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unwanted hybrid cars?

 
pioneer
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While looking for a possible replacement for a car that will need too many expensive parts replaced in the next year or two (under the kind of use we need it for), I came across I hybrid that has a salvage title due to some minor cosmetic issues. some of it's shell is cracked and dented and scuffed up, but the guts are still good. They claim it gets around 40 mpg on the highway, so I figure 28-35 is more realistic, and not so bad.

I generally don't buy the hype about these things, but when someone else loses their precious virtue signaling status symbol do to the scuffs, Is it an opportunity for a permie to pick up a fuel efficient car?

What say you? Consider it as an option, or run from it like the plague?
 
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I personally would not buy a vehicle that had been in an accident and totally by the insurance company because it would cost more to repair it than it was worth.

If for reason they could convince me that it was a good deal then I would call my mechanic to check it out.

Another thing to consider is will the insurance company insure a vehicle with a salvaged title?
 
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my spouse and I own a mechanic shop and often hear this kind of thing. "the car was only written off because it rolled". but if the top part of the frame is bent, if you are in an accident the frame will not behave as engineered. for me, that is not worth the risk. Where I live an insurance company will not insure a salvage car, in fact the title is "tainted" and you can't even license one- it can only be sold for parts or scrap.

On a different note-- re hybrids. They were not allowed here in this market until very recently so we don`t have firsthand experience with how they age. However, I spend time every year visiting my family in the US- my brother and one of my best friends both own hybrids, and they are both finding out the hard way that places that service these cars are few and far between. Both imagined they would have these cars for the rest of their lives- my friend bought the first generation Prius, was on a waitlist for a while. But both are finding that they can`t afford to maintain the cars as they get older. Most surprising to me is that both of these guys live in "green" places that are full of these cars-- CT and Madison, WI.
(edited for correction: my brother just sold his, and replaced it with a non-hybrid.)

So aside from the salvage issue, first thing I would do is scout around your area and see if there are mechanics who work with hybrid cars. Heck, if the battery is good and the car is of a certain age, you might be able to do well buying this car as a parts car and getting one with a spent battery for next to nothing, as from what I gather the battery business is the hardest part.
 
pollinator
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I am conflicted, but largely agree with Tereza.

Hybrids were a costly half-measure, a dip of the toe in gas-alternatives for auto industries, and a necessary one to nurse electric vehicles through the west's worries of range-worthiness, as well as to solve some hopefully temporary issues having to do with electric cars in temperate climates, specifically with cold-weather performance and cabin heating.

I wouldn't mess around with them unless I knew how to service them myself (which actually might be a Frankensteiny-good idea), or had a trusted mechanic who loved them. The salvage title issue needs to be cleared up first, because if you can't legally have it on the road, the point is moot.

I think that the best-case scenario for permies who want to upcycle old cars is the not-yet-established electric conversion kit.

Imagine being able to select such variables as car make, model, and year, and have a custom-configured electric conversion kit shipped to you (or your mechanic) to turn some old lovely beast into an electric beauty. Imagine four hub motors, two series of batteries, and the controller and computer hardware and software needed to provide all-wheel-drive and regenerative braking, and the ability to position battery cells (to some degree) to benefit weight distribution.

And think about the subsequent disruption to the auto industry, internal combustion and electric both, as people stop buying new cars in favour of electrifying and customising older ones.

To answer the question, there are a number of things that would be good to have if you were to go this route, especially if it turns out to be a parts car that you need to find a body and rolling chassis for. One would be intimate mechanical knowledge of the specific type of hybrid. Another would be money to burn, and time in which to do so.

I think we just have to wait until the electric car industry matures. Perhaps at some point, we will be able to assemble custom electric cars, and maybe smartphones, from stock components, after-market parts, and custom jobbies, in the way that one could assemble a "clone" computer back in the day.

But let us know what you decide, and good luck.

-CK
 
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Chris Kott wrote:

Imagine being able to select such variables as car make, model, and year, and have a custom-configured electric conversion kit shipped to you (or your mechanic) to turn some old lovely beast into an electric beauty.

