The Last Redoubt?

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Some of you may remember station wagons.

Before SUVs and crossovers – before minivans – station wagons were the family car of choice for millions of American families. They were as everywhere as SUVs and crossovers are today. As minivans were, before SUVs and crossovers supplanted them.

Wagons were natural things, created as the result of market demand for them. They were in demand because they could comfortably carry more than five people and a bunch of stuff in the back plus pull a trailer, if the need was there. Such attributes appeal to families, to people who have kids and often have to cart around other people’s kids, too.

The big wagons were based on the big sedans that were dominant at the time – the time being the ’60s and ‘70s.

This was the time before government got into the business of dictating to the car industry how many miles-per-gallon cars would have to deliver in order to avoid being fined for noncompliance. When cars were designed to meet buyer – rather than government – demands

When that reversed, the car business hit the equivalent of a patch of black ice and skidded in a different – and unplanned – direction. Station wagons disappeared almost overnight, because the large sedans they were based on had been fatwa’d out of existence by fuel economy mandatory minimums which made them too expensive to build, due to the “gas guzzler” taxes heaped on them.

But – at the time – there was an end-run.

Pick-up trucks were not yet subject to the fatwas – which only applied to passenger cars. It occurred to someone at one of the car companies – it was Ford that hit paydirt first – that pick-ups share the same basic attributes which made large sedans – and the station wagons spun off from them – so popular with the market. The were big and had lots of room inside. They had big engines.

And they were rear-wheel-drive.

Exactly like the big sedans and wagons extincted by fatwa. Just with a bed out back, open to the elements.

Well, how about we enclose that bed? Lay down some carpet, bolt seats to the floor? Add extra doors?

Voila – the SUV.

It was Ford’s Bronco II which began what would soon become a boom. It was a Ranger pick-up with an enclosed bed. Which made it agreeable as a passenger carrying vehicle that wasn’t – in regulatory terms – a passenger vehicle; i.e., a “car.”

It was – for regulatory purposes – a “light truck” and these skated elegantly past Uncle and his fatwas, as they did not have to abide by the MPG mandatory minimums that had forced an unnatural changed in the way cars were designed. But the most unnatural thing was the sudden effusion of these SUVs, which Blitzkrieged the roads like the panzers into Poland. Within three years of the Bronco II’s appearance as a new model in 1983, others had joined in. By 1990, every major car company had at least one SUV in its lineup – and those that didn’t were working on it.

It was like the muscle car frenzy set into motion back in 1964, when John DeLorean pretty much invented the muscle car by taking a mid-sized Tempest coupe and replacing its small V8 with a huge V8 from Pontiac’s full-sized cars – with the difference being that DeLorean was end-running GM’s internal edict that its smaller cars must only have engines so big (and no bigger) while Ford and the rest were end-running Uncle.

But there was a common thread – the car companies were trying to give the people who bought their cars what they wanted, not for altruistic reasons but rather because that’s how you made money. Well, used to – before it became possible to make money by passing laws forcing people to buy your goods or services (e.g., car insurance, Obamacare).

And now comes the next end-run, the last redoubt.

Uncle’s MPG fatwas have been applied to “light trucks” – and so, to SUVs built off them – and these fatwas are already at a level that cannot be complied with. Uncle demands they – like “passenger cars” – average 35.4 MPGs – or else. And the fatwa is on track to almost double, if the National Cockatiel doesn’t intervene. The good news is it looks as though he might. The bad news is that even if he does, the odds of his successor re-imposing the fatwas are high.

But the fatwas do not – yet – apply to heavy-duty trucks in the 2500/3500 series (and up) class. Why not let history repeat? Why not take, say, a Chevy Silverado 2500 dualie pick-up and enclose the bed.

Voila – instant super-sized SUV!

With an even bigger V8!

If people can no longer buy “light truck” – and SUVs – on account of their having been fatwa’d out of existence, but the same basic thing is still available to them in something even bigger and heavier and – the irony is almost too much – even less fuel-efficient – then they will buy it because the car industry will build it.

Because there’s money in it.

It’s what people want – a concept the people who work as Uncle’s minions seem congenitally incapable of grokking. Stifle what people want and people will find a way around it – often, with the net result being more of what the government claims it didn’t want and tried to prevent via the original fatwa.

Right now, Uncle – his minions (and this includes the media, which might as well be officially christened the Ministry of Truth or some such equivalent) moan mightily about what they regard as the not-so-great economy of the average new vehicle. Which is an SUV – or a crossover SUV, which is the same basic animal (i.e., big, heavy and so, thirsty).

Which is a class of vehicle that would not exist – not as a mass-market offering – were it not for the distortion of the marketplace caused by Uncle’s fatwas. Trucks would have remained trucks – built in small proportion relative to cars and sold mostly to tradesmen, farmers and so on. Most people would have bought cars – and if the market signaled that most people pined for smaller, gas-sippier cars, the car industry would have made them, no fatwa necessary.

Because there would have been money in it.

Doubt this? Check into how many old Beetles VW sold. Or Honda Civics. Pre-fatwa, when market demand for them was what served as the genesis for their manufacture.

But this was not enough for Uncle. It never is. He had to meddle. Had to intervene – had to supersede and second-guess. And thus was born the arguably grotesque SUV boom, which continues to blossom like an endless far cloud to this day. Vast fleets of jacked-up hybrid truck-car things that suck oceans of gas – not that there is anything wrong with that; people have every right to be as profligate with their resources as they wish to be. Once pumped, gas is their to burn and the idea that a third party busybody should have anything to say about it is as obnoxious as a busybody issuing fatwas about what kind of carpet you may throw down in your own home.

But it’s silly for so many millions of people to be driving around in these grotesque truck-car things, which are creatures of Uncle.

And it may just be about to get a lot sillier, once production of of 2500/3500 series SUVs ramps up.

. . .

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95 COMMENTS

  1. The CAFE mpg requirements (along with the bs VW “cheating” incident) exposes either Uncle’s ignorance and/or ulterior motives.

    They SAY that the purpose is to reduce fuel consumption for geopolitical and environmental reasons. But the CAFE focus on mpg is misleading.

    Mpg is generally speaking a poor measure of the relative efficiency between cars. Take for instance, a car that gets 30mpg vs one that gets 40 mpg. That seems like a significant difference. But in real terms, you’re not saving much fuel.

    A better way to compare might be something like gallons/100 miles.

    In this case, the 30 mpg car uses 3.3 gallons, while the 40 mpg car uses 2.5 gallons. That only saves 0.8 gallons per 100 miles, or 120 gallons over a year (assuming 15k miles/yr).

    But take a 20mpg car vs a 30 mpg car. The former uses 5 gallons compared to 3.3, or 1.7 gallons more. This is a 255 gallon difference over the year (135 gallons more than the 30/40 comparison).

    If Uncle were truly worried about fuel consumption and emissions, they’d be pushing small diesels for light trucks, such a the FCA ecodiesel, the 4 banger duramax in the Colorado/Canyon, or Ford and GMs up coming diesels for the 1500 class. These engines can push close to 30 mpg on the highway.

    The top 3 selling vehicles in the US are the F Series, Silverado and Ram. Combined they account for 28.4% of the top 20 selling vehicles of 2017. Add in the Sierra pickup and it’s 31.5%. Now add in other light truck/suv like the Wrangler (which is getting a diesel), etc.

    The fuel savings from pushing light trucks closer to 30 mpg via diesel, would dwarf that of getting a 30mpg Sonata to 40mpg via hybrid, such that total emissions would probably go DOWN even though the diesels nominally emit more on a percentage basis.

