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Re: complicated modern cars

To: David Scheidt <>
Subject: Re: complicated modern cars
From: "Michael D. Porter" <>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2004 01:32:36 -0600
David Scheidt wrote:

> On Jul 12, 2004, at 11:16 PM, Randall wrote:
>>>>    There's a plastic ball in a kind of basket in most modern
>>>> automobile filler necks, as a roll-over spill prevention device. (I
>>>> suspect
>>>> this is more to quiet the Sierra Club than out of concern for your
>>>> safety.)
>>> No, it's there to kill people who have to replace in-tank fuel pumps.
>> Ok, I'll bite, how is it dangerous to people who have to replace the 
>> in-tank
>> pump ?
> Fire.  The anti-rollover devices make it difficult to safely remove 
> gasoline from a tank before removal.  That leads to spills, or not 
> bothering to try.  So there tends to be gasoline vapors floating 
> around.  The guy in the next bay fires up a grinder, sends a spark at 
> the tank, and Whooosh!  You've got a nice fire.
> Talk to an insurance company that writes garage keeper's insurance, and 
> ask how many of their fire claims are for fires caused by this, and 
> you'll learn it's a substantial number.

I'll be the first to acknowledge that there are some dumb guys 
working in shops, but virtually all tanks these days have drains. 
Simple procedure. Just get the drain bucket, open the plug, and let 
gasoline inhabit bucket, on its own schedule. When the tank is 
empty, proceed with the work, taking care to replace plug and to 
avoid sparks.

Did it many times two decades ago when working on cars for a living. 
Still here, no insurance claims. Rollover plug makes no 
difference--air enters the tank from the drain opening as physics 

Even drained a tank on a wager with a customer. He thought there was 
a warrantable carburetor fault. I told him I'd found silt and 
alcohol corrosion in the carb the last time I rebuilt it under 
warranty, and I bet him I'd find both in the tank of his car. 
Drained the tank, caught a quart in mid-stream, and it settled very 
nicely into roughly a third gasoline, a sixth water, a sixth alcohol 
and a third Florida red clay silt.

Drained a bunch of tanks on Supras because they had a nylon sock on 
the inlet of the fuel pump and had to remove the pump to replace the 
  sock when it clogged from the above.

It's not magic. Common sense is all it takes to avoid the claims 


Michael D. Porter
Roswell, NM

Never let anyone drive you crazy when you know it's within walking 

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