Before You Go Old . . .

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Maybe you’ve been thinking about buying an older car as a way to avoid some of the hassles, expense – and Big Brother-ish – aspects of owning a new car.

These are all-too-real. Especially the Big Brother-ish stuff, which is becoming insufferable as well as all-but-unavoidable. Good luck finding a new car without at least six air bags, an Event Data Recorder (EDR) and some kind of send-and-receive “telematics” (e.g., GM’s OnStar) that can – and will – be used to narc you out to either the government or the insurance mafia.

Or the merely aggravating – saaaaaaafety systems that pre-empt your decisions or scold you for the decisions you make.

The EyeSight Safety box… it sees all.

This stuff is waxing much worse as the car companies fall over each other to double-down on electronic idiot-proofing systems such as steering “assist” which countermands your steering inputs, if the car doesn’t like the way you’re steering. And Lane Departure Warning, which pecks at you with lights and buzzers if you dare to change lanes without signaling first. And – the worst of the lot – Brake Big Brother. That’s not what they call it, but ought to. It peremptorily slams on the brakes (and hits you with flashing warning lights) when the car thinks you’re not slowing down sufficiently or in sufficient time.

Older cars – especially those made before the mid-late 1990s – do not have most of these features and some have none, if you go back before the 1990s. Such cars expect you to drive them, do not “correct” your driving and cannot narc you out to the government or the insurance mafia.

To drive such a car is to be transported back to a better time, in many very real ways. Despite all the convenience of modern cars, the idiot-proofing and Big Brother-ism can be (and is) suffocating and even infuriating.

But, before you commit to buying an older car as an end-run around the not-so-great things about owning a new car, there are some things you probably ought to know about old cars, too:

More frequent maintenance –

You will need to change the oil and perform (or have performed) minor service/adjustment more often. For example, if the car has a carburetor, it will be necessary to check/adjust the choke, idle speed and clean it every so often to keep the engine running right. There will be regular tune-ups. Belts (not serpentine and self-adjusting, as is the case with most new cars) will need occasional tightening.

The upside is that most of this maintenance is pretty simple and can be competently performed by almost anyone who is mildly handy, with basic hand tools and the willingness to read a service manual and follow the instructions. It can be fun – and empowering – to take charge of your vehicle’s care, to be independent of the dealer/shop – to know you are capable of taking care of most issues that come up. As opposed to the helpless feeling that comes up when a new car just stops working and you have to take it to the dealer to deal with it.

Also, while this maintenance will be more frequent, it will usually be small potatoes as far as your wallet is concerned. Mechanical systems that need occasional adjustment – or which can often be rebuilt, by you, with inexpensive kits – as opposed to expensive electronics that cannot be be fixed by anyone and which you throw away and replace with an expensive new part.

The downside – if you aren’t handy or willing to learn – is having to find a shop/mechanic with the knowledge necessary to competently work on older cars. And having to spend the time going to and from the shop . . . waiting for them to fix your car.

But if you can turn a wrench – or learn how to turn a wrench – you’ll be free again.

And, have money again.

The “stereo” will suck – 

It’s a radio, really.

One thing about new cars that it’s hard to say anything bad about is their audio systems. Some are better than others, but few suck. The least of the 2017s comes standard with six speakers and a decent digital tuner that is (usually) both Bluetooth and satellite radio-ready.

Many new cars offer surround-sound, 8-12 speakers and sound reproduction that was literally technically not possible in a car even as recently as ten or so years ago.

In the old days – this is before the early 2000s – pretty much the first thing you did after you got your new car home was take it to the stereo store the next morning. This even included “luxury” cars, which (by current standards) had vile playback equipment from the factory.

If you buy a car from those days, you will also probably be headed to your local stereo shop the next day. The upside is you can get a really good custom rig installed in whatever old car you buy, with exactly the features and capabilities you want and potentially just as good as the factory-installed stuff in a new car.

The downside is this can get very expensive. Also, you may have to upgrade the car’s electrical generating equipment (the alternator/charging system) to handle the load, if you have to have a serious system that uses serious juice.

The lighting will be cheap  . . . but also sucks – 

Old cars (this is most cars made before the mid-’90s) had sealed beam headlights in generic round and square shapes. These have the virtue of being really easy to replace when they burned out – usually, just a couple of retaining/trim screws and a simple (and easy to reach) plug in the back.

And, they are inexpensive.

Even today, they generally cost about $25 each – vs. as much as several hundred dollars each for a modern car’s plastic, projector beam or High Intensity Discharge headlight assembly.

But, the illumination produced by the old sealed beam headlights – even “top of the line” halogen ones – is pitiful in comparison with the change-night-into-daytime capabilities of many new car lighting systems. You will have to drive more carefully at night – and also reduce speed because the old-timey sealed beam lights just don’t reach as far ahead and won’t give you as much time to react if, as a for-instance, Bambi steps out in front of your car.

But – as with audio systems – you can easily upgrade an older car’s lighting system to modern spec. It’s actually a neat thing, being able to choose, a la carte, the useful technical advances without having to buy into the ones that aren’t.

Which you can’t do with anything new.

You will have to drive the thing –

Modern cars are Big Brother-ish because people have become child-ish. They need help performing even basic behind the wheel competences such as backing out of parking spaces and parallel parking.

Not like this bimbo…

The old stuff will not help you parallel park, will not relieve you of the necessity to look behind the car before you put the car in reverse and take your foot off the brake.

It will not have Blind Spot Warming or Lane Departure buzzers.

If you follow the car ahead too closely and are not paying attention and the car ahead brakes suddenly, the old car will not pull your fat out of the fire.

While there may be cruise control, it will not be “adaptive.” You will have to keep track of your speed in relation to the traffic around you.

You must remember to pay attention.

But there will be no air bags, no seat belt buzzers to heckle you. None of your “events” will be “recorded” and the car can’t narc you out to the insurance mafia or the government.

It does exactly and only what you want it to do, unsupervised and uncontrolled.

Doesn’t it make you want to go shopping for one right now?

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  1. The USPS doesn’t deliver to license plates, just street addresses. I haven’t had a street address in my name since 1984, when I moved into the van. The PATRIOT Act requires a street address for many things, and the bureaucrats don’t check them for accuracy anymore.

    • True that Bill. I used to get general delivery at the post office, and half the time they’d give me my own post office box for free. It’s nice when there are people who want to find you that you’d rather stay away from too. Years ago some lawyers were trying to find me, and I finally called them. They wanted to serve me papers to appear for a deposition, but they couldn’t find my address. I told them I was living on a boat. They wanted the name of the marina, the name of the boat, and the vessel ID. I wasn’t in a marina, the boat didn’t have a name and it was documented, but even that wouldn’t tell them where I was located. I told them where I was located, at least the closest proximity to land, but that wasn’t quite good enough for them so they gave up.

    • Now a days it is hard to make up an address. I had some good made up ones that could be located on Chicago’s grid but there was no building there. Sometimes it would be in the lake. Just about everyone’s software these days checks against a database of valid postal addresses.

      • Every once in a while when I advertise something on Craigslist, I’ll get some scammer pulling the ol’ here’s a check, but it’s over so send me the difference scam. I check the address on google earth and it’s a vacant lot out someplace out in the country. I don’t understand how they’re supposed to get the check if it’s out in the boonies.

      • You can make up all the addresses you want. If they aren’t part of the enhanced 911 database, they will be rejected immediately by that system, which is used universally by all delivery and EMS operators in the US. Google Earth is not a part of that paradigm and places addresses in proportion rather than compliance with it, much as GPS navigators do.

  2. Love old Airplanes, Bikes, wood Sailboats, Cars, Tractors, and Trucks. I have several old VW’s(1957 sunroof/67′ sunroof), don’t need a stereo as I just love the mechanical sounds they make, same goes for my old(1930) McCormic-Deering tractor. …putt putt putt

    Propping my 1947 AC Champ is always a pleasure and so is its slow flight aerobatic maneuvers compared to the hi-speed maneuvers of the 200-hp RV-4.

    My 1947 Ariel Red Hunter 500cc Twin pipe single is another sound that thrills the core of my being as does the extreme RPM scream of my small bore Racing Honda’s.

    My 27′ ‘T’ channeled roadster with its 39′ Lasalle V8 and straight pipes sings a song of pure pleasure while it provides the thrill of wind in your face speed.

    My unrestored 50′ Chevy std. cab 235″ Six is another one of those mechanical pleasures.

    My Citroen SM, while a bit more modern, is also in the old pleasure category partly because of its technology, but also because of its tuned Maserati V6 engine and its carefully configured exhaust system that sings at speed.

    Almost nothing new quite gives me the pleasure of smell, sound, and looks and feel that the old stuff regales me with, not my BMW’s, ELR, or my new Camaro 1LT-1LE

    There is great pleasure to be found in those old machines, planes, and boats, but I suspect nowadays, that only a few of us can access those pleasures and thrills.

    Thanks for the post, Eric

  3. I also notice that there is plenty of press about youngsters (or what some people refer to as “millenials”) not even wanting to OWN a car, or even to get their drivers’ licenses when reaching 16. And I think this trend toward the Big Brother Auto may be a major factor. The other major factor is the cost of these new transportation boxes. I know if I was turning 16 now, I wouldn’t have any interest in getting a programmable scooter with extreme padding and all these buzzers and lights that would distract me when trying to execute real driving maneuvers.

    It’s bad enough to have these technologies that will override your skills. It’s worse when these technologies scream at you when you do something to counteract their nannyness.

    When I was 18, driving was something I did for fun, by taking an occasional road trip. I felt free when I was on the road. With all these Big Brother features added to a car, I would feel like I was in a mobile prison cell today.

    It doesn’t make me not want to drive, but it makes me want to avoid these expensive transportation boxes.

    • Hi Travis,

      I get why kids are losing interest in cars. Part of it has to do with all the things you list. Also, most kids today have no clue how to work on a car – so they can’t afford a simple older car that needs “this” and “that” … much less a complicated new one.

      So, they peck at dey sail fawns.

