Dad's Cars
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Car Songs

1973 - Golden Earring - "Radar Love"

1971 - Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen - "Hot Rod Lincoln"

1967 - Steppenwolf - "Born To Be Wild"

This is more of a 'Cruisin Song' than a 'Car Song'.  For more 'Curisin Songs' then click on the link below and Note that I  agree with 90% of the Author's list of "GREAT CRUISIN SONGS".

1968 - Steppwolf - "GREAT CRUISIN SONGS"

Crusin Car Songs




Expectation of Doing Every Job Perfectly


My Father was not an auto mechanic but he was a wood worker.  Before going into the Berkeley Fire Department, (* he was born in Berkeley and met my Mother in Berkeley while  she was attending The Samuel Merritt School of Nursing on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland *), he moved houses.  Moving a house is a big, long job that involves a lot of manual labor as you first dig holes under the house and then set up 'roll-up- house-jacks' approximately every fifteen feet around the perimeter of the house.  Then it becomes an orchestration with all the jacks.  For each jack is raised a little at a time in order to keep the house level.  If the house goes crooked then there's damage to the house.

Once elevated then thirty or forty foot long 4 by 12 inch beams fit in-between the jacks and under the house.  The beams will act as a platform that stabilizes the house while you remove the jacks.  The jacks are let down and then repositioned under the beams. 

This is an important transfer to recognize because the jacks are the key 'tool' in moving the house.  First to lift the house then to lift the beams. 

Now a trailer backs in under the beams and elevates the house to make it travel worthing down the road.  Once the house is on the trailer the jacks are removed and stowed away.

This work was common and expected from men in my father's generation.  He passed this down to me an  I am passing it down to you.

My Dad 
taught me how to perform hard work at an early age and he also taught me this: 

"There is only one way to attempt any chore and that is with the expectation of doing a perfect job."

Let me make something clear, LIFE IS MERIT BASED.  Life is not Welfare driven or Affirmative Action driven where you are awarded a job or a promotion because of race or minority.  You earn every job and promotion that you get.  Just like you earn life FOR YOUR JOB IS YOUR LIFE!  And the way you earn a job is by always being in competition with the next guy;  Especially in today's age as we go into recession and economic depression.

So it is important that you Perform Every Task with The Expectation of Doing a Perfect Job. 

For this is the first and most important Law of Life: 


WORK WITH PERFECTION!!!


If you struggle at something like math and can't do a perfect job in math then do every math problem in every chapter until it becomes a perfect job.  Same thing with writing:  The way to learn how to write is by writing every day.  And I encourage you to go  onto a newspaper website and write comments about articles every day under an alias in order to learn how to write because 'Writing Is a Critcal Talent' that you MUST HAVE!

Life is a competition.  And this is why my Father called it 'The Human Race'.

Question:  You think you can move a house?  Then  you're as good as my Dad.

House Jack
Paternal_Greats/house-moving-2.jpg
Typically You'll Need 15 or 20 of These to Lift a House
Moving a House
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Here Dollies Are Used Instead of a Trailer

High School Cars

1967 Ford Galaxie 500 - Grandpa's
Cars/1967_Ford_Galaxie_500_4_door__3_.jpg
What I learned to drive in

I learned to drive when I was fifteen and one half in this car as well as a High School Driver's Education car.  Driver's education was done away with long ago for budget reasons.  My Dad loved this car and so did I.  It had a 289 V8 engine and bench front and back seats.  Gas was 29 cents a gallon for this faithful beast.

This was my first make out car and the first car my Dad trusted me with.  A terrible ending:  Stolen by two Sea Scouts and older boys when I was Bosun of the St. Ambros and they were growing up without Dad's to center their lives.  They drove the car into an empty field in Richmond, CA a few miles away and set the beast up on bricks and stole the tires.  Used tires which sold for maybe $100.  Later caught by the Police both ended up in jail and one I heard in San Quentin, Alcatraz's replacement.

1972 Ford Bronco - Grandpa's Car until his death
Cars/1972_Ford_Bronco__2_.jpg
High School Car - 2nd or 3rd best car - bad mileage

Bought new for a little over $3,200 this was my Dad's retirement car and one of two replacement cars after the 67 Galaxy was stolen.  The other was a 1972 Ford Maverick which I hated and which became Mother's car.  I spent my prime high school years in the Bronco and it was a guy's car, not a girl's car, and very hard to make out in.  It came with front bucket seats and a removal two person rear seat that bolted onto the bed.  It also came with the classic Ford three on a tree transmission, which was a transmission that I hated for there is nothing cool about shifting from a column when chevy and every other cool car was shifting four on the floor.  It had a 302 V8 engine and because of its 3,600 pounds its dials never exceed 90 MPH, but the wheels roared.  One of the cool things about 4x4's.

1966 MGB - Lime Green - 18th Birthday Present
Cars/1966_MGB.jpg
Sold for $800.00 after a car accident bent the frame

How I partied and drank in this car.  In fact, I was drinking beer and Southern Comfort and Brass Monkey, (* which you can find any more *), in the 67 Galaxy and loving it for it was a rite of passage and I was going full steam right through this passage.  What times those were.  Nothing like today.  When stopped by police for drinking and driving back then the cops would line us up military style and force us to watch them pour out our liquor and then send us home.  Hilarious!

I've never drank like this since.  It's just too expensive.  Now a days you lose your license and flee the state to get another license and spend $5,000 in fines and see  your auto insurance rates escalate for years.  And its a terrirble, terrible situation because you can't do anything in life without a car.  You can even go to work without a car.

In short, don't try to do what I did when I was in High School and Drink and Drive.  Don't ever Drink and Drive.  For today's society is not what it was like in the 60's and 70's and the penalties will destroy you and your life.

British Cast Iron - Lever Piston - Front Shocks
Paternal_Greats/MGB_front_lever_shock.jpg
American cars gave up this design in the 50's.
Conventional telescopic American Shocks
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Conventional telescopic American Shocks

Now that I had my own car and was no longer borrowing Dad's, (* Dad never let me work on his cars and always took them to the Dealer *), I took high school auto shop and started working on my MGB's.  I had already been pumping gas in the Summers and performing light mechanical work like tune ups, tire changes, brakes, fluid changes, etc., and most anything on a car that didn't require taking the head off.  And I wanted more for my first college attempt at a major was going to be a major in mechanical engineering.  So I wanted as much machinery experience as I could get.  Including, these God damn cast iron, lever driven, British shock absorbers which were typical for all British made autos.  American manufacturers stopped using this design after WW2.  They leaked all the time.  Leaking oil, by the way, is typical to all British cars and motorcycles because their knowledge and access of rubber seals is limited.

Question:  How do you test your shocks?  Answer:  Stand over the front fender and push down with all your weight.  If little or nothing happens then your shocks are good.  But if the car starts bouncing up and down then you've got a problem.  One of several used car tests to know.

Note:  My Father taught me to never buy a new car unless you planned on keeping it forever.  Why?  When you bought new you lose a third of the car value the minute you are off the Dealer's lot.  The mark up is incredible on new cars and twice as much when you get a car loan. 

Note:  I always bought used and always in cash and never leased  a car in my life.  When you lease a car then its like renting an apartment, you're just throwing away money as its money that you will never see again.

Rules of Life:  Never lease a car, never buy a new car, alway buy a used car, and never rent an apartment.

