Reason Number Four Bazillion And Three Why I Hate Computer Controlled Cars

There is a reason my internet handle is Bustednuckles.
I have been a mechanic in one form or another for over thirty fucking years now.

I have worked on so many different kinds of machinery, cars, trucks, boats, equipment and Heavy trucks that I couldn’t list them all.
I got to thinking about it one day and about the only things I haven’t worked on are aircraft and submarines, seriously.

I even went back to school at 29 and got an Associates Degree in Applied Science for Automotive Technology with honors to learn how to work on computerized modern cars.
I then worked at a Lincoln/Mercury dealership for ten years.

I can say with some certainty that I absolutely detest newer cars.
They are absolutely fucking miserable COCKSUCKERS to diagnose and work on.

Today I got reminded why I quit working on the motherfuckers.

My sister in law has a 2005 Volkswagon Jetta with all the bells and whistles.

Six months ago the timing chains broke while she was trying to start it. Long story short, after days of hassling with the decision of what to do about it, she had a dealer find a used engine to put in the fucking thing.
The repair estimate was the same amount as a used engine plus removal and installation.

Volkswagon had a problem with that engine wearing out the chain tensioner prematurely and instead of coming out with a fix, they started putting different engines in them so the people with those certain model years were good and fucked.

A quick internet search on the subject will result in myriad horror stories of the $3500-$5,000 dollar repair bills and part time mechanics begging for technical help on how to replace them.

So two days ago the Sister In Law calls my wife, crying about this fucking car acting up again and showing symptoms of the same type as last time.

This is the same poor woman who just racked up $4,000 in vet bills for an old fucking cat she had that she wound up having put down anyway and who is not only still making payments on the engine swap but now has thirty grand in student loans to start paying off.

You can of course see what is coming here.

My wife started in on me to go look at the damn thing.

I have been working my homesick ass off lately and on my ONE DAY OFF, the last fucking thing I want to do is drive fifty fucking miles to go look at a car that I probably won’t have the slightest idea of how to fix if it is broken, nor the time to anyway.

So, being the nice fucking guy I am, after working until two o’clock this fucking morning, I head over there.

First, I told the wife that I didn’t have a code scanner and needed one because her check engine light is on and I need to know why.
These things aren’t cheap.

To my ever living amazement, she told me to get one!

Luckily, Harbor Freight is right on the way and just happened to have several in stock.

I ain’t stupid, I called first.
So I swing by and pick up one of these babies;

image_12019

For the uninformed, not all code scanners are created equal and those cheap fuckers you see aren’t worth spit.

This one however, has the shit ya want.
Not only will it scan the cars memory and tell you what codes are stored, it will actually let you monitor the input sensors to the computer in semi real time so you can see what the engines computer is looking at.

You can do this while driving down the road.
It will also let you capture the screen when you see an anomaly in the data and clear the codes to turn the light off.

I have been wanting one of these fuckers for years but always told myself that I couldn’t justify the cost/benefit ratio because I don’t work on these motherfuckers for a living anymore.

So, I get over there with the scanner and a stethescope to listen and see if the timing chain is rubbing on the case.

After checking a bunch of stuff out, I hook it up and tell her to start it.

It starts kind of rough and the check engine comes on right away.
Beep beep, boop boop, bingo, the computer has detected a missfire on cylinder #1.

Why?
Who the fuck knows why, it ain’t sayin’.

Could be lots of things.

I clear the code and have her start it again.

Runs like a top.

Come to find out, this replacement engine only has about twenty thousand miles on it so the odds of the timing chain assembly being fucked up are pretty slim.

I tried and tried to get that fucking thing to act up again but I will be damned if it would even sputter once.

Drove it around while watching the data parameters and everything is optimal.

Are you fucking kidding me?

One fucking time, the engine misfires for some God only knows reason, the Check Engine light comes on and and she panics, I get to spend two hundred fucking dollars on a scanner, drive fifty fucking miles on my day off and all I had to do was plug it in and clear the code.

That’s it.

NOW, do you understand why I fucking HATE computerized cars?

