The Gas Burning Diesel

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Mazda Motor's director and senior managing executive officer Kiyoshi Fujiwara talks about its new engine, to be called SKYACTIV-X, at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan August 8, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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Diesels are at the top of the Dead Pool – on account of their particularly diesel exhaust byproducts, specifically particulates (aka, soot) and oxides of nitrogen (aka NOx). But diesels are much more fuel-efficient than gas-burning engines because they are compression ignition engines.

Well, compression and heat.

Instead of a spark to set off the explosion, the air/fuel charge is progressively squeezed (and thereby, heated) as the pistons ascends within its cylinder until – boom! – it ignites spontaneously.

More of the potential energy contained in the fuel is translated into useful mechanical energy.

This is why diesels go farther on a gallon of fuel than gas-burners.

But diesels also have the aforesaid emissions issues – also unique to their design.

Most of this – almost all of this – has been dialed out or tamped down or otherwise sequestered, notwithstanding the despicably exaggerated presentations of the media. Nonetheless, diesels are persona non grata, especially in the United States but increasingly in Europe, too.

There are outright bans – and if not bans, then regulatory rigamarole so stringent and expensive to comply with as to make it not worth complying with them.

Electric cars are touted as the alternative. But – again – the presentation is wildly misleading. They can only be the alternative if cost isn’t a consideration (which is like a woman getting pregnant at 60 without sex and hell, without a man involved at all) and only if large numbers of people are willing to accept not-minor functional inconveniences – in particular, the best-case scenario 30-45 minute wait to recharge the battery pack at a “fast” charger.

Which is as likely as expecting that people will put up with a 30-45 minute wait to get a cheeseburger at a “fast” food restaurant.

Mazda may have a better option: The diesel gas engine.

It won’t burn diesel fuel, of course. But it will diesel. That is, it will compression-ignite the air-fuel mixture. But it will also transition to spark ignition under certain conditions, the idea being to give the best of both worlds. This type of engine is called Homogenous Charge Compression Ignition – and Mazda says this will uptick fuel efficiency by 30 percent vs. an otherwise same-size spark-ignition engine.

And it will do this – so Mazda claims and hopes – without the soot and NOx emissions that have become politically problematic for diesel-burning diesel engines.

A side benefit will be more torque – something diesel-diesels have always had more of (and sooner) than spark-ignition engines.

The new gas-burning diesel will be marketed as Skyactiv-X – alongside Mazda’s current line of Skyactiv-G gas (not diesel-gas) engines and Skyactive-D diesel (diesel) engines – beginning in 2019. Here’s the official announcement.

It sounds good.

But…

And there is always a but.

This is a complex system, first of all. Compression-ignition and spark-ignition must work together, seamlessly. This presents a huge engineering challenge because of the very different operating characteristics of the two types of internal combustion.

Diesels burble – and sometime rattle. The word, “diesel” is also an adjective. Sound deadening can deal with some of this, of course. But diesels are also low  RPM engines – usually all out of steam by 4,500 or less RPM.

This is not very Zoom! Zoom!

Will Mazda buyers warm to this?

They may – assuming also that the Skyactiv-X engines’ price-to-mileage ratio falls within the economic sweet spot. Provided, in other words, that the new diesel-gas engine doesn’t cost too much relative to the mileage it delivers.

That has become an issue for hybrids. As gas prices have fallen, so have sales of hybrid-powered cars – precisely because the price-to-mileage ratio is no longer as favorable and won’t be unless gas prices go up by at least $1 per gallon. No matter how “cool” the technology may be, if the car costs more to buy, its cost to own is necessarily higher.

This matters to most people – even if it does not matter to the government.

As a purely technical achievement, what Mazda has managed to do is remarkable. Engineers have been trying to make a viable compression-ignition gas engine for generations.

But the Emperor’s Clothes question remains: Is any of this really necessary?

Gasoline is inexpensive – a consequence of abundance rather than scarcity. Gas-burning engines (spark-ignition engines) are remarkably efficient and would or could be 50 percent more so if the government would quit forcing the car companies to build 3,000 pound-plus tanks (for “safety”).

Currently available diesel engines are capable of 60-plus MPG and are “clean.” Just not that extra .005 percent “cleaner” demanded by the government.

Instead of simple, cost-effective solutions we get complex and expensive ones.

Because that’s what government excels at.

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106 COMMENTS

      • I understand the need for it, it’s just that this is the first time it shot down my comment. The screen went to a warning about spam, then just deleted my comment.

      • eric, for the first time in 7 years, I’m unable to include a link in my comments. Maybe something has been changed, but I’m logged in as usual and I haven’t changed anything in my profile. Comments without links go through, but if I add a link, it gets flagged.

        • Ed, it’s weird how these stoopit things work. Probably some Al-Gore-Rhythm doing the screening, which of course would let through a real spammer, but block a long-time familiar friend…..

          I used to post comments on oldparkedcars.com ….you’d just have to use an email address, and click the thingy to prove you weren’t a robot; then it went to one of those things where you had to click on “pictures that contained street signs” and similar puzzles. Eventually, it got to the point where I’d have to solve 10 different puzzles before I could post one stinking comment….so I just gave up.

            • Hi Ed,

              I apologize for this – but please bear with. I am not the Computer Fuhrer here. I don’t know how to adjust codes; I only know how to turn the spam filter On and Off. It keeps getting “updated” (like everything else) and when it does, it changes what it does.

              I feel as powerless as you do.

              • Somewhere there should be a setting on how many links are allowed in a post. Last time I hit the spam filter on links 3 were allowed. Four no good.

                • One thing to try would be to click on the icon.

                  2nd option is edit profile.

                  If you’ve filled in any extra info here, blank it out.

                  Askimat considers this profile in its algorithm, especially hyperlinks.

                  If that doesn’t work, create a brand new profile and have eric approve it.

                  As you’ve pointed out. Starting all over again is the preferred and often the only solution in todays post sapien society.

              • Thanks, eric. The post that got deleted contained two links to puppy linux sites and a few lines of text. That’s all. It would be different if the form allowed you to go back and edit your comment, but it just deletes it.

                WP doesn’t look that hard to manage, but then I’m not using it for a blog, so it might be more involved than it appears.

                If the auto updates are available for all features, it would be tempting to simply allow all the features you use to be updated automatically, but being open source, every developer is going to address his/her own concerns in an update, which might not be good for other users.

                • I see comments in queue on the dashboard being held for moderation almost daily, written by long-time participants. Tuanorea has one being held for moderation as I post this. That points to something being set to a higher level of filtering than necessary.

                    • Are you up for Round 2 of the Red Pilling.

                      What if all the dreams of going to space and living a futuristic lifestyle is what destroyed American men.

                      Maybe it was Mossad, MK Ultra, Triads, Yakuza, Commies, all them guys that did us in.

                      Germany was obsessed with leaving this planet.

                      Boys who dream about shooting stars burn up in the thick atmosphere of mundane earth bound reality.

                      Nations are strong because they seize and control real property rights.

                      People that dream of aliens and abandoning their hardfought homelands are bound to fail if they sacrifice reality to a speculative future.

                    • In more ways than one, Tor.

                      Once people were convinced that playing around in space/”going to the Moon” was possible “If we just work together and universally delegate our rights and wealthc to the god/state which has accomplished this great feat”, people gladly and voluntarily became serfs, and considered any who would not as “traitors”.

                      The absurd thing is, who would’ve ever thuink that so many people would sacrifice so much in-hand, for a bunch of promises, which, even if true, amount to nothing but the prospect of living in a hostile and unpleasant environment which can not even come close to sustaining life; much less exceed even the most basic lifestyle even the poorest man can have here!

                      But then again, people were geroomed for this garbage, from Buck Rogers comic books and radio shows/movies/TV shows about space, and fanciful films in gov’t schools pitching how “we’ll be living in colonies on the Moon in the future” (And not mentioning if true, such would be a nightmare!).

