Matt Harwood

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Everything posted by Matt Harwood

  1. So you're saying that yes, the numbers appear to be cooked, but as long as they're doing it for a reason you agree with, it's OK? For the record, I'm more than unhappy about the economics of the situation. I continue to worry just like everyone else, because my business could take a dump at any moment--I legitimately thought I was going under in March. I took out a large bank loan and a huge second mortgage on my house so I could continue to pay my employees. I applied for one of those payroll loans, but sadly our bank decided to file the applications for the big companies first, and guys like me, well, ours got filed sometime later. So right now we're surviving on about 45% of our usual sales volume and a pair of giant loans that has almost doubled my monthly overhead. I can't run like this for long. But I am also proud of the fact that I have not yet had to lay anyone off, because I care about my guys and if I lose them, I won't have them when I need them most should things improve in the future. For now, I consider myself surviving only because of luck and good credit, not smarts or because of anything I'm doing. I feel the anxiety that everyone else feels because I'm not wealthy enough to weather this storm if it destroys my house, literally and figuratively. I don't have wealthy parents or a big trust fund or a steady paycheck to keep me afloat. I've burned it all to the ground and am simply hoping something grows there later. Nevertheless, I think asking people to die so I can make money is not what I want on my gravestone. I would let my business collapse before I would agree that it was OK for someone to die for a chance to save it. Not sure how someone can consider me a fool for believing that people matter more than the economy.
  2. I don't think Evapo-Rust would be effective as a back-flush. It needs time to soak to do its work, so simply blasting it through won't do much more than water. It needs time to work. The fact that your car runs cool as long as it's moving but heats up sitting still suggests the radiator has a partial blockage and while some of it might be rust from the block, it may also be corrosion on the tubes just from years of use with hard water. It's inevitable. This is a radiator from a car that seemed healthy but heated up like yours when it was sitting in traffic. Still flowing, still cooling at speed, but pretty restricted.
  3. I don't see how numbers from the CDC suggest that I am being hornswaggled or that I'm dim-witted or that I'm seeing things 180 degrees from the way they are. My only point was that some states, including Florida, are showing highly irregular and statistically impossible aberrations in their pneumonia numbers, and coincidentally it happened just when they needed to prove things were getting better in the coronavirus department. If this is a tribal thing where you need to believe your guys are always right and the other guys are always wrong, well, I can't help you there and logical, reasonable discussion will be impossible. Numbers are numbers but if you can demonstrate how they are false, I'm willing to listen with an open mind.
  4. I suspect part of the reason it seems Florida is all smiles is that Florida appears to be cooking the books and under-reporting the number of Covid-19 deaths. They appear to be calling a majority of them pneumonia instead. Official statements claim the number of Covid-19 cases are "holding steady" but pneumonia deaths in Florida are up something like 450% for the same period compared to previous years. Check it out (all these numbers are from the CDC): Pneumonia deaths in Florida February-May: 2015: 919 2016: 958 2017: 944 2018: 935 2020: 4259 Interestingly enough, Georgia and Texas are showing similar massive jumps in pneumonia deaths, despite their governors' claims that all is well. Texas: 2015: 1067 2016: 1027 2017: 903 2018: 973 2020: 4217 Georgia: 2015: 504 2016: 499 2017: 487 2018: 474 2020: 1368 The really curious thing is that these states have not yet finished compiling and submitting pneumonia statistics for 2019, which is why they don't list numbers for 2019 (they are expected to be consistent with previous years). Surprisingly (or not), they have already released the 2020 numbers, which are up to date as of May 28. Odd, that...
  5. I use this one for about 80% of my bends. I got a set of 3 of them (1/4, 5/16, and 3/8) from a friend who worked at Swage-Lok years ago, but they're ridiculously expensive if you have to buy them. I would not have them if a friend didn't get them for free and I don't think I would miss them if I didn't have them. Other than the rollers in the moving part, I honestly don't think it's significantly better than the one you're using. I also have one just like yours and it works just fine. I actually prefer it in some circumstances, especially when there's lots of room to work. The Swage-Lok one works better in really tight quarters, but it's only a little better. I think the key to getting good results with the type of bender you're using is to bend slowly and gently. I often add a few drops of oil to allow it to slide easily so it doesn't crush or kink the tubing. I can usually feel when that's about to happen and spray a little WD40 on there. I also have a set of little bending pliers that sometimes give me really tight angles, as well as a set of the external spring type benders that allow me to do larger radius bends without kinking the material. Together I'm able to get pretty consistent results. Using cunifer tubing probably helps--it bends easily and seems resistant to kinking and flattening in a way that stainless and mild steel aren't. Stainless is REALLY hard to bend cleanly.
