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Forever car

Built to repair by yourself, alone, after the fall.
  [vote for,

Cars go fast and are full of computers. But after the apocalypse the computers might turn on you, the gas will get stale and it will be hard to find new tires and charge up batteries.

BUNGCO introduces the Forever Car! Several attributes of this car make it amenable to long use and ad hoc service for Omega men and women.

1. Moonshine powered. Sure, run it on gas while you got it, but when the gas gets stale and weeds overgrow the gas stations this car runs as well or better on ethanol. The motor also has a running mode to produce heat, with a built in thermostat and flat place to distill your moonshine.

2. Tractor tires. Tractor tires last for decades. Yes, you must go slow with these solid rubber noninflatable tires but you should not be madmaxing around at 100 mph after the apocalypse. There might be stuff in the road. Between the tractor tires, high clearance and all wheel drive you can go over soft obstacles and around sharp / burning / caustic ones.

You can put regular inflatable tires on too, to use for your commute. Car comes with 8 extra tractor tires each in oxygen proof lined fabric bags, for your kids and grandkids.

3. No battery. The engine is started by a spiral spring, which is wound back up in the course of driving. If the spring breaks there is a fold out handle for you to crank the engine by hand. If you remember to park on hills, you can get rolling and bumpstart the forever car.

Once in motion the alternator will provide some electricity for your CB radio and spotlight.

4. No rubber. Rubber shmubber. A mayfly when it comes to longetivity, that rubber. Instead of belts the Forever Car uses chains - the same gauge for each application. Spare links and repair kit comes with. Gaskets are ceramic and metal.

5. Antifreeze. See #1, above.

6. Oil. This one took some thinking and several here are still wagging their gray beards and squinting their eyes discontentedly. Oil will deteriorate. Grease will deteriorate. Animal fat will be available but is of inconsistent lubricating quality. BUNGCO settled on powdered graphite. It will be tough to find powdered graphite after the apocalypse but graphite, like ethanol, has a near infinite shelf life. Hopefully the built in graphite reservoirs will hold you for several decades.

The runner up for lubrication was homemade lye soap which still might be a contender.

bungston, May 24 2017

What is it? (Woodey Alen: Sleeper) https://www.youtube...watch?v=Ctin21yrfcA
[pashute, May 28 2017]

Flintmobile http://www.dailymai...ckbottom-price.html
Perhaps too simple. [whatrock, May 28 2017]

Depend(s) https://www.depend.com/mens-solutions
Might need this, unless you have a 'forever body' to go with the car. [Sgt Teacup, May 30 2017]


       What's a great idea like yours doing on a half-baked website like this?! This will be a thing, oh yes it will.   

       We already see a form of this 'forever car' in any pre-1996 North American model of the Chevy Blazer. Impossible to buy used; everyone who has one keeps it.   

       You need investors to bake this. Does BUNGCo. take Monopoly money (ie: Canuck bucks)?
Sgt Teacup, May 24 2017

       Oh I like this one.   

       It is, of course - a diesel engine in that it's compression ignited. I think you're going to have real trouble without oil - especially engine oil. Perhaps you need to consider using filtered vegetable oil and centrifugal filtering onboard to extend filter life. At some point you're up against the limitations of materials engineering (ie infinite life unlubricated bearings don't exist). In fact - you might be able to use your used lubricating oil as the fuel (or better, one reservoir for both fuel and oil). I don't know much about vegetable based oils, but I gather the amazing people of Bouganville were doing quite well converting old mine machinery over to the use of coconut oils for fuel and lubrication. In fact, 1980's and earlier spec mining equipment should be a great source of inspiration for this project in general.   

       You can avoid antifreeze issues by making the power density low enough that the engine can be aircooled.   

       Better than a spring might be an airstarter and tank - with a hand pump (animal fat lubricated leather seal).   

       Forgo timing chains and belts by using direct gear drive to the camshaft etc - or a linkage system with the camshaft not overhead.   

       Clever things are being done with non-pneumatic tyres with honeycomb like structure. They can't be punctured but are softer than solid rubber.   

       It'll need a lowrange transfer case, PTO winch, snorkel and full tube frame chassis because it's going to have a hard life. Corrosion is always a concern - and Aluminium having no fatigue limit is really unsuitable, so I'd be looking for a spring-steel chassis with a full-passivated treatment like tenifer for extremely long life - that or very thick galvanising and supply a zinc stick for repairs.   