      • Sadly, I think a lot of the reason for many millenials being content not to drive, is because they have never known what it is to be remotely free- and could care less about the freedom that comes from autonomous personal mobility. They’re content to live in some highly congested cement jungle, while being being prodded and poked and searched; to pay high taxes (or vote to make someone else pay them) so that they can have buses and trains, on which their dollar or two fare doesn’t even come close to covering the cost of their ride. They’re content so long as they have a smart phone to stare at- I mean, who’d want to go more than a couple of miles from home, or out into that scary place where the are trees and grass and vistas where you can actually see blank sky instead of man-made crud? (That’s scary!!)

        And you know, “those evil cars destroy the environment” [But somehow, the trains and buses and urban jungle and all the infrastructure needed to support them, doesn’t…]

        And like, in your car, you may have to be alone and stuff, and make your own decisions about where to turn and what to do…and like, it’s really scary. It’s best left to a professional, you know? 🙂

        • Part of it might be from their having grown up in an area where car ownership is less common, such as NYC, where there are lifelong residents who have never had a drivers license or owned a car.
          My mother didn’t have a driver’s license until I was a teenager and my father had abandoned us. She needed one so that she could provide transportation for me and her elderly father. She probably had had one when she was younger.

          • Thanks, Eric!

            Bill, you beat me too it! I was actually going to come back and post the exact same thing you just said! We didn’t have a car when I grew up in NY; and my uncle lived his whole life in NYC without ever driving a car.

            And now that they’ve made the city-wide surface street speed limit in NYC 25MPH (!!!!!!) who the HELL would want to drive? I can not drive that slow! Seriously, I can do that speed on my bicycle- so if i satill lived in NY, why would I want the hassle and expense of having a car? Where a couple of tickets can cost you $1000.

            Another uncle told me this anecdote once: He comes into NYC from where he lived in CA. and is visiting my cousin (son of the uncle who never drove). Cousin takes him outside and shows him his brand new car. Later that night, they’re going to go out on the town, so they walk out of the house, and my cousin starts walking toward the subway instead of his new car. My uncle stops him, and says “Wait. You have a brand new car sitting there; why are we going to take the subway?”

            My cousin says: “I’m not giving up THAT parking space!”.

            • Back in the early 90’s, when I was doing irregular longhaul, I picked up a double drop in Carmel-by-the-Sea (CA) and split the load between downtown Houston, where no 18-wheeler should ever have to go, and Greenwich Village. I got to the latter at about 2am their time and out of nowhere appears this tired-looking young man. He had been waiting for me to get there so that he could stop saving parking space for my 70+ foot long tractor-trailer. After spotting the back of my truck while I parallel-parked it, he went home to get some sleep and I did likewise, in my sleeper. The next morning, he repeated the process on the other end of the block and other side of the street, in front of the antique store where I was delivering. After I was settled in, if a driver parked their car in front of my truck, they were advised that they would need to move it for me to leave, and it was found out where to contact the driver to have them move, as needed. When the time came to leave, I had quite an audience, most of whom had never seen anything that big in their neighborhood. I can identify with not giving up a parking space in NYC:-) While they unloaded my truck, I played accidental tourist with my camera. I still have photograph down the street that I was parked on, with the twin towers of the WTC framing the skyline.

            • These kids today might not be as stupid as some would like to think, but then I’ve also noticed that they don’t seem all that interested in working or making money so it sorta becomes a moot point. Why look at a car that you can’t afford to buy, drive, maintain, park, register, license, insure, etc.? Mass transit around here is a dollar to anywhere in the county, and for a few dollars more they’ll even pick you up at your front door. More and more I’m seeing people riding around on these 50 cc bicycles as well as a few electric bikes. Around here they can be had for $150.00, sometimes less. They get at least 60 to70 mpg, no license, or insurance, or registration required. They’ll do at least 25 mph, and you can peddle them if they run out of juice or gas.

              When Amazon and these other outfits start delivering everything to your front door, who really needs a car? I live out in the country so it’s still kinda fun to drive, and there’s still a certain sense of freedom associated with it, but all the other regulations and restrictions can put a damper on it as well. That sense of freedom is getting too expensive for some so I don’t blame them for skipping it.

  4. County meetings are every other week. Comments taken at 9 am.

    The median property tax in Floyd County, Virginia is $785 per year for a home worth the median value of $138,800. Floyd County collects, on average, 0.57% of a property’s assessed fair market value as property tax.

    MAY 9, 2017
    1. Meeting called to order – 8:30 a.m., Board Room, County Administrative Building.
    2. Opening Prayer.
    3. Pledge of Allegiance.
    4. Approval of minutes of April 11, 2017 and April 25, 2017.
    5. Approval of April 2017 monthly disbursements.
    6. Delegations:
    a. 8:45 a.m. – Constitutional Officers reports.
    b. 9:00 a.m. – Public Comment Period.
    c. 9:15 a.m. – Ms. Tracie Brewster, Social Services Director.
    d. 10:00 a.m. – Mr. Chris Price, Virginia Department of Transportation.
    7. County Administrator’s Report.
    a. Subdivision plats as approved by Agent for April 2017.
    b. April 2017 Department of Inspections Report.
    c. Proclamation for May 2017 as Older Americans Month.
    d. Request approval for County Administrator and Chairman of Board of Supervisors to
    execute engagement letter from Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates for audit services
    for the year ended June 30, 2017.
    e. Request transfer from Contingency fund in the amount of $2,500.00 to EMT
    Training-Class/Instructor Fees to pay invoice submitted by the Floyd County Rescue
    Squad for an Emergency Medical Technician class.
    f. School Board request to receive an additional $54,987.70 in Revenue appropriation
    authority from various categories.
    g. School Board request to expend an additional $54,987.70 in Expenditure
    appropriation authority in various categories.
    h. Set date for Public Hearing on proposed FY17 budget.
    8. Work session on proposed FY18 budget.
    9. Old/New Business.
    10. Adjournment.

    • Government is like fire. It just keeps on devouring until there is nothing left. And beware the pooblik schools! THAT is where they really get ya, because so many of the mundanes will tolerate ANYTHING, if it’s “for the children”.

      Where I used to live, $6K per year of the average person’s property tax bill is JUST for the schools! -and that comprises only half of the tax bill…. SIX freakin’ THOUSAND dollars a year per person. If you don’t have any kids, or don’t want your kids going to gov’t indoctrination camp, you still pay it. If you have a whole gaggle of kids, you are exempt or pay a greatly reduced rate. If that isn’t pure communism, I don’t know what is.

      Oh, please Mr. Mercen…errr…I mean Mr. Soldier, go and kill some foreigners and tell me how you are “fighting for my freedom” so i enjoy a “free” education- you know, the kind where kids emerge from school at 18 barely able to read, much less write; and not capable of any independent or critical thought, so they too can pay for all of this wonderful free crap…..

      • Hey Nunzio, I thought my tax bill was bad. I was paying over $3k a year just for the property taxes on the house I was living in. I had a couple other rental/fixers, and I thought I was getting over too. I was living in one of the cheapest places to live for taxes in California, plus I didn’t have to smog my car. In comparison to the rest of the state, this was a veritable paradise. Then I moved to Florida. I sold my rental/fixers, and then took a $50k loss on my home, but bought a better home in Florida for less than what the AC cost to cool it.. My taxes dropped to zero; no property taxes and no state income taxes either. My utilities dropped as well. In CA. my utilities usually ran around a few hundred dollars a month whereas in Florida I only have electricity and that rarely approaches $100.00. In the winter it’s down around $25.00 a month. I can see the writing on the walls though, and it won’t be long before they’re going to start getting some money out of me in one way or another. Insurance is horrid here which is yet another good reason for me to get rid of my extra wheels.

        But it’s a similar story in that the pace is slower so things haven’t progressed as much as in other parts of the country. I went down to the government building to take a look at the permits to see where the plumbing was located from the well to the house, but there was no permit. There wasn’t even a permit pulled to build the house itself, and this was only back in the mid 80’s Even today they don’t have impact fees to build a house here. Back in CA they’d take at least 15k to 20k right off the bat just for the impact fees. Out here you can buy the property, sink a well and septic tank, hook up to electricity and still have money to burn before you reach $15k. I’ve even seen people just living in travel trailers hooked up to their septic, well etc. Progress doesn’t allow for that. I’d be arrested for doing something like that in California.

        Then there’s all the gizmos you have to have in CA like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, EPA compliant fireplace inserts, etc.

        • Teo, I don’t know how (or why) anyone continues to stay in CA. (Or NY or MA.)- Just those 3 states…there’s 67 million people who love their slavery, and who are willing to pay dearly for it. Scary! Why even a liberal would stay in CA. and tolerate all the hoops they have to jump through; the reduced quality of life, and absurd expenses, is beyond me

          • Oh Ye of Little Faith.

            Have you never heard of the Crusades?

            The Trump Red States are in solidarity with the Red Counties of the Capitalistic Christian realms. You will not be forgotten.

            I fear you will become fallen blue state christians and submit to their irrationalities and larcenous proclivities.

            A Christian can keep his ancient faith. But he is never like the Jew who sees himself as Chosen. Nor the Muslim who submits to the book and forces the Choosing.

            Such men believe their wealth and comfort is given to them by divine means alone. That they need never first create the wealth. But that like Vampires, they can merely take the wealth from whichever non-chosen people are currently in possession of said wealth.

            A true Christian of faith knows that all wealth and comfort must first be created by a man’s own two hands and mental abilities. Such men can even work alongside men who themselves are not believers. Who believe it is only a man’s hands and mental abilities cause property to arise on this Earth.

            These are the true Good men of the West. Who recognize their brothers of other beliefs in the Mediterranean, South and East Asia as the only true creators of wealth and invention in this world.

            Who understand how such abilities were dispersed via large ships and great movements of peoples. And that all men on this Earth can be good. Unless they believe themselves to be the Chosen Parasites.

            These are the savages who must be expelled. And shunned. That must not be able to maintain their cancerous colonies in the lands of the righteous creators of wealth and comfort. The great men of mind.