                      And I guess that is why the Moon hoax worked. No matter how numerous and blatant the screw-ups which expose the fact that it was a hoax, people ignore it, because they want to believe. The state is their god; NASA is their priest; and the Moon is their altar.

                • Great minds think alike, Ed!

                  I was also thinking of recommending Puppy to Teo- but I’ve never personally used it, and thus don’t know if it has enough features/power for what he likes to do. (Puppy probably has a more active support group…..I hadn’t realized it, but the Bunsen forums are dead! -Although anyone familiar with Debian or it’s off-shoots can give support for 99% of any issues on Bunsen, since it’s just a minimal custom Debian build]

                  • The possible Christian cultural origins of cosmosexuals.

                    JPS Tanakh 1917
                    http://biblehub.com/jps/

                    Thus saith the LORD: The heaven is My throne, And the earth is My footstool; Where is the house that ye may build unto Me? And where is the place that may be My resting-place?

                    And the moon has four names: the first name is Asonja, the second Ebla, the third Benase, and the fourth Erae.

                    These are the two great luminaries: their circumference is like the circumference of the
                    heaven, and the size of the circumference of both is alike.

                    In the circumference of the sun there are seven portions of light which are added to it more than to the moon, and in definite measures it is s transferred till the seventh portion of the sun is exhausted.

                    And they set and enter the portals of the west, and make their revolution by the north, and come forth through the eastern portals

                    on the face of the heaven. And when the moon rises one-fourteenth part appears in the heaven: the light becomes full in her : on the fourteenth day she accomplishes her light.

                    And fifteen parts of light are transferred to her till the fifteenth day (when) her light is accomplished, according to the sign of the year, and she becomes fifteen parts, and the moon grows by (the addition of) fourteenth parts. And in her waning (the moon) decreases on the first day to fourteen parts of her light, on the second to thirteen parts of light, on the third to twelve, on the fourth to eleven, on the fifth to ten, on the sixth to nine, on the seventh to eight, on the eighth to seven, on the ninth to six, on the tenth to five, on the eleventh to four, on the twelfth to three, on the thirteenth to two, on the
                    9 fourteenth to the half of a seventh, and all her remaining light disappears wholly on the fifteenth.

                    • Psalm 115:16:
                      “The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.”

                      Isaiah 14:12-14:
                      “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

                      13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

                      14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

                      THERE’S the origin of this space/Moon BS!

                  • Puppy is the one I always recommend to new linux users. The o/s is small enough to run in RAM so that you can burn the iso to a dvd and use it to boot up, then take out the disc so that you can watch a movie on dvd using Xine.

                    The support forums are not only alive still, the archives can be searched for how-to’s on all kinds of questions about using puppy.

                    Since I can’t post any link at all, Teo should just search for slacko puppy and everything needed can be found.

                    • I just worry that Puppy may be too small- and thus not have enough features to allow people to do what they need to do- so a newbie might try it and then say “This sucks!” and give up on Linux.

                      I’m always kinda tempted to recommend AntiX, which can be run off of a CD- it’s a good intro to Linux- but the bastard who maintains it is an obnoxious Greek militant Marxist (He even puts Marxist links in the web browser!), and I just can’t stand the thought of using or promoting his stuff. Shoot, I think I’d sooner deal with Microsoft than that prick! (I think the guy scours the internet for posts which are critical of him….I wouldn’t be surprised if he shows up here, now!).

                      I like OS’s that are based on either Debian or Slackware (Is puppy a Slackware derivative?), as those two are the oldest Linux platforms, and rock solid. Debian also has the biggest repositories, by far [Translation for the uninitiated: “the most programs available”]- If Teo had a newer ‘puter, I could just say just go with plain Debian- but heck, I use Crunchbang (the older version of Bunsen) myself, ’cause my ‘puter is as old as Teo’s, and why have all the extraneous stuff, when a more minimal system works just fine for me? (I had just plain Debian once- but then I wanted Openbox, and such….and was essentially building my own version of Crunchbang…then i discovered Crunchbang, and saw that someone had already done all the work and polished it up nice, and left off all the stuff I never use anyway….)

                      And oh, yeah…speaking of rock solid: Teo will have to get used to the idea that Linux virtually never crashes! You never get the blue screen of death…no Cntrl+Alt+delete… it just freaking works! (Which I guess is why the vast majority of internet servers run Linux…)

          • Nope, I had the comment pulled with a link after several paragraphs of text. The second link was at the closing line after several more lines of text.

  1. Funny- virtually EVERYTHIBG being made today is reliant upon computers and electronics- and thus is subject to easily controlled by forces beyond the owner’s control; hacking; surveillance; planned obsolescence (via lack of support); inability to self-service/repair; fragility; etc. etc.- and more and more, this is becoming the norm with virtually everything one owns today- from toys to gadgets to appliances to cars.

    It seems like whatever the “problem” is, the “solution” is always something involving more complexity, involving computers and electronics, controlling increasingly complex and delicate mechanical systems.

    The implications of this are mind-boggling- especially as these products start to age. “State of the art” miracles of technology which “solve problems” today…laughable obsolete dysfunctional/non-working crap tomorrow.

    Remember when diesels were DIESELS? When they had mechanical injector pumps and could be run if the battery were even dead, and could run on a variety of fuels, and were unshakably reliable, low-maitenance and duable- which was the whole point of having a diesel?

    • I read somewhere that the computer gizmos in your car are owned by whoever produced them. It’s against the law to tamper with any of that stuff. So even when you buy a car now, you’re really not buying the whole car. I used to have some old boats and a barge that ran on the old school diesels. All you needed was compression and fuel; not anymore. Some computer malfunctions and you’re stuck on the side of the road. I’m desperately searching for ways to wean myself off of tomorrow’s technology. I’ve still got this computer. It’s the cheapest computer I could find, but it’s still a computer. I paid over six hundred dollars for my last computer, and after 9 years I was told that it would not be supported after March of last year. Sure enough sometime around April the thing just crapped out. It wasn’t getting any more updates. When people aren’t buying your new computers just make the old one’s obsolete, right? When they make this one obsolete, I’m only out a couple hundred dollars. I suspect one of these days, they’re going to get some sort of subsidy from the government so we can all have free computers. They want us to have these things so they can keep an eye on us and what we’re doing. We’re crazy to be paying for this stuff.

      • Having a computer for “computing” ain’t too bad, as that’s what they’re supposed to do- and if they crap-out, it really doesn’t affect most other areas of your life- but when everything else starts to become reliant on computers – we have a problem! And it’s not like we need all of this crap, when mechanical or electro-mechanical devices worked just as well, only were easy to fix and lasted forever….and needed no updating or “support”.

        And think how the “need” to have all of these computers is artificially created- like with the cars- Uncle decrees that they must get 2/10ths of a MPG more to meet their loony standards and inspections, so they have an excuse to throw a monkey-wrench into engines which were once robust and durable, to make them “more efficient” and “so they never need adjustment”…until something in the frail system breaks…then it costs thousands to repair, or you just throw the car away. That’s their idea of “efficiency”, LOL!

        Look at all the cars every year totaled in floods- like the tens of thousands that we be totaled as a result of Harvey in TX- all because the electronics got wet! 50 years ago, you woulda been able to dry out your car, clean it up, and BAM! Good as new. Now a $40K car turns into instant junk because it gets wet.

        Teo, Eric did an article a while back about John Deere tractors, and how they do exactly as you described: Where you don’t own the software that runs ’em….you’re just buying a “license” to use it for a certain amount of time.

        More recently, I believe the courts have (in a shockingly lucid moment) ruled that when you buy something, you have the right to own the computer and software that comes with it, and do to it as you please…but of course, this doesn’t mean that the manufacturers are obligated to support their products indefinitely or anything…just that people can hack/alter them. Basically, the average consumer is still a hostage of the manufacturer.