-CK



A little off-topic, but that time is now.  There are a number of companies that sell conversion kits that are basically bolt-on ready, esp for cars like the Porsche 911.  It seems to be a really popular car for the conversion.  Here is an example kit:  EVWest electric conversion kit for 911  EVWest has kits for a number of different cars.  I'm sure there are plenty of other companies that do as well.

I'm sure you could save money buying the components and doing this yourself, but for a person that wants a bolt-on kit with tech support, this may be a way to go.

I don't feel qualified to say if buying a salvage title hybrid is worthwhile.  I guess for me it would be determined by price, and whether I could find another one and could build a complete car on the good title, using the salvage title vehicle as a parts-donor.
 
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We have a ford hybrid and love it.  It is only three! years old and we've had it most of that time....still under warranty.
It's the newest car we ever owned and the first that cost more than $2000...way, way above

BUT, as has been said, there are no easily serviced user friendly parts...even changing the tire involves a sensor that voids the warranty if you don't have the dealer hook it back up.  

My husband always kept everything running and we had local mechanics we loved and trusted.  This is so far beyond breakdown on the side of the road, duct tape and baling wire fixes that it is scary sometimes.  

Definitely check out local Hybrid mechanics.  We can go to the local Ford dealer for most maintenance, even Walmart for an oil change or tire rotation but if we ever needed anything beyond that, like something electrical, then it's 100 miles away and big big bucks.

My understanding is that it is a huge investment for the equipment needed to service the electrical parts to this car and that the battery replacement is thousands.



 
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Buying salvage cars has been the key to my fiscal success!

I buy a salvaged Ford Focus for $5000 at 80,000 miles or so, and then drive them until they wear out around 250,000 miles. Then I rinse and repeat. It really makes sense because it has a cost-ownership of only 3 cents a mile. With a new car, you will get 3 cents alone just on depreciation (the devalue of driving it out of the parking lot of the dealership).

I mention this for several other reasons though; the biggest being that insurance is easy to get for salvaged cars (I have Geico) , and a Ford Focus is renowned for getting high mileage, without putting a lot of money into the car.

But the greatest reason I buy them is for their fuel efficiency. I can get 42 mpg, so a hybrid-car really is not all that good compared to a Ford Focus all-gas-driven car in my opinion. Any one can work on them, and there is no costly replacement big rechargeable battery mid-way through their life-span.

I buy Salvaged Ford Focus's for these reasons, but other cars are similiar. The point is, buying salvage vehicles means saving A LOT of money, and when you buy a model known for longevity, and already cheap car has its price spread over a longggggggggg period of time lowering its overall cost.

My banker and I talked, and he is 58 years old, and I have less debt then he has at age 45. The reason is, he likes nice cars, but I am happy with my little unassuming, salvaged Ford Focus, and get to drive by cars that are newer, and worth more than my Focus, yet are broken down on the side of the road.
 
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Michael Holtman wrote:

What say you? Consider it as an option, or run from it like the plague?



I certainly think it's an option but I also think it's a gamble. What is the asking price for this salvaged vehicle? Some folks have had success, buying a vehicle with a salvage title and drive it for many years without problems, other experiences are akin to money pits keeping them running and any savings from the salvage title are no longer realized. It could be worth a try, but one thing that may need to be considered is how difficult it may be to later sell a salvage titled car if things like life circumstances change or it's been nothing but a lemon, or if so much money has been put into repair that it finally becomes reliable and it's driven "till the wheels fall off". I've never purchased a vehicle with a salvage title, and I've had good luck with the particular vehicles I've owned, replacing things that have sacrificial components such as brakes or a clutch, and I've also replaced other things with moving parts- an alternator and a water pump. The clutch, water pump, and alternator all went bad on vehicles with over 200k miles.
 
pioneer
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We own a 2011 Toyota Prius. Bought used in 2015. Let's see if I can emphasize this enough... IT'S THE VERY BEST CAR WE'VE EVER OWNED.
It hauls large objects home from the dump, goes like a champ down our very rough Yukon dirt/gravel roads, takes us to town and back (100km round trip) for about $5 -thats 4.6L/100km or 51mpg for you crazy yankees.
It's big enough to sleep in and can haul 5 adults around.