            The new crusades are upon us. Men of mind will reassert themselves in the lands that have fallen to the Parasites of Usurped Property. For this is always what the good man does. He maintains a world of justice and plenty, and thwarts the wicked and the evildoers of plunder.

          • Nunzio, rich libtards love to spend their money; the more the better, but they also love to spend money so much they think you would enjoy it as much as they do. They think that spending money solves problems. They sell their multimillion dollar estates and move to some backwater full of impoverished simple folk and steam roll through plans to put in paved streets, curbs, traffic lights, building codes etc. as a means of helping the poor. The obvious problem is that the poor can’t afford these improvements so they have to leave. It’s one of the oldest scams in the book; eliminate poverty by eliminating the poor.

            I can remember a family living up on the coast up in northern California. They had just inherited 80 acres from their recently deceased mother. They’d been living on the property their whole lives, but when their mother died, the property was reassessed and couldn’t afford the property taxes. When libtards raise prices enough the poor have to move somewhere else. However you can walk through these enclaves of wealth and stupidity and still find poor people. They’ve just moved in right next door to these liberal idiots, literally right into the ground next to them.

            I knew some people who had literally dug right into the side of a mountain with a million dollar view of the San Francisco bay. The police knew about them, but as long as they kept out of sight, they didn’t care. The rich liberals didn’t know about them so they don’t care.

            Florida is a similar situation, but they’re about a decade or so behind California. I live out in the boonies, but there are homeless people living in the woods so nobody sees them and nobody really cares.

            I say about a decade because people from all over the place are moving here to save money from their own asinine confiscatory policies. They move here and do the same thing they did before. I just buy properties in these depressed areas and when the prices go up, I sell and leave.

            It’s not just the cost of living. The biggest factor in my desire to leave is the attitude of condescending superiority and contempt and intolerance for anyone with a different opinion.

            • Haha, yes, Teo- all of the maudlin sentimentality about “helping the poor” (with other people’s money, of course)…..but the libturds fail to mention that they are the ones who MAKE people poor!

              They try and blame “the rich” [those who are richer than they are….]- i.e. the people who take care of their own and who create wealth and get things done, and who provide jobs for people who are a half step away from being zombies 😉 -as if there is a huge pile of wealth somewhere, and “the rich” got there first and just took it all away…..

              And we see just how “well” the pie-in-the-sky libturd fantasies work out. Just look at places which have been under their control for many decades, like Detroit and Baltimore- where they’ve driven out anyone who has any work ethic….

              You must be in northern FL Teo- ’cause most of the rest of FL is full of ex-NYers, who haven’t learned their lesson, but who continue to practice the same politics which ruined NY and ’caused them to flee- so where ever they go, ends up becoming a miniature version of NY.

              FL is what OR and WA are to CA! 😉 It’s funny- but most of the refugees from CA and NY et al, don’t seem to realize that THEY are a major part of the problem. So instead of putting their problems behind them when they move….they take ’em along and impose them on their new locales.

                • “Nuncio” -That’ll work! 😉

                  Absolutely though. Whatever the angle, left or right, it’s just collectivism- i.e. forcibly take other people’s money, and impose your values/economics/way of life/worldview on everyone else by decree.

                  So the Trumpster gets in, and proceeds to do the very things he opposed when he was running; the very things that the Bitch openly stated she would do….but he throws his supporters a few little bones of little consequence on issues that shouldn’t even be on the government’s radar, and so they think there is a difference.

                  Americans: Easier to fool than a blind poker player.

              • Nunzio, yep, I’m an hour or so north of Tampa, and an hour or so west of Orlando. Just a few little hamlets around here, but I run down to Tampa once in a while and down there everyone hates those pesky Yankees that have inundated the area and are quickly ruining it for everyone else. It’s starting to get bad here as well. A few years ago we would get some gridlock in a few places during the winter, but now the gridlock is lingering into the spring and beginning in the fall. There are a lot more snowbirds, but a lot of them are staying to roost here all year long. I’m still a snowbird, but this is beginning to look like it’s too cold for me so I’ll be leaving when the influx of northern migrants are at its peak.

                • AHahaha! Teo! My sister used to live in that area! I went there once. What’s that highway that runs along the Gulf coast? US19? It was packed 25 years ago- I can just imagine now! My sister would run in to all of her old friends and neighbors from NY there- literally everyone she ever knew!

                  I went there in the spring- and did not like the weather. It was only in the 70’s in the day- but it felt like 100 with the humididity…and at night it was in the 40’s, but felt colder, I guess because it felt so hot during the day! 😉

                  My friend has some houses down near Ft. Myers. The beaches down there look really nice….but they’re always having a drought; the lawns are always brown.

                  • High humidity always makes it feel hotter by blocking evaporation. It makes it feel cooler by enhancing the removal of heat. Water vapor is a much better conductor of heat than dry air.

  5. Eric:

    Great points. As an owner of 2 cars past the decade mark, I can also add another risk of owning an “oldish” car:

    The car manufacturer stops supporting its dealers with parts after 10 years. This means anything other than routine maintenance / common body parts that require replacement requires a trip to the junkyard (and a prayer you’ll find a part at the scrapyard in any better shape than the one you’re replacing), or fabrication skills to make your own part.

    I learned this lesson again when having to cut the EGR tube off my 2004 Frontier while removing the exhaust manifold to replace it with a header.

    No EGR tubes are available for a 2004, let alone the tube I actually needed which was from a 1998 Frontier. I simple $11 EGR tube now becomes a damn unplanned fabrication project.

    No idea if the header and 2.5″ exhaust will make a big difference, but the stock exhaust manifold does not look very efficient (unlike some of today’s manifolds, which actually look pretty darn good).

    I’m just trying to be able to better merge into expressway traffic going 80+, and the ole 2.4 is very challenged in this task.

    It definitely looks faster…

    • But that happened with cars from the 70s in the 80s and 90s. I know. Especially in the pre-internet era. I can actually find more parts easier for my Maverick now than I could in the 1990s. There are also more new parts made by the aftermarket as well. Although some things in particular have gotten worse. I can no longer get carb floats.

      • Seems like just lately, a lot of once very common generic parts which were used for decades on many vehicles, are suddenly no longer being made. Simple things like water outlet gaskets; oil seals; taper bushings….. Things which every auto parts store would have a healthy inventory of, and could easily order if they didn’t, suddenly are “no longer available”.

        Latest victim: A once common generic fuel filter (also used as an oil filter on smaller engines) for my 90’s tractor. 2 years ago, I’d go to the local NAPA store, and they’d have ’em in stock. Last year…they had to get ’em from the warehouse. This year, they had to order ’em from FL. and only one came…and no more are available, in any brand! (Luckily I scored a bunch on Ebay, and stocked up)….but a common simple once ubiquitous item that is used on tractors, cars, equipment, etc. – and we’re not talking about ancient things from the 1940’s or something….but things from the 90’s and well into the 00’s that used them!

        The newer stuff is even worse, because in many cases, there never was a stock of generic parts which interchanged with many vehicles- as more and more parts are becoming manufacturer or even vehicle-specific…. You have to pay the manufacturer extortion price if they still have it…and once they’re all gone…that’s it. Once they stop making that circuit board or module for your 11 year-old car, that IT. Motor might have another 200K worth of life left in it…but that fuel injection system will never work again!

        • They are still made. They aren’t shipped to auto part stores because no one is willing to rebuilt what they can replace with factory rebuild for less money and effort.

        • The stock float is plastic/foam whatever its called. I have two that work well enough so I’ll be ok until I put an entirely different head/intake/carb on it. But soldering up my own brass float that will fit and work would take some metal working skill for this little carb. More metal shaping skill than I have.

  6. Truthfully, the first thing I’ve ever done with most of my vehicle’s sound systems is replace them if they weren’t stereo. The AM/FM stereo in my current daily liver (I live in it, as well as drive it.) a 2003 E-150 van, died after a few months. The rotary encoder that did the volume stopped doing it so well… There are plethora of excellent under $100 AM/FM with or w/o CD or iPod USB hookups out there, with Scosche custom harnesses to fix most popular stereo wiring. You shouldn’t be afraid to get the basic stereo working better with a new DIN unit in the dash and upgrade the rest p.r.n.

    • Just curious if your E-150 is a panel van or a camper van Bill. I spent years living in vans, and I preferred the panel vans when I was living on the street because they tended to elicit less attention from leo’s and others. Do you roam around the country in it or park it on a piece of property? I’ve got a van conversion parked on the back 40. My neighbor wanted to buy it, but wouldn’t make me an offer. I told him that when it migrated to the back forty, he’d have to tow it out himself because it won’t take long for it to start sinking into the sand, weeds, etc. The dogs have repurposed it into their home, and the poultry are looking at the roof as well for the same reason.

      • Teo,
        It is neither a panel van nor a camper van. It is just a standard E-150 cargo van. It is my daily driver and my nightly sleeper. I don’t own land anywhere. I thought I might in a small city here, but the oligarchs have made this area pretty inhospitable to people like me, so I’m just going feral. Since my SS can be caught anywhere, I don’t have to be caged anymore.

        • It’s not just that you’re not caged anymore Bill, you also don’t have to clean, maintain, repair, etc. the cage either. I’ve got a lawn I have to mow, bushes trees, and shrubs to trim or cut up when they fall over, weeds to whack, etc. Your backyard is maintenance free and considerably larger. I spent years parking at the beach, the woods, parks, etc. Shortly after I bought my first van, a VW bus, I had just emerged from the surf and as I was stowing my board in the back a guy in the parked car next to me said, “I wish I’d done what you’re doing when I was your age”. He’s was only in his 50’s so I don’t know what was stopping him. I’m in my early 50’s now and I’m seriously considering going back to that way of living.

          I can’t find anything anymore. I have half a dozen hammers, half a dozen battery chargers, a dozen or more measuring tapes, flashlights, phillips and flathead screwdrivers, box cutters, cordless and corded drills etc., but I can’t find a single one when I need it. When you’re living in a van and you can’t find something, it doesn’t take long to ascertain where it is or if it’s gone. My second van was a GMC cargo van with commercial plates, which turned out to be pretty nice. I took advantage of them quite often, and would double park all over the place just to run in and get a soda or some fried chicken etc.