    You know, if they were ACTUALLY concerned with fuel consumption and emissions.

  2. I can’t hit the reply button below your message Nunzio, so I will reply here:
    Your having land in an area where there is a sufficient number of non-poor and non-tightwad customers is what has enabled you to do those things. I have very recently sort-of put myself in that type of location, but as I have indicated earlier: I need some more things before I can get started. I also need to explore this area.
    I do own land also, but it is about 70 miles away. I have tried quite a few things to become self-employed there, but I was at a disadvantage for several reasons.
    1. I fit in well with the community, but the fact was I was still considered to be an outsider since I didn’t attend school there, was not a church member, and had no wife or kids. The “known” people were always the first pick.
    2. The nearest town has a population of about 1000 and was 12 miles away. There were no shortage of roadside produce stands close to or in town. The second nearest town has about 3500 and was 15 miles away. They have a large community of Mennonites living close by who have all sorts of businesses such as a sawmill, small engine shops, bicycle shop, tool stores, hardware store, feed stores, welding shop, etc. I had purchased a high quality mobile band-saw-mill, and I can count on one hand the amount of customers I had in a 9 month period. I had hung up posters with tear off tabs everywhere that had a bulletin board with-in 35 miles of my home along with placing adds in the Thrifty Nickel.
    3. I lived just off of a county road with light traffic, so having a road-side stand would not have been very productive.
    4. There is a resort town about 50-70 miles away which would have great paying customers during the summer, but I would have to burn 5-7 gallons of fuel round trip. If I were to mow lawns there, it would have to be several of them per day. A great many of the lake-side houses are on extremely steep banks-so steep that you might turn a riding mower over if you turned sideways. The landowners know that, and would expect you to provide proof of insurance.
    I now live in Jefferson City, Mo., which has quite a few wealthy people. Columbia, Mo. is 30 miles away and is also a small city with a good number of well-heeled people. This means that I am now in a great location for getting potential customers who are willing to pay extra for quality.
    I live in my travel trailer in a trailer park. Lot rent is $165 per month and includes water and sewer. If I can find a run down pasture with an abandoned or burned down house which still has a well and sewer that I could lease for, say, 10 years; I could move my travel trailer there. Once that happens, I could potentially raise pastured broilers, sheep, ducks, quail, and later grass-fed cattle. This land MUST have an abundance of water. Ideally, I could start out with 20 acres and lease adjoining fields as I grow. Since I would now have a yard big enough to grow some of my own food and room enough to work on cars, my earnings options will increase.
    So now you see why I must earn more money first. I will need to buy electric fencing supplies, sheep, build or buy a shed for feed and tool storage, shelter for the critters, and be able to earn enough money to keep afloat until marketing time. I hope to begin all of this in early 2019, but I have got to research some things in the meantime.

    • Oh, no, Brian- where I live now, there are nothing BUT tightwad and lower-income people; and people tend to do things for themselves. On the positive side…no Mexican competition either- but I don’t mow anything here, except my own property (Although it wouldn’t be a bad idea. There’s a guy around the corner from me who is building up quite a nice business mowing. Good service works ANYWHERE- ya just have to look for the right customers…and they exist EVERYWHERE. But again, the mowing was just one example…there are all sorts of informal one-man services you can do- and there are equal opportunities regardless of the type of area…just different opportunities, and different ways of doing things.

      When I first moved here, you could pick up old Ford 8N tractors cheap. Meanwhile, nice cleaned-up original parts for 8N’s were going for ridiculous money on Ebay…so….I’d buy perfectly good 8N’s and take them apart down to every last nut and bolt and part ’em out on Ebay. I’d buy a tractor for $1200-$1700…and end up taking in over $6K in parts for each one!

      Ha, I’m in the same position as you in many regards- I’m the outsider- the big city dude in the little county where everyone’s related and there’s one traffic light. No wife or kids either. Locals are vary clannish…and my NY accent is a dead giveaway- but once they see you’re not some snowflake liberal, and that you deal fairly, they’re happy to do business. I like dealing with these people a LOT better than I did dealing with nasty lying scheming NYers. Here, If someone says they’re coming back on Thursday to buy it, and don’t give you a deposit…they still come back!

      But yeah, I hear ya- I was in the same boat for the first 39 years of my life…no land…not even a car early on…but I scraped by and always managed to save some money. In retrospect, those were some of the best years of my life, and were a real edumacation.

      Hey, don’t overlook a used mobile home, either. I got mine for $12K in ’01 and it was only 8 years old at the time. Got one a few years ago for my mother- only $7K (Guy was living in it while he built a nice house, then wanted it gone fast) and bear in mind that my mother is super fussy! It’s damn cheap living! I do have county water though- as I couldn’t afford to try for a well when I moved here. Deep wells are iffy here- there’s natural gas and oil… And shallow wells get run off from all the crap the farmers use. $400 for the county to put in a meter, and a few bucks for 500′ of 1″ PVC….=cheap water.

      I had wanted to get into angora goats when I moved here…but it was easier getting into cows (started with bottle calves)…and since there is a ready market for cows, and could make $400-$500 profit on each cow, I forgot about the goats.

      There’s ALWAYS something else you can do though. I started as a 16 year-old with NOTHING, not even a car- in an apartment in Queens (!)….in my early 30’s I was in the suburbs, and renting a little self-storage unit in which I rebuilt motors…. Ya just gotta think outside the box. It’s been a helluva ride, and a real education. I probably could’ve been out of there sooner had I worked in the system for a few years…but I would’ve been like a caged animal, and bored out of my gourd.

      I’ve had zero regrets, because as Frank Sinatra sang “I did it my wayyyyy”. I eventually got to where I was going…but the thing is, the journey wasn’t wasted. Given the chance to live my life over again, I’d do it the exact same way, only more so!

      • I know that you are giving some good advice by using tactics which worked well for you Nunzio, but why state that I must think “outside of the box” when clearly I am doing so? Can you name one single person who is doing what I am? I have learned a lot by reading books, listening to podcasts, and watching Youtube videos from the likes of Joel Salatin, Greg Judy, Jack Spirko, and one other person whom I cannot remember the name. My plan incorporates a little from each of them along with ideas that I have come up with myself. I really enjoy reading about your experiences, but please do not suggest that I am thinking “inside of the box” when clearly I am not.

        • Oh, nay, nay, Brian! I say “Ya gotta” just in general terms- like “Ya gotta be diligent”- not to imply that the listener isn’t diligent- but just acknowledging that that’s the way one has to be.

          You and I seem to think a lot alike, and to in many ways be leading parallel lives! I think your plans sound great, and it cheers my heart to know that someone else is pursuing this kind of stuff.

          Guess you could say that I’ve been there, done that- and if I can pass on a few of the things I’ve learned (Long before the interwebz- and what no books ever mentioned) it’s only because I know if I had known some of the things I know now, I would have been where I am now, sooner.

          Like the thing about not trying to compete with Walmart/Mexicans for cheapskate customers. Or, not competing with subsidized, price-controlled farmers, etc.

          I used to look at the fact that we stand apart from the system as a disadvantage. As if we just have to take the crumbs we are thrown. But in actuality, I came to see that we are actually at an advantage in many ways- just by the way we think, and by not having our actions dictated, in a world where everyone else is just going along with some formula or program. We can actually shine in such a world!

          Just as there are cheapskates everywhere, so too are there people everywhere who will pay more for better service; higher quality; nicer treatment; integrity; etc.

          Heck, when I was in service businesses, I quickly learned that just showing up on time put me way ahead of everyone else. -and that was just something i did naturally- out of common decency.

