Teresa’s Garage Radio Show Interviewed several dignitaries from Virginia City. Nevada during the 2016 Hot August Nights. The show was live offer segments throughout the day interviewing car owners, City Manager Pat Whitten, Tourism Director Deny Dotson and Steve Frady board of director for the Comstock Fireman’s Museum housed in Virginia City.
Teresa Aquila’s Journey began very early in life, she was an up and coming mechanic in her home town of Reno, Nevada. Teresa blazed the trail in almost every job she held and not without challenges. But Teresa turned those challenges into opportunities.
ZINC’S REMOVAL FROM ENGINE OILS AND ITS EFFECTS ON OLDER ENGINES
So you ask, what is Zinc and why should I add it to my engine at oil changes? There has been a lot of confusion in the last few years about the lowering of zinc and phosphorus levels in modern oils and how these lower levels relate to classic and performance engines using standard flat tappet lifters – that is, just about every car built before the Eighties. The concern involves the use of the new lower zinc/phosphorus-content ILSAC (multi-viscosity) oils, readily available on shelves at auto parts stores everywhere, and how compatible they are with these older engines.
When anyone mentions zinc, they are actually referring to zinc dialkyldithiophosphate, a compound invented by Castrol for use in mineral-based oils, or zinc di-thiophosphate (ZDTP), which is normally used in synthetic oils. Both have been used as an anti-wear ingredient in engine oil for many years. The zinc and phosphorus ingredients appear to be most effective when they are used together. ZDDP/ZDTP is one of many additives that are put into conventional motor oil to improve its lubrication qualities. Other ingredients, such as boron and molybdenum, are also added as lubricant enhancers.
What was discovered through oil testing by several engine component manufacturers is that many older engines experience a short period of time during engine start-up where critical lubrication is insufficient between metal-to-metal lubrication points when using modern oils with reduced amounts of ZDDP/ZDTP. These same enhancers unfortunately have their downside. The phosphorus in this compound creates carbon buildup in engine bores and valve trains, and both compounds can also lead to the early demise of catalytic converters. For this reason, the industry has been phasing out zinc and phosphorus levels since 1994, when the American Petroleum Institute’s SH designation became the industry standard, and levels have been further reduced in each subsequent API rating for engine oils. Manufacturers have tried adding more boron to offset the effects of the reduced zinc and phosphorus levels; however, the dry start protection does not measure up to those using more ZDDP/ZDTP. This has opened up a whole new market for zinc/phosphorus additives for oil and many camshaft and engine manufacturers now recommend that an additive be used during initial break-in, and for regular use.
So what can you do? There are products on the market that include zinc additives to help extend the life of your engines. Rislone, Aims Oil and Lucas Oil offer them, just to name a few. If you are like I am, I own several classic vehicles and want to keep them running at their peak performance. Having a premature engine failure is staggering, not to mention costly. One important key is maintaining available lubrication in the current engine oils that you are using.
On the back of the engine oil container, you will find the API rating, which explains the additives within the oil and also informs you if this oil is correct for your specific engine. Below is the API chart for Gasoline and Diesel Engines. Visithttp://www.api.org/ for further information.
Definition of External Combustion Engines and Internal Combustion Engines
In the first years of engine designs, the steam engine was introduced. Steam engines are external-combustion engines because the fire, or combustion, takes place outside of the engine, in a boiler. Many of the early vehicles and fire trucks used steam engines. It did not take engineers of that era to realize that in order to allow vehicles to travel on highways, the combustion should occur within the engine. That is why it is called an internal combustion engine.
Engineers began to develop a different type of engine. They realized that if the explosive charge could be confined to a cylinder and then ignited, the force of the explosion could be carried through a connecting rod to turn the crank.