She thought she was going to have to have it towed to the dealer again and the engine was shot and on and fucking on and extra bonus fucking DRAMA, because the computer saw a glitch in the data stream from a fucking input sensor and OMG, ARMAGEDDON!

This is why I personally only own and drive cars that do not have this unnecessary fucking horseshit and can not, for the life of me, understand why any sane individual would buy a fucking automobile that has the computational capability to basically drive its self like they have these days.

Do you know that a POS 1990 Ford Escort had more computer technology in it than the Lunar Landing Module did?
True fact.

The shit they have out now is truly frightening to an “automotive technician”.

It ought to scare the living shit out of you as a consumer.

People wonder why it costs so much to get their fucking car repaired.
The average mechanic these days has enough technical training as a medical practitioner and has to buy many thousands of dollars of tools to keep up with the pace of technology and the ever changing fastener technology.

I want to leave you with something to think about here.
On one hand, consider all the whiz bang technology they have stuffed into the modern automobile just for the sole purpose of increasing fuel mileage.
Forget all the other electronic add ons, just fuel mileage.

Now consider this.

The Ford Model T was first produced in 1908 and had an estimated fuel economy of between 16 and 21 miles per gallon and would run on gasoline, kerosene or ethanol.
index

That was a hundred and five years ago.

The newest car I own is a 1983 GMC Caballero.caballero

GMC’s version of the El Camino.
It is in very good condition, has a 3.8 liter V6 with less than 125,000 original miles on it and got an estimate 19-21 miles per gallon when brand new. The only thing electronic on that motherfucker is the ignition.

My 1964 Sprite gets over twenty miles per gallon and there ain’t a fucking thing electronic on that little bastard.

You people just keep on buying newest and bestest computerized shit.
When it breaks down,
DON”T FUCKING CALL ME.

A Work In Progress

As I have alluded to in other posts earlier, I have been working on my Piece Of Shit 1964 Austin Healey Sprite off and on for, about the last twenty five or so years.

 

I finally got a bit done today that I should have done a couple weeks ago when I had the fucking engine out.

 

At the time I was just going to slap it back together so I just sanded some surface rust and sprayed it with some black spray paint  over the sanded spots and put the engine and transmission back in it.

It looked like hell and wouldn’t ya know it, it came back and bit me square on the ass today.

 

I was using some Brake Clean to get rid of some greasy spots and that cheap paint instantly crinkled up like a cheap suit.

Fuuuuuuck me was I pissed.

 

That’s it then.

I started stripping parts off the cocksucker like I should have done the first time. Then I had to remove all that black fucking paint.
That was an unholy mess and took most of the day.

Of course with the engine and front steering/suspension still mounted I couldn’t get it all painted but I got most of it.

Forty bucks for stainless steel bolts, two more trips for laquer thinner and paint.

The engine compartment is now the color I wanted to paint the rest of the car. Eventually the whole thing will get stripped again and repainted but this is where I am at right now.

 

Image

If you look closely under the steering rack you can see the original Baby Blue color of the car.

I always hated that color.

Here is the rest of the miserable sonofabitch.

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The whole front end comes off with two pivot bolts and unhooking the wires for the lights.

That makes it SO much easier to work on the little monstrosity.

 

The thing is basically a street legal Go Cart.

 

Now I have to clean up and reinstall all the crap I took off and actually get the thing to run again.

There is no end in sight to the amount of work and money I am going to have to put into this thing but at least I have something to do instead of sitting in a bar.

 

I should have my head examined for opening this can of worms but there it is.

The Misery Continues

It’s that time of year again and no, I’m not talking about pollen allergies.

It’s the annual throw money and time at a Piece Of Shit British Car again.

It’s like a fucking ritual.

Every year for the last twenty five or so, I unbury the sonofabitch and start dreaming of driving with the top down and zooming down a twisty river road in the sun.
Every year, I also get disgusted at just how fucking much the parts cost and park the fucker again.

I have had this POS 1964 Austin Healey Sprite for over twenty five years.
You would think, by now, that this thing would be cherry and nice.

But no.

Sprites and MG Midgets are identical except for some trim items and the serial numbers but in 1964, they only made 26,000 Sprites, period.

