Diesel Overhaul Rebuild Kits and Price Gouging

When it comes to engine rebuild and overhaul kits, many people in the diesel engine industry are consistently the victims of price gouging. There are two main ways that people are victimized. The most common method is that people are told they must have genuine parts for their rebuild. This is simply not so. Genuine parts can often cost you more than double the price of aftermarket parts. There are several reputable aftermarket brands that make high quality products, which last just as long and perform at the same level. These are brands such as Interstate-Mcbee, PAI, IPD, FP Diesel, Mahle-Clevite, and MaxiForce. These companies offer high quality replacement parts for Detroit Diesel, Cummins, CAT, International, Perkins, Komatsu, and many others. Companies such as Interstate-Mcbee and others listed, often use the same factories as original part manufacturers. Another way people are victimized is by taking the word of a mechanic they believe to be on their side. It is sad to say, but many shops take advantage of clients who are not informed on the market prices of engine rebuild kits or spare parts.

Some also prey on the fact that customers may not know enough about their engine to know what they need. One just has to be careful and make sure that the parts they are receiving are what they need and one of the above brands. Aftermarket parts get a bad name from cheaply made replacement parts, usually with no name and from less than reputable companies. Getting multiple quotes on repairs, will also help with price gouging. Make sure you get a comprehensive breakdown of the parts you will need for the repair of your engine. Compare these lists and you should be able to see if anyone is trying to take advantage of you.

Standard rebuild kits include the following items: cylinder kits (pistons, liners, rings, retainers), main bearings, connecting rod bearings, a head or upper gasket set, rocker cover gasket, and an oil pan gasket. Commonly needed items also include, thermostats, head bolts, camshaft bearings, water pumps, oil pumps, and fuel injectors.

Knowledge is the best way to prevent these two things from happening to you. Inform yourself and always do your research. The purpose of this article is to insure that people give themselves the option to find the correct parts for their rebuild at affordable prices. Knowledge is power and with the right information you can keep your diesel running optimally, for less.

Super Bowl Charters

When you think of airline travel you have two choices. You can either fly commercial or you can charter a plane to get you where you want to be. Both get you to your destination, but have wildly different takes on airline travel. If you are going on a business trip, chartering a jet can allow you to conduct meetings and work en route. But what about for a family vacation or a weekend away? Yes, you can charter to that, and what if you charter to football’s biggest game, the Super Bowl? If you don’t live near the stadium where the game is to be played, why not?

The Super Bowl is an annual event, played on the first Sunday in February and features the winners of the AFC against the winners of the NFC. Back in the day, the AFC and the NFL were rival leagues but they merged in 1970 to form what we know today as the NFL. While the merger was taking shape, they agreed that the winners of both leagues would play a championship game and the Super Bowl was born. The first edition of the ‘big game’ was played in 1967. To be fancy and to stand out, each game after was known by the Roman Numeral for its number, all except Super Bowl 50 which used the numeric in their logo. Another interesting fact about football’s biggest game is that in odd numbered games the winners of the NFC are granted the home team, while in even numbered games that nod goes to the winners of the AFC.

It is also a neat fact that no team has ever played a Super Bowl in their home stadium. In fact, there are four teams that have never played in that game at all. Detroit, Cleveland, Jacksonville and the Houston Texans have never got to that all exciting final game of the season. Teams that have seen success though include Pittsburgh with 6 wins and both Dallas and San Francisco who have 4 wins each.

So, if you don’t live in the designated Super Bowl city, charter your way there. You’ll be happy you did, as you can design a schedule, you will have plenty of leg, shoulder, head and elbow room and you can configure the cabin any way your heart desires. Throw in the lack of long security lines and we have a winner!

The World Is Here By Ismael Reed

Ishmael Reed’s essay “The World is Here” is preceded by a well-chosen excerpt from a 1983 New York Times article which evokes an image that epitomizes the two tiered concept of Ishmael’s proceeding essay. Reed offers several examples of cultural blending from inside the walls of a McDonald’s to inside the walls of a respected university, and from Detroit to Houston. Reed aims to enlighten the U.S. Population in general as he peels away at the layers of half truths, at best, that certain entities in the U.S. Continue to foster as he speculates the question “what is Western Civilization?” and follows up his answer with several historical facts.

