Saturday: Hili dialogue

April 11, 2015 • 4:37 am

The Ceiling CatMobile is finally repaired, and I am off this morning at 5:15 a.m. to reclaim my 15-year-old car (the shop opens at 6 a.m.) Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili wants to do SCIENCE! I suspect she’s studying the escape behavior of voles and mice.

Hili: Science is curiosity, stubbornness and regularity.
A: So what are you reasearching?
Hili: I don’t know yet.


In Polish:

Hili: Nauka to ciekawość, upór i systematyczność.
Ja: A co badasz?
Hili: Jeszcze nie wiem.


55 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. If you’ve had your car for 15 years and you live where there is snow (and therefore salt) you are doing pretty well!

    I may unhibernate my roadster, Zoomy, today or tomorrow.

    1. Catmobile but a little long in the tooth. We certainly have a Cathouse but not the kind many might think of.

      1. “Long in the tooth”? The car’s barely even a teenager — probably still on the original engine, even. Practically new.

        And, from her posture, I’d guess that whatever Hili is about to investigate will soon experience a close encounter of the tooth-and-claw kind….


  2. 15-year-old car. Yay–I try to hang onto mine as long as possible too. (And I hate car shopping!)

    Hili is going to study feology.

      1. You’re a much better consumer than I am. I hate shopping in general; and nowadays it’s way too easy to over-research everything to the point of paralysis!

          1. “Retail therapy” — that’s a new one on me. The concept…just doesn’t “click.” The words all fit together as they’re supposed to, but it still doesn’t make sense….


          2. Going through a string of migraines, I went out and bought a 8″ Samsung tablet that was on sale after spending a weekend trying to resurrect my Nexus 7. I already have an Ipad Air but I wanted something in the smaller size. I won’t even mention all my clothing purchases while going through radiation. Any emotional or physical pain results money spent.

          3. Don’t you remember? I’m an American and constitutionally inhibited from being able to tell the difference.

            …at least, that would seem to be the conclusion one would draw from politicians and pundits on either side of the aisle any more….


          4. Ironically enough…said side also perfectly fits the original definition of the term, “fascist” — a term that we’ve more recently replaced with, “corporatist.” “Corporations are people, too, my friend,” is the original textbook definition of fascism.


    1. I’ve yet to own a car younger than me. Closest is my parents’s new car, an ’89 Lincoln Town Car that was an hand-me-down from a cousin of Dad’s. Their other car is the ’55 VW Bug that Dad bought with the help of a loan of a couple hundred dollars from Mom when they were courting. I’ve got the ’68 VW Westfalia Campmobile they bought when I was about ten; it’s the first car I ever drove, on a dirt road through a vineyard in Santa Rosa a few years later. And, just last summer, I actually bought a car…a 1964 1/2 Mustang. The body work’s done; it’ll be ready for paint next week…which is when I’ll be ordering the rear end at least, with the engine and transmission soon to follow….


      1. You win, by a few decades in every case!

        Very interesting as well! This sort of lifestyle must be for people who really love (certain) cars, I’d guess. Or perhaps vintage autos of any stripe.

        You realize, though, that your first sentence could lead one to believe that you’re less than 26?

        (I know, you don’t own that one.)

        1. Honestly, it’s been more a matter of practicality and finances for the most part. It’s always been much, much cheaper to repair than replace. The Mustang is a great example of that…I’m pouring all kinds of money into it…and, yet, when the project is over, I’ll have spent less than I would have on a brand-new Mustang from the dealer; the car will out-perform the most expensive Mustang you can buy from said dealer; and it’ll be a freakin’ ’64 1/2 Mustang! So…I’d go out and buy a new Mustang…why, exactly…?


          1. I knew you’d come back with that. 🙂 I’m sure it works for you. For the rest of us mortals with only 24-hour days, well…

          2. Oh, I’m not the one spending all the time on the car…I’ve got a shade-tree mechanic who used to be on a top fuel dragster team in a past life who loves what he does and doesn’t charge anywhere near enough doing all the work. I’ve still had to spend lots of time getting up to speed on all sorts of things mechanical recently, but that’s been much more hobby-like than work-like. Mostly things like, for example, learning about the relative merits and demerits of single- and dual-plane intake manifolds that took me a few hours over a couple evenings this past week. (Short version: single-plane for engines that spend all their time at 5000 RPM and above; dual-plane for those that redline at up to about 6500 RPM. Relatively little difference between almost all modern “performance” manifolds of the same type, with most giving praise to the Edelbrock Air Gap line.)


