles a year, we're never going to see it. So who's our winner? Wow. The winner. The first winner off the new puzzler season, eyes Roger Cook from Burlington, Vermont. You know that I went to U V M in Burlington anyway, for having it? No for having his answer selected at random from the El Camino full of correct answers that we got. Roger is going to get a $25 gift certificate to the car talk shameless Commerce Division with which he can get our best selling C D car talk cartoons. It is the car talk compendium off disrespectful car songs. This is a collection of what songs about heaps and bad mechanics and bad drivers and trashing rental cars. You know, the rial songs about cars, none of this 409 stuff. You've heard some of these songs during our show when we go to the break, but now we have a collection of our favorite funny car songs and Roger Cook. You can get one from the shameless Commerce Division. Congratulations. Of course, they're $25 and a nickel. Nine cents. Anyway, we'll have a new, uh, automotive. And on no, definitely not non automotive, not even quasi. You quote Mr No, this is This is a baseball algebraic puzzler coming up in the third half of today's show from the Siris of baseball puzzles, many of which I've used over the years. Eso keep listening. In the meantime, you can call us and ask questions about your car at 1888 car talk. That's 8882278255 Hello, You're on car talk. Hi, this is Andy from Seattle. Hi, Andy. From Seattle, I've got a 1986 months to pick up, and, ah, a couple of weeks ago, the truck overheated several times, and in the end, I wound up cooking the engine and I'm trying to figure out Yeah, on. I'm trying to figure out if it's worth fixing. Now I've priced the parts and thought about what I might. There's only one part E I'm considering what I myself might accomplish in my or might attempt in my driveway. My working theory now is that if I can get away with just replacing the head, it's worth it in this truck. If I have to replace the whole engine, it's not gonna be worth how many miles on this beast 197,000, 197. And when you say you cooked it, what happened? Like the little thermometer pop out? Um, it overheated once, Um, but the temperature gauge shouldn't go up. Idiot lights didn't go on. Just steam from under the hood. I opened the hood. There was a coolant line blown. I replaced the coolant line. I drove another 45 minutes. It did it again. Different hose. Uh, and you would think at this point I would have stopped. But, um, third time's a charm. And that time it just totally lost power. Nothing. And there was no compression through a couple of cylinders. I told the head, and sure enough, the head was both warped and cracked. Cool, but the engine cranks. The engine cranked Fine. It was just nothing. Was there no compression in a couple of soldiers, so you probably melted the valves and Well, you gotta replace the head anyway. So you wanna go to you? You priced the head, right? I you priced like a new head and valves and all that. No, no, no, no, no. I actually found a great junk yard here in Seattle that lets you go out and pulled apart yourself. And I got I already got the head. 30 bucks get out of town. So I'm not I'm not too deep in now. Yeah, I think you take a chance. Absolutely. Now, if you wanted to know if you're energetic, you could replace the rings. How would he Even what you mean? Uh, you've got the head off already, right? It's just a simple matter. It's another month. Get to the rings. I believe on this truck. You can take the oil pan right off, and then you're looking at You're ready for this, Andy, you're looking at the bottom of the connecting rods and your eight little nuts away from having the pistons out of the block. You're just too nuts on each connecting rod and you take off the bottom cap and you push the Pistons up with a broomstick and one by one pop pop pop They pop out and and then you go to go buy a cylinder home. Everyone needs one of those compressor ring compressor and a set of rings. This is a lot of tools. Well, I mean, you obviously love the truck. You've driven it for 197,000 miles. And had this not happened, you drive it forever, right? Truth this you would not have had the opportunity to replace the rings. E think you're gonna be disappointed if you put the head on and you don't do rings? Rings is a nice actually, Rings is a nice little job to dio and you'll learn new skills. And what better vehicle to learn them on the one that you're ready to junk anyway? Yeah. And and And the expense. I mean, the expenses is minuscule. Unfortunately, the rings they're gonna question more than the head and all the valves. Well, yeah, the I got the head for 30 bucks in the gasket set is gonna be 100 150 right? Yeah, And then the ring's gonna be