          • Teo,
            I’ve always been pretty anal about organization, but I’m reforming myself:-) I have 3 toolboxes, 2 on board the van. The smallest is my electronics toolbox with the relatively dainty tools required for replacing connectors and maintaining circuits. The bigger toolbox, which I call my honey do, contains most of the rest of my on board tools, and is where everything but my hammer and DeWalt cordless drill (and it’s 12VDC battery charger) goes.
            When I finally became an amateur radio licensee last year, I got amateur plates for the van, but I have yet to get any amateur radios. I’ve been listening to shortwave since I was in junior high, and prefer talking to people in person. The license plates don’t have a county designation (aside from the tiny tax sticker) so I can appear to be a local anywhere in Wyoming.

            • I had pretty much everything 12VDC, or else it would plug into an inverter. I’ve got a nice littler propane/gas generator and some solar panels; that’s all I really need to run lights, power tools etc. I’m thinking about getting an RV and doing some “glamping” which is just buying a lot and parking your van or RV on it.

              Wyoming gets pretty cool in the winter, how do you deal with that?

              • Teo,
                I have a 35,000BTU/hr stove for heating water, eggs, and air. But I’m going feral and I’ll just snowbird it.
                Actually, Wyoming is warmer than the northern tier great lake states in the winter, especially since it is high desert, with a lower humidity.

                • I’ve been through Wyoming in the winter, spring and fall, and it’s plenty cold for me. You might as well be telling me that it’s warmer than absolute zero. If you think it’s warm there, where to do go in the winter, Utah, Colorado? ; )

                  I’m guessing southern Arizona. That’s one of the more popular locations for snowbirds. I came down to Florida and sorta stayed, but I’m getting the urge to fly south again. I’ve acclimated to it down here to the point where it’s too cold for me in the winter. The whole global warming meme doesn’t apply to Florida. I’m in Citrus county, but they haven’t been able to grow citrus here for over thirty years; too cold. I didn’t figure this misnomer out until it was too late; still there’s about ten months where it’s pretty nice. I heat my water with the sun for ten months.

                  I’ve never heard it referred to as “going feral” is that slang newly coined, or been around for a while?

                  • Teo,
                    It is plenty hot in the high altitude Wyoming sun, especially with the solar minimum driving a record level of UVC. Wyoming gets more sunshine than Florida. Combines that with the lower humidity and it isn’t too hard for it to be warmer than the great lakes.
                    I spent a lot of time in the Ehrenberg-Quartzsite area when I was doing truck-tractor driveaway. I also sold satellite receivers for 3 years and moved RVs and rental trucks.
                    Feral has been a word for long before I was born. Part of it’s Google definition is “in a wild state, especially after escape from captivity or domestication,” which certainly describes the life I expect to lead after I give up my PO Box and other ties to where I’ve been for 3 years.

                    • Hey Bill, I know what feral means, I’ve just never heard people use the term as you do in your situation; it sounds like slang. I don’t know why they even call it the sunshine state. There’s a lot of sunshine in the winter months, but in the summer, it’s overcast almost every day; not all day, but quite often. If it weren’t for the clouds this place would be as hot as the sun. The humidity isn’t that bad imo. Sometimes you can fill a glass with water just by waving it in the air, but it doesn’t bother me that much.

          • Hi Teo,

            I hold on to the Fuhrerbunker because I’m emotionally attached; lots of memories. Also, it is my refuge. Even though I must pay rent in perpetuity to the county, I can sit by the Koi pond I dug out back and watch the sun go down, with Fuzz (my big gray Maine Coon) in my lap and screw the world and all the Clovers that have ruined it…

            • Hey Eric, I’m assuming a gray Main Coon is some type of canine, no? It’s not a raccoon is it? I feel the same way about my place. It’s out in the woods with a spring fed pond just beyond the property line in the back yard. The seclusion is priceless, and for the most part the county doesn’t really care if I’m violating some code. They’re not going to make a special trip out here to see if I’m in compliance. However, and this just occurred to me a few minutes ago. I’m looking into seeing what I can get for this place as well as renting it, but last night I as I was getting into my 2002 Toyota Sequoia, I went to press the dome light and accidently hit the switch for the sunroof. The sunroof doesn’t work properly; it opens but won’t close. I knew this when I bought it so the plan was to just never use it. I should have disconnected the button; hindsight is 20/20. I know that if I can’t get that thing closed, a new one is going to cost more than the thing is worth so if I’m going to park it, I might be able to just sell it as part of a package deal with the house. The trailer my sailboat is sitting on is a similar story. I’ve been working on the boat to get it fluffed up to sell, but just noticed that the trailer it’s sitting on is pretty well rusted through so maybe I’ll add that to the package too. Selling everything all at once has its advantages. I’m going to pull down the headliner and see if I can get it to close again; what a mess that’s going to be…

                • Hey Bill, I was thinking something similar. Is that something I could trick by using a hot wire to connect the loop? I think I might try it anyways just to rule it out before I tear the headliner out. Do you have any idea what gauge wire I should use for something like that?

                  • Teo,
                    I’d use the same gauge as the manufacturer did. What kind of switch is used? Is it a toggle with a spring-loaded center off position? If so, the switch is my first target. If you can get to the switch, you might be able to simply unplug it and flip it around, so that the closures are exchanged. If you can then close the sunroof but not open it, replace the switch, assuming you’d want to restore normal function. At least you’d be able to close it, which is more important than opening it.
                    If the switch operates a relay or relays, I’d look at it or them, especially if separate relays are used for opening and closing.
                    My first van, a 1974 Ford Club Wagon never had a reverse in the 6.5 years I drove it. It only got stuck one time, and a guy in a pickup with a tow rope pulled me out.

                    • Bill, my cousin needed wheels to get to school, but couldn’t afford to buy a car. He found an old truck out in the back 40. I think it was a Ford, but not everything he put on it was for a Ford, most notably the couch he sat in to drive it. It wouldn’t turn right either so he spent a year or so making a lot of left turns. I spent a few months parking my car on hills or leaving it locked with the engine running; too lazy to fix the starter.

          • Well said, Teo!

            As somewhat of a minimalist, the simple van lifestyle really appeals to me (I even had a van up until last year…you can see it on the left edge of the pic I posted of my place…).

            The two things I like about having land: I love having a big expanse of grass to enjoy and mow (I LOVE mowing!) and the freedom to do what I want; and insulation from the world- both the average ass-hat, and especially the government. I keep my gate closed….people are too lazy to get out of their car and open it, so no one comes up. Love it!

            Otherwise, living in a van would likely be my choice.

            I was on the verge of homelssness in the early 90’s in NY- and on the verge of actually doing the van thing (Hard enough to find a cheap place to live in NY- and virtually impossible for any price when you have a dog!)

            • Nunzio, I never really had to live on the street or in vans, but I was just getting irritated with pissing my money away on rent. I wasn’t making all that much anyways and rent just ate up a big chunk so I moved out of the apartment and into a tree. I had a bicycle, a sleeping bag, some clothes, a toilet kit, and a couple books; that was it. The van was a big upgrade. A better place to live, better transportation, and allowed me a few more things, e.g. a guitar, some surf boards, a bed, even a motorcycle which could be crammed in if I decided to move somewhere else.

              My property is fenced as well and if you don’t know where the gate is, you can’t get in. I do miss the traveling evangelists sometimes though.

              My most recent van is sitting in the back 40 being used as storage space. It’s going to get cleaned out, but I still don’t know what to do with it. I might just give it away, or convert it into a chicken coop. It’s still a really nice running van, just needs a good pressure washing and a battery.

              At the moment, I’ve got six dogs I’m not trying all that hard to sell. They’re all toy heelers so they’re basically perpetual puppies, but they love to run around hell’s half acre chasing the chickens and barking at anything that moves.

              • Teo,

                Would that more people were open to the simple life (and that we lived in a country where one wouldn’t get persecuted for living it!).

                This old singlewide is the best home I’ve ever had. It sure beats any rented apartment/house; and it’s all mine. I don’t see the sense/value of having a big fancy house. I think half the guys do it just to please women.

                Spend 30 years paying higher taxes, and 200% more for the house in interest? No thanks! People think it’s an “investment”- but even when real estate was guaranteed to rise year after year….when you figure in the taxes and interest and inflation, that house that my bro-in-law bought in 1969 for $20K and sold in 1990 for $180K is STILL a losing proposition.

                I think one of my dogs is largely red heeler….not a toy though…he weighs 104 lbs. 🙂 (104 lbs of love and joy!)

                • There’s the got to live somewhere problem. Generally speaking the taxes plus interest plus losses minus tax deduction are less than what would be spent on rent. The landlord has to pay all that plus turn some sort of profit. The only way to do better is if the rental market or the government forces the landlord to operate at a loss. Then it’s only a matter of time before the place has a fire.

                  The only way to avoid this would be the van down by river approach and that has a limited appeal.

                  • BrentP, I was just going to flip the place I’m living in now, but after I did the math, I’m ahead of the game already. could walk away from this place and be ahead of the game. I basically bought the air conditioning unit, and got the rest of the place for free. I pay no property taxes, and my utilities run less than a $1,000.00 a year; probably closer to $600.00. The government makes more off of all my toys than anything else.

                  • Definitely, Brent. Renting is a hugfe waste- not only economically, but in terms of personal freedom.

                    Coming from a family of largely multi-generational renters (People don’t learn- they see their parents grow old without a permanent place to live; anything to their name; nothing to leave to the kiddies…and then they go and do the same thing… ) – But for me, I figured out early that I wanted a place which was mine (as “mine” as one can get in a land where they tax you to be able to live on what is supposed to be your own land) where I could do what I want, and stay as long as i want. That’s pretty much the bare minimum as far as maintaining any semblance of true autonomy, freedom, and privacy in this world…..

                    If you’re living in someone else’s property, then you are voluntarily subjecting yourself to the restrictions that they impose, and really have no control over the most basic aspects/choices of life.