          3. Short version: single-plane for engines that spend all their time at 5000 RPM and above; dual-plane for those that redline at up to about 6500 RPM. Relatively little difference between almost all modern “performance” manifolds of the same type, with most giving praise to the Edelbrock Air Gap line.

            Got it!

          4. …and that’s just the end result. Figuring that out involved learning about the airflow back-pulses that create “signals” between the combustion chamber and the carburetor during the beginning of the exhaust part of the cycle when there’s still higher-than-atmospheric pressure in the cylinders…and I really should leave it at that for here and now….


          5. It actually really is fascinating. At first blush, you’d think the air and fuel go in one end, get burned, and come out the other. In reality, it’s not that simple…and the keys to power, fuel economy, and pollution reduction lie in actually getting the air and fuel in the one end, burning them, and out the other with minimal deviation from that script.


          6. That was actually a tongue-in-cheek zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. (Which I just tried and it turns out that’s impossible.)

            Of course it would be fascinating, the way finally understanding the operating principles of any complex system is. I wish I had a mind for the mechanical!

            (Actually, I once felt I had a fairly good grasp of the internal combustion engine; then in next 3 decades it morphed into something hardly recognizable. Well, some parts, anyway. You could call this a failure to keep up…)

          1. I guess you would, with what you’ve shared about your consumer-addiction. 😀

            Congrats on being able to bring in the big bucks!

          2. That’s selling yourself way too short; besides, you’re still young in my book. 😉

          3. I think it’s the age of the vehicles she’s referring to, not the age of the would-be owner.

            The guy who owns the lot where my shade-tree mechanic lives and works frequently goes through old cars fairly frequently. I bought the Mustang from him. He just sold a ’30s-something Willys Knight. He’s got a Tin Lizzie and a dump truck from the same era, a ’64 Dodge Dart in good shape…and a ’62 Caddy convertible that’s practically begging to be raced against the Mustang, if he’d ever turn the mechanic loose on it to finish what little still needs to be done….


          4. Urk.

            Jeez, Diane, read for content.

            (Does your mechanic actually have a shade tree? Perhaps a shade cactus?)

          5. Yes, he has a shade tree — though, to be fair, it’s on the neighbor’s side of the fence. Some sort of really big non-native legume with seed pods that the neighbor’s goats really like to eat.

            I should also add…this is smack dab in the middle of the city, a quarter mile from where the light rail line goes over the freeway. The UPS distribution center is a quarter mile the other direction.


          6. I only ever give him cash. And I’m sure he doesn’t have enough cash flow for the IRS to be interested in hassling him even if an audit would reveal irregularities.

            He loves tinkering with shit, fixing things that’re broken and improvising new stuff to fill an hole. A few weeks back, he was just showing off the muffler he had made for a two-stroke lawnmower motor that he had repurposed to use as a belt sander. All the specialized tools he uses — such as a jig to hold a car door in place when it’s off its hinges or a sheetmetal crimper to prepare body parts for overlapping welding — are ones he’s made. He’s said — and I believe him — that, even if he won the lottery, he wouldn’t do much different.


        1. I’ve often wondered about the various costs and what-not associated with all that. First, seems insane to salt the roads in the first place…all that salt runoff isn’t going to do wherever the runoff goes any good, not to mention what it does to the cars. But wouldn’t it also make financial sense to frequently re-paint cars before the salt got to them? And I’d think fiberglass (or, today, carbon fiber) cars would sell like hotcakes. Do you see many older ‘Vettes up there?


          1. Older cars would be ones that are stored for the winter or had a lot of body work done to them.

            The salt depends on the climate. It isn’t as useful if it is really cold (-20 or -30 C). There are sands and grains used but thise haven’t been as effective where I live. If you are going to keep your car, rust protection is a must. I have my cars that will be subjected to winter weather rust proofed and touched up every year.

            Cars will rust from beneath so it isn’t the paint that is the problem. I have my cars all under coated to help.

          2. Will the cars last indefinitely if you’re proactive about the salt, or does it just mean that they rot away later rater than sooner?


