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Sat May 30, 2020 7:26 pm
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LZPianoGirl says...



Is your character having car Or plane issues? Do you need help finding cars from the era your writing about? Do you have any questions regarding cars and planes? Well look no further!

I know this is a unique thing, but I saw @Carlito (Ask A Therapist!) and @StellaThomas (The Character Clinic) did something like this, so I was sort of inspired to make one of these threads about something I love.

My dad has been near cars since the moment he turned 7. He would go to junkyards, shows, anything to learn more about vintage and newer cars. My grandpa bought my dad his first car to restore when he was 12, that's how knowledgable about cars he is (he still has said car). Now, he's teaching me as much as he can about cars and other forms of transportation!

We go to shows yearly, work on his cars together, and I go with him to spend time with his car friends (they mostly accept me). I LOVE it and am super excited when he announces he will be going to the building to work/drive around in one of his cars.

So, with the help of him, I would love to answer any of your questions regarding automobiles! I know the most about:

-Lesser known car brands (see this essay of mine)
-Kaiser-Frazer
-Old Airlines (see this essay of mine may not be exactly what you're looking for)
-Cars before the 1970s
-Anything else my dad can help me with!

I'll try to get back to you within a few days! Thanks for your questions!
Last edited by LZPianoGirl on Sat May 30, 2020 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  





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Sat May 30, 2020 8:00 pm
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Tenyo says...



This thread is super useful!

Something I've always been curious about is how easy automobiles are to build. Does every piece have to be specifically made of the model, or could a person plausibly build something from pieces of different models?

Which parts are easiest to find/replace? Are there any that are irreparable after they're broken?
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Sat May 30, 2020 8:26 pm
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LZPianoGirl says...



Hey @Tenyo! Thanks for the questions. I'll get your answers to you soon, but I just need to ask you something!

For the first question, do you mean like Is it possible to use a carburetor Made by Toyota to fix a Honda? Or if someone was going to create their own custom car from scratch, could they use parts made by different Companies?
  





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Sat May 30, 2020 9:41 pm
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Tenyo says...



Both! =]
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Sat May 30, 2020 9:58 pm
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LZPianoGirl says...



Hey @Tenyo! Here's the answers To your questions! I have separated your Questions into four parts:

#1 = How easy are automobiles to build?
#2 = Does every piece have to be specifically made of the model or could a person build something from pieces of different models?
#3 = What parts are the easiest to find/replace?
#4 = Are there any parts that are irreparable after they're broken?

Alright let's get to it!

xXx


#1
It is most definitely not easy to build a new car from scratch. While a major company like Ford can create a car in about 20 hours, a regular person without an assembly line may take 300 hours, and that's with a kit. Now what is a kit? This is a kit. Here's another link about them. For $22,000 dollars you can get the supplies (without the engine, break system, y'know, the expensive stuff) to build a Type 65 Coupe. Plus the engine and stuff, that's probably about $35,000. How much do these cars sell for? Well, the real ones from the 1960s can sell in the mid to high $50,000s. The reproduction from the kit goes for about $5,000, according to Google Shopping.

Of course, this would take more time and more money if you were not to buy a kit and to just scour the junk yards, car shows, drag races, and internet for spare parts and manuals.

Now, if you want to spend 300+ hours of your time (maybe less if you had help/were knowledgable) building a replica that will work, but won't be worth much, sure go ahead. I'd love to do it, and have plans to do it once I save up enough money to do so (will take foreverrrr), but yeah. Unless you're a whole corporation with huge assembly lines, it is fricking hard to build a car.

xXx


#2
It depends. On most things, no you can not. In modern times, there are very few situations where you can fix a Honda with a piece from a Toyota, and vise versa. They don't correspond. Same thing with building your own car without a kit. Companies like to use the same parts across all makes, but not across all companies. If companies did that, prices would rise, companies would fail, and everything would go to hell (to explain it simply xD). For example, my dad's Toyota Sienna can share some parts with my mom's Highlander, but not all of them. The Sienna is a bigger car, my mom's car is newer, there's plenty of differences.