Reed states that the mirror of our current day world reflects an eclectic cornucopia of cultures that can no longer be ignored simply because it doesn’t mesh with the fabricated concept of “Western Civilization”. He believes that as evident as the existence of a multicultural society is there are those in power who refuse to accept the current reality and who remain attached to the idea that the U.S. is solely descendant of this so called European “Western Civilization”, whose existence Reed questions in the first place based on nearly a dozen examples of how the U.S. has tried to build its history on an already unstable foundation. Reed believes the concept was created by the still-in-power descendants of Puritan patriarchs, as a smokescreen to obscure historical facts and create a false hierarchy in order to justify acts of repression, hate, persecution and murder toward other cultures right here on U.S. Soil in the last century, of which Reed cites undeniable examples.

Reed ends his essay with a message to the ethnocentric entities addressed in the article, the same Puritan posse who believed that their imperialistic expansion was “manifest destiny”, that it’s too late for their failing agenda because the world is already here, integrated and interconnected.

Top 20 Four Tops Hits

In the early 1950’s, four Detroit high school students played at a local birthday party. After that, these four students stayed together as one of R&B’s biggest groups for over four decades.

Levi Stubbs (brother of The Falcon’s Joe Stubbs and cousin of Jackie Wilson), Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton called themselves The Four Aims.

The Four Aims signed with Chess Records in 1956 and changed their name to The Four Tops, so they wouldn’t be confused with the pop family group, The Ames Brothers.

Recording with four different record labels and no hits, The Four Tops came to the attention of Motown Records executive, Berry Gordy Jr. In 1963, they signed with Motown and initially did backup work for other Motown artists. They can be heard on The Supremes’ “Run, Run, Run.”

In 1964, songwriting team, Holland-Dozier-Holland came up with a tune perfectly fitted for the quartet. “Baby I Need Your Loving” became their first of many Billboard top 20 hits.

On the charts, The Four Tops had twenty-five Top 40 hits, two went to number one. Here’s a look at The Four Tops twenty biggest hits, according to Billboard’s Top 40 charts:

1. I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) – 1965 – Their biggest single went to number one for two weeks and has been covered by The Supremes, Donnie Elbert (who took it to #22) and Dolly Parton. It was also used in Kellogg’s Honey Smacks and Duncan Hines brownie mix commercials.

2. Reach Out, I’ll Be There – 1966 – Their only other number one song was also the #3 song for the year of 1966.

3. Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got) – 1973 – In 1972, The Four Tops left Motown, when the label moved to L.A., and signed with the ABC/Dunhill label. This song, originally recorded by Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds, would be the Four Tops biggest single after leaving Motown. It was included in their “Keeper of the Castle” album.

4. Bernadette – 1967 – From the album “Reach Out” this song was included in the soundtrack of “Zodiac.” On the CBS-TV sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory,” character Howard Wolowitz uses the song as his ringtone for his girlfriend.

5. It’s The Same Old Song – 1965 – The follow up to “I Can’t Help Myself” features the same chords. It has been covered by Jonathan King, KC and the Sunshine Band and the Tops appeared in a Velveeta commercial singing “It’s The Same Old Side.”

6. Standing In The Shadows Of Love – 1967 – Also from the “Reach Out” album. In 1990, Aerosmith used a riff in their single “The Other Side” that sounded similar to this song. Aerosmith’s lawyers, in an attempt to avoid a lawsuit, gave Holland-Dozier-Holland credit for the Aerosmith single.

7. Keeper of the Castle – 1972 – Their first single after leaving Motown went to #10 on the weekly charts. It’s from the album of the same name.

8. When She Was My Girl – 1981 – It had been eight years since the group had a top 40 hit and after signing with Casablanca Records they did just that. It would also be their last top 40 hit for seven more years.

9. Baby I Need Your Loving – 1964 – Their very first hit went to #11 on the weekly charts. Cover versions have been many, including those by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Gene Pitney and Johnny Rivers, who took his version to #3 on the weekly charts.

