Re: [NTLK] {OT} Classic campers

From: DJ Vollkasko (
Date: Mon Dec 06 2004 - 01:36:41 PST

> From: Martin Joseph <>
> Subject: Re: [NTLK] {OT} Classic campers
> Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2004 10:53:40 -0800
> On Dec 5, 2004, at 7:01 AM, DJ Vollkasko wrote:
> <Snip>
> So you thing the vw bug is more reliable then a modern car! LOL!

Less systems that can fail, and the stuff in there is extremely robust
of it gets a minimum level of maintenance in reasonable intervals. Most
problems with this car (as with 2 CV and *all* "cheap" cars) is that
they are usually at one point in the hand of people who either can't
afford the service for their cars nor have the knowhow to even do it
themselves (classic case: The bug owner looking for the engine under
the front hood... ;=} ). They don't even keep up regular oil
change-intervals and run the engine dry. But with a manual in hand, you
can fix everything that might fail yourself and do your own services -
something that's just now possible with cars that need to be hooked up
to a diagnostic computer to get them to do anything at all.

My parents had one, and never had any issues with it. My girlfriend has
a used one (in storage right now) which she drove for many years. That
one never had any problems, besides one or two issues resulting from
maltreatment by previous owners. These things will be rectified when
overhauling the crate next year or (more likely) year after next. We
did quite a bit of long distance traveling in the Silver Beetle, and it
was a great traveling car.

The only legit standard complaint of all VW bugs and busses - the
ventilation and heating is not so great. Piping the hot air from the
engine in the back to the front doesn't work too well (==> frozen
windows!), but with added electric fans, that's easy to fix.

The same with Citroen 2 CVs and their relatives - I know plenty people
who never had the slightest problems, not even rust, because they
applied at least minimal maintenance and regularly checked oil levels.
Also they awarded the car a professional conservation of all the
cavities and the frame.
I know many people who had the same cars who never had anything but
trouble with them, because they owned handed-down cars which had
*never* received even the most basic service since they left their
initial owner. My own Acadiane was like this originally, but after half
a year of sorrows when I got it first I had all the technical issues
discovered (usually the hard way...) and fixed, and the car was good
for another six years with only basic service. Now it gets a complete
After we finish the work on the body, it gets a brandnew zink-coated
frame, new stainless steel brake systems pipes, the engine will get
new gaskets and a complete maintenance package, and the oil of the
gearbox will be changed, too, etc. etc. - and the car should be good
for the next twenty years. ;=}
Something that'll also be installed eventually - electronic ignition
system, reduces consumption even more and reduces maintenance costs,

Would love to have a raw plant oil engine or fuel-cell power, though.

> And you talk about safety concern due to too much power? The bug is as
> dangerous any vehicle EVER been built IMO. It's good in roll overs
> though(I have been in one and we just tipped it back over and kept
> driving) :~)

The bug is a very solid car. Great to drive on snow, too!

I've once seen a guy flip his bug. Helped him turn it over and he drove
off, no prob. Even after many frontal impact events the bug can still
limp home under its own steam (as long as the steering ain't nuked).

>> I only wished there'd be a simple and effective fuel cell package on
>> could strap onto the old cars and in small for the Newton, so we
>> could get out of the death grip the fossile fuel industry has on us
>> (Europe lost ten thousands of people in the heat wave 2003, and now
>> that weather event has been connected beyond
>> assumptions/rumors/conventional wisdom by reasearchers to human
>> impact on the environment).
> This is nonsense. Fuel cells in no way would free anyone from fossil
> fuels. Unless you are pro nuclear?

I *love* nuclear! Nuclear is great! I got dem all o'er me body, mate!
Naw, waiddaminute - datz "nuclei". Uh, sorry bout that. ;=}

> Hydrogen needs to come from somewhere and the most common source of it
> is water, which needs to be split, which is a net LOSS of energy.
> Usually this is done with coal or oil as the input, but nuclear is
> also being discussed.

Wind energy isn't much discussed anymore, it's very much a growing
reality in Europe. The US used to be the world leader in technology and
installed wattage, until the Reagan administration cut research
subsidies and $$$ aids for installing stuff. Today, Denmark and Germany
are the first in technology and installed wattage (with the Danish
having the world's highest installed wattage per capita).

Also solar energy isn't much discussed anymore. About *every* new
public construction project involves solar panels over here, and many
people who build new homes include at least a warm-water panel to save
on fossil fuel for heating. And electricity is way cool if you can
produce it on your own.

Nuclear energy isn't discussed anymore - we can't do without it yet,
but they actually have a timeplan here to abandon that technology and
go on to other platforms (research in those sectors strongly

Tidal power plants are much discussed - I think the Danish and British
are working on those. There's been quite some improved concepts, and
impact on the ecology are vastly lower than with damming up creeks.

Dammed-up rivers are also very much discussed - expensive construction,
low efficiency, great ecological impact. Plus with kayaking and rafting
becoming more and more important domestic touristic factors, this is
less and less appreciated by the general public.

Bio-mass is much discussed: Something popular with pig and cattle
breeders. Also communities start to employ this when renovating their
sewage treatment plants. Many areas here also have separate bins for
general trash, plastics, paper and vegetable stuffs. The last are
brought to public composting plants, turn into high-quality
fertilizer/compost, and there's ways to tap on methane, or even the
warmth produced when the compost rots. Biomass is very promising and
offers many chances. The installed base is not very high yet, as giant
rotors and dams are more prestigious and spectacular.

Any of these can be employed to produce hydrogen, and with solar
energy, you could even DIY.
If you consider the regular fuel costs for, say, 100.000 km, you have a
nice budget to start your own personal gas station...

> This means you need to input even MORE energy to get your "clean"
> hydrogen.

...which isn't much of a topic if the energy comes cheaply from the
sun. Splitting H2O and storing the H is actually much more efficient
than using batteries (which no solar power-cell owners have over here -
they sell all the energy they produce to the nearest utilities
provider, and take whatever they need whenever they need off the grid).

> This is also a problem with bio mass and biodiesel products,
> as they are grown with petro derived fertilizers.

Well, organic farmers around here (and not only them) are having their
diesel engine refitted to work with raw, unrefined plant oils. They
grow the plants themselves, press the seed for oil and use the remains
for cattle feed, which - besides green fertilizer (plants you let grow
one or two years which lets the field "rest" and which replenish the
soil) fertilize their fields (besides providing meats to sell). This

I think we have many social, cultural and economical challenges in
front of us. I'm not comfortable to just stick with the old concepts
because they are established, if these have obvious flaws. Sometimes
you have to try something new and see if this works; if it doesn't, try
something else. But stagnation is going to kill us off w/o any doubt.

With these cheerful thoughts to start the week,

I shall remain, as always,

yer pal DJV.

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