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The Vent Valve
Venting on anything, but most likely on cars, bikes, music, and Wikipedia
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Jamaican flag, land, sun, hardship
Book information
Title:Streetbikes: Everything you need to know
Author:Bill Stermer
Location:St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.

In my quest to find information on the problems of cooling a V-twin engine mounted with its crankshaft transverse (at 90°) to the frame, as it is in Harley-Davidson motorcycles, I found the book Streetbikes: Everything You Need To Know by Bill Stermer. On page 29 of the book, I thought I found just what I needed in this line: "Even on the ubiquitous longitudinal air-cooled V-twin, the rear cylinder tends to run hotter...". All I would need further is a statement on what they mean by "longitudinal" because, with vehicles in general, "longitudinal" usually means that the crankshaft of the engine is parallel to the centre line of the frame of the vehicle. The use of "longitudinal V-Twin" in the manner Stermer has used it in that line clearly means that the cylinders are in line with the frame and the crankshaft is transverse. It makes no sense otherwise; if the crankshaft of a V-twin is parallel to the centre line of the frame then there is technically no "rear cylinder" as such.

However, on page 155 of the book, I read this statement: "In a transverse arrangement, the crankshaft is arranged across, or at a 90-degree angle, to (sic) the direction of the frame. On a longitudinal engine, the cranckshaft runs parallel to the frame. The crankshaft of a V engine may run longitudinally (as with a Moto Guzzi), or transversely as with most cruisers." This is the conventional definition and is the opposite of what Stermer means by "longitudinal V-twin" as used on page 29.

So I went through to see how often Stermer's use of "longitudinal V-twin" contradicted his definition of "longitudinal". The results are as follows:

The term "longitudinal V-twin" is mentioned four times.

First mention, on page 25: "The greater the V-angle, the longer the wheelbase may have to be to accommodate it, which is why some manufacturers tilt their longitudinal V-twin engines forward for better cooling and a shorter wheelbase. Arranging the cylinders transversely, into the airstream, enhances cooling."

Second mention, on page 26: "A longitudinally mounted (crankshaft runs front to back) V-twin is a natural. It keeps the bike narrow, which aids in moving through the air and in cornering clearance, and the crankshaft and transmission gears rotate on the same plate as the wheels, so it's easy to hook up a drive chain or belt. However, there can be cooling problems with the rear cylinder."

Third mention, on page 28: "Turn that V-twin from lengthwise (longitudinal, like a Harley-Davidson or Ducati) to transverse (across the frame), and you have the Moto Guzzi line with its 90-degree air-cooled V-twins."

The fourth mention, on page 29, has already been commented on in the first paragraph of this review.

Every single use of the term "longitudinal" as applied to V-twins is used opposite to how the book defines the term "longitudinal", even the use on page 26 that includes the book's definition of the term in parentheses, which turns the entire paragraph into complete nonsense. The usage on page 28 completely redefines the term "longitudinal" in the opposite manner from the definition on pages 26 and 155.

How can Stermer be telling us everything we need to know about streetbikes when he can't keep his terminology straight?
10th-Jun-2012 09:30 pm - Selling my car
Jamaican flag, land, sun, hardship
I'm selling my 2001 Suzuki GA413H Carry 1.3.

I saw two people representing buyers today. One of the buyers called me and said he'd call back tomorrow to arrange to meet me and buy the car. If all goes well, I'll have cash in hand and no car by this time tomorrow. I'm probably going to buy a scooter or a small motorbike after this. The scooter I'm interested in has a six litre tank. With gasoline anywhere between J$100 (really cheap 87 octane E10) and I guess around J$125 (expensive 90 octane E10), filling a six litre tank sounds a lot better than filling a thirty-five litre tank. (For American readers, about 3.8 litres makes one of your gallons.)
Weapon X, Marvel comics
The History of BMW - by Traian Popescu

Traian Popescu was the owner of the World's Fastest Sedans website from 1999 to 2007. Within that site he wrote a series of articles titled Sedan Ramblings. One of these articles is called The History of BMW, which does not compare well with published histories of BMW, including the books BMW - Bavaria's Driving Machines by Jan P. Norbye and the editors of Consumer Reports and the Ultimate History of BMW by Andrew Noakes.