  3. The USA debt is $20 trillion or about $65,000 for every man, woman and child in America.

    One idea to pay off the debt might be to ask every American to take on more credit card debt, get a car loan, a private student loan, or a second mortgage for $65,000 and then give these loan payouts to the US government as a gift.

    Americans could then declare bankruptcy. The bankruptcies would fall off their credit reports after 10 years or when Americans die.

    https://aaacreditguide.com/bankruptcy-on-your-credit-report/

    https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/blogs/pay-day-/debt-death-owes-whom-172556863.html

    In return, the US government could forgive all student loans and tax debts. The government could pass a law that says forgiven debts are not taxable. The USA could also end Social Security so that the US government is not on the hook for $211 trillion in entitlements.

    This method would have benefits by getting rid of the US debt and bankrupting the banks that are enslaving Americans.

    The USA would have a massive depression, but would emerge with a fresh start after a few years.

    Maybe the US could also clear the criminal records of every American not convicted of murder and repeal every law except laws against murder and theft so that the USA could start over.

    http://f2bbs.com/bbs

    • So basically screw the saver over as always.
      Here debtor, you’re forgiven. Saver, here’s a bill, your privileged self needs to pay up!

      • Yeah….eliminate debt by creating more. Sounds like the way a politician would reason…which is how they got “us” into this mess. (Well, not me, as I don’t do debt; and I never voted for any politician…so if they think they have a claim over me just by reason of the fact that was born within some lines they drew on a map…good luck with that!)

  4. My father had a Chevy station wagon for a few years when I was a child in the ’70’s. It had a 283 engine, AT, and a rear suspension that would make a sound when something heavy was removed from the rear of it. I almost called it an air suspension, but that sound I heard was not a release of air pressure. Hydraulics? I don’t know. I haven’t heard the same sound since then.
    Eric, you credit Ford Bronco for being the first truck to replace the station wagon in the early ’80’s, but my father bought an International Scout 4X4 in the mid to late ’70’s that was a cross between a station wagon and a truck. I recall dreaming of buying a two-toned blue Chevy Suburban 4X4 when I got old enough during the late ’70’s, and there were plenty of Chevy Blazers around. I never did buy a Suburban because the price of gas doubled just before I turned 16, and the price of 4X4s were out of my league anyway. The formerly cheap Volkswagon Beetle leaped out of my price range during that time as well. I was born a bit too late apparently.

    • Hi Brian,

      I remember them all!

      The main thing in re the Scout and Blazer, etc., is that they were not mass-market and not called “SUVs.” The Bronco II was the first – successful – attempt to make such a vehicle a mass-market vehicle, built for A to B driving by people who went off roading about as often as I watch fuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhtttttttttttball! 🙂

        • Nunz,

          I had an ’88 Wagoneer with the 360 cid V-8.

          The same color and rims and fake wood paneling as Dr. Leo’s in “What About Bob?”.

          Fripping thing was a TANK, loved that truck, like so many others, wish I still had it.

          • Oh, Anti, those first generation Wagoneers and Cherokees were amazing! (For the Wagoneer, 88 was still the old style, right? Even though the Cherokee had already been ruined. IIRC, 89 was the last year for the real Wagoneers?)

            Unfortunately, I’ve had no experience with 360 AMC. I’d love to see how it compares to the 360 Ford.

            • Nunz,

              Yes, that’s right, they were still a full on, heavy duty “truck type” vehicle in 1988.

              The 360 AMC was stronger than the ford 360 FE engine, at least in it’s original configuration. I have had the pleasure of owning and driving both of these engines in a daily driver, the 360 FE in a 1969 F100 and of course the 360 AMC in the 1988 Wagoneer. By 1988 it was smogged out by Uncle Sucker’s fatwas, but it was still a strong engine.

              The 360 from 1969 in that truck of mine would haul ass though.

              The Wagoneer was also the last US made vehicle with a carb.

              The yuppies had been latching on to them, and driving the price up, but I see that the prices have come down some.

              I may have to bid on one.

              • Ah yes, Anti! I had a Ford 360 in my first tow truck, which I used for hauling junk cars (I wasn’t “a tow truck driver” Eff the “accident list” and all of that statist BS!)- I bought the ’76 F350 c. 1996 for a grand and rebuilt the injun in a self-storage locker. Ya could tow anything with that truck…never even knew it was there.

                Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with those early Cherokees/Wagoneers, or any AMC products- except for ones I’d pick up for junk (Shoulda kept the couple of Eagles I had picked up!)- and a much older friend of mine (when I was young) had a brand new Cherokee…and that baby was sweet!

                I remember the absurd prices that first gen. wagoneers were bringing a few years ago! Did the craze die down, or is it that ya just can’t find any more that aren’t rusted?

                I always keep my eyes open for them locally- but sadly, it seems that anything that old that wasn’t preserved as a show vehicle on this side of the country, has serious rust issues (And if it doesn’t, they’ll price it as if it were a show vehicle)

                I’m so sick of seeing all these modern cars…I wish we could go back in time- if for nothing else, just for the cars!

                I think for my next purchase, I’m just gonna have to pony-up and pay for something from out west….’cause i want something from the 70’s or earlier.

  5. What are the odds of seeing SUVs in that payload class? Well…

    The Ford Excursion was a Super Duty–based SUV, and it was discontinued in 2005 after six years of production because of falling sales. Admittedly the lousy economy then did not help. A long version of the Expedition has since served as the closest replacement.

    Chevrolet/GMC/Cadillac does not seem to offer a 3/4–ton equivalent in the Suburban/Yukon/Escalade line, but maybe I’ve missed something. Ram (which was Dodge years ago) has not offered a full-sized SUV in some years, let alone one in the 3/4–ton class.

    I think Eric is onto something, but the automakers might fear the wrath of government and various whiny ninnies should they introduce “super-duty” SUVs. With the push to force the fleet to go electric, this all might be a dead issue several years from now anyway—or so I fear.

    By the way, government attempts to force those who want to buy a new pickup or other light truck to prove a need for the capabilities of the vehicle are increasingly likely, or at least that’s my hunch. Such proposals have appeared in various quarters. That alone would short-circuit any attempts to offer such SUVs.

    What we desperately need is someone to write a sequel to B. Bruce-Briggs’s classic book of 40 years ago, The War Against the Automobile. We’re damned sure in an even worse war today than in the 1970s.

    • I’d LOVE to find a non-rusty 3/4 ton 4×4 Suburban from the 70’s! I’d just modify it buying putting a manual tranny in it, and talk about a SHTF vehicle!

      • I just sold a big old jacked up 4×4 suburban – for $1000 and a S&W m&p 40
        I have a 1952 Suburban in the barn I’m trying to sell? It hasn’t run in 10 years since I parked it there LOL!

          • Those old K5 Blazers are sweet. I used to have an ’85. If you could find one of the rare ones with a stick…ya really had something. (I knew a guy what had one’a them; only one I’d ever seen- but even 20 years ago, the rust had already done it’s thing on it…)

            A real travesty: My best friend’s father had an awesome, mint 87 K5….spent most of it’s time just sitting in the driveway. I would have bought it for a fair price, but his dad never wanted to sell it; and when he finally did start to think of selling it, he thought it was made of platinum or something…. It just kept sitting there, and by the time he finally sold it in the late 90’s, it was a pile of rust- and of course, he had to sell it for practically nothing. What a shame.

      • Used to ride to the job in an old 2wd Chevy Suburban, with a 350 V8 ,don’t know what the difference was but those old V8s felt like big blocks,you wouldn’t believe what that thing would pull.

        • kevin, you and me both. That old Suburban would haul a crew of 5 and do 11o mph all day with the a/c on. We’d have all our work clothes and other clothes plus water coolers(beer) and sometimes dragging a trailer.

