How did I grow to (the age of) adulthood without learning this one?
While racing your engine or just driving down the highway, turn the ignition off then on again. You'll hear one or more loud explosions. Bystanders will think they're being shot at. Possibly your muffler will be destroyed.
This works with gasoline engines.
How it works:
When you turn the key off, the sparkplugs no longer fire. So that perfect gas-air mixture your car was running on gets pumped into your exhaust system. Then when you turn the key back on the sparkplugs fire and the hot exhaust detonates the rich mixture in your exhaust system like a huge potato cannon.
I did it with an old pickup with no catalytic converter. With a catalytic converter things might be different, but you know what? I'm not going to test it.
If your car has been running for long enough to heat up the catalytic converter it will probably burn the fuel-air mix before too much builds up. If the converter is cold it might act as a spark arrestor. Either way might result in a smaller volume detonating at once. And any damage is likely to be more expensive.
This fun new trick has cost me $90 so far.
Step 1: Step Two: Get a New Muffler
My mom and I are driving from Minnesota to California in the best little truck ever built, a '78 Toyota with the 20R engine and a manual transmission. Right now we're in South Dakota.
My mom was driving. Her key for the truck isn't well cut so it tends to jam in the "start" position, which will burn out the starter. I heard a funny noise and wanted to make sure the starter wasn't grinding itself to death while the motor ran, so I turned the key back a notch, which turned off the spark, then back on.
KABANG! the truck jumped a bit and now was very loud with no muffler.
After checking the damage we kept going with earplugs in and switched to sign language. "Great Sunset"
and "There ought to be more boats on that river" are pretty easy to sign, even if you have to invent the language from scratch.
I would have beat it back into shape and welded it with coat hangers, but time is short and I don't get to see my mom that much, so I checked with the garage at the truck stop when we stopped for the night in Murdo, South Dakota.
Fortunately they had the right replacement muffler, so for $90 I got the thing replaced at 10pm on a sunday night. Wow. Thanks Cole Venard and Bob at the Triple H Truck Stop! (605)669-2465
I'll give the guys a break while they fix it and wander around the shop for a bit.