The Anti-Corona

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It’s hard to sustain a state of panic, a sense of imminent doom, when the sun is shining, the breeze is warm – and you’re getting your classic car ready for spring.

This is a necessary and therapeutic annual ritual. Like the first green shoots and buds on the trees, it marks the end of the dead season and the beginning of a new beginning. We could all use a lot of that right now.

The basics first. Air up the tires, check all the fluids; a general walk-around and close inspection. Cars that sit for weeks and months have different needs – and develop different problems – than regularly used cars.</p>

For example, there’s more to check than just the air in the tires. Cars that are driven regularly usually wear out their tires before the tires age out. Cars that aren’t driven regularly often have tires with plenty of tread but hairline cracks on the sidewall and maybe also structural deterioration you can’t even see –  the result of age and oxidation of the compounds that make rubber pliable.

My car is driven maybe 500 miles each year. Its tires will never go bald . Well, maybe the rear tires will – from burnouts – but you get the point. Unless you drive your classic car at least a few thousand miles each year, it is very likely the tires you buy today will still have most of their tread a decade – or even two – from now. But by that time, they may no longer be safe to drive on.

If you see cracks, it’s a clue that it’s time for new rubber. Send the old ones to Valhalla via celebratory burnouts!

I next check all the lights. Head and brake and tail and turn. Hi and low beam. Make sure they’re all working before you go driving. Remember that the cost of a turn signal bulb is  much lower than a ticket from an AGW – or the cost of body and paint work for your classic car – and the cost of the hit you’ll take on insurance for being the cause of an accident that occurred because you though you signaled a left turn in front of that car coming at you but didn’t actually.

Oil and filter change. My practice is every spring, regardless of mileage. As with tires, the passage of time is the determining factor here. The oil does not wear out – certainly not after 500 miles (or less) of driving in a year.

But it does get contaminated. By gas especially, which inevitably leaks down into the crankcase from the carburetor – a fuel delivery device that most cars made before the mid-1980s used. And by short-distance driving. Older cars do not warm up as quickly as modern cars, which are specifically designed to – in order to lower their emissions. Older cars weren’t – and if driven short distances or just fired up and allowed to idle a while in the garage during the winter months – will accumulate things in the crankcase that are not good for them.

Changing the oil and filter purges out the not-good-things and the fresh oil coats all those important things with the lubricants and anti-wear additives your old car’s engine deserves. If it’s an engine with a flat-tappet camshaft (which is almost all American car engines made before the early ‘80s) it is really important to get oil that has the zinc/manganese additives (ZDDP) which off-the-shelf oils no longer have – for emissions control reasons. AMSOIL sells such oil – see their  ZRod line – or you can buy the additive to add to off-the-shelf oil.

Three other fluids to check are coolant, brake and transmission fluid.

The years roll by fast and it’s easy to forget how long it’s been since these were last changed. Keeping a log book with dates and what you did is extremely helpful here. Check the fluids – and then check the book. Deal with each as necessary. Which will be differently necessary than the original factory service recommendations because those didn’t anticipate a car that mostly stays hunkered down in a garage. Once again, forget the mileage and focus on the time. I replace the above three every three years, regardless of what the odometer says.

What the calendar says matters more.

Pre-flight done, the next part is the really enjoyable part.  For me, it’s the once-annually wash. I avoid getting my old car wet – whether by weather or by hose – because water is a rust-accelerant. But a wash is periodically needed to really clean the car. In between one can use waterless wash products – “detailer in a can” – but accumulated heavy dust and other such is better dealt with using good old H2O.

And there is joy to be had, out in the warm – with the sun not too hot – going over the panels you know so well, like that one special woman but this one never gets old even though many decades have passed.

Towel her off – the car, I mean – and then it’s time for a drive. Your excuse here is to blow-dry the crevices, to get all the water out. But there’s an even more important reason, especially this season.

. . .