          I’ve been 200 miles many times with one flat on the floor. We used em like race cars and sometimes discussed those real men of the 60’s who’d used those same basic engines at 200 mph in NASCAR .

        • Things seemed to work better back then, Kevin & 8.

          I had a 1969 12HP Cub Cadet riding mower recently….that thing would run circles around any new riding mower of twice the horsepower. It had more power than one of my tractors! Sold it to my neighbor…he was using it to push dead cars around at his shop! 12 freaking horsepower!

          • Morning, Nunz!

            You would love my little diesel tractor… it’s an early ’80s Satoh Beaver (Mitsubishi gray market) with a two cylinder mechanical injection diesel and no ’nuffins as far as Uncle-ized irritances. The thing makes something like 22 hp but is a mule. 4WD, dual PTOs. I love the damned thing!

            • Ah, I know that tune, Eric!

              I have a li’l Case IH with a 3 cyl. Mitsubishit diesel! Have had it for years and work it hard, and nothing ever goes wrong with it. Simple as a doorknob; all mechanical…. Every time I look at it, I just say “Why can’t we still have cars and trucks like this?!” -and it runs forever on a gallon of fuel!

            • Allis Chalmers WD here. Thinking about replacing the distributor with a magneto so I don’t have to worry about battery and starter maintenance.

              Those little two and three cylinder diesels have a lot of power for their size.

              • How you going to start that thing , is the engine the same size as a WD45( 226 cid)? better have you health insurance paid up if it kicks back. The way we cured those things was with a 12Volt battery and a Delco S1 alternator , if the Bendix would stand it those old 3 main bearing 4 cylinder engines would really whiz.

    • ekramp, 3.4T and 4WD Suburbans are replete in Tx. A friend has a collection he robs from to keep his 4WD’s alive. They’re mostly 80’s models and some 70’s but they run well(the ones he wants to run). I love those old Suburbans you could put a sheet of plywood on the floor and shove a couple pallets into it. Not possible now since they’ve got that stupid “edgy” planed down roof in the back. I’ve seen plenty of boats in the back of them too.

      Another thing that’s not new but not seen a great deal is fenders of a dually pickup grafted onto a Suburban and the requisite dually rear axle and springs. Probably DOT would pick on you now since everything they see is fair game.

      • Those 70’s and 80’s ‘Burbans were the last of the real “utility vehicles”, when they actually had utility and weren’t just for sport. Real trucks, with rubber-clad floors and vinyl seats, that ya could actually haul stuff in and do work with; and a bulletproof simple drivetrain, where everything was accessible, and other than the ignition module in the distributor, no electronics or computers.

  6. Heavy duty trucks are great for heavy duty applications. But for mere commuting, they are almost ridiculous.

    I’m not talking about the mpg, but rather the ponderous handling, and the high difficulty factor involved in parking in even a generously sized suburban spots. Although riding high has its charms, all other “fun to drive” factors are completely gone.

    They’re not exactly affordable, either.

    So I really doubt that new 3/4+ ton trucks will prove to be the “last redoubt” for very many buyers.

  7. Do you mean, emulate the caricatures of people LeMay they have in their heads? Oh, probably quite a few.

    If you mean the actual historical man, though, then not too many, apparently, because he tended towards brutal but also honest and frank descriptions of the command of a total war. Sure, they’d say something like the quote above, celebrate it even, but chances are you couldn’t also get them to say anything as plain and honest about war as other quotes from him on that very same page, like the following:

    “Killing Japanese didn’t bother me very much at that time… I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal…. Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you’re not a good soldier.”

    Or:

    “I’d like to see a more aggressive attitude on the part of the United States. That doesn’t mean launching an immediate preventive war…”

    Or:

    “As far as casualties were concerned I think there were more casualties in the first attack on Tokyo with incendiaries than there were with the first use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The fact that it’s done instantaneously, maybe that’s more humane than incendiary attacks, if you can call any war act humane. I don’t, particularly, so to me there wasn’t much difference. A weapon is a weapon and it really doesn’t make much difference how you kill a man. If you have to kill him, well, that’s the evil to start with and how you do it becomes pretty secondary. I think your choice should be which weapon is the most efficient and most likely to get the whole mess over with as early as possible.”

    His capability to approach and accept such realities of war made him a pretty good general, actually. Doesn’t mean you’d want him in charge of anything else necessarily, to say the least. Professional soldiering tends to ruin most people for any other place in society, given enough time and involvement. In fact, I’d argue a frank assessment of the sordid nature of any combat is absolutely necessary to wholly appreciate why war ought not to be entertained so lightly as so very many governments and even individuals are wont to do.

    War is what happens when civilized processes, both formal and informal, break down to the point that one state decides to settle some grievance- real or perceived- with another (or more) by large-scale murder. LeMay made statements to that effect several times, and quotes like the one in the parent comment were generally in response to questions about the rule or law of war from idealistic journalists, sometimes preening about the allies’ moral superiority in WWII. He saw the notion of any law or morality or honor in warfare as self-evidently absurd, as law and rule and basic human decency had necessarily been completely abandoned already at that point, or else there would have been no war to deal with in the first place, so just end it as quickly as possible. Brutal, arguably either from a schizoid or psychopathic mind, but also a very good reason to to say that you’d damn well have a *very* good reason for war in the first place if you even entertain the notion, to put it lightly.

    Unlike the frequent regional and proxy wars waged for indeterminate duration and for nebulous to foolhardy to downright reprehensible motives and goals that I’ve been witness to my whole life.

    • I guess if you’re good at something why not be the best?

      The problem becomes that we are forced to begrudgingly accept the idea that we need people like him to protect us, much like the famous “you can’t handle the truth” speech from A Few Good Men. Once you accept that the only solution is violence you open up a Pandora’s box of horrible atrocities. Atrocities that destroy everyone. The victor (no winners) at least only has to deal with the aftermath of his action. The loser of course loses his life.

      • I wouldn’t argue you with me RK. It’s simply depressing in that I have fought this “war” since the 60’s. I do get tired of hearing the media persuaded dolts “carrying on”. Please……give me a frickin break.

  8. I figure that if the market had been left largely alone, with only the real emissions to be concerned about a 2017 large station wagon would probably pull in somewhere in the low 20s mpg wise if not higher in real world use. This would be as good or better than most of what people have ended up driving instead.

    But the market hasn’t been left alone so no balance can be found. Everything is pushed to extremes to pass government tests.

    Of course the goal is that we aren’t to have private passenger automobiles. Those aiming for that goal likely didn’t think the automobile manufacturers would be able to make it this far.

    • The last old “waterbugs” and “Roach coaches” would hit in the high twenties on a trip, that was with the 350 engine.

  9. my family is a perfect example of this article. My wife and I both went to trucks in the early 90’s cause the cars sucked. And we didn’t like the trucks, but we dealt with them because of the simple facts you mentioned.
    We even went 3/4 ton trucks in the early 2000’s because the 1/2 ton engines got smaller and smaller, I guess right around the time ‘light trucks’ became part of CAFE. makes sense.

    ps: we just vacationed in the carribbean (non-US), and the cars here are all different than ours. I asked the cabbies how much for really nice vans they drive. $20K new. That similar vehicle here in US would be $35-40K easy. Our crony capitalistic system between our Gov and automakers has and will continue to hurt us.

    • $20K for a nice van…meanwhile here, $20K would buy a UTV that isn’t even street legal, and is little more than a glorified golf-cart.

