Assistant director on Car Talk

Upon returning to the Center after a trip to Baja in January 2005, Assistant Directors Megan and Jan discovered that heavy rains had caused extensive flooding throughout portions of Granite Cove, including the parking area near their house resulting in their Toyota Corolla being buried in sand. 

After many hours of washing silt, sand, rocks, and branches out of the interior and engine, the car still wouldn’t start. Interestingly, when Jan attempted to start the car he noticed air being sucked into the muffler and being blown out of the air intake in the engine – seemingly the engine was running backwards! It took a call to Tom and Ray Magliozzi, the Hosts of Car Talk from National Public Radio to solve the mystery. Their prognosis: The timing belt had shifted 180 degrees, causing the exhaust valves to open when the intake valves should be opening and vice versa. Two hours later Jan had the timing belt replaced and the car running. Jan and Megan are still using the car and have driven it over 30,000 miles since the flood.