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Do you like to know what is going on under the hood?


Philander Seabury
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When I graduated high school the one place I wanted to go to school was General Motors Institute.  My parents and others in the school system kept telling me that would be a mistake and pushed me into another future.

I wish I'd stayed with that original plan.  The last 50 years have been very interesting in the automotive world.

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1 hour ago, maddmaxx said:

When I graduated high school the one place I wanted to go to school was General Motors Institute.  My parents and others in the school system kept telling me that would be a mistake and pushed me into another future.

I wish I'd stayed with that original plan.  The last 50 years have been very interesting in the automotive world.

One of my cousins went there. He had a very successful career owning a Chevy dealership. He’s retired now and works part time setting off fireworks displays for Zambelli.

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52 minutes ago, maddmaxx said:

When I graduated high school the one place I wanted to go to school was General Motors Institute.  My parents and others in the school system kept telling me that would be a mistake and pushed me into another future.

I wish I'd stayed with that original plan.  The last 50 years have been very interesting in the automotive world.

Mr. Aire seems happy with it!

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With these modern cars, the only time I look under a hood is when I connect/disconnect the battery tender for the little car's winter hibernation. The dealer checks all the fluids etc when they change the oil on all our cars, including wiper fluids. And these new cars even remind us when oil changes are due, so I dont even need to keep track of that.

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28 minutes ago, BR46 said:

You must be old..everybody knows that the new cars don't use blinker fluid it's all computerized now. 

I am old, I also don’t buy brand new cars anymore. I think my cars still use blinker fluid. The last brand new car I bought was in 2005.

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Yes I do. I haven't done anything major like rebuilding an engine since the 1990s but I'll still do things like changing a timing belt.

I have an ODBII scanner to check for codes. When using the scanner remember that it's the first step to troubleshooting. It might lead you to a fix or send you down the wrong rabbit hole.

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35 minutes ago, Road Runner said:

The only thing I still do these days is change my oil.  In 50 years of car ownership, I have always changed my own oil, and I ain't stopping until they tear the 5W-30 synthetic container from my cold dead hands.  :angry:

Same here, but with the Fiat and the Mini it was included free for the first 24k or 30k miles so let them do it. Last month changed the Fiat's for the first time. That was an experience, removing the air dam to get to the drain plug. At least the filter lifted out the top but wasn't a disposable canister, but the new fiber filter placed in the old canister that wasn't loosened with an oil filter band wrench, but a 24mm socket on the top of the canister. 

The other thing I still do is change the burnt out bulbs and wipers on the Fiat. On the Mini, those are still covered as well as the new wiper blades they put on for free during my las oil change.

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17 minutes ago, Tizeye said:

Last month changed the Fiat's for the first time. That was an experience, removing the air dam to get to the drain plug. At least the filter lifted out the top but wasn't a disposable canister, but the new fiber filter placed in the old canister that wasn't loosened with an oil filter band wrench, but a 24mm socket on the top of the canister. 

The virgin change is always fun these days.  On old cars, everything was pretty simple and pretty much the same.  However, on newer cars, unique processes, requirements and tools can make the first change a bit of a puzzle to solve.  :huh:   But after your oil change hymen is broken, the next change is always a lot easier.  :D

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10 hours ago, Longjohn said:

So how many of us have changed engines in a car or truck? Do you remember the first one you did? Of course you do, what a learning experience. I swapped engines in my 55 Chevy back when I was still in high school.

I never swapped one oot, but I rebuilt the MG one in place.  Took the head to a machine shop and honed the cylinders and put in new rings.  It was a big job!  It was over a Christmas break.

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On my 1973 Capri, I converted it from automatic to 4-speed, built a new 2.0 for it. The Pinto transmissions had a weak 1st gear synchro. My brother and I got pretty good at changing them. Our record was a little over 30 minutes in a gravel driveway with my brother being the transmission jack! I had smaller hands so I could get the bolts located through the bell housing to the block better than him. 

I evetually put a V6 and its related 4speed in that car. 

I change the oil in my pickup and the Miata  I will gladly pay to let someone change it in WoW’s Mazda 6! Pulling off the lower panel and that stupid insert filter are just more of a PIA than I want to deal with! 

 

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I used to hate changing oil in the Daytona.  First, it got done often as I was using the car on the drag strips weekly.  Second when the 7 1/2 liter boat anchor (440 cuin) was shoehorned into the chassis, the filter, which was horizontal, was above the engine cross member.  Unscrewing a horizontal filter results in the oil remaining in it pouring out the end, onto the cross member and then off wherever it feels like.  I hate horizontal oil filters.

Then there was the removal and replacement of the spark plugs.  Again, the engine was crammed into the space in such a manner that it was offset to the passenger side of the car to clear the steering shaft.  To reach the plugs one had to wedge your arm in between the block and the headers.  I ended up creating holes in the fender well through which I could reach with a socket on an extender.  Of course those holes were covered with duct tape when not changing plugs.

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I meant this thread to be more general, with the car as sort of a metaphor for life in general.  Interesting how much you really NEED to know to drive a car properly.  For example, with a manual transmission in the del Sol I usually follow a guideline of don't lug the engine below 2000 RPM (or if I get lazy and do, to take it very easy on the accelerator), but I notice that its progeny, the newer 2013 Civic will happily pull at the lower revs (I have little control over that with an automagic transmission).  I think this is due probably due to variable valve timing and maybe direct injection. 

So in general, I always like to know WHY something needs to be done a certain way, or WHY we have a certain rule.  Besides basic human curiosity, I think it helps in remembering and obeying a rule if you know why it is there.