Back in the olden days (1950ish), it was super easy to fit a Chevy engine in a Ford and create all kinds of cool combinations. That's why you see all those cool vintage hotrods from that time and not anymore. Nowadays we are more limited to what parts can connect and work with other parts, so no more cool cars. ;(

xXx


#3
The easiest parts are simple things like filters: oil and air filters, lightbulbs, gas caps, etc. You could probably install one of those for 20 minutes and dollars. That saying, if you don't know how to replace these pieces, don't. You could break something else or truly mess up your car.

xXx


#4
The are many, MANY parts you can't repair. Engines, chassises, brake rotors, you name it. You can replace any part of a car, from top to bottom, but some replacements may leave a hole in your wallet. For example, this Prius engine costs a bit more than $10,500. You could buy this 2015 Prius for about $800 more than that. For me, I would rather just buy the new car. It wouldn't be worth buying an engine for the price of a car.

xXx


Thank you so much for your questions, it was fun answering them! If you have any follow up questions, please send them my way!
  





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Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:10 am
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Vil says...



What are some alternatives to gasoline that could be made from home following a nuclear apocalypse?
Hey, it's me, Vilnius! But it's not @Vilnius, it's @Vil.
  





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Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:23 am
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LZPianoGirl says...



Hey @Vilnius! Thanks for the question.

Ethanol is a very promising substitute for gasoline, and it could be made from home, but it would take A LOT of work. It is pure alchohol, though, and no cars are made to take 100% ethanol, except for a few racing cars. At most a normal car can only take 85%, or E85, meaning you need to mix it with petrol (85% ethanol, 15% petrol).

Quoting www.dumpsters.com:
Most often made from the starch and sugars found in grains like corn, barley and sugar cane, it’s the oldest renewable energy for vehicles: Henry Ford’s Model T ran on a mix of grain alcohol and gas. However, Joanne Ivancic of Advanced Biofuels USA points out that advanced ethanol—and other biofuels—can also be made from municipal solid waste (MSW), manure, waste carbon dioxide, and agricultural and forest waste. “Waste materials of many kinds can be converted. For example, waste from an almond and walnut orchard in California will be converted to ethanol via a gasification and gas fermentation process.”


We've been using it for years, and have also been using it to enhance flavors such as vanilla and to make hand sanitizer. There are some cons though:

- Long-term ethanol use may damage engines in cars made before the 2000s.

- Absorbs water out of the air, so can damage interior of cars, and causes energy burns and corrosion.

- Bad for cold starting because it doesn't burn as fast.

- E85 is less energy-dense and gives fewer miles per gallon than gasoline.


Here are the instructions of making it according to altenergymag.com:
Spoiler! :
Step One: . . . The Conversion Process

We have to break down carbohydrate sugars, such as the starch from corn. Create it into "Mash". Grind or crush the feedstock (corn, soybeans, wheat, etc...). Then dilute and add an enzyme (alpha amylase) to turn the mixture into a liquid. Once liquified a second enzyme is added(glucoamylase) to convert the starch into sugar. (If the source is mainly sugar, i.e...rotten fruit, molasses, etc..., the conversion step can be skipped.


Step Two: . . . Fermentation

Add yeast and make it into a beer (wine) type solution.

Step Three: . . . Distillation

The beer (wine) type solution needs to be run through a still to extract the alcohol from the solution.

Step Four: . . . Filtration

The ethanol now needs to be filtered to get rid of excess organic volatiles.

Step Five: . . . Dehydration

The ethanol needs to be "dried". After the distillation process there will be a certain amount of water in the ethanol you have just created - this can be dried running the ethanol through Zeolite a readily available product for drying ethanol.

Step Six: . . . Ethanol Into e85

Now simply convert the pure ethanol into e85 by adding 15% unleaded gasoline to your ethanol. e85 is nothing more than 85% ethanol mixed with 15% gasoline.

Making your own ethanol will require some initial investment, but the rewards will be very, very beneficial. You can make your own e85 for right around a $1.00 a gallon if you buy the corn and for about $.60 a gallon if you grow your own corn.

e85 Flex Fuel Vehicles are becoming more and more popular as the gas prices continue to rise. e85 is defiantly going to be a major relief for the United States fuel problem.

You may even be driving a flex fuel vehicle now. Many newer models are equipped to handle both gasoline as well as e85 ethanol. The best way to check is to look in your owners manuel, check in the fuel door for the e85 sticker or contact your dealer and have them run your vin number to see if you vehicle is compatable. I suggest that you do all three, to be on the safe side. Now simply convert the pure ethanol into e85 by adding 15% unleaded gasoline to your ethanol. e85 is nothing more than 85% ethanol mixed with 15% gasoline.