        Hey, Teo, do you still have the old ‘puter? You could put a free Linux OS on it. It would probably work better than when it was new…and you can get all the support you’ll ever need on forums, for free. = no NSA/CIA backdoors; no viruses, etc. I’ve been using Linux exclusively since 2010- I’d NEVER go back to Microshaft WinD’ohs! (The ‘puter I’m on right now is 10 years old- only cost $300 when new!)- If it wasn’t for Linux, I would have given up using a computer entirely. (Just avoid “Ubuntu”- as it’s become a lot like Winblows, and is bloated).

        • Hey Nunzio, yes, I still have the old Dell laptop. I can still put a DVD into it and watch a movie. I did a factory image restore on it hoping that someday I’d be able to figure out a way to use it again. How do I go about doing this Linux OS thing? I’ve never used Linux OS; don’t know anything about it.

          • Hmmm…where to start? Well, Teo, you could do a search for “Lightweight Linux distros” [A “distro”- short for “distribution”, is just a way of collectively referring to individual varieties of Linux OS’s)- There are some that you can even run right off of a DVD, so you can try ’em out without having to install them, just to get an idea what it’s like.

            I would highly recommend this:
            https://www.bunsenlabs.org/

            A great forum for questions/support, is : http://www.linuxquestions.org

            Linux is actually easier to use than Windows- Similar in many ways as far as user interface gioes….but you have full access to EVERYTHING- and there’s no need for all the maintenance (like defragmenting, virus scans, etc.)- It really lets you do anything you want.

            You’ll figure it out in no time. When I installed my first distro to try it out in 2010, I was hooked in 5 minutes!

            There are also lots of reviews and tutorials on youtube, which can be really helpful. If you do a youtube seatrch for “Bunsenlabs Linux Reviews”, you can get an idea of what it’s like and if you’ might like it- and you could probably also find installation tutorials…..

            Linux gave me a whole different outlook on computers…. Instead of constantly fighting my OS, and knowing that it was spying on me…..I can now actually use the full power of my computer, and do whatever I want…..and without constantly having to fight the OS because of some evil corp doing everything they can to hide the workings of the OS every step of the way, and because they’ve loaded it with bloat and ransomware to try and get me to part with more money, after they strong-armed the ‘puter manufacturer to install their OS on every computer.

            • Thanks for the links Nunzio, I’m registered and working on getting started. There looks like some choices to be made, do you have any recommendations? I know pretty much zilch when it comes to computers I don’t know what 32 bit verses 64 bit means, or any of the other options available.

              • Any time, Teo!

                Linux is a natural for Libertarians.

                As far as recommendations, I would give the Bunsenlabs Linux a try- is closest to what I use. Go for the 32 bit (always go for the 32 unless you have a specific need for 64- and I’m assuming if you had such a need, you know about it…)

                I’m no computer geek or anything, mind you…and the thing is, Linux works so well, that I can go for years without messing with anything, so I’ve forgotten a lot of the stuff I used to know 😮

                Did you register at Linuxquestions.org? If so, tell me your username, and I can PM you there. Although, if you try Bunsen, using the bunsenlabs site for support would probably be a good idea. I’m not registered there yet, as I never actually installed Bunsen yet. I use Crunchbang- which they don’t make anymore. Bunsen is essentially the continuation of Crunchbang. (I like Slackware too- except that installing programs in Slackware is kinda complicated, but one day I may get after that…)

                Shows ya how great Linux is- I’m the kind of person who never updates my OS. Even when #! (Crunchbang) was current, I didn’t update it- and now a few years after they discontinued it (Or should I say “he discontinued it”?- as it was maintained by one man!) I’m STILL using it….but it is getting a little long in the tooth now, so I am planning on installing Bunsen (‘course, I’ve been saying that for about two years and still haven’;t done it…)

                Oh, and if there’s a choice, go for the Openbox desktop- your computer will fly with it- and while there is a very slight learning curve (it’ll take you 5c minutes to learn) once you’ve used it, you’ll never go back! It’s lightweight, but SO convenient!

                • Hey Nunzio, I signed up at Bunsen; still trying to navigate my way around that. I want to install this Linux os on my old Dell laptop so I’m looking for someplace on this site that has some feature for doing that. I’ll check out the questions site next.

                  • Here ya go, Teo:
                    https://www.bunsenlabs.org/installation.html

                    Just scroll down a bit, and click on one of the little red boxes on the right, under whatever heading is appropriate for you.

                    When you burn it to DVD, make sure you choose “ISO image” in your burning software….you do NOT want to burn it as a regular file.

                    I’m sure that the people on the site there will be happy to help you out with anything- Linux people always love it when a new person comes to the fold.

                    Bunsen isn’t one of the big distros, and there may not be a lot of noobs on the site- but just let them know that you are new at this and need some hand-holding, and I’m sure they will be happy to help you with ervery little thing.

                    I guess this would be a good time for me to register on the forum too. Maybe I’ll even finally get around to installing Bunsen myself!

        • The cars aren’t any more junk than they used to be. It’s that people don’t want to bother doing what it takes for a proper recovery. Sure it’s a little more involved with an old car but with today’s attitudes and 1950s cars people would still junk them.

          • The thing is, on today’s cars, once the electronics get wet (And they’re EVERYWHERE: Under the dash; under the seats; in the injun compartment; inside the fenders; inside the trunk)….the car is toast. Not just the computers- but the modules and engine controls, etc. That’s why they’ll total-out even a brand new car in relatively low water, cause it would cost many thousands to replace all of that crap, in parts and labor- not to even mention the delicate mechanical gizmos those things operate.

            Older car? Even from the 80’s. MAYBE change the simple ‘puter, make sure you don’t hydrolock it; dry ‘er out; clean ‘er up, and it’s still a perfectly functional car.

            • My point is it doesn’t matter. It’s simple enough to protect the electronics but it’s often not done. At least to high degree. The attitude is the car gets thrown away so they save the few dollars. With today’s attitudes a flooded model T would be thrown away. “That’s what insurance is for!”.

              • At least “before”, those cars would have been restored and sold on the used market- thus keeping the price of insurance more reasonable; keeping the prices of used cars more reasonable- since there’d be a greater supply; and giving cionsumers more options.

                Today, the majority will be scrapped.

                And it’s not just a matter of protecting the electronics. The cars are SO stuffed full of both electronics, and the delicate mechanisms which they control, that you’d have to seal the whole car, ’cause everything is stuffed everywhere- even INSIDE the fenders! (i.e. in the hollow cavities between the outside of the body panel and the inner steel portion).

                Not many people want to throw away that late-model Mercedes or BMW or F350 diesel- but they HAVE to- and they probably weren’t thrilled about having to pay thousands of dollars a year to insure it, either- and even though “that’s what insurance is for”- since the cars are heavily financed, most of the owners are upside down, and still end up owing money out of their own pockets above what the insurance check was for, to pay off the loan.

                It’s dysfunctional economics for dysfunctional people. Formerly, only fools would have bought into such schemes; now, everybody does.

                • Insurance companies have been using salvage titles for decades. Any car they total is so branded and that’s how it’s worked for generations. The insurance companies have never messed with rebuilding cars. They sell them to the highest bidder and I doubt the bids are lower compared to MSRP than historical averages. The salvage title may have been invented just to cover their asses for all I know.

                  • Yes, BUT the thing is, you get squat for parts cars. The money is in the rebuildables- and the only people who will rebuild and resell floods these days are shysters- and even they have become few and far between, because now, in most states a totaled flood vehicle is not just branded, but classified as parts only and can never be re-titled- and even where you can still re-title a branded flood car, it’s value is squat because of that brand- and in most places now you can’t even get comprehensive on it, and thus, no financing- and in some places, you can’t even get liability on rebuilt salvage anymore.

                    Uncle and his favored corps are working over-time to make sure no one can drive cheap cars anymore…..for our “saaaaafety” of course….

