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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Remanufactured F-150 half the cost
Article thanks to Tom Quimby and Links provided:

Hmmmm…it’s half the cost of a new truck and it comes with a 3-year/75,000-mile warranty?

Nov, 2016  A vehicle remanufacturer in Tyler, Texas rebuilds fleet vehicles, including trucks and vans, in a short amount of time and can save fleet owners plenty of money.
“The guy or gal who owns a new fleet is going to save half the cost of a new vehicle and run it for twice as long. Someone please tell me what’s wrong with this model,” Vehicle Reman Marketing Director Steve Belden told Hard Working Trucks.
Using a streamlined, assembly line approach inside a spacious 60,000-square foot facility, Vehicle Reman can rebuild an F-150 in about 42 hours (see video below). A rebuilt engine, transmission, drivetrain, interior and body breathe new life in a vehicle that otherwise may have been traded in or headed for the scrap heap. It’s not only good for the environment, but it offers a second tax break opportunity on vehicle depreciation. Customer specs dictate the level of remanufacturing and thus the cost
Belden and Vehicle Reman co-founder Greig Latham both have strong backgrounds in the auto industry. Belden started with IBM and went on to own a couple of vehicle tech companies before concentrating his efforts on auto remanufacturing. Latham, an engineer with a background in industrial automation, worked for the federal government for several years remanufacturing various vehicles, including 5-ton transport trucks for Red River Army Depot.
“The U.S. military has been doing this for decades for their own assets,” Belden explained.
Seeing an opportunity in the private sector, Belden and Latham teamed up to open Vehicle Reman.
“It really started with Grieg’s own personal Suburban,” said Belden, noting that Latham ran into challenges rebuilding the SUV. “That’s when he realized that it was a pain to rebuild a truck from scratch, because he realized he had to go to so many stops: get a motor, get a transmission, get a transaxle, get body work, get interior…he thought it was crazy.”
Borrowing on a successful military model, Vehicle Reman performs its rebuilds under one roof, including body work, and has plenty of room for expansion.
“The only thing that we don’t do right now under roof is remanufacture motors and do the interior. We’ve got a local interior shop that is literally a stone’s throw away, but we have the space in the building to do both,” Belden said. “We’ve set aside an engine shop and we’ve set aside an interior shop, so with increased volume we will bring in both of those profit centers under the roof.”
Remanufactured engines come from ATK North America, the largest engine remanufacturer in the nation. Turns out, they’ve got a satellite location on the east side of Tyler not too far from Vehicle Reman.
“We married up with ATK pretty quickly—high quality with a solid warranty behind their manufactured motors,” Belden said. “Until we get the volume, we’re using them for motors.”
Vehicle Reman will also buy vehicles to rebuild and put up for sale. Of particular interest are Ford pickups with a 7.3-liter PowerStroke diesel engine. Those trucks have driven plenty of traffic on their web site.
Vehicle Reman conducts plant tours twice a week.
“Anytime we conduct tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays and bring in lunch, the receptivity is at a 100 percent for those who show up and walk through the place,” Belden explained. “Their first response is, ‘I’ve never heard of it.’ And once when they arrive they look at it and to a person they’ve been impressed.”
For more information, visit Vehicle Reman’s website at

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Why We Drive in the Mother’s Day Truck Convoy