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59 COMMENTS

  1. I’m itching to get my ’07 Corvette out too. Here in the woods of NYS the winter was not bad at all, and spring is probably a bit ahead of schedule.

    But we need another good rain to get the rest of the salt off the roads, and then hope that it’s dried out enough in front of my barn to get the car out without going through mud; it could happen in a week or two. A few years ago I couldn’t get out until the 3rd week in April — but that year was unusually wet.

    • Hi Bruce,

      Better hurry; I suspect that soon we’ll all be forcibly sequestered – for saaaaaaaaaaaaafety – and that “unauthorized” movement will no longer be allowed.

      • eric, surely not. This is the land of the fee and home of the slave. All TPTB lack is getting that chip in all of us. And those really, really smart people who are Democrats just laugh and laugh at the stupid fools who are buying guns as fast as possible.

        All the online gun stores whose daily missives I get say “Come on in boys, the water, uh, ammo if fine and there’s plenty of it”. I keep waiting for another Natchez Shooter’s Supply sale with free shipping over $99. Damned if I’d order ammo and not spend over $99.

  2. Rislone sells a zinc oil additive also for older flat tappet cars. Not recommended though for newer models. I’m about to run a qt of their oil treatment through the old silverado to try and keep the lifters clean.

    • I’m wondering why Amsoil wouldn’t work for that vehicle. It’s worked fine in every old thing I’ve had. They make a 15W 40 for diesels and a much lighter oil for new diesels. They are flat tappet engines so either one of those should work well. If you’re worried about dirty lifters, you can throw those fears out the window since Amsoil will clean your engine. I use their engine flush and a new filter before I run the engine the 20 minutes they recommend for a flush. After that I use some cheap Mobil 1 and a really good filter cause that oil will turn black faster than you can say “don’t”.

      After 3,000 miles I change to Amsoil and that oil will get filthy quickly too. The next round of Amsoil will last longer without getting nasty and the next change it will begin to perform normally as far as not getting dirty quickly. Synthetic oils will clean anything they’re used in including transmissions.

    • I have unstuck a sticky lifter before using ATF. Warm the engine, then add half a quart to the oil and run it for 5 minutes. Shut down and let it sit for an hour, then another 5 minute run. Then change the oil immediately after. Do not run the vehicle under load with the ATF in it.

      Done it to several older cars over the years. My Fiero had lifter tick when I bought it. This cured it.

      • Anon, I unstuck a bunch of them by using Amsoil engine flush, then using Mobil 1(cheap)with a quality filter to clean the engine. Then went to my old standby, Amsoil to continue cleaning. I even had the screen partially clogged that goes to the oil pressure sensor and after 3 oil changes, the 3rd one cleaned it completely off and the pressure went back to regular. That’s the need to use the best oil filter you can find to clean an engine with synthetic oil. Amazing what getting all that crud out of oil passages will do for the parts they supply.

  3. A guest on a local radio talk show several years ago was surprised when I told him I was not overly afraid of an Islamic terror attack in my centrally located Midwest city. He had asked if Americans were less free than they once were and what freedoms had actually been taken away. I said that when I was 18 I could have bought beer, had I liked the taste. Today’s 18 year olds can’t. I could travel to Canada without advance permission from my government (passport). Can’t do that anymore. You could enter a courthouse or an airport without being subjected to a strip search. You could deposit or withdraw your own money from a bank without the IRS being alerted. I’m sure readers here could cite many more examples. Remember, convenience is a form of freedom. Things such as driver’s licenses and car tags could be dealt with in one trip to the DMV. Now you get a flimsy piece of paper, similar to a cash register receipt and wait until your actual license arrives in the mail. One of my fundamental principles is that Americans should never have to stand in line for anything except concert tickets or sporting events. Since those have all been cancelled, there is no reason to wait in line for anything.