BTW I live where the temps reach -40 in the winter, and yes, the fuel economy is not as good. yup, goes all the way up to 6L/100km (39mpg). :roll eyes:

Virtue signalling!? Please. This thing has saved us so much money! In my opinion this whole virtue signalling 'division' is made-up rhetoric.
Toyota hybrids come with a 8 year total warranty... the whole "the battery will die in 5 years" argument is false. After the 8 years mark IF your battery dies, you can get them reconditioned and re-install them your self. ChrisFix had a video on how to do this on his Youtube channel.
At almost the 10 year mark we have had 1 minor issue with the car... the head lamp burned out.
 
Travis Johnson
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I think a lot of it depends on the condition of the car in salvage condition.

Just so people know, salvaged just means it was in a car accident where it was "totaled", or put another way, where the cost for an INSURANCE company to fix it, would cost more than what it would take for them to buy a replacement car.

But that is the insurance companies cost, which is going to be different than other people. Like a guy who works 40 hour weeks, then on the weekend fixes cars. He can go to these car accident auctions and buy a car that he thinks is not that bad. He fixes the car up, and then resells it. As long as he gets enough money for it so that it is worth his time to do, he is happy.

It is a skill so naturally one guy is going to be better than another. And inevitably, some cars might be damaged more than the mechanic originally thought. But a well fixed car is a well fixed car! It is no different then going to your cousin who loves doing autobody work, and she cuts you a deal on a fender-bender that you had.

Almost every car I have ever owned has been a salvage car or truck, and I have never had any issues. That is more than I can say for the few brand new vehicles I have bought. As with anything, the greater the risk, the greater the reward,.
 
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Chris Sturgeon wrote:We own a 2011 Toyota Prius. Bought used in 2015. Let's see if I can emphasize this enough... IT'S THE VERY BEST CAR WE'VE EVER OWNED.
It hauls large objects home from the dump, goes like a champ down our very rough Yukon dirt/gravel roads, takes us to town and back (100km round trip) for about $5 -thats 4.6L/100km or 51mpg for you crazy yankees.



Is that a hybrid? I kind of hope not on that mileage.  I have a 2004 Renault Megan (estate) with 250k km on the clock that pulls 5L/100km on 50km+ trips.  she averages about 7.5L/100km once you go up to motorway speeds (130kph 81mph) but it's a 1.5 hour drive to a motorway so that's not a common occurrence.

For us here a electric car saves only a couple of cents on the mile over a petrol, because our electric is so expensive. (electric 32c per kwh, petrol $1.6/L or $6 a US gallon) I would probably not buy a possibly suspect hybrid unless I knew someone who was good at fiddling with them, and that seems from other comments a tall order.
 
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I have been wanting to buy a wrecked hybrid car,  but only to use at my yarden for off grid power.
 
pollinator
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Michael Holtman wrote:While looking for a possible replacement for a car that will need too many expensive parts replaced in the next year or two (under the kind of use we need it for), I came across I hybrid that has a salvage title due to some minor cosmetic issues. some of it's shell is cracked and dented and scuffed up, but the guts are still good. They claim it gets around 40 mpg on the highway, so I figure 28-35 is more realistic, and not so bad.

I generally don't buy the hype about these things, but when someone else loses their precious virtue signaling status symbol do to the scuffs, Is it an opportunity for a permie to pick up a fuel efficient car?

What say you? Consider it as an option, or run from it like the plague?



Run like the wind.

For the mph you mention, you'd be better off getting a 4 cylinder Toyota or Honda that would be reliable and cheap on repairs due to people knowing how to work on them.
 
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My reply falls in line with some others...I spent some time doing mechanics as my profession. I learned that simplicity and popularity are very important things to consider when owning a used vehicle. The availability of re-manufactured and used parts is a major bonus. Search ebay, Craiglist, and online retailers for major components that could fail (engine, transmission, computer stuff, etc.) and compare whats out there with other models of cars/trucks.

The issue for me is that a hybrid will still have all the same problems a gas vehicle will have, and the maintenance...plus the added worry of the potentially very expensive, complicated, electric drive malfunctions as well.

Just something to consider, it is what has kept me from being interested in a hybrid. I do all my own vehicle repairs and don't want the added hassle.

If you use a mechanic, then you might be limited to the more expensive shops that have the proper diagnostic equipment and trained technicians to handle the electric drive side of repairs if you happen to have any issues.
 