By RoadPro Family of Brands
The annual Make-A-Wish Mother’s Day Convoy in Lancaster, Pa., raises money for Make-A-Wish of Philadelphia, Northern Delaware and Susquehanna Valley. This year, 590 trucks participated and many of them had special passengers in the cab. Here’s a look at how truckers’ generosity has helped one family.
When Brayton Martin gets behind the wheel of a semi in the Mother’s Day Truck Convoy, anyone within earshot knows it. He lays on the horn. The longer and louder, the better.
“I mean, he honks the horn the entire time,” says Brayton’s mom, Lisa Martin. “God bless the truck driver, he lets (Brayton) honk.”
Lisa had heard the horns before as a volunteer for the convoy in her hometown of Lancaster, Pa., but she never imagined that one day that her son would be a Make-A-Wish child, riding in the cab with a trucker.
Born in 2009, Brayton was diagnosed at two months old with a rare immunodeficiency called Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). In his first year, he underwent a bone marrow transplant and months of chemotherapy as he battled the incurable condition and side effects.
The best care available was at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, which is where Brayton spent much of his first three years of life. His compromised immune system limited contact with everyone but family and medical personnel.
When he was four, his physicians said it would be safe for the family to take a trip. They chose Disney World and Make-A-Wish of Philadelphia, Northern Delaware and Susquehanna Valley, the beneficiary of the Mother’s Day Convoy, made it happen in December 2013.
It was Brayton’s first time out in a crowd, first time seeing the Disney characters he’d come to know through TV and DVDs, first time on vacation with his family.
“He embraced it, he loved it,” Lisa says. “He wasn’t overwhelmed at all. And Make-A-Wish made it possible for us to just relax and enjoy it. They took care of everything for us. It was almost like starting over as a family; this is the way we wanted to live.”
His strengthened immune system also meant Brayton could return home to Lancaster, where he got to ride in the Mother’s Day Convoy. In 2013 and 2014, he rode with Larry Witters, a driver for Crowe Transportation Services in Elizabethtown, Pa., and a convoy veteran.
Brayton dressed as a pirate the first year so Witters flew a Jolly Roger flag, which he later gave to the boy. On the second year, Witters added train horns and rigged a bungee cord so Brayton could sound them from the passenger’s seat.
“He wore his little arm out pulling on those train horns,” Witters says. “He and I had a great time. To me, that’s what this thing is about. It’s all about the little guys and how much they love the big trucks.”  
Witters and Brayton keep in touch on Facebook and hope to reunite at the 2017 convoy.   
HLH is incurable, but Brayton, now 7, is in remission and doing better than anyone thought he would. He’s in first grade and loves school. Monthly infusions, daily injections and medications, and regular medical appointments do not slow him down.
“He’s a very social kid,” Lisa says. “He likes people and adventures.”
The family now lives in North Carolina because the physician in charge of Brayton’s treatment relocated there, but they hope to be back in Lancaster in May for the convoy.  
“Brayton is looking forward to it,” Lisa said. “He wants to blow the horn again and he’s become friends with the truckers.”  
The RoadPro Family of Brands is proud to be the primary sponsor of the Mother’s Day Truck Convoy. To learn more about how to participate in or donate to the convoy, visit here.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

First Ford Bronco found

Photo: Hagerty Price Guide
Article thanks to Tom Quimby and Links provided:
Dec, 2016 The first Ford Bronco has been found and it may surprise some readers to know that it resembles a truck.
Gateway Bronco, which restores 1966-1977 Broncos in Hamel, Ill., recently bought the 1966 half-cab that was once owned by legendary Ford auto designer Carroll Shelby.

