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  1. about 2 hours ago on Henry Payne

    The VW POS is long gone. The VW service manual specified head bolt tightening procedure always resulted in stretched head bolts, something I discovered after the second blown head gasket. When I did the ring job, I also took the head in to have only the intake seats resurfaced. The incompetent “machinist” milled so much out all eight seats that it was impossible to get a valve lash adjustment. The shop foreman refused to admit the shop’s blunder. I thanked him for allowing me to provide the “machinist” responsible with on the job training. I had to buy a new head, which was shipped from Brazil. Cost $350, not counting a new head gasket for $50. One of the reasons for the blown head gaskets was that all the replacements were punched for 12mm bolts. It took great care to make sure that the alignment was correct for the 11mm bolts because VW was too cheap to use alignment dowels. The potential for slight gasket misalignment was an open invitation for gas cutting the thin steel gaskets around the bores. It was the height of engineering stupidity or chutzpah, in my judgment, to mate and iron block with an aluminum head in a diesel application. I also had at least two door handles break. I recall going to the biggest foreign car graveyard within 50 or 60 miles to get used replacements. Imagine my chagrin when that outfit had junk VW Rabbits and Siroccos stacked up like cord wood — dozens of them — and every one had the door handles removed, except for the already broken ones. The new ones, which had much more robust castings, set me back about $40 or $50 a copy. I had the same problem with the window cranks, too. I’ll NEVER own another VW; I don’t understand why they are so popular throughout the world.

  2. about 2 hours ago on Henry Payne

    One sometimes sees this propaganda phrase/disclaimer: “Made in America from parts sourced worldwide,” or something similar.

  3. about 6 hours ago on Clay Jones

    I agree that the migrant issue is a serious problem. But it’s not the “catastrophe” climate change portends, for Venezuela, socialist or not, and everywhere else, too. Your word, “import” clearly implies that the US intentionally and actively brings in migrants, like it does Chinese car parts (wages are too high in Mexico now) or Vietnamese and Cambodian and Sri Lankan textile products (since US mills went under decades ago, because even non-union labor was too dear and management didn’t want to foot the costs of workplace safety regs). That implication is patently false and unjustified; the migrant influx jerked up substantially last year. (I notice that you still haven’t acknowledged the fact that the official record keeping, by combining migrant intake and expulsions into “encounters” last year did and will continue to inflate the overall statistics.) Walls like the ones you suggested have been as useless to the countries that built them, in the long run, as the Maginot Line was to the French in the 1940 Blitzkrieg. Trump’s wall (like his predecessors walls) are circumvented or breached regularly. Mexico didn’t pay for his wall either, as the forever grandstanding Trump promised. Perhaps you should consider the causes for the migrant influx — poverty, unemployment, third world autocrats and plutocrats, religious persecution, kidnapping, murder, torture, all manner of sexual crimes, to name a few — instead of griping about the results of the causes? After all, the US is not the only developed county with migrant problems. Perhaps you should imagine walking in the shoes of the migrants who have injustices inflicted on them wholesale? Perhaps you should ponder how lucky you are that you can gripe about the migrant problem instead of being a victim of it?

  4. about 8 hours ago on Henry Payne

    That was a bit of a joke. In this case, although the disc was in good shape — intelligent driving has that effect — the diaphragm spring and the throwout bearing were pretty well worn out. A forged fork would have way outlasted the stamped one. When I kicked about the short life of the Rabbit clutches, the dealer’s rep merely stated that, “Diesels vibrate.” The Rabbit service manual’s head bolt torque specs were way overstated, too, and led to stretched bolts. The ’81 model was a bit of an orphan; the head bolts were increased from 11mm to 12mm in subsequent years. Remember when the instruction was “torque to yield?” What engineer ever thought THAT was a good idea?

  5. about 9 hours ago on Henry Payne

    The goal is to maximize profit. Lowest possible wages (and benefits) for labor, since labor is a large cost burden, helps to realize that goal. It also seems to aid in the wage disparity between those who decide on wages of the labor force, as well as themselves, i.e., management.

  6. about 9 hours ago on Henry Payne

    I merely suggested a distinction inferable from DM’s comment.

  7. about 11 hours ago on Clay Jones

    I suspected that you wouldn’t give much credence to my opinion. I did think, however, that you would give credence to the facts that I presented rather ignoring them; they are an inconvenient refutation of your position, aren’t they? As regards Biden’s approval of immigration policy, it may be worth observing that his administration has kept some of the Trump administration* immigration policies in effect, and that the number of encounters was way up in ‘22 over previous years because conditions in Central America and some African nations deteriorated. The latter circumstances have turbocharged the immigration encounters far more than the US immigration policy. No administration has been able to address the problems with the Customs and Immigration department — not even Trump was effective in that arena, although his illegal actions, such as child separation, at the border — including that expensive, mostly useless, and destructive “wall” — were particularly draconian. So while Biden’s approval is in the tank, there seems to be little that he — or any President — can do to ameliorate the immigration problem. Yet the right-wingers conveniently ignore these inconvenient facts and spew lies and calumny against anyone with a grasp of the true facts and they defame immigrants as well.

  8. about 12 hours ago on Clay Jones

    I would still take umbrage with your use of the word, “imported.” It seems to me like that would entail an active desire and policy to bring in migrants wholesale. You also implied this notion of importation in your riposte to think it through ("Bring in millions of unskilled people … "). This belief is patently false, so the word “imported” is also a pejorative one as well as an inaccurate one. The official migrant encounter figure for ‘22 (~2.8 million) might be misleading. This is because the Customs department changed the way it posts the figure. Apprehension and expulsion numbers are combined now and termed “encounters.” It also seems to be the case that expulsions increased, or were “steady,” since Biden’s election and that about 4.7 million migrants were facing deportation proceedings in ’22. If I recall rightly, the number of “legal” immigrants (i.e., “imports”) is in the hundreds of thousands annually.

  9. about 12 hours ago on Henry Payne

    I take your point. But you didn’t seem to make that qualification clear in your original comment. Indeed, car makers don’t cut the price of cars made in states with lower wages, do they? But they DO take advantage of this cost savings, and tack it onto the P & L statements, don’t they?

  10. about 14 hours ago on Clay Jones

    re: "We’re importing millions of people from abroad … "

    Isn’t that figure a little north of the truth?