Luddites 3.0

I. INTENTIONS

Technological Progress: have you ever heard of it?

Yes, I know, lots of folks have. Marketers have made sure of this. We are bombarded with reports of it every day, by thousands of advertisements. We are told that this year’s new car is “better than” last year’s new car, and many reasons are given for this assertion: the new car is faster, it’s safer, it emits less pollution, it will carry more stuff, and so on. The same sort of assertion is made for everything for which there are advertisements. Having bought them, our life will then be better – won’t it?

Technological Progress: are you sure you have actually seen it?

Pardon me if I sound a bit skeptical here. I am sure that lots of folks think that they have seen technological progress. This year’s new car really does emit less pollution, doesn’t it? Owners of the new diesel Volkswagens will find themselves a bit disappointed on this score. The food which I buy at the grocery store must really be better for my children than anything I could grow in my own yard, isn’t it ? Parents whose children have early onset diabetes, or food allergies, or massive obesity will also find themselves a bit disappointed here.

This unfortunate pattern has been repeated for over two hundred years now — ever since the onset of the industrial revolution — whenever a new process is discovered or a new device invented. The people who initially bring forth the new process or device or discovery do so with good intentions as they truly intend to make life easier for everyone. These good intentions would even have applied, in the early days, to the invention and development of new types of gunnery that made it easier to hunt and to defend one’s family and community. The first few implementations of a new invention are generally beneficial.

Then a new invention is marketed. This process also need not necessarily be harmful. But the situation is changed, as the deployment of the new invention is now being managed by merchants, rather than by the original inventor(s).

After a while, changes are made to “the product”. Note that the invention has now magically attained a status which exists only in industrial societies — it has become “a product.” And are these changes made so as to render “the product” more useful to the people? Not at all, in fact most cases these changes accomplish quite the opposite result. The changes have been made in an increasingly desperate effort to hoodwink more people into purchasing the “new and improved” version, quite irrespective of whether they need it.

So desperate have the efforts of these marketers become that they now finance massive year-round worldwide “resource extraction” : strip mining, clear-cutting, and so forth. They seem to have become too bloated and too stupid to do anything else. Their money has made them stupid, and has ruined whatever survival capacities they might once have had.

II. EXAMPLES

An early lesson for me came in 1973. I had been working steadily and so had the means and opportunity to buy a new car. And I was being strongly encouraged to do so by no less a figure than my father. But I already had a car – a 1964 Ford Econoline van. A quick comparison of that vehicle with what I was expected to “want” to buy (in this case, a 1973 Datsun pickup truck) showed that if I were to open up my wallet and take this plunge, I would then be committing myself to maintaining a machine which:

  1. was built of approximately three times as many moving parts;
  2. was not built as strongly;
  3. had more separate systems which would need to be kept operative;
  4. was not as well suited to camping or long distance travel.
picture of Ford Econoline van
Ford Econoline van circa 1964

Look carefully. (Car salesmen never want you to do that.) Look especially at the common points of supposed usefulness that the salesmen will make. They really don’t care about your budget.

~ A] The 1973 Datsun will be newer than the 1964 Ford, and its parts are all new. This condition, though convenient, is only temporary. In a very few years the 1973 Datsun will have more worn-out parts and failing systems than the 1964 Ford could ever have, simply due to the 1964 Ford having fewer parts and fewer systems to begin with. Thus the 1964 Ford will over time be far less expensive to maintain than the 1973 Datsun.

~ B] The 1973 Datsun will emit less pollution than the 1964 Ford. So I thought myself at the time. In fact, it would be another twenty years before I learned that any gasoline engine built later than about 1935 which is at all properly maintained and tuned (with the exception of the larger V-6es and V-8es) will easily conform to the emissions standards for 1974 – a year later than the model of the Datsun in question.

~ C] The 1973 Datsun won’t have any rust. This was undoubtedly true (this was in Maine) but again, would only be so for a short while. I lived there long enough to find this out about car body rust : though it can’t be stopped completely, [and no, undercoatings have basically no effect], its advance can be slowed significantly by simply keeping the car or truck in service year-round – including right through the worst of the winter and the salt-on-the-road season. I saw this over and over again : a vehicle which was parked would quickly rust away just sitting there, – and one which was driven year-round would remain sound and mostly un-rusted. I suspect that the metal of a vehicle which was driven constantly remained in some measure “drier” than the metal of one which sat still. In that climate, this stuff matters, especially if one is living on a budget.