Shelby removed the Bronco’s original three-speed, straight six engine and replaced it with a Mustang Hi-Po 289 V8, according to The rear fenders were cut to accept larger tires and the vehicle appears to have some features from a sport trim package.
The man who bought the vehicle from Shelby, Vince Yakubanski, paid $100 for it in 1978. Yakubanski changed the color of the truck, did some interior work and drove it for 25 years before parking it inside of a barn where he planned on restoring it.
However, the truck was never restored. After learning recently about Gateway and their restoration work, Yakubanski contacted them to find out if they’d be interested in buying the truck.
A text message Yakubanski sent to Gateway included a picture of the truck’s original VIN and the message: “First Bronco, are you interested?”
The VIN, which ends in three zeroes, was traced back to a prototype production line. A Ford archivist confirmed that Shelby had received the truck.
Neither Yakubanski or Gateway will discuss the selling price. Hagerty estimates the vehicle to be worth at least $100,000. The truck’s odometer reads a mere 1.9 miles. While Shelby owned the truck, the odometer had been disconnected and Yakubanski left it that way.
The historic Bronco will be on display at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale for its first public appearance since the 1970s when Shelby rode in the truck during a parade in Alpine, Texas. The truck’s second owner Vinnie Yakubanski, who paid Shelby $100 for the truck, will be on hand to tell the stories of this Bronco during his ownership in Texas and Wyoming.  Gateway’s booth location will be near the Salon Showcase.
HWT talked with Gateway about the truck and learned more about its history and Gateway’s plans for its future.
HWT: Was the half-cab Bronco relegated strictly to prototype status? Or, did it ever go into full production? If so, why didn’t it ever take-off with consumers?
Gateway: The Bronco half-cab went into full production for the 1966 offerings by Ford and was available as one of three choices.  A U13 which is the Bronco Roadster, a U14 which is the half-cab and the U15 which is the wagon or what we can consider one of the original Sport Utility Vehicles. In the end, the roadster had limited utility without doors and available in a soft top was only produced 1966 thru 1968.  The half-cab was next in popularity and usefulness as one of the earliest small format trucks and was available 1966 thru 1972.  The U15 wagon was available 1966 thru 1977 or during the entire period of the 1st generation Bronco.  If we were to speculate why the half-cab didn’t take off, it could only hold two people and if we look at today’s trucks, the large majority are extended cab or crew cab.  When people are doing work or exploring the outdoors, they like to have company and the half-cab was limited in its ability to haul people.  Bronco competitor International Harvester had the same models in their Scout and people chose the wagon over the truck or roadster.  Again it’s speculation, but the consumer needs just seemed to be better met with the wagon.  The wagon provided the option to haul friends and family into the backcountry during the boom of the outdoor lifestyle in the 60s and 70s, bridging the gap between a 4×4 truck and the station wagons popular at the time.  The U15 Bronco was a unique blend of rugged off-road capability with the sensibility of a wagon capable of hauling both people and gear.  The Bronco introduced a coil spring suspension providing a surprisingly soft ride and incredible 33 foot turning radius out performing even the CJ-5 for turning radius and ride quality.  More maneuverable than a Jeep and the comforts of a wagon made the U15 version of the Bronco the most popular and a unique offering in the SUV category of the 60’s and 70’s.
HWT: What was the driving force behind the development of the half-cab? I mean, it basically looks like a truck.
Gateway: The half-cab absolutely is a truck, one of the first small format pickups.  Donald Frey, originally from St. Louis, who led the development of the Mustang and the Bronco wanted Ford to participate in the emerging sport utility market.  He pushed from day one to introduce the half-cab as a direct competitor to the Scout and CJ-5.  It was essentially one of the first 4x4s produced by Ford.  It was only a short time earlier that the first F-100 4×4 was available from Ford which was somewhat late to the dedicated 4×4 market.  The driving force in a statement from Frey: “This new vehicle, the Bronco, was created to be the combination of both a car and truck for men and women who seek adventure as well as practical transportation.”  The Carroll Shelby Bronco has been seen carrying a 1975 MX400 Yamaha dirt bike in the back by its second owner Vinnie Yakubanski.  We have seen a picture with the big Yamaha sitting cross-ways in the back of the little Bronco.  We plan to recreate that scene from circa 1978.
HWT: What kind of responses have you been getting since acquiring the first Bronco?
Gateway: People are making reservations to come visit our shop from across the country to hear the story directly and see the Carroll Shelby Bronco for themselves.  Generally, these are historians, enthusiasts and experts in the early Broncos that want to see the oddities we’ve found on this unique prototype.  In addition to individuals wanting to see the truck and its one-off features, owners of Broncos recognize that we will take good care of their restoration project and we have been receiving a steady stream of Broncos being shipped to Gateway Bronco for restoration.  Our January production slots are filled, February production slots are nearly filled and the March slots have started to fill as well.  Some of these vehicles are what we call heirloom restorations others are frame-off Restomods with fuel injection using our products as a baseline and customizing the Bronocs the way the individual wants their own Bronco.  They can test drive our Fuelie which is a 347 Stroker crate motor with fuel injection and compare that with our Coyote Edition Bronco and make a determination how they want to build their own.  We couldn’t be more pleased with the response and continued growth of our business.
HWT: Any big offers so far for the half-cab?
Gateway: Yes – we have received unsolicited offers.  A couple that are serious offers.
HWT: Any plans to sell it soon?
Gateway: Our plans are to tour the unique Bronco in its current condition thru 2017 before restoring it to the condition that Carroll Shelby had the vehicle.  We want to give the opportunity to the experts within the Bronco and early Shelby community the chance to look the truck over for any unusual parts, fully documenting everything before changing anything.  The truck will end up red with a white top and the intent to keep the original hi-po exhaust that is still on the car today.  We are writing a book on this historical and other historical Broncos to fully document this restoration.  No plans to sell in the near future.
HWT: It’s been reported that the odometer has been disconnected since Shelby owned it. Any plans on fixing that?
Gateway: Absolutely not.  That will stay just as it is!
HWT: Anything else you’d like to add?’
Gateway: At Gateway Bronco we like to think we are carrying on the Shelby tradition in our own unique way.  We are passionately working to enhance the ‘Sport’ feature of one of Americas most iconic SUV’s.  Our intent in every design is to bring out the Bronco’s strongest and most desirable character traits.  This is a continuation of what Shelby started in the sixties taking a 6-cylinder Bronco and turning it into one of the first v8 Broncos, then adding the first Sport trim package to match the new attitude of this v8 half-cab.  Fifty years later we are taking one of the best v8s Ford has to offer and making these great little Broncos even sportier than ever.  When we open the doors to our shop every morning, it feels a little like Shelby American of the sixties.  Trucks lined up in a row being transformed into sport machines.  Taking something good and making it perform like a modern day warrior with a little engineering and ingenuity to put a Coyote 302 into an early Bronco, we call it Breathing New Life into a Legend!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Holiday Shopping at the Truck Stop

Article thanks to Jim Sweeney and the RoadPro Family of Brands. Links provided:

Been out on the road with no time for holiday shopping?
Not to worry. You can take care of all your gift needs the next time you fill up on diesel at your local truck stop. Holiday shopping at the truck stop might sound like the title of a country song, but it’s actually good advice. You don’t want to go anyway near a mall or big box store this time of year. And shopping online runs the risk of having the gifts delivered (and opened) at home while you’re on the road.   
Truck stops are open 24 hours so you can avoid the crowds and shop on your schedule. You’re going to stop at one, anyway, with time to kill. And there’s plenty of parking, too. And, since most truck stop chains offer some sort of rewards program, you can earn points for your generosity.  
Here’s a quick gift guide:
Entertainment – Truck stops carry enough games, DVDs, CDs, magazines, music and books to satisfy everyone on your list. They’re also great places to find items you won’t see at Barnes & Noble, such as DVD collections of NYPD Blue and Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. And there is no better place to shop for truck driving music.    
Electronics – DVD players, cameras, phones, headphones, chargers, TV sets and GPS navigation systems – your average truck stop stacks up pretty well against Best Buy and without the long lines.   
Toys – You can find something for any young child or grandchild at a truck stop: stuffed animals, games, drones, remote control helicopters and cars, dolls and action figures and, of course, toy trucks.
Tools – Have you ever given your significant other a new toaster as a present? Then you are a practical gifter, someone disinclined to waste money on the frivolous and unnecessary. You’re OK with your presents not being loved, so long as they’re used. Consider jumper cables, heavy-duty ice scrapers or coolers.  
Clothing – No haute couture here, but you will find plenty of insulated hoodies, graphic tees, hats, socks and gloves, as well as gear celebrating various sports teams. Most truck stops also sell jewelry and figurines.
Stocking Stuffers – Sometimes the little gifts are harder to choose than the big ones. You don’t want to waste too much time thinking about them or too much money buying them. Luckily, truck stops are full of inexpensive knickknacks; just grab a handful of whatever is at the counter.
So let everyone else fight for parking and elbow room at the mall. Find a truck stop and do your holiday shopping the smart way.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Old Friends Reunited: The Wild Story Behind A Chevrolet Purchase
Article thanks to Roger Jetter and Links provided:

Oct, 2016  One of the cars that caught our attention at the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals in Pueblo, Colorado was Denny Jorgensen’s 1963 Chevy Impala from nearby Ft. Collins. The stories of how cars are acquired, and built, are sometimes more entertaining than the best movies … such is the case with Denny’s Impala.