College Cars

1967 MGB - British Racing Green
Cars/1967_MGB.jpg
$800.00 - Sold after upgrading engine

During the Winter of my 19th year I had a accident in my Lime Green 66 MGB which was my first MGB and I replaced it with this 67 model.  I was out partying with top down on Oxford Avenue in downtown Berkeley and racing with another car.  The race included a left turn onto University Avenue and not far from my brother's apartment.  I hit the center medium which had the height of a curb.  I stopped abruptly.  One guy sitting on the rear trunk went airborne as he traveled 15 feet onto the grass sailing over the car.  The other guy was wearing a leg cast from ankle to crotch and had it wedged under my seat.  The cast acting like a lever and prevented him from leaving the car or he also would have had a 15 foot flight.  Instead, I just made his leg hurt alot as the accident bent the frame of my car.

Before 'Unibody' chassis suspension there was 'Bolt on Frame' chassis suspension.  'Unibody' suspension has been the standard since the Ford Mustang and Chevy Corvette.  The MGB, like all British engineering of this time, used the old style 'Bolt-On-Frame' suspension where two 10 foot bars of steel (* like rail road rails *) were laid five feet apart and the front and rear axles were bolted on and the engine mounted in between both rails.  I bent the rails.

My father and I tried to repair the bend but without a welding torch we could never lever enough power to straighten out the car.

The one good thing was you didn't notice anything except the steering wheel which now scraped when you turned.  This was because the steering column which connects the steering wheel to the front axle was now rubbing against the crooked frame.

And this is how I sold it. 

Important Lesson about Buying Cars or anything used:  Caveat emptor - "Let the Buyer Beware" -or- "He / She bought the car 'AS IS' so now the problem is his / hers".

I recovered my $800.00 from a guy who knew nothing about cars and right after the sale the steering wheel fell off.  I remember him coming to the front door of my father's house in the middle of dinner.  Apparently he had already called ahead when I was out and talked to my Dad.  My Dad surprised and startled me by announcing the guy's return and let me handle him myself.  It was scary.  Not I would have to return the $800 to the guy but because I had been laid open and discovered by my Dad who I was now naked in front of.  Something that I had tried hard to avoid since I was out of diapers.  The guy begged, I said no, and my Dad backed me up.

Important lesson about life and money.

Caveat Emptor -or- "Let the Buyer Beware"

Bolt-On-Frame Suspension
Paternal_Greats/bolt_on_frame.jpg
Old Style common through 60's - Dated Back to Wagons

Here is an example of a 'Bolt-on-Frame' suspension.  Notice the channels or groves at the front or first, second and third cross bars for first the engine to rest upon, and then the transmission to rest upon, and finally for the drive shaft to fit through.  Note that the drive shaft attaches to the rear axle and differential.

The rear fourth and fifth crossbars are elevated for the trunk and gas tank which goes under the trunk.

I bent my 66 MGB in between the first and second cross bars in the front.

Unibody Frame Suspension - First Use Ford Mustang
Paternal_Greats/unibody_frame.jpg
The Outside Shell of the Car Becomes the Frame

Here the engine hangs from the crossbar all the way over to the right instead of resting upon the crossbar.  And because of advances in welding the entire shell of the car becomes one big suspension.

Unibody suspension gave rise to the term 'Crumple Zone' or 'Crash Zone'.  In a collision with a unibody suspension the fenders and hood crumple into first the engine and then into the cockpit.   

MGB HS4 Carburetor
Paternal_Greats/MGB_HS4_Carbs.jpg
Another British Failing

On the left and in the center of the car is the 1.5 liter MGB engine.  On the right are its twin barrel HS4 carburetors.  Very simple to learn about and work on if you have the manual which provides exact number of wrench turns, etc., to tune the carbs.

This was high performance in its day since high performance carburetors are all about delivering as much fuel as possible into the cylinders for firing.  Its American counterpart is something like a Weber or Holley two barrel carburetor.  The difference between the two is in size of the intake manifold and nothing more.  In both American and British cars the intake manifold covers the top of the engine thereby acting as the delivery system for the air fuel mixture into each cylinder.


Note:  It is the intake manifold that delivers the gas into the pistons and cylinders making them both very similar to themselves.


How are carburetors and fuel injectors similar to each other?

First, they are different from each other.  There are no carburetors on a fuel injection engine.  Second, fuel injector systems extend into each cylinder through a shorter intake manifold that is unique to each cylinder and doesn't cover the top of the engine.  Nothing more. In both, the intake valves are basically the same since both systems render an aerosol mist that travels through the intake manifold, then through the intake valve and then into the cylinder.  The only difference is in the build of the intake manifold.

Confusing?  Question:  How many cylinders does a two barrel carb delivery gas into in a V8?  Into a V6?  Same question but for a one barrel carburetor?  Now for an fuel injector system?  (* Know this and know cars. *)

Disassembled MGB HS4 Carburetors
Paternal_Greats/HS4_Carbs_Disassembled.jpg
Similar To Conventional American Two Barrel Carbs
Conventional American One Barrel Carburetor
Paternal_Greats/one_barrel_carburetor.jpg
Conventional American One Barrel Carburetor
Conventional Two Barrel Carburetor
Paternal_Greats/two_barrel_carburator.jpg
Conventional Two Barrel Carburetor
Assembled MGB HS4 Carburetors
Paternal_Greats/HS4_Carbs_Assembled.jpg
Similar To Conventional American Two Barrel Carbs
Intake Manifold MGB 1.5 Liter Engine (* 1500 *)
Paternal_Greats/Intake_Manifold_12.jpg
Air Fuel Mixture Delivery System From Carbs to Pistons
V8 Intake Manifold for 2 Barrel Carb
Paternal_Greats/Intake_Manifold_For_V8_And_2_Barrel_Carbs.jpg
8 ports on the bottom - 2 ports on the top

Its easier to see how the air fuel mixture is delivered with this American V8 intake manifold.  A two barrel carb rests on the top.  There are two ports for the two barrels.  One port for each barrel.  There are eight ports on the bottom, one port for each V8 piston / cylinder.  The same thing is accomplished with British cars and all cars for that matter for there is always a need for mixing gas with air and delivering the mix into the pistons through the intake valves.

In short, the carburetor and intake manifold working together render an aerosol mixture of gas and air.  Just like the aerosol mist from a spray can used for spraying paint, or glass cleaner or even whipped cream.  The only difference is instead of compressed air in the spray cans, fluorocarbon gas is used.  You know, the same fluorocarbon gas that is destroying the atmosphere.  That fluorocarbon gas.

Question:  What are alternatives to gasoline that could easily be adapted with all of these engines?  Answer:  Propane or hydrogen gases.  You can pump hydrogen straight into the intake manifold and the engine would continue to run.  Its been done with propane gas for many years.  The only difference is both hydrogen and propane are in a gaseous state while gasoline is in a liquid state. 


It's very easy to make hydrogen gas for its the same procedure used in making oxygen gas and something every high school chemistry student learns.  How is it done?  With plain old clean tap water and an electric extension cord.  Take two glasses of water, one for hydrogen gas and one for oxygen.  Submerge the positive cable into the water, ground the negative cable, turn the power on and oxygen gas will rise out of the glass.  All you have to do is capture it.  Submerge the negative cable into the water, ground the positive cable, turn the power on and hydrogen gas will rise out of the glass.  Again, all you have to do is capture it, compress it into a tank and feed it into your intake manifold.

This is called Electrolysis of Water.

Question:  What is an Aerosol?

An aerosol is a suspension of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in a gas. Examples are smoke, oceanic haze, air pollution, smog and internal combustion engine gasoline when mixed with air.  So an aerosol refers liquid droplets or solid particles mixed with air.

Note:  Its important for you to note that a solid or liquid state applies to any of the Earth's Elements.

