Merry Christmas!

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Kellemora
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by Kellemora » 12 Jan 2019, 11:35

I will agree with you on one fact. Front wheel drive does give an advantage on snow, because of the weight on the front end of the car. By the same token, pick-up trucks have very little weight on the back wheels so they have a harder time driving in snow than most other vehicles.
However, once that snow gets packed down and turns to ice, then your rear wheel drive cars are the best bet for safety.

Mechanically, there is a lot of added stresses to the A-frame, ball joints, tie rod ends, etc. on front wheel drive cars. I've seen a lot of front wheel drive cars where the steering components were bent from the excess pressures placed on them.

In reference to my last statement yesterday.
If you are driving on ice in a rear wheel drive car, and take your foot off the gas pedal, the rear wheels can lose their friction grip to the ice. Even more so if you try to accelerate. However, you still have steering and braking on those front tires.
In a front wheel drive car, the exact same thing happens, except now you've lost not only traction, but steering and braking as well, and can often have the front of the car slide out of control, especially on a hill.
I know, I've seen it hundreds of times on the slight ramp leading out of our subdivision back in Creve Coeur.
Rear wheel drive cars just get stuck. Front wheel drive cars have the front end swing around until the car is now facing downhill and still sliding.

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yogi
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by yogi » 12 Jan 2019, 14:20

I know that when I bought the Fiesta there were a lot of rumors going around about the hazards of front wheel drive. As you point out the driving techniques could be slightly different, but who would instinctively think to accelerate in a skid rather than brake? Icy hills are a challenge to navigate no matter what you are driving, yet my instincts tell me neither drive train is intrinsically safer than the other. I'd say it boils down to the skills and experience of the driver. Some people learn quicker than others.

I'm still struggling trying to imagine why a heavy front end in a front wheel drive car would lose traction before a rear wheel drive. Friction, after all, is directly proportional to the weight of the load. This is true for both rolling and sliding friction. Since there is more weight on the front wheels, I'd have to guess the friction is greater. My guess is that what you witnessed at Creve Coeur was the effects of highly polished ice more so than anything else.

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Kellemora
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by Kellemora » 13 Jan 2019, 11:14

Do you remember me telling about the time I was driving my step-daughter to school on Olive Boulevard in HEAVY morning traffic while driving a front-wheel-drive Cadillac Sedan de Ville?
Can't get much more weight on those front wheels than in this heavy gunboat.

While driving East on Olive, I purposely broke the friction grip to the roadway, and was able to turn my steering wheel all the way to the left stop, back to the right stop, back to the left stop, and back to center, without the car changing its course of travel one iota. While I was doing this, it is obvious I had absolutely no steering or braking capabilities. Which was the whole point of showing my step-daughter just how dangerous front-wheel-drive cars are.

Sure, it is possible I could have regained traction and had a head on collision, but the odds of that happening in a front-wheel-drive vehicle is so great, unless I won the mega-lottery four times in a row, I knew how the car handled and/or didn't handle has the case may be.
I was sure enough about what the car wouldn't do, that a great scare for my step-daughter would prevent her from ever buying a front-wheel drive vehicle.

It would be totally impossible to do such a maneuver in a rear wheel drive car because you would still have steering and braking capability!

Although my vehicle does have 4-wd, I don't use 4-wd on ice, except perhaps momentarily to get moving, then I turn it off almost immediately to make sure I maintain steering and braking capability of the vehicle.

Back in my late teens and early twenties, my son, cousin, and I would take a drive down Sugar Creek Valley (Ballas Road), in 8 to 12 inches of snow. There would be a line of BMWs, Mercedes, Lincolns, etc. lined up along Ballas Road at the foot of Craigwold Road (I could have the street name wrong, it's been twenty years since I lived in that area).
This was our destination!
We would drive up Craigwold Road all the way to the cul-de-sac at the end of road. And as we headed back down, we would honk our horn to wake up all the folks who couldn't get their fancy cars up the hill into their garages.
It always amazed me that folks would spend the kind of money on cars they did, and they were useless in the snow, hi hi.

