Thursday, October 27, 2005


Mrs. X's Warm-Up

Luther here--I had a woman ask me (and she don't know I'm using her question for this, so I'm not going to say what her name is in case she don't want me to use her name in this) but anyway she asked me to settle a bet between her and her smart mouthed 16 year old son about warming up the car.

She says her husband always told her when it was cold like it is this morning not to drive the car until she had cranked it and it had run some to warm up the oil and stuff. When it was warm, he would let her leave in it.

Her smart mouthed son tells her as long as she's not racing the engine, she can just get in and go and not worry about warm up.

I told her it was a little of both--when it's real cold like it was this morning, below 40 degrees or so, you can start it and pretty much be ready to go right then, but only as long as you are just driving slow with your foot off the gas, like in a nice subdivision that's got slow speed limits. Because if it's real cold, the oil has to get warm to be able to get to all the stuff it's supposed to oil, and if you go off and run it up real fast like you're pulling out in front of a log truck or something, it can scuff up things inside the engine really bad.

As long as you can let it roll along and go only about as fast as the engine idle will take it, until it does warm up a touch--maybe a half-mile or so--it's okay to go. But if you live on a busy street or road, where you might have to do some serious speeding-up right off the bat, it's better to let it set in the driveway and warm up a bit, maybe about five minutes.

When gas gets high like it is, you're wasting a lot of gas if you let the thing sit there for twenty minutes idling while you eat breakfast and have your coffee. I know some people like to get the inside hot before they get in so they aren't cold. I say you should act like an adult and put on a coat and not be a baby thinking you have to go right from the fireplace out to the car and not be a little bit cold. My daddy lived in a foxhole in France for a year one winter, and he never complained about nothing. Of course, if you're rich and all and can afford it, well, it's your money. If you want, I'll hire out to come around and crank your car for you. Then again, if you are rich, you probably park inside.

Anyway, so really, I didn't settle her bet, but I told Mrs. X to ground her boy for being a smart mouth anyway.

Cletus, do you have anything to add?

Cletus here: I kind of disagree with Luther. Unless you live in Alaska or upstate New York, the lubricants used today don't require warming up. That's what that 5-30 stuff means on the side of the oil bottle. The oil acts like a 5 weight at the cold end and like a 30 weight on the hot end so warming the thing up is just a waste of gas. I don't think you need to baby the car anymore than you normally would (I can't believe that any of you ever drive other than as if you had an egg between your foot and the accelerator). On those days when it is a cold enough for the car to pop and creak when you drive off, drive a little easier. Hey, I never said I was consistent. On the really cold days (below freezing) I drive more carefully because ice is slick.

Yeah and ground the kid. Let him be a smart mouth now and he'll grow up to be like my brother Bubba.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Dave's Tractor

I got to thinking about Dave's tractor problem and think we missed something in yesterday's diagnosis. Dave mentioned in a comment that it will start if you hit it with two batteries. I think he needs to look se if the battery on the tractor is the right capacity. Diesels need some serious amperage to kick them off and a regular battery generally can't handle it.

Also I wonder if there is a mixture setting on the fuel injection that he might turn ot cut back the fuel mixture a bit.

Philosophical Note inspired by Mr. Possum's suckup co-worker: Remember the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Dave's 60-06 Deutz

Luther here--there is a feller down below in the commentary who wants to know about a tractor. I don't know anything about tractors, so I will answer the question. Which is:
actually I was going to ask for help with my 60-06 Deutz, seeing as how it's German and ya'll seem to know a lot about German engineering.
# posted by Dave : 10:18 AM

Have you hit it with a hammer yet, Dave? That is what I always do first.

And Jay, your answer is up in the post above--thanks for asking.
# posted by Luther : 10:20 AM


It'n that a Porsche tractor? If it is, I figure some nice mag wheels would go far to helping with your problem whatever it is.
# posted by Cletus : 10:25 AM

Nope, it's not a Porsche, but it does have an air-cooled diesel engine that I am told is somewhat similiar to the engines what was in the Volkswagen Rabbits.

I can't get it crunk with the switch... either have to roll it off or use a hit of ether and a wrench to jump it at the solenoid.

Since I bought it over the other side of Stevenson I'm wondering if it lived in Alabama too long is whats wrong with it?
I don't know nothing about tractors, or diesels. So, I say the starter relay's getting bad. If it'll crank when you jump directly to the solenoid, but it's weak the other times, I say it's not getting enough current to make the starter go fast enough to get past the compression on the engine. You're obviously getting fuel, cause after it starts, it goes. The starter itself is good, because you can use it to start the thing after you go poking around where you shouldn't. The only other thing is the line from the switch to the starter relay, or the starter relay, or the line from the relay to the solenoid.

All this assumes it's got a relay.

Cletus, what do you think?

Cletus here: The bit about needing ether kind of bothers me. If it won't start without ether, it sounds as if it may have low compression. Rolling or pulling it would tend to overcome nominally low compression with some extra starting rpm.

I agree with Luther that the starter relay may be bad. Most parts stores sell a cheap ($5-$10) starter relay for Ford type starters. They need a circuit closer such as a key ignition or button to activate. Actually, the first thing to check would be to see if you are getting current to the starter (or starter relay) when whatever activates it is turned or pushed.

Philosophy for this Post: Wisecracks about Alabama (the State, not the University) are not necessarily a sign of intelligence.


Jay's '74 Ranchero

Hey--Luther here. I still don't know how to do this computer mess, so I asked one of them other guys to help me get this on here. (Update--I done figured it out now. Thanks guys.)

Down below, a feller asks:
Alright, I'll bite.

Question: My '74 Ranchero ran fine when I last drove it, which has been over a year now. I want to get it back on the road; what will I need to do to make it roadworthy after so much idle time?