All Elements of the Earth Appear in Four States
Paternal_Greats/plasma.jpg
Solid, Liquid, Gas and Plasma
All the 'Elements of the Earth' as Shown in The
Paternal_Greats/periodic_table.gif
'Periodic Table of Elements' - Used by All Sciences

The abreviations of the elements are hard to understand at first.  Here are a few.
C - Carbon
H - Hydrogen
He - Helium
Au - Gold
Ag - Silver
Ne - Neon
Zn - Zinc
O - Oxygen
N- Nitrogen

Note:  Air is a gas composed of O, and N.

Note:  Water is a liquid composed of two H and one O, or, H2O.

Note:  Water and Air have many of the same properties.  For example, an embryo in a Mother's womb breathes a liquid.

Note:  Carbon is probably the most important element in the periodic table since 'All Life Forms of Any Kind', i.e., trees, dogs, reptiles, fish, humans, etc., are "Carbon Based Life Forms."

1968 MGB - Drove to San Diego
Cars/1968_MGB.jpg
Threw a piston and went to junkyard

The end of this 68 MGB came at my own hands.  It needed new piston rings and I under took the project myself, failed and it went to the junk yard with a bad engine.  To this day I don't know what was wrong with the repair except that it was often difficult getting correct parts from the British auto parts house and I think I was sold wrong parts.  It had happened before when I rebuilt the HS4 carbs when at that time I was incorrectly or deliberately sold the wrong injector jets.  This time I believe I was incorrectly sold the wrong piston rings.

Caveat Emptor.

I
remember towing the beast to the top of Guadalupe Parkway in Daly City where I was attending SFSU, coasting down the five miles to the bottom and trying to unsieze the engine by building up speed and releasing the clutch.  All the beast did was come to a stop every time.  It was very disappointing.  Especially since I only got $80 from the wrecking yard.

In it's place I bought this 68 MGB and continued to drive it throughout college.

A Piston Emerging from its Cylinder with Rings
Paternal_Greats/Piston_rings.jpg
Rings Keep Oil from Rising From Below
A Piston Without Its Rings
Paternal_Greats/1060.jpg
And Minus the Piston Rod

A disassembled piston 'head'.  Note the big hole in the side for the rod pin.  Piston Rods attach the crank shaft;  Its the crank shaft that gets pushed by the piston whenever its fired.  Engine power comes on the down stroke.  Here are the four stroke cycles of a piston.

1. INTAKE stroke:
On the intake or induction stroke of the piston , the piston descends from the top of the cylinder to the bottom of the cylinder, reducing the pressure inside the cylinder. A mixture of fuel and air is forced by atmospheric (or greater) pressure into the cylinder through the intake port. The intake valve(s) then close.

2. COMPRESSION stroke: With both intake and exhaust valves closed, the piston returns to the top of the cylinder compressing the fuel-air mixture. This is known as the compression stroke.

3. POWER stroke.: While the piston is close to Top Dead Center, the compressed air–fuel mixture is ignited, usually by a spark plug (for a gasoline or Otto cycle engine) or by the heat and pressure of compression (for a diesel cycle or compression ignition engine). The resulting massive pressure from the combustion of the compressed fuel-air mixture drives the piston back down toward bottom dead center with tremendous force. This is known as the power stroke, which is the main source of the engine's torque and power.

4. EXHAUST stroke.: During the exhaust stroke, the piston once again returns to top dead center while the exhaust valve is open. This action evacuates the products of combustion from the cylinder by pushing the spent fuel-air mixture through the exhaust valve(s).

Disassebled Piston, Piston Pin and Piston Rod
Paternal_Greats/rb30_piston_rod.jpg
The large hole on the rod is for the crank shaft.

I had the hardest time fitting the piston pins into the piston head.  I struggled and struggled but they never slid in.  Then I learned a secret from a famous mechanic who raced sprint cars locally;  Put the pins into the freezer.  The cold shrinks the metal and I could never insert them because I was working on a hot day and the heat expanded the pins making them too large.

This is a good example of how closely metals are cut in a engine.  A machine shop will bore a cylinder for you in your engine block measuring to the one thousand's of an inch.  So a thousand's of an inch is how you also measure your pistons.  A very difficult measurement to make unless you're some kind of scientist with million dollar equipment at your disposal.  So compression rings are used.  The same rings shown above.  The rings expand outward the last thousands of an inch thereby bypassing the whole science problem of how to fit a 5 inch and 3 one thousandths inch piston into a 5 inch and 4 one thousandths inch cylinder.

This is where I believe my work on my 67 MGB went wrong.  Somewhere I was off by a thousandths of an inch.


Final Note:  Note the circular depression in the top of the piston for four valves:  Two exhaust and Two intake.

Assembled Piston and Rod minus Rings
Paternal_Greats/assembled_piston_rods.jpg
Assembled Piston and Rod minus Rings
Typical 8 Cyclinder Crankshaft
Paternal_Greats/crankshaft.gif
Rods Are Bolted Into the Journals
An Internal Combustion Engine
Paternal_Greats/engine-illustration-sm.jpg
Crankshaft at the bottom, Rods, Piston, Valves

Refer to the Four Strokes defined above.


When you perform a ring job you detached the rods from the crankshaft from the bottom of the engine.   This is accessed after you remove the oil pan.  You remove the head and push the pistons out by the rods.  This is also known as a 'Top End' rebuild.  A 'Bottom End' rebuild involves removing the crank and is similar is complication but should be done with the engine removed out of the car.


I performed two successful 'Top End' rebuilds included rings jobs, head and valve grinding.  Planing a head and grinding valve is a service performed by any local auto parts machine shop.  I failed at one 'Top End' rebuild and lost the entire car.  (* After awhile, you have to weigh the expense against your time and additional cost to keep going.  I hit my 'Point of Don't Continue' and
 decided not to go on.  Every EXPENSIVE job throughout my life, including work that I perform today on big Unix Superdome servers include a 'Point of Don't Continue'.  This is an accounting rule and a house budgeting rule and if you want to learn about it then play poker online.  At some point in every 'losing' poker game you reach a 'Point of Don't Continue'. *)


A 'Point of Don't Continue' is a very important lesson in life to learn when managing money.  For every 'expensive' job in life includes a 'Point of Don't Continue'.


The only time I have ever seen this rule violated terribly was with my ex.  She had no 'Point of Don't Continue' rule in her life or our divorce and ended up destroying all of our lives by spending everything and mortgaging everything just to win.  This rule meant nothing to her.  Probably because none of the money that she was spending was hers.  All of it was mine.

63 VW Bus - 6 cyl Covair eng. instead of 4 cyl VW
Cars/1963_Volkswagon_Bus_Covair_Engine.jpg
Sold for $300 after three years

And the Earth fell in and my life fell apart.  Since wrestling season in my Senior year in high school I had been bleeding internally and the doctor's couldn't stop it.

It's important to note that what set off the final stages of the disease was a minor surgical procedure for the removal of a pilonidal cyst, or pimple at the base of the tail bone and the top of the crack.  Also known as the "Jeep Seat" disease.  Pilonidal cysts were common in WW2 to soldiers riding in jeeps.  Or MGB's in my case.  It seems to have something to do with an ingrown hair.  My father had the same thing.