       It may also need armour plating, depending on how you think a post-apocalyptic world will work. If this is to be a Mad Max style war-wagon, we should start talking pintle mounted Russian-made heavy machine guns too.
Custardguts, May 24 2017

       + I have always wanted to be able to fix my own car...now I'd like to do this! My ideas are like from Mad Max cars!
xandram, May 25 2017

       You could make a lot of money making these cars (or more realistically, modifying existing cars along these lines) and selling them to 'prepper' communities in rural areas of the US.
hippo, May 25 2017

       What do you do about engine mounts, o-rings and gaskets, rust, stretched timing chains, wiring sheathing, synchronizers, clutch discs, brake pads, and spark plugs?
RayfordSteele, May 25 2017

       Somewhat preheated in William Gibson's "Idoru", but it's just one paragraph about a fashionable expensive vehicle that's allegedly eco-friendly by virtue of being designed to last a long, long, long, long time.
normzone, May 25 2017

       I was going to suggest a forever typewriter, then some youngish flower asked "What is a typewriter?"
popbottle, May 25 2017

       I detect a touch of the anti-technology about this, but then I think that hi tech is what can make this work. You can't build a car that will work forever, but you can expand lifetime a lot.   

       First, you'd want a simple design, then have it operate well within its limits. I'd go with a parallel twin, push-rod design in the dimensions of a a quarter of a Chevy LS V8, i.e. maintain the 4" bore/stroke. That way you have hundreds of millions of engines with 6-8 pistons/con rods/push rods/rockers to scavenge.   

       You'd want to avoid water cooling. For that reason a very substantial aluminium block with the pistons spread apart. It makes sense to follow the original spacing, but skip a piston to lower density, so you're running pistons 1&3. The block should be channeled for lots more oil than usual. You COULD go for a simple oil and change it. Or you could have 10x the volume of a really good modern oil. Add very stringent filtration, a pH indicator and correction system and 500,000 miles should be easily doable.   

       To reduce the need and load on the oil, roller bearing the whole rotating assembly. Preferably with something fancy and ceramic. Rollers rather than balls because a replacement can be made with a lathe far more easily.   

       Then, run the whole thing at about 8.5:1 compression, have a simple but say, quad redundant EFI set up. EFI gets you operating in the optimum range most of the time, that saves you from fuel-oil contamination and carbon build up. It can also adapt on the fly to different fuels, ethanol/methane/wood gas. Carburators are messy nasty things and you'll never be able to machine the right jets.
bs0u0155, May 25 2017

       What is quad redundant efi?
bungston, May 25 2017

       On benefits, presumably.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 25 2017

       For long term corrosion resistance, consider using bronze for certain parts -- it's just as long lasting as stainless steel, slightly less expensive, and, after the apocalypse, might be easier to make repairs on.   

       Using a spring for a starter seems like a really bad idea, since if you commute using the Forever Car before the apocalypse, odds are the spring will break several times over before The End.   

       I would use a compressed air starter like custardguts suggested, but the main method of filling the air tank should be compressor should be powered by the engine, *possibly* with a manual backup compressor.   

       There are lots of hand tools which can are available in air powered versions, and these are readily maintained without needing electronics, so this is a valuable thing to have regardless.   

       Do keep the hand crank (or foot pedal, more likely) for engine starting, but also don't forget to incorporate an overrunning clutch so it doesn't take your hand off.   

       As for lubricant, I would advise against using soap, as it is hygroscopic, and will attract moisture.   

       Graphite is a maybe... but I think pneumatic bearings are a better choice, as they could be even more long-lived.   

       Depending on the type of apocalypse one expects, oil would not be a bad choice, since even if it breaks down while in use in an engine, it does have a fairly long shelf life, and there might be lots of gas/service stations (and car parts stores) to loot.   

       Having an oil PH indicator on the dashboard seems like an exceptionally good idea, since this can be equated to how much longer one's oil will last. The anti-rust additives, which imho are some of the most important components of car oil, have a high PH, and as these chemicals get used up, the PH goes down.   

       I like the idea of not having rubber in the engine... but I'm not sure you could use metal and ceramic for all of the things which rubber is used for. I suspect that for some tasks (insulation?) synthetic materials would be a better choice, even if they might be hard to replace decades in the future. Maybe stock up on rolls of self-fusing silicone tape?   

       Note that although engine chains last longer than rubber belts, they can still stretch and break. You could significantly reduce the stress on the timing belt/chain by using an engine head which doesn't need as much power... for example, the Beare-head engine.
goldbb, May 25 2017

       One word: Hemp.   

       Ok maybe two words: hemp and hydrogen.   

       That's three words. Maybe use less of it?
RayfordSteele, May 26 2017

       //What is quad redundant efi?//   

       Electronic Fuel Injection, although I also meant that ignition should be similarly controlled. The amount of computing power to effectively run a two cylinder engine with huge flexibility for changing components or fuels is child's play. So much so that you could easily have 4 redundant systems for minimal cost. The ability to swap out engine management systems would be great for troubleshooting too. Even in the post-apocalyptic world it isn't that difficult to build an engine management system from scratch, presumably the amount of electronics lying around, I could probably cobble something together given enough time. The alternative, the "simple" old school stuff with carburetors and such requires a degree of mechanical sophistication that can't really be cobbled at all. They also tend to respond poorly to changing conditions, fuel type, altitude or even weather might need component changes to get them to run right. When they're not running right, they're going to do damage. The cautious way to run a carburetor is to have it meter slightly too much fuel. This ends up contaminating the oil and that's how your engine will die in the absence of oil changes.   

