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Episode 41: Compact Compact and Vodka Myths

  • Two semis trucks can collide, fuse together on impact, and hide a small car between them: mythbusted
  • Vodka Myths:
    • Vodka as foot wash: confirmed
    • Vodka as mouthwash: confirmed

Compact Compact:

Myth: Two semi-trucks are in a head-on collision and get fused together. Awhile later in the junkyard people start to notice a smell coming from the trucks. They pull them apart and find that there was a small European car wedged between them with a dead driver. In a variation of this myth the two trucks were tailgating.

Test setup


  • two free cab-over-engine semis that they got for free
  • two tow trucks
  • one small European car (donated by fan Jack Friedman)
  • 3/8" cable (20,000lb breaking strength)
  • pulleys
  • long strench of open pavement (same as used for Matrix: Reloaded)
  • 5000lb steel plates to weight down each semi's trailer (to simulate full load)
  • Buster ('driver' for the car)
  • Simulaids ('drivers' for the semis)

Instead of driving the semis into each other, they decided to use tow cables to pull the semis into each other so that they could get a simultaneous impact. Guidebars were welded to the front of each semi so that they would steer with the cable.

They marked off a T-shaped course with 1500 ft of road in each direction from the collision point. The semis were lined up at each end of the horizontal and attached to the tow cable. Two tow trucks were lined up on the vertical to pull the cables and the small European car was stationed at the intersection. The tow cables were run through pulleys bolted to the pavement underneath the car out to the semis. Ropes were used to attached the tow cables to the tow trucks to breakaway when the semis collided.

Test run

In their test runs for the tow lines the tow rope snapped, sending one of the semis on a runway course into a field as the MythBusters crew went running.

Adam: "I have no idea what your plan was for stopping it"
Tory: "Yeah, there wasn't really a plan"

Jamie: "In this case we saw what we wanted. We narrowly had a little bit of a disaster as far as automobiles getting crunched by a runaway semi-trailer truck, but, you know, details"

Test 1

Jamie: "The second truck is out of control I believe, over"

A tow cable snapped causing one the trucks broke free and roll off into the grass. The other truck stayed on course, slamming into the car and using it as a brake. They pinned the failure on the fact that the tow trucks weren't keeping pace with one another. As the other tried to accelerate to match it may have snapped the cable too hard or caused the truck to run over it's own cable.

They managed to repair a busted guidebar, bent-up pulley system, and cable in 90 minutes so that they could give it another shot. Although the car was damaged, they figured that it was still intact enough for another shot.

Test 2

Jamie: "There is no abort"


One semi hit the car before the other and, as the trucks collided at 35mph, the car got spat got spat out sideways.

Jame: "It wasn't quite right but I don't think we can reset"

The trucks were nowhere near fused together. Instead there was lots of shrapnel everywhere.

Although they hoped the collision would have been more square-on and simultaneous, an important component of the myth -- semis fusing together on impact -- was busted.


Random tidbit: it took the cast and crew (all hands) two days to cleanup after this myth

Vodka Myths

Vodka Foot bath

Myth: Washing feet with vodka cures foot odor

Grant sniffed Adam's feet before the wash, then Kari proceeded to wash Adam's feet. One foot was washed with commercial foot odor soap and other with vodka while Grant wore a blindfold.

Grant: (as Kari washes Adam's feet) Would these be considered a perk of your Mythbuster experience?
Kari: Are you talking to me or him?


Pre-wash foot: 7 or 8 (where 10 is the worst thing he has ever smelled)
First foot: 0.5 "Not bad"
Second foot: 0.75. Smelled a little trace of vodka.

Adam: "There is no dignity in television"


Vodka Mouth Wash

Myth: You can turn vodka into mouthwash using a cup of vodka, 9 tablespoons of cinnamon, an air-tight container to seal it up in two weeks. After you strain out the cinnamon you have mouthwash.

Once again they are using Adam as the stink subject and Grant as the nose.

The pre-strained mix looks pretty brown and goopy. After two weeks the cinnamon formed a skum on the bottom.

Kari gave Adam cigarettes, garlic, and stinky order to give him some extra stink. Grant rated his breath a seven, a.k.a. "Definitely the worst breath I've ever smelled." which is seven on his scale. Adam used the vodka mouthwash first ("it burns"), restocked on cigarettes, garlic, and stinky cheese to get his breath back to a seven, and then used commercial mouthwash.


Pre-wash breath: 7
Vodka mouthwash: Initially a 1, finish was a 3 (a little smoky from the cigarettes)
Commercial mouthwash: Same results as vodka (same cigarette finish)

The vodka and commercial mouthwashes performed equally well with neither able to remove the lingering cigarette smoke.



The vodka "myths" don't seem as mythy as other things they've tested; 50% alcohol seems like a reasonable choice for sanitizing things.

As with many of the myths they test, the truck myth doesn't make much sense on the face of it. It presumes that it would be reasonable or even possible to clear a combined "two-truck" unit off of the road where they collided, rather than cutting the vehicles apart before moving them.

Although the setup of the truck-collision myth was on the face of it absurd, often the most absurd element covers up a slightly less absurd assumption. While you point out that towing off two fused semis sounds ridiculous, even getting to that point of analysis requires you assuming that two colliding semis would fuse together. I often wonder whether or not they choose the most ridiculous version of a myth just so that they can have some 'surprise' finding at the end.

YALL ROCK ever in TN I got some cars you can crush

i have a car if yall want it just contact me

You give very cool show,tests,and info,I'm going to love telling a friend about the vodka,she will laugh..her..ass off..well maybe not off,,I think that's a myth too,lol,,people don't actually laugh their ass off do they?haha