  6. I would second those who encourage you to report it. Things like the IP address from which the E-mails were sent can direct them to a specific computer at a specific location and that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of information that can be gathered. Another poster on this very message board started sending me anonymous threats from a free Yahoo account a few years ago. By providing his E-mails to the guys who do this every day, they were able to identify the computer and eventually the person sending them. There's a lot of information in those messages that isn't part of what you can see, and that information is far more important than the words themselves. I also expect that this scammer has pulled this on other people--you are definitely not the first person he has targeted and robbed. There is undoubtedly a file on him with a police department somewhere, if not multiple departments, and because of that it is probably a higher priority for them than you might imagine. I guarantee you are not alone and there's probably some police person looking for him already. Your additional evidence could be the break they need. The longer you wait, the less likely some evidence will be available to be collected (security footage, for example). I know it's a PITA to report it and you have serious doubts as to whether it will do any good, but I promise you are not alone. You posted here showing great courage and integrity with the hope that it would protect someone else from being taken in the same way. A police report will be FAR more effective at doing that and is much more likely to result in justice for you and past/future victims of this scammer. Reporting it will do far more good than you think. Current situations notwithstanding, the gears of justice turn slowly, but they do turn.
  7. I am a big fan of Evapo-Rust and using it as coolant for a few weeks is a great way to clean out areas of your block that you can't reach any other way. I devised a pump system that would circulate Evapo-Rust through an engine block 24/7 for a week or two and it really cleans things out. If you are using it as coolant, it works fine and has about the same viscosity as water so you won't have any issues there. It seems to transfer heat about as well as water, too. I would recommend some kind of filter in your upper radiator hose(s) to catch any debris that comes loose. I use a pantyhose foot (what I call the Grimy Filter named in honor of fellow board contributor Grimy) in the upper hose and it really does catch quite a bit of junk. Remember that Evapo-Rust only works on iron, so it won't clean corrosion in an aluminum or brass radiator, just iron rust. I don't dilute it and it is not designed to be diluted. SOme cooling systems are smaller than others--my '41 Buick takes 5 gallons and my '35 Lincoln takes 8, so ti can be expensive. But regardless of cost, I have not found anything that works better and is safer. You can even pour it down the drain when you're done, so it's very inert. Here's my pump system at work on my Lincoln's V12. I just hooked it up and let it run for a few weeks. A heater in the bucket kept the solution at about 160 degrees which seemed to boost effectiveness. Using clear tubing allowed me to see it working. I would consider temporarily using this instead of a black rubber upper radiator hose so you can monitor the progress. Here's the inside of my Lincoln's block before and after: Here's some of the debris that the pantyhose filter caught in my '41 Buick after running Evapo-Rust for a few weeks as coolant:
  8. First, thanks to all who offered tips on the soldering. I went to the supply store this morning and picked up some 60/40 lead solder, some different flux, and then to the electrical supply store and bought some different terminals. Together, those things seem to have solved my problem and the soldering proceeded without further incident. I'm at a loss to explain how I had all the wrong stuff, but there it is and obviously one or multiple ingredients were wrong. All of you helped me clear that particular hurdle and again, I'm grateful to have friends like you. I finished terminating all my wires, including power and ground wires for the modern gauge. I already ran the signal wire for the sending unit a few days ago, so I put a spade terminal on that and left an extra few loops of wire behind the dash so that when/if I repair the factory gauge, I can simply transfer that signal wire to the factory gauge and [hopefully] it'll work. For now, it will power the aftermarket gauge hidden in the glove box. I am not going to bother connecting the light in this gauge, at least not at the moment. Too many wires. Gauge mounted in the glove box. Note the yellow wire and the black plastic wire with it—those were already in place to power the clock but I removed them and used the harness on the NOS clock (also pictured). The wire in the back of the glove box is the wire for the Redi-Rad radio adapter. To power the aftermarket gauge, I initially thought I'd connect it to the ignition switch as original, but it dawned on me that there's a better solution: connect it to the power terminal on the original gas gauge. It will still get power from the ignition and I won't have to add another wire to the ignition switch. While I was poking around behind the dash, I removed the wires from the factory gauge and snugged up the mounting nuts, both of which were fairly loose. My hope was that maybe they were so loose that the gauge wasn't grounding to the housing properly. I don't know if that was the problem, but it was a thought. I reinstalled all the wires, snugged down the nuts, and moved on. I traced a few of the loose wires whose terminals broke off and reconnected three of them, getting the ignition and ammeter to work again so it's making spark and should start once it has gas. The turn signals are still offline, however. Having had enough wiring, I decided to make new fuel lines. The lines in the car are original and I guess they're OK, but they look like hell. New lines are cheap insurance. I always use cunifer tubing, which is easy to work with. I also have to adapt the pickup tube to the fuel line--the sending unit came with a hose nipple, but I don't use rubber hose in fuel systems. I looked at the old sending unit and it had a double flare female fitting sweated onto the end, but I'm not sure I want to tackle that. Instead, I gave it a single flare for a union that will connect it to the fuel line. By 1941 Buick was using double flares for most fuel line fittings, but single flares are easier to work with and good to 800 PSI, so I don't think they're worth the added hassle. It's just one more thing that I can screw up and I just don't trust myself to do it right--I've lost my confidence so I'm hedging my bets with single flares. Single flare on the sending unit pickup tube should be fine. My only concern is getting a good seal—steel tubing isn't as forgiving as cunifer and can be hard to seal properly with a single flare. We'll see how it goes... Then I started on bending the fuel lines. I was able to remove the factory fuel line intact without mangling it, so it was relatively easy to duplicate. I ran some cunifer tubing through my tubing straightener (great tool, worth every penny) then bent up a fuel line to match the original: Tubing straightener is worth every penny! Using the original fuel line as a pattern, I was able to make an exact duplicate, leaving a few extra inches on both ends, just in case... New fuel line fits like the original, although it was a bit of a challenge to feed it through the frame. I was even able to secure it using the original clips on the body and frame (red arrows).
