SAAB “Expert” Tom Magliozzi / NPR CarTalk has passed away

My favorite US radio program CarTalk has lost one of the two Magliozzi brothers Tom and Ray. Tom just recently passed away in Alzheimers disease.
The two brothers has given me so many hours of great car talk. Any brand and owners are helped or roast by the two guys.
I remember most clearly a guy with a SAAB 99 calling in to the programme. The issue with the 99 was explained something like this. “In sweden it is dark most of the year and the workers in Trollhättan happened to mount the engine on top of the gearbox and to add more issues the put it in the wrong way with the clutch just behind the radiator” I had a great laugh. It seams like quite a few of callers where from the east coast and drove cars like Volvo, Saab or european cars.

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Here is one on 900 with an exploding muffler:
Dear Tom and Ray:
What would cause a muffler to explode? We just had work done on our ’93 Saab 900S. It was running very sluggish up hills, and diagnostics showed several leaks in the exhaust pipes leading out of the catalytic converter. After having a new converter and pipes installed, the car was better, but still a little sluggish. Within a week, we were accelerating to get on a highway, and the muffler exploded. It literally burst open along the side. What kind of pressure would cause this, and should our mechanic have picked up on a muffler problem in the first place? — Angela

RAY: Well, here’s the key question, Angela: After the muffler exploded, did the car run better?

TOM: If so, the muffler might have been the source of the sluggishness. Often what happens is that when a catalytic converter fails, its innards disintegrate and get pushed farther down the exhaust system, where they can lodge in the muffler baffles and plug it up.

RAY: That would cause exactly the symptoms you describe — the car would be sluggish when climbing hills or accelerating. If the tailpipe is blocked and the engine’s exhaust can’t get out, the fresh fuel and air have no room to come in, so the engine bogs down.

TOM: So both your catalytic converter AND muffler might have been clogged. And when your mechanic replaced the converter, the acceleration improved a little bit, but the pressure on the muffler multiplied. At some point, the pressure got to be too much and the muffler burst at its weakest point — the seam.

RAY: While that makes you unwelcome in most bedroom communities after dark, it also allows the exhaust to escape. So the car should run better. And once you replace the muffler, you should be all set.

TOM: Mufflers sometimes explode due to backfires, caused by too much unburned fuel in the exhaust system. But given all the corroborating symptoms you have, I’m betting yours was just badly clogged. Next time, try Mufflermucil.

Or listen to the library of great old shows like the one with:
– How many rocks can you fit into a Saab?

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we lost a national treasure! Many Saturday mornings driving to weekend events listening to Click and Clack. And they did love Saabs.


It figures that they would love SAABs. As for German cars, Tom’s opinion was quoted in the local news report of his passing: “Life is too short to own a German car.” All this delivered with their Boston/Italian accents and constant bantering makes for great listening (rebroadcasts continue to be aired).


SU’s loyal readers from other than the US should realize that these guys were not only automotive diagnostic geniuses, but physiologists of human nature and marital problems and funny as all get out. One of my favorites is a woman calls in and says she looked for her minivan in a Home Depot parking lot. After a search involving hundreds of cars, she found it in a completely different place than she parked it. They’re first question to her was “does she like music? and if so, what kind.” Completely befuddled, she says that she always listens to classical music… Read more »


Cars was probably the least important part of their show. As others have said it was a mix of philosophy, family issues, and more all said with a good dose of irreverence and humor. Oh and there actually were car tips every now and then. One of my favorites is when a woman called up and confessed that she had been holding guilt for many years over destroying her dad’s engine. She never told him so Click and Clack staged an on air intervention where she came clean to her dad. Radio Gold. For those who want a sample of… Read more »

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