                    I was just saying that people often try and justify the economics of long-term mortgageson houses that they really can’t afford or which they have to spend a major portion of their life struggling to pay for; and which are often nothing more than a big box on a tiny plot of land, which is good for little more than sleeping in, by thinking that they’ve come out making a huge profit, just because the house might be worth (in a dollar amount) 1-x what they paid for it 30 years ago. (And today, we’re not even seeing that anymore, as RE prices tend to stagnate or decline over time…)

                    • In the absence of allodial titles, there is little difference between renting and “owning”, since both are subject to every whim of the local overlords. If I don’t like what is going on, I can move with the turn of an ignition key.

                    • Yes Bill, that is one of the more appealing aspects of living in a van or RV. I’ve always liked those things that allow you options as well as those things that are multifunctional. Instead of buying a dozen items you only have to buy one. Your van is your home, your transportation, your vacation, your retirement, your bug out vehicle, etc. I’ve had four vans and lived in all of them except the last one. The thing about a boat that I like just a bit more than an RV or van is that I can take it to the boundary of this glorified prison and leave, although that’s not as easy as it used to be. One of the nice things about boats is that you can buy one that is documented, and this is a piece of paper that allows you to skip all the registration, licensing, etc. all those state and county recurring expenses go away, and you pay $15.00 a year instead. The State doesn’t like it, but there’s nothing they can do about it yet; it’s still against the law to title a documented vessel. I love telling people at the DMV that it’s a federal offence and that I’m not ready to go to prison for their ignorance.

                    • If living in a van was appealing to the masses, the government would either outlaw it, or regulate it to such a point as to make it completely unappealing. When you live in a house for a while that’s what you’re comfortable with; living in a van is the same deal. I like my home, and my boat, and even my old chevy van, but one of these days I’m going to get a letter in the mail from some government entity that is going to inform me that there’s a meeting taking place to talk about the new taxes on the air I breathe, the water I drink, etc. and I’m going to just put a for sale sign on the house, and leave…

                    • Bill, there is something very appealing about van-dwelling! (At least to me!)- Ditto lving on a small boat (I almost did that once, too!)

                      Especially for lone wolfs/INTJ-types like me. To be so self-contained, and free; and to be able to concentrate on the few things you do have, and to have time for the few things that really matter, instead of spreading yourself really thin between 1000 things…. It keeps one grounded in reality.

                      I’ve often thought about building a small rugged cabin on my land here, with just a bed, a table, a chair, a small woodstove or fireplace, and living very simply- but it wouldn’t work, so long as I still had access to my trailer and out-buildings, etc. -or maybe it would, if I did it solely for limited set periods of time…..

                      I’d stay off the internet; tend my little garden; read a book;just enjoy the basics….. Really, what more does one need? Everything else is pretty much just distractions.

                • You might be right Nunzio, it kind of depends what the economy is doing. I’ve made some money flipping houses, and lost some as well, but in the end my priorities were right and I ended up making money anyways. I kinda like cinder block houses, but I think they should do the interior walls with a layer of cement rather than paneling or sheetrock. So many of the houses around here standup great to flooding and hurricanes, but they still have to throw all the drywall away and start over. If it were cement, they’d just have to go through it with a pressure washer and bring in the new furnishings. Years ago I had a 44′ single wide on a barge. The kitchen appliances and fridge were in Elvis Presley pink, but other than that the place was really nice, especially after I fixed it up. The nice thing about single and double wides is that if you’re out in the country, you can just plop a used one down for next to nothing. I had a double wide back in California that I counter sunk the foundation, plastered the walls inside, and most people never knew it was even a double wide. It was newer with a pitched roof, and well built. In Florida they don’t do as well in the humidity, but probably no worse than any other stick built home.

                  I think living the simple life is a mixed bag because when you’re life is really simple, there’s a lot of things the government does that just simply don’t apply to you. When you’re life gets really simple, you don’t need a car, therefore no insurance, no registration, no license, no maintenance, no automotive regulations, no tickets. No house, means no property taxes, no code enforcement, etc. Everything is taxed so everything that you don’t have means more money in your pocket. I’ve got a garden as well, and chickens so at least my eggs and veggies don’t get taxed, and I eat a lot of veggies and eggs.

                    • Well Bill, at the moment I’m legal to produce. I just can’t sell any without more government intrusion. So I give them away. Although I’m probably in violation of some regulation because I trade the full egg cartons for empty ones.

                  • I’ve always thought about building a cinderblock house too, Teo! Or cordwood….that’s pretty cool too.

                    Although i find the ease and economy of building pole buildings unbeatable. ‘specially that my neighbor works for the ‘lectric company and can get me cheap used telephone poles!

                    But then again, why increase the property taxes, when this trailer suits me just fine, and isn’t taxed, ’cause they’re considered a “vehicle”?

                    My mother’s pretty much lived like what you describe- only in rented apartments. She hasn’t had a lot of autonomy, naturally, but she’s been satisfied to live that way, and really doesn’t even realize the level of tyranny the average person experiences, just because she’s lived for so long just living in an apartment (and now in a trailer on my land) and walked everywhere….and basically did nothing outside of the home, so had no licenses, fees to pay, taxes, etc. basically did nothing that they regulate or that would even put her on their radar…..but this was purely unintentional.

                    I did really appreciate growing up as a kid without a car. We walked everywhere, or took the one bus that was available (Which took an hour to get to where you could drive to in less than 15 minutes!)….it freed up what little money we had for more important things, and kept us healthy; and really allowed me, as a child to see and experience everything around me, as opposed to just seeing it fly by through a window.

                    The world would call it poverty; but in reality, I had the idyllic childhood, and knew freedom that has since never been matched.

                    • I doubt a single wide is going to not be considered an improvement to your property. They got the same deal out here where you have the option of leaving it registered as a trailer or not, but either way, it’s an improvement to the property; the assessor still gets his cut. The way people get away with it out here is by literally buying some vacant land out in the country and driving their RV onto it. They call it “glamping”. It’s legal for a certain amount of time, but they just don’t have the manpower to police it. Just one of those advantages to living out in the country. Here’s what I think is the best deal if you have some land with a small place on it. Start cruising around to the boat yards and find a really nice boat that needs work to float. Plank boats can be really nice looking, but a pain in the butt to make seaworthy. However, they sometimes you can find one that is just sitting there taking up space in a boatyard, or the owner spent the last years of his life working on, and his family doesn’t want anything to do with it, they don’t want to keep paying rent so you just haul it to your place and in some cases you end up with a really nice place to live in with no worries about it ever sinking, or adding value to the land either. It’s a win/win. You can even set them right on the ground. The planks under the engine will never rot because of all the oil, and you can take oil from wherever you please, and just dump it over the rest of the hull to keep them from rotting as well.

                      Ferro cement are a real pain in the ass for boatyards because they’re basically indestructible, or extremely costly to break up into pieces to haul away. Usually they have to figure out a way to scuttle them. They’re great for staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer too. Ferro cement boats are the best deal going really because so many people hate them. What most people don’t know is that most, if not all the bad ones are already gone; just their bad reputation remains.

  7. Funny that I was thinking the exact same thing today on the drive in to work. For the purposes and thesis of your article, I posit that late 90’s to mid 2000’s are the way to go. (You may have even written @ this before). I say this because OBDII is pretty good at providing data which can be used to insightfully troubleshoot your car. Prior to OBDII that type of data was not easily obtained. And since OBDII came out in 1996, my gut says that 1998 model years are probably the ones that start when any bugs in OBDII were worked out. My opinion is that this sweet spot goes to about 2005 or so (give or take). After that, cars just started to become too damn complicated. This was brought on primarily by the rising CAFE standards which caused the cost-benefit curve to skyrocket.

    If I look at Ford trucks as an example (’cause I’m a Ford guy), their trucks were great and rock solid from 96 – 04, after which they went to the variable valve timing on the 3 valve v8’s, 5.4 & 4.6L. (Those damn spark plugs didn’t help either…) Starting in 09, Ford went to their direct inject V6’s and eco-boost debacles, all to squeeze MPG’s on their trucks…. Thankfully, they still had (& still have) the 5.0L Coyote V8, which is the way to go. Or go the F-250 route for the 6.2L gas engine. (Don’t get a Ford diesel, they suck)

    The point of all this rant is taking the Ford truck as an example, you can STILL get in the F-150 (to mean their consumer truck) a naturally aspirated V-8, and (if you stick to the XL work-truck line) no options/extra electronic crap. But you have to get the *bare-bones* version. Thankfully, all the safety-crat kind of stuff has not become standard (or more likely mandated) equipment on these trucks.

    Same rant can be had for bare-bones commuter cars, such as the Nissan Versa, or bare-bones VW Jetta. My 14 Jetta Sportwagen has 2.5L naturally aspirated, 5-sp manual, timing chain, non-interference layout. It also has no options nor the safety-crat stuff we all loathe. However it does have a few “convenience” features that are absolutely annoying. Also, the headlights are crap! They are designed for city driving, as to not interfere with other drivers.

    • (Don’t get a Ford diesel, they suck)

      well, then WHY is the 7.3 Powerstroke the most in demand engine in any Ford product of any size? I bought mine with 130K on it, for less than a third the price of a new one. It rolled over 340K the other day. I’ve put 210K on it. STILL uses no oil between changes (LONG interval, too), has gobs of power when I want it, purrs away when not. Repairs? Changed the original vacuum pump at about 180K, got a NAPA rebuilt, lasted only about 80K, got a cheap rebuilt did the same, now have a NEW Ford unit, and so far its held up maybe 60K. One glow plug \failed…. dead of winter, one battery failing, volts went low, amps went high, glowplug said DONE. ONE…. replaced one glow plug relay, $65 new from Ford. Starter finally failed at 332K. Serpentine belt,( replaced “because”, but because it broke) power steering pump, and about 20 K ago I finally rebuilt the turbo cause I didn’t want to replace the housings and it was getting to that point. Kit cost $125. Van still gets 17 mpg at freeway cruise, often tows trailers weighing 16,000, sometimes another 5K inside…. I’ve run 26,000 down the road gross. It don’t care. I’ve owned 300 _ different vehicles in my life, this one is by far the most reliable, nearly the cheapest to own/drive, is comfortable, strong, and if it ever gets totalled I’m in the market for another just like it.

