This was uttered by a server at a restaurant after everyone ordered their food. It is a mashup of “firing on all cylinders” (to operate at the greatest possible speed or efficiency”) and I think “put the wheels in motion” (get something started) given the context. Wheels and cylinders are parts of a car, and probably that contributed to the mental mixup. A big thanks to Steve Grieme who heard this one and sent it in.
An announcer from the Pittsburgh Pirates pre-game show last night (4/30/13) said that while the
Pirates are doing well, “they aren’t clicking on all cylinders yet”. This is a mash-up of “firing (or hitting) on all cylinders” (working at full strength) and “clicking with (someone)” (understood by someone suddenly). A malaphor salute to Mitchell Hoyson for sending this one in!