                    • I mean think about it: How many people will need an engine or tranny for a 1, 2, or 3 year-old car? And chances are, since it takes a while for the cars to be scooped up; assessed, totalled, sent to auction and sold, etc. By the time anyone gets to them to mitigate damage caused in the fllod, like water in the injun or tranny…it’s probably toast already. All of the electronic parts are ruined- which is why the cars are totalled…..

                      Might get some good interiors- but again, who’s buying interiors?

                      The only real value in late-model salvge is in body parts- front clips; rear clips; doors; hatches…… if those parts weren’t ruined in the flood or from being jostled around while recovered and then going to auction, etc.

                      And then…..there are now suddenly a glut of those parts on the used market any time you have a disaster like Harvey which involves tens of thousands of cars…so that drives the price even lower.

                    • Hey Nunzio, I think you’re right, but I also noticed a while back that some guy had a brand new car just like mine that had been flood damaged. My car is a 2010, but I could literally use probably ever single part from his 2016 model. He had a salvage certificate, and the car ran flawlessly. I also noticed that they outfits that are selling extended warranties on cars want a few thousand dollars a year for their insurance so this seems like a better deal in that I’ve got all the parts I will need so I just have to pay for labor for the complicated jobs. Seems like a way better deal to me.

                    • Hey Nunzio, those car parts are a smashing good deal. I haven’t been in an accident in quite a while, but I did have a guy tear off my driver’s side door a few years ago. He gave me his insurance information and told me that he didn’t want to involve the insurance company and that he’d pay whatever the estimate was. I got three estimates all of which were worth more than my chevy 20 was worth. I only paid a grand for the thing. I sent the guy an estimate for a little over $1,200 and he paid it. I had already called his insurance only to find out that his policy had been canceled. I figured I’d been scammed so I hit the pick and pull down the street and found a similar door from a chevy 10 which seemed to fit pretty well. It was $65.00 which at first I thought was a bit high, but I only had to drive a few miles to get it so I swapped the doors out and basically it was as good as the day I bought it. Then I got the check, and decided to buy something a little newer than an 82 chevy van. Now it’s sitting in the back 40 with a dead battery. I don’t really know what to do with it. Part it out, sell it for a couple hundred, turn it into a chicken coop. It’s doubling as storage right now, but I’m getting rid of my junk so I should probably do something with it.

                    • The “safety” crowd gets angry from people who buy flood cars, fix them up and ship them to africa where’s they can even tell the truth of what the cars are and they’ll still sell because people want cheap transportation. Flood car is better than no car.

                      Our do-gooder overlords are overlords and to maintain that they need to keep people limited.

                      People in africa can deal with these cars because they are motivated to.

                    • Teo, I have a friend )In fact, he has a few houses in FL- and is in the process of moving there full-time) who always used to drive flood cars. Last few years though, he’s given up on them.

                      They may look and run nice for the moment- but stuff goes wrong with them that never goes wrong on a non-flood car. Electrical connectors in weird places corrode, and things stop working. The seat tracks corrode, and suddenly the seat won’t move. You get all kinds of weird electrical problems that are hard to track down. Fix one, another crops up. Dirt gets in places it normally wouldn’t, and wreaks havoc. And the cars rust from the inside out….

                      Not bad for someone like my friend who’d buy ’em at the salvage auction and drive ’em for a few months or a year and then sell ’em….but now even that’s getting too hard, as people don’t want a flood car…and with the electronics increasing exponentially, they’re just too hard/too expensive to repair- even half-assed.

                      He got lucky on one though: Bought it as a flood- but it turned out the COP who had owned it had pulled an insurance job. The car had not been in deep water, but the cop cut a few wires, so it would appear that it was toast…so they totalled it out, and it went to auction where my friend got it cheap. It was driving my friend nuts, as to what was wrong with it…so he started suspecting an insurance job…did some research, and found that it was owned by a cop- and that cemented it. Then it was merely a matter of looking for cut wires, behind panels where they couldn’t be seen by an adjuster. (The stinking cop actually put mud in the car to make it look like it was in deeper water than it actually had been in)

                    • I’ve been doing something similar to what your friend does Nunzio. I find a good deal on a vehicle, and buy it, then six months or so later I sell it for a bit more than what I paid for it. This isn’t something I started out doing intentionally. It just happened that way and I decided to keep on doing it.

                    • All my vans were like that. I could have a door ding or some scratch I’d never notice. I did have a box van for a while, and that thing would get some graffiti on it occasionally, but I got really lucky the first time it happened. I went to Home Depot to get some stuff to take it off. I had a whole assortment of junk to see what would work the best, and this guy from New Zealand was in line behind me and asked me what I was doing with all this crap. After I told him, he said to just take all that crap back and get myself some paint thinner and some EZ off oven cleaner. Spray the EZ off on, wait one minute and wipe off with a damp rag dipped in the pain thinner. It worked like a charm, and they only had to hit the van a couple more times before they finally gave up. I could take it off faster than they could spray it on. I’d go to work at midnight and sometimes, they would hit it just before I went to work. Those were the most satisfying for me because they’d probably drive by the next day and see it gone, and say WTF???

                      One time I was in San Francisco and some idiot parked literally right up against the back bumper of my 77 Coupe de ville. The Caddy didn’t look bad, but I only paid $500.00 for it and had already beaten the crap out of it. I lost all four hubcaps the second day I had it. That old tired engine pushed that car back a few feet like it was made out of plastic bottles. Didn’t seem to do any damage to either car, but who knows what it might have done to the transmission of the other car. I felt kinda bad, but people shouldn’t do stupid stuff like that especially when I can’t wait around all night for them to leave.

                    • That’s true, Brent. Ya can’t even get any deals anymore at Copart, ’cause people from South America and Africa are paying a lot more than anyone here ever would.

                      Wonder how long it’ll be before makes it illegal to even export a salvage car? Make us pay even more for insurance, so that some dude in Africa who carries his whole family on a bicycle, can be “safe” by not driving a flood car….

                      When the hell is someone gonna nuke us off the face of the earth, so at least some places can get back to some semblance of normalcy?

          • Hi Brent,

            The complexity today is much greater, obviously. Instead of simple/discrete systems – for example, fuel delivery via a mechanical fuel pump and carburetor – you now have inter-related and much more complicated synergistic systems such as DI (which is enmeshed with the electrical system, emissions system, ignition system, etc.)

            It’s analogous to a manual typewriter vs. a computer keyboard; or a smartphone vs. an old corded wall phone.

            The former and latter can both be understood but a mechanical device you can manipulate with your hands and take apart and see the parts and how they go together is easier to understand – particularly for someone without any formal training. Self-teaching is more feasible. Fewer tools needed, too.

            Think about a simple two-barrel carb vs. a modern DI system. Imagine being 15 again and having a few screwdrivers and maybe a $25 socket set.

            Modern cars are unapproachable, overwhelming. Too Much. So many things to understand and which must be understood to service them competently. Too many “black box” electronic things whose workings one cannot see or manipulate with one’s hands.

            The tactile element is gone.

            Remember being a kid and taking mechanical things apart? Today, there are almost no purely mechanical things to take apart unless one finds something old. They are electronic things designed to be hard to open and forbidding to even try opening. Just accessing my laptop’s battery requires removal of at least a dozen surgical size mini-screws which require a special tool; then you have to deal with fragile components that are easily damaged if you lack expertise, etc.

            Think about what an ordeal it’s become to even change the battery in some new cars – which require connecting the car to a (usually proprietary) diagnostic computer.

            Excerpted from rant on deck…

            • Eric, if I may add one thing to your excellent “state of the state-of-the-art” description:

              Even the dealership shops, -with all of their proprietary diagnostic equipment and factory-trained mechanics, are often now reduced to just taking educated guesses and playing let’s-replace-this-part-and-see-what-happens- because the interconnectedness and interdependence of each part affecting 30 other parts, it is often impossible for even the stealerships to tell which piece of the puzzle is actually causing the problem, vs. which piece is just not doing it’s thing right because of a faulty input from another piece, which may be the defective part, or be affected by a bad ground/broken wire/bad connector/corrosion….or which in turn is itself not doing it’s thing from yet another part somewhere upstream not doing it’s thing.