    • Patrick, I’m probably older than you…..but maybe not. What could I once do I can no longer do? Just about anything. I could be out all night when I was 14 and the sheriff didn’t give a hoot. In fact, I was 14 when I mail-ordered my first handgun. I stopped at the light in town and the DPS pulled up beside me and said I needed to get my tail lights working. I concurred and said I’d do it when I got time. He asked me what I’d been doing. I stuck my arms up and they were chewed up from hailing hay. He said Don’t forget. I forgot so he stopped me and said “Leave it at home or fix it”. I had to completely rewire everything but the heater fan but I got it fixed, brake lights too.

      What else could I do? Hmmm, fairly much anything I wanted as long as I wasn’t hurting anyone or speeding by a large amount.

  4. Hey Ken,
    We’re already financial slaves, reinforced to me every year at “tax time”. When I’m unable to drive my RV anywhere in the country I want to go, then I’ll say stick a fork in it, it’s done. I’m spoiled in AZ though as far as 2A goes but that could change. Really sympathize with Eric in VA on that. We’ll see where the current situation goes. Lotta theories, time will tell.

    • Hi Wikoli,

      My Corona (to the tune) could be the method by which this is achieved. The closing of the net; the elimination of free travel – because Corona. Muh muh muh my Corona. Sigh.

      On the other hand, we’ll know soon enough whether this is just another overhyped scam. If there aren’t tens of thousands of dead – not sniffly – people awaiting burial by April then this whole thing may just redound to the benefit of us, in the sense that the corporate press, the babbling heads and the rest will have been exposed perhaps beyond all recovery as the frauds we already know them to be.

      • It seems to me like there will be a few deaths, maybe more than the flu, maybe not. For sure fewer than what will be caused by the Little Cesars’ $5.00 box ‘o shit pizza they’re advertising between reports. Certainly every public company is going to blame everything on the virus and line up at the trough to get some of that emergency money. Even now I’m sure every sales manager is revising their forecasts for the next 3 quarters (sandbags mandatory).

        I’m reminded of the funny videos of breathless reporters in rowboats reporting on the floods… while a few rednecks with hip waders photobomb:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gm2PQFSjAJo

        The upside is that with lots of people telecommuting and the schools closed maybe the roads will be a little nicer. This morning was the first in months that CDOT hasn’t sent out the “up to 75 minutes travel time from Denver to Idaho Springs” email. Probably a great weekend to get out on the mountain (too bad I’m on call).

      • ***”then this whole thing may just redound to the benefit of us, in the sense that the corporate press, the babbling heads and the rest will have been exposed perhaps beyond all recovery as the frauds we already know them to be.”****

        Nah, Eric! The public’s collective memory seems to be erased on a daily basis. Remember WMDs? Ebola? Mad Cow? West Nile Virus? People dressing like clowns? Yesterday’s forecast? They don’t!

        If this turns out to be nothing more than another manipulation or “test”, it’ll be forgotten as soon as the terlit paper is restocked, so that the next Pavlovian play can be trotted out next week….and the very same people will fall for whatever that may be.

        • In fact, what is more likely to happen when no mass deaths occur, is that the adoring pooblik will credit Uncle with “preventing it from becoming a pandemic” and “keeping us safe”, due to all of the tyrannies enacted- so next time, as soon as they are told to jump…they will jump ” ‘Cause look how Uncle saved us from that Corona virus disaster! All we have to do is obey!”.

    • Right above this article at the Lew Rockwell site this morning is one titled “Coronavirus and the Sun” by Dr Richard Hobday.

      The good doctor points out that before the advent of antibiotics, respiratory patients were treated outdoors with fresh air and sunshine. In that era, Arizona attracted many tuberculosis patients for extended visits, before the disease could be zapped away with drugs.

      Dr Hobson extols the benefit of regular, moderate sun exposure. The young lady washing the GTO is taking care of her health at the same time. She would achieve even more benefit by removing the white tank top. Doctor’s orders!