This is what it is supposed to look like;

sprite 2

This is what it looks like in my dreams;

sprite

I came close a couple of years ago when I had it painted but then in my drunken haze, I let the damn thing sit out in the weather with the tarps coming off every wind storm and letting the damn thing go to hell again and get full of water and shit.

Bad Busted. Very,very, bad Busted.

Mine has zero interior, no carpeting and the seats are completely shot.
You can buy new seats of course, for $1800. New carpet kits are about $300 and new interior panel kits are about $350-$400.

The whole fucking car is worth, maybe, $4.000 .
You can see my reluctance to throw insane amounts of money at the damn thing.

I had the head redone this last winter and put a new starter in it because it kept locking up and wouldn’t turn over. That problem turned out to be the fucking teeth on the ring gear on the flywheel being mangled as fuck.

I pulled the engine and transmission Saturday and got in a new ring gear last week.

Normally that is a nightmare job, you have to pull the engine and transmission out together but this thing has been modified to a tilt front end. Two pivot bolts, a stop cable and unhook the wiring and the whole front of the car comes off and you can get right to it.

I swear, someone thinks these fuckers are Jaguars or something. The price of parts has gone through the roof!

I’ll admit, it’s forty five years old and British but there are companies that still make brand new parts for these things all over the place.

I am serious about getting this thing at least drivable this year.

I have a whole ton of spare parts that I have accumulated over the years and I just got off the phone ordering a bunch of little transmission parts I am going to throw in it while the damn thing is out. Kind of a tune up for the transmission.

I will acquire a cheap digital camera soon and start taking pictures to document my self inflicted torture for your enjoyment before I put the motherfucker back together.

Hopefully now that I am sober, I will see some serious progress.

It sure helps to have a garage instead of trying to do this shit outside in a gravel driveway!

Wish me luck.

Update;

My luck with this thing is batting a thousand.

I cut the old ring gear off the flywheel after heating it up and beating the shit out of it for forty five fucking minutes yesterday. I went to press the new ring gear on after work with their brand new fifty ton hydraulic press and the fucker got started cockeyed and wouldn’t come back off.
It was three quarters of the way on so I moved it over and pressed that fucker hard.

There was a loud thud and an immediate POP!

The thud was the fucking ring gear finally seating. The POP was the motherfucking flywheel breaking in half!

That press works real good.

I have already located another flywheel on Ebay for a hundred fucking dollars. Come Friday I will have it shipped for round two.

Dirty rotten sonofabitch cocksucker. Fuck was I mad at myself!
I will win…….. eventually.

Junk Yard Find

I went to a junk yard Tuesday to pick up a spare tire and wheel for The RatMoblie.
Not having a spare isn’t too cool.

While I was there I saw what I thought was a pretty decent looking mid 80’s El Camino they had up front for sale as a “builder”.

I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it because it was raining and hailing and shit. I got caught in a hail storm while I was out there and had to take shelter in the nearest junker that turned out to be full of green mold but it didn’t last long.

I also saw a station wagon that had the instrument cluster I wanted but didn’t have the right tools so I wound up going back later.
I took a longer look at the El Camino that turned out to be an 83 GMC Caballero.

caballero
Damn was it clean. Good paint, nice interior and completely original. It even had brand new tires on it.
Of course it only had a V6 in it.
It had a price of $1999.00 on the windshield.

After I got back home I called them up and asked about it.
The guy didn’t know anything about it because it had just came in but said it ran and drove and they would sell it for $1600.

That started it.
I started telling the wife about it.
She , of course, wanted nothing to do with it.
I told her whatever was wrong with it was worth fixing because this thing was nice!

Yeah, yeah.
Being the persistent little fucker I am, I wasn’t dropping it.
Yeah, we could come up with the money.
I wheedled, begged, cajoled and generally turned into a pest but she finally relented.
I went down and looked at it again to make sure everything worked.
I noticed the lid to a quart bottle of transmission fluid under the hood and that gave me a serious pause but when I started it up it went right into gear.
This thing had the original radio in it and everything.
Completely bone stock.
Somebody took good care of it.
I gambled and paid the money.
Jimmy

I had to go to work so I asked them to store it for me one day.
I went back with my dad to pick it up and sure as shit as the guy is trying to back it up to pull it up front I hear the engine revving and it not moving.