I always made sure my vehicles were roadworthy for the heavy snows we often got in St. Louis. Because of this, it was often my job to bring employees home from work and pick them up the next morning. I never missed a day of work because of snow, and a few times, was the only one who showed up at a few places where I was employed.
The only thing that did scare me was the other idiots who got out on the road who didn't know how to drive in snow, and their cars were not roadworthy to be out in such conditions. Those are the hazards we have to watch out for!

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yogi
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by yogi » 14 Jan 2019, 08:36

Front wheel drive vs rear wheel drive is a theory vs practice argument. The two don't necessarily yield identical results. The reason for that is not that the laws of physics fail. The greatest variable, and hazard, is the pilot in the cockpit using human judgement. We can't ignore statistics and random occurrences in this comparison either. What I am reading here are some extreme test conditions that may never occur in practical driving. It also would be more convincing to me if the same experiments could be performed under identical conditions with both types of drive train. But all that is too scientific. What really counts in this world is actual experience. There is no doubt in my mind that you had experiences to reinforce your observations about front wheel drives being unsafe. I have been driving those 'death traps' as long as you have and cannot come to the same conclusions. Maybe it's because the people in my neighborhood can't afford expensive cars. LOL

I will confess that I too have experienced what you are talking about. The driveway at my home in Illinois was 65 feet long and I'd estimate about a 5-7% grade. Nothing but front wheel drive cars ever touched the asphalt on that drive. Be it the light weight fiesta or the heavy duty Saturn or the lovely Audi, they all had no traction problems on a snow covered driveway. There was an exception to that "never" statement. When the snow depth approached the top of the rim of the wheel, it was extremely difficult or impossible to get up the hill. The front end did in face swerve from side to side in my efforts. Since I didn't have a rear wheel drive car in those days, I can't say if I'd have the same problems with them. Thus, I can't conclude that one is better than the other, but I do know I didn't make it up the driveway only 4-5 times in the thirty years I lived there.

I hope your granddaughter is safe and sound and never has to test the theories of which we speak here. I don't think any American automobile manufacturer makes rear wheel drive cars anymore. The only ones I know about are the flashy imported sports cars from Porsche, Mercedes-Benz. Fiat, et. al.. I bet she would look grand in one of those too, if she could afford one.

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Kellemora
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by Kellemora » 14 Jan 2019, 12:15

The below lists only those American cars I quickly found advertisements for.
For 2019
Chevrolet Camaro
Ford Mustang
Dodge Challenger
Dodge Charger
In 2018
Ford Mustang EcoBoost
Chevrolet Camaro 2.0 Turbo
Dodge Challenger
In 2017
Ford Crown Victoria
Ford Mustang
Dodge Charger

Here's a fairly decent article comparing the different drive trains, however, every article ignores mentioning ICE, even when that was my search criteria.
https://www.motorists.org/blog/pros-con ... eel-drive/

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yogi
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by yogi » 14 Jan 2019, 14:45

I still don't see your granddaughter driving one of these cars on your list, but I don't know her. Maybe she would. LOL
Thanks for the link. It looks pretty interesting.

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Kellemora
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by Kellemora » 15 Jan 2019, 11:50

I imagine she's driving a company supplied BMW.
It was one of the perks when she went to work for them many eons ago.

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yogi
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by yogi » 15 Jan 2019, 12:26

I have my eye on a Bentley Mulsanne as one of my first purchases when I win the Power Ball lottery. It seems that it's all wheel drive but mostly rear wheel driven. It automatically engages the front wheels when needed. I might have to change my thinking about rear wheel drives to appreciate this, but I have a suspicion it's worth it. :mrgreen:

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Kellemora
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by Kellemora » 16 Jan 2019, 11:18

Around 1970 give or take, I stopped to help a family in a large sedan who was stuck in the mud off the edge of the shoulder. He pulled off the road to go around a truck which had stalled.
After talking to him through the window I pulled off the road and backed up in front of his car to give him a pull.
He just stood there shaking his head, and said, now you're stuck too.
What makes you think that I asked. He said your right tire is in the same rut I'm stuck in.
I said no worries, here's the tow strap. He slipped it around the bumper support under the front of his car, and I hooked the other end to my trailer hitch.
I had no problem pulling him out of the rut and back up onto the shoulder.
He jumped out of his car to ask why I wasn't stuck too.
I just said, I have posi-traction, and you wouldn't be stuck if you did too.