Popescu: "...by 1916 Rapp resigned from the company because of financial troubles. In his place Franz Josef Popp and Max Friz, two Austrians, took over the company."

The company was actually bought by Austrian financier Camillo Castiglioni, who installed the equally Austrian Franz Josef Popp as general manager. Popp had been at Rapp Motorenwerke previously to supervise the building of Austro-Daimler V-12 engines under licence. Max Friz, on the other hand, played no part in taking over the company. He was installed as chief engineer after Rapp's departure, mainly because his engine design was rather better than Rapp's. Furthermore, Norbye took great pains to point out that Friz was neither Austrian nor Bavarian, but Swabian.

Popescu: "In March that same year [1916], Rapp Motoren Werke merged with Gustav Flugmaschinefabrik to form Bayersiche Flugzeungwerke. It was shortly afterwards renamed Bayersiche Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works), or BMW, forming the company we know today."

Norbye contends that Rapp Motorenwerke and Otto Werke (formerly Gustav Otto Flugmaschinefabrik) changed their names to Bayerische Motoren Werke and Bayerische Flugzeugwerke on the same day in March 1916, but that they remained separate entities at the time. Norbye then states that Castiglioni sold BMW to air brake manufacturer Knorr-Bremse and then, in 1921, bought back the BMW name and engine-making equipment, merged BMW with Bayerisch Flugzeugwerke, and installed BMW's equipment on Bayerisch Flugzeugwerke premises. Noakes claims that Rapp Motorenwerke changed its name to Bayerische Motoren Werke in June 1917 (around the time Norbye claims Rapp left BMW). Noakes mentions Castiglioni's sale of BMW to Knorr-Bremse and his buyback of the BMW name, claiming that Castiglioni "set up shop at the now-disused site which had been the home to the Bayerische Flugzeug Werke."

Popescu: "The first BMW motorcycle, the R 32, went into production in 1923 at the newly constructed Eisenach factory next to the Munich airport of the day."

Forget Norbye and Noakes for a while, get an atlas, and find Eisenach. Here's a hint: Eisenach is not in Bavaria, much less close to anywhere that could be a Munich airport of that time or any other. BMW would eventually have a factory at Eisenach in Thuringia, for reasons that will be stated later, but they did not have one in 1923. The factory that was next to the Munich airport was on the same premises that had been used by Bayerische Flugzeugwerke, in the Munich suberb of Milbertshofen.

Popescu: "It was 1928 that made history in terms of the BMW car. Produced at the Eisenbach [sic] factory, the Dixi 3/15 PS marked the beginning of BMW automobile production."

In isolation, apart from the misspelling of Eisenach, there is nothing factually incorrect about that statement. However, it gives one the impression that BMW simply began production of the Dixi 3/15 PS in 1928 in their Eisenach factory, which was earlier confused with their Milbertshofen factory. The untold story is that BMW bought Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach, makers of Dixi cars, in October 1928, and that the Dixi 3/15 PS had begun production in December of the previous year.

One effect of Popescu not mentioning that BMW's pre-war car factory was in the state of Thuringia is that he also does not mention the post-war headache of Thuringia, including Eisenach and BMW's factory there, falling into the Soviet Occupation Zone, and of pre-war BMW cars and motorcycles being built there under Soviet control after the war.

Popescu: "1932 was the year the BMW AM 4 (Ausfuhrung Munchen 4 Gange - Munich Version 4 Speeds) - a.k.a. BMW's first "real" car - went into production. The AM 4, also called the 3/20 PS, was the successor to the Dixi and the first production car to be built entirely in-house by BMW."

Not quite. Norbye and Noakes agree that the new, all-BMW car (the 3/15 being a quite "real" car) that was introduced in 1932 was the 3/20 AM-1. Noakes does not mention further development, but Norbye states that the series had reached AM-4 by 1934

Popescu: "The next year mark ed [sic] the introduction of the 303 saloon and the first BMW inline-six cylinder power unit..."