When I had my surgery for its removal the surgery acted as a catalyst to escalate the other disease to the point of almost killing me.  Not immediately over night but stretched out over the period of six months.  Puking several times a day waiting for the illness to go away.  I weighed 140 pounds when I had to check into the hospital.  My normal weight was 175.  (* Note:  My weight when I married your Mother was also 175. *)


Anyway, eight months later when I got out of the hospital this was the car I was driving.  I got rid of the 68 MGB and bought this bus.  I anticipated carrying a surf board in the back and sleeping at the beach with girls while watching beach bonfires built out of wooden pallets stolen from the back of grocery stores.  Or fishing somewhere with a clear lake and waterfall.  And I thought it was cool having a six cylinder Corvair engine instead of the standard 1500 liter VW engine.

Company Cars

Brand New 1980 Ford Fiesta
Paternal_Greats/1980_Ford_Fiesta.jpg
The First Company Car

Back when it was cheap to still buy cars for under $3,000 it was common for employers like General Business Systems to buy fleets of cars for their traveling staff.  As a programmer / analyst I was traveling staff and this was the car provided to me by my first career employer.

This was the time of IBM card computers and few if any PC's.  I believe IBM sold a $3,500 PC but no one else.  And although many, many of today's computer utilities existed, they did so only amongst Universities.  Email, FTP, Telneting, and most of all UNIX, all existed but had yet to be sold to the consumer.  My specialty is in UNIX.  I am considered and expert in HP-UX, Solaris and Linux and these utilities are never going away.  Use to be you could search for my name on the internet with the word 'HP-UX' and get hits about my expertise.


SO I STONGLY RECOMMEND AND ENCOURAGE YOU TO TAKE EVER UNIX OR LINUX CLASS THAT YOU CAN TAKE, GO INTO THE MILITARY, OBTAIN YOUR SECRET CLEARANCE AND WORK IN THESE UTILTIES FOR THE GOVERNMENT OR DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE.


Anyway, back to GBS.  General Business Systems was a division of Xerox who were the inventors of the copy machines, PCs and the mouse.  That's right, Xerox invented the PC and mouse, and through their own mismanagement sold them off to Intel and Microsoft and Apple.  Back in that day it was first IBM and then Xerox in the American Business Machine Economy.  In fact, Xerox was so popular that the phrase 'xeroxing' was used by all whenever copying something.

Note:  One of the goals of marketing (* selling *) any product is 'Brand Recognition'.  Xerox is a perfect example of how a product went from 'noun' to 'adjective' through Marketing Brand recognition for a 'Xerox' copier became 'Xeroxing' instead of copying whether it was a Xerox product or something else.  Other examples of Brand Recognition:  McDonald's.  You're driving around and you're hungry and you see a McDonald's and you know exactly what you're going to get.  Then you compare it to a local restaurant and you haven't a clue.  Even though you've never been to either you pick the McDonald's restaurant because of Marketing Brand Recognition, or, you already have and expectation of what you're going to get even though you've never been there.

Note:  This should be a very important lesson in life to learn for everything in America is propagandized including McDonald's and politics and everything else that is SOLD, SOLD, SOLD to consumers in America.  In fact, sales is evolving into such a state that it is used to Order the American Herd or Masses around via TV.  Worse, Sales uses Sociology or the Psychology of the Masses to execute their Sales, (* or propaganda *), thereby giving 'all' and expectation of what they will receive before they get there.  A politician, for example, is sold in this way for elections.

I don't have a lot to say about this car.  It was a disposable car.  You don't see any around today.  And it only lasted 33,000 miles after I had tuned it up a bit to get greater acceleration and before cracking its trans axel.

In this car a 4 cylinder engine is side mounted under the hood and there is no rear axle or transmission as in conventional cars up until this time.  This was something new and out of Brazil.  Instead there was a trans axle which is a power train that serves as both transmission and front axle, thereby making it a front axle driven car.


It got 25 MPG and was fun to drive in the hills.  But it had no reliability and was soon disposed of as were all of its brethren.

1978 Ford Mustang II
Paternal_Greats/1978__Mustang_II.jpg
The Second Company Car

My original plan was to finish school part time but that lasted for only a semester but during this semester I met a woman who was to have my first child.  She decided to abort him or her and gave me no decision in the matter since she had no intention of ever marrying, or only marrying after her career was established.  A very common and popular feeling among women of my generation and not something I recommend to my children for this was the time of Women's rights and Women's Rights created the Family Law Court System in 1986 under the Bill Bradley bill.  Women's Rights have destroyed families, children, motherhood and fatherhood.  Sixty percent of all job in the US economy are now filled by women and men can't work.  Nor can they get welfare because the Welfare rolls are filled with single mothers with children.  Single mother's who make a career of living on welfare by having a baby every couple of years and thereby extending their welfare on for decades until they die.  Don't laugh.  It's very, very common as Women's Rights have rendered all men into the lowest caste of American Society.  Where in my Father's Generation they were at the highest caste.

Anyway, I thought nothing of the abortion until I had my oldest and held him in my arms and felt the instinctual love that was just there and took no coaxing of any kind.  And then I thought of him, or her, who was aborted and felt the same kind of instinctual love for him or her, just as I was feeling for my own children.

I have never supported abortion since.

Anyway, this was a company car that I had to eventually give back to the company and did when I left.  It drove like my Mother's Maverick but with less power since it was only a straight six.  Now-a-days they make V6's but back then all the auto manufacturer's denied the ability to make V6's just because it would mean destroying their straight six assembly line plants.  (* Corporate propaganda. *)

Truly, there was a great upheaval in society during this time while consumers argued with Ford and Chevy and General Motors for a more fuel efficient engine.  The OPEC Fuel Embargo of 1972 had driven the price of gas from 32 cents to over a dollar and people were screaming about driving V8's.  For back then it was all V8's, few straight sixes and only foreign made 4 cylinders.  And whenever the subject of a V6 was brought up the propaganda those guys would spin.  And spin propoganda they did until Japan took over in the mid to late 80's and all the Detroit Auto Makers took many if not most of their manufacturer plants overseas.  And the US Economy lost the largest chunk of the World Econmic Pie to Japan and other overseas countries.

Note:  When I was a kid there were two easy options for a career, work in an assembly line or something else.  Many chose the auto assembly lines and hated it.  They hated it because they performed the same repeatative motion a hundred times a day for 25 years and then retired.  Motions like pick up a car battery, insert the car battery, bolt in the car battery, next car.  At an early age I knew I would never work in an assembly plant.

Second Note:  Now-a-days many, many assebly line positions have been filled by robots.  Almost all welding positions for example are provided by robot welders.  Therefore, robotics would be a very good career to go into since robots are in many places and growing into many other places in society.
 

LA Cars - Los Angeles

1949 3100 Half Ton Chevrolet Pickup Truck
Paternal_Greats/1949_Chevy_Pickup_2.jpg
The Engine That Never Died

Man did I love this truck even though it wasn't mine.  When I left the Bay Area for LA I left with an older woman with a background in Hollywood movies.  Blond and voluptuous she was irresistible.  Because her home was in New York City we lived together off and on for less than five years, first in LA and later in Fort Collins Colorado.  She had three cars and the next three cars were all hers.  I took care of them all and loved every minute of working on them.

The 49 Chevy was so simple and elegant in design, a phrase I borrowed from programming, for they lasted forever.  Truly, if there was ever a magnificent car ever made in America it was this pickup truck.  For once bought it ran and ran forever.  In the 1980's there were still thousands of these trucks driving around and all their owners felt the same as I did.

The three on the tree transmission with an optional 4th speed called "Granny Low" and the "Thrift-Master Straight Six" 250 cubic inches  engine were the heart of this truck.  In this era of driving hearing the phrase of "shifting into Granny" was a common phrase and these were the trucks that started this piece of auto Americana.