      • You are missing the point.
        The sun doesn’t kill viruses in your body. It kills them wherever they are lying in direct sunlight.
        While the thermal output of the sun has been diminished by the arrival of a solar minimum, its UV spectra at wavelengths lethal to microorganisms has increased.
        Instead of cancelling gatherings in open stadia, we should be taking advantage of the enhanced UV to exterminate more pathogens.
        The young lady’s absorption is being reduced by her elevated melanin, aside from your naked lust:-)

  5. And the last vestiges of liberty are soon to be gone….

    “As of this morning, about 400 Air and Army National Guard professionals in six states – Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, New York, Rhode Island and Washington- are providing personnel in support of civil authority at the direction of their governors in response to COVID-19,” the National Guard said in a statement Friday. “At the national level, Guard members are training personnel on COVID-19 response, identifying and preparing National Guard facilities for use as isolation housing, and compiling state medical supply inventories.”

    • Hi Ken,

      This is a trip wire for me. I’m not going to “isolation” housing. I’m going to ground; headed into the Woods if need be. I recommend everyone reading this be prepared to do the same in the event they send out the “health” Hut! Hut! Hutters!

      • Well, if you don’t go out in public and catch it and/or go to the doctor then you will be fine at home in the woods.

        This is all great for me: an excuse to just stay home more 🙂

        • Just got back from the tank and the dam was rooted to hell by hogs. I guess I’ll die from swine flu……so long. I hope to have a better chance and they’ll be back tomorrow and at least I’ll die with a full mouth.

    • It depends on which state you are in. When the Wyoming National Guard’s command surveyed the troops at a weekend muster, they learned that ordering those troops to violate the rights of their fellow citizens might lead to sudden induced reductions in the lifespans of lower level commanders.

  6. So ~5,000 global deaths in 116 countries (about 40 deaths here in the US) over a ~3 month period now counts as a pandemic? Yeah, I’m pretty sure more people die from obesity in less than half that time.

    Oh, and let’s not count those who had the “coronavirus” and recovered, ’cause that’ll put an end to the hysteria.

    • Not sure if you have seen this. It lists recovered.

      https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

      BTW, the numbers are only really estimates. We can’t know how many got it but never felt ill, or got it mildly and never reported officially, or got it and died but nobody tested. Also the Chinese were clearly putting out some questionably low numbers at times.

      I have been watching the page (and downloading a copy daily) since Feb 19 when there were,
      Feb 19 – Total Confirmed 75,641 : Total Deaths 2,122 : Total Recovered 16,121.
      Mar 6 – Total Confirmed 99,939 : Total Deaths 3,400 : Total Recovered 55,671
      Mar 14 – Total Confirmed 147,838 : Total Deaths 5,539 : Total Recovered 71,718
      Just my guess but I would expect 300,000 by end of month, 600,000 by mid-April and 1,300,000 by May 1. Assuming the testing is not abandoned as it already has been in some locations.

      One week for ~50% more cases and accelerating. This thing is only just starting to get going by the looks of it. It is not how lethal it is that is the big worry, it is how contagious. Seems far more contagious than the regular flu. Also, governments seem to have been more interested in saving the economy than taking this seriously when containment was maybe possible, at least until now. But it is too late and it has spread widely already. Likely will run through most of the population now. The under 60 and otherwise healthy will probably be OK but it does seem pretty lethal to the health compromised and older people.

      Italy’s hospitals are already overwhelmed to the point of rationing care and simply not having enough ventilators, so serious cases are dying untreated. It will happen in North America too (without effective containment) as the healthcare system is designed for normal loads and has little capacity above that.

      The tinfoil hat people theorize that it is a plot to kill the old off and lessen the burden from the “useless eaters”. I don’t think so, but then I would not put it past TPTB either. It does fit the sociopath type thinking.

      Me, I was a recluse before and have always been prepped, raised by parents who survived WW2 under really nasty conditions. We never had less than 6 months supplies when I was a kid.

      Plenty of popcorn, jerky and beer on hand to watch the cities burn (hope the webcams, traffic cams and internet stay up) if this all does eventually go Mad Max.

