Wednesday, February 22, 2006

fixing the fire...

...carburetors are meant to mix gas (fumes) and oxygen. They modify the "heavy gasoline" that's found in the gas tank, mix it with oxygen and supply a delicately balanced mixture to an automobile engine that will eventually combust and cause an internal firing engine to "run". It's friggin' art!

So, take a step back to those days when vehicles could be worked on by "us"... those backyard mechanics that were everywhere. I was one of them. I worked on my cars every week... tweaking the carb, adjusting the timing, setting the choke... all kinds of crap. But damn! That was in the late 60's... early 70's. Things changed after that. Cars got electronic, computeristic... dare I say feminine. They got to the point where cars required DAILY attention... the "How are we doing today" stuff and the "What can I do to make you feel better", etc. interaction occurred daily. (I can only imagine the "sexist" label I'm getting right about now!)

Either way, the 60's and early to mid 70's vehicles were so much easier to work on.

I say this only because bi-polar brother in law's vehicle is a late 70's vehicle... if you call a Chevrolet a vehicle.

You see, his quadrajet Holley carb seemed to be a bit of a gas guzzler. Somewhere, somehow he nipped the feeder side to two jets but damn, the "stack fires" caused by the poor gas/oxygen mix were 'effing spectacular!!! I don't think I've ever seen a raised car hood fully engulfed in flames... never!

Now I'm a fire dog too. Among all of the other things I've had to investigate I've been investigating the origins and causes of wildland fires for the past 15 years and I've been investigating arson, vehicle, vessel and structure fires for the past 30 years. In short, I know fire. So you can imagine how excited I got when I was standing at the front of the '79 Chevrolet pickup that bi-polar brother in law owns when, after he pumped the gas, turned the key and ignited the internal combustion engine.

Keyword... INTERNAL.

This altered carburetor was anything but an interactive piece of a well running internal combustion engine. It actually had a mind of it's own. It spewed flame across the intake manifold... up, up, up into the sky! Engulfing the entire carburetor, manifold, valve covers and hood in flame... 'effing spectacular! Singed eyebrows and all... spectacular!

I lost a handkerchief in the fire. One of my favorites. But we saved the house... and the truck.

When I left him he was pulling the Holley quadrajet from the manifold and replacing it with a simple Rochester carb.

"Hey Bill. Roll the truck to the bottom of the driveway and work on it there." I remembered telling him.

We still have our house but the rest is history. He gave up at 01:00 hrs and I have to be "on the road" for the next two days.

I called "The Wife" a bit ago and she's saying he's waiting for my return... WHY???

Why is he waiting for my return home before he works on his truck again?

Ahhh, never mind.


Steve said...

Ahhh, D.H...'bummer' about the "ending" there (in quotes, because, of course, it doesn't really end yet)...but you got me laughing & grinning with the rest of it. Great post!

DG said...

Dang DH... Those are the kind of things I did when I was younger, blow things up.

Damn, I miss my 66 Plymouth Valient with the Slant 6.

D. H. said...

Steve- Yah, it probably won't ever end... a legacy of sorts. Thanks.

DG- When I worked on my vehicles the object was not to blow things up... which didn't always happen so I guess you're right... I did that too... blow things up.

I miss my 62 Catalina, 53 Chevy pickup, 67 Tempest.

Hell, I miss "back then"!