In 1976 while attending college at San Francisco State University I heard another phrase in my freshman engineering class that had to be the result of this Chevy truck.  This other phrase was one that revolutionized American manufacturers for it has been used ever since by Corporate High Level Policy Makers in the creation of new consumer products.  The phrase is "Planned Obsolescence" and it is still around today even though it is never repeated.  Make no mistake about it, Americans live and breathe their lives away buying into "Planned Obsolescence".  And it came from General Motors who are the owners of this Chevrolet line of cars and pickups.

"Planned Obsolescence" is a Corporate High Level Policy that was created in order to increase Sales which is the life blood of any company.  No Sales means no company.  Huge Sales means a huge company.  Turns out, my Father's Generation was building things that were "too good".  And Chevrolet discovered that was killing GM by making cars and pickups that ran forever.  So in order to increase Sales GM decided to cut back on materials in building cars in order to make them break down sooner and not last forever.  This concept eventually leads to another common phrase in Americana.  A phrase this is often heard from today:  "Disposable".  Or, something used for a short time and never repaired.  For example, the Ford Fiesta or the Yugo were cars driven for 33,000 miles and then junked.  Hence, they were "disposable cars'.  In the computer industry Linux Servers are often called "Disposable Servers" because you load them up once and never maintain them.   Its cheaper to buy a replacement server in a year and load it up again rather than hire adminstrators to upgrade them.  So any computer server that you load once and never maintain is called 'disposable'.

This Chevy 3100 Pickup was the vehicle that started this consumer revolution.  For no where can you buy something that lasts as long anymore.

1960 AMC Rambler Classic
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1960 AMC Rambler Classic

In this era of cars there were the Big Four Auto Makers:  Lincoln-Mercury Ford, then General Motors - Chevrolet - Buick - Opel - GMC Trucks - Cadillac and Pontiac, then Chrysler - Plymouth - Dodge, and finally American Motors - Nash - Hudson - Jeep/Eagle - Renault.  Note that Renault was originally a French Auto Maker.  AKA the Big Four or Ford, GM, Chrysler, and AMC.  Together they ruled the American Economy.  Why?  Because after houses cars are the biggest selling item for a consumer.  Now they rule the World Economy for the same reason.

Also note that there was once a Big Five Automaker:  Studebaker - Packard existed until 1966.

This is an important lesson to learn about Sales.  If you ever decide to go into sales then make sure that you're selling something expensive.  Consider this comparison:  Nick and Stacey decide to sell candy bars.  Each candy bar costs $1.  The make 5 cents on a sale and after selling ten they've made 50 cents so their total Sales is 50 cents.  They decide to sell cars.  They make $1,000 a sale and after selling ten cars they make $10,000.

It's as simple as that.  So don't waste your time in small sales unless you can sell at a high rate.  For example, in this case you would have to sell 20,000 candy bars to make $10,000 which is your Total Sales for selling ten cars.  That's a lot of effort and time and labor to sell 20,000 items.

When you take High School Bookkeeping and High School Economics and then take College Accounting and College Economics you'll learn about Sales.  I took these classes at SFSU before majoring in Computer Science and I consider these key classes that are invaluable in life.

Note that your Mother never learned any of this in life.  For if she had then she would have foreseen the upcoming recession that hit around 2008 and sky rocketing housing prices.  For anyone who took these classes it was very, very predictable.

I definitely foresaw it.  That's why I bought a house for cash instead of putting it into the stock market or the bank.  It was obvious that a recession was coming and that housing prices were going to sky rocket.  And they did.  In a couple of years the house I bought went up 120 percent in value.

Consider this other fact of life:  If you buy a house for cash you buy it once at one price.  If you mortgage to buy a house then in 20 years you'll have paid the same price 3 or 4 times and instead of paying $181,000 for a house you'll end up paying $450,000.  Why?  Inflation and loan interest.  Ben Franklin once said the only real magic in the world is interest.  Where money is concerned Franklin was right because you're not working while making Sales and interest is the Sales of loaning money.  (* A house mortgage is a money loan *).

But I digress.  Back to AMC.  For this was AMC's problem in a nutshell.  They didn't sell.  They didn't sell because they made ugly cars.  And even though their cars had unique features like a front seats that folded backwards into a bed or a 'Typewriter Shifter / Transmission' the features they made didn't appeal to the consumer and AMC struggled along and eventually was bought out by Chrysler in 1987.  I believe only Jeep continues to survive today.

Push Button Shifter for a Typewriter Transmission
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Push Button Shifter for a "Typewriter Transmission
1964 Chevrolet Pickup Truck Model C-10
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1964 Chevrolet Pickup Truck Model C-10

There are some important features to note about this truck which I loved.  First, note the fuel cap next to the driver's door handle.  There was another one on the passenger side so this truck had two fuel tanks and carried about 40 gallons of gas.  When one tank was empty the driver turned a switch from left to right that was located under his seat.

This truck also came with the best 'stock' engine ever made, the 283 V8 was certainly called that by every mechanic that I ever knew.  Why?  Because it could be built up or adapted easily with high performance parts like bigger pistons.

When an engine mechanic enhances a stock engine he's adding a high performance cam shaft, drilling out bigger cylinders and adding bigger pistons.  Cylinder size is where horse power and engine displacement and power are all derived.  Add a four barreled carburetor with a blower and now you've got a 'Big Honking Dog' for a beast to drive around in.

Colorado Cars

1965 Volkswagon Baja Bug
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Nazi Lawn mower - Engine died and went to junkyard

There is so much to say about the Volkswagen bug that independent research would probably be the first thing to say.  Here are some basics.  In 1933 Adolf Hitler (* yes, that Adolph *) gave orders to Dr. Porsche (* yes, that Porsche of the Porsche auto makers *) to make a 'Peoples Car'.  In the German language 'People's Car' translates into 'Volkswagen'.  So the Volkswagen was a car made for all the people of Germany.  A Communist or Socialist concept that should be followed up upon as Hitler was a Socialist before he was a Dictator.

What is most different about the VW car is the lack of a radiator;  VW are all air cooled.  Air cooling is accomplished by extending inch long fins every half inch or so around the engine case.  Heat gets into the fins and the air blowing between the fins cools down the engine.

VW 1500 Air Cooled Engine
Paternal_Greats/VW_1500_Engine.jpg
Note the Fins lower left and lower right quardrants

Volkswagen, continued.

AKA the Nazi Lawn Mower, so called because the 1500 engine is just a bigger version of many one cylinder lawn mower engines.  Both are air cooled for instance.  They also sounded like big lawn mowers.  They made a distinctive sound unlike conventional water cooled engines.

What I had was more than a VW Bug.  It's was a Kit Car.  Kit cars are fiber glass kits that come with fiber glass hoods, trunks, and front and rear fenders, as well as steel roll bar front and rear bumpers .  You replace all of the original parts with these Kit Car parts.  Hence the name 'Kit Car'.  Dune buggies were also 'Kit Cars'.

If you ever work with sheet metal then the work is very similar.  You bend sheet metal into a shape and bolt it on.  You mold fiber glass into a shape and also bolt it on.

There are a lot of Urban Myths about VW bugs and most are true.  For example Bugs floated on water and could be driven like an amphibious out board when you ran the engine.  Also, Chevrolet had its own version of the Bug for awhile called the 6 cylinder Corvair.  The Corvair however didn't last long;  Exhaust fumes got into the cockpit heating tubes and Ralph Nadar sued Chevrolet to stop making the vehicle.  Which they did in 1969.

Bugs went away later but not much later.  Stricter pollution laws obsoleted the car after the OPEC Embargo of 1972, however, it continued to be sold overseas in Canada and Mexico through 80's before finally dying out.