Jumping ahead to about two years ago, one of the cars we rented to drive home to visit family, was an all-wheel-drive foreign made car, a Honda I think. I was leery about it at first, because I figured it was really a front-wheel-drive car with power-take-off to the rear wheels. Turns out, it was the rear wheels doing most of the work. I could tell when I went to climb a couple of hills with curves, I never felt a tug on the steering wheel unless the rear wheels slid on the ice under the snow.
If I tromped down on the gas pedal on ice, all four wheels would dig in, but if I turned the steering wheel it seems the front would release or only one of the front wheels would still have drive power.
I don't know the mechanics of that car, as I said, it was only a rental, but I liked it, and the way it handled.

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yogi
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by yogi » 16 Jan 2019, 13:02

The Saturn I currently drive has a feature that I know nothing about. It's a traction control button hidden down in the center console. I recall reading in the owners manual when we bought the car that this can be turned off if we are having trouble with traction in snow. Since I never looked into it any further, and I never had a need to turn it off, I suspect there is some kind of positraction going on given GM invented it. I've not had any trouble driving in the latest dose of O'Fallon snow, amounting to 10" or more in most places around here. Thus I never had to test the button to see what it does. Ice, now that's a different story altogether.

The Saturn also has anti-lock brakes, which cannot be turned off. If I have any fears about braking they are all centered around the anti-lock engaging. I know what to do in a skid and can control the car very well in that situation. I don't need brakes that have a mind of their own. I'll concede that they do what they are intended to do, i.e., keep the car going forward in a straight line. But, when you talk about out of control steering and loss of brake control, I'm thinking anti-lock. It's the worst gadget ever invented for automobiles. :mrgreen:

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Kellemora
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by Kellemora » 17 Jan 2019, 09:17

Anti-lock brake failure is what caused the only serious accident I've ever had.
I've been driving for over 55 years, sometimes in some ancient vehicles too.
In all that time, I never had a master cylinder completely fail 100%.
Had a few I had to pump as the seals wore.
Newer cars have dual master cylinders, so the odds of both failing 100% at the same time are astronomical.
So when I went to apply the brakes and the pedal went to the floor, and wouldn't come back up, I thought the pedal broke off.
It was towed to a service shop first for inspection, then was discarded as salvage.
Turns out the problem was not the master cylinder, it was something to do with the ABS switching valves blew out.

I don't like the ABS system either, but do know it does stop you faster by preventing your tires from skidding.
But now that I know the system can fail completely, I no longer like ABS at all.
Unfortunately, I think it is now law that cars must have it.

Since we were talking about American made cars before, I didn't mention the three rear engine sports cars I had.
Every one of them would plow through snow, sometimes through drifts higher than the car itself.
I used it to make a tunnel in the driveway through a snowdrift that filled up between the houses, before the snow turned hard. Only had about 4 inches of snow in the back of the house where the garage door was, about 6 inches on the front driveway, and over 7 feet between the houses where the wind allowed it to settle between them.

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yogi
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by yogi » 17 Jan 2019, 12:55

You got me beat. I have been able to drive (front wheel drive nonetheless) an automobile through fresh snow that aligned with the top of the hood. Most of the time any snow above the tires would disable it, but fresh snow isn't as resistant.

I don't think ABS brakes are intrinsically defective systems. They do have more components than traditional brakes, and as such the opportunities for failure are greater. I've had the ABS system turn on a time or two while making a sharp cornering maneuver. You might say it's a front wheel drive problem, but the ABS is what caused me to go pale and not the skid. I can negotiate skids. I can't deal with no steering.

There is a rear wheel drive car we owned that I was disappointed we had to junk. It was the first car we ever owned, a 1949 Chevy Deluxe. I don't recall much about the traction, or lack thereof, but I'm certain that car weighed in around 5000 pounds. It was all steel and built like a tank. Nothing stopped it from moving.