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, RalphWaldoMooseworth said:

I meant this thread to be more general, with the car as sort of a metaphor for life in general.  Interesting how much you really NEED to know to drive a car properly.  For example, with a manual transmission in the del Sol I usually follow a guideline of don't lug the engine below 2000 RPM (or if I get lazy and do, to take it very easy on the accelerator), but I notice that its progeny, the newer 2013 Civic will happily pull at the lower revs (I have little control over that with an automagic transmission).  I think this is due probably due to variable valve timing and maybe direct injection. 

So in general, I always like to know WHY something needs to be done a certain way, or WHY we have a certain rule.  Besides basic human curiosity, I think it helps in remembering and obeying a rule if you know why it is there.

 

 

 

I wonder how kids will get their licenses in the future now that the Sears Driving School may disappear.  8 hours and you got your license.

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Just now, maddmaxx said:

I wonder how kids will get their licenses in the future now that the Sears Driving School may disappear.  8 hours and you got your license.

I never heard of that when we were researching driving schools.  We have plenty of private ones around here. We boomers were lucky to have public school driver's ed.

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22 hours ago, Longjohn said:

So how many of us have changed engines in a car or truck? Do you remember the first one you did? Of course you do, what a learning experience. I swapped engines in my 55 Chevy back when I was still in high school.

I dropped the transmission in a Triumph Spitfire. Technically, you didn't drop the transmission but removed the seats, radio and carpet, pulling the transmission up through the car. It is also the only car that when  working on the engine, with the hood opening forward you could sit on the front tire.

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On ‎11‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 7:47 AM, donkpow said:

An early hydraulic computer:

russian-water-computer.jpg?resize=1200,670&strip=all&ssl=1

A Google image search indicates the valve body of an automatic transmission can be considered an hydraulic computer.

main-qimg-6ac9cb19e8d614cfbd53cd15670714

That's not a transmission...that is a corn maze map.

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22 hours ago, Longjohn said:

So how many of us have changed engines in a car or truck? Do you remember the first one you did? Of course you do, what a learning experience. I swapped engines in my 55 Chevy back when I was still in high school.

Several, the first, back in '74, was a swap of a caput 283 for a junk yard 327 in a 67 Chevy Belair  The last in the early 90's was pulling a straight 6 out of an 84 Chevy 4 wheel drive pick up, and installing a mildly built 350. It had slightly higher compression, a torque baised cam, Holley throttle body fuel injection, and a few other goodies, sat on a 4" lift kit and 34" tires. Ran good and actually got better mileage with the 350 than the 250, when driven conservatively.    

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On 11/30/2018 at 1:40 AM, RalphWaldoMooseworth said:

I do, but I can;t even imagine how complicated it is these days for automotive stuffs, as well as computer stuffs.  The computer stuffs is sort of neat because at least it is done in layers.

...the last auto diagnostics course I took about the electric car, the automotive stuffs was the computer stuffs. There are all these individual computer centers, running everything that happens in your car to make it go. They all communicate with each other and are networked.  It's really quite fascinating.  The difference between a good, reliable car and a POS today is communication skills. :)

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On 11/30/2018 at 4:40 AM, RalphWaldoMooseworth said:

I do, but I can;t even imagine how complicated it is these days for automotive stuffs, as well as computer stuffs.  The computer stuffs is sort of neat because at least it is done in layers.

I don't know what to anymore mostly due to the computerization and the fact that all the motor parts are packed together so tightly that if you want to work on one thing, you usually have to also take something else off the motor block.

Things used to be so easy. When you didn't know what to do, a guy at an auto parts store could tell you, in simple terms, how to do it.

When I was 17 in high school in 1967, I got a 1959 Chevy Impala for $300.  For around $5, I got a 2-barrel carburetor rebuilding kit. I also got some cheap manifold gaskets - the originals leaked and I got some of that orange motor spray paint to put on the manifold covers after I cleaned them and that 283 V8 engine looked great.  When I had trouble with the alternator, I went to an auto dump and, using my own simple tools, was told from which junk cars I could take an alternator that would work in my car - carefully walking past the chained junkyard German shepherd.  When I found and removed one I think I paid $3 for it and it worked when I did the simple job of putting it in my car.  After new points, plugs, and sparkplug wires, it ran like new, rain or shine, heat or cold, and it didn't cost me much to do it myself.

The last work I did myself was on my last car, a 1997 Ford Taurus, around 2008.  Someone, perhaps kids playing, had broken my driver's-side mirror.  The local Ford dealer wanted $300 to repair it or $150 to sell me the mirror housing (with electrical mirror adjustment) to do it myself.  I found the same, new OEM mirror housing on either eBay or Amazon for $60 including shipping. Replacing it was extremely easy EXCEPT for one almost impossible thing.  One of the three nuts holding the three bolts from the mirror housing onto the door was hidden behind a metal bracing piece in the door and additional braces made sure I couldn't get to it with a "normal" wrench.  There was NO reason to put it there.  In terms of strength of attachment, forces, torques, etc. it would have been better in an easy to get-to place.

I'm convinced it was there so most people would have to go to the shop and pay $150 in labor for a 10 minute job. Fortunately, my brother-in-law is a former mechanic with lots of tools.  He had the flexible wrench that would get that one hidden nut.  $60 and 10 minutes of actual work for what the dealer wanted $300!

Even simple stuff is a problem now.  To get to that Taurus's radiator drain valve, I first had to remove a cover plate with a few bolts holding it on - and those bolts was accessible from the inside, not visible from under the car.

With that same 1997 Taurus around 2010, an oil change resulted in my being told one of the original battery cables was so full of corrosion a replacement was necessary and would cost me $25.  I looked and agreed about the cable and figured I could pick it up myself for less than $10 at Pep Boys, etc. But I saw the cable disappearing between various motor parts to God knows where it ended and it would take a lot of work for me to get to it, so I paid them to do it.

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