1972 Ford Bronco - Got After Dad's Death in 1987
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Modified with auto Trans. - Sold for $1,500 in 1998

I received my Father's Bronco after his death in 1986 and drove it while living in Colorado.  I was finishing my Bachelor's at Colorado State University and Dad thought a four wheel was just what I needed.  He was absolutely right.

The first rule about buying a pickup truck is it has to be four wheel drive.  For purposes of resale values especially.  So never buy a rear wheel drive pickup or rear axle drive pickup.  Why?  Note that the engine is the heaviest item in a vehicle of any kind and that is sits right up on the front axle in the front third of the car.  Meanwhile, the pickup truck flat bed consumes 70% of the body length is empty.  This is when a pickup truck is most dangerous;  When the flat bed is empty.  Because of the engine mount 60% to 70% of an empty pickups weight is in the front half of the body.  This makes for easy spinouts and other problems that are corrected when you drive a four wheeler.  For example, because of ice and snow and living in a snow bound climate you survive better with a four wheel drive since two wheel drives often get trapped where a four wheel won't.  This is also true if you ever drive over sand.  A two wheel drive will get stuck immediately on the beach while a four wheel drive won't.

Question:  How do you make a two wheel drive pickup safer to drive in the snow?  Answer:  You add weight into the back.  A couple of hundred pounds in order to equalize the overall weight of the vehicle.  Same rule applies with a rear wheel drive sedan, put weight into the trunk.

Back to the Bronco.

I did a lot to this car.  Switched out the three on the tree transmission which I always hated for an automatic because of your Mother;  This was probably the biggest.  Then I made a cataclysmic mistake.  I switched to Synthetic oil.

If you ever go with Synthetic oil then use it from the beginning and never after a lot of miles have been put on the engine.  The old engine can't handle the change and when I did this the engine died within a thousand miles.  I have never been so disappointed in my life, except perhaps when I did a ring job on my College MGB and froze up the engine.  My disappointment was vast, especially since the Bronco had only 130,000 miles on it and 200,000 was reachable.

Marriage Cars

Same Bronco - Your Mother hated it
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I Painted it Teal which was one of our Wedding colors
The Color Teal
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The Color Teal

The Bronco was a 'Big Honking Dog' of a beast that survived several accidents.  The earliest that I know of was when I was turning right onto Solano Avenue from San Pablo Avenue in Albany where I attended High School and an old lady was double parked just as you come out of the intersection and she clipped the side mounted removable gas tanks on the passenger side.

There are jokes about old lady drivers and Chinese amongst motorists and they are all true.  Often you'll hear and exchange in the car after a near miss that goes something like:  "WHO WAS DRIVING THAT!!" said the driver, "Some lady" says the passenger.  And then when the car if overtaken sure enough its some lady and then there's a big laugh.

In California and because of the huge Chinese population in San Francisco there is a special citation called "DWA", or, Driving While Asian.

My mother, for example, never drove on highways or freeways her entire life and only took side streets.  Even though she had a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing and an Associate of Arts in Painting and considered a very intelligent woman she feared to drive and with good reason.  Women don't have the same reflexes or eyesight.

My ex was the only exception to this rule that I've ever known.  She had the best peripheral vision of anyone I've ever known.  In fact, she could see things that were so far off to the side that it would be considered behind the average person.  In short, she could see things in the back of her head.

The other notable accident that I recall occurred in Colorado while driving down some street that I know longer remember and an illegal alien in a beat up black Chevy 1978 Monte Carlo does a U - Turn right in front of me, hits me in the front right fender and proceeds to hit everything else down the right side of the Bronco from front to back.  I was totally screwed for the other driver was an Illegal alien who had no license, fake insurance for a 1976 Opel, fake registration also for a 76 Opel, never took an eye exam, never took a written driving test, never took an escorted driving test, had no passport, or social security card, or anything.

And the cops just let him go.

This is why I and every other native born American citizen hate illegal aliens.  The cops don't charge them.  But if you or I had been guilty then its a major fine for each of the above infractions and a loss of driving privleges for at least a year.  As well as escalated auto insurance for the next several years.  And the same thing goes on everyday.  You read the paper about a father driving with his two sons, they get hit by an illegal alien who flees the scene and the father and his sons give pursuit.  When they catch him the illegal alien runs them off the road and they all die in a crash.

This appens all the time.  When this real event occurred in San Francisco the illegal alien was found three days later drug record.  The politicians get involved and give him diplomatic immunity for being a citizen of El Salvador.  So instead of going to county jail and charged with three murder he goes to a half way house with only a night time bed curfew.  Then, after a couple of days the three time murderer walks away, hops on a jet and goes back to El Salvador.

Happens all the time.


Anyway, back to the beast.  The Bronco is a 'Bolt on Suspension' vehicle that at 3,250 pounds weighed one and a half tons plus.  She was a tank.  And the point of this story is the following:  Cars now-a-days and most 'Unibody' suspension vehicles are "One and Done" where accicents are concerned.  And Unibody suspension vehicles almost never survive an accident.  The Bronco and cars from my era and my parent's era always lived to fight another day.  In fact, when I took auto shop in high school there were several full sets of auto body repair hammers of multiple sizes for repairing 'Bolt-on-Suspension' vehicle.  In fact, I used a set to repair a metal dent in my first MGB.  Not so with today's cars.  You don't hammer out dents with today's cars.  Instead you replace the entire fender or door and straighten out the chasis.  Take a Saturn for example.  Walk up to the front fender and lean into it hard.  It will buckle and depress and then bounce back.  Very odd.  Very dangerous.  So always, always were seat belts.

Bolt on Suspension Auto Body Hammer
Paternal_Greats/auto_body_hammer.jpg
Used to 'Tap Tap Tap' Out Dents
Auto Body "Dolly" - Dolly in left hand. Hammer in
Paternal_Greats/auto_body_dolly.jpg
right hand. Dolly under fender dent and tap with hammer
1982 Toyota Corolla - Your Mom's Car - Bought $200
Cars/1986_Toyota_Corolla_Hatchback.jpg
Best Car I ever had - Put 50,000 miles on it before it died

Fleeing to her Brother Ron your Mother ended up in my hometown of Berkeley California when our Uncle Ron was attending UC Berkeley.  She bought this 1986 Toyota Corolla that she nicknamed 'The Silver Bullet'.  Tt was a great car for the money because after we got additional cars I used the 'Bullet' for a long commutes between Pacifica and San Jose and Pacifica and Pleasanton when working for Pacific Telesis and Pacific Bell.

Commuting puts a lost miles quickly on a car and at a rate of 30,000 miles a year I used the cheapest car in our fleet of four:  The Bronco and the two Pontiacs being the other three.

Corollas have a great reputation and this car ran forever with little or no maintenance.  I think the only repair I ever made on the beast was to its front left brake cylinders which are a snap to replace.

Front Disc Brakes - Identical On All Cars
Paternal_Greats/front_disk_brakes.jpg
Change Them on One Car then You Can on Any Car

My first job was as an afternoon Oakland Tribune Newspaper boy.  It was fun to ride home in the rain and fun to play baseball after delivering papers, which I did nearly every day with the Best Man at my Wedding who lived a couple of blocks away.  I started at eleven and delivered until I was 13.  At 13 and a half I got a job scooping ice cream at a Baskin and Robbins Ice Creamery a half a mile away from home and scooped until I was 15.  At 15 and a half I started working in gas stations and  pumping gas and kept this up until I was too sick to continue college when I was 20.


