Friday, November 24, 2006

VW - Auto Shop 101

I'm over at Pacific Bugs and there's a bunch of kids wetting themselves around this bitchin' sano slammed '68 bus, the one with no hatch on the engine compartment so everyone can admire the chrome. Chrome everything. The kid has even chromed the wires fer crysakes!

I go in, get the gaskets I came for, come out. The kid who owns the bus is instructing his loyal subjects on Engineering Reality. "You don't need that spring," he says, "...because the distributor is only turning at one-fourth engine speed."

"Wrong." I shoulda kept my mouth shut but American kids are already too dumb to pour piss out of a boot.

Stunned silence. Their Master has been Challenged. And by some geezer in a greasy ol' cap driving a Toyota, yet.

I started to say something then let it go, open the door of the truck. Ignorance is bliss. And the more veedubs the kiddies screw up, the more business for all those busy little VW mechanics.

"Excuse me, sir," very snotty. "But the air-cooled Volkswagen engine is a four-stroke engine," the Master Mechanic sez, real cool, little grin. "And the distributor turns at..."

I sigh, shake my head. "Wrong again. Four cycles, not four strokes. Otto-cycle engine uses two strokes, four cycles. And the distributor turns at half engine speed, not a quarter. Go count the teeth on the gears."

Confusion ripples across a half-dozen pimply faces. Gears? Teeth? I climb into the truck, fire it up, back out. "And you need the little spring because I say you do, so put the sonofabitch back in." Hard stare at the Master Mechanic. He blinks and I drive off. The kids gape after me.

I've no idea what spring he was talking about. Being omnipotent isn't as easy as it looks.


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