Michael Holtman
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Travis Johnson wrote:
I buy Salvaged Ford Focus's for these reasons, but other cars are similiar. The point is, buying salvage vehicles means saving A LOT of money, and when you buy a model known for longevity, and already cheap car has its price spread over a longggggggggg period of time lowering its overall cost.



I was already thinking this might be the more prudent strategy for what we need.

As for all the concerns about actually servicing a hybrid car, That was my biggest concern. Where I live, a salvage title means that you can't drive it, but you can fix it and get a title (a rebuilt title I think). All you have to do (to over simplify) is show the salvage title and pictures of the boo-boos, and receipts of all the parts and band-aids that were required to patch it up. If it is cosmetic, use a ball peen hammer, drill, slide hammer, sand paper and a can of spray paint!
 
Michael Holtman
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William Bronson wrote: I have been wanting to buy a wrecked hybrid car,  but only to use at my yarden for off grid power.



A prius would be just the thing for this!
 
Michael Holtman
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Skandi Rogers wrote: Is that a hybrid? I kind of hope not on that mileage.  I have a 2004 Renault Megan ...



Unfortunately, this is the way things are in the U.S. In the caribbean they have small pick-up trucks like toyotas that have cummins diesel engines. These get around 40 miles per gallon, but we can't get the engines here to install for ourselves in a farm truck or even go-kart! No one who actually gets to make the decisions cares about milage, or the environment, or human health, etc.
 
Michael Holtman
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Chris Sturgeon wrote: Virtue signalling!? Please. ...



I wasn't referring to you, I am sure. That said, it is virtue signaling for many. It is just farmers markets. I may go to get a box of tomatoes, a quarter hog, a year supply of sweet corn, and a weeks with of milk for drinking, cheese making, kefir, yogurt, and ice cream. What do others do? They put on their fancy frilly summer outfits, buy a small bag of berries that will get moldy before they eat them, and a huge fried pastry the size of their face that they cram into their mouth while being seen among their trendy peers who "support" trendy farmers markets because it is "good for the planet". No, Chris. I am certain that you are not involved with virtue signaling.
 
Chris Sturgeon
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I miss my old 1990 Ford escort.  It had a 1.9L engine with single point fuel injection and a 5 speed manual transmission.  I especially miss the stick shift.  On the highway I could get 35-40 mpg.  It certainly was not a very high tech car, but the mileage was the best of any car I ever owned.  

Eric
 
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I don’t think anyone has addressed the main issue with hybrid vehicles: they are worse than a gas engine unless you are braking (which is how the battery gets recharged). They are awesome in stop and go traffic, where they can get multiples of what I get in my little corolla. On the highway you are just hauling a battery pack. The reason they get pretty good highway mileage is that they are extremely lightweight with lots of composites, super aerodynamic Because initially only people who were very into the environment were buying them and the fact that they looked distinctive was a selling point (I.e. the virtue aspect). Now if you look at small cars they mostly hve the same body style. There an interesting video on YouTube I watched about it.

Now the small cars are moving toward more composites anyway so they are lighter but without the battery pack and electric motors. If you are not using the brake, quite a bit, you are not driving a hybrid- just carrying batteries! Please check me on this, I think there is a lot of confusion on this.

I did the math on it for myself and figured I would need to drive about 20 miles in traffic a day to come close to pay off the  price difference- just in gas savings compared to purchase price- not including maintenance cost difference. I’m conflicted because the batteries are a massive environmental issue in production and disposal, same with full electric as has been discussed on here before.

I am with Travis- I drive an old, efficient, light vehicle that I bought on a salvage title with 30k miles 15 years ago. The CO2 cost of a vehicle is about 50% in production, and to me it is critical to drive them into the ground- my 32 mpg car would take a 60+ mpg car to ethically replace it.

My next vehicle will probably be the same. For full electric cars, the mileage needed to pay it off gets silly unless you are generating solar and it goes directly into the car battery, not to a storage battery then to the vehicle.

 
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Tj Jefferson wrote:

I am with Travis- I drive an old, efficient, light vehicle that I bought on a salvage title with 30k miles 15 years ago. The CO2 cost of a vehicle is about 50% in production, and to me it is critical to drive them into the ground- my 32 mpg car would take a 60+ mpg car to ethically replace it.




