I drive 12-18 year old vehicles and EVERY TIME I've had vehicle
troubles on the road it was when I didn't have the tool kit along - so
I carry it as insurance when on long trips. Would not have helped when
I blew the front seal on the transmission on the Aerostar - would have
REALLY been handy when I lost the u-joint on the second Aerostar - I
ended up buying tools to fix it since nobody would fix it on the
labour day weekend friday in Flint Michigan.
When questioned about the tools in the vehicle when crossing the
border I just asked if THEY would feel comfortable driving an 18 year
old vehicle without them - no more questions - enjoy your holliday!!!
On Sun, 01 Dec 2013 13:16:32 -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I've only had modest amounts of trouble on the road, but 2 years ago
in August, a heater hose under the hood sprang a leak. Inside my Yves
St. Laurent tool bag (once a purse, used since I no longer have room
for a tool box) I had a couple flat blade screwdrivers and a folding
knife. Enough to cut an inch off the hose (to the leak) and put the
hose back on. This happened with another hose 2 days later and
again I was able to get the car going. (Didn't stop me from blowing
the engine earlier or later that day.)
On probably the '88 Lebaron, the water pump froze, but I was able to
dirve a mile to the autoparts store and replace the pump and belt with
the tools in my trunk. (sockets, for example.)
I think on the '84 Lebaron, after buying points and still not getting
smooth running, I was only 200 yards from the autoparts store when the
car stalled. A passing driver helped me push the car in a bank
parking lot, I walked back to the store and bought a distributor,
which I put in with the tools in the trunk. I had concentrated on
positioning the rotor and it ran the first time, iirc.
Way back in college, we were hundreds of miles from home when the
voltage regulator failed iirc, and we were able to drive to a junkyard
and buy another. It wasn't my car but I'd brought my tools in case.
I diagnosed on the road and I installed it at the junkyard.
18-year old borrows car, wrecks it, I find fender in junkyard, just
the right color, white. Remove that and replace mine with tools in my
And a couple years later, I got my car out of 4 months of storage, and
somehow they had ruined the alternator. I bought a used one for $10
at a junk yard and put it in with the tools I had with me in Texas.
About three years after that, the fuel pump failed on my '65 or '67
Pontiac Catalina convertible, apparently just as I was trying to start
the car, 3 blocks from home. I didnt' go home, just walked 5 blocks
to an auto parts store, bought a fuel pump and replaced it with the
tools I carried in the trunk.
Replaced convertible roof (not just the top) on '67, with the tools
in my trunk, plus maybe a couple others. (although maybe not. Then I
had room for all my tools in my trunk, and less room in my apartment.)
Another fender replacement -- this time 3 people in a row hit the same
fender -- found replacement in parking area of gas station. Had to
borrow acetylene torch from the 17-year old manager**, but got the
fender off -- just the right color, mariner turquoise -- and took it
to my parents 15 miles away where i put it on with tools in my turnk.
**He didnt' even ask if I knew how to use one. I had last used one
when I was 17 in high school auto shop, and now I was about 28. I
turned both the O2 and the gas on before I lit it. Scared the life
out of me, but no damage. Won't make that mistake again. Because
of the accident to the donor car, its door wouldn't open so I could
remove the fender until I cut away parts of the door.
Plus little things, battery cable on loose, Clean post and terminal
with battery post tool in my tool bag, and tighten with combination
wrench. Battery cable loose at the starter motor. Remove
cable, clean with knife, tighten with socket from tool bag, in the
Bronx when I live in Brooklyn.
There have been others. .
For any of these, never used pliers or an adjustable wrench, let alone
a pipe wrench.
Actually, this was a Toyota, and in my model they use pliers to loosen
radiator and heater hoses (not screwdrivers like I said). So do Fords
IIRC. But I didn't use a regular pliers, I used Vise-Grips, which
will hold themselves closed and the hose clamp open for a period of
time. That makes it much easier to move the clamp off the hose.