Many engineers worked diligently for years to perfect the internal combustion engine, it wasn’t until the last half of the nineteenth century when most of the work was actually complete. It was at that time when people began to operate the internal-combustion engine. The first of these engines actually came in 1860, by a French inventor by the name of Jean Joseph E. Lenoir. Then later in 1876, the Deutz Factory started production of the four-stroke gas engine, designed by German inventor Nickolaus A. Otto. Other inventors also built various types of self-propelled vehicles.
Otto style engine
Another German inventor, Karl Benz, built the first automobile from 1885 and 1886, using an engine operated by the Otto cycle. This vehicle became the starting point for the automobile industry and the beginning of the specialized motor vehicle power plant, the automobile engine.
Internal combustion engines are of two types. The type used in almost all automobiles is the piston engine, either spark ignition or diesel. In this engine, the piston move up and down or reciprocate in the engine cylinders. The word reciprocate means to move back and forth or up and down in a line.
Since its pistons move up and down, the piston engine is also called the reciprocating engine.
The other type of engine is the rotary engine. The gas turbine and the Wankel are two kinds of rotary type engines. The rotary engine uses no pistons. Instead, one or more rotors are spun by the burning of the fuel in the engine.
The Engine Cylinder
I will now describe the piston style engine, so let’s see how it works. Most automobiles have engines with four, six or eight cylinders. The same action takes place in each cylinder. By examining just one cylinder, you can begin to learn about the entire engine. The display shown to the left is an example of a six cylinder engine and how it operates within the cylinders. As you can see in this photograph, it looks like two soda cans, one a little smaller than the other. The larger so called can, is open at the bottom so it is filled with air. The smaller one fits into the larger one. If you push the smaller one up into the larger one, you squeeze the air into a smaller volume. That is, you compress the air. Now let’s call these by their rightful names. The bigger one is the engine cylinder. The smaller one is the piston.
When the piston is pushed up into the cylinder, the air in the cylinder is compressed. Suppose there were some gasoline vapor in the compressed air. IF a spark occurred in the cylinder, the mixture of air and gasoline would explode. The explosive would blow the piston out of the cylinder.
The connecting rod and crankshaft
Blowing the piston out of a cylinder just once is not enough to make a car move. The piston must move up and down rapidly in the cylinder. Then this up and down, or reciprocating, motion must be changed into rotating motion to turn the car wheels. The connecting rod and crankshaft do the job of changing the reciprocation motion of the piston into rotary motion.
The piston is about 4 inches (101.6 mm millimeters) in diameter. The piston with the connecting rod detached. This image below shows a crankshaft. This illustration also shows how the connecting rod is attached to the crankshaft.
Also, in these illustrations, the piston rigs are not shown. The connecting rod is attached to the piston by the piston pin. The lower end of the connecting rod is attached to the crank on the crankshaft by the rod bearing cap. We will described the rod and crankshaft later.
The Crank Pin
As you can see, the crank pin swings in a circle around the crankshaft as the crankshaft rotates. Look at the cutaway view of an engine cylinder in figure ? Find the piston, the connecting rod, the crank pin, and the crankshaft. Compare these parts with the same parts shown.
When the piston moves up and down in the cylinder, the piston, the connecting rod and the crankpin go through the eight positions the crank pin moves in a circle. The connecting rod tilts first in one direction and then in the other. The lower end of the connecting rod moves in a circle with the crankpin. Study the previous video to see how the up and down, or reciprocating, motion is changed into rotary motion.
There are many cranks and connection rods around you. Look at a bicycle. The pedal and its support form a crank. Your lower leg is the connecting rod. As you pump the pedal, your knee acts as the piston pin and moves up and down. Your foot is the lower end of the connection rod. It moves in a circle as it follows the crank (the bicycle pedal and support).
When the piston moves from top to bottom or from bottom to top, it completes one stroke. The piston completes two strokes as it goes through the eight positions shown in fig. ? In position 1, the piston is at the top. It moves down through positions 2, 3, and 4 to arrive at the bottom, position 5. This is one piston stroke. Then the piston starts back up, moving through positions, 7,and 8 and back to 1. This is the second piston stroke.
