If you are curious about the above left picture, it was taken at
Gilbert Pass on CA-Hwy 168, east of Big Pine, looking southwest across Deep Springs Valley (in the
foreground), the Inyo Mtns. in the middle and the eastern Sierra Crest
in the distance. The highest peak in the picture is probably Mt.
Pinchot, 13,495 and is about 46 miles distant.
Why that mix? Well, Stanadyne is formulated for the low sulphur diesel
and it helps boost cetane rating and 2-stroke oil makes a low cost, low
ash lubricant. Plus, it makes for easy no-measure mixing.
My "recipe" is to take a gallon of 2-stroke oil (cheaper that
way) and I pour half into an empty gallon jug. Then I pour a 1 pint
bottle of Stanadyne into each 1/2 full jug. So this nets me 5 pints of
mix in each jug.
Then I simply fill a 1 pint bottle with the mix and add this all to
each tank full of fuel when I fill up.
Have also been pouring in between 1/2 and 1 gallon of straight
vegetable oil (SVO) in per tank.
I really like the Quaife "Automatic Torque Biasing" (a.k.a.
limited slip) differential. It made such a huge difference. With a high
torque diesel engine, coupled with a 3.89 final drive ratio, spinning
the inside tire in a turn was inevitable. In the rain, invariable one
tire would break loose and I'd sit there spinning. Now, you punch it
and GO. You can hear the inside tire trying to break loose a little,
but the outside tire is pulling. You do have to hold on to the steering
wheel, it wants to straighten out. But unlike before, the harder you
turn the wheel the more the vehicle wants to turn. Need to pull out
onto a rain slick roadway, just hit the throttle. Both front tires will
spin a little but then they grab and you are going.
You do feel a little bit of steering input from the throttle,
accelerate and it goes into slight understeer, back off the throttle
and its very slight oversteer. Not bad at all, I think the Quaife is a
lot mellower than the TrueTrac limited
slip I ran in my Toyota 4x4 for a few years and nowhere near as bad as
an automatic lock differential in the same rig. I think this is mainly
due to a lower torque biasing ratio on the Quaife. I was on a snow
covered hill with rocks and had both tires on icy snow, but one tire
was in a bit of a hole. I was unable to load up the brakes to get the
other tire pulling. Had to get both tires fairly equally weighted to
get going. Once on a more even surface, I had no traction problems with
more snow and ice. I was pretty happy with the way it worked in snow.
I ended up blowing out the 3.89 gears and opted to have a local shop (Ron's Transaxle in San Pablo, CA)
rebuild the transaxle. I picked up a used 3.67 gear set and sent it off
to NW Cryogenics to be cryo-treated prior to installation. Ron's did a
great job with the transaxle, replacing a few other internal worn parts
and upgrading it to the later style end cab and double arm clutch
One of the things I like about my pickup is that it makes a great rig
for extended road trips:
Getting around 40 MPG, it's economical to drive long distances
14 gallon fuel tank gives it excellent range.
Being a pickup, it makes gravel and dirt road travel possible.
It can carry enough camping gear and supplies for a few weeks.
Room enough for one person to sleep in the back, with that gear.
I've taken it on a few interesting trips over the years (mostly in my
June-August 1978 (in my then nearly new '78 Rabbit-C):
Pullman, WA. west to the Pacific Coast, south to the Mexico border,
east to Texas, north to Wyoming, east to NYC where I dropped my college
buddy off to return home to Denmark, then west back to Pullman, WA and
finally south to the SF Bay area in CA.
Total miles ~18,500 and about 7 weeks of driving.
Bay Area (CA). to northern Idaho and my cousin's wedding.
My ailing head gasket decided to go on the way there.
Spent a day in Lewiston, ID. helping a mechanic drop a new head and
Then, new head and all, headed (no pun intended) off to British
Columbia and Hyder Alaska:
Hyder is the southernmost part of Alaska that you can drive to, just
west of Stewart, BC.
Hyder must have the cheapest fuel in North America, think I paid US
$0.75 per gallon for diesel!
