Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wood Windows Need This Tool + Vehicle Maintenance Tip

I have been looking for this tool for some time now. When I owned my first home, eons ago, all the windows were painted shut. Years later when I sold that 1921 Dutch Colonial all the windows opened and closed with one finger. I was able to accomplish that feat using a tool like this......
The serrated edge cuts through the paint layer that is holding the sash in place. I usually start at the top of the bottom sash and work my way down each edge by rocking the tool slightly back and forth. This action cuts through the paint and breaks the paint into little chips that will either drop out or can be vacuumed out. I even use it on sashes that are not painted shut just to get any paint, caulk, or dirt out from between the sash stop and sash. I found this tool at Ace Hardware for just under 10 bucks. Also now that I have purchased this new one.....the tool I purchased 25+ years ago will resurface.

Vehicle Maintenance Tip...Fall and spring is the time of year to buy a bottle of dry gas or fuel line antifreeze/water remover to put in your gas tank. Dry gas helps to remove any water that has accumulated in your gas tank from contaminated gas or condensation due to the changing temperature. If this water is left in the fuel tank during the winter it could freeze and interfere with fuel delivery. Believe me that is the last thing you want when the temperature is below freezing. Some brands of dry gas or fuel line antifreeze have injector cleaner added. Why not kill two birds with one stone.

Dry gas can be bought for under five bucks and if you look online before purchasing you can usually find a brand that is offering a rebate form for an additional couple of bucks off. I usually buy 2 bottles, one for now and one for in the spring. You can also buy it for 99 cents during the off season. Dry gas does not have a shelf life as long as it stays sealed and should last for several years, so if you run across a good deal nab a handful of bottles.

Pour the whole bottle of dry gas into a full tank of gas. Do not pour a full bottle into a partial tank.

Also do not buy any gas additives that promise increased fuel economy. Several years ago I participated in a fuel additive test for our local TV station. I cannot remember off hand the name of the product but it was endorsed by an Indy 500 racing legend. The additive cost $16.95 for 16 ounces. The directions called for adding 2 ounces to a full tank of gas. This required measuring 2 ounces using a shot glass. I accidentally spilled a little on my fuel door. The fuel door required replacing 2 years later when the fuel door rusted through from the inside out.

The additive did very little to increase my fuel mileage. I believe my mileage increased .2 mpg during the time I used the additive. My engine was running rather rough by the time the bottle was empty. I was glad when the testing was over.

I cannot say for sure how the additive worked but my best guess is that it fools the O2 sensor into thinking the engine is running rich and to compensate for the rich state it leans out the fueling. Long term lean condition can cause damage to your engine. Your engine runs at optimal efficiency at 14:1 air/fuel ratio. Over the long term you would notice a decrease in power so you would need to use the accelerator pedal a little more to compensate, thus using more fuel. It's would be a vicious cycle of less power, more pedal until you ran out of pedal. At the very least you would be replacing your O2 sensors. Some vehicles have 2, 3, or 4 O2 sensors. One on each side of the engine in the exhaust after the accumulator and then one pre and post of the catalytic converter. The O2 sensor monitors the air/fuel ratio and is continually relaying that info to your vehicle's computer so that it can make changes to the air/fuel ratio to keep fueling in the 14:1 range whether you are at 10% pedal on a decline or at 50% pedal hauling a trailer up an 8% grade. O2 sensors can range in price from slightly under $100 to almost $400.

A tremendous amount of testing goes into calibrating your engine to run efficiently. There needs to be a balance between mpg, power, and durability. Don't throw that all out the window by using a $16.95 bottle of what smelled like lighter fluid. The cost of the additive would buy roughly 5 to 6 gallons of gas.

FYI...for you scientific folks.....I started both tests (with and without additive) with fresh oil changes, new oil filters, and new air cleaners. I also drove exactly the same route (to and from work) and in nearly the same traffic conditions. The only variable was the outside air temperature. Cooler temperatures make for more power so less pedal is needed which could have accounted for my .2 mpg increase when I used the additive.