              This is why when a car is under warranty, you’ll hear of owners taking them in for something to be fixed, and then the problem recurring, and they have to take it in again, and this can go on for quite a while, with the problem eventually getting fixed, after many thousands of dollars worth of parts and labor are thrown at it- which might be O-K when ther car is under warranty- but when the car is out of warranty and the same sort of thing occurs…

              Like the father of this guy I know: His out-of-warranty Duramax was losing power. He takes it to the dealer because he didn’t want some non-expert dicking around with it- as there’s too much to ruin, and parts are too expensive to play with.

              Dealer tells him it’s injectors (I told him from day one, that’s BS!)- Charges $3K to replace ALL injectors….no improvement. Long story short, the guy ends up spending over $5K over the course of a few visits, and the truck was no better than it was when he first brought it in- no one could figure it out. Last I heard, there was talk of a law suit.

              And this is with factory-trained mechanics; official OEM parts, and proprietary diagnostics….so yeah…forget the 15 year old with a screwdriver…or even the 40 year-old engineer or machinist with a full set of tools….

              And it’s not just the electronics. Consider the idiotic mechanical design that goes into these things! -Like the Ford trucks which require that you take the cab off the chassis to change the turbocharger!!

              Sane, honest people do not intentionally design things like this. This crap is being foisted upon the ignorant (and who these days is not ignorant of these ridiculously complex monstrosities?) because there is an agenda behind it….an agenda which is planned to come to fruition right around 2030.

              Even if “their” plans are foiled and their laws repealed, we are already so far along, and so much damage has already been done, that even if nothing changed from today, on, there will still be no functional, user-serviceable, economically-feasible-to-own-and-drive cars left by 2030, anyway.

              • Just one problem, dealerships have had that stringing along of people with “guesswork” repairs for a very long time. It’s why the clunker laws got passed. I remember it happening in the 1970s even to cars before the emissions equipment.

                It comes down to pay structure. Mechanics, especially dealership mechanics, are not paid to figure things out. They are paid per job to change parts. If it takes too much time to figure out they are losing money. They aren’t being paid.

                • True, Brent- but the thing is, in the past, even when they did play guess-work, it was not of the magnitude and expense to which it is today, where one repair on today’s vehicles can cost more than an entire car did in the 70’s or 80’s.

                  And even with the guess-work back then, at least they’d get the peroblem fixed sooner or later. Today, it’s becoming more common for the problem to never be fixed- and the lemon laws often don’t apply, because these problems often don’t manifest themselves soon enough.

                  And at least in the past, (and this is the IMPORTANT part) you could take your car to an independent shop after it was out of warranty, and save a lot of money on the repairs. Today, there are many things an independent shop can not do, because they don’t have access to the propritary software- on many vehicles now, you can’t even bleed the freaking brakes, because the ABS module and/or computer must be reset while doing so, and only the dealer has the ability to do that!

            • You’re going beyond the scope of my comment here. Most people never bothered to understand 1970s cars. But today people throw things away. Just borrow more money! That’s what insurance is for!

              People decades ago didn’t think so much like that. If an exact duplicate of a 1950 Ford was a brand new car and it got flooded people would junk it today. They wouldn’t put up with trying to get the interior clean or risk the rust inside the engine or anything else. Just throw it away.

              Just think there might be mold!

              • But Brent, WHY do people today have that attitude? While it is true that most people never bother[ed] to understand how anything works; it is now also true that there is no point in even trying to understand how many things work, because it all usually comes down to computers and modules and black boxes- and whereas before, yes- the person with the 1950 Ford may’ve been just as likely to throw it away as someone today, the thing was, that 1950 Ford would have been sold on the used market- whereas todays flooded cars will be scrapped, because they HAVE to be, because they are not economically feasible to restore.

                The throw-away attitude was not quite as common in the past as it is today. As late as the 70’s, there still tube testing machines in hardware stores, where you could bring suspect tubes from your TV or radio and test them, and buy new ones to replace the bad tubes, and go home and plug the new tubes into your appliance- and it was fixed- and many people actually did this.

                Today you can’t. Your TV or radio burns out, and you throw it away.

                So I think, in more cases than not, the way they make things today has created the attitude of disposabikity, rather than T’other way ’round.

                In 1950, you bought something and it was yours. You didn’t bring it back to Walmart 90 days later; you didn’t buy an “extended service plan”- you used it, and after the warranty was over, you had the option of fixing it yourself, or of having it fixed….people didn’t just throw things out, like today. Things were made to last, and to be serviceable- and those that weren’t, quickly got bad reputations.

                And even if you traded your car every 2 years- your old one was still going 20 years later, and made a good $200 car for a teenager. Teenagers today don’t have any $200 cars…or even $2000 cars.

                We’ve been GROOMED into this disposable mentality of never-ending debt and quick obsolescence- and electronics especially have furthered that mentality.

                So, today, everyone rushes out and gets the newest iPhone every year for $600- but in the past, virtually no one but a fool would have done so. Heck, right now I’m looking at the corded phone on my desk I bought brand new 25 years ago…and it still works better than the crud they make today.

                • Cars that were totaled back then didn’t go to the used car market anymore than they do today. They’ve been branding cars with salvage titles for decades just for that reason. Salvage titles predate modern complexity.

                  Why do people throw stuff away today? Lazy human nature plus credit. They just get another car. I pay attention to the people I work with. They get rid of cars for a lot less than I put up with.

                  The reason there aren’t $200 cars is because the scrap yards will pay that. Inflation. You’re not getting anything that drives or is safe to drive for $200 even if it’s some old car nobody wants.

                  • Not true. Branding of titles is relatively recent, depending on where you are. It really didn’t get going until the 90’s- and it’s only NOW that virtually all states are doing it.

                    As recently as 2 or 3 years ago, there were still quite a few states where you could title a branded car and get a clean title (because the state didn’t do branding), and then voila! You had a clean-title car.

                    Some states still only brand if the vehicle is totaled by an insurance company. Some states brand if there’s any damage from a relevant incident (or at least record and report it, so it’s in the VIN history).

                    There are STILL 6 states where it’s easy to wash a title.
                    (But thanks to the free market- a simple VIN check reveals a lot- while Uncle’s crazy laws just foul things up for everyone and make things more expensive).

                    The reason there are no $2000 cars [today’s equivalent of a $200 car] is because of several factors, including Cash4Clunkers; the fact that the cars are not durable, so there is a scarcer supply of older cars; over-complexity, making the cost of repairs more than the value of the vehicles; etc.

                    For every person who buys their 16 year-old brat a new ‘Stang; and for every person who just rolls over a loan to buy another new one, there are 10 people wishing they had a cheap reliable car. And don’t forget: Many of thesec people living large on credit today, are the people who will be bankrupt tomorrow and looking for that cheap car that no longer exists.

                    • Hey Nunzio, this reminds me of these flyers I get in the mail for the “blow out” tent sales. They always have a scratch off indicating that “you’re a winner!” It’s always a gift card to Walmart or a trip to the Bahamas, but the main reason I go to collect my five or ten dollar Walmart gift card is to see all the people who are actually getting these vehicles. The deals they offer are completely insane. They sign people up for some 10 or 12 year finance scam where these vehicles will be worth less than their payments in 6 or 7 years. I can’t believe so many people still fall for this crap.

                    • $200 is the going scrap offer in my area. You aren’t going to get a running car for scrap value. Sorry.

                      My ’73 Maverick cost me over $2K in 1994. Of course back then a beat to hell but running rusted one would go for $500. I had the chance at a Torino GT for $750 but it was structurally rusted so badly the first bad pot hole might have relieved it of a frame rail. That was back in the early 90s.

                      Even back in the 1980s the cheapest running car was $50. It would be some 1970s japanese subsubcompact that was rusted to the point where you had to be careful not to touch the wrong way or put your weight on the floor.