       //The anti-rust additives, which imho are some of the most important components of car oil, have a high pH, and as these chemicals get used up, the pH goes down//   

       There's a few indicators of oil degradation, acidification is one, increased conductivity/permittivity and I'd suggest, because I often suggest this, an oxidative shift in the redox poise. There's a lot of fairly simple ways of monitoring those, and you could easily recondition a good base oil. You can solve the degradation by switching to a fluorinated oil. I assume they're not used in engines because of the environmental concerns of having millions of gallons of fluorocarbon sloshing around in backstreet garages, but they're super long lasting and have stunning lubricity.   

       //sure you could use metal and ceramic for all of the things which rubber is used for//   

       There's not much left. Water system is gone. Keeping the power density down and the oil volume up means no oil cooler, or any reason to leave the block. No head gasket necessary. Just make head and block one piece, or weld the head on. For the electrical system, PTFE or other fluorinated derivatives are your friend. They just don't degrade.   

       For the cost of all this however, you could take advantage of the extraordinary cheapness of mass produced products. Simply buy 10x Toyota Camrys, vacuum pack them and treat as disposable.
bs0u0155, May 26 2017

       Better, shirley, to pack them in nitrogen? I'm not sure what happens to grease and oil in vacuo (not to mention battery electrolytes, brake fluid, power steering fluid, LCD displays...) but I bet it's not nice.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 26 2017

       Hold on a minute, I want the recipe for these solid rubber, rubber-free tires.   

       //aluminium block //   

       If you want it to last decades that's a long time to keep mercury from ever coming into contact with the block...   

       Don't forget EMP resistance
Voice, May 26 2017

       Why would mercury come near it? And you could just coat it with some kind of high-temp lacquer/varnish/other coating.
notexactly, May 26 2017

       Regular soda-glass; it's mercury-proof.   

       Earthenware jars are similarly suitable for mercury storage.
8th of 7, May 26 2017

       However, polypropylene has the advantage of not shattering when you drop it, saving you from spending the best part of two hours chasing little beads of mercury out from under everything. Apparently.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 26 2017

       // That's three words. Maybe use less of it? //   

       Of course! It's so basic...   

       //Why would mercury come near it//   

       In a post-apocolyptic world IED's could have all kinds of odd ingredients.
Voice, May 27 2017

       Just need a forever driver.
wjt, May 28 2017

       >on a halfbaked website like this? This is THE forever website, the only one that will survive the lack of electricity and grass growing on gas stations.
pashute, May 28 2017

       Love to see some thought put into simplification of the automobile. We think so much in terms of wildly complex that now there's not one human alive that completely understands what's under that hood.   

       Seriously, find me one person who could walk you through the construction of each part of a car, from raw material mined from the Earth to finished product blasting down the highway.   

       I'd like to see a vehicle that you could make from scratch wearing only your post apocalypse gear, a raccoon skin jock strap and a Bowie knife.
doctorremulac3, May 28 2017

       //a vehicle that you could make from scratch wearing only your post apocalypse gear, a raccoon skin jock strap and a Bowie knife//   

       A raft?
pocmloc, May 28 2017

       I was hoping for something faster with wheels.   

       Cavemen could have built and flown rudimentary gliders with a little training. Post apocalypse might be smart to jump right into rebuilding the aerospace program. If you can make an engine to drive a car you can make one to power an aircraft.   

       Start building that air force for WW4.
doctorremulac3, May 28 2017

       I think a more elegant solution to the transport problem in a post-apocalyptic era would be to simply start out closer to where you want to be.   

       However, for long-term post-apocalyptic motoring, wouldn't you want a solar-powered electric vehicle with supercapacitor storage?
MaxwellBuchanan, May 28 2017

       Nope, Just flywheels. Good invention, the flywheel. Mechanical battery/physical energy storage... Shame they aren't used more.   

       Flywheels are heavy. You want light. If your car's going to be built out of bamboo shoots and rabbit skin you want to minimize the mass you're needing to move around.   

       Plus, you're not going to have a lot of precision like would be needed for an efficient flywheel.   

       Caps are great for short bursts of energy but they're no replacement for batteries in this instance.   

       Unfortunately, I think you're going steam day 2, right after you establish who gets eaten first when the food runs out.
doctorremulac3, May 29 2017

       / a raccoon skin jock strap and a Bowie knife.   

       — doctorremulac3, May 28 2017 /   

       Pondering now the raccoon skin jock strap. Does tail go in front or in back?
bungston, May 30 2017

       We really don't want to know the answer to that question.
8th of 7, May 30 2017

       Depend(s)... (see link)
Sgt Teacup, May 30 2017


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