When the piston is at the top position, it is said to be at top dead center or (TDC). When it is at the bottom position, it is said to be at bottom dead center or (BDC). You will see many mentions of TDC and BDC during this training and in shop manuals. It is referencing points for setting valve and ignition timing.
The Four Stroke
You may have heard someone call automobile engines, “four stroke engines”. What this means is that the engine is that the engines are four stroke cylinder engines. In other words, it takes each engine piston four strokes or two revolutions of the crankshaft to go through a complete cycle. I shall go into more detail in one of the following training sessions.
How Does The Engine Run
This is a good question. The piston moves up and down, and the crankshaft rotates (usually clockwise rotation as you face the front of the engine). But it is the burning of the fuel in the cylinder that makes the piston move.
In the spark-ignition engine, a mixture of fuel and vapor (usually gasoline) and air enters the cylinder. Then the piston is pushed up to compress the mixture. Next a spark occurs in the cylinder. This spark ignition the mixture and it burns rapidly, pushing the piston down. It is this push that makes the crankshaft turn and the car wheels rotate. Then the piston must be pushed up and the burned gases moved out of the cylinder.
The diesel engine operates differently. Only air enters the cylinder during the intake stroke. Then the fuel is injected and burned, pushing the piston down. Operation of the diesel engine will be covered in a future session.
There must be an opening in the top of the cylinder so that the air or air-fuel mixture can get into the cylinder. A second opening is needed to get rid of the burned gases. That means there must be two openings. However, these openings cannot remain open all the time. They must be open when they are needed, and closed the rest of the time. Valves are used to open and close the openings. The valves let air or air-fuel mixture into the cylinder and let the burned gases out.
An engine valve is a long metal stem on which there is a flat top. It looks so much like a mushroom that engine valves are sometimes called mushroom valves.
Each valve moves up and down in a valve guide, which is a round hole in the cylinder head. The guide keeps the valve moving up and down in a straight line. When the valve is up, the valve post is closed. The valve head is tight against the edge of the port, and the opening is closed.
Teresa Aquila is a local mechanic who’s been teaching seminars on the basics of automotive care since the early ’80s. Her next seminar will be held at the National Automobile Museum on June 17, followed by a car show featuring rides that belong to several dozen area women. The show is scheduled for June 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the museum’s parking lot.
Tell me a bit about the seminar.
Well, the seminar is based on the things that you need to know when taking your car into a shop. Doing preventative maintenance can save you a lot of money in the long run. I actually had a male friend—his mom and dad called me and said that their son’s car stopped running on the highway, and they’d put a new motor in it about three months prior. They wanted to have it towed [to my house]. So they brought it here, and the first thing I checked was the dipstick. There was no oil in the engine. Out of seven quarts, I put in five and half quarts in there. So, the engine will shut down, but by then—only a quart and half in the engine—you’ve already destroyed the engine. The whole bottom end’s knocking now. … This just happened. This is what I’m trying to teach. In the seminar, we’re focusing on women, but if men want to come to the class—not a problem there. …
So it’s not full yet?
No, it’s not full yet. … I don’t want more than 15 or 20, only because what we learn in the classroom, we’re going to actually go out to the parking lot and do those things to the car. … I’m going to bring my engine analyzer and show them how to check their check engine light. Even if it’s not on, we can still go through some processes. … There’s cheap pieces of equipment, analyzers you can buy that plug in and give you the code, but people need to understand that when you get the code, it’s only an area that’s being affected. So there’s other things that vein into that that actually could create that failure. Just because it says, and we’ll use this for an example, just because it says an EGR [exhaust gas recirculation] valve or an O2 sensor is out of range, doesn’t mean that component has failed, so you have to do more tests to determine what the problem is.
You’re going to cover a lot of this in, what is it, just a couple hours, right?
It’s just a couple hours, but we’re going to go over it and explain it so that they have an understanding of what the process is. Now, if they want to learn more, and if they want to learn one-on-one, I’ll offer that to them. And we can do individual classes, and they can learn how to work on their own car. Not that they want to be mechanics, but the simple basics is what will save you a lot of money and some grief and time off the roadway.