I agree.  The only vehicle I have right now is a big F-250 with 4-W-D (and I've needed both the size of the truck and the four-wheel-drive many times).  But I bought it ten years old back in 2007; it's now 22 years old, has about 165,000 miles on it, and I hope to go close to twice that before I have to replace it, even though it only gets 12 mpg.  The poor mileage is sometimes an issue, and if I was working away from home and commuting five days a week, I would have something smaller that got better mpg.  But for me, it's just fine (other than, after all these years driving it, it still feels like I'm driving a tank!  I'd never make a commercial truck driver, LOL!).  I don't need the big truck capacity as much now as I used to -- it's hauled a lot of hay, firewood, lumber, and so on -- but given all the costs of replacing it, I plan to keep it as long as it still runs.
 
Eric Hanson
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TJ, Kathleen, everyone,

You both make very good points about the hybrid needing to haul around the battery (and other associated equipment).  I probably should have been more clear in my last post about my old 1990 Ford escort with a stick shift.  I loved the fact that that old, non-high tech, simple lightweight car got such great mileage, especially thanks to the old manual transmission.  

It was a nice design for a car that basically just transported me back and forth to where I needed to go.  Lacking an automatic transmission, the car was both simpler, had one less system to maintain or fail (I have had two auto transmissions fail, one catastrophically) and got much better mileage.

Sadly, I find stick shifts almost impossible to find these days.  About a year ago I taught my son how to drive, but lacking access to a stick shift, he does not know how to drive a manual transmission.  I miss them and I always appreciated their reliability and efficiency.

Eric
 
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but sealing the air intake of a car, while drilling two holes opposite each other on the tail pipe (not sealing the end of the tail pipe), should cause a vortex to rotate and suck air down to combustion in the engine, because two wave fronts enter from both holes.  They collide, but the engine increase/decreases speed adding higher frequency components to the curved X at the center (two sine waves out of phase).  The higher frequencies sum to two square waves out of phase, but the square wave curves again, by rotating, that is, it will cause rotation of the square wave.  Not saying this is better than a battery, but at least this will not pollute as bad as before, you would get residual pollution instead of a steady stream pouring out.

edit: I thought that the tail pipe should be capped or sealed, but having two holes like said.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Eric Hanson wrote:TJ, Kathleen, everyone,

You both make very good points about the hybrid needing to haul around the battery (and other associated equipment).  I probably should have been more clear in my last post about my old 1990 Ford escort with a stick shift.  I loved the fact that that old, non-high tech, simple lightweight car got such great mileage, especially thanks to the old manual transmission.  

It was a nice design for a car that basically just transported me back and forth to where I needed to go.  Lacking an automatic transmission, the car was both simpler, had one less system to maintain or fail (I have had two auto transmissions fail, one catastrophically) and got much better mileage.

Sadly, I find stick shifts almost impossible to find these days.  About a year ago I taught my son how to drive, but lacking access to a stick shift, he does not know how to drive a manual transmission.  I miss them and I always appreciated their reliability and efficiency.

Eric



I had a Toyota Tercel for several years, a manual, and I don't know if you can still find those, either.  I don't know why the companies quit making their good, reliable, high-mpg little cars (mine ended up in an accident and was totaled -- my ex was driving it and thankfully wasn't hurt).  The only bad thing about the little cars is they offer less protection to the people inside when they are in an accident.  I do like my big pickup for that reason.  
 
Eric Hanson
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Kathleen,

I completely agree with your last post.  I imagine your Tercel was much like my escort.  That little car could do just about anything.  It was amazing in snow!  I often hear people talk about 4wd for snow, but that little car never once let me down and I drove through some pretty nasty blizzards.  And I especially miss having the personal control of having a stick shift.

Eric
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Eric Hanson wrote:Kathleen,

I completely agree with your last post.  I imagine your Tercel was much like my escort.  That little car could do just about anything.  It was amazing in snow!  I often hear people talk about 4wd for snow, but that little car never once let me down and I drove through some pretty nasty blizzards.  And I especially miss having the personal control of having a stick shift.

