Friday, August 18, 2006

Another car question

Insurgent Asks: I have noticed that exhaust is getting pulled in to the vent intake when I come to a stop, and the exhaust system is louder than it used to be. When I took it in to a shop, they told me that the muffler hanger had rusted off and that there is also a leak from the joint connecting the header pipe to the pipe going to the cat. They quoted me $269 to fix it.

My Response: Usually when a vehicle gets over 120,000 miles or so the engine mounts begin to give way. You don't notice it as shaking of the truck or anything like that. The only way to actually see it would be to remove the hood and watch the engine sway while you drive.

As the engine mounts allow the engine to twist more and more as torque is applied it wears out the flexible connection in your exhaust system that your shop wants to repair. The engine rocks to the side when you press on the accellerator and rocks back when you take your foot off the pedal. It's even worse in vehicles with manual transmissions because the engine rocks more times due to the gear changes and reapplication of the accellerator after each change. An automatic transmission applies the torque more smoothly with less change in torque throughout accelleration.

You can put a new gasket, known as a "doughnut" into that connection but it will probably just wear out and start leaking very soon. If you wanted to fix it properly new engine mounts are probably needed as well. Most automotive technicians don't make this connection and only repair the symptom of the illness (the exhaust leak) and don't look for the possible disease (the engine mounts).

The bottom line is that adding two engine mounts to the repair would probably add about $300 to the cost.

To see the engine move in your truck Jeremy will require help. Since your parking brake doesn't work, hook your trailer hitch to a tree with your tow strap. (I accept no responsibility for what might happen from doing this.)

Open the hood, put the truck in 1st and have someone rev it up and lightly apply the clutch. You'll see the engine rocking probably toward the passenger side. If the engine seems like it wants to jump over the fender, the mounts are junk.

When you're doing this stand on the side of the truck when you're looking at the engine. Just in case the strap falls off and the truck goes forward! There is no specification for what the engine should do or not do when you try this but it shouldn't move more than three inches or so from side to side for sure. Granted if you floor it and dump the clutch it will move more than three inches.

To do this by yourself put Play-Doh on the driver's side of the engine and close the hood. Reopen the hood and note how much the Play-Doh compressed. Now drive the truck and give 'er hell! Now recheck again and see how smashed the Play-Doh is. This will tell you how much the engine moves up while driving due to worn mounts.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Bored are you?

Are you bored just crusing around the internet? Would you like some more excitement in your life? Well if you want the government thugs to break your door down and send you to Gitmo soon then you should read this blog every day! Not mine silly, this one:

Yes, that's the new blog for the Supreme Leader of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad! It's really him! Now that he's a fellow blogger, I must add him to my list of links.

When you go to his blog click on the flags in the upper right-hand corner to pick your language of choice.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Your car questions answered

On Nitrogen filled tires:

The air we breathe is 78% nitrogen anyway. So if you get to 100% nitrogen, what's the difference? Really nothing. Aircraft tires are filled with pure nitrogen because it can be considered completely moisture free. The tires on a 747 go from 120 degrees to below freezing soon after take-off and the reverse when landing. If there was any moisture in there it would freeze and could cause tire leaks along the bead which an airplane can't afford. This level of precision isn't needed in your car.

When you fill your car tire with air it is usually very low in moisture content when the air comes from a stationary compressor. The moisture in the compressed air condenses inside the tank and settles to the bottom. The air that you put into a car tire from the compressor is quite moisture free.

I've heard some people say that nitrogen is great for tires because it doesn't change pressure when the temperature changes. That's a bunch of crap, go back to 9th grade chemistry and retake that class. All gasses change pressure with temperature, including noble gasses.

On the Ford driveability issue:

The repair for this problem in a 2002 Ford Tore-ass can be acomplished by any do-it-yourselfer on a Saturday afternoon. First open all four doors of the car, the hood and trunk. Now take the five gallon gas can that you use for filling the lawnmower and dump all the gas on the seats, carpet, trunk liner and engine. Make sure you pour a trail on the ground from the car to a location behind something solid. Now light a Newport with a match and place the match in the trail of gasoline. Sit back and watch the show. When the show is over, call your insurance company and get some new wheels. Problem solved! (If you'd actually like to know what I think you can call me Luke, I just didn't want to type it all out. That is unless you copied and pasted that or just made it up.)

Submit more questions in the comment box if you'd like, real ones only.

By the way Paul B. who writes repair advice for the Red Star and on A.M. is an idiot. The last time he was turning wrenches was probably during the Nixon administration. Anyone can read Alldata Paul so just quit reciting Technical Service Bulletins on the air and in print. You don't know shit about shit.

Once in Paul's column I remember him telling people how to do a key-off battery drain test with a test light. Paul said to make sure not to try to start the car with the light hooked up because it would "burn up." All it would actually do is glow brightly just as it would if you put it across the battery terminals. Shut up Paul, I wrote so many letters to the editor about your stupid ass. I think they just handed them to you because no matter how plainly I explained your errors they still thought you were still the expert.

We used to make fun of his column almost weekly in class at Dunwoody. The insturctors would bring in his column, read it and then the students would point out all of the technical errors. Don't read his shit.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Save some gas

I wanted to stop talking about politics and my reunion for a day and share some of the knowledge I don't use anymore. Since gas prices are high more and more people are buying scam products that are supposed to increase the fuel economy of a vehicle. I'm just going to dispell some of the more popular ones one by one. The people who claim that these work just want to believe that they work. Many times when someone puts one of these on their car their driving habits change because they want to see how efficient their car can be. This alone causes the increase in fuel economy for the users of these products.

