30 July 2007

Where I work* ...

So, come to find out, our little tramp Sam is a practical joker.

To set the scene, Indian is one of those guys who has a chronic 'plumber's crack'. You know, when you can see the crack of his ass above his jeans? So, one day in the past I tell Sam, when she remarked 'I can see Indian's crack', that when I catch him bending over, I slide a long Phillips screwdriver between his cheeks. I didn't think anything more about it.

The other day, Indian is bending over under the hood of a car and I see Sam run to the refrigerator. She puts a finger to her lips, telling me to be quiet. Seems she stuck a wrench in the fridge earlier in the day. She takes the cold wrench and drops it down the Indian's crack. I ain't seen him move that fast since the time one of the auto parts places was giving out free beer. Heh ... Good thing Sam runs faster than the Indian.


Next, I have a bad habit, or bad timing, to be the most politically incorrect at the totally wrong time. Like the time I was doing my best mama-san impersonation, "yeah, GI, ten dollah for boom-boom, my first time, love you all night", while the Korean mail lady was dropping off the mail, or I'll go off on some profanity-laden tirade when, unbeknownst to me, a female customer is in the shop.

So, the other day, Sam froze a bottle of Dasani and would stick it down our shirts when we weren't looking. She does it to the Indian and he tells her "I'm gonna shove it up your ass if you do it again". Of course, that's just asking Sam to do it again. Couple minutes later, I see her sneaking up behind him.

I come around the other side of the car behind her and as soon as she drops it down his back and goes to run, I snatch her up and throw her over my shoulder, her ass up in the air. Sam's screaming bloody murder and I say to the Indian as he approaches with the frozen water bottle "okay, dude, stick it in her ass".

Wouldn't you know, one of the little old Russian ladies picks that time to walk into the shop. She makes the sign of the cross and runs out. I'm still surprised she didn't call the cops.

Just another day at the shop. Heh ...

*Part of an ongoing, semi-regular series.

28 July 2007

Sorry but ...

Putting one of these on the street is like waving a red flag at a bull.

I see one of 'em and I put my foot to the floor to see how high I can get it to register.

And if you decide to do what this clown did, I'll drive up on your lawn and run 'em over:

The West Salem firefighter found a way to slow down the drivers who cruise through his neighborhood by using life-sized cut-out photographs of his own children, reported NewsChannel5.

If you drive by Mike Wood's home too fast, you may not be able to tell if those images of children are real or just cut-outs -- and that's the idea, because the photos are making drivers slow down. [my em]


Listen to me. If a cop gets me speeding, I'll gladly pay the fine. I take responsibility for what I do. If a private citizen decides to do the cops' work, I'm gonna hand him his ass. If you ain't a cop, you'd better not fuck with me on the road.

You got speeders on your street? Petition the local government to install more traffic control devices (like we did in my neighborhood). Believe me, playing cop will only get you hurt, regardless of your motives.

Disclaimer: I do not advocate speeding through residential neighborhoods. I don't do it (I keep my excessive speed for the interstate highways) but I got a big problem with wannabe cops getting their jollies at my expense.

27 July 2007

It Should Be Painful To Be So Stupid

After reading Fixers last post I just have to share what just happened here at the shop.
I work with some seriously stupid people, really, seriously ,stupid.

I was walking across the shop when I hear this very loud BANG!
I turned to look and see a tractor truck pulling away from the 40 ft. trailer it had just pulled out from under, with the landing gear UP.
Dumb SOB didn't check the fifth wheel for being latched.
Of course now the electric cable for the lights and both air lines go snap too.
This is just one more for the Bozo's around here.
We had another idjit drive across the yard with the boom up and try to get in the wash bay.
CRUNCH. Tore the front of the building off. Yet another idjit, this time a lady, drove under a conveyor belt 20 ft. in the air with the boom up.
That one was ugly. Twisted the frame and wedged it into the superstructure holding up the belt.
Had to get a monster forklift and drag it back out. Bent a pin for the boom that was 3 inches of solid steel and completely fucked up the boom.
Yep, it's always interesting around this joint, no wonder I drink so damn much.
Speaking of drinking, I am taking a week off to restore whats left of my sanity and will not be anywhere near a computer or phone. I think I am going to fishing in the Columbia river, see if I can finally catch something besides a buzz.
See Ya's in about a week or so.

20 July 2007

Things ...

First off, I get a car in on the hook, Subaru Impreza. We've been having some shitty weather here on the Island and the customer said he went through a puddle (it's a Subaru, ain't it?) and it stopped running. I told him "don't get your hopes up".

I open the doors and water pours out. I look over and there's water in the center console cup holders. Indian and I pop the hood and pull the air cleaner ... soaked. Next we pull the spark plugs and a combination of gas, water, and oil pours out of each hole. I crank the motor with a big ratchet on the crankshaft pulley and empty the cylinders, about a gallon of the mixture, onto the floor. I call the customer up and tell him to call his insurance company so they can total it. He wasn't happy but the motor was full and so was the automatic transmission, not to mention the car was flooded up to the dash, there's no point putting a motor in it when it will have electrical problems for the rest of it's natural life.

Moral: Avoid puddles, I don't care what kind of car you drive.

Next, Friday Amateur Hour on the Expressway. Listen, if your minivan is packed to the gills with all your stuff and your kids so it drags on the road, maybe you shouldn't be driving like an idiot on the highway. I can't understand why people who live on Long Island pay exorbitant amounts for timeshares in the Hamptons (we have 300 miles of some of the best beaches in the world), but you ain't gonna make it there if you flip the fucking thing.

