Here is a collection of Dr. Hess' Clip-n-Saves (R), stuff I have answered for  people that others may find useful.

Troubleshooting Starters

Cranks but won't start

Oxygen Sensors

MSD v. Crane ignitions

Oil Leaks

Converting spring rates (lb/in to Kg/mm): A lesson in dimensional analysis

How to Make Sourdough Bread From Scratch

Super Rye Bread Recipe

How To Make Beer

4AGE Flywheels: What fits what

How To Remove Rounded-off Bolts

Pictorial Guide to Strut Replacement

How To Cut Down Your Bump Stops To Increase Suspension Travel

Why not use an electric water pump?

How To Fix Your MR2 MK1 Driver's Windows Switch For Free

How to remove a broken bolt extractor or tap

T50 Trannies Where do they come from?

What is Bump Steer?

Dr.Hess on Mental Health



Troubleshooting Starters:
OK, First off: Start with a good charge on the battery. Hook to the
battery charger, get it charged if there is any question (crude but
sometimes usable test: Turn on headlights and try to start car:
Headlights go out? Low battery or bad battery terminal connections).
If you can get it started after charging or starting with a known good
battery: Is the electrical system charging? DVM (digital volt meter)
to battery with car off: What's the voltage? DVM to battery with car
running: What's the voltage? Is it more, less or the same? If not
more, charging system not working -> fix ->restart.

Next, is the starter solenoid getting juice? When you turn the key,
does it go "CLICK" only or whirr but not turn the motor over? If it
whirrs, likely that the bendix or the solenoid is bad, or possibly the
ring gear on the starter. Remove/replace starter, inspect ring gear.
If the solenoid goes click-click-click a lot, making a terrible sound,
and causing the headlights to go way dim or even out, likely no charge
on the battery.  If you don't get a click at all, and you know the battery is not totally dead (headlights come on, stay on when you turn the key), then you probably have a problem from the ignition switch to the solenoid.

Is the solenoid bolted on to the starter or is it separate, ala Ford?
If it is separate, put the voltmeter on the lead going to the starter,
turn key, +12v? No: Bad solenoid/connection. If the solenoid is
bolted to the starter, like just about everything except Fords and
something else that I forgot, try this: Get the old Harley wrench out
(big hammer) and rap the starter motor a few times. Sometimes it
helps to rap it when your buddy is turning the key, sometimes it will
work if you rap it, then turn the key. Then try to start it. If it
starts, it is very likely that the problem is the brushes in the motor
->rebuild/replace. If rapping it still does not help, put your DVM
lead on the big heavy short cable running from the solinoid to the
motor itself (use alligator clips). Turn key. +12v? No: bad
solinoid or poor connections at: battery terminals, negative to
chasis/motor ground, positive to solenoid, solenoid to starter:
Wiggle/tighten/clean all connections. Yes, bad starter motor:

Off the car check for the starter/solenoid:  You should basically have a big wire that runs from the battery to the solenoid that you took off when you took the starter out.  Remember where that wire went.  There is generally a big wire from the solenoid to the starter motor, and a connector on solenoid for a smallish wire that you took off when you removed the starter. Sometimes this is a push on blade type connector and sometimes this is a bolt/nut arrangement.  You hook your battery negative to the body of the starter. Battery positive to the connector where the big-ish wire from the battery goes on the solenoid. Jumper/short with a screwdriver the small-ish wire connector/terminal to the +12v and it should engage the solenoid and run the starter.

A quick side-of-the-road work-around for a bad solenoid: Put one lead
of your jumper cable on the heavy lead between the solenoid and the
starter motor. Either trigger the starter by shorting the trigger
side of the solenoid with ye screwdriver or have your buddy turn the
key (be in neutral or you get a trip to the ER). After you hear the
click, put the other end of the jumper cable to the +12v side of the
battery. Motor starts and you take the jumper cable off and drive home
to fix it. 