Before going to Norbye and Noakes, I will go to a quotation earlier in the same article: "In 1917, BMW's first aircraft engine went into production, the 6 cylinder Type IIIa." Norbye and Noakes affirm that the Type IIIa, the first product ever designed and built by BMW, was an inline-six cylinder power unit.

Popescu: "The first post war model, the V8 equipped 501 luxury sedan produced in 1951 was a poor production choice for a country that was also devastated by the war."

The 501 of 1951 used a slightly enlarged version of the two-litre six-cylinder engine used by BMW just before the war. The V-8 engine was introduced in the BMW 502 of 1954.

Popescu goes on to mention the Isetta 250 (but not the Isetta 300) and the BMW 507 roadster (but not the 503 coupe), and then goes straight to the 1500, which he calls "the predecessor to the cars we know today", which is correct if, by "cars", he means BMW cars. He does not, however, mention two cars that BMW had built earlier that paved the way for the 1500: the odd and unsuccessful Isetta-based 600, which was the first BMW to use the semi-trailing arm rear suspension that BMW would use for the next forty years, and the successful 700, the first BMW to have unit body construction.

He then mentions briefly the 5-series that replaced the Neue Klasse (1500, 1600, 1800, 2000), and that it were followed by the 3-series and the 7 series. He does not mention the Karmann coupes (2000C, 2000CS, 2800CS, 3.0CS, 3.0CSL, or 2.5CS), the New Six sedans (2500, 2800, 3.0, 3.0L, 3.3Li, or Bavaria), or the 6-series.

He jumps from the new 7-series of 1977 to BMW's 1990 joint venture with Rolls-Royce plc to build aircraft engines in Germany. He goes on to give one more howler:

"In 1998, after extended talks concerning the sale of Rolls Royce, BMW officially bought the rights to the Rolls Royce name and logo from Volkswagen, with the transition expected to take place in 2003."

The "extended talks" concerning the sale of Rolls-Royce Motors were so extended because Volskwagen did *not* have the rights to the Rolls-Royce name and logo. Although Volkswagen had outbid BMW to buy the assets of Rolls-Royce Motors, including the rights to the grille and the mascot, Rolls-Royce plc, owner of the Rolls-Royce name and logo, had sold the licence to use the name and logo to BMW, their partner in the joint venture mentioned earlier. Eventually, an agreement was reached wherein Volkswagen continued to build both marques until 2003 (Popescu's article was written in 2000) and then gave BMW the rights to the grille and the mascot, renaming its subsidiary Bentley Motors.
15th-Dec-2011 09:51 pm - The forgotten Brougham
Jamaican flag, land, sun, hardship
The second automobile I saw within my immediate family was a Holden Brougham. My father had bought it for the use of his three eldest children (I am the last of his seven children), and they named it "Chug-A-Boom". It lived an interesting life until shortly after my father's death, when a police car without siren or flashing lights hit it at about a hundred miles per hour while my brother was driving out of a T-junction. Thankfully my brother survived the crash without serious injury.

After having been used as a model name by Holden, Cadillac, and Daewoo, and as a deluxe trim level on various models of Cadillacs, Buicks, Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Chevrolets, Fords, Mercurys, Lincolns, Chryslers, Dodges, Plymouths, and American Motors, the Brougham name now slumbers in the annals of automotive history.

How did it get there in the first place, though? What is a Brougham, anyway?

Appartently, the first wheeled vehicle to which the term "Brougham" was applied was a carriage built to the specifications of Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux. Brougham, a writer, critic, lawyer, and politician, specified a carriage with an enclosure for two seats and a bench for the coachman in front of the enclosure. Unlike a coach, the enclosure of Brougham's carriage had a glass window at the front so the occupants could see where they were going if they wanted, or draw a curtain if they didn't.

Brougham's carriage had the letter "B" prominently painted on either side of it. This, and Lord Brougham's irritable nature, caused the Reverend Sydney Smith, a former colleague, to remark: "There goes a carriage with a 'B' outside and a wasp within!"