  10. Eric, this a terrific article explaining why Crossover Hell exists!

    Even though they rotted on the vine, you have to give Ford credit for keeping the Panther sedans around as long they did. Panther was a result of the downsizing that took place after Uncle stuck his nose in, but they still remained large enough to be a true full-sizer. Those cars ended up being the last of the true, traditional full-size sedans. They were far more useful than the modern sedan. They didn’t have fastback rooflines that cut into headroom. They also had the bench seat to accommodate an additional passenger. The trunks were spacious, and they didn’t have those stubby decklids like modern sedans have.

    If it wasn’t for Uncle, these cars would be thriving. I can easily imagine a new traditional full-sizer that’s fresh and attractive (including the bench seat) without alienating younger demographics. They would even come with a big, powerful V8 and offer performance upgrades.

    • Thanks, Handler – and amen re the Panther and the last of the traditional sedans. These new fastback/high-assed things are atrocities. Functionally as well as regards – yes – saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety! The visibility rearward is horrendous (hence all the Band Aids, such as rear cross traffic alert and back-up cameras) and the trunks tend to be absurdly small relative to the size of the car.

      It makes my teethe ache…

      • Last Sunday I went for a drive on some forest service roads. It had snowed on Saturday so the roads had a layer of slush and mud. At one point the chimes went off and the display warned “Blind spot detection disabled,” or words to that effect. I looked at the mirror and the yellow triangles were both on, even though I was the only vehicle for miles around. It was the mud. It covered the sensors so badly that they shut down.

        Kind of funny considering I was driving it in a way the marketing suggested is appropriate for the vehicle. I even put the transmission in mud mode. That it even has a mud mode should send a red flag to the blind spot sensor engineers that perhaps they should test on muddy roads.

        Seems to me if you’re going to engineer something that you want us to rely on you better damn well make sure you make it reliable.

      • eric, I’ve seen people do a bit of body work to Suburbans and adding fenders off one ton dually trucks with a dually axle for decades. They look fine when done correctly and are hellacious people and tow vehicles rolled into one. An old 3/4T 4WD done that way is quite striking looking.

        I have never understood why GM didn’t make a Duramax Suburban like Ford did with the Excursion. Go to Mexico and you can have one……but you’d have to sneak one over in an enclosed trailer to even get one into the US. Fatwa’s……dammit!

        • Better yet, 8, drop a 12V Cummins in an Excursion! I believe it’ll bolt up to V-19’s tranny. Now we’re talkin’! Hmmm…..in a few hundred thousand miles, if my V-10 ever blows (‘Course, with how little I drive, I’ll be 187 when that happens…)

  11. Have been looking without success to purchase a low miles (under 120K) Excursion(Enclosed F250) with Eddie Bauer Package, 4×4, 7.3 Diesel…They haven’t been made since 2003…I have also been looking a a Crew Cab 2500 of the GMC variety in Diesel, the latest two styles…and noticed that the prices are nosebleed…almost as much as when new…

    My reason…Diesel (600 mi highway range-room for a reserve tank), no EPA fatwa yet…

    Would I buy an available Jetta TDI? Yes, if I could register it…which seems like no…Would I consider the RAM 1500 in EcoDiesel, or the GMC/Chevy Colorado with Diesel? Yes, but seems like same issue…Buying a Work Truck with Sedan like luxury seems the only option…Shame really…

    • Stucki,

      If you come across a V10 Excursion, GRAB it! They can often be had for half or less the price of a 7.3 (You’ll have to drive a long way before you’d use enough gas to make a higher-cost 7.3 pay…); they’re geared really low, so can tow like a diesel, and they’re AWESOME. Eddie Bauer? Didn’t know they came in that- but I got my Limited for $4500 and it’s the best vehicle I’ve ever had. I’ll never get rid of it untill I leave this country.

      The 7.3’s, while the best of the “modern diesels”, still are not like the good old simple *real* diesels…and they’re now at the age where all of the electronics and delicate fuel system components are failing left and right; ditto the turbo stuff, and all the little O-rings and seals which keep all that high-pressure oil inside. Everyone I know who has one (just about everyone!) is going nuts fixing one thing after another.

      And of course, don’t even THINK of a 6.0.

      Mine with the V-10 drives like a sports car. 175K miles on it. Still feels like a new vehicle, ’cause unlike pick-ups, they’re not used like “trucks”.

      There is NO going back once you get one.

      • Nun, not sure I could deal with a Triton if it were given to me. The company has a 3/4T 4WD crewcab with Triton power. I’ve never seen anything eat so much gas. It sits a lot cause nobody wants to feed it cue Little House of Horrors.

        I had no experience with one before and now know why so few were sold and why they can be had cheap.

        • 8, you’re a brandist! [It’s like a racist, only for cars… 😉 )

          Tell ya the truth, I’ve been driving nothing but Tritons for the last 17 years- 4.6, 5.4 and 6.8. NEVER one problem with ’em (But I stick to pre-’04….don’t want none’a that variable cam timing or propensity to drop valves…).

          Yeah, they’re not going to win any points with the greenies for MPG- but then again, that has more to do with Ford gearing everything so damn low. My Exc. gets 11MPG (driving briskly rural roads and town) with 4.30 gears. Imagine if it had 3.73’s?! She’d get 15MPG easy…not bad for an 6,000 lb, vee-hickle.

          What Ford gas truck gets good MPGs? My 81 2-wheel drive F250 back in the day with the 300 I-6 used to get 10MPG!

          • Nun, I wasn’t aware Ford even made anything but a 10 cylinder branded “Triton”. My bad there. And that truck isn’t anywhere near 8,000 lbs, more like the 6,000 you posited. But sucking gas is it’s forte, probably less than half what my old messed up 454 with 4.10 gears got and that sumbitch would dig down deep and get it.

            I still wouldn’t have one because of the way it rides though. You can feel every pebble in the blacktop and there’s absolutely no excuse for it with most of its springs being on the “overload” section.

            But a friend had a 5.4(Triton?)in a 3/4T 4WD ext cab that he dubbed “Slurp” because of the lack of fuel mileage. I wouldn’t tell you my old 454 would pass a gas station but it would damn sure pass everything else pulling a big load on a trailer. And you’re right, I am a “brandist” and for damn good reason. My boss said the other day “Yep, the GM’s are higher than everything else….and there’s a damn good reason for it”….and he owns the V 10 pickup too. He likes it so much that it recently(3-4 weeks ago)had the battery give up. he finally bought a battery but just can’t seem to get it installed even though he’s a good mechanic. All the drivers laugh cause they know he doesn’t want to feed it. I don’t blame him. His Duramax literally eats up ground that Ford would have you begging for mercy on and never gives up anything.

            These days Ford probably has decent transmissions and good diesels but gas engines? Nah. One of the drivers has one. He won’t admit it but it’s always something it needs.

            I saw yesterday a video on Trucks.com of a couple guys driving a new Ford 250 with a gasoline engine. One commented on the good ride it had. Turns out it didn’t have any of the original suspension in the rear, just a straight bag system. Ok then(movie dialogue from Raising Arizone).

            Now I’ll fess up on my 2000 Z 71 that gets 13.5 mpg at 80 mph. That’s just horrible for a half ton pickup. I want another ’93 6.5 one ton 4Wd ext cab long bed but can’t find one. And I’m pissed Edelbrock sold out their shock division and now the IAS Performer is no more. It had faster reaction times than electronic shocks(look it up)and rode like an old Caddy. That truck was so tight you had to slam the door or roll down the window a bit. No muffler but totally quiet inside and an a/c with R 12 that would freeze you out.