~ D] The 1973 Datsun will be better suited to modern highway speeds. I remember signs on Interstate 95 which said Speed Limit: 85 miles per hour. And I found over many years of driving that a 1964 Ford van, and other vehicles similar to it which have a properly maintained single-beam front axle is far steadier at 85 or 95 miles per hour than any but the most expensive and finely tuned of the “more modern” and supposedly “superior” so-called “independent front suspensions” – such as were fitted to the little Datsuns of that era. Again, fewer moving parts, and so fewer problems.

This was not the first time I had heard of someone being pressured to buy something which they did not need, nor was it the first time I  had come up against such pressure. The overall pattern and intent were quite clear: hoodwink as many people as possible into purchasing an unlimited number of things which they do not need. In this way, they will essentially sign their entire lives away.

I saw a later example of the effects of advertising over time. The Occupy Movement were still fielding encampments in public parks, in late 2011 and 2012. I would sometimes bring a laptop computer to meetings, take notes, and send them out afterward. I’d be at a cafe where a few of us would meet in the evenings – – and I got some amused laughter when I pulled out a three and one-half inch floppy-disk on which I had been saving the notes. Here it was 2011, and my laptop had been new in about 1996. When I was asked why I was using such an ‘antique’, I could only reply that I had no need for anything newer, and could not have afforded to buy anything newer even if I had wanted to do so.

The laptop on which I am writing this was new in 2005 – and I still get the same laughter and the same questions. These questions are easily answered by the practiced Luddite. You acquire things or buy things if and only if you actually need them – as distinct from buying things merely because some advertiser has yelled at you that you are expected to want them. My little ‘antique’ here has fully modern wi-fi capability, it can read and/or convert nearly any file or data from nearly any other sort of computer, and can be used for word processing, generating graphics and .pdf files, e-mail, surfing the Internet, and so on. What more would I need?

All technologies are vulnerable to the uselessness and bloat which is brought on by marketing. My examples from the world of cars, or the world of of street demonstrations, may be a bit obscure. The world of computers also offers plenty of examples.

The first computer which I ever saw was an IBM 1620. My father had been hired to be the programmer & lead operator of this machine in 1967. The purpose for which this machine had been bought was clearly defined : it was needed to tabulate data and to perform advanced calculations and occasionally print reports of biological research. Data input was entirely by keyboard – three typists were constantly busy entering data. Data output was entirely by printer, – video monitors were nearly unheard-of at this stage, – and data storage was by way of punch cards.

Picture of IBM 1620 Model 1 computer circa 1967
IBM 1620 Model 1 computer circa 1967

Between that machine and the machine on which I am now typing, there is a long list of differences. I select from that list : The range of computers which were in use in my father’s day had been designed, financed, and built with a few highly specific purposes in mind. Their manufacture was known to be a significant expense which had to be soundly justified. Many of today’s typical buyers or users of today’s computers would find the machines of my father’s day impossible to use, and just hopelessly boring.

Forty years later here, what are we being taught to want ? Why, we must have sound with our data, and that sound must be quadrophonic so that we can think we are somewhere that we are not, and we must have pictures, they must be moving pictures, and they must be exquisitely life-like, of the most flawless clarity, surpassing the skill of the greatest of the master painters of the Renaissance ! Anything less simply will not do ! The pattern has repeated : an item which had been invented in the intention of serving a legitimate purpose is now being produced in immense quantities for people who never needed it. Once enough people are persuaded of ‘needing’ this new thing, its presence becomes ‘the new normal’. If you don’t have this new thing, then you’re just not normal, and society is no longer flexible enough to have you in it.

Here is the link with our honorable Luddites back in 1816 : a spinning wheel and a loom which were part of a family farm in the early nineteenth century, were the tools of fully conscious and fully participating people. Banks of steam-driven looms in factories were, by contrast, primarily the tools of the owners of factories.

