Rambling at Random
I am no Politician, who claims to know everything, but one thing I can tell you: Business has slowed en ‘n heel paar besighede het hulle se dingens gesien. Our politicians have turned into Warmongers etc. But I just want to comment on is some automotive news.
Sadly the time of the Mitsubishi 2600 Motor has come to an end. In the Mazda it ran 3000 Rpm at 120, had torque for Africa and could be modified for up to 30 % more power without loosing Torque. It seemed to last for ever and only seemed to have had 2 glitches- Points, which where fixed with Electronic Ignition and a constant Cam chain wear, which could also be fixed. The Toyota 4Y also sadly was discontinued from the 4*4 Range. This motor could have its torque increased by 20 % Maklik and also ran forever except a few unlucky people that had theirs use copious amounts of oil from the word go. Toyota finally replaced their anaemic 2.4 L Diesel for the 2.8 and then with a 3L that seemed to run as if it had its brakes on. The 4*4 Petrol then came with a 22R that is most willing to have its performance increased by 30 % while massively decreasing its thirst for fuel. Now we have the 2.7L that was a stepping-stone for a bigger V6 in most of the civilized world.
On the point of Performance figures, I have noted more and more companies trying to sway a customer to purchase their services by making hideous performance claims. Realistically and safely, if you Turbo a petrol engine expect to gain 40 % power and 50 % Torque while a normal full house conversion will net you 20 % more power. A Chip and pressure regulator is not going to increase performance by 40 %, and if you believe these claims nobody can help you! Some cars as the Ford ZETEC motors suffer to get more power but it can be unleashed; you just need to have loads of cash. Please before you do something to your vehicle, ask around with RELIABLE sources. By the way Land Cruiser 4500- I heard rumours that nothing could wake that motor up, and I love challenges. Nearly 30 % more Power by just doing the Head, Zorst, Cams and a few other minor things.
Kit Cars and small production cars have become more accepted, the URI now being built in Witvlei. The Tazio built in Cape Town is most desirable, if your heart desires a Sports Car. Most of these manufacturers are prepared to have outside suppliers like us, supply the Motors. And are prepared to get slightly involved with special wishes.
The Roads are getting worse, which means I can start concentrating more on Suspension systems and Traction aids. Sadly theft is also on the increase, or should I say police action is decreasing? I think we have reached the Limit now on where we can protect ourselves and our Property; our Rights have been infringed on. There are a few Gizmo’s left that will help us, but it is time that we act in the offensive.
I also see an increase in extended warranties. This was popular in the USA some years ago, but in the end it did not seem to pan out. Especially in an area where the cars get punished, it can become a dealer’s nightmare, even more so if he has to collect broken down vehicles. Also for the consumer it often is a waste of time as frequently only those items get covered that don’t break. This also is a waste of money for those DIY’s out there. Again Emptor Caveat (hope this is spelled right) applies- READ the contract! Well hopefully we will get the same situation as the USA where we will get a limited long-term warranty that does not bind a Customer to a dealer.
Finally South Africa is stepping into the 80’s and I am starting to see a few Aftermarket adjustable Fuel Injection Systems. On new cars Fuel Injection is becoming the Norm. Again no problem. I have a system that works and can be fitted to your problem child. Again that won’t be cheap- isn’t technology wonderful!? The upside is we have tested a few vehicles with this system retrofitted (Land Cruiser 4500 and 3F) and it works. Fuel consumption nearly Halved and the Power is there.
Our Labour ethics have also got to change. How often don’t you find that a mistake has been made during regular servicing and the reply reads “ dis die cleaner wat maar weer…” or “ die Masjiene se hy is reg”? Hey us Service personnel are supposed to make the customer happy, not be an inspiration for excuses. I know customers can be difficult, but they can be helped. Recently I phoned an Auto Electrical Supply House looking for a Chevy Starter. Reply was “ Hy kos XXX, maar ons het nie!”, Then I asked whether this was for a Small or big flywheel (the mounting points are the same, but the actual starter nose and gear assembly is different). As a reply I got “ Dis vir a Chevy, man!”. The reply was so harsh I really did not bother carrying on with the young man. Also, how often don’t we order something based on a given Quote, and then have to find out that the parts are more expensive, once they arrive?