Fuck, the tranny is messed up.
He gets it out and I thank him. He tells me they put a little fluid in the transmission but not much.

I get it around the corner to a gas station and have Dad go to Freddy’s and pick up 3 quarts and a funnel.
He comes back and I dump in 2 quarts and it goes right into gear.
I tell him to follow me and I went straight to my buddy who has a transmission shop.
The thing is trailing blue smoke the whole way and I can hear my wife bitching every inch of it.

It runs like a top though. It was so quiet I could hear the clock on the dashboard ticking when I was sitting at a light!
I get to the transmission shop and my buddy puts it on the hoist and there is fluid dripping on the floor. We thought maybe just the pan bolts were loose but no dice.
He cleans it up and runs it for a bit then picks it back up and finds a pressure switch puking. The blue smoke was from the switch puking fluid right onto the catalytic converter.
He says it is probably for the back up lights. He pulled it out, stuck a plug in it and charged me $20.
I love that guy.
Filled it back up and off I went.

While I was under it it I took a look around.
New tires, new shocks all the way around, new exhaust from from to back.
This thing looks like it’s brand new underneath.
Runs like a champ, everything but the A/C works.

I have to take it to the State Police to have it inspected because it came out of a wrecking yard but I scored big time with this thing.
The guy at the wrecking yard said it was a one owner rig and had a huge stack of receipts going way back for all the maintenance and I believe him.
I even got the window sticker that has the estimated mileage on it from when it was new.

That picture up top?
That is the cover of the brochure from the dealer. I even got that with it!
caballero

It looks just like this.
GMC

Notice the price in the windshield…….
Same color and everything. I do have to put a windshield in it eventually because it has a crack in it.
BFD.

I went from driving a POS looking like this,
80elky-343r4
with no carpets, bad wiring, water oil and noisy exhaust leaks, to a cream puff like this.GMC

Do I have an awesome wife or what?
The fact that she puts up with my ass alone should give you a pretty good idea.

Another Battle Won.

HA! dirty motherfucker.

I want to hunt down and strangle the idiot cock sucker who had this fucking car before me.
Gotta, and I do mean gotta, be a fucking Crack head.

I have been fighting a severe oil leak since I got the damn thing.
Severe as in puddles under the front of the car, in my parents garage.

That shit don’t fly.

I took it to my friends transmission repair shop to have a new starter put in it, that I fucked up and to chase down two leaks, one was transmission fluid and the other one was that nasty fucking oil leak.

He put it on the hoist and cleaned everything up, then had to use a crows foot socket wrench to get the transmission cooler lines off to remove the starter.
he also changed a little seal on the side of tranny where the shift linkage hooks up.

Starter in, good, fucked up ring gear, bad.

Dude only charged me forty bucks and wouldn’t take the extra twenty I wanted to give him.

There will be some drinks bought later.

It works and sometime down the road, I will have him yank the transmission, this guy is GOOD he can haul that thing out in a half hour, have him throw another flex plate at it and call it good.

In the mean time, he fired it up after climbing a ladder because it was on the hoist and leak hunting we went.

I know it is at the front of the motor somewhere.
Got the flashlight out and started watching.
After about a minute, I see smoke coming out of the left front of the engine!!

Looking a little closer and being mindful of the fan spinning at a high rate of speed real near to where I am looking and I see smoke coming out of a empty bolt hole.
An empty bolt hole?
Sure as shit.
There is a bolt that is supposed to go in that hole hole on Chevy 350’s that when changing the fuel pump, which is operated by a large push rod off the cam, that you can remove and thread in a two inch long bolt to hold that push rod in place so it doesn’t fall out on the fucking floor, which they are prone to do. I learned this the hard way after pushing a 66 Chevy pick up across two lanes of traffic and half way up a driveway by myself in a hundred and four degree weather, by myself, at a whopping one hundred twenty five pounds.

That bolt was missing and oil was flowing out of it like an Arabian Princes dream.
One new starter, one used bolt and some skookem’ putty to make double sure the motherfucker doesn’t leak any more and life is good.
Two down, several more issues to deal with but I AM kicking this things ass, finally.
Stay tuned and,

Thanks fer stopping by.