How basic will it start? Are you going to show them how to check their oil first, or are we assuming they already know that much?
No. I’m not assuming anything, because I learned years ago that the word assume—if you break it down—it means “ass out of you and me.” … We don’t go there. So I take questions, and I’ll explain, “Some of you may know this, but I want to cover it real quick.” …
And the car show?
Well, this is the second one. I actually did one last year. … I wanted to do a car show just for women. … We have trophies for each class. … They’re kind of cute. And then we’re having raffle prizes. … Some businesses have been sponsoring giveaways. We have live entertainment. … I have an inflatable car I designed. My logo and brand’s name is Windy Wiper. I made her into an inflatable. … She’s a pink car. She’s got a big bow, earrings on her outside mirrors. She’s very feminine. She’ll be there to take pictures. The kids love her. … Adults love her too. They love to take pictures with her.
Did the car show fill up?
No. We’re at about 25 or 28. We’re going to 50. … I was at a car show over the weekend, met a bunch of women, and they’re going to sign up. I’m hoping for 30 or 35. I’d like to see 50. … The first year we hardly advertised at all and had 15. So this year, we’re pushing for more.
The Car Show was a great success with approximately 30 Ladies entering their rides. Not only did the women enjoy the event,
but the men also had an awesome time. The Women With Wheels Car Show will be back again on June 27, 2017. Hope to see you there.
Self-Driving vehicles just received a Big Jump; to Big Rigs. Technology has taken a leap into the transportation industry – Uber has purchased the company OTTO for some $680 million dollars. Today’s crash-avoidance systems are the mile markers to tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles.
One of the company’s big rig trucks at Otto, led by 15 former Google engineers, in San Francisco.
What does this mean for transportation and the industry? If we take a look back in the automotive past, we find many features from the horse and buggy days to the present self-driving vehicles that have advanced to improve safety and comfort. Changes of this magnitude, the self-driving car, will take years to become the norm, but it is coming. Uber has already started implementing self-driving, driverless vehicles in their fleet on the streets of Chicago. This will mean fewer employees and better company profits.
All of the major Automotive Manufacturers are reaching out to technology companies to help them get the jump on this future market. General Motors has teamed up with Lift, Ford has teamed up with Google, and now Uber has purchased OTTO, in order to take crash avoidance to the next level. As for Tesla, they are developing their own autonomous vehicles.
There are so many things to consider when thinking that cars will soon be driverless and many people will be without jobs. What does that mean for our future? Are Robots next to replace employees on assembly lines? It’s something to think about. Is this the technology revolution where jobs will be scarce? I guess only time will tell, but if that is the case, how are people going to earn a living to afford these self-driving vehicles, or will we soon be dependent on companies who own large fleets of self-driving vehicles to take us where we want to go? Maybe they will teach the vehicles how to self install snow chains? Now, I am game for that one.
Are the insurance companies behind this huge push for self-driving technology in order to save on the bottom line? Or is this just technology soaring way too fast? Automation has been on the uprise for generations and will continue way into the future, especially with drivers so distracted these days by other forms of technology. Reducing crashes and saving lives is really the bottom line.
As for the ‘Big Rigs’ currently, the self driving trucks are only designed to be utilized on highways and not surface streets. Truck drivers will still need to be present to navigate once the truck leaves the interstate and travels to its destination. Drivers will still be needed.
Personally, I am still not convinced that self-driving technology will not have its downfalls with failure of electronic components, and job loss. Look at all the recalls we’ve had in the past several years; all of the failed or inferior components being installed on vehicles. I remember my mom telling us as children that she once used to read about space ships and landing on the moon when she was younger. During her time as a child it was far fetched. Well, we all know that became reality in our life time, so I guess you could say, this in not far fetched anymore. Visions do become reality. Just look around you. Happy Motoring