another 150 an oil pan gasket is gonna cost you about 2500 bucks, you know, But when this is all done, you will have done a ring job, man. I mean, not many can say that many people when people say, how is your truck? You could say, Well, I just did the head of the ring job and everyone will. I mean, you're married. You are. It's too bad. Women will be four women are gonna be throwing themselves that they when they found out that you replaced the head and did the rings well, I mean, maybe your your own life will just go nuts. You'll be the hero with the water cooler. You'll have to fend them off. Yeah. Yeah. Well, look forward to that. All right? Go for it, man. Yeah, the benefits derived. The only a small percentage of the benefits derived from having a truck that runs The rest of it is your self esteem and your reputation. The folklore folklore of Andy from Seattle. There you go. Getting getting to 200,000 is gonna be treating up. I guess you may just about do that. You've got your own priorities. I know what mine would be. See you later and they see like a what? 888 car talk. That's 8882278255 Hello? You're on car talk. Hey, this is Gary. It's Salisbury, Maryland. Hi. Gary Salisbury, Maryland. All right. I was in Salisbury, Maryland only recently. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Well, why do you say stop and say hi? Well, because you didn't leave me a phone number. Well, house right here waiting for you. What's going on there? I got a grand Marquis. Yeah. Okay. I got one of those check engine lights. The first time it happened, my wife and I, we stopped. I raised the hood, and I told her, Well, there is the engine, but I don't know where else to look. So I check the oil. Yeah. So I don't know why it keeps coming on. How many miles air on this beast all about 97 good miles. If I had to guess with 97,000 miles on it, I take it easily. Be one of the inexpensive sensors, like an oxygen sensor or a throttle position sensor or something like that. Because those things do wear out the throttle position. Position sensor is basically a potentially ometer that that changes the signal going to the computer as you open and close the throttle So you could imagine after 97,000 miles, the thing could be Have a spot on it that's worn out, and that would be enough to set the check engine light if the lights coming on. For example, after extreme high speed driving, it could be a bad oxygen sensor. A eso you need to go and have it scanned. Your your shop will hook up a scanner to it, and the scanner will take information that's been stored in the computer and tell the scanner so the skin will be able to extract the information about what's wrong with your car. Yeah, and it will flash a code, and the code will tell the person reading them device what is wrong? And the sooner you go to the shop after the light has come on the better. For example, the light comes on tomorrow morning. Try to get to the shop that afternoon while holding still in memory because it's easy for them to do this. I mean least they can figure out what it is and you'll know whether to even bother fixing. It sounds great. And if they tell you there are no code store, then you don't have to really worry about it. You can wait until it gets worse or it impairs the you know, the performance. But I wouldn't sweat it. Okay, Thank you. Enjoy it. Right? So you guys have a good day. Will way. Well, you take care. Thanks very much. All right. By you know what time it is. Time to move the oil change bay to the Florida Keys. It's time to play the oh thing is the part of the show where we dig up a call from a previous show to see if our advice was reasonable, seasonable or treasonable. Whose are lucky player? It's Victoria from California, by way of Eugene, Oregon. Do you remember her? No, I don't either. No, no. Victoria called us last January. She needed to buy three used cars for her three college aged kids. To complicate matters, Victoria was going back to get a business degree herself, So money was an issue. Theo. Boys live in California, and sometimes to get to work, You know, they have very long drives. They might have to go to San Francisco, and they live south of Santa Cruz. So how many of those are there? We'll start at one. They can work together. Oh, they go to school together? Yes, they do. They even lived together. So, boy, one and boy to could have the same car. That's right. The boy Wonder boy to look alike. They dio paying two tuitions. Exactly. Maybe they could get by with one tuition. Once you go to class, speculate? Of course. Just one of them signs up. You got it? Yeah, the And it's half duty for everybody. Oh, jeez. Why didn't I think of that one when they finally grab?
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