atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#5628: There used to be another way

Rich young men are getting vasectomies so they won't father children. Because they want to have all sorts of unprotected sex, with as many women as they can, but don't want to be forced into paying child support.

The easiest way to avoid siring out of wedlock children is not to have unprotected sex with all those women. Our society used to frown mightily on extramarital sex; now it's just jim dandy.

Women used to use pregnancy as a way to entrap "eligible bachelors" into marrying them. That doesn't work any longer; but with the new rules, of course, it's better for the women, because they can dun a rich guy for a couple of hundred thousand per year in child support and live the high life for two decades. Or if she's smart with her money, she can live modestly and never have to do anything to support herself.

What a sad, sad state we've fallen to.

* * *

The long security queues are the perfect place for a terror attack.

You know, I have to wonder why this hasn't already happened. Maybe it's just because the prospect of being a suicide bomber doesn't really appeal to islamicized westerners, regardless of what their new cult membership has taught them. (That whole bit about 72 virgins etc.) But I also have to think that perhaps the higher-ups look at what 9/11 got Al Qaeda, and back away from doing anything that would be a really successful terror attack and give spectacular body counts the media would effuse about for days.

And maybe I give them too much credit, and in fact they're all ignorant fuck-ups that it simply doesn't occur to them that there are ways to make big headlines by blowing up TSA queues at airports.

But if an attack went down like the one described at that link, that would be a major galvanizing event for the American public. (You know, the Boston Marathon bombers tried to do something like that, now that I think of it.) It would end up being very bad for islam in America. I'd like to think they're not all a bunch of retards and the inevitable reaction is why they don't do it. Sadly, however, the recent history of islam has shown that when there's not a terror attack somewhere, it's only because they lack the capacity.

* * *

Gee, a Democrat with a spanish name threatened to kill a Republican after he called ICE on people self-identifying as illegal aliens. What a friggin' surprise.

* * *

So, let's talk about the desirability of a new car.

Here's an excellent discussion on why it may not be such a good investment.

It's news to me that transmission shops don't rebuild the new 6-8-10 speed automatic transmissions, but it's not surprising. Look: a three-speed automatic transmission has one planetary assembly, plus additional gearing for reverse. A four-speed has all that plus an overdrive gear. But if you want more than that, you need to add planetaries, and the more of those you have, the more parts there are to keep track of, and eventually you're looking at a thousand gears, fasteners, roll pins, check balls, solenoid valves, o-rings, clutch bands, clutch steels, shafts, bearings--and all those parts have to go back in exactly the right order if you want the transmission to work again.

On the car shows I used to watch, one guy (once) rebuilt a Chevy Turbo-Hydramatic 350 transmission. He needed one special tool to do it--a spring compressor, probably about a $30 tool--and it looked like a repair someone could do in an afternoon. That's a basic 3-speed automatic transmission. (Special tool shown in third picture at that link. There's actually another special tool that one could make or buy or rent, but one can substitute big C-clamps for it. The writer advises this is a "PITA", but it can be done.)

I compared that to the procedure for rebuilding the TH-125 from my Fiero, which is also a 3-speed automatic transmission, though it includes torque converter lockup for better fuel economy. There's no major technological difference between the TH-350 and the TH-125, except that the -125 is a transaxle; the -125 was designed using the same kind of technology used to design the -350. Yet that repair procedure required about $1,000 worth of special tools to accomplish. You could do a half-ass rebuild on it and probably get it right, but if you wanted to have that transmission last 100,000 miles you needed that $1,000 worth of tools. (And it might not work at all without them.)

Now that was the difference between a perennial favorite transmission designed a long time ago, and one designed in the 1970s. The TH-125 is a basic 3-speed transmission, nothing special, just putting three gears and a differential into a smaller package for front-wheel-drive cars.

How much worse is it now? What do you need to rebuild the 8-speed automatic transmission in your Lexus? Besides a clean room and a hundred buckets to keep the parts organized? What kind of tools do you need to buy to do the job?

Assume that the tools for that one Lexus transmission are usable for all cars from that maker. Even so, multiply your tool inventory across all manufacturers. Say it's $1,000 per maker. So: Lexus/Toyota, Honda/Acura, Kia, Hyundai, Ford, GM, Chrysler--right there that's seven thousand dollars worth of tools. I know for a fact that, at least in GM's case, the special tools for one transmission are not entirely usable on another type, such that in order to service two different transmissions you'll need additional tools, perhaps an additional $200 per type. How many different transmissions has GM made over the years? And multiply that across all manufacturers.