  9. This week's drive is this lovely 1953 Packard Caribbean. I like this car a lot and it seems to do everything well. Enjoy!
  10. Nice! Thanks for the information, Jason!
  11. It actually doesn't hurt to ask to see if insurance will cover it. Last year we were accused of misrepresentation on a car by a wealthy guy who was just trying to push us around--he even admitted he'd lose in court. But he knew he could make it too expensive for us to fight him and he had the resources to outlast us. I didn't believe I did anything wrong (and still don't) but the threat was real and there was no real way to combat a rich guy who wanted to drain you dry. We hired a lawyer who was advising us to settle until he read our insurance policy and wow, look at that! Our policy covers litigation in cases of misrepresentation. Well that changes everything--we're going to war! Once we invited this guy to sue us and his lawyer realized that the threat of expensive litigation was no longer an effective one, we have not heard from him again. We sadly do get unhappy guys one in a great while, but he was the first one who actually had a lawyer put things in motion and specifically threatened us with a litigation bomb. I never would have imagined that an insurance company would pay to defend me from something like that, but there it is. So you never know what a policy might cover until you read it carefully. This was a theft, whether it happened on your property may not be relevant.
  12. Thinking about it, would it be possible to report this as a theft and make an insurance claim?
  13. I'm really sorry to hear this happened, Randy. That sucks. But it's a good lesson and I salute your courage and humility to share the story. Most guys would never mention it. Unfortunately, in good cons, the mark is always the last one to realize what happened. And there are plenty of good cons going on out there all the time. The guys who are good at it, well, they're good at it. Most people aren't really prepared for scammers who are that ruthless. It's just human nature to assume most folks are like ourselves--dishonest people assume everyone is dishonest (like my former business partner) while honest people like you tend to deal in good faith and give people the benefit of the doubt. So don't be too hard on yourself. There are guys who do this for a living and they get VERY good at it (the FBI is still looking for the guy who scammed the government out of $364 million for ventilators about a month ago). I'm sad that it happened, I'm sad that it cost as much as it did, but everyone is smarter for it now. Thank you for that and for trying to turn a negative into a positive.