Denny grew up in Guthrie Center, Iowa. In 1964, he dropped out of college, wanted to do something other than farm; being a farmer just wasn’t for him. He wanted to be where the car action was. One lazy afternoon he passed the local Chevy dealer and parked out front was a green 1963 409 SS Impala.
When he got home he talked to his folks about purchasing it. His mother told him “If you buy that car, you’ll need to find a place to live. You just quit college, now you want to buy a car? If you do, it’s time for you to move out.”
He bought it and decided to move to California – a shock to his parents – and he loaded the 1963 with his possessions, a few clothes and less money than he had before the purchase. On the way, he decided to see a friend in Ft. Collins for a couple of days before continuing to California.
The Start Of A New Life
Those few days turned into a full-on party, until his money was gone. Fort Collins was a nice small college town and had a lot of car activity. Luckily, the local Mopar dealership needed a new service manager. The Mopar bug got to him after he and his friend attempted to make the 409 faster. The Impala was sold and he bought a new ‘68 Plymouth.
Fast forward to the late ‘80s and a job at “The Car Corral” in Fort Collins, dealing in old Vettes and muscle cars. Denny yearned to see if his old 409 was still alive somewhere in Colorado. He called his sister-in-law at the license plate bureau in Guthrie, Iowa. Her comment was “It’s been over 20 years, the files are probably gone,” but she directed Denny to Des Moines and the DMV ran a title search.
Getting Closer To The Truth
Weeks went by, he’d forgotten about the request until a letter arrived from the Iowa Department of Revenue. In it was a copy of the original title. He immediately sent a title search form to the State of Colorado DMV.
In the mean time he’d taken a new job that involved traveling throughout five states. One day his wife called and said a letter arrived from the state DMV – a guy named Marv owned the car and was still in Colorado. Marv’s address was Grand Lake, Colorado, close to 200 miles away from Ft. Collins and in the Rocky Mountains. A phone number was included.
Denny knew a friend that was going to Grand Lake and asked if he’d find the address. Days later that friend called and said he’d “stopped there and asked about the green 1963 409 Impala.” It had been sold at auction and was taken to Denver to become a low rider.
Denny was asked to call Marv. Several weeks went by with several phone conversations, during which Marv and Denny got to be good friends because of the Chevy. One afternoon Denny’s phone rang.
“When are you going to get this old green car off my lot?” It was Marv.
“Marv, that isn’t funny,” said Denny.
“I know, but I’m tired of looking at it. The old girl is sitting here, come get it!”
The person that bought it had stripped it and left the hulk. The city towed it as an abandoned vehicle. It was scheduled to be crushed but someone did a title search. It was still in Marv’s name, the city called to inform him of storage fees. Marv told them he was no longer the owner. “According to the State of Colorado you are the owner – the title is in your name.” He drove to Denver, paid the hostage fee and hauled it to Granby. Denny drove to Granby but wasn’t prepared for what was left – nothing but the body!
The hulk was trailered home in 1999 and parked at the construction shop where Denny’s wife worked. A donor car was needed. A 1963 Impala SS, located in Fort Collins was spotted in a Thrifty Nickel Want Ad paper. The car was available – interior in it and all the parts needed to get Denny’s Impala on the road to recovery.
Denny had a Muncie 4-speed from his 1962 Vette but the Impala needed an engine. A friend might help, “Don, you have any parts to build a 409″?” His reaction: “Don’t tell me you found your old car.” Fortunately, a 409” was on an engine stand – a 1963 409” dual quad engine, complete from intake to oil pan.
Don said about six months ago a guy from South Dakota called, said he’d heard about the engine and would be down to buy it. Never showed up. “ But, it’s yours now and I want it out of here today.” The next morning the shop opened about 8:30, Don was waiting, he said. “You’ll never guess who was here when I opened – the guy from South Dakota!”
Denny got the engine. His Impala was going to be just like it was back when he’d first purchased it. While in the build process, Denny went to a car show in Fort Morgan, Colorado, and was visiting with a fellow enthusiast from Hugo, Colorado, whom he’d just met.
Denny asked if he remembered a green 1963 409 running around in the late sixties. He asked why? Denny answered that was his first car and had recently gotten it back. “You buy it from Marv up in Granby?” he asked, “We were buddies!” The car world is truly a small world.
A few nights later he called and gave Denny six names and phone numbers. The first name was the guy Denny had sold the Chevrolet to, and the fifth was the guy that sold it to Marv. The sixth name was the guy that had the original transmission for it.
The build was a seven year process, start to finish. There were days Denny didn’t think it was worth it, but it’s a part of history that needs to be preserved. Denny wants to add a special thanks to his wife, Cheryl, for letting him fulfill his dream of putting his old car back on the street again. Denny also thanks John & Joel Cooper of Cooper Auto Body and Pete Christiansen of Total Precision Engines for their help.
Denny recently debuted his 409 cubic-inch 1963 Chevy and plans on having as much fun with it now as he did all those years ago.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Blitzed, bungling, busted — a Packers fan's postgame journey

Article thanks to Bruce Vielmetti and Links provided:

Dec 5, 2016 A Packers fan from Slinger had to celebrate the team's win over Houston in jail Sunday after deputies say he stiffed a cab driver nearly $500 for a ride home after the man got drunk, lost his cell phone and couldn't find his friends at Lambeau Field.
He also apparently forgot that walking in fresh snow leaves tracks.
Nathan Tyler Meleski, 24, convinced a Yellow Cab driver to take him all the way to Richfield — 111 miles — on a promise to pay on arrival, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
The cabbie drove from Lambeau to the Richfield Truck Stop, located west of Interstate 41 at Holy Hill Road, the office said.
The passenger told him to wait while he used an ATM inside so he could cover the $475.60 fare. Instead, the sheriff's office says, Meleski slipped out the back of the business and left the 59-year-old cabbie without paying.
The cabbie called police, who noticed that the man had left a telltale trail of footprints in the snow.
Deputies found him at Fat Charlie's, a downtown Richfield bar.
Meleski told deputies he'd been at the Packers game, got drunk and became separated from his friends. He said he had lost his cell phone and was unable to get help.
Meleski's next ride was free — in a patrol car, to the Washington County Jail, where he was arrested and booked on a charge of defrauding a taxi cab operator, a misdemeanor, and released. He had not been formally charged as of noon Monday. A conviction on the charge brings a maximum penalty of nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
The owner of Yellow Cab Green Bay, who would identify himself only as Rod, said the company's driver should have required advance payment for any ride outside the city.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

My Review - AirDesk Laptop Desk

Swing it away when you're done!
Since I started writing this blog in 2012, the time spent on it has made it impractical for me to sit in front of a computer desk all the time. When getting home from work, I want to relax in a comfortable sofa-recliner in the living room, be able to put my feet up, with access to news and entertainment on the TV. In the past I have kept the laptop at my side or on my lap, using it to do research or write when getting an idea for a post.