It's probably not overestimating the case to say that a full-service transmission shop could have $50,000 worth of tools and still not be able to service all transmissions. And for what? The two or so units that come through each year? And that's just tools--what about training? Men have to be taught how to rebuild them, and that's not cheap, either. So, yeah--not surprised at all that transmission shops replace rather than rebuild the newer ones. It's just not cost-effective.

The problem is compounded across the entire rest of the car. The article also talks about direct injection; it's a neat idea, but the intake gets clogged with carbon crud since there isn't gasoline washing it down. How? The intake and exhaust valves are briefly both open. Some exhaust gas gets into the intake, bringing carbon with it. The incoming air/gas mix washes it out--all gasoline is "detergent" to one extent or another--but if you're spraying gas directly into the cylinder, it's just air coming in, hence no detergent, hence carbon build-up.

The solution is to put a port fuel injection system in, to make sure there's a little gas in the incoming air, to keep things clean. Two fuel systems, rather than one. That's next year; right now, if your intake gets carbon-fouled, someone must take your engine apart and defoul it manually. I'm sure it's only a $3,000 job.

(No I don't know how diesel engines avoid this problem. Neither do I know why that solution won't work for gasoline engines.)

All this horseshit is being done to meet Obama's idiotically high CAFE standard. What did he raise it to, 50 MPG? I don't recall, but I do recall saying at the time it was unrealistic and would simply make cars more expensive.

That's a feature, not a bug, for Democrats, though. They hate the freedom that the automobile represents; given their druthers, we'd all be crammed into cities, because the cities reliably vote Democrat.

I heard some tell that Trump was going to roll back the CAFE standard to something reasonable; I hope he does. There's nothing wrong with it being 40 or even 35 MPG.

As for me, reading and thinking about all this has only furthered my determination to hold on to the Jeep as long as possible. And to get an Elio when (if?) one becomes available, because that is the only way you're going to see a CAFE standard higher than 40--by making cars small, light, and efficient. You can't have the big fancy SUV and high fuel economy; you need to add all kinds of overcomplications to the vehicle to get it even close. Elio doesn't need direct injection or an aluminum body or a 12-speed transmission. Of course it also doesn't come with all the other horseshit they've started piling onto vehicles these days, but for me that's a feature: I don't want a 9" screen in my dashboard for the on-board computer/WiFi/navigation/satellite radio/voice recognition/etc.

You can't buy a car (other than a rock-bottom econobox) without all that shit. If, for example, you want to buy a Chevrolet Impala with AC and automatic and maybe a decent stereo, you can do that, but you also get:
OnStar® Guidance Plan
OnStar with 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot (5 years of service included)
6-speed automatic transmission
Brake Assist, panic
Brake control, cornering
Engine control, stop-start system
Hill Start Assist
Traction control
Headlamp control, automatic on and off
4.2" diagonal color infotainment display
6-speaker audio system
Brake, park, electronic push button powered
Color display Driver Information Center (in addition to analog gauges!)
SiriusXM® Satellite Radio
I've omitted a lot of features like power locks, power windows, keyless remote entry, just because those things are actually cheaper to manufacture than having the option not to have them on the car. It's harder and more expensive to install manual window cranks on some of the cars coming down the assembly line.

The list price for the base Chevy Impala--the LS, for which this is a list of standard equipment--is twenty-nine thousand dollars. That's with a 4-cylinder engine. (If you want a 6-cylinder engine, you must pay $37,000 for the top model.)

WTF is "Brake assist, panic"? ABS is listed as a seperate feature, so it's not that. Wikipedia sez, "By interpreting the speed and force with which the brake pedal is pushed, the system detects if the driver is trying to execute an emergency stop, and if the brake pedal is not fully applied, the system overrides and fully applies the brakes until the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) takes over to stop the wheels locking up."

I don't need a computer to tell me how much brake force I should be applying! I certainly don't want it! Ditto for the engine start-stop crap. And "Hill start assist"? WTF.

How much would the car cost without that extensive list of horseshit?

If you finance the entire price of the car for 5 years, that's $484 per month before interest. The largest car payment I ever had was for my Thunderbird, and that was $375 a month after interest. (Can't remember if that was 48 or 60 months, but I'm thinking it was 48 because the car's MSRP was $16,000 and I paid less for it than that. Also, I had a sizable down payment on it, and an excellent credit rating because I'd already paid off one car loan.)

Point being: all this horsecrap they're adding to cars seems utterly useless to me, and all it does is raise the already overinflated price at the expense of making them cost even more to service down the line.

* * *

Today I have one errand and one chore.

Errand: go get that bolt to work on bike. Chore: do something about the patio weeds.

This week's project is to clean and otherwise handle the patio. It's a mess; I'm going to de-mess it and make sure everything is up to spec. Wife wants to light fireworks from it. I do too. So, off I go.

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