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ME_Andy 07-09-16 07:57 AM

We're on the cusp of renting out a room. Shout out to Peakster- his thread was one of our motivations to do it. This is awesome. The rent will cover the interest on the mortgage so we are essentially living for free.

ME_Andy 07-09-16 08:52 AM

Rebuilding a Schwinn Homegrown
And finally, the promised update about rebuilding a classic American mountain bike.


Got if off Craigslist for $250 and it's 16 years old but it competes easily with brand-new, $1000-$5000 bikes.

Look at the detail on the frame!

Also re-tooled my blog with Wordpress. I needed something more scaleable and maintainable than editing the HTML/JS by hand.

ME_Andy 08-06-16 02:20 PM

What can automakers learn from a lawn mower?
(from my blog,

Briggs & Stratton has come out with a cool new lawn mower that never needs oil changes! According to their website, the secret is a better air filter and a cooler-running engine, which extends oil life. The owner just needs to check and top off the oil occassionally.

The other feature of this system which isn’t mentioned in the PR, I’m sure, is that lawnmower engines tend to burn a fair amount of oil. Thus they will frequently need topping off, which replenishes the oil’s additive package. The company would rather not focus on oil burning as a feature, but I would bet it is crucial.

As electric vehicles become much cheaper, conventional gas engines will need to exploit all kinds of technology to stay competitive. And let’s face it, oil changes are one of the worst aspects of a gas burner. So, my humble prediction is that automakers will advertise longer and longer oil change intervals. We may even see some creative systems where oil is no longer drained, ever, but partially siphoned out and topped off to replenish additives.

There is precedence for this “replenishment” technique already. A couple links from people who NEVER changed their oil follow– they just topped off as old oil was slowly burned off. If you’re “lucky” enough to have a car which burns oil (mine doesn’t), you could probably pull this off. My father’s 1996 diesel F-250 went about 50,000 without an oil change and was still ticking fine at 180,000 miles.

There are at least two synthetic oils on the market (Amsoil Signature and Mobil1 Extended Performance) which guarantee suitability for 15,000 mile oil changes. So, it isn’t a huge mental leap to imagine an oil-change-free future. I would never change mine at less than 5,000 miles. If you do, you’re wasting cash.

122,000 miles without an oil change – Nissan truck

38,000 miles without an oil change – VW Jetta

250,000 miles – ’72 Buick Rivera – discusses Car Talk and a government study as well

13,000 miles – Honda Insight

Elcam84 08-06-16 03:37 PM

I used to be an ASE master tech and saw many cars that never had oil changes... The crankcase was full of carbon crud etc. My dad was the plant manager for AGAP engine re builders which at the time was bigger than jasper. Many of the cores were run without oil changes. Everything gets packed with crud that is as hard as a rock. They were so bad that they had to run them through the oven before disassembly then again afterwards after mechanical cleaning.

The issue is not just additive breakdown. It's build up of moisture, acids, carbon etc. This is why short trips to the store down the street are harder on engines as it doesn't have a chance to warm up and those first two build up and the engine doesn't run enough to remove most of them so they accumulate.

You still need to drain the oil to remove the sediment buildup and the stuff that doesn't get burned off. Remember the Toyota engine sludge.. Caused by engines that had too hot of surfaces inside the engine. Their fix on some like the 4 runner was to put 7 quart oil pans on them and then recommend synthetic oil in all of their engines. Still an issue today as they haven't fixed the core problem.

Mowers do tend to burn more oil than other engines and when I was in high school I worked at a friends mower shop which had the Kmart and walmart repair accounts among others. We would see returns of no oil change mowers and deny the repair. He typically had 100 or more at a time that the owners just left because they didn't want to pay for the repair.
We had one come in totally sized brand new. Removed the fill plug and saw green. They put antifreeze in....

Newer cars and mowers do stay cleaner internally due to a number of factors but the only reason they will say you don't need to change the oil in a mower is because they have it set to burn more oil than normal and just have the customer add oil. It's all marketing because people are too lazy to change oil along with many other things like mowing the lawn is too much for most these days.

Many including gm have touted long oil change intervals and it's all driven by the marketing department as well as the bean counters. Don't change the oil and we can sell you another unit sooner. Remember they are in the market to sell you another unit. They don't want yours to last and they don't want you to fix it either.

Also look at many of the German manufacturers that have very high oil consumption. Their oil consumption amounts when new often exceed the allowable for American made engines. The Mercedes designed engines that Chrysler used in their cars were massive oil burners. The 4cyl used in the pt cruiser( horrible standard trans as well) and their engines in other cars used lots of oil. Lots of extra pollution from that and premature failure of cat converters was common because of it.

Basically don't believe what marketing from any company tells you. There will always be those that get away with the exception but just cause it works in a few cases doesn't mean it will work in yours. Driving style types of roads and the biggie is heat. It sits at 103* air temp for at least hrs a day here and consider the heat from the road as well. Then stop and go traffic with the ac on max now do you think you are burning off enough oil to be able to put in fresh to replace the additives?
This goes on for 3 months here and it's still in the 90s when the sun goes down.