            I shaved that truck and blacked it out inside and out with a black grill and front end. My dad’s neighbor said it was the “blackest” truck he’d ever seen. I said of his Dodge, Sorta like your dodge is the reddest I’ve ever seen. He laughed, I did too. But my windows were black too and I loved that. The windows are a big thing in Tx. since it’s hot hot hot. I used to park it with the rear facing the sun as the sunfighter headache rack(home-made) kept the cab cool….if not the door handles. People in Tx. commonly keep a pair of gloves handy to open the doors on their vehicles in the sun. You learn to flick that handle quickly….like the second time ha ha.

            I don’t see Ford and Dodge being on the back burner but it’s the people who have via businesses such as farmers who always seem to prefer GM’s.

            On another note, this year in the patch it’s racer boy pickups(for those young guys who don’t work….and old 90’s GM’s for those that do). The big jacked up GM and Dodge with some strange name on the end gatr and Fords of all types with big tires and jacked up more in the front than back. All us old truckers sorta snicker at the whole lot of them since their damn bumpers are too high to pull a trailer and few have them set up to do so. It’s the new sportscar from the Big 3.

            • Hi, 8,

              Nah… My Exc. scales just under 8K lbs- 7850 or thereabouts. A 2WD with a 5.4 weighs 6600. A 4×4 with a 7.3 comes in at 8300 if memory serves. They’re much heavier than Suburbans.

              Granted, most Ford gas-engined light trucks suck with MPGs (So do their diesels, compared to comparable Dodges)…but as I’ve said, I don’t think it’s the engines…it’s the fact that Ford gears everything so darn low.

              I remember my old 81 F250- 300 I-6….10MPG in a 2WD truck! But again…low gears, and a “4 speed” tranny which was really a 3 speed, ’cause the granny gear was useless. (Talk about harsh rides….THAT truck rode like a farm tractor!)

        • You can’t give Me a Triton and I used to consider my self a Ford Man, if I was to buy a brand new 150( no chance ) I would either go with the Coyote or the 2.7 V-6 and hope nothing ever happened to the turbos. This forced induction to get diesel torque has to have a downside, probably the best equation would be a 6.0 LS in a Silverado. Due to salesmen Ford and Ram are getting put on the backburner.

          • I’ve never understood the Triton hate. One of mine- the 4.6, I had for 15 years…and it had 240K on it WHEN I BOUGHT it! Most trouble-free reliable engine I’ve ever had.

            I stay away from V-6’s. Inline sixes were almost always bulletproof….V-6’s? Never met a good one. Putting turbos on ’em, just makes ’em worse.

            • Morning, Nunz!

              On the 4.6/5.4 V8s: They’re torque-deficient vs. the GM V8s; also, they are much more complicated V8s, being OHC designs vs. the GM OHV layout (which is also more compact and that makes them a lot easier to work on in the vehicle).

              Nothing really wrong with them. But – my opinion – the GM V8s are better.

              • Hi, Eric!

                I’ll take your word for it about the GM’s- I really don’t have any experience with ’em since the 70’s/80’s 350’s (Who couldn’t love the old 350’s?!) since I avoid GM vee-hickles….

                And you know that I DO hate needless complexity…but the pre-2004 Tritons with JUST the OHCs and no VCT really are still pretty simple (04 and up, with VCT and added valcves are a different story! I avoid those).

                Granted, they’re not the most powerful injuns…but remember, a 4.6 is only 281 cubic inchers.

                Any time people question their reliability, I remind ’em that they were the engines in countless work vans, commercial Town Cars and limos, and would rack up insane mileage without trouble. Fleet owners loved ’em.(As much as they hated the Ford 6.0 diesels…which caused a lot of ’em to switch back to gas injuns)

                I knew a guy who owned a few limos…..one had 450K miles on it’s original Triton, with nothing ever being done to the engine- and i believe it, ’cause of the van I had with 300K on it’s 4.6…which I sold to a guy who was going to use it for worker transport.

                Those good old GM V-8’s though….AHhhh! Man! If only GM would have stuck to producing stuff of that quality!

            • The good V6 was the GM 3800. Good power for their size and anvil reliable, even the boosted versions.
              Is a moot point however since they aren’t made anymore….

            • The ones have been around have ridiculous issues with valve timing ,spitting out spark plugs , little power ,mediocre fuel economy, Give Me an LS any day , I don’t want to go on .

              • Those would be the ’04 and newer- which have 3 valves per cylinder and Variable Cam Timing- those have a propensity to drop valves, too. I wouldn’t have a post ’03 – but then again, that goes for just about any engine/vehicle, because the more time goes on, the more crap they have on ’em, thanks to the EPA fartwars to force them to get 1/10th of an MPG better mileage…..

  12. F this country!
    F this gov’t!
    F the people who support it!

    Is there anything they haven’t totally ruined? From toilets, to cars, to women!

    (Hmmmm, I’m seeing a pattern here: Pretty much everything men love!)

      • Hi Escher,

        Triple amen that.

        For me, a DUI would be a career-ender as far as reviewing cars. The car companies check for such convictions and if you have one, forget it. Worse than being politically incorrect, even.

        Now, I don’t drive “drunk.” I don’t consider a beer or two “drunk” or even close to “drunk.” But it’s too close to comfort for any encounter with an armed government worker manning a checkpoint (sieg heil!) so I don’t ever have even a single drink if I am going to have to drive.

        Which, of course, is what they want. De facto Prohibition.

        I am amazed there are still bars; that they are able to keep their doors open. That restaurants have enough people buying alcohol to make it worth serving.

        • Hi, Eric,

          “I am amazed there are still bars; that they are able to keep their doors open. That restaurants have enough people buying alcohol to make it worth serving.”

          It just shows how utterly clueless and unconcerned most people are. Just like with the TSA.

          The country nextdoor to me voted to go “moist” a few years ago. Which meant that you still couldn’t buy a beer or a bottle of booze…but you could go to a restaurant and drink. Just shows that it’s not about “saaaafety”, but rather about the thousands the system makes off of every DUI.

          Now the county has gone totally wet….

          Funny thing too: The former sheriff of that county, who used to arrest people for bootlegging (Selling alcohol in the county, brought in from elsewhere) after being convicted of beating a handcuffed suspect and conspiring with deputies to cover it up, now works at a liquor store…selling alcohol. Oh, it’s O-K, because now some guys somewhere wrote on a piece of paper that it is now, and had some other guys sign the piece of paper. Before that, it was “wrong” and so one would go to jail for selling alcohol.

          If that isn’t the most perfect example of the mercenary nature of pigs, I don’t know what is. You cage people one day for doing something…and then the next, you can do the very same thing with no penalty because apparently the only thing defining morality to these creeps, is what some other “special” men decree- they apparently believe that SOME men have the right to define what is right and what is wrong; and the decrees or prohibitions of such men are the only things which they feel obligated to force others to abide by.

          • Rumor has it that the Vail (Colorado) police chief and Eagle county sheriff were amongst the first applicants for recreational marijuana permits after the town voted for allowing pot shops.

          • Nunzio,

            You have just described the utter malevolence and bureaucratic buggery of every malum prohibitum law ever written, from food, drug or alcohol prohibition, to gun control to speeding regulations…the list is endless.

            If there is no victim, readily identifiable, then there is no crime.

            But just and explain that to AmeriKunts in 2018.

            Might as well be speaking Klingon.

            • Exactly, AF. People aren’t content to just live their lives, and to restrain trespasses against their person or property. No; they’re not content unless they can dictate the behavior of others, and empower violence and caging to do so.

              It’s all about “the law”, “just obey the law!”, “You can’t do that, because it’s against the law; but you can do this because it’s not against the law”.

              That is why there is no fighting this, because it is a mentality; a religion, which has been long ingrained and is culture-wide.