                      I gave up a running car for less than $100 about a decade ago or more but it didn’t stop and the clutch slipped. The front main leaked. the tires were dry rotted. variety of other issues and rust. I probably could have gotten more.

                      Salvage titles have been a thing since before I got into cars in the mid 1980s. Title washing is doable by going from state to state but its more difficult within even the lax states.

                      Now, $2000 can get a decent car. See for yourself:
                      https://chicago.craigslist.org/search/cta?min_price=2000&max_price=2000

                      don’t jive me on bad matches, there’s a nice acura listed, a lincoln TC, a nice 2001 audi for the guy who can stomach taking care of it.

                      There’s a ’97 Mustang GT vert for $2K. Automatic. vans, trucks, suvs…. it just keeps going and that’s only what is exactly asking price of $2K.

                    • Teo, a while back, I got one of those promotions from a local dealer where they send ya a key and tell ya to come on down and see if it starts the car. If it does, you’ve won the car…..LOL.

                      Quite frankly, even if I knew that the key was a winner, I wouldn’t bother going; I wouldn’t want to pay the few grand in sales tax, much less the taxes to register the damn thing that I wouldn’t want to drive in the first place!

                      If these stoopit dealers want more customers, maybe instead of gimmicks, they should try being honest and straight-forward…..

                      Bunch’a idjits!

                      Hey, I know what ya mean about the van. It’s hard to junk a van! There’s something about ’em. You can go and just sit in them- it’s like the adult version of the fort/treehouse ya had when you were a kid….. I’m with you, though….just keep the minimum ya need for the time being, so you can be free to vamoose.

                      I’m so ready to leave, I don’t even care anymore. The big things like tractors and mowers and vehicles; price ’em right, and they’ll go quick. Little personal sentimental things I’ll take; the rest, I’ll walk away from if need be. In the scheme of things, what is it? Nothing. Just baggage. Good for an intended purpose; tools- but not anchors.

                    • Hey Nunzio, that $25k car would probably run around what, $3 or 4k? in taxes, fees registration? It shouldn’t be too hard to flip it for $15k, no? That’s still a profit right? I’d spend the time sitting filling out paperwork at the DMV for that, but I know what you mean. Then again, I’m the guy who’s just going down there to get the Walmart gift card anyways. I’m usually on my way to Walmart anyways, and I feel pretty good telling those clowns that I’ve got great running vehicles now for a fraction of what they sell their stuff for.

                      I’ve got quite a lot of junk here that I can just walk away from, but I’d kind of like to just get rid of it anyways if I have the time. I’m getting things organized, but I’ve been here before so this time I’m getting smart and instead of just being content to have a place for everything and everything in its place I’m getting rid of most everything as well. I can remember about 30 years ago thinking that I’ve become distracted with all my little interests, hobbies, leisure pursuits, etc. Some of this stuff I haven’t touched in over three years. I’ve got a neighbor across the street who goes to yard sales and the flea markets around here and then he turns around and sells the same stuff he just bought. He must make money on it, but I know he’ll take all the junk I can’t sell; saves me a trip to the thrift stores or the dump.

                      I was considering selling my place, but I might just rent it out instead for a while. I haven’t decided what the market is going to do or when it’s going to do it. I didn’t pay much of anything for this place so I feel kinda stupid even selling it because it doesn’t really cost me anything to keep it. My plan is to frame up a wall in the laundry room, add a small bathroom to the third bedroom which would turn that into a one bed/one bath then rent out the two bedroom two bath on the other side. I could then stash my furniture on one side, and have a place to stay if I ever decide to come back here. I like having options.

                    • Darn, Brent! HAd no idear that Shitcago had such a grab-bag of cheap-O cars!

                      ‘Round here, ya literally can’t even get a parts car for $2K (Damn tight Scots!)

                    • Back in the 90’s I had a ’78 LeSaber I paid $125 for. It was a great car- looked fine; mechanically needed nothing, except the A/C didn’t work- but living in NY at the time, not that big of an issue. And in the 80’s, I had a ’76 Camaro I paid $200- that wasn’t a bad car either…but again, no A/C.

                      Then in the late 90’s (after the LeSaber) I moved up to buying nicer salvage vehicles.

                      I pretty much don’t like any cars from the 90’s or newer (as opposed to trucks) so cheap cars are out for me- but I really miss cars like the LaSaber and the Camaro- I mean, they were reliable; they looked nice; they were almost free transportation…were roomy; safe; and just enjoyable to own and drive- if one could still get cars like that….. Oh, and the best part was: Ya didn’t have worry about them. A shopping cart rolls into you, or somebody dings your door…no biggie.

          • BrentP, Nunz, I think you’re correct about older cars being more involved in that they allow one to be more involved, whereas the newer vehicles don’t allow one to get involved unless one has a few years of recent computer training. The attitude today may be what is driving this. I read somewhere that Harley did some research and discovered that the people who bought Harley’s 50 years ago are the same people who are buying Harleys today. In other words, fifty years ago some 20 year old guy bought himself a Harley, and that same guy is buying a new Harley. The problem is that these guys are all dying out as they get older they stop buying HD’s because they can’t see or even hold a bike up anymore, and there don’t seem to be as many youngsters buying Harleys. The younger generation doesn’t want to spend time polishing all that chrome. I’m kinda right in the middle. I bought my first shovelhead, but it was a basket case (cheap) and I threw cheap parts on it, and didn’t bother chroming out anything. It was all black paint and brushed aluminum. Years later I built a chopper, but threw all this chrome on it and after a few years I was getting tired of polishing the thing. That’s just part of the younger generation’s mentality imo. Lo and behold, Harley is coming out with all these black bikes with black handlebars, black engines, brushed aluminum or black tail pipes. Squirt it down with some water, and you’re done. They also look like they’re impossible to work on.
            Digital speedo, tach, gear indicator integrated into the handlebars. How do you switch that out if you want to put ape hangers on it? The softails have this monoshock that looks like it would take a few days to get to if you wanted to adjust or replace it. Regardless of whether it’s a car, truck or motorcycle, they’re just not for the guy who wants to tinker with these things anymore. That seems to be the trade off for reliability. Tinkerers are becoming obsolete. If you’re a tinkerer, you’re old.

            • Very good point, Teo!

              And especially today, with these millenials- who are usually inept and helpless even with simple things. Half of them probably can’t change a flat tire.

              But the thing is- and I guess they don’t realize it- even if they never want to turn a screw, that complexity costs them even more, because it is infinitely more expensive to have serviced/repaired by professionals; and parts are much more expensive, than would be the case with simpler things.

              Add to that the planned obsolescence that such creates, and well…..we’re not going to be seeing any 2017 Harleys going down the street 30 or 40 years from now, like we see ones commonly from the 70’s and 80’s now.

              And once they stop making the electronic parts for ’em, you’re not gonna be able to just go to the junkyard and find it, ’cause electronics don’t age well…..

        • As to the fallen angel Lucifer of Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 14:12, it is a Christian misunderstanding of the text.

          Hailail, the name in the text, and not Lucifer (there is no Lucifer anywhere in Hebrew Scripture), is the morning star…VENUS. People would rise at dawn and see one lonely star in the sky, and some assume, in error, that the star had fallen from the Heavens, and the myth of the rebelling angel was born.

          Hailail is Venus, which can still be seen on certain mornings long after all the other stars have tucked themselves away.

          Satan is not a being, but is rather the influences we have compelling us toward that which goes counter to Creations Will. These influences are called the “yetzer hara” (evil inclination), otherwise known as Satan, not because Satan is evil, but because these influences drive a person to desire that which is evil.

          The yetzer hara will do it’s job but it does not want to succeed. It wants us to succeed in not succumbing, yet most of us fail dismally. Those who do not fail are like finding buried treasures.

          • I think in modern parlance they would call it the ego. Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness looks just like someone battling with their own ego, and in the end Satan just jumps into some lake of fire as if he never existed. In Job, he seems more like a guy just looking for a friendly bet, but not that bright really given that God’s dice are always loaded. It seems almost like a comedy really.