Plus there is better leverage with Vise-grips that with simply
pivoting pliers like the tv station showed a picture of, and their
jaws are usually bigger, so better than carrying pliers is to carry
Vise-grips, 2 pair, but if only one pair, with concave jaws.
I keep a small (Craftsman) tool kit in the truck along with a collection
of easily field replaceable items such as lamps, fuses, belts and a
turbo/intercooler hose and clamp set. It would be really silly to be
stranded and calling for assistance for something I can replace in 5.5
minutes on the side of the road. I also make sure I know key procedures
like bleeding the low and high pressure sides of the fuel system. I have
heard of people stuck for a day or more when 5 minutes with a wrench
will fix the problem, and indeed in one case I gave the person the
bleeding procedure and they reported back they were up and running in
minutes after that.
the most important item to have is a cell phone. few things are fixable on the road.
My van broke down on a busy highway in a intersection recently AAA made it a priority call, the tow truck coming broke down itself and had to be towed. I ended up pushing it off the highway. it cost $1750 to repair and nearly a week.
timing belt broke and they replaced the water pump, minor leak, the power steering pump and hoses, leaking. and some other associated issues,..
Good that you don't have an interference engine or you'd be replacing
the engine. (or the car)
Hint for others: If your car has a timing belt, check to see if you
have an interference engine and if it is time to replace the belt.
Gates has a chart on their web site. If the belt breaks on that type
of engine, the valves go through the pistons when the belt breaks.
Changed the timing belt by the side of the road south of Sydney Nova
Scotia a number of years back 1972 Vauxhaull Firenza - dealer in
Sydney had the only spare part east of Toronto and a friend's
girlfriend had her boyfriend's car and tools - a passerby had a cell
phone - and it all came together. I was down for less than 2 hours ..
$18 for the part, and a tank of gas to deliver the part and tools.
Changed the voltage regulator 2 days later in Halifax/Dartmouth.
(modified Pontiac part to fit)
When news media report on anything technical, you can be guaranteed that
they will get it wrong. The most technical thing most reporters have ever
handled will be something like a can opener or a pair of scissors.
What you describe sounds like what is known as a "filler article", used to
fill space or air-time when there's a slow news-day. In such cases, content
isn't important, only the length of the article is important.
Good sir, I must protest in the name of my news biz bros. (-:
When, many moons ago, I was a reporter I was also making my own furniture,
rebuilding 3 rotten Solex bell-type carbs on a Jag I was restoring and
developing color prints in my own darkroom, wired, plumbed and designed by
me. Some reporters have reasonable technical chops, including, oddly
enough, weatherman/meteorologists. Don't tar them all with the same brush.
I will agree with you that not a *lot* of technical stuff is done 100%
right, but *guaranteeing* it to be wrong is, well, *almost* guaranteed to be
wrong because it allows no exceptions.
That's a little unfair, too. I guess it depends on the market. In "the
majors" you'll find a lot of the chaff has blown away and you're left with
the exceptionally good-looking and the exceptionally talented and
occasionally a person who has both - in the interest of full disclosure, I
wasn't in either category.
However, when I wrote a how-to piece, it was pretty well researched and
documented. A good news director/editor will have plenty of disgruntled
reporters and stringers on staff wondering when their piece will run. He
does that precisely so that he isn't forced to run something that's clearly
wrong. Of course, with the drastic changes the Internet has brought about,
TV isn't nearly as well-off as it used to be. Except for the NFL that has
local governments pay for stadiums and then privatizes the films made of
activities made therein. Such a deal!
I don't know what Micky saw on what channel, but I can guarantee you
(almost) that if he was watching public access cable (and he watches weird
stuff late at night like Highway Patrol, just like me!) then anything could
He said: "I suppose this was on the local TV news, or some place like that."
is not a lot to go by to evaluate the validity of what Micky had seen. Are
we certain he saw the piece from the beginning? That could have a real
effect on his interpretation of what he saw.
