View Full Version : Need answers to strange questions?

07-24-2006, 11:20 PM
Ok, I usually resort to calling businesses or professionals for first hand information about whatever I need to know when I'm writing. (Like when I called Lowes to find out how flammable lead pant is. Which I was warned repeatedly not to light it. "No, seriously, don't play with that stuff. I don't care if you say you're a writer or not, DO NOT play with matches around it.
Got it?")
My new inquiry is what could be done secretly to a car engine to stop it in around 3 hours? Is there a particular website anyone can recommend? Someone suggested the Anarchist's cookbook, but that's not really something I want to get. Anymore suggestions? Or, if you know anything about cars, I'd love to know the answer.

07-24-2006, 11:32 PM
This isn't exactly what you want, but it could be a place to get an idea. You'd probably still have to check into the specific act though.


07-25-2006, 04:52 AM
Thanks Buckyrig, I'll check it out.

Lynn Lefey
07-25-2006, 09:46 AM
Screwing up a car's alternator will kill a car, but not immediately. I'm not sure how long it'd take for the car's battery to die though. If you're looking at something pretty much dead on to three hours, I don't know if you'll be able to find something that specific.

07-25-2006, 09:50 AM
three hours worth of straight driving or just three hours regardless of use?

07-25-2006, 10:01 AM
Don't know about specifically three hours, but kind of like what Lynn said, if you cut the alternator belt, or fray it to where it's almost gone it'll wear out and cause the car to slow down gradually until it comes to a dead stop.

Happened to me once on I-75. The car suddenly went from 65-70mph down to 20, and I had to swerve through two lanes of traffic to get to the shoulder.

HeroStreet Press
07-25-2006, 10:25 AM
The alternator belt will do it, though probably quicker than three hours. Once that belt is cut, the motor is drawing upon the battery to keep going. In some cars, this will set off a light on the dashboard. After a while, the interior lighting will begin to dim and radio reception will fuzz. When the car finally dies, you're left in speeding hunk of metal with neither power steering nor power breaks.

07-25-2006, 10:31 AM
Sand and sugar in the gas tank will cause all kindsa problems. Bleach in the gas tank will kill it too.

Not sure if they have an archive of info, but "Mythbusters" did an episode on stopping a car. Generally the things that would stop a car would REALLY stop it. Things that didn't work very well (like a potato up the exhaust pipe) generally didn't work at all.

Myself, I'd be inclined to let down two or more tires. Most cars have a spare, but two spares? Three? All four? And you don't need anything more than a matchstick wedged into the valve to let 'em down and walk away.

Then it just depends on how quickly you can get replacements.

j giar
07-25-2006, 10:37 AM
The only problem is most things you can do to a car to get it to stop will set off an alarm on the dash. A slow leak in the radiator will cause the car to over heat or stall out. Draining the car of oil will also cause the car to shut down as it heats up. Most cars have a sensor that shuts the engine down so you don't damage or warp the heads. I speak from experience on that one. But again the oil light will come on. If it's an older car alot of the warning lights will quit working purely because the bulb burns out. That's why they used to call them dummy lights!

Jason Arthur
07-25-2006, 12:31 PM
i always heard that you could fill a small ball (smaller than a ping pong ball, surely) with some sort of liquid and the gas would eventually errode the ball, releasing the vile contents and messing up the engine.

Or, give me a phone call at work...I might know a guy, that knows a guy, that has a copy a certain cookbook that may interest you.

-- J

Lynn Lefey
07-25-2006, 04:30 PM
Do not believe ANYTHING in the Anarchist's cookbook.

07-25-2006, 04:42 PM
You guys are brilliant! I was looking for something that would cause a car to stop after a few hours of minimal use and really put our hero in a jam. Now, I've got some good suggestions on how to do just that. The alternator belt
sounds most probable for this scenario. Because it sounds like that could be done fairly quickly and secretly. My thanks! :)

(Hope to make the story one you guys can be proud of.)

07-25-2006, 05:57 PM
Not sure if it's true, but I've heard about putting mothballs in a gas tank and having the engine go bust after a couple of weeks.

Jason Arthur
07-25-2006, 08:20 PM
what's weird is that 3 hours after you posted my car died...



-- J

07-25-2006, 08:55 PM
i can tell you from personal experience that cracking two or three raw eggs into someones gas tank will cause all manner of chaos. not sure on the 3 hour time limit, but they have hell getting scrambled eggs out of the fuel system i know that for sure.

07-25-2006, 09:14 PM
I was able to confirm that some types of mothballs can cause a chemical reaction creating HCl in gasoline, so yeah.

Awesomus Prime
07-25-2006, 09:24 PM
Most new cars have an aluminum engine block. Heat up the outer shell of the engine block with a torch. This will weaken the block. Put a pinhole leak in the oil tank and the growing friction will cause the eingine to heat up and soon the piston will tear through the block wall.

Happened to my car minus the happening on purpose.