The Luddites of that time saw clearly the damage and injury wrought on people who worked in those factories – injuries not only to the individual workers, but also to their families when the workers became – as they so often did – permanently disabled and unable even to function on their own farms.

A Luddite sensibility here in the present day can see the damage and injury to individuals and to families, which is wrought by literally millions of people having been enticed into spending their time uselessly in front of a mass-produced computer screen – a screen which basically did not exist and which would have had no function during my father’s time.

And lest it be thought that the factory-owned, steam-driven loom was not sufficiently different from its hand-operated cousin on the farm, to justify the tactics deployed against it by the workers ? Remember that the primary purpose behind the building and usage of steam-driven looms was to line the pockets of the owners of factories, – whereas the primary purpose of a spinning wheel and a loom on the family farm is to provide clothing for the family.

In similar fashion, remember that the primary purpose behind the building and usage of personal computers is the improper access of the personal data of every man, woman, child, and hound dog on the North American continent. Contrast this with the primary purpose behind the building and usage of the IBM 1620 and machines similar to it. The IBM 1620 had a perfectly legitimate purpose : management of data at a research laboratory which carries out advanced research on (among other subjects) the causes of cancer.

III. HISTORICAL LUDDITES

From about 1811 to 1816 and at sporadic periods thereafter, there were working people in England [one of the first countries to become significantly industrialized] who discerned the likely real-world results of industrialization. They noticed the advertising, understood it to be propaganda, and evaluated its effects on themselves and on their families. They stepped up and said, in effect, “No, we do not want this, and we shall not accept it”.

This took place principally around Huddersfield and Nottingham, though there were instances of it elsewhere in England, and possibly a few sporadic occurrences across the Channel in Normandy. Details are available in “The Luddites” by Malcolm I. Thomis (1970). In this book one can see a consistent thread of confusion in the reproduced reports taken from the newspapers of the time. The newspaper reporters and editors had expected to find [or perhaps they had been instructed to find ?] among the practitioners or sympathizers of Luddism, incitements to indiscriminate destruction, violence, and murder. And quite consistently, they did not find any such thing. These reporters were left writing confusedly that after many weeks of investigation, and going to factories where machine-breaking had occurred, and dozens of interviews with people who had seen Luddites or who confessed themselves to be Luddites, they still could not get any clear idea of what the Luddites really wanted.

For us who are here to see the effects fully two hundred years later, of runaway industrialism and its inevitable looting and its damage to our biosphere, it is not difficult to imagine what they wanted. I think they wanted the looters to go away and leave them alone.

"The Leader of the Luddites," engraving from 1812
“The Leader of the Luddites,” engraving from 1812

When operating under ‘capitalism’ as currently practiced, developers of new technologies do not care – or perhaps have been instructed to not care – about methods which already exist. Nor do they care about people employed in [and in all likelihood dependent on] using the presently existing methods. Indeed, one way to ensure the “profitability” (read : “we are going to steal from the people and disable the people and abuse the people in order to fund this”) of a new technology, is to generate conditions which render use of existing methods either more difficult or less fashionable. The Luddites saw this clearly. They found it unlikely that the owners of woolen mills, etc, would desist from deploying these various new devices. They also found it unlikely that goods produced by these new methods would be boycotted sufficiently to deplete the ‘financial incentive’ to the factory owners to purchase and deploy the new equipment. This tale by itself tells of a woeful lack of class solidarity. Willingness to notice abuse, and to stand up and resist abuse, was not sufficiently widespread among the workers. So then, what could be done ? Deployment and usage of the new equipment could be made significantly less profitable to the factory owners, simply by demolishing the new equipment as soon as it arrived on the factory floor. Many people proceeded to do so, gleefully and with gusto, and they were even courteous enough about it to leave explanatory notes beside the fragments of the new equipment.

We are accustomed to hearing the perpetrators of these abuses identified as capitalists. That term is too vague. The perpetrators of these abuses are looters, plain and simple. When we recognize that, and are prepared to reject the nicey-nicey little euphemism of mis-identifying them as ‘capitalists’ – then perhaps we shall find the methods to render their works irrelevant, and find also the political will to rid ourselves of them.