              We’d have to fight the whole western world; and an ideology which has destroyed all of the traditional institutions of society, from Christianity to common law.

              He who makes the laws; he whom one obeys, is his god/elohim/judge. People, through democracy and servitude have elevated mere men to the office of gods.

              And who doesn’t serve that god? Can you walk into a home anywhere in America, and not see a picture on display of a husband or son or grandson or nephew in a government/military uniform, to which all pay homage?

              They send their children off to kill and be killed in the service of their god…and think that they are so much better than the Moozlims. At least the Moozlims are fighting a real enemy, who has done them harm.

              • Exactly Nunzio’s. As Henry David Thoreau once said: Any fool can make a law, and any fool will obey it. I have accused some people of deifying the state, Constitution, or the flag, and they claimed to not really worship those things. Really? God does not demand public displays of prayer or worship. The state expects us to pubically place our hands over our hearts while reciting the pledge of allegiance. The state demands that soldiers salute the flag. The church asks for 10% of the income of it’s members. The state demands 30+% from everyone who earns money.

          • Well if you see one that looks like they have been eating sour grapes, they are usually ticket writing machines and any Police officer should be evaluated mentally before they get to interact with the Public.
            The biggest trouble with Policemen or Woman? , there are just too many of them in this nanny state country, The good ones are sometimes hard to find.
            A Con in prison told me(an English professor I think) that the trouble in the West really got bad when someone was wealthy and unwilling to settle things themselves, they hired a Bully called a Sheriff and in retrospect ( contrary to what Hollywood shows) He may have had a point there. It brings to mind when a piece of plastic lawn furniture blew off the back of my pickup and a Hispanic lady was following to close to avoid it( it may have scratched the air dam or something up on Her late model Chevy I don’t know ) I risked my life crossing the friggin road when I turned around and back and cleaned the Interstate ( a few pieces of cheap plastic) I met with the Lady and gave Her my insurance and made peace, was getting ready to leave when a Hero showed up and gave me the hard case and a $100 dollar ticket, beings I lived 200 hundred or so miles away He gave Me a Break and checked the box on the summons so I could pay by Phone( Lucky Me) such things drove home a point to Me , when the ” Heros ” arrive someone is going to get a ticket.

            • There are no more good cops, Kevin & Critters. With the training methods that have been in place for at least the last 25 years, NO decent person would even sit through the classes without being disgusted; much less expect to work within such a nefarious system. Anyone with even a shred of decency would run.

            • Hi Kevin,

              We are, of course, battling against synergies – multiple things that all trend toward less liberty and more authoritarianism. One of the “biggies,” in my view, is the change in culture – away from Can Do (and leave him alone, he ain’t bothering you) to a sickening (to me) passivity combined with poltroonish busybodyism. A nation full of people who fester to control other people but are too cowardly to perform the act themselves and so rely on “heroes” to do it for them.

              • Exactly! Just like the cowardly little worm we both know and love here in Bleaksburg. I wonder what rock he is currently hiding under? Maybe he went to visit his “golden state” and can’t get home.

            • The only problem with Police in my part of the country, is that they are armed. This is what allows them to “pull people over”. Without arms they would simply rather take a picture of your license plate and mail you their demand for money. (ticket)

        • eric, think it would be a career ender for you? Me and “Wild” Bill do 75(for the most part)down the road with beer in hand. It would kill our CDL’s but we “need” a cold one at the end of the day. The stuff I do these days eats trucks, trailers and drivers. I guess we don’t care that much anymore. Not only are the paths(not roads)rough as to kill everything on them but this past week we had to cross our fingers to not get big ice chunks off wind generators when the temp got slightly above 32.

          And Kevin, these days in big rigs that shit that breaks like sealed front hubs instead of oilers you can keep an eye on will hopefully happen at low speed and you can live to speak of it but if Robocop comes on the scene you’ll get a “Failure to control” or some such bs….just what you need when your entire life has passed in front of you and you’re still shaking thinking it could have been a mile down the road where there’s a big canyon and you’d hit it about 70mph. Sure, it was failure to control and now if I can just find the steering tire and wheel…..and hub……not that it will be any good but who wants to pay for somebody else to find it? I’ve been damn lucky….but don’t expect it to last forever.

          My cousin asked when I was going to hang it up. I replied “When that steering tire goes and I can’t hold it out of that gulch, canyon, etc”. I’m considering that new wheel polishing bidness….but it’s the call of the road….

          • 8South, I have been pulled over by the DOT coproaches twice in less than a month while going through weigh stations. The first time a porker who makes either of us short guys seem quite tall could not reach the windshield to place the sticker on, so he stuck it on the trailer instead. I switch trailers at least once per week, so doing that didn’t help me at all to prevent the next one. I did have a couple of minor failures during that inspection. The tractor rear drive axle automatic slack adjusters no longer self-adjusted, and the license plate light was out on the trailer.
            Less than a month later I got pulled into another weigh station DOT inspection with exactly the same tractor. They shut me down because the right steer axle brake chamber air hose was rubbing against the tire when the wheels were turned sharply, and they gave ME a ticket for it even though I do not own the truck, and the shop mechanic had overlooked that problem during a very recent service. The ABS light also didn’t work on the trailer.
            I have had electronic logs since I first started working for this company several months ago. The first morning I happened to take off 2 minutes before my 10 hour break was completed, and the ELD flagged me for that violation. Fortunately, I wasn’t pulled over during the time that the ELD has to display recent logs. Last week a couple of days after the latest DOT inspection I had to drive for 45 minutes past the 11 hour driving limit, and now I have to hope like hell that I don’t get pulled over at a weigh station again for another week and a half. The assignments here do not include expected travel mileage, so I was unable to estimate driving time until the last load. I was then so short on time in the 14 hour rule that I took off driving in a hurry because I also needed fuel. I hate the state!!!!

            • I should also add that it was foggy that night, and I got delayed gettin homebecause an accident stopped traffic for about 15-20 minutes. Those facts might not matter if I get pulled over with-in the next 1.5 weeks if the coproach is intent on robbing me on behalf of the state. My choice would be either to pay up or hire an extremely expensive lawyer.
              “And I am proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free!” /sarc

            • How much more will the state have to do before you guys stop putting up with this crap and walk away?

              Just like in Atlas Shrugged, it is only non-participation by the competent that will make the system crumble. Let ’em ship in more third-worlders to do all of these jobs….they don’t comply so easily, and they wreak havoc because of lack of concern for real safety; and incompetence.

              When all of the real-world blue-collar positions are held by them, the enforcers won’t even be able to keep up, unless they have one Dumb Overweight Tard [DOT] nazi and one cop for every truck on the road.

              They’ll either have to relax the tyranny to attract the competent back…or let their system grind to a halt- either way we win.

              Keep playing their game…and they win.

              I choose to earn a fraction of what I could earn, because liberty is more important. I’d clean terlits for cash before I’d put myself in a position where they have any more control over me.

              • I have tried to get hired doing other jobs, but it isn’t that easy because you have to start at nearly the bottom of the pay scale. Remember, there are many thousands of school grads competing with your old ass. (You and I are about the same age, so please do not get offended)
                I am still trying to become self-employed, but I need to earn money NOW to maintain my life and to prepare for that time.

                • Tell me about it, Brian! Took me the first 39 years of my life to get out of NYC, because I’d never acquiesce to the system.

                  After taxes and all the other BS, do you really make all that much driving a truck? Chances are, just doing a few simple things, like mowing lawns or being a handyman, for cash (and freedom) would equal what ya make, without having to cave to the state. Flip cars or other items of value….there are a million things ya can do- individually or in combination…you’d be surprised.