Lord Brougham might not have been popular among his colleagues and acquaintances, but his carriage started a style that was continued until the horse carriage was superseded by the motor carriage. The term's transition from horse carriage to motor carriage had some problems. While Britain may have been disposed to refer to a motor car with a passenger enclosure and an open area for the driver at front as a Brougham, that kind of vehicle was referred to as a Sedanca de Ville on the Continent and as a Town Car in North America. Another trend leading to confusion of the term was the rise of the electric Brougham in the United States. These electric Broughams were completely enclosed 2-seat electric cars, often with two rear-facing folding seats at the front so that they could seat four "vis-a-vis". These vehicles were driven by one of the occupants of the enclosure, so the "Brougham" name was probably justified by the makers getting rid of the coachman and his bench along with the horse.

By 1916, Cadillac had fully deprecated the meaning of the term by calling its five seat and seven seat fully enclosed cars "Broughams". The term "Brougham" lost its specific meaning and became a vague term signifying a large closed car with upscale, deluxe trim. Or as a model name, as Holden used with old Chuggs.
22nd-Nov-2011 09:04 pm - 1924 tuner division
Jamaican flag, land, sun, hardship
We know about tuner divisions, like BMW's M division or Mercedes-Benz's AMG division or Fiat's Abarth division. But where did they first start?

I haven't the faintest idea.

I do know, however, that AMG and Abarth started out as independent tuning companies and were eventually bought out by the companies they specialized in. Not so the M-Division, which began as the Motorsport Division, making racing parts for BMWs. The first car made by the Motorsport Division was the 3.0CSL of the early 1970s.

Some may point to Scuderia Ferrari as a tuner division of Alfa Romeo, but they point in vain. Alfa Romeo made the cars, Scuderia Ferrari only raced them. They were basically Alfa Romeo's unofficial racing team.

The earliest in-house tuner division I know of, though, is within a rather surprising company: Morris, in England. Morris is known for making low-end cars like the Minor or the Eight.or the Oxford. Morris general mangager Cecil Kimber came across the idea of making sporting and/or race-ready Morrises. Their first car was a sporting version of the Morris Oxford called the 14/28. The enterprise was called "Morris Garages", eventually MG for short.
13th-Nov-2011 11:13 am - Maintenance
Jamaican flag, land, sun, hardship
Just something to keep the account active. I need to keep my options open.

Not that I'm going to leave dA, in fact I think I'm going to give in and renew my premium membership there.

I have a journal idea, though, and I think I might post it later today, but now I have to go to the shop.
16th-Feb-2011 10:51 pm - Looking back at my thirties
Jamaican flag, land, sun, hardship
Tomorrow morning will be exactly ten years since I woke up and said: "O.K., I'm thirty. What do I do now?" I am just as amazed now as I was then that I have not yet been shot or otherwise murdered by my fellow Jamaicans.

Where did my thirties go? What happened? I shall take a look back.

When I turned thirty, I had owned and operated my first motorcycle for about a year, but I had yet to buy my first car. Oddly enough, I had a licence to operate commercial vehicles up to eight thousand pounds gross weight (this has since been changed to vehicles of up to four thousand kilograms gross weight), but I operated my motorcycle on a provisional (learner's) licence because I did not yet have a full motorcycle licence. Since then, I have ridden around Jamaica, I have sold my motorcycle, I have bought a car, I have driven around Jamaica in twenty hours, including three hours of work on a customer's site, I have watched, horrified, as an idiot backed into my car at speed, I have bought a scooter, I have bought a van, and I have felt my scooter collapse under me after hitting a pothole.

When I turned thirty, I had been to five countries in my life, having been born into Jamaica, going to Trinidad to study, visiting friends in Barbados, and passing through the United States to get to a work experience programme in Mexico. During my thirties, I racked up passport stamps for Peru and Colombia as well. International travel since I turned thirty has been forked up complicated somewhat by the 9/11 attacks. Despite my longing to see Goodwood, Brooklands, Beaulieu, and Le Mans, I have no wish to board an international flight ever again.