IV. BECOME A LUDDITE

Word of Honor : most of the people who have been telling you about all this technological progress have no idea what progress is. As individuals they are not necessarily malevolent people, – they may genuinely believe their own words, – but you, gentle reader, are not required to believe them. With just a few short steps you can deconstruct their unfortunate propaganda, and be free of it.

First, – identify what you need. Be clear in your mind about this.

Second, – notice the abundance. Look around at the immense resources which are already just lying around, not in the stores, but outside of them ! Literally billions of dollars worth of these wondrous and sometimes quite useful “products” have already been manufactured and bought and paid for, and have then been frivolously thrown away. There they are, waiting for someone, anyone, to merely pick them up and use them.

Third, – dust them off and use them ! In the days and weeks which follow, you may hear your neighbors express amazement – – as in, “Where did you get the money to accomplish all of this ??” The joke’s on them : you didn’t have to spend the money, – certainly not the vast amount which they imagine you must have spent. The money had already been spent, the goods had already been bought. Generation after generation of consumers have been carefully taught by the advertisers, – taught to be like small children who pick up a shiny expensive object and then drop it two seconds later when something else drifts into their short little attention span. That process can be allowed to continue for a while. It seems a reasonably nonviolent way of liberating resources, no?

They said Ned Ludd was an idiot boy
That all he could do was wreck and destroy, and
He turned to his workmates and said: Death to Machines
They tread on our future and they stamp on our dreams.

 

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4 thoughts on “Luddites 3.0”

  1. Recently I heard of a situation, probably a common situation : a lady who has a steady job, and who rents, and who has a car which has landed in the garage, so she can’t get to work, is going to lose her apartment, and her job, and her credit rating, and be sued by the landlord for at least two months of back rent. And, the people at the garage can’t figure out what is wrong with her car. It’s absolutely not their fault, – they are entirely competent. I have seen this many times now, – and it’s why I tell people not to buy any cars or trucks which were built any later than about 1987. The newer cars never were, and never can be, sufficiently reliable. They’ll seem to be “reliable” for just long enough for the warranty period to run out – and after that, forget it. You might become lucky, and get hold of one which runs reliably for a year or two, – but we who are on tight budgets can no longer afford to count on that.

    I have been the guy in the shop who tried to fix one. Typical example : a 1992 Volvo with computerized everything, which would just randomly quit out on the road. We ran all the recommended tests, replaced all the parts which showed the least bit of probability of causing the problem, got on the phone with the dealer, took all their advice, finally gave up and sent the car to the dealer, and they couldn’t fix it either. They said yeah we’ve seen a few of those, all the dealers have, and there’s nothing we can do.

    Implied solution : don’t even bother with anything newer than about 1987. And be prepared to work on it, rather than expecting a garage to work on it. What have you got sitting in your yard ? Computerized / transistorized ignition and / or fuel injection started as early as 1967 for some models of some European marques, so depending on what you’ve got, you might need to go back even earlier than ’87. I’d be looking for :

    [A] Hopefully NOT an eight-cylinder engine – – but if that’s what you’ve got and it passes all the other tests, well ok run with that.

    [B] Standard shift rather than automatic shift. Easier to drive, better fuel mileage, and you can push it to start it if the battery or the starter-motor quits.

    [C] One or more carburettors rather than fuel-injection. Easier to work on, less expensive, parts easier to find, etc.

    [D] Breaker-point ignition, rather than electronic ignition. Be sure to listen to all the scare stories about breaker-points and how awful they supposedly are, stories all told by guys who had eight-cylinder cars. And yes, breaker-points can be a bit difficult in an eight cylinder setup. But for six cylinder or four cylinder motors, they’re top-notch, and yes far more reliable than any electronic module. So be sure to listen to the scare stories.

    [E] Drum brakes on all four wheels, rather than disc brakes. Less expensive, easier to work on, and they do not require a power-booster.

    [F] Hard-top rather than a roadster or a convertible, just because rain, and leaks.