      Thanks all the same, I’ll keep my Powerstroke and may well go looking for another against the day this one turns its toes up. IF it ever does. I’m beginning to think it might make a million miles before the chinese get it for making toasters.

      • The 7.3PSD was good….by comparison to what came after it.

        Too much electronic junk on it to really even call it a diesel. The engine itself is fine, but they seem to always have PCM, ECM, injector, CPS. 3000PSI hydraulically-fired injectors…connectors in weird places, like under valve covers (Not to mention the PCM inside the driver’s fender!)….kinda defeats the purpose of having a diesel- which is simplicity and reliability.

        And the oil leaks…. Hope it ain’t the oil pan gasket or the the dip stick adapter, ’cause ya gotta REMOVE the engine to change ’em!

        I used to love diesels. I went back to gas though, after they switched from mechanical injector pumps to this oil-fired electronic BS. ALL of these modern diesels are a PITA.

        I’m still of the opinion: If it can’t run without a battery, it ain’t a real diesel.

        The 7.3 just looks good by comparison to the 6.0, 6.4 and 6.7; like Richard Nixon looks good compared to Obama….

        On these modern (7.3 and newer) diesels, what you save in fuel, you make up for in high maintenance costs and repairs…) -And you’d better start stocking up on electronic parts if you intend to keep that baby running. What a job my neighnor just had finding a computer for his 99 F350 manual tranny 4×4 dually! (I went to look at that truck with him when he bought it- If he hadn’t have bought it, I probably would have, because it was a deal. Glad I didn’t though- 177K miles, and over the last 2 years, he has had every little common 7.3 issue you can name! ….and it never ends. Meanwhile, the gas V-10, and 5.4 in my trucks have not had one issue- and have around the same mileage.

        Many national fleets that run F350’s have gone back to gas trucks, ’cause these modern diesels are so bad.

        • If you need a battery, and it doesn’t have a series/parallel switch, it isn’t a real diesel either, IMO.
          On the other hand, the Detroit Series 60 can outpull a comparably rated Cat while burning less fuel and making less noise. I passed a flatbed on Cabbage one time. We were both loaded to 80,000 and he had a 425hp “Kitty Cat.” I had a 400 hp Detroit Series 60, and although I didn’t pass him very fast, I was back in the grannie lane by the top of the hill. He didn’t want to stop and pay me the $10 I bet him that what I had was what I had.

      • Hi Tionico, Tom is right though. He did say that the diesels put into Ford trucks in ’96 – ’04 were rock solid. That would include your 7.3 diesel. Also, your 7.3 diesel was not made by Ford. It was made by International Harvester. Ford diesels do indeed suck! I likewise have a F-350 7.3 with 185,000 miles on it and I love it.

          • You probably really meant Navistar, the parent company of International, from which International Harvester separated, when it became know as IH, and International stopped making anything but commercial trucks. Or so I’ve been told by International veterans:-)

        • You guys can’t start bragging about high miles with your diesels till ya get at least 500K or so on ’em, ’cause my last 4.6 triton gas had 300K on it and was still running like new when I sold it last year. Never did anything to it ‘cept a fuel pump and a heater core. No post-mechanical injector pump diesel can do that without costing ya thousands in maintenance alone- not to mention repairs to the ancillary systems…. 🙂

            • Heck, even a million miles isn’t at all unusual for the REAL diesels- the big boys. Slightly bigger injuns, pulling all that weight and running non-stop for so long, and they can’t make a decent motor to pull around a 7K lb. pick-up for an hour or two once a day? It’s only because they don’t want to; don’t need to (because people will buy ’em anyway) and because Uncle.

              • Those big engines turn very slow by comparison with automotive engines and their horsepower is largely in torque versus RPM in the smaller ones. Without that torque they couldn’t do what they do because they don’t have much more hp than a muscle car does. It is all in the gears. The new cars are getting into the same range gearwise, as big trucks, but they are still using the huge relative power curve. Having fought gelling and block heaters, I’ll stick with gasoline. I’m keeping my CDL but there aren’t any jobs here in the land of the clique, for now.

    • Working on my 63 Nova right now. It has a 250 straight six and four on the floor. The engine is so simple I can hardly explain it. This engine is virtually unchanged from the 30s. I can’t wait.
      Robert Davis

          • Mine was on track to get the 283 that was lying in the engine compartment installed and built to be a wheel spinner, but the “friend” who had committed to help me flaked out and I had it hauled away to a junkyard. I’m not sure what new school brakes would have been, wheels have always been customizable, although my plans had been to keep everything stock except the top end of the engine and the transmission. I was planning a vertical gate Hurst with a 4 or 5 speed.

            • sounds great!
              I am sanding down the firewall to prime and paint. The 250 is rebuilt ready to go. I am sticking with the six for looks – something different. I also have a 57 Chevy that I will be putting the 283 back in. I have too many things to do, but I am a teacher so I get a couple of months off. The 63 needs some floor and trunk pans but I am focusing on the engine first. Love old cars. My wife has a 2007 Pilot that is a POS already burning oil and needing a rebuild.

      • Love it! I’ll bet that 6 gets better MPGs than half the little toy cars on the road today, with all of their Rube Goldberg computerized garbage! Those 60’s cars with a straight-6 and a stick were the epitome of simplicity and efficient design. Reliable and durable. The sad thing is, it is so rare to find one anymore with a 6. Everyone either makes ’em into an SS clone, or uses ’em for parts.

        Gosh darn though, that had to be the pinnacle of automotive engineering.

        • Right On Nunzio!
          I think the six has a unique look. There are companies like Clifford that make manifolds, headers, cams, that make them run better. I love simplicity. One reason I am keeping the stock drum brakes and suspension is because it is different but still efficient. I am even keeping the points ignition. I once talked to an old school mechanic that retired from Montgomery Ward and listened to his stories of how once upon a time generators, starters, and many other things were simply rebuilt – not replaced. There were even special lathes to turn the armatures on starters and generators – then replace bearings and brushes and put back together. I guess I am nostalgic, but it sure seems things were simpler and purer back then.
          Robert Davis

          • Hi Robert,

            They were simpler – and, arguably, better.

            Granted, not as fancy and needed more “tweaking” than new stuff.. but it was affordable and you didn’t feel helpless. This was also the era when a skilled blue collar worker could afford a single family house and a family to live in it on just his income…

          • When I was 19, I was the manager of a service station, which are largely extinct now. I started before the Arab oil embargo and due to circumstances beyond my control, the job ended before the embargo did. I would come to work at 7am and pump gas until both the pumps (regular and premium) were sucking air. Then I’d retire to the service bays and start making money. In those days, gasoline was loss leader, something that got customers on the lot so we could find something to sell them. Very few ever arrived on a tow truck.
            I can remember rebuilding brake cylinders (master and slave) and carburetors. The only electronic tool I had was a dwell/tach and the only time it really got used was when the points could be adjusted from outside the distributor while the engine was running. Even then, we’d preset the points with a feeler gage and finish with an Allen wrench. My mechanics would dribble into work starting around noon, and we’d work until everything was fixed or we’d run out of parts.
            A skilled blue collar worker can still afford a single family house, but it is less likely to have a bedroom for every individual kid, like on the Brady Bunch:-) Worst case, some of them might sleep on bunk beds or mattresses on the floor. The standard of living has dropped. With a bit of luck, the loving and supporting nature has endured.

            • Depends what part of the country ya live in, Bill.

              In the very rural area where I now live, where property taxes are nothing, and real estate and cost of living are dirt cheap, a blue collar worker can still make a nice life for his fambly.

              Back on Long Island where I come from, where blue collar workers could have a nice house, 4 kids, a stay at home wife and 2 decent cars on a single salary in the 1970’s….today, it requires two professional incomes to maintain that same style of life- as property taxes run in the 10-20K a year range alone, and a small starter home goes for over $400K.

              Getting hard to find places where a single blue collar income will buy much.

              • In my case, it depends on where my home is parked.
                I have lived in one of three vans since the mid 80’s, and at the rate things are going, I’m going back to snowbirding. I’ve never made more than $25K in a year, largely because I’m a bit like Charlie Daniel’s blue tick hound:-) I’m taking a course in medical transcription editing, which can be done anywhere there’s Internet access, so my plan is to put a Myfi in the van and hit the road.
                Someday everything is going to be very cheap and readily available for anyone who has cash, so I’m still stuffing my mattress:-)

              • Morning, Nunzio!

                It’s not bad here in The Woods of rural SW Virginia, near the NC border. One can still get a decent little house on 5 or so acres for around $150k. In Northern Virginia, that sum wouldn’t buy a crappy townhouse with no land. You might be able to find a shitty condo in Manassas and then spend two hours a day commuting to your McCubicle downtown.

                • Unless it is completely paid for and you have an allodial title in hand, it still belongs to the government and you are still paying what economists call rent. I prefer living in a micromotorhome that I can park anywhere on the copious land that the Uncle Sam holds in “trust” for me. Those of you who live in the east don’t have the flexibility of the majority of your states being public land. I only had one truly white collar job in my life, as a outbound telemarketer for a company called G&K Services in the late 80’s. It started part-time. I teamed up with the geek that they hired about the same time they did me, and we converted their data system over from the NCR 3×5 cards to a relational database running on a PC they’d tossed in a closet. When the boss saw what we could do with what was laying around, he upgraded me from a telemarketer to a salesman trainee in his head. Since I wasn’t interested in trading my thrift store wardrobe in for a closet full of three-piece suits and a late-model auto loan debt, I was gone in months. I probably could have been very successful, but happiness isn’t based on that.

                  • Bill, there is no true allodial land in the US. All land in the US is under a state and or county jurisdiction and is subject to taxes and eminant domain. The term “allodial” is still used in some states in certain cases, but it is not true allodial land.