            • In KIngs and Chronicles, he seems more like the guy who carries out God’s dirty work. It’s God’s will, but at the same time, it’s not something God needs to do himself so he gets Satan to do it for him, e.g. getting David to number Israel. etc.

          • “Lucifer” is only in there because for some reason, the translators decided to translate the Latin Vulgate there….but the Hebrew text says “Mazzaroth”.

            • Mazzaroth (Mazarot מַזָּרוֹת, LXX μαζουρωθ) is a hapax legomenon (i.e., a word appearing only once in a text) of the Hebrew Bible, found in Job 38:31-32. The similar word mazalot (מַּזָּלוֹת) in 2 Kings 23:3-5 may be related.

              The word’s precise meaning is uncertain but its context is that of astronomical constellations.

              In Yiddish, the term mazalot came to be used in the sense of “astrology” in general, surviving in the expression “mazel tov,” meaning “good luck.

              Canst thou bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?

              Canst thou lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season? Or canst thou guide the Bear with her sons?” (JPS 1917)

              The word is traditionally (following LXX) left untranslated .

              But as the Latin Vulgate renders the word as “luciferum”, there are alternative English translations as “morning star” (CVB, TRC, also Luther’s 1545 German translation, as Morgenstern); “day star” (DRA); “Venus” (MSG); “Crown season” (NJB); “sequence of seasons” (NLT); “Lucifer, ‘that is, dai sterre (day star)” (Wycliffe’s Bible).

              In Tractate Bava Batra, Reish Lakish says that Satan, the yetzer hara and the Angel of Death are all one.

              Maimonides, the medieval Jewish philosopher, endorses this position in his Guide for the Perplexed. The word Satan, Maimonides writes, derives from the Hebrew root for “turn away.” Like the evil inclination, Satan’s function is to divert human beings from the path of truth and righteousness.

              Maimonides does not believe Satan actually exists, but rather that he is a symbol of the inclination to sin. The entire Book of Job, he writes, is fictional, intended merely to elucidate certain truths about divine providence.

              • I went in a store and asked for a Jew nipper once- I was expecting something like a rottweiler …instead, the guy comes out with a plant!

      • The attempt at that law for automobiles didn’t stick. It failed. Besides there are various aftermarket ECUs on the market that will run just about anything. Sort of an engine’s linux.

        • That’s different, Brent- What they did more recently, was not just say you’d void the warranty, but they actually made it so that no one could have access to the proprietary code, so that you are held hostage by the manufacturer for all service and repair, AND they could cease supporting your vehicle, or disable it entirely- and there were no work arounds, because now it’s not just a simple performance chip in a ‘puter, but the software which runs every system in the vehicle- and there is no way to mess with it, because no one has access to the code.

          The recent court ruling though has also largely put the brakes on that…for now.

          • People mess with the code all the time. In many forums you can find teenagers and 20 somethings who broke their car by doing so whining it should be warrantied.

            If you really want the control system could be replaced with an aftermarket one.

            • Brent, on the late-model stuff, you can not even get access to the code. And modifying it can cause the vehicle to brick, because it must be formatted in a certain way, with certain embedded signatures which only the proprietary computers generate- Messing with it voids the license agreement….you brick your vehicle, there’s no way to fix it, unless the manufacturer WANTS to fix it….and it’s going to cost you.

              It’s NOT like it used to be, when you could just hook up a laptop and alter the code if you knew what you were doing. This new stuff won’t even talk to your computer.

              • Please go to a modern car forum. Something teenagers get from their rich parents or something a 20 something can buy on credit. They reprogram their cars. There are aftermarket tools to do it.

                Putting a new ‘tune’ in your car isn’t that hard. Sure if you do something very wrong you can make it so a trip to the dealer is required. But the car isn’t permanently bricked. Just requires dealer tools to undo the screw up.

                • Oh, for the love of….

                  Brent, putting a performance chip in or hacking the parameters to modify performance is one thing- and with many vehicles, THAT is no longer even possible (It still is on some popular high-performance vehicles, because while they might not be allowed to sell them that way, they know that the people who buy them intend to modify them- and whether or not even that affects the warranty varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, or even dealer to dealer).

                  But what I’m talking about is not altering when the car shifts, etc. but rather diagnostics and service.

                  For instance, the only way you’re going to be able to troubleshoot a new car to know if a given module or computer is receiving and sending the proper signals under the proper conditions, so you know which part to replace, is with the dealer’s proprietary crap.

                  And we’re only in the early stages of this. Right now, a good oTTo machine can do 95% of the stuff that a dealer’s machine can do on vehicles that are a few years old.

                  And the thing is: Even if you can access the data, increasingly, you have no way of knowing what the parameters are supposed to be.

                  It’s not like the days of OBD II, when they’d put the info out there, so any independent shop or anyone with a decent scanner could see the parameters and know whether or not they were in spec, and what it meant if they weren’t.

                  • Who is talking about performance chips other than you? That’s shit people did 20, 25 years ago or more. I think the last car that worked on was made in 1995. I would be surprised if anyone bothered with such nonsense now.

                    For goodness sake go out on the internet and keep the with things. You can buy an _ENTIRE_ engine management system on the aftermarket. The whole gotdamn’d thing. You can throw the entire factory system out (although to save money you should keep the sensors) and put in aftermarket where you have control over every parameter. You can take your 1970 carb’d engine and make it computer controlled if you want.

                    One of the big name brands is “Megasquirt”.

                    The megasquirt 2 system is under $300 on amazon.

                    Back in the 80s there weren’t many kids who knew how to set a carb or diagnosis even 1970s car problems besides me.

  2. IIRC to get that “up to 30%” mpg improvement Skyactive-X also has to add a supercharger.

    Now is that more or less reliable than a turbocharger?

    As another poster notes, HCCI will probably only be available at low demand on the engine, e.g. cruising at highway speed, not when “zoom-zooming” your Mazda.

  3. “Because that’s what government excels at.”

    Hard to find six words grouped together that contain more logic than those.

    Government “regulations” (I prefer calling them restrictions) have the quality of being written by people who know very little about what they are trying to control; they are just interested in being in control. Until we had the growth of the regulatory state, this was always the case. Which was why these restrictions always brought out the unintended consequences, the end result being that everything is regulated unless it specifically isn’t, which is the opposite of the founding of the United States.

    The new model is to create very stupid rules, then have the productive class cozy up to your rule-making entity to re-write the rules to the benefit of themselves over those on the outside. Which is how we end up with fuel-efficient diesel engines being mothballed because of soot, smog, and noise.

    At least in the 1970’s, when non-petroleum-based solutions to the “oil crisis” were being discussed, there was still the capitalist option: Buy out the developers of these alternatives, so that these “solutions” would never see the light of day.

  4. Hey Eric, re: “But diesels are also low  RPM engines – usually all out of steam by 4,500 or less RPM. This is not very Zoom! Zoom!”

    I can see how that might be the case especially when they’re in a tractor trailer, but is this necessarily the case when we put them into a sports car?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RghY0For0Q

    This one looks like the same engine that came out of it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLbN45c44Q8

    This one’s kinda funny if you’re not an environmentalist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WALWQ59o7w

  5. Seems like a real development in the world of the ICE – amazing how little coverage it seems to have gotten by the press…. guess they are busy telling us how wonderful electric cars are and how Elon musk is changing the world……

  6. HCCI works in a weird way. It was first achieved by Honda and used for a two stroke Paris-Dakar motorcycle, the EXP2. Being Honda who id it- no wonder it is different!

