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Car Talk


Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

My 1982 Mercedes 240D starts up
faithfully without coaxing… but with
such a roar and shake that people
wonder what, exactly, is going on
under the hood.
It sounds like angry badgers fighting. Might it be bad motor mounts or
something else that’s the issue?
Thanks for your consideration.

caused by a cylinder that’s not firing
when you first start the car. If you have a
bad injector, for instance, the car could
start by running on only five of its six
cylinders. That would cause it to shake
like an unbalanced washing machine
until the final cylinder kicked in.
I would say there’s one thing that I’m
absolutely certain you need, Denise.
A mechanic.
It’s time to have this old heap
looked over from stem to stern. And
let the mechanic keep it overnight so
I think it might be your new hearing he can hear what you hear when it
aids. It’s probably been making those
starts in the morning.
noises all along, but now you can
At the very least, you want to make
finally hear that racket like everyone
sure the car is still safe to drive and
else. Try taking the hearing aid batter- that nothing crucial is about to break
ies out before starting the car.
or fall off. And if you determine that,
Actually, given that this old diesel
then you can get a list of the other
has been shaking and rattling for near- things that should be fixed. You may
ly 40 years, it could be anything and
need everything we mentioned, and
everything. You could certainly have
then some.
multiple problems, Denise.
But only a thorough inspection
To me, angry badgers sounds like
will tell you that. Once you know the
a bad belt. That makes a screaming,
extent of the needed repairs, you can
high-pitched noise that often starts
decide if you want to fix up this old
when the car starts, and then goes
soot bag, or skip over the internal
away as the engine and belt warm up. combustion era entirely and buy yourBut you also mentioned a “roar.” That self an electric car.
could be something like a cracked
Actually, now that I think about it,
exhaust manifold. If you have a crack
that might be too much of a shock
in the manifold, that’ll make a loud
to your system, Denise. Going
roaring sound when you first
from shaking and blowing
start the car. And then, as the
black soot to a silent,
hot exhaust heats up the
clean electric drivemanifold, the manifold
train might be too
expands and the crack
overwhelming to
closes up. That makes
your senses.
the noise go away. Until
So, if you do make
the next time you start
the leap, make sure
the car.
you get a massaging
Finally, you mention
and vibrating seat and
shaking. Let’s assume this
some cheap incense to
is above and beyond the
help you work through
normal diesel shaking.
the transition.
That could be

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FL 32803, or email by visiting the Car Talk website at
(c) 2019 by Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman


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