It is US territory, but only deals in Canadian $, and (I think) pays no
taxes to either country from what I can tell.
On to the Cassiar Highway
450 miles of dirt and gravel w/ *one* gas station.
I made it w/o stopping in one l-o-n-g day, gotta love that midnight
Entered the Alaskan Highway at Watson Lake, Yukon Territory.
1992 was the 50th anniversary of the opening of the highway.
Drove south/east to Dawson Creek (milepost 0) for a family reunion in
Then south to Jasper and Banff National Parks.
Via the Forest Service road south of Grand Prairie.
200 more miles of gravel.
And finally back to the Bay Area, about 7000 miles.
Left Bay Area, passed through Nevada and Utah to Colorado Springs, CO.;
to the Black Canyon of the
Gunnison monument (the drive into (and out of) the
canyon is wild, 1st gear down and up - 8000' elevation and *steep*
grades); on through Crested Butte, CO. over the pass (dirt/gravel
roads, ~10,000 ft.) to Glenwood, CO. and into Rocky Mountain NP (at
12,000 ft. elevation, engine has no power to get started, I had to park
facing downhill so I could get a rolling start!); then through Denver,
CO; Colorado Monument (highly
recommended); on to Arches NP
and Canyonlands NP; then
flew through Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion parks on my way to Death Valley for a warm
night (88°F at midnight); and finally home via Highway 120 through Yosemite NP.
SF Bay Area, CA to Great
Basin NP in Nevada on Highway
50 (the loneliest highway in the world); to Fossil Butte monument where
I was treated to a wonderful display of thunder and lightning; through Teton and Yellowstone parks; and on
to Devil's Tower monument
in Wyoming (where the devil got me; my left
outer CV joint locked up. Luckily I was a few miles from a NAPA shop
and the owner had a parted out Rabbit which donated a front axle); on
to Pipestone monument in
Minnesota and on to my grandad's house outside Lengby,
MN.for his 80th birthday party. The return trip went by way of Sturgis
SD just in time for the big Sturgis Harley rally (not
only did I have twice as many wheels as the rest of the folks there,
but about 1/2 the horses!); then a straight shot down I-80 back home.
SF Bay Area, CA. to Eureka
Sand Dunes (recently added to Death Vally NP); then
over the Last Chance Mtns. to Crankshaft Junction and Death Valley
proper; down the West Side Road, the mercury topped out at +46°C;
back through Badwater; then up to past the Charcoal ovens to Mahogany
Flat (the 4x4 road at 8300 feet nearly stopped me, but not quite!) to
climb Telescope Peak. Continuing on to Darwin Falls for a refreshing
dip, for the long drive up 395 to Reno, NV; past Pyramid Lake the
dreaded "Pavement Ends" sign appears; the road condition
deteriorates until just a muddy pair of ruts remain through a deserted
homestead; finally improving before reaching pavement again. In the far
northeastern corner of California and on into the NW corner of Nevada
and southern edge of Oregon is some remote country with narrow paved
turning to gravel turning to rough dirt roads respectively (by state).
After several weeks of rain, the dirt track was now a genuine mud bog.
Confronted with hundred yard stretches of goo (and not wanting to dig
myself out) I would crank it up to ~50MPH and skim over the wet stuff
like those mud boggers you see on TV.
BTW: This was to be the final trip on my tires, they were quite bald at
They were Semperit 155R13s and they had to be the slipperiest tires
I've ever driven, boy did they squeal around corners!
I continued on up through central Oregon and an incredible cloud burst
that did a good job of cleaning off the accumulated mud, into central
Washington to Lake Chelan to celebrate my parent's 40th wedding
anniversary. Returned home via I-5 with a stop at Crater Lake, where
the mercury hit -4°C in the morning (for the trip, a 50°C
After a full-size Chevy pickup rammed me while I was stopped at a red
light, pushing me into the car in front of me. The jerk driving the
pickup was obviously not paying attention. My pickup is still
driveable, but I traded it in on a recently rebuilt '82 model w/ 1.9L n/a engine: