Sunday Rant – 3613

[date Sun, Sep 8, 2013 at 12:47 PM]


I think attitude is important……………

I also think the RIGHT attitude is MORE important…….


There are more and more vehicles I don’t like to work on as I get more and more “hands on” experience (age has nothing to do with it…..). My primary bitch is poor engineering design, poor material selection, and poor engineering solutions. An example of the third is typical of almost all Fords – very few have oil filter placement that makes it almost impossible to service without dripping oil all over the damn vehicle. I read that Henry Ford wouldn’t let an engineer design for him without having worked in repair and assembly first. That makes sense to my old fashioned “do it yourself” approach.

An example of poor material selection is the choice of wheel bearings for modern front wheel drive vehicles. A few months ago I saved some pictures of a Subaru Legacy that had tapered roller front bearings with no mechanism for adjusting pre-load [ catastrophic failure. Volkswagen (das auto) uses a similar assembled bearing on the Jetta series of vehicles, only it is a ball type (instead of taper). I regard this as a worse solution than the Subaru tapered bearings.

The VW hub when pressed out of the spindle brings the outside inner bearing race with it. The ABS vane is spot welded to the hub. The inner race cannot be pressed off. It cannot be pulled off either, without either grinding a slot in the race (and hitting the slot with a chisel), or some other method. This is what I did –

I welded some ready rod to the bearing race to allow direct pulling. I used some angle iron to build a pulling frame. The fire is for special effects (don’t try this at home). Note the ABS vane is permanently attached, so you can’t put a conventional puller under the bearing/bearing seal. I wrapped some “black magic” (electrical tape) around the hub to protect it from welding splatter. My AC “buzz box” is perfect for quick solutions – I have enough cable to reach 20 feet outside the shop doors without moving the welder! –

Here is the puller with the outside inner race almost off the hub. The heat from the welding, Liquid Wrench, and even tightening of the nuts pulled the race without difficulty. Had to use sockets of the correct diameter to ensure a straight pull –

Here is what I’m talking about………. using ball bearings on a steering axle seems underkill to me. A search on the Internet revealed VW’s of this design replacing front wheel bearings on vehicles with as little as 50,000 miles. That is unacceptable in cars that cost > $20K, don’t you think? The picture shows the hub without the outside inner race, and the front wheel bearings (from both sides), one with the outer bearing cage removed. Note the surface area of a ball bearing touching the race is at worst a point (or spot), and at best a short crescent. A taper bearing has a contact surface as long as the bearing. Other than tight construction tolerances there is no way to pre-load the bearings, or to adjust for wear. –

This picture is the lower ball joint attachment nut clips which sit on top of the lower control arm and receive the bolts (which pinch the lower ball joint assembly to the lower control arm). Notice the crappy welding? That’s my work……… The nuts are very low profile and pressed into the strip of metal. Couldn’t hold them with a wrench – they ALL stripped. Not the nut, but the swedging into the strip. They spun when I twisted the bolt head. Had to weld them to the strip in order to remove the bolts and remove the steering spindle. Totally crappy design!!! Much swearing at the master race………. Between curses I had to get behind the spindle on top of the lower control arm in order to spot them in place. Way too much engineering focusing on cheap cost of assembly and / or parts – not enough on excellence. –

I had a ’97 Ford F150 4X4 that needed front wheel bearings. The job was easier to do than either the VW or the Subaru. But the hub assembly used a similar “no adjustment” bearing – had to buy the entire hub as an assembly. This is because pre-load cannot be adjusted in the field, which requires exact tolerances when assembled in the factory.

Conclusion? They do this crap to save $$$ in assembly / parts. Taper bearings are more expensive to make, and you need to maintain them at specified intervals. I have owned a very large number of vehicles. The older tapered bearings that could be adjusted lasted pretty well for the life of the vehicle with proper maintenance (greasing and adjustment per maintenance schedule). I have NEVER had to replace front wheel bearings on a Ford, Chev (GM), or Dodge conventional car or truck except for once when I IGNORED servicing the bearings for OVER THREE YEARS! I knew that one needed maintenance but I ignored it until the bearing seized (an F250 I still own). Had I done the maintenance when required, it would never have seized. Conversely, pre-assembled bearings / hubs have no maintenance requirement. When they are out of adjustment they must be replaced. To paraphrase the Led Zeppelin, I don’t think that’s right…. (ref. – squeaky drum pedal and all).

Cheap is cheap, but poor engineering solutions can be deadly.


President Obambi has really buggered up the Syria situation. Really buggered it well beyond belief……. Some polemic comments below. I’m speechless, but I did find some great cartoons. Here is the best (so far) –

A close second –

Third best –

His Syria solution hasn’t found a willing coalition – only a weak agreement from France. This led Nile Gardiner to make a comparison of B. Obambi to George W. Bush on foreign policy. Hint…… Obambi comes in second:

A short clip from Glenn Beck that left me terrified. Eating the heart and liver of your enemy? More evidence that getting involved will have unintended consequences:

Last word to Charles Krauthammer:

Getting this man and his acolytes out of power should be number one priority for all Americans…………



Meanwhile, back at the socialist paradise of Etates Unis, support for Obambicare is crumbling:

My understanding of the longshoreman’s union is not favorable. For them to abandon this ship is indicative of serious issues…….






20 Hilarious Credit Crunch Jokes






My hope is the shame of Benghazi will burn the Democrats out of office permanently (the Republicans today aren’t any better) –




Upcoming TV show I will not be watching –



This amazing website allows you to view the flight plan information of ANY flight in North America. Totally radical technology:

The following “optical illusion” doesn’t represent depth worth a damn. That’s why it appears A > B even while B > A –

The first commercial space flights are right around the corner. Start saving your change David! Of course, the cost / person will come down:–carrier-confirms-commercial-space-flights-track-2014.html





He almost gets it right –



Pat Condell tells all about halal meat:


I have been seeing this in Vernon stores. I boycott those products.






From Pat Condell:


I have known a number of women who identify themselves as “feminists”. What say all y’all?

The crickets are deafening………..

Preview Image






How could it be more succinctly stated –

Atheist Riots

The pulpit belongs to Daniel Dennett today. His proposition is religion has outlived it’s usefulness, hampers thought, and is harmful to our species:


Joe Mekanic says: I don’t like bullies. I don’t like anger. I don’t like stupidity. I don’t like ultimatums. Don’t make me be a stupid angry bully, or you’ll be sorry! And stop frightening children you bastards….


Atheism Rage Comic

Heller Cartoon


Yikes! Summer isn’t calendared out, but the temperature and sunny skies certainly have departed for…… warmer, sunnier climes. It is dark by 8:00 p.m. This is akin to mesmerizing a chicken – I start nodding off when the sun goes over the hill. Lots of rain and clouds. The question is, can I hold my breath (again) until April? Worst case is part of the calculus……

Joe (Albino-ish) Mekanic

p.s. Ramirez for the week –

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

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