          3. Not indefinitely as you’ll get rotted brake cables and such. My 2000 Corolla doesn’t have a bit of rust on it – my parents still drive it. However, if you open the hood, you’ll see pitting on the aluminum engine from the salt as well as rust on various parts and components. My 2009 vehicle has rust under the hood in places like this as well. It is actually what sealed the deal with my roadster. The roadster is from North Carolina and I had bought it through a company that deals with higher end cars imported from the US. He said to me, “you can tell the difference between a car driven in salt and one that isn’t by how clean it is under the hood.” He popped the hood & pointed out where the various wires & nuts & bolts were rust free. He had himself a deal. I bought the car 4 years ago & made sure to store it every winter so it never saw salt & it’s still nice & clean.

          4. Undercoating will always help (they are applying CICs). I find that in Minnesota (nowadays), the metal coatings they apply in the factory are good enough to get you to the really useful life of a car — as long as you wash it frequently, including under-wash, during the winters.

            After about 15 or so years, the interior is so worn out and the safety features have advanced enough for me to want a newer car.

            However, as I noted below, my truck is 15 years old with no plan to replace it. (It only has 45,000 miles on it — I bought it new.)

          5. My parents’ Corolla (which used to be mine) is like new inside (and I had and they had dogs in the back seat – but with a cover).

          6. Carbon does not place nicely with most metals used in auto construction. Mainly, it only plays nice with titanium. Most other things make it all go off like a battery. So that would be a major cost barrier for cars.

            Fiberglass is happy with nearly everything; but still requires sealing next to basic steel (non- corrosion-resistant (“stainless”) steels) because all polymers (the resin part of fiberglass) retain moisture to some degree. Fiberglass has a long history int he auto industry.

            But metal stamping is still cheaper.

            In the 1970s and before, the reason US cars rusted so badly was that they didn’t bother to coat the INSIDE surfaces of the sheet metal with ANYTHING. Basically, the first water droplet to touch that bare surface started the corrosion. Add salt is they fell to bits in no time. As I remember well.

            It took the Japanese to teach Detroit to prime and paint the inside of the panels and the frames and also to apply CICs (corrosion-inhibiting compounds, like LPS-3).

          7. Very interesting!

            I had an Opel in the early 70’s to the early 80’s (in NY, then TX, then MA) in which the floor eventually rusted out. I hit a broom that was inexplicably lying across the freeway and it split and a lance-like piece of it came up through the floor right between the gear shift console & my leg…

            So we had a piece of something (steel?) welded on beneath the important parts–seats, gearshift–but for a while you could look on either side of it and watch the road passing by below.

          8. My dad had an old Chev that had no floor. When I was a kid I had to ride up front (I don’t think it even had seat belts). When my parents got their Toyota in 1972, I was excited to have a back seat and a seat belt.

          9. A lot of car companies bought the cheapest steel they could as well. My dad worked in the steel industry back then and he told me they often selected really cheap stuff that was going to rust.

            Also, clear coating wasn’t used much if at all in the 70s and they didn’t have as good painting techniques.

          10. The replacement sheetmetal panels we’re using for the irreparable ones on the Mustang aren’t quite as thick as the originals. No clue about composition.


          11. All steel except CRES (corrosion-resistant steel a.k.a. “stainless” steel) will rust very exuberantly in the presence of moisture and ions. No one would pay for CRES except DeLorean — and much good it did him! It’s not so much the cost of the steel, there are many very expensive (and strong) alloys that corrode like crazy because of the alloy mix.

            They had good paint (the low VOCs paint they used in the 1980s and 1990s was much worse — until they figured it out). But, their other systems weren’t any good or weren’t used (corrosion-resistant primers, etc.). But the big problem was leaving the insides bare, the worst possible surface condition in the worst possible location (where dirt and moisture accumulate in nooks and crannies).

            A proper paint job will work. But frequent washing and keeping on top of dings in the paint are important.

            Another note on CRES: Like aluminum and titanium, what prevents the bulk corrosion of CRES is a thin layer of tough oxide on the surface that prevents further corrosion. The CRES and Ti parts are normally “passivated”, which is really just cleaning with alcohol which allows for that oxide surface to more or less instantly form.

  3. My truck is 15 years old. My car is 13 years old. My wife’s car (our “new” car, a Prius) is 6 years old. Do I plan to replace any of them? No.

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