10. Still Water (Love) – 1970 – Written by Smokey Robinson and Frank Wilson, this silky tune is a departure from the hard rocking songs the Tops had been doing. From the “Still Waters Run Deep” album, this single featured Marv Tarplin, of the Miracles, on guitar.

11. River Deep – Mountain High – 1971 – Written by Phil Spector for Ike & Tina Turner in 1966, it was later covered by Eric Burdon and the Animals in 1968. The most successful cover version was by The Four Tops, when they teamed up with The Supremes, sans Diana Ross, and took it Top 20.

12. 7 Rooms Of Gloom – 1967 – Also covered by Blondie and Pat Benetar, the Four Tops did not like this song and never performed it in concert. The B-side, “I’ll Turn to Stone” was also released, but only made it to #76 on the charts.

13. Walk Away Renee – 1968 – Originally recorded by The Left Banke in 1966 going to #5, The Four Tops have the most successful cover version of this song. Renee was an infatuation of Left Banke keyboardist, Michael Brown, who wrote the song about bassist Tom Finn’s girlfriend.

14. Are You Man Enough? – 1973 – This song was featured on the album soundtrack and in the film, “Shaft In Africa” starring Richard Roundtree.

15. Shake Me, Wake Me (When It’s Over) – 1966 – Poor Levi Stubbs can’t believe his woman is leaving him for another man. But she does, in this top 20 hit that has also been covered by Barbra Streisand, The Supremes and Shaun Cassidy.

16. Something About You – 1965 – Their follow up to “It’s The Same Old Song” this song barely cracked the top 20. It is not to be confused with the Level 42 song of the same name.

17. You Keep Running Away – 1967 – From their “Greatest Hits” album, this song, like most of their singles, had backup vocals by The Adantes, who did backup work for many Motown artists.

18. If I Were A Carpenter – 1968 – Written by Tim Hardin and originally recorded by Bobby Darin in 1966, The Four Tops covered it in 1968 and went top 20 with it.

19. It’s All In The Game – 1970 – Another cover version of a great standard, originally recorded by Tommy Edwards in 1958, the Four Tops soulful sound stands out in this top 30 hit for them.

20. Ask The Lonely – 1965 – Their third single for Motown was written by longtime staffer, Mickey Stevenson and Ivy Joe Hunter.

The Four Tops last Top 40 hit was “Indestructible” in 1988.

The quartet also did some movie work singing a song in the 1982 film, “Grease 2.” Levi Stubbs provided the voice of the voracious vegetation, Audrey II, in the 1986 film musical, “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Running late from a recording session in December 1988, the group missed their flight home from their European tour. It turned out to be Pan Am flight 103, which crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland, when a terrorist bomb was detonated onboard.

In 1997, after 44 years without ever changing personnel, Lawrence Payton died of lung cancer. “Obie” Benson also died of lung cancer eight years later. Lead singer, Levi Stubbs, died in his home in Detroit in 2008. “Duke” Fakir is the only surviving original member, who still performs with three other members as The Four Tops.

The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

In 2009, they received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Their song, “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.

How Much Does Dry Ice Blasting Cost?

There are some things better left to the ‘professionals,’ am I right?

  • Brain Surgery
  • Bomb Squad
  • Law Enforcement
  • Fire Fighting
  • Assaulting the Bin Laden Compound…

You get the picture…

When you call in the ‘Pro’s’ things just tend to get ‘taken care of’ in a way that you and I just couldn’t ever seem to pull together.

Sure things get done; and they get done properly, safely and with the utmost care…

But What’s This Gonna Cost Me?

The costs of contract cleaning is sometimes hard to predict. But any true professional should be able to give you an honest and reliable estimate.

A Professional Estimate should include the following basic, minimum specifications:

  1. What does the proposal cover (i.e. what will be cleaned, specifically)?
  2. How is the work going to be completed (how many crew members, crews, how much equipment on site, who will be the responsible supervisor/contact person/contractor representative on site)?
  3. Unit pricing (how much am I paying per day, per section, per unit, per room, per square foot etc… )
  4. How much is the total job going to cost and what exactly am I getting for that dollar amount?
  5. What safety procedures are going to be followed and who is responsible for jobsite compliance?
  6. What is the time-line for completing the project?