    [G] For some reason four-doors are less expensive to buy used, than two-doors. You may be able to save a few hundred dollars that way.

    [H] If in Arizona, no black paint jobs please. You don’t wanna roast, do you ?

    [I] Air conditioning : kinda sorta maybe. In Arizona one doesn’t find very many cars which never had air conditioning when they were new, – but they do exist, and if you have one, it’s that much less extra cruft getting in your way when you’re working on it. If yours has air-conditioning AND if you propose to get the air-conditioning actually working – – be sure FIRST to have all of your radiator, and hoses, and water-pump, and thermostat in top-notch shape. Most automotive air-conditioning setups dump their heat right in front of the car’s radiator. This is a stupid & antiquated procedure, but they nearly all still do it.

    [J] Work space : A one-car garage is approximately useless. If you have one, use it to house the workbench, and for tools & parts storage. To really save money and do maintenance on one car you need “space enough to park” two or more cars. A roof which does not leak is essential. Windows which can be opened are essential. A smooth and clean concrete floor is very helpful. Lights and electricity are also helpful, – but there are lots of ways to get major stuff done without any electricity.

    [K] Bench and Equipment : The bench ought to be at least eight feet long and built of two-inch thick pine or spruce [or oak if you can afford it ??] and be at least two feet in width. It needs to be solidly anchored to the floor and walls – really a permanent part of the building. I’d want solidly attached to this : an iron vise with jaws at least four inches wide, and a 1/2 horsepower electric wire-brush & grinder, with a stone at least six inches in diameter. You’ll be using these A Lot.

    [L] Tooling : No need to blow your money on a lot of brand-new tool sets : just Acquire as many as possible of secondhand made-in-USA high quality hand tools & wrenches such as Powr-Kraft, Barcalo-Buffalo, Owatonna Tools [OTC], Herbrand, Williams, Craftsman, Lectrolite, Snap-On, Cornwell, S-K-Wayne, Wizard, the sort of stuff you find at Kent’s Tools. A lot of the tools coming from Japan have also been quite good. But do avoid like the plague, the hundreds of tons of cheap garbage toy tools which have been coming from SriLanka, Taiwan, China, etc. You can spot them by their torn bent mis-shapen & generally ruined appearance – ruined after someone used them just once. They can be filler the next time you mix up a batch of concrete.

    [M] Technical Information : For every car which you have, make sure you have a Haynes book. Those books have wiring diagrams – – and almost no one wants to deal with wiring. You shall have to – and it’s actually easy. Patience is required, and a clear brain. If you’re stoned you won’t get it.

    [N] Time Frame : Build so that hopefully you only need to do it once. You already know you can’t afford to do it twice. Managers at “normal” garages may find this incomprehensible, – but do it anyway. That way you have the option of giving someone else a ride when their precious shiny new car quits and can never be fixed.

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  2. Another commonly occurring situation : a lady has one or more children, and the father of those children hasn’t had a job for several years. There are jobs available in the area where they live, – possibly also gigs available, – but those are only available to someone who has his own tools & equipment. To the mother of his children, and to their grandparents, he says things like “It’s not fair that they won’t give me a job. I have no money [they already knew this, & they have no money either] so how am I supposed to buy any tools or get a job ?”

    This person is thinking as if he were born yesterday. The problem is eminently solvable. There are however, advertisers to whom he has been listening, and these advertisers have intentionally and maliciously plugged up his ability to reason and to plan. These advertisers insist that he ought to further disable himself by putting himself in debt [he is probably already deep deep in debt] by signing his name to the purchase of a huge shiny new $10,000.00 tool kit. He has enough sense to say no to this disastrous idea, – but the workable alternative, the alternative which is [and always has been] totally within his budget, – has not yet occurred to him.

    Remember that out of the $10,000.00 tool kit which the advertiser [aka looter] was trying to foist upon him : the tools which he actually needs at any given moment would probably cost no more than $75.00 – but the advertisers will do their damnedest to prevent him from ever noticing this.