If said minivan also has front wheels whose tops point in and wants to pull violently to one side or the other, you might also want to have some front end work done before you kill the whole damn family.

There's a lot of shit you can let slide on your car, but the safety items, brakes, lights, steering and suspension, tires, should never be ignored. A tire blowing out at highway speed or having to stop suddenly with an overloaded vehicle with shitty brakes, can mean the difference between life and death, not just for your sorry ass but for your family or the poor innocent schmuck who's just trying to get home to his family on a Friday evening.

17 July 2007

Alternative Engine Equals Direct Current Here.

To start, a tantalyzing snippet;


Some people find it hard to imagine our car’s Lamborghini-beating acceleration comes from a motor about the size of a watermelon. And while most car engines have to be moved with winches or forklifts, ours weighs about 70 pounds — a strong person could carry it around in a backpack (although we don’t recommend it). Compare that to the mass of machinery under the hood of $300,000 supercars that still can’t accelerate as quickly as the Tesla Roadster.

But more important than the motor’s size or weight is its efficency. Without proper efficiency, a motor will convert electrical energy into heat instead of rotational energy. So we designed our motor to have efficiencies of 85 to 95 percent; this way the precious stored energy of the battery pack ends up propelling you down the road instead of just heating up the trunk.

Here is the link for more about the drivetrain of this electrical demon;

Zero to sixty in four seconds. No blower, turbo, carb,pistons or gas.
It's all electric, and it is bad assed.

The Tesla Roadster.
The car is under production now and they are taking orders for the '08 model.
Two cents a mile to run ,by their estimates, it has revolutionary battery packs to store the electricity that it uses and can create its own by using regenerative braking.
This uses the electric motor to create electricity as a generator and greatly increases the distance you can go on a single charge.
For us older gearheads, remember the old days when cars still had generators instead of alternators? How did we test them?
By hooking up a battery to it and turning it into an electric motor.If it spun, it should generate when hooked up and driven by a belt.
Same thing here, just wayyyy modern electronics governing the input and out put.
Here is their home page.

10 July 2007

High Tech Weed Whacker

Direct Injection 2-Stroke Technology

Direct in-cylinder fuel injection (direct injection, DI) is a technology that has shown the ability to greatly reduce emissions from two-stroke engines. In a DI system the carburetor is eliminated, and the fuel is introduced into the combustion chamber via an injector mounted in the top of the chamber’s cylinder head. This allows exhaust products to be scavenged from the cylinder using air only. Fuel is injected into the cylinder later in the cycle, greatly reducing the amount of unburned fuel that is allowed to escape during scavenging. The DI process allows for a locally rich region around the spark plug, eliminating the need for enrichment of the entire cylinder to achieve stable combustion. Elimination of rich air/fuel ratios significantly reduces carbon monoxide emissions.


The link.


How long has this been around?

I will admit that I don't keep up with Motorcycle technology like I used to, but I have been waiting to see this for a while now.

Lawnmowers, outboards, yes, even weed whackers can greatly benefit from this.

There are literally hundreds of small engines used in construction, all powering different types of useful devices.

No more choke, no more fiddling with the damn mixture screws trying to make it run right, I like it.

03 July 2007

Pane Relief

Just a quick drive by tech tip, I am as busy as a one armed paperhanger in a hurricane.

If your power windows are slow and sticky, grab a spray can of liquid silicone. It is colorless and works great without a bunch of smearing.Spray it in the guide channels as you work it up and down.
It also works well on door seals etc.
Gotta go.

01 July 2007

Last Chance Garage

We run into this a lot. A car that's been from shop to shop in the area, chasing a problem nobody seems able to fix. As I said before, we're a small shop (2 bays, one dedicated to NY State Vehicle Inspections). We work by appointment only because we have to plan our time wisely. We also charge a little more because we're good and we know it. We have to be due to the lack of space. Shit can't sit around while we're thinking about what's wrong with it. Cars get diagnosed quickly, parts are ordered, the car is fixed, and it leaves. Most (95%) don't stay overnight.

That said, we get people trying to save money (we're not anywhere near dealer prices and we work fast so our labor comes out less anyway) or time (they can't wait a couple days), taking their cars to other places. Especially true with a service (notice I don't call it an 'oil change') which will set you back $50 in my place. We get those cars back eventually, with a buncha new parts under the hood, with the same problem (so how much did you save getting $19.95 oil changes). We're not parts-changers. We treat a customer's money as if it were our own and they get only what they need.

If it's an intermittent problem and I can't replicate it on command, and I'm not sure of what's causing it, I'll tell the customer that, and ask them to put up with it until it becomes a bit more regular (nothing fixes itself and it's gonna get worse). I'm not gonna throw a few hundred bucks in parts at it, charge you another couple hundred bucks in labor, on a 'maybe it might work'. Odds are, if I can't find it, nobody else will either, with the exception of the dealership. Those guys see the same cars all day long and they know about the little crazy shit that is chronic to the brand. I have, on occasion, advised a customer to have a dealer look at it rather than take their money to do something I'm not sure of.

If you have a shop that does timely repairs at a reasonable rate, stick with them. As I always say, there should be no surprises when it's time for you to pick up your car, and your car shouldn't be sitting at the shop for weeks, 'waiting for parts'. If you live near a major metropolitan area, most parts (brakes, starters, alternators, batteries) can be had within an hour or two. Special order usually takes a couple business days. Cars sitting around in various states of repair don't make me money, neither do pissed off customers who paid a big bill a couple days ago and the problem remains. If your guy required several visits (with requisite parts and labor charges each time) to fix a problem, look for somebody else.

I'm very happy with being known as the Last Chance Garage. It means I'm doing something right and the appointment book stays full.