                  I don’t mean to pick on you personally- it’s none of my business- I’m just trying to illustrate a point…but think:

                  If even we Libertarians will not break free of the tyrannical system; if we will not even take what steps we can to preserve our own autonomy and freedom; if we can be bought-off for a few gfrand…..then what hope is there for anyone else, if we can’t even live by the principles we preach?

                  Imagine if Eric had caved, and reasoned that he had to do whatever was required to keep his job in the mainstream press because it paid more? We’d have no website here!

                  If freedom were easy….everybody’d be free. In a world of tyranny, freedom often comes at great cost- but oftentimes, we are not willing to give anything for it.

                  Again, I’m not directing this at you personally- just something to think about, for you or anyone who is in a similar sitchy-ation.

                  This is how we lost our freedom- our fathers didn’t think it was worth giving up anything for.

                  Me? I’ve worked it so that I can keep my income below taxable level (and I live quite nicely on that pittance -without taxes or debt) because fuck all if I’ll ever send off any paper to Uncle informing them of my every financial transaction and every stitch of labor I’ve engaged in. I’ll die first, because I will not live as a slave and a vassal.

                  • Hi Nunz,

                    I have always had a weird streak going for me . . . or against me. It is part of the reason why I went off the mainstream media reservation. I never wanted to live in Manhattan, for instance. That was helpful in terms of not taking the job at the Wall Street Journal back in the ’90s. Eve though the money would have been stupid – a country saying; it means excessive – and the prominence I might and probably would have achieved would have been what others would slit throats for – I could not abide the idea of living in the hive, irrespective of those boons.

                    I like being out in the Woods. Would not give it up for a seven figure salary. But then, I am weird!

                    • And you chose wisely, Eric! Of what value is money if you can’t live as you want to?

                      The simple pleasures and freedom we enjoy, can not be had in NYC for ANY price. They simply do not exist there.

                      Living amongst the brainwashed braindead thronging masses SUCKS- it doesn’t matter even if you have a limo- because who cares if they are impressed? -and you still know that they are there, and have to deal with their BS every day, and the BS from the socialists whom they elect.

                      Ironically, my neighbor here has a cousin who moved to NY (It’s like they traded me for him!) and became quite prominent and makes obscene money…but he can’t look out his window and see grass and cows, and hear peace and quiet….and he has become one of them- as he now supports their liberal causes and ideas….

                      You didn’t sell your soul. Your rewards are far greater than what their money can buy.

                  • Who is caving Nunzio? Certainly not I I have considered those types of jobs, but around here I would be lucky to earn $300 per week because the local market is flooded with people doing those things already. I make at least double that amount presently. I am working toward a goal of leasing fixer-upper pasture and putting small livestock on them along with doing some online marketing, but I need more money to do those things.

                    • Story of my life too, Brian, before I got my few acres. -Only even worse, being in NYC at the time.

                      Remember though, what you can do on your own, you only need about half of what you’re actually paid at your job, since a lot of what you earn on the job is eaten up by taxes, and other job-related expenses.

                      The mowing and stuff was just a for instance- there are always things one can do.

                      Even with the mowing though, I did that for a while in NY- and yeah, you can’t compete on PRICE with a Mexican who’ll mow a yard for $25- but you can compete on service- for customers who are willing to pay MORE for a better job, and showing up on time, and not blowing the clippings into the pool, etc. Those are the kind of customers ya want, anyway…not the cheapskates who just looking for the rock-bottom price.

                      Again- not just specific to mowing. The above was the best business lesson I ever learned- ‘specially for micro businesses. A lot of people are willing to pay for quality and dependability….and that is where a one-man or very small business shines.

                      If ya try and compete with Walmart, or the wetbacks, you make nothing. A lot of people do that on Ebay…and end up working for free.

                      Another great thing is to maximize your time. I don’t spend much time working- but I want to make $50/hr. when I do work…or pretty close to it- and I do – otherwise, I just can’t be bothered. And it’s not hard to do- e.g. if buying and selling, deal with bigger ticket items where you can make $500 on one sale, rather than 10 transactions where ya’d only make $50. Stuff like that maximizes your time and reduces expenses. We’ve never been taught this though.

                      But hey, if you can deal with the electronic spy in your truck, and the DOT Nazis and pigs and permits and licenses, and it doesn’t make ya scream….don’t let me interfere. Me? Wouldn’t be long before I’d be aiming the truck for the guy flagging me down, and flooring it.

              • Oh Nunz – how I agree. lol. Already in Houston EVERY SINGLE DUMP TRUCK is driven by an illegal alien. When they get pulled over in court they say “yo soy mexicano” and they are out of jail two days later for time served. WAY cheaper than complying with the DOT.

                • Hi JOhnny DOH and Nunzio, I got hired last October by a new start up company to drive dump truck, but the customer we were contracted to was less than honest about how much work he had for us, so the company shut down for thewinter. Around here, dump truck driving is at best a part time job. I needed moremoney, so I started driving semi-truck regionally. I get home most nights, but I have to deal with weigh stations and electronic log books again.

                  • Brian, I had always wanted to be a trucker when I was a kid- It was a natural- Not an OTR driver, but either local or at least on a part-time basis or at least in some capacity…

                    They used to leave truckers alone. Unless they were doing something really stupid and blatant, no one bothered them, even in commie NY. Of course, by the time I grew up, it was quite different…with random stops by the DOT; taxes and fees galore…and of course, it just kept getting worse, until it became what it is now.

                    Trucking was like the last bastion of real manhood….and now they’ve cut that down to submit & obey & cower, as the last frontier for them to feminize.

                    At one time truckers were about freedom and independence….today, one must be about complying, and papers comrade, and dotting I’s and crossing T’s…and like near everything else, if there’s any thought of autonomy, freedom or disobedience left in you, it will be driven from you if you want to continue to be a trucker on Uncles roads.

                    • When I was a kid (one lane hiways where you drove in the middle and had to scoot over when any car came the other direction) If you had car trouble a trucker was the first to stop and help. They were like road angels.

                • Same back in NY, J-Doh. A “landscaper” (Apparently a euphemism for illegal Mexican or South American or Dominican) driving a one-ton dump and trailer with a beer in hand, no insurance and no license, can take out a family of 5 in a minivan, and it’s “No problemo”- we’d be hassled more for going 3MPH over the speed limit on a sunny day with no other cars in sight.

                  I often thought: If we renounced our US citizenship; went to Belize and changed our name and became a naturalized Belize citizen, and then snuck back over the border, and lived freely, ignoring all of “their” laws, and speaking Spanish when confronted, how that would work?

                  Not that it would be worth it today though, with this country being the shit-hole it now is. When I leave, I ain’t coming back!

  13. “Once pumped, gas is theirs to burn ” Amen. I remember back in the Carter “oil crisis” days the whole meme that “if the trucks stop running WE ALL DIE” This lie is still repeated to this day. Its like the old book from the 30’s “Disaster through air power” which argued that bombing was SO effective that there would never be another ground war. In fact after bombing a plant in Germany, the workers would show up the next day, clear away the debris and be back to making the product within days. Had they dropped money instead of bombs those workers probably would stay at the beer garden instead of going back to building artillery pieces. Fact is the free market handles scarcity awesomely efficiently. No need for central planners to “keep us safe”. (from ourselves)

      • RK, not many I’d guess since the BO administration got rid of so many occifers. For a while, Generals were quitting left and right.

        But not to worry, the Donald has literally doubled down on the number of troops in Iraq even though they have no support and nobody in Iraq is a threat to shit….other than US troops…..

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