Whenever the federal government tries to do something it gets messed up. Often, government programs end up achieving goals that are in conflict with their stated intentions. The cash for clunkers program was supposed to reduce pollution, but it is just example of a government program achieves the exact opposite of its stated goals.
Last week one of my loyal readers, Mark Kendall, emailed me about the exact federal requirements to “disable” an engine from a “clunker” car. Basically, the procedure is to replace the engine oil with a saltwater solution and run the car at 2000 rpm until the engine seizes. Mark’s Indiana business owns a machine called a Seda that is designed to safely and cleanly suck out the oil and other fluids. New car dealers do not own a Seda and Mark’s may be the only company in Indiana with it.
At the end of this blog I’ve cut and pasted the exact government procedure to disable an engine under the cash for clunkers program. I’ve also provided a link to a YouTube video showing the destruction of a perfectly good late model Volvo engine. It ain’t pretty. Be sure to look for all of the pollutants that spurt out of the engine when it finally stops. Click “Car Disablement Procedures” below to get the video.
Kendall goes on to say: “Adding the salt water and the resulting jell created after destroying the drive train creates a new, dirty residual of oil mixed with salt water. I’m not going to screw up our Seda machine to suck out this jell; I’m just going to rip out the engine and transmission with a crane and drop it into a truck that’s destined for Illinois and let them deal with it. Somehow oil mixed with salt water strikes me as a pollutant that I don’t want my employees touching and that I sure don’t want appearing in our water samples.”
Apart from being environmentally damaging, the cash for clunkers program is regressive; hurting low income people while helping those that have the money to buy a new car. Kendall elaborates on this as follows: “If you wished to design a program that discriminated against the poor and uneducated, Clunkers is a good one. First, you’ve got to find out if your car qualifies. Second, you’ve got to beat on the dealer for the best deal. Third, you’ve got to make sure you didn’t sign something that will cost you your car if you made a mistake. And most important, destroying clunkers means destroying a supply of well-used parts that is primarily consumed by low-income folks either directly or through used car dealers.”
Mark Kendall confirms something that I’ve always known; that my readers are experienced, intelligent, and keep a good eye on government shenanigans! Thanks, Mark, for setting us straight on the real story of disabling automobiles.
Appendix B to Part 599 – Engine Disablement Procedures for the CARS
Engine Disablement Procedures for the CARS Program
THIS PROCEDURE IS NOT TO BE USED BY THE VEHICLE OWNER
Perform the following procedure to disable the vehicle engine.
1. Obtain solution of 40% sodium silicate/60% water. (The Sodium Silicate (SiO2/Na2O) must have a weight ratio of 3.0 or greater.)
2. Drain engine oil for environmentally appropriate disposal.
3. Install the oil drain plug.
4. Since the procedure is intended to render the engine inoperative, drive or move the vehicle to the desired area for disablement.
5. Pour enough solution in the engine through the oil fill for the oil pump to circulate the solution throughout the engine. Start by adding 2 quarts of the solution, which should be sufficient in most cases. CAUTION: Wear goggles and gloves. Appropriate protective clothing should be worn to prevent silicate solution from coming into contact with the skin.
6. Replace the oil fill cap.
7. Start the engine.
8. Run engine at approximately 2000 rpm (for safety reasons do not operate at high rpm) until the engine stops. (Typically the engine will operate for 3 to 7 minutes. As the solution starts to affect engine operation, the operator will have to apply more throttle to keep the engine at 2000 rpm.)
9. Allow the engine to cool for at least 1 hour.
10. With the battery at full charge or with auxiliary power to provide the power of a fully charged battery, attempt to start the engine.
11. If the engine will not operate at idle, the procedure is complete.
12. If the engine will operate at idle, repeat steps 7 through 11 until the engine will no longer idle.
13. Attach a label to the engine that legibly states the following: This engine is from a vehicle that is part of the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS). It has significant internal damage caused by operating the engine with a sodium silicate solution (liquid glass) instead of oil.
14. File this document in the file for the new vehicle purchase.