In my thirties, I went from being the young kid on a motorcycle forum and a guitar forum to being the old man on a "Code Lyoko" fan forum. I am not on any fora now. I have lost contact with everyone from the motorcycle forum and the guitar forum and almost everyone from the "Code Lyoko" fan forum. So it goes.

One of the people at the Code Lyoko fan forum was an inspiration to me. She is a great writer and a very good artist. I followed her to FanFiction.net, where neither of us contributes any more, and to deviantART, where we are both still members. We don't speak to, or otherwise associate with, each other any more. So it goes.

In local news, if this old man's memory serves him well, somewhere between forty-five and sixty-five Jamaican dollars would buy a U.S. dollar when I turned thirty. The Jamaican dollar eventually reached a low of about ninety-five to one US before regaining ground to about eighty-five to one US. Murders per annum in Jamaica rose during my thirties to the point where the grisly record year of 1980 became commonplace. There are now about 1200 murders every year in this land of about three million people, as opposed to about 400 annual traffic deaths.

The People's National Party, being the arrogant bunch of idiots and crooks who ruined Jamaica throughout all of my twenties and most of my thirties, were finally turned out of power during my thirties. They were replaced by the Jamaica Labour Party, which, unfortunately, turned out to be another arrogant bunch of idiots and crooks with no ideas as to how to halt our slide. They are certainly not what they were under Seaga in the '80s.

Internationally... there was 9/11. Then there was the aftermath of 9/11; the heightened security, the heightened paranoia, the Afghanistan war, which was legitimate, the Iraq war, which was not... I am a lower-middle level public-sector employee in Jamaica, with access only to the same news the American public gets. Why is it that I was able to see that all that talk about Saddam's Al Qaeda connections and weapons of mass destruction was a Big Lie and the American public wasn't? Maybe because I consider it important to know who my enemies are and the American public doesn't. For the record: The Ba'ath Party is a secular, Socialist movement and is incompatible with the fanatical Islamic fundamentalism as represented by Al Qaeda and the Taliban. (Hmm... Al Qaeda and the Taliban sounds like a good name for a doo-wop group...)

In automotive news: When I was thirty, Plymouth had already been wrapped up and Oldsmobile was being phased out, but the Pontiac Trans Am was still in production, in its fourth (and final) generation. Camaros and Firebirds of the day looked better and went faster than contemporary Mustangs, yet the Mustang survived and the F-car didn't. I don't get that. The Bentley division of Volkswagen was making the last real Rolls-Royces before packing up the grille, the flying lady, the badge, and the name, and shipping them to BMW's factory at Goodwood while keeping the original Rolls-Royce heritage going under the Bentley name and badge. During my thirties, the Ford Thunderbird came back in its original two-seat personal luxury convertible version, and sank without a trace within two years. Mercury actually did with the Cougar what Ford had threatened to do with the Mustang back in the Eighties: they put the name on a front-drive sports coupe. That didn't go well either. The Cadillac XLR came and went, just like the Allante did in the Eighties.

There's more to say, but I'm tired. Tomorrow I will be an old man of forty.

So here's to the end of my thirties. Ten years have got behind me again.
14th-Oct-2009 01:35 pm - The sincerest form of flattery
burnin', dread, spliff
A few years ago, BBC Two's Top Gear showed this on their programme: http://www.topgear.com/uk/videos/tiny-apeel

About a year later, CBS Sunday Morning brought us this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp6JalC5yH0

24th-Sep-2009 09:48 pm(no subject)
Jamaican flag, land, sun, hardship
Today I received this form with my newspaper:


I wrote the following on the back of the form (along with my address and my signature) and shall send it back to them as such:


2L with the Gleaner!
9th-Sep-2009 09:59 pm - O______O;;;;
destruction, destroyer, Jeremy Clarkson

"What really bothers me about the media is that they still talk about Michael Jackson, but they've forgotten about Billy Mays. I think Billy Mays contributed a lot more to the world. His infomercials influenced me to write."

I am too tired to comment on this right now, but I want to remember to comment on it when I am not tired, so this is just a reminder.

I am reminded of a statement, reportedly made by a British policeman, that Princess Diana was so much greater than Winston Churchill...
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