      • Pitkin County (Aspen) Colorado reported several cases and for a moment had the most infections in CO. Likely because they did more testing because, well, rich folks get what they want right? They’ve since stopped testing unless you show symptoms and haven’t reported any more cases since that policy has been put into place.

        We aren’t hearing from people who’ve “recovered” because the few that I’ve heard (No Agenda podcast had a few clips on Thursday’s show) seem to make it sound pretty minor if you’re otherwise healthy. China’s healthcare system isn’t exactly the envy of the world, what with doctors promoting traditional Chinese medicine, and an incredible number of smokers as a percentage of the population. As much maligned as the US healthcare industry is, and as unhealthy as we all are, we’re far better suited to handle the outbreak than China. And we’re still a far richer country per capita than China.

      • Thanks for the link! Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way, shape or form turning a blind eye to those who have unfortunately succumbed to the virus. And yeah, like you said, we’ll never know the true statistics. But I do know for a fact that TPTB likes to induce panic onto the populace because people who live in fear are easier to control. What’s worse is that people are bumrushing the Costcos, Walmarts, and many other stores for groceries and other household items. This is because many don’t necessarily fear the virus itself; they fear an imminent national shutdown.

        • bg, we drove by a Wally today on the way to get a new washing machine(shit happens). It was covered up and we continued on. Got back and the tank dam was torn up by hogs. A friend pulled up and said about 200 hogs hauling ass. I have a feeling they’ll be back and we’ll be eating more fresh pork. But when it first started I knew it was all for the big banks and WS. Putin said ‘no’ and the price of oil continues to drop.

    • Like the recovery of an 83-year old man in the nursing home where the epidemic started in Washington state, as was reported on Weekend Edition this morning?

  7. Today happened to be the monthly trip to Costco to stock up on provisions. Holy cow! I expected to see a crowd but it was like Saturday before Christmas in there. There were empty shelves and boxes everywhere. I was able to get most of what I came in for but no frozen vegetables, and of course no TP. People were standing in line taking selfies.

    What’s going to happen 6 months from now when all that food is thrown out? Maybe they will keep the receipt and get an Uncle bailout? I can’t believe vegetables bought under duress are going to taste any different than usual, so I’m fairly certain they’ll just take up space in the freezer until they have to come out to make room for the 2 gallon tub of ice cream.

    • Don’t know where your at but here (Pensacola Fl) everything is still near normal. Went to a Walmart Supercenter expecting a mess but hardly anyone there,,, I guess people are self quarantining. I was pretty nice,,, had the whole store to ourselves. It was about 11AM but the store is usually packed. Had plenty of TP. Odd though,,, when we left the store our basket was checked. Seemed only interested if we paid for the TP. I guess people are stealing it…

    • I will not be throwing anything away even if this does turn out to be far less of a disaster than it seems. Pretty much everything I have bought or already had is the same stuff I use anyway. Just a lot more of it just in case things go Hubei-like here.

      To anyone prepping, don’t buy stuff you would not regularly eat. Avoid perishables obviously, but make sure to have things you like to eat. Getting through a disaster is far more bearable if you are not miserable because eating is a chore.

      Canned goods last for many years. I have some cases of tuna, pineapple and beans that I bought over a decade ago. It was a closeout at a supermarket and they were nearly free. Yearly I open one just to see if they are still OK. So far, so good.

      • One summer years ago I ran a tiny little store way up in the mountains. Mostly souveniers but a few groceries including canned goods. One day somebody told me that something they bought was terribly spoiled so I checked the canned goods dates and most of them were 8 or 10 years old. I ended up hauling several cases to the dump.

      • I’ve got plenty of “normal” food, but the unfortunate timing of this happening during Lent forced me to go out to get provisions. I’m on a no salt, oil or sugar diet until Easter, so lots of greens and root vegetables for 40 days. Canned vegetables have added salt so they’re off the menu. But if the SHTF for real I’ll have plenty to eat for weeks.