Jay in MO
Well, Jay, I might be stepping on Cletus here, because I can't find him. I think he's outside tinkering on his Mercedes.

Leaving a car set for a year can be harmless, or not. If it was cranked regularly, and maybe driven a few miles every week, no harm was probably done. But gasoline leaves all kinds of gummy stuff when it evaporates, and it can clog up the carburetor, fuel lines, gas tank, and everything else. Also, if the tank wasn't full, you might have started a nice colony of rust up inside the upper portions of the tank from the water vapor in there. So that's one potential problem.

Another is the electrical system--that battery that cranked so good back last October might be all out of juice by now.

Third thing--critters. Anything that doesn't move or make noise can quickly become home for all kinds of varmints.

So, first thing, open up the hood and see if there's anything done made a nest in there. Clear out any leaves or trash from the cowl vents, and do a good look-around to see if you see anything broken or frayed. Get in and see if there's any power to the accessories and such--there might be enough battery left to get it cranked.

Then give it a crank and see if it fires. It will probably take a squish or two of the gas pedal. If it cranks right up, let it run a while and warm up, and go back over the motor while it runs to see if you see any leaks around the water pump, radiator, hoses, vessels, veins, and other carriers of vital essences. It also might clatter a good bit right off, because the valve lifters might will have leaked down over the year.

After several minutes, if everything quiets down and it idles okay, get in, put on the brakes, and make sure you have some pedal. If you do, move the gear shift back and forth through all the gears. I'm assuming it's an automatic, here--a manual shouldn't be any trouble after setting up unless it's been a LONG time. If you can feel the truck move against the brakes, it's probably going to be able to roll a bit.

Start off with a slow trip around the block or up the road a piece and see if everthing still feels connected--power steering, brakes, transmission. If if feels more or less like it did before, get some good quality gasoline treatment and a full tank of gas, and then drive carefully for the first few miles or so just to make sure everything still sounds and acts like it should.

If you have any trouble or feel like something's not right, take it to your mechanic for a good look.

Now, let me see if Cletus has come back in yet.

Cletus here: I appreciate Luther jumping in here and helping out but I think he missed a couple of things. Me, when the old F250 sits up for a while, I check all the fluids, take a look at the belts and hoses and do a general look around before turning anything over. I have found that a battery will usually take a charge unless it has been sitting a really long time, so I would try a slow charge before doing much else. I like to use a trickle charge here over about 12 hours.

Plan on changing the oil once it warms up. Changing it cold will leave a lot of junk in the engine.

I like to change all my belts and hoses every 60-80000 miles so if the Ranchero hasn't gotten new ones in a while, I'd invest a few dollars there.

Luther is right about the critter but he didn't mention the aircleaner housing. Be sure to check that because the old Windsor won't like the mice it injects. Don't know about Missou, here in Alabama, dirt daubers really like the inside of aircleaners.

Oh and brakes! Be real careful when you first start out. The wheel cylinders may not be up to snuff after sitting a while. I would also expect to change the brake fluid because it will have alot of water in it by now.

Luther here again: You know what we forgot, Cletus? We forgot to tell him to make sure his tires ain't flat. Air up your tires to the proper pressure before you go joyriding. And make sure your lights and signals is working. And also, make sure your car tag is current. No use getting pulled over by John Law for something stupid.

Best of luck and let us know how it turns out.

Cletus here--I noticed that this post was missing the dose of Philosophy so here goes: If it ain't broke don't fix it and when you fix it be real careful about using it.


Moron Projects

Mr. Possum (I really do need to learn how to make those links in Blogger) has entered into the advanced stages of a Moron Project characterized by the idea that he will actually have something of value when he finishes the project. This is a corollary of the old car collector syndrome where in the "collector" finds an old car (likely built prior to the birth of said collector) and buys it because it must be valuable because "they don't make them anymore". Since automotive based Moron Projects are usually started by men, this typically means coming up with a good story to tell the wife. My personal favorite is: "It will hold its value and I can drive it to work for the rest of my working life." Hah! Unless there is a backup car, the wife will be dropping off the Moron at work for years as various parts fall off and the weather is too bad to fix the "project" on weekends.

I think I'm going to like having my own blog. I get to be the editor, typist and everything.

Thought for the Day: Man, I hope I get a reader soon.

Monday, October 24, 2005


On My Own

Well, it's been a long time coming but I finally started my own blog. Seeing as I am as at least as good a mechanic as those NPR guys, if not as rich, I decided that this would be the Internet equivalent. This is how it works. You write me your car related questions and using the crack research team down at the BBQ Emporium, I give you the answer to your problems and at the same time maybe even tell you what your car needs. The big difference between me and the Car Talk boys is you don't get to hear my maniacal laughter while I look up the answers on the Net.

Amazingly we have a question to start us off.

Q: Sam from Alabama. My Ford Explorer (1999) fails to start occasionally. I have replaced the battery, breaking the cable when I did, and I am still having the problem. (At this point, I am supposed to ask the color of the car, but since I don't have a clue why, I'll skip that part). I replaced the broken cable so that is not the problem. The voltmeter seems to be working, it seems to be charging properly and I have not had any problems with my lights. The engine turns over good but the engine just won't start. Sometimes it starts just as I release the key to start over.

A: Boy, this is harder than it sounds. Okay here goes. It sounds as if you have either a faulty ignition controller or a starter that is drawing a little too much current and keeping the ignition system from fully activating. My brother Bubba says to get the starter checked since that is cheaper than a new ignition controller.

Todays Philosophy: What on earth are you doing reading another blog, get a life.

Leave your questions in the comments section. Please leave some questions. I don't want to have to answer questions about the wrecks the Emporium guys drive.

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