Eric



My Dad lived in Alaska his entire adult life and never had nor needed 4-W-D (other than an old Army surplus jeep he had for a toy for a while).  I've been thankful for it a number of times, though, especially when the snow got deep enough that a smaller vehicle wouldn't have been able to get through it.  I doubt I'll ever need 4-W-D here in Kentucky, but I don't want to replace the truck while it's still in good running condition.  I think one of the best things we can do to conserve resources is to 'use it up, wear it out.'
 
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Y'all have made some good points on all of this. The whole reliability issue is what I keep coming back to in my mind. I would rather pay a little extra for fuel if I can get a vehicle that is as tuff as nails. Another concern for me is safety. Many of the newer cars that I have looked at do pretty good in the crash tests, but the EMF is quite high and contains many different frequencies. Many have frequencies that are almost guaranteed to have some biological interference. I think for this reason I am not likely to ever get a hybrid car. I might get a rough car with good guts and just keep it on the road until we start converting to compressed air. How long would it take me to build a tromp with naught but a shovel and pickaxe???
 
Eric Hanson
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Michael,

I will say something that may be heretical here, but it is something I believe to be true.  If I could, all my vehicles would be diesel powered.

I have had a long indirect relationship with diesel vehicles and some more recent direct experience.  My grandparents were farmers and of course had a lot of diesel vehicles.  One vehicle they liked a lot was their 1980/81? Mercury Lynx (equivalent to a Ford escort).  This small car was a stick shift (and I love a stick shift!) but even better, it was powered by a small Diesel engine.  They averaged 50 mpg!  Ford did not make this particular car for very long, and after the diesel option ceased, they had numerous neighbors who offered them good money for that car and they resisted for years.

More personally, I used to own a 20hp gas ridding mower.  At the same time I owned a 24hp diesel tractor.  The mower burned almost exactly 1 ha/hr.  The tractor burned just over 2/3 ga/hr while doing much more work.

I have to wonder what mileage we would all be getting if we drove diesel instead of gas.  This brief comparison does not even begin to touch on the fact that diesels are built better and last longer.

Eric
 
Michael Holtman
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Yes, Eric, I have certainly been looking at diesels. I see some old clunker mercedes on the roads out here, and they just keep going. I am not so sure about a lot of these newer ones though. Just too much complexity and too many parts to fail.
 
Ted Butrell
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Achates Power is developing an opposed force piston diesel engine based on an old design: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usmauFigpzk, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF5j1DvC954

The thing about their engine is that diesel is injected from two holes on either side of the piston.  Also, there are X shaped curves in the pistons (some curve clockwise, and others turn counterclockwise), but theoretically from what I've seen on youtube videos, having a criss-cross alternate like an X shape has the potential to start a tornado in the engine, but also from what I've seen in somebody's spinning mounded-wheel electrical device that creates suction that can flow past an airlock, ie air that can flow down a pipe to a fire, one of the reasons he was able to generate suction apparantly was he accelerated it to high speed, then reduced the speed, so it was constantly having variation in speed, which is linked to neural nets in that variation is used in neural nets.  I was wondering how to get that engine to suck air in through the air intake with having the exhaust sealed off, because generating a suction or tornado would allow air to constantly be pulled in from the outside past a natural air barrier that air normally can't flow in, if inside the air is spinning.  The only thought I had to make it work perhaps, is if each molecule of air is itself spinning somehow, like giving the air molecules a quantum spin like electrons.

When that guy made that spinning mounded device, you never know exactly what is the root cause of how it works.  It is my opinion that his device worked, because he made a video recording of it, which generated a wagon wheel optical effect that became linked to the device to the video, and it didn't work when it wasn't recorded, because a wagon wheel optical effect in a video can cause things to alternate spinning clokwise, and then reverse direction and spin the other way, even though the device itself was spinning clockwise the whole time, it's possible there was a link established to the video recording or the camera subtly altered the air molecules and gave them some effect.
 
Michael Holtman
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Ted, most of this is above my paygrade. I have looked into those engines. The only things I can say about them is that I like the MPGs, They have not been tested on the road (or off) long enough for me to buy one yet, and that I couldn't buy one anyway because no-one even sells them for vehicles yet. It is certainly on the radar for a future truck build.
 
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