Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Samuel John Klein
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Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

Postby Samuel John Klein » Wed May 01, 2013 11:16 pm

Owning a 1972 VW Beetle has its travails as well as benefits.

In Oregon, any car that is older than the 1975 model year, for instance, does not have to go through DEQ emissions tests, which right now require the payment of an arm, a leg, and an offspring to be determined at a later time. Lord knows that even Oregon tag renewals are getting expensive enough.

The travail being, of course, you have to get DIY about your car. Recently, the generator light flickered, then stayed on. After some diagnostic danse macabre, I found the problem; the generator brushes are reaching EOL.

The generator (a 72 VeeWee has a generator, not an alternator … which pleases me, as I like the simpler solution) is easily accessible, and at least one of the brushes is easily accessible as well. Two rather large ports on the outboard end give access. One is a lot easier to get to than the other (there are two, contacting the commutator at diametrically-opposed points), but on that, anon. And the fun thing is that they aren't really brushes, which shouldn't surprise anyone here who has any knowledge of dynamos and things of that nature; they're small carbon blocks, astoundingly soft for an auto part, about 1/8 of an inch thick an the size of a large postage stamp. These are mounted to the stator in holder brackets; a spring keeps them in contact with the commutator, and a copper rat-tail connects to a terminal which completes the path to the voltage regulator.

We knew it was the brush after the light flickered on, and pressing the brush down killed that light for several days afterward. The other cute thing about this is, the brush is ablative. It rubs itself down, little by little over the miles, until you, well, you have to replace it.

The two-brush set is absurdly inexpensive. Only about $4.00. We can do this.

Well, tonight, we can do one of them. As it occurs, it's the one that's up and easy to get to that's the one that was giving us the hassle, propitiously. We pull the spring aside, slide out the old one, unscrew the rat-tail from the terminal (careful not to lose the tiny screw and washer, now!), put the new brush block in, let the screw hold it down, and attach the new rat-tail to the terminal (careful not to lose the tiny screw and washer, now!).

Turn the engine over – the thing works okay. There's a difference, see, between a system with a fault and one without. When the generator light goes out and all is copasetic, the light simply goes out. With a fault, the light will flare for a split second before going out. The light went out, no flare. Success.

Tonight, I am a man! I solved my own problem. Well … not completely. Recall that other brush that I mentioned? Same assembly, rotated and reflected across the axis, good to go. But positioned in such a way that a double-jointed micronized Wallenda would be necessary to remove and replace without going half-crazy. And as late in the day as it was, it would have been full-on crazy to try. So we try tomorrow.

Not looking forward to that. We must seal the deal, alas, and you can't have one side … at least for long … without the other.

By the by, anyone have a micronized double-jointed Wallenda they can loan out?

'Preciate it in advance.

Sam.
Half a man 'til tomorrow at this time, earliest.
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FrankChurch
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Re: Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

Postby FrankChurch » Thu May 02, 2013 11:10 am

Quit buying that german junk.

Japanese cars only!

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Lori Koonce
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Re: Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

Postby Lori Koonce » Thu May 02, 2013 2:46 pm

Sam

While I don't have exactly what your loo,king for, I do have an uncle in Medford with extremely flexible joints. I can call him if ya think it would be of help.

On a more serious note, you have the makings of becoming the Pacific Northwest's version of Dave Barry. ,

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Samuel John Klein
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Re: Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

Postby Samuel John Klein » Thu May 02, 2013 7:20 pm

Lori Koonce wrote:Sam

While I don't have exactly what your loo,king for, I do have an uncle in Medford with extremely flexible joints. I can call him if ya think it would be of help.


I'm not at all surprised. They're very flexible down there in Jackson County. Comes from living so close to the California line, I guess.

Lori Koonce wrote:On a more serious note, you have the makings of becoming the Pacific Northwest's version of Dave Barry. ,


Man, tell you what … one of my fantasies is to have someone who wants to pay someone a lot of money to write a wry Oregon slice-o-life column notice what I've been doing and life me from obscurity. You know what the funny thing is, tho? I write to please myself. I don't write in my diary as much as I ought, but I write something somewhere every day. If I don't do that, I feel as though I've helped death along a little too much.