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Kellemora
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by Kellemora » 18 Jan 2019, 13:06

I really miss how well the old cars were built.
The very first car I could call my own was a 1946 Ford Deluxe, flathead 8.
It was one of those abandoned to the old stables due to no oil pressure.
Even after sitting for several years, it was simple to repair and make operational again.
I wasn't old enough to drive on the street yet, so dad used it when he took us on fishing trips.
I stripped all the chrome trim off and learned how to use Black Magic (bondo).
Got the car looking sharp inside and out.
My cousin cobbed it from me, so dad gave me his old 1955 Ford Custom which I drove for a few years.
After that, everything I owned was Chevrolet. A 1962 BelAire, 66 Impala SS 396, 68 Camaro, etc.
Bought a few used cars in between to use as second cars after I was married.
The most expensive car I ever bought back then was a 1976 50th Anniversary Special Edition Trans Am with a 455 Hardin Marine Engine and Nylon Muncie Gearbox. The ex-wife took it and left me with the payment book, hi hi.
The Trans Am weighted 2-1/4 tons, about the same weight as my 66 Impala.

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yogi
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by yogi » 19 Jan 2019, 10:41

The old saying, "they don't make things like they used to" is very apropos when it comes to automobiles. Mass production has taken its toll on quality, but I believe the real problem is the cost of materials. Everything is lighter weight now and the excuse for that is given as less weight means better fuel economy. While that might be true, less weight also means less cost to manufacture and more profit for the company. I often wonder what it would cost to make a replica of a '57 Chevy Impla, for example, or even if the base materials are still available. I will say this about modern automobiles. They are a hell of a lot easier to start in all types of weather and maintenance, although expensive, isn't as demanding as it once was.

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Kellemora
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by Kellemora » 19 Jan 2019, 12:09

Engine Starting technology has come a long way from the old crank on the front.
We had a few old diesel tractors on the farm that used a Pony Motor to start the Engine.
Talk about a royal pain to get them going.
There was a lever to hold the valves open while you got the Engine speed up using the Pony Motor.
Once you got it up to speed, you let go of the lever and more often than not, it would drag the Pony Motor to a stop without firing up. Often took three or four attempts before the Engine was hot enough to keep running.
Then we went through the era of Glo-Plugs and starters. And finally, instant start, like a gasoline powered car.

Electronic ignition has come a long way also, especially after they added computer control to the starting systems.
But this only came after the headaches of government controls on carburetion systems. Like the choke that opened before the engine was warm, so the car would die at the first stop sign you came to. Poly-TICK-ians have a way of screwing up everything they touch.

Had a friend who built a '57 Chevy replicar using the frame and drive train of an old panel van, a Chevrolet Apache Van I think is what he used. This was back when you could buy most of the metal for a low price, when fenders were like 35 bucks each, hi hi. When he was done, you couldn't tell it from a real '57 Chevy on the outside. The dash he used was from a 55 or 56 Bel Aire I think, not a 57 Chevy, of which he could never find one. Wait, come to think of it, at first he had the dash from a 55 Ford while hunting for another dash.

This was not the neatest car he built on a truck frame though. There was no identical factory model to compare it too, he used different body parts from different cars to get the look he wanted. Wish I had a picture of it, it was awesome.

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yogi
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by yogi » 19 Jan 2019, 18:49

I admire people with that much skill. To build a replica using substitute parts has got to be a major mechanical challenge. Even if it wasn't authentic, i imagine it looked amazing. I also can't imagine trying to start an engine with a glow plug and pony motor, although I know it was SOP in many cases. Closest I came to that experience was the model airplane engines I used to play with. They were a pain in the butt to try and start too.

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Kellemora
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by Kellemora » 20 Jan 2019, 15:55

True, but if you think back to the good ole daze, we really didn't know about the modern conveniences on the horizon, or if we did, we couldn't afford them anyhow, hi hi.
One thing for sure, we've both had amazing life experiences, and used things today's generation never even heard of.

