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Don't drive like a knucklehead

For almost 15 years now, Ive been a fan of the NPR show, Car Talk. For those unfamiliar with it, it features two mechanics from the Boston Area who crack wise, tell bad jokes, rant and rave about social issues, and (when they have time) give car advice to callers.

If nothing else, give a listen to their closing credits. They're sometimes the best part of the show.

One regular feature on their show is the Puzzler (except when the Puzzler goes on summer vacation, but sends them postcards from its travels). In it, they pose some sort of problem and challenge listeners to send in their solutions, with the winner getting a gift certificate to their Shameless Commerce division.

They also invite listeners to send in their own Puzzlers for use. About 12 years ago I sent in two for consideration, but they never used them. I was disappointed I thought they were pretty good but filed them away in the back of my head.

Now, though, I have a new forum for them. Im presenting them below (and remember, especially for the first one, that they were written around 1992).

1) One day, Crusty the mechanic showed up for work early and looked at his schedule for the day. He had three jobs scheduled: 1) replacing the water pump on a Citation; B) changing the head gasket on a Pacer; and III) a tune-up on a Ranger. Crusty wanted to brush up on the details behind these jobs, so he went to his reference books and pulled down a single volume that had all the technical specs he needed for all three jobs. What was the book?

2) There are many ways of arranging the combustion chambers of a gasoline internal combustion engine. My last two cars had an inline-4 and a V-6, for example. Most car manufacturers use, at most, two different arrangements. In 1992, there were two companies that actually sold three different styles of engines. Name them, and the engine styles.

(Followup note: the second puzzler actually still has a valid answer, but one of the manufacturers has changed. Bonus points for the first person to give both the 1992 answer and todays.)


Comments (2)

1. The book has to be somet... (Below threshold)

1. The book has to be something like - "How to junk these POS cars that people were dumb enough to buy." I have bad bad waterpump stories about my citatation from years ago.

2. Mazda ought to be one of them - Nissan also?

Today, One is VW: Inline (4... (Below threshold)

Today, One is VW: Inline (4-cyl in smaller cars), Vee (6-cyl in bigger cars) and "W-8" in their top of the line.

The constant is Mazda: Inline 4, V-6 and rotary.

Historically, I think there was a period when Subaru was doing inline/Vee/horizontally opposed...?






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