The Tornado Fuel Saver:

This product claims to save fuel buy forcing more air into the engine. They advertise a "cyclonic action" created by this thing in the air intake hose causing a denser intake charge. The reality is that this device actually creates a restriction in the air intake and reduces engine effeciency. They've sold over 100,000 of these things and at $40 each someone is laughing all the way to the bank.

Fuel Line Magnets:

These are magnets that you are to install on the outside of the fuel line to put the fuel molecules "in line" so they flow into the engine better. What a bunch of crap. Even if these things arranged the molecules as it says the fuel injector is engineered to spray the fuel in a mist form for complete combustion. That alone negates the purpose of the device.

Some of the magnets are becoming quite fancy looking and that's why they continue to sell. When these first hit the market what you were actually buying was a set of COW MAGNETS. Dairy famers feed these magnets to their cows and they would stay in the cow's first stomach. Cows actually have three stomachs. (That was a free fun fact.) The magnet in the cow would hold onto any nails, screws or junk the cow ate so it didn't pass to the more sensitve parts of it's digestive system. Farmers pay a few cents a piece for them but the gas saving version (identical in every way) sells for $9.99 for a set of two. What a great business. It's almost like buying codoms for 8.5 cents and selling them for two bucks like I do!

K&N and other "High Performance" air filters

When they test these things they do get performance and fuel economy results. The reason they work is because the control for the test was using a dirty, clogged air filter. If you read the fine print in the testing reports from the companies you can actually see this. The only time a washable air filter makes sense is if you have a Powerstroke, Cummins or Duramax diesel and the air filter is so expensive to repalce that it makes sense to wash it instead. These will not save you any gas either versus a regular replacement air filter.

Fuel additives:

Any fuel additive that claims it will increase your fuel economy is a bunch of lies. The only time an additive will help is if it is a carbureator cleaner or fuel injector cleaner and it actually cleans out a clog in your fuel system. Otherwise you're wasting you money again.

Some things you CAN do to save gas:

Check your tires:
Inflate them to the maximum pressure stated on the tire. Never use the vehicle manufacturer's specs in the owner's manual because they're usually lower than those on the tire. They do this because it makes the car ride a bit nicer and the EPA doesn't factor tire pressure into their fuel economy testing. The EPA uses the rolling resistance data from the tire manufacturer which is calculated at the maximum pressure rating.

Just change your air filter:
Many people don't do this and you should do it about every 15,000 miles at least. I've seen bird and mouse nests in air cleaners before on cars that are driven daily. How many little passengers do you have?

Clean out your trunk:
You'll save about one mile per gallon for every 200 pounds of crap you get out of your car. That's a lot when you add it up over time. How much junk do you really need anyway?

Get a wheel alignment:
If your wheels are out of alignment you're just pushing the front tires sideways down the road. We know that isn't good. Usually you won't see a noticable difference in fuel economy because if your alignment was really bad your tire tread would already be destroyed.

Lose some weight:
The same applies to the human body, lose 100 pounds and get 1/4 mpg back!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Something else disturbing

This is a quote from a Fox News story (no suprise it came from there) but it's really disturbing:

"All of this falls in the category of the coarsening of the culture that does concern us tremendously," said Charmaine Yoest, a spokeswoman for the Family Research Council, a conservative group whose causes include the push to adopt more stringent indecency standards for television. Yoest, who has five children, worries that because there are no age regulations on sales of condoms and lubricants, kids and teens could easily get their hands on them.

I can't believe people actually think like that. Yeah, let's regulate the sale of condoms, then the kids will quit fuckin' all the time! Like that'll fix anything. If there's anything worse than drugs that you could create a black market for it's condoms! I know I charge two bucks a piece for the ones I sell but I'm a greedy capitialist without nearby competition, so haha.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Mpls! stupid is as stupid does

If you look back quite a ways in my blogging history you'll find the post about the City of Minneapolis License Department. I didn't even look at how long ago that was but I just got my license stickers for my vending machines about a week ago.

Now today I got a letter from the City of Minneapolis, here is an excerpt with commentary added:

"A public hearing is being held (to listen to the annoying, whining peasants) to get citizen input (as if they fucking care) on the proposed 3% inflation increase in fees (UNJUST AND MORALLY OBJECTIONABLE TAXES) for city licenses. (Tea party anyone?) You have been selected to recieve this letter (we know where you live beeatch) because this may affect your business (of course it does asshole, I pay the shit). Please contact the Minneapolis Department of Health (Ministry of Health) with any questions regarding this notice (if you can find someone there who has not suffered a rectal-cranial inversion and can actually answer a question in English).

This increase will amount to an increase in fees of ONE DOLLAR for my business annualy. No kidding, that's it! I'm overjoyed that it cost the city more to generate this letter and send it to me than they'll get out of me. The only problem with that is THE FUCKING POST OFFICE got most of that dollar!

I'm actually thinking of going to the hearing and wasting as much of their time as I possibly can. I probably won't though because I'm too busy trying to think of new ways to avoid paying taxes!