Having it on my lap so much, after awhile gets frustrating because it gets so hot and uncomfortable. I can't think that would be good for the computer either with all the heat build up inside of it. Having to pick it up and set it down every time I get up has long ago gotten old.

I've been thinking for awhile now that there must be something like a portable desk out there made by somebody to get that thing off my lap, so I started doing some research. There's a lot of stuff out there, but most of it looked to be pretty flimsy and not sturdy enough for me. I searched around and wasn't impressed with what I found. After trying a google search I found this portable desk that looked pretty impressive.

The price was a little steep, but I couldn't find anything else suitable, so I kept going back to it and started reading the info on their website. Invented by an Aerospace engineer for his own use, he decided to produce and sell them. They are not available on Amazon, but are sold through their website:

So, I ordered what you see in my living room photos, the total price with tax and shipping was just under $200.00. And I am sure happy with it! It works great for me. What makes this desk so sturdy is the big round flat and heavy metal base that it sits on. The total shipping weight of my package was almost 20 pounds and most of that is the weight of the base. It's also flat and thin, only 1/8 inch thick, so you can slide it under furniture and you can even run over it with a wheel chair.

You can add extra shelves, cup holder and even a mouse table if you desire. The laptop table is available in different sizes, accommodating even the largest, like my 16.5 inch screen. You can pick the size and optional accessories according to your needs and budget. The tables and shelves are acrylic and the frame made out of stainless steel. I've been using mine for a couple weeks now with no problems. If you're a heavy typist and hit the keys hard, you'll get a slight bounce of the laptop, it's not objectionable, (in other words, it's not as stable as if it were sitting on a desk) but you get used to it quickly.

The best part is when you want to get up or are finished with the computer for a while, you just swing it out of the way. I would never want to go back to having the computer sitting on my lap, it's a great product made out of quality materials, not plastic. Beware of the other stuff out that may be a little cheaper, probably made with inferior materials, and not sturdy enough (my opinion). The laptop sits on the table, kept from sliding off by two protruding pins at the bottom. Just pick it up to remove. One caveat, if you have small children or frisky dogs in your house, this may not be for you, it's not a toy to jump on and you don't want them to bounce your computer off the table to the floor! But it is portable.

The review of this product is my own, non-solicited and non-compensated.

Check out their mobile applications for cars and trucks also:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