I hope that helped! I enjoyed answering it.
  





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Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:34 am
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Vil says...



First off-- wow, that was fast. I feel very small and realize I know even less about cars than I thought I did XD

Second off-- if there was an increased amount of petrol, thus disrupting the 85-to-15 ratio, would that counter-balance some of those cons? Or would I accidentally make Grandpa McHale blow up? I know absolutely nothing about cars XD
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Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:40 am
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LZPianoGirl says...



I think it would be fine if there is more petrol, maybe even safer, as long as there's not more ethanol and less petrol. I think Grandpa McHale will be alright, but I really don't know.

And, also, there's always Teslas. xD Don't need any gasoline for those bad boys.
  





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Tue Sep 08, 2020 2:19 am
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LZPianoGirl says...



@Vilnius - Sorry, forgot to tag you in the last post!
  





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Tue Sep 08, 2020 2:22 am
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Vil says...



It's fine XD

Ok, this is all good to know! Now to go and research to see if Teslas will work following a massive nuclear disaster! XD Thank goodness you have context for this stuff.
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Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:05 am
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Carina says...



*hijacking because @Vilnius asked a question that was kinda engineering-related* hmmmm maybe I should just open an engineering thread lol

LZ mentioned ethanol as a viable source that can be DIY'ed, so I thought I'd give my two cents. She's totally right; the process is a more refined version of making beer or wine, and it's definitely something anyone can do with the right resources, time, and energy. Cars that have E100 engines do exist, but it's already hard as it is to find one nowadays, nevertheless in an post-apocalyptic world.

(I also think being able to find resources for this would be extremely hard in a radiation-infested world, but I don't know the context of the story, and that would be a whole other question :P)

I think your best bet would be:
  1. Find a place where gasoline is stored. A refinery, pipeline, abandoned tanker truck, or a simple gas station will do (modified to not pay, of course!). Or,
  2. Find a battery-powered car (like a Tesla) and use your own power source to recharge. Powerplants will no longer be running so the grid will not be operating. You'd have to rely on your own microgrid. Maybe you have a diesel generator with tons of diesel laying around, or maybe you have solar panels on your roof. Either way, you'll have to get your electricity somehow, and I'm thinking retrofitting solar panels to a battery (your car) will be the simplest solution. This is, of course, assuming the sun is still shining strong through that nuclear dust in the air...


Also @LZPianoGirl, I got a question! :D Is it possible to obtain police vehicles for personal use? And if so, are there limitations? I've heard of instances of owning decommissioned police vehicles, but I've always wondered if they can still accelerate just as fast or if the appearance is drastically altered so it wouldn't be easy to impersonate an officer.
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Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:29 pm
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LZPianoGirl says...



Hey @Carina! Thanks for the question!

It is possible to own a decommissioned police car! You do need to make some changes to the exterior of the car, but not as many as you would think.

When Police Departments upgrade to bigger/better cars, they usually put their old cars up for auction. According to cnbc.com:
Old cop cars are fairly affordable because many come with high mileage, and there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles. On top that, there’s a fairly good chance the car was once used in a high-speed chase and pit maneuvered a stolen truck into an oak tree — which is to say that police cruisers tend to get roughed up.

Basically, if you want an American-brand sedan with a V8 for several thousand dollars, this is one of the best ways to get it.

According to thenewswheel.com:
Most police departments will not put any work into physically disassembling the law enforcement accessories from the vehicle before the auction — apart from the absolute essentials like stripping it of its official logos and badging. Some police departments make the extra effort to disconnect and possibly remove the sirens and lights, but not always.

Thus, the cars up for auction typically possess these attributes, giving the buyer the impression that the vehicle is acceptable to drive as is.


As it said, Police Departments will usually leave the spotlight, antenna, bullbar, etc. on, but it is sort of illegal to drive it without them taken off.

Official police logos are strictly copyrighted and enforced, so the words and symbols you paint on the car could get you in trouble. Police Car Collectors need permits to keep the logos on, and even then, they usually cover it when they travel.

The rules on the light bar mounted on the roof actually vary from place to place. Sometimes, you just can't have blue and red colored lights (just white), in some areas you can keep it on as long as you don't use it, and other places make you take it off all together.

So, basically, as long as you're not doing anything illegal and prove that you did in fact purchase the car, you should be all good. Just prepare for some confused looks from other drivers!

I hope that helped! <3
  








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