Updated: Jun 7, 2019
I've often seen it - a car pulls up to the front door of the shop. One mechanic goes out to have a listen. He comes back in and brings a second mechanic out. Then a third mechanic joins them. Pretty soon all of them are surrounding the vehicle trying to figure it out. They love a challenge - or at least, it drives them crazy until they can find the solution to the problem. There is nothing worse than having a vehicle come back again and again for a problem that they can't seem to find. Thinking about some of these instances, I asked Dicky what were the most bizarre things he'd seen in a vehicle.
1. Air Intake Full of Dog Food
There are a lot of things that you might find under the hood - like metal shavings, or other parts that have rusted or fallen apart - but you don't expect to find dog food as the cause of your problem! This vehicle had a mouse who had been stashing pounds of dog food away in the air intake - so much so that it was completely packed full! This was obviously preventing air flow from getting to the engine and causing problems.
2. 2x4 Holding the Rotted Frame Together
We've seen plenty of zip-ties holding up exhausts (and holding other parts together), duct-taped cars, and other quick fixes, but this one was a big deal. There were pieces of wood 2x4s sandwiching a rotted frame. Typically when the frame rusts, the vehicle is done for, but they had extended the vehicle life by building a wooden frame around the existing one. Creative? Certainly. But, needless to say, this is not a safe fix, and we couldn't do anything to keep that vehicle on the road.
3. Broken Exhaust Manifold Bolts
Especially in Ford 5.4L Engines and Chevy 5.3L engines - broken exhaust manifold bolts are one of the frustrations that come up. Just having one break can seem like a blessing! It gets crazy (and time consuming) when, every. single. bolt. is rusted and breaks off. Then you have to drill them out one by one - which can turn a 5 hour job into a three or four day event.
4. Four Turn Signals At One Time
When you want to use the emergency blinkers, having all four turn signals on at one time is the goal. When you want to indicate that you are turning left, it's a problem if all four of them come on. This is the problem he faced and had to spend quite a bit of time on sorting through wiring to try and find what was causing it.
5. Vacuum Line Turned to a Check Valve
When you look for leaks in vacuum lines, mechanics often perform a smoke test - sending smoke through the system to see where it comes out. In this case, the vehicle Dicky was working on had a broken vacuum line that was hiding under a perforated cover that sealed over during the smoke test - this made it work like a check valve which prevents fluid or smoke from flowing backward. This made it very difficult to find the leak and fix the problem.
Have you ever had a car problem with a bizarre solution? Do you have a mysterious problem that is yet to be solved? Let us know in the comments below (or on Facebook)!
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