How Engine Oil Differs From One Car To Another
Article thanks to Michael Harding and Links provided:
Oct, 2016  When you enter a parts store to get engine oil, you’re met with several different varieties. If it’s not the weight of the oil that leaves you confused, it’s the type of oil that might make you wonder which is best for your vehicle. How does an engine oil know if you’re racing, or cruising, or if you’ve got a hot rod, or a vehicle with lots of miles on the engine? What is viscosity, and how does it affect engine oil?
Many of us might choose an engine oil based on what our friends use, but how did they come by the decision to use the engine oil they’re using? Did they hear about it from someone else, or did they actually do some of their own research? These are all good questions, and we reached out to Driven Racing Oil to get some answers, and hopefully shed some light on motor oils.
Engine Oil Viscosity
There’s an easy way and a technical way to describe viscosity. The technical definition: Viscosity is an oil’s resistance to flow as measured on a viscometer. Of course, it is much more technical than that, but the easier, layman’s term is that it’s the thickness of the oil.
Viscosity changes with the temperature, and as the oil gets hotter it also gets thinner. A perfect example is shown in the video below where Lake Speed, Jr., shows how syrup flows quicker when it’s warm, and slower when it’s cold, and the same happens with oils.
You might notice that when your engine is cold the oil pressure is higher than it is when it gets warm. As the oil thins with heat, it will flow a little quicker, just like the syrup. In order to determine the proper viscosity, you should find out the oil operating temperature first. For racing engines that run at hotter oil temperatures up to 300 degrees, a higher viscosity is recommended.
A lower oil temperature will allow for a lower viscosity, but using a viscosity rating that’s too high for your engine could result in excessive oil temperatures and increased drag. Using one that is too low can cause metal to metal contact of moving parts, so the correct viscosity should be chosen based on oil temperatures, not necessarily because you drive fast or rev higher.
But most oils today don’t have a single rating. Since the mid 1950s, multi-grade oils were created and they have two sets of number – such as 10W30. Prior to the existence of multi-grade oils, it was recommended to have a thinner, or lower viscosity grade, in winter time (the ‘W’ in 10W30) and a thicker oil for summer time. In addition to changing oil at regular intervals, the oil was also changed for winter months. The winter rating (10W in this example) is a cold cranking simulator test that is done with the oil at roughly 30 degrees below zero. Typically, the lower viscosity is between 0W and 20W, and the lower the number is, the better it will flow at colder temperatures.
The second number (typically between 20 and 50) is the actual viscosity of the oil. These SAE grades are ranges. Meaning that an oil that has a kinematic viscosity between 9.5 centistokes and 12.5 centistokes is a 30 weight oil. For example, a centistoke is 1/100 of a stoke (named after George Gabriel Stokes), and one centistoke is the kinematic viscosity of water at room temperature.
Scott Diehl, Sales Manager at Driven, said, “There are two major things that dictate viscosity: operating oil temperatures and bearing clearances. If you haven’t built the engine, it’s difficult to understand what viscosity rating is required. For stock builds, check to see what the manufacturers recommended and go with that. If you’re doing a performance build, it will depend on the build itself.”
“For example, those who have experience and knowledge building engines would know that a small-block Chevy would be okay with a 30 weight, whereas a big-block Chevy would have different bearing clearances and might require a 40 weight,” he continued. The bottom line is that choosing a viscosity is not something that Diehl says can be found on forums. “Forums are just opinions, not always fact, and more research should be done,” he said.
We’ve all had that friend, or someone on a forum that we’ve respected, and they might use a specific weight for their car, but do we really know the reason why they use that viscosity rating? Is it only based on what someone else used, or was there some real research behind it?
That’s why Diehl suggests that you call an oil manufacturer and tell them about your vehicle, and let them help you make the decision. Because the old days of buying an oil based on what our favorite motorsports personality endorses are long gone. Today, there is much more that goes into an oil that we can’t just use what someone else uses, we need to do our research.
Engine Oil Additives
Like anything else that we gearheads enjoy, you can always count on some entity, like the American Petroleum Institute (API) to throw us a curve ball. Today’s engine oils have started to conform to specific standards, and one of the additives that’s been reduced –  or missing altogether – from today’s off-the-shelf engine oils is zinc.
According to Driven, the zinc in motor oils refers to a family of additives called Zinc DiakylDithioPhosphates (ZDDP). There are three types of zinc: primary, secondary, and tertiary, and they have different activation thresholds. Zinc does not become a lubricant until the ZDDP reacts to the heat and load, at which point it creates a phosphate glass film that protects metal surfaces.
But just adding zinc to an oil is not how you get the zinc to properly mix with the oil. “You basically become a chemist,” Diehl said. “If all you’re doing is pouring a zinc additive into the oil, you’re not properly mixing the two together.” One example of this that Diehl uses regularly is sugar and tea. He said, “What happens when you put sugar in iced tea? It sinks to the bottom, but if the tea is hot the sugar will dissolve better.”
That’s the point with zinc additives. He told us, “Solubility is very important when you’re dealing with additives. We don’t just add zinc to our oils, some additives need to be added when the oil is at a specific temperature, and others at different temperatures.” That’s where the sugar and tea example helped make more sense when referring to additives. “We engineer our oils for very specific applications, we don’t merely pour in additives,” he said. “Fifteen years ago you could use the same oil for just about every application, and you could use additives. Oils are so much better today that you don’t need those additives.”
But there’s a limitation on what oils work with specific applications. Zinc has been reduced, and detergents have increased for extra deposit control. Detergents will help reduce sludge and varnish, and modern engines may not require the same level of zinc additives as our old school performance builds.
How Important Are Zinc Additives?
From Driven’s website on zinc:
Zinc needs heat and load for it to activate and then lubricate the surface. Some types of Zinc activate faster under less heat and less load than other types of Zinc. These “fast burn” Zinc additives provide better protection during engine break-in because they react faster and establish that protective phosphate glass coating quickly during the critical break-in phase.