I write to live and a live to write. And I love making people laugh.

Sam.
Just write.
Samuel John Klein, your friend, and your friend, and mine too
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Somewhere in Southeast Portland. The banal part.

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Samuel John Klein
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Re: Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

Postby Samuel John Klein » Thu May 02, 2013 7:21 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Quit buying that german junk.

Japanese cars only!


Sorry, Frank. No can do. The Japanese make the worst German cars.

Besides, I disdain the modern computer-driven car. I don't like cars than are more obstinate than I.

Sam
Ain't goin 'long with it.
Samuel John Klein, your friend, and your friend, and mine too
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Somewhere in Southeast Portland. The banal part.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

Postby FrankChurch » Fri May 03, 2013 9:57 am

I'm funny too Lori. No fair.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

Postby FrankChurch » Fri May 03, 2013 9:58 am

I'm the only one to my knowledge that made Harlan laugh.

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Fri May 03, 2013 11:22 am

FrankChurch wrote:I'm the only one to my knowledge that made Harlan laugh.


As has been noted elsewhere, your knowledge is somewhat limited. Filtered, too. Hmm. Menthol?

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FinderDoug
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Re: Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

Postby FinderDoug » Fri May 03, 2013 11:31 am

"Menthol knowledge." I like it!

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Re: Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

Postby Moderator » Fri May 03, 2013 12:53 pm

FrankChurch wrote:I'm the only one to my knowledge that made Harlan laugh.



On the contrary. I even have photographic proof.

SJK -- I don't have a flying wallenda, but could manage to lend you a moss-covered three-handled family gradunza.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Samuel John Klein
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Re: Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

Postby Samuel John Klein » Sat May 04, 2013 9:32 am

Barber wrote:
FrankChurch wrote:I'm the only one to my knowledge that made Harlan laugh.


On the contrary. I even have photographic proof.


At least you don't have pornographic proof. Nobody wants to see that.

Barber wrote:SJK -- I don't have a flying wallenda, but could manage to lend you a moss-covered three-handled family gradunza.


Well, a grounded wallenda would do the trick.

Or maybe a half-full credenza.

Sam.
who's never enjoyed pornography because he never had a pornograph to play it only. Though he did have a Spirograph.
Samuel John Klein, your friend, and your friend, and mine too
http://zehnkatzen.blogspot.com samuel.klein@gmail.com
http://twitter.com/SJKPDX
Somewhere in Southeast Portland. The banal part.

diane bartels
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Re: Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

Postby diane bartels » Sat May 04, 2013 4:00 pm

One thing most people don't seem to realize about Harlan, he likes to laugh and does it a lot. He also likes to make others laugh. Frank you can be very warm, fuzzy and funny when you want to be.

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Samuel John Klein
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Re: Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

Postby Samuel John Klein » Sun May 05, 2013 7:57 am

diane bartels wrote:One thing most people don't seem to realize about Harlan, he likes to laugh and does it a lot. He also likes to make others laugh. Frank you can be very warm, fuzzy and funny when you want to be.


He probably knows more and better dirty jokes than any five of us put together. I betcha.
Samuel John Klein, your friend, and your friend, and mine too
http://zehnkatzen.blogspot.com samuel.klein@gmail.com
http://twitter.com/SJKPDX
Somewhere in Southeast Portland. The banal part.

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Chuck Messer
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Re: Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

Postby Chuck Messer » Sun May 05, 2013 10:22 am

I'll bet he knows "The Aristocrats".

Chuck
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Ezra Lb.
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Re: Sam and The Art Of VW Maintenance

Postby Ezra Lb. » Sun May 05, 2013 2:55 pm

I once drove 15 miles to school one day in a VW beetle during a thundering rainstorm. It was like riding inside a fishing bobber.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter


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