                    We truly can not have any true private property. Everything is subject to taxation, confiscation and regulation.

                    I own everything I possess free and clear, inclduing my land, but of course, the state is the real owner.

                    Don’t believe all that “free man” and “common law” BS. It’s all BS. Our overlords do not subject themselves to the laws which they wrote yesterday…. just try getting them to abide by common law or something which was written 200 years ago. Unless your gun is bigger than theirs, you lose. (And they have taken pains to ensure that our guns will never be as big as theirs).

                    These common-lawyers ( 🙂 ) are taking the term “allodial” as it was used in the past, and making no distinction to the modern term of the same name….much like if someone were to speak of liberals 100 years ago ;which meant pretty much what Libertarian means today] and then make no distinction when they see the same word used today [Modern definition of liberal: Communist/socialist; or “one who keeps falling through their asshole and breaking their neck, and yet refuses to bow to the weight of the facts bearing down upon them)

                    • I’m not sure what allodial land would be. Do you mean land with an allodial title? If so, you are incorrect, because there is a lot of land in this country that has been in it’s owner’s family since long before there was a property tax levied on any land in this country.
                      It sounds like you have been partaking of a bit more of that BS than you have been studying the law.
                      The whole purpose of the Second Amendment was to insure that We the People would always have access to weapons of military utility, and in my part of the country, it is well followed, since there are 14 registered guns per capita in the county where I park my home. The common law is dead. It was killed off by the Clearfield Doctrine. All we have left, for the most part, is statute.
                      It was more than 150 years ago that liberal was like libertarian, but the term libertarian, with respect to a political party, wasn’t applied until 1973 when David Nolan created the LP in the living room of his apartment in Northglenn, Colorado.
                      The LP is functionally dead since it was inundated by Republicans fleeing the co-option of their party by the neo-cons. I spent a lot of time working in the CoLP office in Denver before that happened, but I was one of the first to leave after.

                    • Bill, in the traditional sense, allodial title was more than merely proving a succession of ownership; but it meant (as you seem to realize in your previous comment) that the land was not subject to taxation, confiscation, or government control.

                      There is no such land in the US today. It doesn’t matter if you can prove succession of ownership back 500 years.

                      They still use the term “allodial” to refer to certain aspects of ownership and title, but it no longer means allodial in the true sense of the word- i.e. that it is not subject to government jurisdiction/taxes/etc.

                      Here, here is a good overview:

                  • You’re correct, Bill… unfortunately.

                    I “own” my home and and, in the sense that I paid the previous owner/bank for it in full. But I am compelled to pay the government a couple thousand dollars each year in order to be allowed to remain on “my” land. This is rent; it cannot ever be paid off.

                    But, it’s in an area where there are few restrictions as to use and while I resent like hell having to pay the taxes, at least I don’t have a mortgage, and that makes paying the taxes less burdensome…

                    • Unfortunately you can never obtain more than equitable title, so your land is always part of the collateral that those the government owns could evict you from some day, on a whim. The same situation applies to any property not owned by possession, such as all vehicles. If my van is worth repossessing, they’ll have to catch me and some bullets first.

                • Eric, what I don’t understand, is why so many people are willing to slave endlessly to live in those expensive places, where they have no freedom, and no quality of life…but they pay top dollar to live there!

                  If I had stayed in NY, my property taxes alone would be more than what I currently live on!

                  SW Virginny is nice….just too bad that it has to be in VA.

                    • Haha! That’s true! Can you imagine the mentality though? “Living in this 100 year-old 15 wide row-house that ciosts $500K and is in what used to be a slum 30 years ago will impress other idiots who spend their lives paying to live in the same row-house, and having to pick up their dog’s turds every time they walk him! He will no-doubt envy me, because I got the two-tone pin striping and 36 speaker stereo package on my BMW, while his only has 28 speakers! What a loser!” 😀

          • Ya know, Robert, in the town near where I now live, there actually cstill is a little shop that rebuilds starters and alternators! I was so glad to discover that. Haven’t bought a new starter or alternator in the 16 that I’ve lived here! Often, it’ll just be a set of brushes or a diode or solenoid…for which the bill is always well under $100- sometimes under $50. Sure beats paying what the stores want for some crappy rebuilt one these days. I have a feeling when the old gent who owns that shop croaks, it’ll likely cease to exist- just like the carb rebuilder where I used to live. 🙁

            And nothing wrong with points! Keep ’em set, and carry a spare set in the glove compartment just in case, and you’re bulletproof! Who ne3eds some fancy scanner and a rabbit trail of “codes”? Car don’t start? Not getting spark? Can you arc across the points…pretty easy to figure out in about 15 seconds! Gotta love it!

            Simple one or 2V carb that a child could rebuild…. (Eric is da man, messing with the elusive Quadrajets! 😮 )

            I wonder if millenials believe that cars can actually run without computers?

            And MAN do I miss manual chokes!

            • I can’t think of an auto part store that doesn’t sell manual choke kits, but then, there are very few carburetors around to put them on.
              Maybe you should go see if the guy who owns that little shop where he rebuilds stuff would be interested in teaching you everything he knows and selling it to you.

              • Unfortunately, the guy doesn’t seem to be doing a thriving business. I don’t think that many people realize that starters and alt.s can be rebuilt…even though they buy “rebuilt” ones at Ottozone.

                I think most of the guy’s business comes from old farmers…mainly for farm ‘quipment.

                Plus who wants a “legitimate bidness” where ya gotta dutifully report every dime you make to the state, and be an unpaid tax collector for him?

                • There’s a long-time electric motor rebuilder in the town I live in, and he seems to be doing well, given that this is an agricultural area and every grain elevator has a motor.
                  Maybe you could find someone that rebuilds other things and form a coop or conglomerate. You don’t have to be anything for the state if you only deal with like minded customers.

                  • Yeah, there are actually 2 electric motor shops in that same town where the alt/starter guy is. They come in handy for obscure split thrust and taper bushings and seals and things like that.

                    Forget about buying parts for Case IH tractors from the dealers (eve3n though the tractors are 26 years old!) their prices are INSANE! [Not like Crazy Eddie!]- so I’ve learned to source generic parts from various places.

                    Like-minded customers? Nah…ain’t gonna find many of them. Virtually all of the farmers (‘cept me, but I’m not really a farmer) do the subsidies and stuff, so they dutifully report all of their dealings to Uncle….pay Uncle a dollar so ya can get back forty cents….and anyone who doesn’t “Is a dirty unAmerican crook!”.

                    Would love to trade in gold and silver….but I have a feeling I’d starve waiting for one customer who was likeminded…..

                    I’d rather just live simply and cheaply and keep my income below taxable levels….. I got a place to live in the country- that’s all I care about, materially speaking….I really don’t care about money.

                    • I certainly would refuse, Bill. I don’t do socialism/theft.

                      I refuse Obozocare.
                      I refuse food stamps and a lot of other things that I could qualify for….

                      I could sign my land up for CPC or whatever conservation programs, and get money for doing nother…..but I refuse.

                      I don’t want their ill-gotten gain.

                      Whether I put a gun in someone’s face and take their money, or merely acquiesce to having some politician do it on my behalf by accepting the proceeds of his crime, am not i still complicit in that crime?

                      Scary thing is: If they ever implement universal income, all it will do, is cause prices to rise, as demand for various things increases, while supply decreases and labor becomes scarce, and thus very expensive.

                      Yep….these financial egg-spurts and political sigh-en-tists have brought us to this point, where the wealth of the world has been so squandered that we’re facing a global economic meltdown…..but they haven’t learned a thing from that; they want to go even further into crackpot pie-in-the-sky wonderland……..

              • Hi Bill,

                I haven’t had any problems finding service parts for the Quadrajet – probably because the QJet is still being produced new but also because they made millions of them.

                But it is probably getting harder to find new service parts for dualjets and other long-out-of-production units from the ’70s and before…

                • I’ll have to, happily, defer to your much greater contemporaneous experience. I haven’t touched a carburetor on any vehicle I’ve owned since I put the way too big 500cfm Offenhauser that Clifford Performance supplied with their intake manifold and headers for the I-6 on my last van. I jetted that monster all the way down and then turned it all the way down, and it still flooded that engine. I wound up installing a Holley ProJection 2 on it, which was a lot more tailorable. It was a constant adjustment approach, though. The major improvement came when the pumpkin disintegrated in the rear end. Instead of buying a new one of the same ratio, I found one in a junk yard with a higher one. A van that used to struggle to cruise at 55 could now struggle to cruise at 80, with the commensurate reduction in fuel efficiency. My third, and current, van is the best one I’ve had, and I am so pleased with the drivability of the engine-transmission management system that I have no reason to consider carburetion any more. My hammer down days are behind me. I need all of the efficiency I can find to live on the $809 that the IRS will let he have of the $952 a month Social Security I’d already planned a comfortable life on.

                  • Hi Bill,

                    The QJet is a superb four barrel, but it’s too big for small engines, notwithstanding a flexible design – in particular, the air valve secondaries, which operate chiefly in response to vacuum. Usually, the carb works on the primaries. Pontiac used the Qjet to feed fuel to the OHC “sprint” six, which IIRC was a 4-liter-ish engine…

                    • I’ve heard the Quad referred to as a two-barrel carburetor with a two-barrel accelerator pump:-)

        • I wouldn’t bet any money on that because the V-6 in my current (2003) Ford E-150 gets better milage in the city than the I-6 in my 1980 E-150 got on the highway. In addition, it now has 270,000 miles on it, and I put 3 I-6’s in the last van, none of them ever lasting over 90,000 miles in 14 years.

  8. You know, one thing the car companies could invent would be an automatic lane changer unit (ALCU). If you are a Clover, and like to drive 10 MPH under the speed limit in the “Passing Lane”, or Left Lane, the ALCU takes over after more than 15 seconds spent in the Left Lane without passing anyone, and immediately moves the car back into the Right Lane. I know you would not mind having that installed on all the Clover Mobiles on the roads today Eric.

