Bizzare electrical problem


This one stumps me and everyone that hears about it… The car is long gone but I’m still curious what would cause this sort of problem. A few years ago I had a Chevy Corsica that had a weird, unique problem. The audio system was notoriusly bad, the radio had static and sometimes just didn’t work, but the bizzare thing was that if I played a tape while driving, the faster the engine ran, the faster the tape would play! It was actually kind of comical sometimes. My guess it maybe there was a short that let more juice than normal into the player as the alternator generated more juice since the engine was spinning faster, and that made it play faster?


You’re right, it is bizarre.

I had an '88 Corsica (4 banger,11 years and 374k miles) but never experienced that.

I must say that car was made right by GM. I never babied it, never had to use snow tires and the only major(?) repair was replace an oil sending unit that blew out of the block (firewall side).
Then I knew why there was no warning light or buzzer on the dash.

On my way to work at 5:30 am doing 60 mph I hear a loud rapping noise. What the he…?

Managed to get off an overpass and onto my exit and shut it off.

Look under the engine and oil just running down onto the ground.

Problem was I couldn’t see what started the leak. After checking the oil dipstick it was obvious there was a real problem.

I had a spare gallon of oil in the trunk which I poured in the engine.

Started the engine, the loud rapping faded away. The second it did, I turned the ignition off and had another look.

I got off lucky as no damage was done to the engine as could have been done. They don’t run too long with no oil.

Yup, you guessed it. That oil had poured out too.

Meanwhile, I’m still a half hour’s drive from work. Oh boy.

I hitched a ride to a pay phone and phoned work and they sent me a ride and I had my independent garage tow the car back and fix it.

We drove through a long stretch of highway in Georgia back a few years ago on our way to Clearwater,Florida and I’m grateful to this day we had that Corsica.

(A few(?) years ago? Probably was more like 12?
You people who live around Florida would know because that was when they had the worst ice-storm ever and the orange groves were totally covered in ice)

The Corsica (2L, auto) stuck to the freezing rain road surface like glued on while all around us cars and semis where spinning around until they slid down the grassy slopes to the bush.

Yeah, that was likely the best all-around vehicle I’ve owned.


The tape player motor was responding to voltage level changes from the car’s charging system. The voltage regulator for the charging system may have been bad also and allowed higher than normal battery voltage levels making it even worse. The faster the RPMs, the higher the voltage, to a point at least. Normally tape player motors have there own voltage regulator circuits to keep that kind of thing from happening but if the input voltage is too low then they won’t work as they should.