I had a problem once with a Lotus starter, a Lucas POS with a Bosch
solenoid. It would intermittently click and not turn over (no +12v
between the solenoid and the starter: Check the logic above->bad
solenoid). Put a new solenoid in and headed for the PRC (Peoples
Republic of California). Got stopped for speeding in west Texas and
was let go with a warning, and when I went to start it on the side of
the road, click... Well, I pushed the car back a few feet with my
left foot while sitting in the seat (gotta love fiberglass cars) and
hit the starter while letting the clutch out some while still rolling
which effectively moved the starter motor a bit while the juice was
on. Started up. Drove in to Van Horn and got a motel room across the
street from an auto parts store. At the auto parts store, I bought:
Ford starter solenoid, battery cables, "primary" wire, black tape and
a momentary closed push button switch. Basically, I wired around the
electrical contact part of the internal Bosch solenoid with the Ford
external solenoid, with the push button hanging loose inside next to
the seat. I would turn the key, get a "click", push the button which
would put +12v to the starter motor itself and get things moving, let
go of the button and finish starting the car. When I got back home to
Texas, I got after the cause, and I finally fixed it by cutting about
a turn off of the solenoid return spring. The spring was just a
little too much, and it would let the solenoid push the bendix into
the ring gear, but would not let the electrical contacts inside the
solenoid engage, so click...

Cranks but won't start

So you turn the key and the motor turns over but won't fire up.  OK, to make a (gas) motor run, you basically only need three things: Fuel in the cylinder, spark at the plug and the timing somewhere in the ballpark. So, it is a question of which of these things you don't have. 

Fuel in the cylinder:   Toyota EFI:  Can you hear the fuel pump running when you stick your screwdriver handle in the AFM to open the flapper? If not, probably no fuel.  If you have to, take the fuel line off the rail or carb, put it in a container and try to crank the motor.  Gas should come out the line. You can test to see if the fuel pump is getting fuel on a EFI motor by measuring the voltage at the fuel pump test point on the diagnostic plug. On a car with carbies, crank it a bit, then take the air cleaner off and activate the linkage.  You should see gas squirt down into the manifold if you have an accelerator pump.  If no accelerator pump, you should at least smell gas.   Try some starting fluid.  WD-40 makes a great starting fluid, and lubricates the top end at the same time.  Squirt some down the intake while your buddy cranks the motor.  If it fires up briefly while you are squirting then dies, you have a fuel problem.

Spark at the plug: Take a plug wire off, put your plastic handle #2 Phillips head screwdriver blade end (I use a Craftsman which happens to be almost the perfect size) into the spark plug wire end where the plug goes. Holding the handle and not touching the metal, bring the metal of the screwdriver close to ground and have your buddy crank the motor. Get a good spark jumping to ground? If not, igniton problems.  Try the same thing with the wire from the coil to the dizzy.  If you are getting no spark at all, one remote possibility is a broken timing belt.  Two quick tests:  Easy: Take the oil filler cap off cam cover (the TRD one, right?) and look at one of the lobes while your buddy cranks the motor.  Does the lobe go round and round?  No?  Busted belt.  Harder test:  Take the dizzy cap off and make sure the rotor turns when your buddy cranks the motor.  No?  Busted belt.  Hardest test yet:  Remove old belt.  Hold in hand and look at it closely.  Is it broken?  Yes: Busted belt.

Timing: Assuming you do have spark, hook your timing light up to #1 plug wire and while the motor is cranking, look to see where the timing is. Should be somewhere around 10 deg BTDC. If it is 30 or 50 or you can't even see it, you have timing problems. Might have the dizzy on the wrong tooth.

Oxygen Sensors:

4 wire sensors are heated, as are 3 wire sensors. The shielded wire, probably a white one, but possibly black or gray, is the signal. You can pick this up at the diagnostic plug and not have to cut any wires if you are installing one of those meter thingies.

The black (or two wires the same color, could be white) wires are for the heater. One is the heater + and one is the heater ground, and it does not matter which goes to which on a 4 wire. On a 3 wire sensor, you have a heater + and I think the ground is either through the exhaust system, or through the signal ground, I am not sure (don't have a 3 wire system).  You should note that the wire colors will probably change color after the plug.