    Spend $10.00 or $20.00 every now and then, for good quality secondhand tools. Buy just enough of these to complete whatever project comes your way, – and keep those tools, because there will most likely be times later when you’ll want at least one of them. The impact on your budget will be barely noticeable, – and after a few months of this, you’ll have a good start on a serious tool kit, all without going into the least bit debt. After two years of this, you’ll have guys asking “where did you ever find enough money to buy such a nice tool kit ?? Wow I wish I ever had that much money !!”

    Joke’s on him : you never had that much money. You never will, and he never will, and none of us ever will. But we can perfectly well accumulate the tools, and the awareness of how to use them. That’s when people start throwing hundred-dollar bills at you and insisting that you come and work for them. All of a sudden you’ve got a job, or at the very least, a steady gig. Way to buy groceries, pay the rent, get some clothes for your children to wear to school, and so on.

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  3. Reports on a Luddite sort of project, because I believe You Could Do This Also. If you find one which you like.

    2017 : Arrived in a place & got no car. This can be a Problem. Conversation with a few friends who had lived in the area for a while, led me to a 1967 Dodge A108 van which had been parked since 2005, presumably never to run again.

    They gave up on it because they weren’t Luddites & did not have a sufficiently coherent way of evaluating physical resources.

    This thing is sitting there complete. No broken windows, radiator hasn’t been stolen, wheels & tyres all still on it, etc. I crawl under it to see how badly it’s rusted, – – ok yeah a little bit, but not much. Leafsprings all solidly in place, steering box solidly in place, frame rails all totally solid.

    Does it have a Engine ? asks I. Check the oil dipstick, & the oil looks nice and black – – hasn’t been changed in a while, but there’s no milkshake color to it, like there’d be if there had been water getting into the oil. Ok, so borrow a battery, hook it up, and crank the engine. It’s a 225 cubic inch [aka 3.7 litre] Dodge slant-six. Listen while cranking for even sound of compression in all cylinders, – yes it’s got that. All 12 valves are opening & closing properly, and the piston-rings are sealing at least adequately, for the moment.

    Commence removing the remains of an exceedingly awful and artless attempt at a “camper” interior. Down to almost bare metal – nothing but the original factory paint, and some rust, left inside. This took about a week. Cripe didn’t it stink, for a while. Also removed both front seats, and disassembled the engine-box which is behind them.

    Pull the carburettor off, order a repair kit for it, and clean it out & rebuild it, – because no way was it going to run with the carb all full of dead gasoline & glue & corrosion. Start to figure out when I show the guys at the parts store & they start looking at the numbers on the carb, and realize this is Not a 1967 carburettor, it’s more like 1983. Ok, that and a few more details tells me I’ve got a 1983 Canadian – spec engine. Hey why not ? It even has an exhaust oxygen sensor, which in 1967 was unheard-of.

    Put the carb back on the engine, and hook up a temporary gravity-feed overhead gasoline can and a neoprene hose to deliver gasoline to the carburettor, – because that original 1967 gas tank was going to be all full of dead varnish & slurry also, & I can clean that out later, if I even get that far.

    Yes it Starts ! and actually Runs ! Fires on all cylinders, doesn’t make any horrible clattering noises, doesn’t overheat, – sounds like a Engine. While it’s running, engage 2nd gear and then reverse gear, and test the clutch. Yes it will stall the engine. This is a good thing, because if it just slipped and wouldn’t stall the engine, then I’d be needing to remove the transmission to replace the clutch. Do-able, but sort of a pain.

    Next, – are the cables for the emergency-brakes still any good ? This matters because :

    [A] I’m definitely going to be replacing all of the brake hydraulic pipes, plus the brake master cylinder, plus all four wheel cylinders, along with probably all new brake drums and shoes. And

    [B] I want to be able to move this thing around the yard even while the brake hydraulics are all disassembled and I’m waiting for parts. A properly adjusted mechanical brake allows you to do this. – And yes its two rear cables are fully ok. The 3rd cable, which connects the brake pull-handle to the two rear cables, is missing, – but an AutoZone “Duralast” # C1575, for a 1980 Toyota truck, fits the handle perfectly. It needs only a bit of lengthening, to work perfectly in the A108.