I Won This Battle

The war is far from over but I finally kicked that Chevy in the nuts and Fordified it.

I got on the internets and found a few cheats from other guys who had gotten tired of fucking around and figured out how to re wire a Chevy starter and the Alternator too.

A few copy paste, send it to the wife so she could print out the schematics, five trips to the parts house because I couldn’t get a grip on all the little fucking electrical connectors I needed and game on.

The inside of the engine compartment looks like a nightmare but it works and I can go back and redo a bit here and there at my leisure to make it pretty again.

At least I know what goes where now.

WTF, it starts, runs and drives again and if I ever, ever, find the crack head that butchered that wiring harness, I am going to beat him senseless with his liver and string him up and choke him to death with his intestines.

The fucking shit I ran into would make a mechanic drink until he was blind.

Two, 10 gauge heavy duty wires coming from the alternator back to the starter, wrapped together and connected to a 14 gauge wire, with electrical tape.

Think of two ropes connected to a shoe string trying to pick up a rock the size of your car.

That kind of shit everywhere.
EVERYWHERE!

Everywhere I started hunting down wires, I ran into bizarre shit like that and would have to go get more wire and the correct connectors.

I got it to start and run but I am going to spending a long time going through a bunch of wiring harness’es and a ton of new wires, new connectors, harness covers, tie straps and beer until I get this fucker straightened out and looking pretty again.

It is a testament to my mechanical ability I got the fucker running at all.

Run it does though.

BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!

Kiss my fucking ass.

I do have to admit, right now under the hood it looks like a spider on acid had a field day….

GRRRRR

Here is to the three fucking guys on this planet who need a swift kick in the fucking balls.
Number one, the brilliant mother fucker who invented theft proof lug nuts.

Two, the dickhead motherfucker who put them on with an impact gun and least and fucking last, the ignorant dumbass who loses the key, that the dickhead with the impact gun put them on with..
I have dealt with this before but of course, I had to find the aftermath of the dumbass who decide they should never come off again and the stupid fucking dickhead who lost the key, that fits the locking lugnut and the idiots impact gun who tighten a steel lug nut to two million foot pounds into an aluminum wheel.

I just spent two hours trying to get said anti theft lugnut off of a VERY expensive Aluminum wheel with all of my considerable mechanical skill and ended up fucking up the wheel, completely melting the hard to find center cap and using a cutting torch to melt the fucking wheel stud down far enough to yank the wheel off while it was still semi liquid at over fifteen hundred degrees.

This is all so I could get under my car to fix some melted wires going to the starter, that some other ignorant fuck didn’t protect from the red hot heat of the exhaust manifold when they swapped engines.

I used  a lug nut wrench, a lugnut socket, a ten pound sledge hammer trying to drive the socket on hard enough to break it loose, the torch to get it red hot so I could get a bite into it with an air chisel, for forty five minutes and finally got pissed off and said, you will come off mother fucker.

That’s when I went full mental and just cut the fucking thing off with the torch. Problem being, Aluminum wheel melts much easier than steel wheel stud and the smoke from the torch turned half of it soot black.

One down, just to fix the starter.

If and when I get the cocksucker fixed enough to run and drive, there are tire stores that have master keys for these fucking things and I will stop by on my way to get the fucking transmission leak fixed, so I can find out where the fucking oil leak is coming from.

THEN, I will deal with this half black wheel.

And before my buddy who I traded for this thing for has another hissy fit about how he should never done it, dude, I knew this thing was going to be a pain in the ass and I asked for every bit of it.
That does not preclude my privilige of griping like a butt sore monkey about all the fun I am having.

Fucking Chevy.

I need a bigger air compressor.

Shit will start flying then.

They still make lots of Chevy parts, for an apparently good reason.

I am going to thrash on this thing like a left handed, red headed step child, who stutters,with a hairlip.

Then I am going to get the BIG hammer.

I am going to win, you sonofabitch.

Just wait.

By the way, I never even bothered to look at the fucking wires.

After all that fun it was dinner time and yes maam, I was all done for the evening after working all day.