More blatantly recycled material aired this morning in the form of a caller from Texas whose Isuzu regularly croaks whenever she drives past a certain spot on a local road. This was previously broadcast back in 2001. How about some new stuff, huh?
The following was posted in an on-line forum on December 27, 2001
Radar site may be key to car woes
By KELLY MELHART
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
A mysterious coincidence has the hosts of a national talk show guessing at the problem and the solution.
As far as anyone can tell, there are no little green beings hiding in this city. Nor are there mysterious spinning spacecraft. But something strange is afoot.
Just ask resident Amy Johnson.
Amy Johnson and friend Jodi Johnson have encountered the same problem in the same section of Keller Smithfield Road. Their vehicles have sputtered and died.
As far as Johnson and Johnson can tell, there are two common factors: They both drive Isuzu sport utility vehicles, and they both pass a large white ball perched atop a small building along the road.
The ball has such a dramatic effect on their vehicles that the two women avoid the road even though it is the shortest way home, they say.
Amy Johnson turned to brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi, who, under the pseudonyms Click and Clack, host Car Talk, a popular talk show on National Public Radio that deals with automobiles.
“If I drive on the side of the street that the ball is, the car completely dies. You just coast on through and have to steer your way off the road,” she lamented to the Magliozzis. When she drives on the side of the road farthest from the white sphere, her lights flicker, Johnson said.
The Magliozzis’ initial response: “Is there a sign that says `Area 51’?”
There is a sign, but it says “FAA.” The ball is a powerful radar device covered with a white dome. It is part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Route Surveillance Radar (ARSA) system, and it tracks airplanes flying to or from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. FAA officials who are knowledgeable about the radar could not be reached to comment (no surprise here!!).
Isuzu officials said strong radio signals generated by the radar cause engines in some Isuzus to skip a beat. The situation is unusual, but it has occurred before, Isuzu spokesman Chip Letzkus said.
“Sometimes it happens near military bases. Sometimes it happens near airports,” he said. “It’s a very rare problem.”
Waves from the radar interfere with signals sent from a component in the vehicle’s engine to a computer that operates the engine, Letzkus said. The signals tell the engine how fast the vehicle is going, and the computer adjusts accordingly. When the signals are disrupted, the engine stalls.
Each vehicle needs a shield that protects the sensor from interference, Letzkus said. Isuzu, which recognized the problem after 1997, will install the shield for free, he said. The company has begun adding the shield as a standard engine part, but it has taken awhile [sic] for all Isuzu plants to include the protective part.
“There is nothing sinister going on here,” Letzkus said. “It’s not difficult to fix.”
Amy Johnson said her problems began in July after she moved to Keller. She said she almost immediately noticed the eerie behavior of her 2000 Isuzu Rodeo whenever she drove past the gigantic “golf ball.” At first, the lights flickered on her dashboard.
“I didn’t think that much about it,” she said. “I was a little too casual.”
Then, her SUV stalled. She maneuvered it into a fire station parking lot nearby and called for help.
When friend Jodi Johnson arrived in her 2000 Isuzu Trooper, she suggested that Amy Johnson try starting her vehicle. Amy Johnson did and began to drive home.
“I was driving down the road, and I looked in my rearview mirror, and she was not there,” Amy Johnson said.
Jodi Johnson’s Isuzu had stalled. The rescuer needed a rescue herself.
Eventually, both made it away from the area.
After learning about Amy Johnson’s problem, Click and Clack suggested that she dress in Army fatigues and penetrate the radar’s defenses in an attempt to see what the government is up to. They then suggested an experiment: Wrap the front fender in tinfoil to repel the waves.
A thoughtful suggestion, Jodi Johnson said, but not quite what she had in mind.
“Like I’m going to drive every morning with tinfoil on my car,” she said. “That’s just not a solution we’re looking for.”
Amy Johnson’s seven-minute segment on Car Talk generated dozens of email messages offering solutions to the problem and speculation about the white orb.
Some suggested renting spacesuits. Others asked, Why stop at the fender, when you can cover the whole vehicle in tinfoil?
“It’s really funny,” Amy Johnson said. “No men in black have shown up at the house. There’s nothing sinister. Just the Isuzu.”
Amy Johnson said she is considering reappearing on Car Talk for the show’s “Stump the Chumps” segment.
The show airs at 10 a.m. Saturday and at noon Sunday on KERA/90.1 FM.
Kelly Melhart, (817) 685-3821
So, clearly this problem was resolved by the manufacturer a decade ago. How about getting off your lazy butts and giving us current material!!!