As a customer understand that a lot of Workshops implement an Attitude of “Prices subject to Customer Attitude”, and having met some of these Customers I don’t blame them. As a Customer DON’T tell the Foreman what to do, but DO tell him what you expect. Also it has become more popular to baffle customers Brains, especially when it comes to Aftermarket i.e. Our Heads flow more than theirs or We make more Power. I believe in letting my Customers talk for me and as far as the previous goes Quality is better than Quantity. I rather have a few kW less and instead have the Power where I want it, or less flow CFM, but proper Gas velocity. “Papier is geduldig”, so ask questions.
I also see most manufacturers having Diesels in their line-up; this bodes well for a lot of us. Yes we will have Turbo upgrades and Intercoolers in the near future. Also this will give my friend Eddie more work Calibrating Pumps (by his comments it seems to be a Bitch setting up small vehicle pumps). Although if a diesel is worthwhile to the end user is questionable (I will elaborate on in a future article).
Additives have for years been in the shelves of automotive suppliers. I am not prepared to endorse 1 of them. I recently came onto some Wundermittel supposed to increase performance, longevity etc. While decreasing noise, fuel consumption etc. OK at N$ 100 at every oil change (lets extend it to 10 000 KM- and probably harm the motor through Abrasives in the Oil), at 300 000 it is N$ 3000.00 spent. And the Engine is to last how much longer etc.? On the contrary, taking a 2.2 Mazda bakkie I could prove to a fleet owner that when travelling 35 000 Km a year he would have paid of my conversion and started saving Money halfway through his 3 year Lease- and have more performance. Please do not misinterpret this, some of these Lubrication enhancers and Oil fortifiers do work, but I don’t see the benefit of their constant use.
More often than not I hear workshops badmouthing other workshops. Maybe it is because of the tough times? My dad always told me that speaking badly of others only reflects on yourself. People do make mistakes and we will quickly find out the no-goods amongst them. A responsibly done modification will make your Engine last longer, because it is more efficient. Anybody who claims different has no clue on the subject. Of course increasing the Compression, changing spark advance, Ill setting the carb- these can all hurt reliability if not cause an immediate Blow-up of the Motor, but sometimes it is necessary to change one of these features to get proper combustion.
Those workshops claiming you don’t need diagnostic tools to set up a vehicle are more out of touch with the modern world than the average high court judge. You need at least CO and HC gas analysers and upgrade to 4 gas on the latest vehicles, as well as having a good scope. A decent Dyno is also worthwhile, but at a cost of close to 200 000 will bankrupt a Namibian shop. So far we have always set up our vehicles at Diesel Electric but the time will come when I have to bade my good friend Haehner goodbye and make my Bank manager nervous. Again unscrupulous operators can use such tools to baffle your brains, these diagnostic tools tell you what is bust before the fix, and afterwards if you did fix it properly!
On the scene of Motor sports, Oval track seems to have gotten a boost, car racing is growing, Go carts are here and rallying is dying while Off Road is nearly dead. Of course the dead will come alive and the now living will die. So what am I carrying on about- has Nick caught to much sun during the festive season? No, it is an unhealthy State of affairs, with only Moto Cross seeming to go from strength to strength. I personally believe that we do not stay involved for long enough with a single type sport, and always jump onto the latest bandwagon. Personally I love off road racing and have done it for years, and would immediately get back on it if we had a viable formula (as we had with the mini Namibs that culminated in the Transnamib). If I sink money into a sport I want to reap the Benefits. Building a team takes a good year before it can win. And all of those involved actively with Motor sports, know it is a Business that lives by high public visibility!