Aside from price, items #2 and #6 on this list may possibly be the most important items for us to consider. Because, believe it or not -dry ice blasting is not that much different from other contracted services in that it is driven by hourly costs and considerations.

Of course, we are concerned with price and of course we are concerned with safety…

But if we’ve done our homework and chosen a competent, well-regarded and recommended professional contractor… those items are ‘in the bag’ and by the end of this article you’ll know exactly what to expect for those services.

What we really ought to be concerned with now is…

How is this job going to progress? What does it ‘look like’?

  • What’s the ‘Time-Line’ for completion?
  • Who we can rely on to pull the whole thing together?
  • Who is ultimately responsible for the schedule?
  • Who is ultimately responsible for the budget?

Which of course brings us back to the question:

How Much Does Dry Ice Blasting Cost?

Here is a ‘possible breakdown’ of professional blast cleaning costs in the Detroit, MI. Cleveland, OH. & Toledo, OH. market:

Dry Ice Blasting Team – $314.60 per hour

Includes all tools, equipment and consumable materials; a qualified staff trained in all dry ice blasting applications using all applicable OSHA safety precautions, personal protection equipment and procedures:

  • Supervisor $28.75/hr
  • Technician $25.75/hr
  • Labor (ea) $18.75/hr
  • Aero40-HP $30.00/hr
  • After-cooler $15.00/hr
  • 375 CFM/150PSI (min) Air Compressor $28.25/hr
  • Consumables $95.50/hr
  • Overhead @ 7% $36.30/hr
  • Profit @ 7% $36.30/hr

TOTAL Hourly Rate: $314.60/hr

*These cost estimates are based on prevailing wages, typical conditions and typical cleaning requirements. All projects are unique and require individual assessment and estimates.

Please contact us for a customized solution to your cleaning and dry ice blasting needs.

Which Brake Pad Is Best for You? Part 2

In my previous article titled “Which Brake Pad Is Best For You?”, we discussed the best compounds for the different types of vehicles on the road today. Some brake pad applications work better with some vehicles while others are superior in other cars. With all these choices available today, it can be a bit mind-boggling trying to decide which is best for you. Usually the type of vehicle you have and what it’s used for will determine the answer.

Companies spend millions on marketing professionals and modes to make their product more appealing than the next guys. It’s easy to get caught up in all the fancy gift wrapping and verbiage, used to up the value of the item in the box. What really matters though is what is really inside the box. What are important, are those that have been over-tested and proven under the most strenuous of conditions.

New automobiles must meet federal performance standards such as a minimum stopping distance in various situations using specified pedal effort. Most motorists believe that the brake pad set they are buying will be exactly like, if not better than, the original equipment brake pads on the vehicle. However this is not always the case. Fortunately, there are two different types of voluntary certifications a brake company may obtain for their product, if it passes the test. Make sure to look for a certified label on the brake pad set you are purchasing.

Dual Dynamometer Differential Effectiveness Analysis Certification (D3EA) – This certification was introduced in 1996 as an independent proprietary program put together by Greening Testing Laboratories, located in Detroit, MI. The D3EA Certified Label endorses that the pad has gone through their series of rigorous testing. Using dual dynamometers, this tests both front and rear friction materials together. Vehicle weight and speed is simulated through a complex computer program allowing measurement of the effectiveness and stability for various automobiles. Some companies with D3EA certified products are Duralast, Raybestos, Satisfied, NAPA, Monroe, Wagner, Centric and Akebono.

Brake Effectiveness Evaluation Procedure (BEEP) – This alternate type of certification was introduced by the Brake Manufacturers Council or BMC. Unlike the D3EA testing, BEEP evaluation is done using only a single dynamometer. Ultimately, the argument was that most consumers only replace either their front or rear brake pads, and not both sets at the same time, making a dual dyno test unnecessary. If the products pass their series of strict tests, they will be approved to market their seal of approval.

Not all product lines under each manufacturer are tested using one of these two systems. Thankfully, most companies see that it is important to your safety and that of others that they do have approved products. Most of the brand name brake pads these days have successfully taken and passed these certifications. Next time you’re having your auto mechanic install a set of brake pads I challenge you to ask him if they are D3EA or BEEP certified.

