Interesting Unique Car Repair Methods


During a commercial break on yesterdays car talk. The guys mentioned something about a list or discussion of unique car repair methods i.e. throwing fiery paper fragments in to the intake of a diesel to get it started. I didn’t catch where to go to read up on these methods. Can someone point me in the right direction?


Even if I knew where to point you, I would not do it. Some of these “unique methods” can kill you.

When my younger brother was a student, he had an old Dodge which refused to start in wet weather (poor ignition wires). He solved that problem by burning the Sports Section (just the right size) of the paper and put the burning paper under the hood of the car where the heat generated dried out the wires enough for the car to start.

Needless to say, the rest of the family thought this was suicidal.


I suspect they made this one up for laughs. They’ve been known to do this…perhaps more often than giving straight answers.

Throwing flaming pieces of paper around anything volatile is just plain asking for trouble. Include in the term “volatile” diesel fuel, gasoline, and (as the late Michael Jackson once proved) hairspray.


Lots of interesting methods to squeeze some more use out of a mechanicaly damaged engine came from the war years (WWII) when there were not any parts around. Knurling pistons and vavle guides were one of those methods. Nobody does this when they don’t have too.


I remember knurling pistons in my auto mechanics engine’s class. Then I had to do it where I worked later on with an old Ford tractor engine I rebuilt. The parts were no longer available.

I remember learning how to knurl valve guides, but never had to in practice.

Is knurling ever done anymore?


I would appreciate replies from people who actually listened to the show.


Wow…great answer, very informative, thanks.


Interesting WWII facts. Anyone here who listened to the show this weekend want to take a stab at this question?


Be aware that there are many of us here who while we didn’t hear that show have heard many and know how the brothers fool around…and many others here who although they didn’t hear the show have some qualifications to suggest whether throwing flaming paper into your diesel is a good idea. If you only want the advice of those who heard that show you’re really limiting your choices and eliminating lots of potentially good information.

In short, because someone versed in physics and in things automotive did not hear the show does not mean he/she can’t provide a good answer as to the advisability of the things allegedly recommended.

Have a nice weekend.


Another jewel of advice from the physicist. Lighting diesel on fire is dangerous? Thanks! While your automotive and work-a-day knowledge is obviously beyond question, certainly having listened to even the commercial free podcast of this show may helped loosen an apparent mental stuck needle and saved you the time of writing this so far bewildering reply.


Hmmm…why do you continue to dig a deeper hole for yourself? Nobody here owes you an answer, and you’ll certainly get none that way…


Your right, I mistook this forum as a place where I could ask a question about the show and get a sensible reply. I apologize if I took up anyones time.


That’s not the apology needed…


It’s okay. I can’t even take the comments seriously.

But thanks for the support.

Happy holiday everyone.