All three types of ZDDP function similarly, and because zinc is a polar molecule it’s attracted to steel surfaces. Zinc will react with the steel surface under heat and load to create that phosphate glass film. It forms a sacrificial film that covers the peaks and fills the valleys in the surface and protects the steel. But how much heat and how much load is required to activate the zinc depends on the type.
Secondary ZDDP is the most active, but it has been reduced in today’s engine oils because it is blamed for reducing catalytic converter life. Now there are newer, less active ZDDPs being used in oils to extend catalytic converter life, and that means that many of today’s oils have changed to meet those demands. But Driven states that it’s not entirely a bad thing if you’re running a stock valvetrain without any performance modifications, and that the API grade oils are perfectly suitable for a modern street driven vehicle. But once you start modifying your engine for performance, these oils might not be the best choice for your hot rod or musclecar.
When you begin modifying your engine for performance or racing, that’s where zinc additives – and the amount – require some changes. These days, one oil doesn’t fit all applications, and specific oils are formulated to meet the needs of the engine based on several factors.
Driven states:
Higher lift cams with longer durations and greater spring pressures need a faster response from the Zinc. Oil development in race engines shows that faster acting Zinc Dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDTP) does a better job protecting highly loaded valvetrains. Essentially, when you start modifying for performance, you’re out of the API guidelines that determine oil performance specifications. The other problem is that zinc is not the only additive in oils: there are detergents, dispersants, viscosity index improvers, and other additives that compete with ZDDP for surface space inside your engine.
Since 2005, the level of ZDDP has continually reduced and engine builders reported a number of cam failures, and began to seek oils with higher levels of ZDDP. For a while, diesel oils were used that contain a higher level, but they, too, underwent a reduction in ZDDP. By 2007, the levels were reduced greatly, along with an increase of calcium detergents and dispersants, so much so that engine builders were reporting flat tappet cam failures. Many had switched to break-in oils that were high in ZDDP and low in detergent but were still unsure of what those levels were, and whether they contained the fast burn or slow burn ZDDP.
Break-In Oils, Racing Oils, And Synthetics
We’re often told that we should use a good break-in oil for a fresh build, and never use a synthetic. Diehl said, “With break-in oil, we lower the level of detergents and dispersants to allow the anti-wear film to establish quickly, thus reducing the amount of wear during this period which equates to longer part life.” “We optimize our oils for specific applications, and during break-in you’re not going to be seeing higher temperatures and sludge. Synthetics are good oils for engines that have already been broken in, but they make it very difficult to get proper ring sealing,” he said.
A break-in oil is used for just that, breaking in a new engine. Although many new cars might have synthetic oil for a factory fill, Diehl stated that the reason that works is because factory engine builds are all based on specific and consistent tolerances. He said, “Most aftermarket engine builders are not going to spend that kind of time and money to get exacting tolerances, it would be too costly.” For example, they don’t use the same piston ring part number in all of their builds or the exact same block type for all their builds, which affects the consistency of the hone finish.
A break-in oil will be in the car for just 500 miles, and once ring seal has been achieved, then a synthetic can be used. Synthetics can run longer than a conventional oil between changes, but it doesn’t mean that a conventional oil isn’t going to perform in a hot rod or musclecar. When it comes to racing oils, Diehl stated they should only be used in racing applications. He said, “Just because someone races a car a couple times a year, it doesn’t mean that they need to add racing oil. Racing oils are meant for those who might rebuild their engines every year or so.”
“We lower the detergents for racing oil because you’re not trying to go 5,000 miles,” Diehl continued. “Racing engines will reach a higher oil temperature and the oils are designed for more bearing film strength to help achieve longer part life. A street oil will have more detergents to help break down the sludge and varnish from driving several thousand miles.”
Driven racing oils are designed to protect modified engines under extreme conditions, such as racing and performance driving. Diehl recommends that if you are racing your vehicle at track days or a couple times a year, you might want to change the oil and filter at more frequent intervals, but otherwise he says you’re fine with a good quality street oil if the additive package is adequate for the application.
As long as the oil doesn’t show signs of darkening it can remain. Once the oil darkens, then it should be changed, as well as at proper intervals of up to 3,000 miles. Diehl recommends a conventional oil for typical, low mileage driving where the car is seeing just a couple thousand miles each year, and being stored in winter. He says that there really isn’t an advantage to using synthetic, and the drawback is that it’s a little more expensive.
For vehicles that see more use, higher engine oil temperatures and colder climates, synthetic has a few advantages. First, the extended oil change intervals mean that it can stay in your engine longer. They can also help reduce oil temperatures by as much as 20 degrees, but that does depend on the application and how the engine is used. According to Diehl, “Synthetic flows better at colder temperatures and they perform better at higher temperatures and tend to not thin out as much as conventional oil, thus providing a better film strength.”
Here we tried to show you why off-the-shelf additives might not be the best for your engine oil, and why certain additives need to be formulated with the oil, rather than just poured in. It’s also important to note that engine oils for modern cars may not be the best oils to add to your hot rod or musclecar. It’s tempting to just buy that five-gallon jug of 10W30 from the retail stores, but price should not be the deciding factor when it comes to protecting your engine.
Diehl was quick to add, “People who buy oil based on price are not doing their engine justice. It doesn’t make sense to put thousands into an engine and the last thing you put in – the oil – you buy what costs the least amount. Why spend extra money on H-beam rods and then put inexpensive oil in the crankcase?” He states that engine oil is a very serious thing, and we should consider using better oils that were made with specific applications in mind, with the right additives based on use, not price. If you want to find out what engine oil is best for your application, reach out to the staff at Driven Racing Oils and let them help you choose. After all, Diehl says that’s what he does on a daily basis, and they look forward to your call.