  14. A quick update, again filled with frustration. I've spent a few hours after work each night and about six hours today working on putting the car back together and it has been... difficult. The gas tank isn't back yet, but I've been hoping to get everything in place so that I can just install it, hook up some wires, and go. Anyway, as of today, my progress amounts to installing one wire to the sending unit in the back of the car and, well, that's it. Since I have been working in the glove box, I decided to connect the wires for the NOS clock I installed a few months ago. There were two stray wires already in the glove box, and remarkably enough they were connected to correct terminals--one on the instrument light switch for the clock light, and one on the headlight switch to supply power to the clock itself. But since the NOS clock has an intact wiring harness, I actually removed those wires and connected the NOS wires in their places. In anybody else's car, the clock would have worked. In my car, it did not. Instead it released a puff of smoke and remained inert. That was kind of strange since it's protected by a 2 amp fuse which didn't blow--how could current under 2 amps fry the clock? I don't know. Just par for the course these days. As with the fuel gauge, I have lived without a working clock all these years so I guess I'll keep doing so for a while longer. At least the NOS clock was outrageously expensive. Failing there, I decided to make and connect wires to power the new fuel gauge in the glove box. Easy enough, just solder a spade terminal on one end and an eyelet on the other. Well, it turns out I can't do that. Period. I simply cannot solder wires. No, I don't know why. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I've burned my finger pretty badly, I've melted a bunch of wire insulation, burned some cloth insulation, and screwed up a dozen wire eyelets. And not one of them ended up soldered to the wire. Check this out: No idea what I'm doing wrong, but I guess I'll just crimp all my connections like the jackass that owned this car before me. Oh, and the reminds me--everything in the car is offline. About 60% of the wires under the dash have been disconnected by my poking around in there. All those little plastic Pep Boys crimp connectors have given up and I have a bunch of wires dangling that I'll have to trace, install terminals on each one, and reconnect them somehow. But since I can't solder, I'm not sure how I'm going to accomplish that. Right now, the turn signals, about half the instrument lights, and the ignition are offline. This project is really turning into a mess and it should have been a 3-hour job. Like I said, everything I do feels like it's uphill both ways. So I need to figure out soldering so I can fix all those wires, or give up and just crimp them and hope for the best. I'm pretty close to bagging it all and just shoving the car into the corner next to that piece-of-shit Lincoln, a place I have come to refer to as the "trash zone." This car has lived there before, it'll still fit right in.
  15. I'm not sure I understand what you mean. The car isn't restored and as I mentioned, it probably looks better in photos than it is. The paint is unquestionably original, as is the interior. It has been maintained but never disassembled or restored. I, too, object to modern hose clamps, but that's a pretty minor thing to change if that's what you need. However, this car's point judging days are over (if it ever had any). These two photos show a little bit more of the paint on the sidemount covers, which is where it has aged most, and you can see some minor checking on the tops of the fenders in the photos of the engine compartment, above. It has been my experience that unrestored cars typically run and drive better than restored cars, with the trade-off being cosmetic imperfections that wouldn't be tolerated on a restored car. I find values to be comparable between the two; a quality survivor can command restored car prices, likely for that reason. The buyers are different. Most guys want shiny and cosmetic perfection and don't really care how the car drives (or simply don't know any better). Guys like me, who love original cars, prefer to put the cars on the road and the feeling of a car that has never been disassembled is hard to quantify, but very few restoration shops can put a car back into condition to match the factory's work. Most can do shiny, but in terms of how the machine operates, that's a bit more esoteric and few restorers achieve it (often because the owner isn't willing to pay for it). Anyway, I hope that answers your question. If not, and you're simply wondering why the car is priced the way it is, well, I guess it's not the right car for you. Someone else will see the value and continue to enjoy it as the previous two owners have over the past 68 years. Sometimes quality is measured in ways other than simply perfection.
  16. Nothing a little horsepower can't improve:
  17. Now THAT is cool! I'd love to have a wagon with buckets and a 4-speed.
  18. I don't have another eyeroll gif. I'm sorry.
  19. Oh, and the clock. And the radio. And the ammeter. And the horn relay. And the defroster motor. And the turn signal relay. All that stuff is already in the car. Why is 12 volts better, again?
  20. I am as unhappy as any of you about losing Hershey--I do a lot of business there, too. I had the same knee-jerk reaction last night and wanted to be angry at someone. Nevertheless, let's keep things in perspective, eh? 105,000 dead Americans, with 2500 more every week (that's one 9/11 every single week for the past three months). Ten times that many people will be permanently affected by just this one illness, never mind all the others that continue to collect victims out of the spotlight. Families hurt, jobs lost, and all kinds of other worse things are happening in the world. Cancelled car shows and having to wear a mask are not even remotely close to the end of the world, it's not the beginning of tyranny, and you can ask elderly Japanese Americans about what an overreaching American government really looks like. If how we're dealing with this situation really upsets you enough to boil your blood, then you should check yourself and really think carefully about just how easy, safe, comfortable, and enjoyable your life really is. We are the lucky ones. Never forget that. I am healthy, my family is healthy, we have a home, I have a job, and we can still find ways to enjoy ourselves, all things considered. My kids aren't going to sleep scared that they will starve. I suspect all of you are pretty much in the same boat with me. If you have toy cars and the resources to be on the internet discussing them, then your life is already better than 90% of all the people on the entire planet. Please, let's keep all that in mind before grabbing the torches and pitchforks. Count your blessings, as the phrase goes.
  21. Really good price. I just sold one for twice that much even though it was brown (admittedly it was a buckets/console/air car) . "This is a non titled vehicle out of R.I. and is being sold with a previous R.I. registration." So basically the previous owner's name is still on the important paperwork, not the current owner's. If the buyer has a problem with titling the car and that previous owner is dead or uncooperative... No thanks, even at that price.