Mother Waddles Car Donation

Mother Waddles is a charity that has been around for over 50 years. They started out with a soup kitchen and their services have grown from feeding and clothing the needy to providing working vehicles for the less fortunate. Since the Mother Waddles Car Donation program started they have received hundreds of donations of used vehicles, some in running condition and others not, but everything is appreciated and welcomed.

Mother Waddles Car Donation in Detroit Michigan allows you to donate vehicles in working and non working condition and as a result you can receive a federal tax deduction and assist the less fortunate at the same time.

Car Donation Process:

The first step is to complete the online car donation form or call the organization directly. The next step is to bring the vehicle down or wait for the towing company affiliated with the charity to call and set up an appointment, this usually occurs within 48 hours of your donation request. The towing is at no cost to the vehicle owner. The last part of the donation process is after the vehicle is picked up the owner then receives an IRS tax deduction donation receipt, this allows the vehicle owner to file a 1098-C form with the IRS to get a deduction on their taxes.

It is best when donating a car to have the title to the vehicle or at least a lien release, to allow you to sign the vehicle over to the charity. Always take off the license plate and remove any belonging before allowing the towers to take the vehicle. A vehicle can be picked up even if the owners are not at home. In this case the title and keys should be hidden in the car and a note should be left for the towing company alerting them as to the where about of the title and keys.

Mother Waddles Car Donations is a great charity that accepts vehicles from anywhere in the United States and the benefits are great, the owner can get a tax deduction and they can help those less fortunate in the process.

Commerce Michigan Real Estate – Buy A Home On A Lease Option And Stop Wasting Money On Rent

Many Commerce Michigan real estate owners and want to be homeowners are facing real problems. The number of Commerce MI real estate foreclosures is increasing. Throughout Oakland County, foreclosures are increasing. According to county government officials, “Rising homeownership costs, advancing debt, declining incomes, job loss and a weakening state economy have doubled foreclosures in Oakland County over the past year.”

Many of the same factors that have caused an increase in foreclosures have affected the credit scores of some really good people, in particular, declining incomes, job loss and a weakening state economy. If you are hoping to buy Commerce Michigan real estate, but your credit has been bruised, you should know that there is hope.

Because of its location, near Detroit and less than thirty minutes from Pontiac, many residents were employed by GM. Some still are. Lay-offs, cut-backs and buy-outs affected not only auto-industry employees, but nearly everyone in the state. Many companies closed offices or went out of business completely, because there businesses relied on the money spent by auto-industry employees.

A temporary job loss may have caused your credit problems. Even a few late payments on the credit cards can dramatically lower the credit score. You may have worked hard to pay off your debts and even saved up for a downpayment, but still find that buying Commerce MI real estate is difficult, frustrating or downright impossible. There are options that you don’t know about.

No matter what caused your credit problems, they can be overcome. If you can afford to rent Commerce Michigan real estate, then you can probably afford to own Commerce MI real estate. If you are employed and can afford the monthly payments, then a lease option / rent to own plan can work for you. A downpayment or option consideration will be required, but a portion of your monthly rent will go towards the purchase of a home. In other words, you can build equity and obtain true home ownership.

With a standard lease, all of the money goes to the landlord; none of it goes towards your future. People sometimes rent for years and have nothing to show for it but a bunch of rent receipts. As experienced real estate investors in Michigan, we offer a very unique lease option program that will allow you to invest in your future, improve your credit score and own a home, much sooner than you ever thought possible. We know that bad things happen to good people and we want to help turn it all around.

Perhaps you are a Commerce MI real estate owner that is facing the problems caused by “rising homeownership costs, advancing debt, declining incomes, job loss and a weakening state economy.” You may be looking through the Commerce Michigan real estate listings and wondering how long your home will stay on the market if you are a seller. You may have bought your property when your income was high and your future looked bright. Your company may be offering you a transfer, but you are wondering how you will buy a home in a new area, before selling the home that you have.