    Fuel is mixed with the air in the usual manner (that is, it is injected in the port). Then it is compressed in the normal way. Combustion, though, is special. There is a type of combustion ignition where the entire charge self ignites and reacts everywhere throughout the chamber all at once. This unusual combustion is not an explosion or detonation. It is not as the result of a point or localised ignition with a flame front subsequently travelling across the chamber. This is a weird occurrence wherein everything reacts all at once right throughout the entire body of the mixture. Weirdly enough it is not explosive or abrupt but smooth! To make this combustion occur at the right time demands very accurate control of the temperature and pressure of the charge. A handy way to do that is to trap a fraction of the exhaust from the previous charge and keep it in the combustion chamber to “salt” the new incoming mixture. BUT, while keeping some exhaust gas around like this is not so hard to do, the amount you keep has to be exactly the right amount to ensure you get to the correct temperature at or around TDC. If you do get it right, the temperature at around TDC will be exactly sufficient to cause HCCI to occur. Perfecto!

    Advantages are low emissions and good fuel economy.

    Mechanically this is not much different from a regular engine. The main change is in the accuracy of control allied to what it is you are controlling and how often you make adjustments. Most of the engines I have seen of this type have variable valve timing methods of some sort. The nice part is you can have the engine revert to regular spark ignition in an instant and it is seamless. The driver would not notice the changeover at all. So, Mazda can retain high revs performance and that Zoom Zoom easily enough, should they desire.

    Clever stuff.

    Go Mazda.

  7. Hi Ross

    The engine you are referring to was the Michael May “Fireball” engine. Jaguar had Michael May convert its V-12 engine over to that scheme. It improved the fuel economy significantly and saved the V-12 production from discontinuation at the time. The system favoured ultra low fuel air ratios at cruise and could be set up to operate very lean for good fuel savings. The bad news was that much of the potential had to be forgone in order to meet US emissions regs. Years later the engine went out of production (thank you Ford) and a conventional V-8 was employed instead. A big part of this was that lean burn was not the direction regs were driving engine makers towards. Cat converters and stoichiometric mixes were what was demanded. And so we burn more fuel than we need…

  8. Ugh. Flatheads forever. Our whole society has become insanely and unmanageably complex due to these half wit short sighted communist control freaks. Freedom is more important than safety and economy is more important than mileage.

    • I’m with you, Ernie…

      A simple TBI-injected V6 or V8 paired with a four or five-speed overdrive is the ne plus ultra of powertrain development. Everything since has been an over-the-top Band Aid to placate the fatwas while trying to maintain the performance/power most people expect.

  9. OK, but I’m confused as to why preignition knock with the gas-fueled diesel wouldn’t be a problem.

    Sounds to me like DFI gas engines with ultra-precise fuel metering have already overcome this problem, and have sort of split the difference between the gas and the diesel engine already.

    • Hi X,

      I’m curious also… Mazda hasn’t sent me the technical details yet; I’m also hoping to get an invite to drive a prototype and will hopefully have more info soon!

      • OK, ‘nother question for ya, Eric. I’ve read that the USMC has used Kawasaki KLR 650s for combat motorcycles… but that they’re modified to run on diesel fuel (presumably because the military has LOTS of diesel on hand for Humvees, tanks, deuce-and-a-halfs, etc.)

        Any idea on what’s involved in such a mod?

        • Hi X,

          The diesel Kaws are real; whether they’re available as surplus, I don’t know. The stock bike is, of course, a gas four stroke with a carb. IIRC, it has a fairly low CR.

          I would guess the USMC bike has an entirely different engine.

  10. Mazda’s press release reads like some PR firm trying to drop as many PC buzz words and phrases as is possible. E.g. “Enhance customers’ mental well-being with the satisfaction that comes from protecting the earth…” Puh-leeze.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Mazda. I own Mazdas. I race a Mazda. Mazda’s support of racers is second to none.

    But, this is trying to please a beast that will not be sated. They don’t understand their enemy. They think that by applying their engineering skills they can appease those that are issuing the Fatwas. The real motivation behind the environmental movement is not some desire for “clean air”. It’s a hatred for humanity. David M. Graber, GovCo biologist, spilled the beans years ago when he said humanity was a plague on the planet and that he wished for a virus to wipe out that plague. Here is a link to more “deep ecology” thinking that is the real core of the environmental movement http://pc.blogspot.com/2006/07/quote-extinction-of-human-species-may.html

    What Mazda is doing, along with many others as reflected in the comments here, is akin to putting make-up on a small pox victim and thinking you’re somehow curing the patient. The disease is radical environmentalism and it will not stop until it is openly confronted for the totalitarian scam that it is.

    People need to stand up at every opportunity and tell these self-loathing humans to stuff it. That we WILL NOT sacrifice our humanity on the alter of their god, Earth Mother Gaia.

    That’s the fight.

    Mazda and others need to use their positions to expose these vermin and stop trying to placate them.

    • The engineering culture of Japan and especially Hiroshima, or at least what I perceive as one even if they were not to view it that way, what other choice does Mazda have? Mazda doesn’t have the size to fight a war that the mighty VW wouldn’t even bother with.

      There is a desire to return humanity to the norm for the last six thousand years. That is certain. Sad thing is most people seem to want that. First I thought it was conditioning but then I began to realizing the conditioning only triggers, reinforces something deeper in human nature. People want to be taken care they just don’t realize that all this responsibility pushing off, this having others care for them only leads to a very bad end.

  11. The under 40 folks may not recall when gasoline engines would “diesel” all on their own: The early to mid seventies, when the mountain of new emission add-ons caused the engine to continue to run when the ignition was turned off.

  12. I wonder how long that motor would be in the shop for?

    Besides the fact that no one would know how to repair it, who the hell would want to learn?

  13. Forty years ago a German engineer created the “Fireball”–a gas engine with a 16:1 CR that ran on regular. See Popular Science 11/76 https://books.google.com/books?id=GgEAAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA138&lpg=PA138&dq=may+fireball+high+compression+engine+popular+science&source=bl&ots=2BkitaLPNs&sig=rHdndd0HmyleKIKaaW21sMv4ejk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjp9Y_46OfVAhWC64MKHea0DMIQ6AEILjAB#v=onepage&q=may%20fireball%20high%20compression%20engine%20popular%20science&f=false

    Several cars were so equipped with reported good results, but nothing became of the engines. Emissions problems? Don’t know and the Internet’s not telling. His engine made me wonder about an engine with extremely high compression (beyond anything a diesel could match) with ignition controlled by a third poppet valve that when closed would turn a low compression cylinder into a high one, the other two valves being the traditional intake and exhaust. Not being an engineer, it’s beyond me if such a thing is practical.

  14. I’ve often wondered.. heard some years back about a team playing with the concept of directly injecting liquid propane or natural gas into the engine for compression ignition. The rub at the time seemed to be dealing with the friction inside the old-school standard piston or rotary pumps used for diesel fuel injection.Propane has almost no lubrication characteristics, as does diesel fuel, jet A, kerosene, vegatable oil, etc. Maybe developments in common rail systems could be appplied to this.
    Seems to me LPG under direct injection/compression ignition would burn very cleanly. It is cheap, clean,

    I know of modified electronic multiport CNG and LPG injection systems, essentially modifications from conventional electronic injection multiport systems, and their being very clean and efficient, given cost per pound of the LPG or CNG.

  15. After watching a few conjecture-explaination videos I get the impression that the HCCI mode will only happen when in some unique cases, my guess would be cruising on the highway. Cold starts will mean traditional spark. Calls for “zoom zoom” will also be handled with the spark plug. So basically if you drive with an egg under your right foot on the highway you’ll get the added economy of HCCI. Or maybe if you’re running on an EPA dyno.

  16. Although I do not welcome the added complexity, I enthusiastically support any effort to keep the ICE alive. With manufacturers such as BMW and Volvo charging ahead into the electric and hybrid arena, there may be few traditionally powered cars available in the near future. I am sure if the old ICE vehicles are not dying fast enough, the “respect my authority!” types will come up with yet another scrappage scheme to force them off the road. I unfortunately envision a dystopian world where everything is part of the “sharing economy” for us not in the power elite. No home, no car, what is yours–is mine. Communism with a smile. The internal combustion engine remains a remnant of freedom…for now.

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