  9. The new illusory called middle class/rich of East Europe seems to me maybe much more childish then the USA people ! Mostly the man, who is suffering from the small size syndrome and never matured brains , they replaced/compensate that infatilism with bigger cars fulfilled with huge number of electronics and useless gadgets.
    The problem is that such idiotic cars will be mandatory and compulsory imposed to us , as the insanity of Elon Musk and the gang of the hysterical climate change fans !

  10. Sealed beams can be converted to superior performance to most everything modern on the road very easily. There are ECE (european spec) compliant lamps that fit right where the sealed beam bulb would go. Use those (and their replaceable bulbs) with relays to feed them power right from the alternator’s output and you’ll see better than most modern cars with USDOT spec headlamps. Imports usually have degraded lighting for US models to comply with USDOT or are designed in the overlap region between USDOT and ECE. However state law usually doesn’t care about USDOT lighting regs. Just install the ECE lamps, aim them properly and you’re good to go.

    • Not debunking your information.
      Recently while getting my ’05 Passat TDI inspected in Va, I overheard the staff remarking on a VSP visit. The uniformed, gun totting, badge wearing “Peace Officer” had come in, they supervise the state inspections in Virginia, to remind the inspector that “Internet purchased LED headlights were illegal”. Never mind DOT approval. This of course was in service to our local auto supply stores and the banks that lend the money to run them.
      No difference to functionality, economy or anything but “I follow orders”. Shades of Nuremburg !
      I always liked and ran the Cibie H4 lights in my early VWs…

      • I have no idea what governments are doing with LED headlamps but nobody is going to be bother someone because they have Cibie H4 headlamps or similar on their old car. It’s a lamp that looks like a sealed beam more or less but has a replaceable bulb.

      • Local LEOs lack the jurisdiction to make an arrest based on a federal law unless they are sheriffs, and most of them are too busy running around in their counties to care about anyone’s headlights:-)

        • if the sheriffs in Arizona were lawfully prohibited from enforcing federal immigration laws, they’d also be prohibited from enforcing DOT regs. Same principle.

          • Fortunately, in Printz v US, the SCOTUS said that a lawfully elected sheriff is the supreme law enforcement official in his (or her) county, with the full jurisdiction and authority to enforce any law with jurisdiction in their county against any offender, including a federal official.
            This is why former Graham County (Arizona) sheriff Richard Mack won as one of the et. al. plaintiffs in that case. He went on to found the Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officers Association, on whose board the Yale graduate and founder of OathKeepers, Stewart Rhodes sits.
            A CLEO can’t be lawfully enjoined from enforcing any federal law within the United States. The problem is that most of them are ignorant of the facts.

  11. When we allowed “driving is a privilege, not a right” to get a foothold, we made a huge, massive mistake.

    And to the person that coined that phrase, may the Sons of Anarchy pay you a visit.

    • Unfortunately, that goes all the way back to the beginning of the automobile. Before that nobody questioned the right to travel. But when you traveled by foot, bike, horseback or carriage-wagon, you never will go far. And with trains and streetcars, it’s was never your schedule, its always someone else’s.

      But when cars arrived, and Ford put one in every garage, the clovers and luddites of the period didn’t like that much. To much freedom for an average person said many of the elite (yes really!). They claimed they would injure horses, cause pollution, disrupt “society” etc etc. So they wanted them banned, or kept only as a toy for the rich.

      It was the “compromise” of the time. We will allow cars,,,,,,,but if cars were (or became) a problem, the government reserved the right to ban them. This old compromise may be the thing used to end the personal vehicle.

      I think many thought in the middle of the 20th century that we left the luddites and car haters behind to history, but they seem to have made a big comeback in the 21st.

    • the RIGHT to travel is inviolate…. but HOW one travels is open to gummit meddling. Its not the going they mind, its the use of such a large and complicated piece of equipment to do so.

      But the real invasion of “driving is a priviledge not a right” came when the coppers got their blow machines…. if they thought you were drunk they’d pull you over and “ask” you to blow into their sill machine. Folks began to refuse….. no number, no bust. THEN the states began to mandate taking the roadside tests when demanded. Their schtick? Driving is a priviledge, and it is conditional on your OBLIGATION to blow into the silly machine when we want you to.

      Mostly a form of public sentiment manipulation… strike the Fear of Cop into them, they MAY better comport themselves. I have to say, though, there HAS been a serious reduction of drunk driving and related fatalities, a good thing, I believe.

      • You gave up your right to travel for the privilege of having a driver’s license.
        The real change occurred when the interstate commerce clause led to the Commercial Driver’s License and the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration.

    • Hi Bryce,

      I wouldn’t – here’s why:

      A aftermarket TBI system will cost you at least $1,000 – vs. next to nothing to rebuild a carburetor. And if you can tune/adjust a carburetor, it will rival TBI in terms of operating characteristics – without the expense or the hassle of the electronics.

      But, if you’re not DIY friendly and don’t like to mess with tuning/adjustment, TBI is “set and forget” – and that may be worth it you!

      • eric, Holley has a new stand-alone TBI system that learns and if you don’t want to exceed 400 HP they’re about $700. Now carbs are fine for making hp but they do deliver a bit more fuel than needed for some situations and don’t have the low end torque of FI.

        Then we get to where you operate a vehicle and that enters into the equation too. In west Tx., vehicles get to do a lot of idling only not stopped in traffic but simply sitting in the parking lot and FI uses much less fuel idling…in my experience anyway. Idling you inquire, why would you do so much idling? Heat, it’s damned hot here and waiting for something is best done in a/c than turning it off, rolling down the windows and letting the heat from the vehicle cook the occupants while waiting for anything.

        I often park my pickup where I can keep an eye on it and leave it idling while I eat or go to the bank or whatever it might be. It’s locked and CJ and/or the wife are not suffering heat although I occasionally let the wife come in and eat if I”m feeling magnanimous. Unfortunately they won’t let CJ come in and eat with me(bigots). On a completely different subject I just thought about, I saw this woman with her little shit dog in the kid carrier at Wally the other day. It was no special dog I could see and if it was her eyes, it was doing a good job of controlling her via bluetooth or ESP or the like so I almost inquired why they would let her dog in when mine is banned. It would be great to see those people who treat you as if they’re blind and can’t see you need to get around when they couldn’t miss an 80 lb pit bull in the cart. No doubt he’d love the sampling carts at Sam’s club.

      • Guess my first reply is “in the clouds”. I would use an aftermarket system like Holley now makes. 400 hp or less and it costs $700. The great thing about it is it “learns” which is a big plus, it tuning itself. Installation is simple and very little to go wrong with it. Of course for a daily driver it’s fine but for the ultimate “never fail” I suppose a carb would beat it. In the entire time the old GM TBI has been around, I’ve never had to do anything to one. Not so with my fav carb, the Q jet. They eventually need something even if it’s just another float or power valve and most of the time, changing all the guts is not necessary.

    • I did that on my 1980 Ford E-150, Holley’s Pro-Jection. It made the straight 6 really scream with the Clifford Performance intake manifold and headers, but be prepared to adjust it frequently if you ever change altitude, because it has no barometric sensor. Also, keep a couple of spare TPS’s handy because it eats them.
      Carburetor parts are getting much harder to find and much more expensive when you do. Of course, if you are a savant with the Quadrojet like I was…

      • Hi Bill,

        I, too, am a High Priest of the Quadrajet… and keep lots of spares on hand. If anyone out there ever needs help with one of these things, just holler at me (as we say in The Woods)… 🙂

        • I was never a worshiper. I just had a knack for rebuilding them and making them work with nothing more than following the usually worthless instruction in the rebuild kit. I got revenge on the suit that fired me from my last serious mechanic job with one.
          I was working in a company Phillips 66 station in Denver. Someone was stealing money out of the till and the only one of us who didn’t have to get a polygraph was girl who was sleeping with the DM. As it turned out, the manager and he were at loggerheads when I got there, so it wasn’t a surprise when the manager got the axe. The DM headed straight for me after he came out of the manager’s office. I could tell by the look on the manager’s face that he was gone, and I had just laid out the parts of a Quad on the shop towels to reassemble it. I started picking up my tools. The suit told me that they wouldn’t need my services after today. After a last quick look in the toolbox, I closed it, picked it up, and said, “I hope you know how to assemble a Quadrajet, because they will be here in half an hour to get their car,” turned and walked out the door. My only regret was that the customer probably got a factory rebuild that was never right, and I have no idea who put it on, because the DM had just fired the only competent mechanics on staff:-)

  12. Eric, et al,

    I’m considering going out and finding a 67 VW Beetle to restore. Last weekend at a BMW motorcycle rally, I met a guy who gave me the latest scoop on the VW vintage world. There are parts, brand new and relatively inexpensive for the VW engines that are way superior to the original stock parts. I regret selling my old was simple to work on, got OK gas milage and was actually fun to drive… would make a great daily driver for small errands. Will let you know how that turns out. Meanwhile, my old BMW motorcycle is down for a month while it gets recovery from sitting in a shed for three years without being started. Meh.

  13. Driving, any motorized vehicle, used to be a significant stage of maturity. This was a task requiring skills, and training, and responsibility. Now it’s just about forking out money, or more often than not, going deeply into debt. And then forking out more money to DMV and the insurance mob’s protection racket. As though money equals, or substitutes for maturity and responsibility? At my shop, I have customers who are responsible, hard working adults. Some have endless finances, and some can barely afford basic services, but neither makes any difference to what their respective cars may need at any given time. This automated (not autonomous) trend toward driving is, as Eric states, breeding childish, unskilled “operators”, many of whom don’t want the responsibility of operating their own motor vehicle, only the convenience. The las time I checked, every day frankly, there is very little about car “ownership and responsibility” that is convenient.
    When, by the way, was life meant to be convenient anyway? Seems to me that marketing is out to convince everyone that the “modern life” is all about convenience, and for little or no effort than pushing a GD-button.
    As long as the sheeple-masses continue to by this bullshit, this problem of the Big Brother Invasion will only get worse…..with everything. When I run out of responsible customers who own truly autonomous vehicles, I will be doing something else for a living as well. Anyone want their model trains or slot cars repaired??