If only he had a video recorder of some sort. (What's the matter with you,
Micky? Are you a Luddite? <g>) I can't understand how anyone can watch
real-time TV anymore, it's so ad heavy. The TNT Star Wars marathon had
commercial breaks of 7 minutes for every 10 minutes (it seemed - I have a 1
min skip button on my DVR). /rant over
I tar all those who write general news articles, including those published
in the "Lifestyle"-type sections; they're universally clueless. I'd add
"dishonesty" to my accusation, but that would presuppose competence to
recognize error from fact.
I read newspapers on a daily basis (at least two a day, plus various
magazines). I stand by my generalizations.
General news is often wrong and distorted. For the REAL news, you need to
1) read the /last/ paragraphs of any news article (which is where the
reporter hid the stuff he has to put in but doesn't want you to actually
2) read the OP-eds, which is where the /real/ differences are found between
YOU did. Precious few are like you. Most live and die off press-releases:
Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, a bit of tweaking, and off to lunch.
And he's gonna know it's wrong...how? When was the last fact-checker laid
off? 20-years-ago? Editors are as technically-clueless as their underlings.
Ironically we've found the serious flaw in your argument. There are well
over 1,000 newspapers published daily in the US. Your sample size of 2 is a
tad small to make universal generalizations. I read at least 20 different
papers online each day (when I can) via Google News and I still wouldn't
assert any universal truth about newspapers based on even that small sample.
That pre-supposes a strong bias on the part of reporters that I don't think
exists. I would contend that to get the real news, you have to read at
least three different articles by different reporters about the same event.
The problem is really one of reporters not being subject matter experts in
whatever they are reporting on. They are generalists by nature, usually
covering a number of different "beats." While I am not denying that
reporters like all people have personal biases, I believe what you're trying
to describe is simply the problem of a subject matter expert always being
able to trump someone like a reporter who isn't and can't be by the very
nature of the job.
That gets back to my contention that if you want to discover the truth, read
at least three different articles on that subject. Op-Ed pieces, IMHO, are
notorious for leaving out information that could damage the point they are
trying to make. For instance, the Atlantic article I cited about the NFL
screwing taxpayers never mentioned a word about what kind of economic
benefits a Superbowl game brings to the hosting city. It's the Achilles'
heel of OpEd writing - making as strong a case as you can for your POV and
discounting (or as you put it, "hiding") facts that run counter to that
That's what my wife says, too. (-: Not sure if that's good or bad.
I won't dispute that. My only axe to grind here is that not *every*
reporter is like that although far too many are. Things haven't improved
lately because of the terrible economic state of newspapers, largely because
of internet competition.
Some news organizations haven't fired ALL their fact-checkers because of the
ever-present threat of lawsuits. They certainly have fired most of their
proof-readers and copy-editors, though. At one time I thought writing for
the Washington Post was the ultimate job for a reporter. These days, it's a
fish wrapping, birdcage lining pile of junk. I hope Jeff Bezos can turn it
around. All the good reporters took buyouts a long, long time ago and the
remaining staffers can't write worth a damn.
For what it's worth, here are some of the papers I try to read daily
courtesy of Google News:
The Washington Post
The Baltimore Sun
The LA Times
The Chicago Trib
The NY Times
The Wall St. Journal
The Miami Herald
The NY Daily News
The Seattle Post Intelligencer
The San Francisco Chronicle
The Detroit Free Press
The Times of India
The Houston Chronical
and scads of sites like Fox, NatGeo, Discovery, Computerworld, CNN, MSNBC,
CBS, ABC, almost all through Google News. Google uses automatic algorithms
to determine which stories are generating the most interest so no fallible
human editors are involved. For example, the subject "train derailment"
will have a link that says "See all 5,432 articles?"
One thing that becomes very (sadly) obvious after reading a while is that
there's not a whole lot of original reporting happening. Many of those
5,000+ articles have large sections are obviously "borrowed" word-for-word
from some place else. Many are word for word reprints.