You may be behind on your payments and facing foreclosure. There are several unique options for avoiding foreclosure. The lease option program that we offer is one. We may be able to find a potential buyer….someone who can make those mortgage payments and may eventually buy your Commerce Michigan real estate. We look for the win-win situation for both buyers and sellers of Commerce MI real estate and for buyers and sellers throughout the state of Michigan.

Commerce Michigan real estate is some of the most beautiful property in the country. At one time it was a weekend and summer resort for residents of Detroit. Transportation improvements made it possible to live there year round and still work in Detroit, Ann Arbor or Pontiac. The Huron River and several lakes provide a rural secluded feel, while the parks and golf courses provide recreation. It is likely that the value of Commerce MI real estate will increase again in time, as the state’s economy eventually rebounds.

Now could be an excellent time to begin investing in your future.

Briarwood Mall – Ann Arbor Michigan

The Briarwood Mall is located 3 miles south of downtown Ann Harbor, a small town which is renowned for its University of Michigan. It is very conveniently located, on the freeway that connects the town with Detroit and the airport. There are many attractions in the proximity of this mall, out of which Mathei Botanical Gardens, Henry Ford Museum and Washtenaw Park are the most popular.

The mall, built in 1973 and expanded in 2003, is now owned by Simon Property Group and GM Pension Trust. This super-regional mall is considered quite posh and upscale, very popular among young people.

Although this fully enclosed mall has only one floor, it covers an area of 982,500 square feet in which over 130 shops and services are harbored. Among the major shops you can find Ann Taylor, Coldwater Creek, Pottery Barn, Gap, Banana Republic and Chico’s, with Macy’s, JC Penney, Von Maur and Sears as anchor tenants. These are open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Those who do not want to shop can watch a movie in the 4-screen Dollar Movies Theatre or can dine in one of 15 restaurants and eateries in or outside the food court. The facilities which this mall boasts make it be very family-friendly. There is a baby changing station, a kids soft play area and stroller rental. Moreover, parking is free at this mall and there are plenty of parking lots.

There were no notable recent security incidents except for a hilarious situation in which a transvestite stole some credit cards, stole numerous jewelries and then tried to take some clothes, too. The thief was arrested when he was trying to leave the mall.

For more information on the Briarwood Mall, check out BriarwoodMall Information or all malls in general with reviews at MallSite.us.

San Antonio Spurs Basketball: Early 2006 Season Analysis

Even though we’re pretty sure it’ll be Detroit, we don’t know for certain who will win the Eastern Conference. We do know that there is but one team remotely capable (no matter what the standings say) to be number one in the West, and that is the San Antonio Spurs. At 17-3, who in the Western part of America can stop this freight train?

Few teams have ever reached the level of depth the Spurs have now. While the Pistons bench is suspect in length, San Antonio is deep enough to Glenn Robinson on the inactive roster. Michael Finley and Nick Van Exel have done an adequate job along with Barry, Horry, Nesterovic and Beno Udrih backing up the starting five. Other than Robinson, everyone on the bench is playing for cheap money. So not only can San Antonio get a great bench the can afford it.

The starting five is what you’d expect. Duncan, Ginobili and Parker all have to be all-stars, there is no exception. Tony Parker has readjusted his shooting approach to accomplice his penetrating. Ginobili and Duncan are the usual suspects, but how about Bruce Bowen #2 in the League in 3P%. If Tim Duncan came into the league with the same level of hype LeBron James did, Duncan would be getting comparisons to Malone and Abdul-Jabar for greatest big-man.

The Spurs continue their strong defensive tendencies with the 5th least points allowed in the league. There’s been a void at Center since David Robinson left, but the Spurs still are 4th in total rebounding. They are an old team and play at a half-court pace. Nonetheless, it’s odd noting that San Antonio is 29th in the NBA in free-throw attempts. The can get away since they have been making the outside jumpers and are 10th in the NBA in 3P%.

Overall, this is the best team in the Western Conference. The Phoenix Suns will have gained Stoudemire too late in the year to propel them into first place. Both Miami and San Antonio made numerous off-season transactions after having successful 2005 seasons. Miami got players who came for a quickie championship and the money. The Spurs signed players on inexpensive contracts who left their egos at the door. Finley and Van Exel have devoted themselves solely to the championship ring and are playing within the team, something we haven’t seen from the Heat.