One of the first things I learned to do while pumping gas was oil changes and tire repairs.  I probably changed oil in a couple of hundred by 20 and repaired or sold a couple of hundred tires.  Then came brakes and tune ups.

There are two kind of brakes systems:  Drum and disc.  You always see front disc brakes and rear drum brakes.  Your rarely see read disc brakes.  Drum are more difficult than disc but not by much as they're both pretty easy once you get a book on the subject.

And on the bullet I changed the pistons - calipers and the pads but not the rotors.

I'm not going to go into these individual parts because they are the simplest and most common car work to learn.  Instead I'm going to try and explain who hydraulic brakes work.

Think of a see saw.  One person goes up and the other person goes down.  It's the same with fluid pressure hydraulic systems.  Push on the brake pedal and the same force pushes in the back pads.  If you push 50 pounds then 50 pounds is pushed into the brakes.  Same at 100.  Same at 200.  All the stuff in-between like the master and slave cylinder are just a part of the delivery system.  The master cylinder disperses the 50 pounds of force equally to both front brakes and rear brakes.  In newer cars there is now a slave cylinder for the rear brakes.

The point is you can have as many splits in the delivery system as needed as long as the fluid is there.  Hydraulic means fluid, hence brake fluid.  And it is the force of the fluid that delivers the 50 pounds of force onto the brake pads.  The pads close at 50 pounds of force against the rotors and stop the wheel from turning.  But what is marvelous about splitting a hydralic system is the following:  Think of a wish bone or the letter 'T'.  The base delivers 50 pounds up to the intersection and then 50 pounds is delivered at both left and right turns.   Basically that is.  There are some physic involved that doesn't make the split equal but the master and slave cylinders adapt to this.

Air in a brake line means no brakes.  To get rid of the air you 'bleed' the brakes from a bleed valve which appears on each of the four brakes.  Your Mother has bled many brakes with me.  She pumping the pedal and me opening and closing the bleed valve.  Bleeding brakes is a two person job.

Brakes are a very simple repair that you should learn.

1991 Pontiac Gran Prix - Bought two of the same
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for parts - We had a four car fleet - one was always broken
1991 Pontiac Grand Prix - Your Mother's Car
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Gold I killed in an accident - Blue Debra killed in accident

I bought the above two cars after your Mother and I started living together in 1994.  I got a great deal from a car rental dealer who was new to the game and didn't know the true price of what he had.  He quoted me $1,000 less for each and I snapped them up before he realized his mistake.  Your Mother got the gold one and I got the Blue one but not before repairing the front axles on both.

There are Universal Joints (* U-Joints *) and Constant Velocity Joints (* CV-Joints *).  In general you'll see U-Joints in two wheel drives and CV-Joints in front wheel drives.  A U-Joint is used for small alignment errors between the drive shaft and engine.

When you look at the power train of a rear wheel drive car you'll notice that the drive shaft is straight and has no problem transferring power to the rear wheels.  Not so in front wheel drives.  With front wheel drive cars the angle is so much greater that the typical U-Joint breaks apart and can not be used.  Instead, a CV-Joint is used.  The CV-Joint allows for both a greater angle of the shaft as well as the proper alignment and transfer of power into the wheels.

Note that both Universal Joint and Constant Velocity Joint are descendents of the gyroscope or gyrocompass which dates back to the early Greeks and is widely used today in aircraft and ships of all kinds including missiles, satellites and submarines for the purpose navigation.  In fact, you can't fly a plane or launch a missile today without one.

A Gyroscope Which is Needed to Navigate Aircraft
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Bought at Liberty Science for a Xmas Gift in 2007
A 'Power Train' of a 2 Wheel Drive Uses 'U-Joints'
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Drive Shaft from Transmission to Rear Axle
Universal Joint (* U-Joint*) - One U-Joint At
Paternal_Greats/Universal_joint.gif
Either End of the Drive Shaft - Two Total U-Joints
Disassembled U-Joint and Needle Ball Bearing Cap
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Disassembled U-Joint and Needle Ball Bearing Cap
Needle Ball Bearings from Inside the Cap
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What I Replaced on my 66 MGB With New Caps
Disassembled Drive Shaft
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Yoke at Either End
Using a Vice, Compress Caps onto U-Joint and
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Through the Yoke
'Power Train' for a Front Wheel Drive
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Engine, Transaxle, 2 Half Shafts, and Four 'CV-Joints'






'CV-Joints' are covered by the 'Rubber Boots'.  Find and note the 'Rubber Boots' in the above the next two images below.




A Good 'CV-Joint' - The Top Shaft of the Two
Paternal_Greats/good_cv_boot5.jpg
Trans > CV-Joint > Half Shaft > CV-Joint > Wheel
A 'Bad CV-Joint' will leak grease from the Boot
Paternal_Greats/bad_cv_boot4.jpg
And "Bump and Grind" In a Left -or- Right Turn
Removed 'Half-Shaft' with 'CV-Joints' and 'Rubber
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Boots' at either end.
The 'Half Shaft' Slides Into the 'Trans Axel' (*
Paternal_Greats/half_shaft_to_wheel.jpg
Male into Female *) and Bolts On.
The 'Half Shaft' bolts onto the Wheel
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The Rubber Boot Attaches with a 'Hose Clamp'
Typical 'Hose Clamps' Hold Heater Hoses, Radiator
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Hoses, Fuel Lines and Rubber Boots. Any Rubber.
1991 Mazda MPV - 3rd Best Car - Debbie's Car
Cars/1991_mazda_mpv_3_dr_std_passenger_van.jpg
Given to me broken transmission at divorce - junkyard

This was the first minivan I ever drove and I purchased it at an auction.  Which was also a first.  Cars that have been repossessed or cannot be sold by dealers are collected at a monthly auction and sold to the highest bidder.  It's important to show up the day before and inspect their inventory closely less you get stuck with a lemon.  I did and chose this minivan.  It was exciting.  I enjoyed the auction.  Unfortunately it meant getting some money back from your Uncle Ron's agent, who was promising 20% on all money invested with him and turns out he was totally full of shit and defrauding perhaps a hundred people including both your Mother and her brother who swore by him.  Fortunately, I got all my money back from the crook just before he killed himself but brother and sister and all the others lost all of their savings which was in the tens of thousands of dollars if not the hundreds of thousands.  I don't really know.  Your Mother and Uncle have been very quiet about the whole thing probably because your Uncle was very close to the man and he killed himself after stealing his money.

Anyway, back to the Mazda.  I had noticed the auction one day while driving home from work in Pleasanton while driving the 'Silver Bullet'.  At the time I was writing some of the first 'Visa' Debit card software for a software house that marketed to Credit Unions and writing in PICK Basic which is a programming language very similar to Assembler language.  (* I'll talk about this later. *)  Credit Unions are like a bank but not FDIC insured.  And although debit cards first came out around 1968, according to 'wiki', they weren't widely used until the late 90's.

Note that a credit card makes a small loan in real time when you use it.  You pay interest on this loan.  Credit cards would not have been possible without the invention of both plastic and the magnetic stripe technology.  The magnetic stripe appears on the back.  Magnetic stripes have been around for decades and use to appear on card board the size of 9 x 12 documents and used in computers for some of the first business applications.  I used them extensively in my first programming job.  On credit and debit cards they are used to store basic information including your pin numbers and personal data.

Note:  Rub a magnet over the stripe of a credit card and you'll erase all of the information.  This is also known as 'Degaussing' in the computer world.


Note that debit cards are replacements to checkbooks, which were a pain in the ass to constantly update and balance and write into.  In my opinion the debit card is one of the best inventions of the 20th century, that and online personal banking.