Great! can you share any stories of being 'coerced'? Example, lady
reporter covering Waco, having all their film confiscated, being hit in
the stomach, told to keep back, and the events she just saw she didn't
see. that kind of thing. Or, the reporter in San Jose, CA covering an
historical site, a church on Santa Clara St [main st], burning down
noticed the firemen were doing NOTHING to stop the fire, [he got hit
several times at the scene and escorted away for pointing that out] turned
out developers have been after that site for a long time, sigh. But, you
NEVER saw that side of the story in the evening TV coverage.
As a side note, the BEST news coverage, and really enjoy, is 'breaking
news' coverage. The news is raw [that's ok], not 'sanitized, nor
homogenized' [that's great, get some real info], and best of all ...no
chance for shaping with that effective 'sound-bite' technique. [Really get
to hear the EXACT sequence and the EXACT words said. Not purported
sequence, nor purported words put into their mouths.]
end of rant.
I was lucky enough to have gone into journalism right after Woodward and
Bernstein were doing their Watergate series. For a while, journos were
getting more respect than they used to. I don't recall ever being coerced
but I do recall more than one person trying to bribe me to either not write
a story or to color it their way. I have been screwed around with pretty
seriously, but I am sure I would call it coercion. Misdirection was common.
If someone thought you were getting close to something they wanted to remain
hidden they could really send you off in a totally wrong direction. Another
reason I probably wasn't coerced was that during those years I carried a
Beretta .380 in a shoulder holster. (-:
being hit in
Reporters in the US have it easy. I recall recently seeing the figures
relating to the number of foreign journalists who are killed on the job and
it's been going up every year, largely because of the many uprisings
occurring in the Arab world.
When I started working for the now defunct Washington Star I was issued a
Metro PC police pass which was pretty much like being given a magical key to
the city. Cops knew enough to treat press pass holders with less contempt
than ordinary citizens and back then, I wrote enough "police friendly"
articles that I wasn't on their radar in a bad way.
I used to go on several "ride alongs" a month and that really helped me
realize what a thankless job cops have. I can still remember walking with a
cop buddy on the streets of DC when some crazy old woman ran up to him and
spit a huge loogie on his uniform just because he was a cop. The uniform
seems to bring out the worst in certain types of authority-hating lunatics.
That's all changed post 911 from what my few remaining (working) journo
friends. Pass or not, you're just trash nowadays as the two incidents you
Raw news always interests me. Remember the claims that they had found a
drain pipe in OJ's house filled with Nicole's blood? The rumors fly so fast
and furious in breaking news that it's nearly an impossible job to get the
facts fully checked before press time. The worst thing that could ever
happen to many of the different editors I worked for was to be "scooped" by
a rival paper.
That pressure unfortunately drives a lot of shoddy reporting and leads to a
fair number of retractions. The most recent example I can think of was the
reporting about the possible deaths from the recent super-typhoon. I read
reports that as many as 20,00 people died which was way over the top. Then,
of course, you have reporters like Jason Blair who just make up the news
<<The Times reported on Blair's journalistic misdeeds in an unprecedented
7,239-word front-page story on May 11, 2003, headlined "Times Reporter Who
Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception." The story called the affair "a low
point in the 152-year history of the newspaper.">>
Ironically we both went to the same J-school and were editors of the same
campus newspaper. Fortunately I left journalism when the PC revolution hit.
That was one of the best life decisions I ever made and it came about
because the Army Times, where I then worked, had instituted a new optical
scanning program. It allowed reporters to submit articles directly to the
copysetting computer system by using tags like Robert Green <byline> that
would automatically set the proper type size and style for bylines.
However, it was so cumbersome and bug-ridden that I became convinced I could
carve a better system out of a banana. I became interested in computers and
as they say, the rest is history. (As an aside, I remember writing my first
primitive editing program in Pascal and thinking to myself, "maybe I can't
carve a better system . . .).
I keep tools in my car, but not just to fix the car. Since I'm often
where the car is, it's always nice to have the tools just in case I
need them. The extra weight in the trunk doesn't seem to have a major
effect on gas mileage so why not carry them?
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