    • The only shortages we are seeing in the Walmart here is one of stockers to put the pallets of product on the shelves.
      A dozen jumbo eggs have been 95 cents here for a couple of weeks. Before that they were 90 cents. Before that they were 79 cents. Is this inflation?
      Regular gas got down to $2.199 yesterday.
      I’ve no problem with deflation winning out.

  8. The first car show of the year was held in Tulsa last weekend. Over 500 cars, biggest ever. It was a perfect sunny and 75 degrees that day.

    Except for people who bring their damn dogs to the show, parents who don’t explain to their kids about car show etiquette, and that guy I saw walking around near cars with flawless paint jobs with keys dangling out of his pocket, it was a perfect day.

    • I can’t stand the lack of respect people display towards others property. While my car is old and nothing special, to anyone but me, i find i can no longer take it anywhere that parking is required.

  9. No toilet paper or water or soap on the shelves, events being canceled, people being crazy, it’s like a Bernie Sanders test run.

    • I’m watching Bernie Sanders commercials thinking “yeah right”. Anyone who thinks this guy can solve our problems is seriously deluded. What a charlatan.

        • eric, we’re on the verge of Book of Eli……without any reason but propaganda. Amazing the people who believe this shit. I have spoken with a few people lately and everybody says “Bullshit”. How illiterate and strung out on govt. teevee do you have to be to believe it all or any?

  10. Send my oil off every couple years for analysis,,, comes back good. Change the filter… good to go.

    Do change regardless in 4 years. (mileage under 12,000) No problems yet. Only put a couple three thousand per year. Use Amsoil or Mobil 1. Prefer Amsoil.

  11. I wish the sun was shining and the breeze was warm …

    Winter Weather Advisory noon today through Sunday night. Just when the road starts getting dry enough to think about taking out the car instead of a 4×4, it starts all over again. But we do need the moisture. Almost six months of winter so far and we are still behind.

    • It is here in northwest Florida. Sunny,,, 76F, Was going to the races tonight but Corona Morona got it cancelled. Yep, there are a few cases of CV hundreds of miles away but can’t be too safe,,, can we.

    • High of 80 here in SE Texas. Looks like spring is over 🙂

      However, TPTB cancelled the Houston Fat Stock Show and Rodeo over the WuFlu, along with just about every school district and university closing up tight, so there is no joy in Mudville tonight (except among schoolkids). Even WW2 couldn’t stop the Show, but Corona WuFlu did.

      • “Even WW2 couldn’t stop the Show, but Corona WuFlu did.”

        Hell, I don’t recall 9/11 stirring up this much panic! Well, it did, but briefly. IIRC, mostly everything went back to normal within a few days. As normal as TPTB would allow, that is.

      • We had 80+ earlier in the week and everything’s budded out. Pear tree is white with blooms. We have one day(today)with no chance of rain in the next week. A trip for a new washer, some stuff like flour and cornmeal from the sto, a several 30 packs and a case of bourbon and we’ll be home for quite some time. Not long enough but a month at minimum with only a couple visits to the clinic….yeah, I know.

    • No 4×4 is required here unless one wants to avoid getting stuck on the muddy spots in the desert.
      There are several people here whose daily drivers are street legal dune buggies.

  12. To the question of what coolant to use…Patrick Bedard asked and answered that about 20 years ago in C&D…

    https://www.caranddriver.com/features/a15136293/dr-turcotte-writes-a-few-coolant-prescriptions/

    I have been using Zerex G-05 in my ’67 MGB for maybe 8 years now. It does a better job keeping the upper radiator tank solder leaks I had in the past in check. YMMV. I started using it after reading the above online, and since I had a MoPar that used G-05 anyway.

    Hey Eric, get a rack of SU’s on that beast like a Jaguar has, no more fuel dripping down into the intake (it drips instead on the exhaust manifold…) 🙂

  13. I think Oregon Governor Kate Brown got just what she wanted from the Corona panic pandemic; shutting down of the Portland Roadster show. The greens never liked having an event that celebrated the internal combustion engine in their own political backyard.

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