The extent of car restyling I've had was making a stretch limo out of two Fiat 850 Sport Spyder two seat sports cars.
Both were mine and bought new. In a head on collision with one, and got rear ended in another.
I could buy them back from the insurance company for 100 bucks each or less.

You are probably not familiar with this particular vehicle, but the passenger cabin itself was well protected.
Since the motor is in the rear, there is a firewall behind the convertible storage area, and in front of the engine.
The front is where the trunk is, and also ends up against like a firewall.
So, I simply removed the engine compartment and bodywork up to the rear firewall, leaving part of the frame.
Same thing with the front, I removed the fenders and most of the front end, except for a short piece of the frame.
I had a professional welder slide the front half of the car over the back half of the second car, and he removed what part of the frame he didn't need and welded it all together for me.
He did a great job, so there was virtually no body work for me to have to do, except for where he welded all the upper tie irons together.

When it was completed, it had two windshields, and two passenger compartments, which made it a four-door.
Since all the controls for the vehicle were done using cables, it was a snap to connect the clutch, gas, and parking brake, add new tubing for the rear brake lines, etc.
The only bad thing about it was, that little 4-banger wasn't big enough to almost double the weight of the car, but it ran great around town, not so good out where it was super hilly, so we didn't take it on the highway very often. Well, except up and down I-270, never out old Hwy 40 to Rolla, too many hills it couldn't maintain speed on.

An agent for I think it was American Insurance Company fell in love with my car and offered me more than both cars cost brand new. I couldn't pass up a deal like that! He must have had the engine reworked, because I saw him around town a few times in it, and it sounded mighty throaty than when I had it.

One unique thing about the 850 sport Spyder is, it did not have an oil filter, per se. It had a centrifugal oil separator which kept the oil cleaner than conventional oil filters. This is one of the reasons why I owned three of them, beside I loved going on sports car rallies back then too.

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yogi
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by yogi » 21 Jan 2019, 08:58

Not only am I familiar with the Spyder, but I also had the pleasure of riding shotgun in one a few times. A buddy of mine at Motorola owned one and he loved to do road rallies on weekends. Apparently you don't need anything special to run a rally like the ones he was involved with. It's more like a scavenger hunt than a race, but the first one in is the winner. Of course. I think it was the Fiat, but might have been something else, where I had my first experience with a 5-point seat belt. If that car tumbled, we were not going anywhere. LOL

You are one amazing dude to even consider melding two cars together the way you did. I guess welding the frames was strong enough; unibodies probably didn't exist back then, especially not in Italy.

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Kellemora
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by Kellemora » 21 Jan 2019, 11:39

Honestly, we didn't start out with that in mind. I was going to put a new front clip on the one first one and had it all apart.
This is when we got hit in the back in the second one. I was going to take the front clip off it, and salvage the rest to a junk yard. My cousin came over to lend a hand and we pulled the back off the second one. He got to looking at the frame and said look at this. The frame on the front of car one had the open side facing out, and the frame on the second one had the open side facing in. The front frame near the firewall was like only 1/4 inch narrower than the back frame, and if his measurements were correct, would slide right into each other. That's when we started measuring the body width at the front and rear firewalls. They were so close to identical we sketched up an idea or two. Our local welder also restored older cars as a hobby, and in earlier years did tons of chop jobs like lowering the roof on old cars, etc.
We showed him a couple of the sketches we made, and he came up and took a look at the two cars, made several measurements himself and finally said it easily doable, but we had to remove the doors, and he would pick up the cars and do the rest. When we got it back, it already looked cool. The doors fit back on perfectly too.
We did have to do a little Bondo work to cover the upper straps he added between the two passenger compartments, but he did them in such a way, they didn't stick out, so we got a smooth finish.
Once we had everything back together and the bodywork done, he came back and picked it up to add the cables and brake lines, and make sure everything worked right before giving it back to us.
Wish I had a picture of that thing, it really was awesome looking.

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yogi
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Re: Merry Christmas!

Post by yogi » 21 Jan 2019, 18:41

It is indeed a shame you didn't photograph your work. I'm positive Fiat would be very interested in seeing it. LOL

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