Back to the 91 Mazda.  I have many fond and pleasant memories of my family in this car.  Driving Nicholas to school with Stacey in her car seat.  Car seats are a necessity of today's car's and Unibody suspension.  I never had a car seat.  Instead, as a tyke, I stood up in the back and hung over the front seat with my head on folded arms and stared out the front window.  Which was a necessity.  With your Uncle Jon on one side and your Aunt Cathy on the other 'They Owned the Windows' and I was not allowed to look over them to see out the window.  (* Or something like that.  *)  Car seats back then were bench seats just like a sofa and not bucket seats which auto makers switched to in the 60's because they were cheaper to make.  (* A front bench seat could seat three easily *)  Nor were there seat belts for the same reasons, cars back then weighed by the ton and were rebuildable tanks that could survive numerous minor accidents.  As for today's cars, they're all 'one and done'.

One of my fondest memories included Nicholas and Knuckles my favorite dog of the six that I have had.  Your Mother taught Knuckles the 'Kitty Cat / Puppy Dog' trick where at either phrase she would jump up alert and search for the beast.  Your Mom did this because she hated and still hates cats, I'm sure because of her allergies.  Her face would swell up like a pumpkin within 30 minutes of cat hair, her eyes would tear and I don't know what else, but it looked extremely uncomfortable.

We turned right out of 35 Tyndale and right into the other German Shepherd from the end of the block who was being walked by his master.  Immediately I said 'Kitty Cat / Puppy Dog!!'  And Knuckles jumped up alert to Nicholas's laughter.  (* I always loved hearing Nicholas laugh.  You have such a wonderful laugh Son. *)  Wagging her tail she walked over to the passenger side window, leaned out and rubbed noses.  All were very happy.

Note:  Degaussing is a common procedure in the computer world.  It is used to erase computer tapes and has been used for decades.

Note:  Magnets and magnetic fields of any kind are very, very dangerous next to computers for the magnetic field will erase hard disks as well as tape and possibly even firmware and RAM.  In fact, there is very famous story taught in Computer Science classes about a janitor and his high speed buffer.  System administrators were losing data weekly and having a very hard time determining the 'root cause'.  (* Root cause is a common phrase in my work, in fact, much of my work involves 'Root Cause Analysis', where the source of a problem is determined.  It could be software, it could be hardware, it could be out of date patches or a bad data base scheme.  To find the 'Root Cause' you have to follow the trail like a detective, and I often think of myself as a detective. *)

Anyway, how was the janitor destroying this company?  Through 'Root Cause Analysis' one of the administrators noticed a zig zag back and forth pattern to the affected hard drives, which at this time were as big as refrigerators and filled a basketball court in rows;  Rows of refrigerators.  When a janitor buffs a floor he goes back and forth, right to left, and pushes the buffer forwards up the aisle.  And every time his buffer touched the side of a refrigerator hard drive he'd erase data.

2000 Mazda MPV - Bought new - Something I don't
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believe in - Sold for nothing by Debra - Bad memories

This was Consumer's Report 2000 Car of The Year for Minivans.  The information provided by Consumer Reports is something that I rely upon for all big purchase items like cars and they have never failed me  Truly, Consumer Reports is invaluable to a consumer.

I spent a lot of time looking at all the minivan's available and chose this one.  I had a list of 'must have' which included a hide-a-way third seat for loading the back.  For many minivans like the Nissan Quest and Ford Windstar the third seat only folded down but didn't hide under the floor.  Instead it was in the way sitting on top of the floor and very inconvenient.   Mazda created room under the floor by moving the fuel tank from under the trunk to the side.

The Honda Odyssey I wouldn't even consider for a couple of reasons:  A) it was ugly and B).  The Honda Odyssey had been the most popular minivan in America and when I went to see the dealer his arrogance about its popularity went so far as rude bragging and then marking the price up $4,000.  He claimed scarcity of demand which is an Economics term and I think he meant 'Elasticity of Demand' which is the correct term.

Note that Elasticity of Demand is a measure used in economics to show the responsiveness, or elasticity, of the quantity demanded for any good as its price goes up or down.  The test is to see if people keep buying.  If they keep buying then Elasticity is positive, if they don't buy a good then Elasticity is negative.  So the owner continues to raise the price until people stop buying.  I've actually used this when a sold services to clients.  Someone wants my service right away and isn't willing to wait four months like everybody else so that customer has to pay extra.  :-)

Question:  Name two consumer goods in your daily life that are elastic?  Answer:  Gasoline and medications.  People have to buy "...at any price...." gasoline in order to go to work and carry on with their daily lives.  Also diabetcis like myself have to buy "...insulin..." at any price or they die.

This, is what "...Elasticity of Demand...." is all about.

But I deviate and digress so let's get back to the Mazda MPV.

Minivans are like covered pickup trucks so I really like them.  They are better than campers because in a camper you have to exit the front and walk to the back to get inside the living area.

Note that I broke my Father's rule with this car.  A) I bought new and B) I didn't keep it forever. 

Rather I should say my ex didn't want anything from me that would make her remember me so she sold it for nothing just to get rid of it.  Unbelievable.  Selling a $12,000 car for $4,000 like she did.  Truly, my Ex has absolutely no concept of money and I fear she has destroyed herself and you two for some twisted dream.

For truly, she has no concept of real life economics.  And a
ll you have to do is look at her purchase of 1144 Alaska Avenue and her second mortgage of the same.  

NO ONE IN TWO YEARS ever came close to offering the same!

Post Divorce Cars

1999 Gold Nissan Altima
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Destroyed in accident in 2007
2004 Nissan Altima
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2nd best car every owned
2002 Volvo S60 2.4 Turbo
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My first luxury car. What a Thoroughbred.

Its almost 2014 and I've now owned this car since 2010 and its become a real two edged sword. I love the moon roof and the sound system and the comfort while driving this car but the MPG has varied from 33 down to 18 and this seems to be related to the state that supplying the gas;  specifically, every state has their own formulas.  So while MPG from Colorado to Idaho was great, ( I cruised at 90 and got 35 MPG ), from Texas East to Georgia it was much lower. Worse, maintenance has become a pain because Volvo's are complicated and confusing to the untrained.  This has forced me into dealers and they are the highes, currently around $120/hour.  But even some of these aren't properly trained.  And all, dealer and non-dealer alike, sabotage your car in order to generate more work.  For example, a dealer in Boise, ID cut both my gas door release wire and my hood release wire and forced me to escalate tot he owner to get the work fixed.  But as bad as some Volvo mechanics have been, non-dealer mechanics have been worse;  they've almost destroyed this car.  Firestone in Irving, Texas for example.  While relocating to another job from Idaho Southeast to Georgia I stopped in Dallas to take care of some routine maintenance including flushing the anti-freeze.  They didn't have the correct tools including an air extraction kit which is a set of plastic tubes needed to bleed off pockets of trapped air inside the radiator.  The engine over heated from lack of coolant and caused a lot of collateral damage.  After two weeks they returned the Volvo to me but I then ended up taking the car to four dealers along the way as I continued my relocation to fix the collateral damage.  Firestone caused almost $5,000 in damages and they paid for all of it but it was a big mess that caused a lot of anguish and worry.

At the time of this writing, Holloween 2013, the Volvo has 184,000 miles on it and I don't think I'm going to get to my goal of 300,000 because there have been too many untrained mechanics touching the engine and she no longer runs like she did 20,000 miles ago;  the MPG is has become real problem.  My 1966 MGB got 18 MPG 40 years ago for Pete's sake!