    Three of the four wheels have sunken rather far into the dirt. Use old-fashioned cast-iron building jacks, wooden blocks, etc etc, to hoick the vehicle up out of its mud-hole, and start digging a trench underneath it and getting it a bit more ‘level’, just because I’m lazy.

    Start fixing lights, found that the main wiring harness had been cut in two & then spliced back together, at least twice, plus there were partially melted wires, indicating that multiple bad short-circuits must have happened. And, the designers had located the wiring harness in a bad place : they had it running through a hole in the main support bracket for the radiator. So, any time the radiator needed to be taken out and cleaned, this required cutting & then re-splicing all the wiring. Rebuilt wiring harness so as to avoid this dumbness : Wires now run up through the left-side windscreen pillar, over the left door, & down to a custom-built electrical patch-panel which has all the starter relay, voltage regulator, ignition dropping resistor, etc etc which had used to be inside the engine box. Much easier to work on.

    Cold weather sets in, shut down project for the winter. Didn’t get back to it until the end of July the following year – ! Due to plenty of other work. When you know how to do this sort of thing, seems like people are throwing money at you and distracting you all the time.

    2018 : Side doors & back doors were in rather bad shape due to rust and plain hard use and abuse. Rebuilt these, include using one pair of doors from another similar van. Also mods & readjustment of hinges of both front doors. Lubed window-crank mechanisms & all latches, also front wing-windows.

    Removed original-type mechanical fuel pump, and installed block-off plate in its place, since I expect to run this with a Skinner’s Union electric fuel pump.

    By this time, had also gotten the vehicle out of its hole in the dirt & had driven it around the yard once or twice. Rebuilt rail across top of two back doors, due to extreme rust here. The fiberglass top had been installed sloppily, and water had gotten in and rusted away some significant sections of the top of the steel bodyshell. Fit proper fasteners to prevent top from separating and flying off on the road – –

    Removed both windscreen glasses, due to extreme deterioration of windscreen gasket. The multiple layers of silicone-rubber sealant & glue, were all just plain ugly. Attempted installing new gasket, found that this was beyond my skill – –

    Disassembled hydraulic brake system complete, & ordered new parts. Shut project down for the winter, due to onset of snow. Still working outdoors for all of this.

    2019 : As soon as the weather allowed, drove van out of its storage area & back to the yard.

    Replace rotted fuel tank filler hose.

    Disassemble & lube & clean switch for 4-way flashers, and install & test both new flashers.

    Build bracketry & route piping & wires as necessary for fitment of electric fuel pump. Include also wiring for an inertia-switch [safety switch] so that the pump will be automatically shut off in the event of an accident.

    Reassemble engine cover, with fasteners stronger than original, with a view toward installation of three-point seat belts. Install also, mounting lugs beside both front doors for three-point belts.

    Reinstall both front seats, even though they’ve got not much upholstery left, to make it easier for the crew who are coming to install the windshield.

    Assist with installing both windshield glasses & new gasket – – this takes Practice, and warm dry weather. It took about 4 hours total. Apparently Dodges are known to be among the worst & most difficult to get the glass installed properly.

    Install new lock cylinders to side doors & rear doors. This required some artful metalwork, as the exact 1967-style replacement lock cylinders are no longer available.

    Remove both rear axle shafts to inspect wheel bearings. Found : right side perfect, left side had a horribly ruined wheel bearing. Took axle shaft & new bearing to another shop where they had an 80-ton gear press, – this particular bearing cannot be replaced any other way.

    Remove both front hubs to inspect wheel bearings. Found : all 4 of them needed to be replaced. Easily done using standard tools on your home workbench.

    Assembled hydraulic brake system complete, with new drums & shoes & automatic adjusters.

    Drive vehicle to local specialty shop, for fitment of complete new exhaust piping, with catalytic converter.

    Remove driveshaft due to extreme wear & vibration, & take this to a local machine shop to have it modified. The front coupling was of an obsolete type, not remotely suitable for modern highway speeds. This was replaced with the more modern front sliding-yoke and universal joint assembly from a Jaguar XK-120.

    Remove & replace transmission also, as this was excessively worn-out and noisy.

    Commence assembly of custom cold weather camper / work truck mods. Still in progress.

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