It's a bad idea on many levels. Oil is cheap your car isnt. Don't risk it. If you want to do that with your mower just buy the $99 walmart special and throw it away at the end of the year or when it doesn't start next spring. Many do that now as they abuse them so badly.

ME_Andy 08-06-16 06:46 PM

I mostly agree with you except on a couple points. Acid in the oil is gonna get burned up by blowby, just like the oil does, so that's not a huge issue.

Oil changes really aren't that cheap. For my car, a GM, an oil change is about $40-80 because it requires the Dexos high-quality oil.

I like my GM oil life monitor quite a bit. It predicts ~7500-mile oil change intervals for me. I guess the first versions of the product weren't conservative enough and they were predicting too many 10k+ intervals. I'm looking forward to having some oil analyses done to confirm that my typical 6,000-mile interval is fine.

And I understand that 10k+ intervals in Europe are kind of the norm. Obviously that requires very good, high-quality synthetics.

Now imagine that, say, GM required the best oil in their engines, like Amsoil or M1 Extended. That's good for at least 10k miles for almost any driver. Combine that with an oil life monitor and a filter change and I bet gentle drivers like myself would be good for 20k miles.

Now a step further... Imagine Jiffy Lube tested your oil instead of changing it automatically. That would be cool, right?

ME_Andy 08-06-16 06:50 PM

Did you ever see anybody do this? ;)

The BMW in the video reminds me of how much I hate BMW's... maybe that will be the subject of a future blog post.

DEnd 08-10-16 06:12 PM


Originally Posted by ME_Andy (Post 51284)
Did you ever see anybody do this? ;)

No but I did watch as an Acura threw a rod out of the block because its owner never changed the oil.

With newer Engines and oils 5-6K oil changes is about right. with better monitoring you can go longer


Acid in the oil is gonna get burned up by blowby, just like the oil does, so that's not a huge issue.
No. Blow by is a cause of acid in the oil. Basically oil oxidizes when temperatures get hot. When it oxidizes it breaks down into smaller molecules, some of these are acidic (oil is made up of fatty acids so while it is not acidic itself it is made up of acidic parts). When blow by happens those gasses are really hot, with available oxygen (along with the oxygen in the crankcase). This results in most engines (unless they have a severe oil loss issue) having a gradual build up in oil acid levels.

Yes adding oil will see acid levels drop for a couple of reasons, #1 dilution. However even with dilution you never get back to where you are with all new oil. #2 Modern oils have buffers in them, those along with the dilution result in a lowering of acid levels. Again though you eat up buffer capacity and you never get back to where you are with all new oil.

I'm not a huge fan of synthetic oils. A good mineral oil base will perform just as well as synthetic, and actually have a lower rate of oxidation. While it is true that Synthetics tend to do much better on wear tests, but their oxidation rates, and that they are more "leaky" than mineral oils are added negatives. That said I think these days if you compare a synthetic to a high quality mineral oil, the additive package is more important than the base stock. When synthetics first came out there weren't good additives for them, that's no longer true.

ME_Andy 11-25-16 08:48 AM

Well, it's the first post in a long time, but things are going swell. The roommate situation is working out awesome. We got a good one and the $500/mo is nice, too. Plus it's probably the easiest way to instantly drop resource consumption by about 33%.

Also, I have this bad habit of long, hot showers, so I'm biking to the gym to shower there, as much as possible.

A nice benefit of getting our house in order is that we can buy toys. Like this! 2015 Leaf:

I have a Leaf-related project in mind, but it's not time to ask you guys about that one, yet.

Elcam84 11-25-16 11:05 AM

Nice. That covers a big chunk of house payment. As for showering... You ride to the gym to shower then back home and need another shower when you get home since you are all sweaty from the ride home. Not seeing the benefit here.

Have seen a couple leafs around but more tesla than leafs here. One owner I talked to liked his leaf but said his only issue was with range and he couldn't use it for a daily driver. Lots of miles driven here as a typical commute for the day can be from 50 to 100 miles in bad traffic and constant ac use.

ME_Andy 01-29-17 05:00 PM

2 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by Elcam84 (Post 52549)
As for showering... You ride to the gym to shower then back home and need another shower when you get home since you are all sweaty from the ride home. Not seeing the benefit here.

Hi Elcam,

The gym is only a mile away, so there's no sweat involved in getting there and back.

Now I wanted to see what y'all think about some methods to cool my garage. 115 degrees plus in the summer won't do when we have a Leaf parked there (their batteries don't tolerate heat well.) A lot of homes in my hood have these vents in the attic but we can't fit that.
Attachment 7578

What if I replaced this light (which we don't use) with a fan? I would just have to cut through the drywall behind it, put in the fan, and maybe put a screen on the outdoors side?
Attachment 7579

Hope you can see the attachments. I'm also considering some water barrels in the garage. Are there any chemicals you could recommend adding to the water that go through a phase change around 100 degrees? That might suck up a lot of energy, too. And I need to make sure they don't freeze.

Thanks! We are still loving the Leaf and may become a 2-Leaf family when used 2018's (longer range) become cheap.

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