The last wire (blue, or the unshielded not-black wire) one is OXL1 on the ECU, which supplies the voltage to the sensor:

From: E - THEORY/OPERATION Article Text 1991 Toyota MR2 For Electronics & Computers El Camino Real Santa Clara CA 95051Copyright © 1997 Mitchell International

This oxygen sensor is installed in the exhaust system and
monitors oxygen content of exhaust gases. Signal is sent to the ECU
and is used for determining fuel injection duration.
The oxygen sensor is supplied a potential one volt by the ECU
on terminal Ox+. The signal returns to the ECU at terminal Ox. Through
a comparator resistor, the ECU compares voltage drop at terminal Ox
and a predetermined reference voltage. If the Ox voltage is greater
than the reference voltage, the ECU judges the air/fuel ratio rich. If
the Ox voltage is lower than the reference voltage, the ECU judges the
air/fuel ratio lean.

On my Bosch 4 wire sensor, the heater wires (on the sensor itself, not on the wiring harness side) are white.  The OXL1 is blue, and the signal is shielded black.


MSD v. Crane ignition systems

<Mark asks about the Crane v. the MSD ignition systems>

Well, Mark, you are starting to delve deep into the world of marketing. With my degree in business, I found that marketing comes down to lying. Well, lets not call it lying, lets call it "bullshitting". It sounds more friendly than lying. See, that was an example of marketing: I was marketing marketing. Hey, if you want a real example of marketing at its finest, log onto the Jacob's site and give them your phone number. Then you will see some total BS'ing -- er -- Marketing. 

So, with that explained, lets look at your numbers:

> What stood out most was the Primary energy output of
>these 2, with the Crane being over 10x times higher. What does
>this means? 

It means they were marketing to you. Look:

>Crane HI-6 PN 6000-6420                                 MSD 6A PN 6200 
>Current Requirements: 5 Amps-5,000 RPM     7.0 amps maximum at 10,000 RPM
>10 Amps-10,000 RPM

>Multiple spark duration 20 degrees crankshaft rotation         20įCrankshaft Rotation
> below 3,000 RPM. Maximum 12
> sparks per sequence with 1 
> millisecond interval between
> sparks.

>Primary voltage output 450 Volts                     Primary: 460-480 Volts
>                                                                     Secondary: 45,000 Volts>(Blaster Coil)
>Primary energy output 1200 millijoules/sequence     105-115 mJ Per Spark

OK lets figger out what this marketing means: They both claim 20 degree spark duration. Fine. The Crane says it has a maximum of 12 sparks per "sequence", then claims to have 1200 milijoules per sequence. That comes out to 100 milijoules per spark, or actually less than the MSD claim of 105-115. Note that the Crane output is _not_ 10 times higher. It is actually _lower_. The MSD also claims to have a little more voltage output at 460-480 versus 450 for the Crane. So far the MSD is looking better. It is interesting to note that the Crane is claiming to draw 10 amps at 10K rpm versus the MSD's 7 amps. So, if the MSD has more energy output, why is the Crane drawing more current? Less efficiency in their circuit design? Who knows. The 10 amp number is probably just a "worst case" guess. At 10K rpm, these ignitions are only firing once anyway, not multiple times.

>On the Coils, the MSD HVC seemed a bit better, but
>I'm only guessing. The turns ratio was 2x better, and resistance
>numbers were 1/2 as much. 
Guessing is right. Turns ratio and resistance numbers are just about meaningless in this case. Voltage out and performance is what matters. If you hooked up both coils and stuck it on a dyno, you would probably not have any significant difference. The lower resistance of the MSD does look better on paper. Do be careful, as there are certain coils that MSD does not recommend be used with their ignitions, including their own (they give you a chart).

>If one has the better Coil, the other
>the better amp, what about mixing the 2? 
Sure, I have an Accel coil because it was cheaper and available at my local store while I was troubleshooting my ignition system. 

>Also, MSD didnt mention
>a Trigger Adapter, but Crane showed this in their hookup diagram,
>which hooked up to the existing coil. Would I not need one for
>the MSD as well? 
This part of the discussion is primarily aimed at motors with electronic fuel injection and computer controls. If you are running carbies and/or points, you likely won't need a trigger adapter.

Crane's idea of a trigger adapter is to run a spark plug wire from your stock ignition coil output to this box, so your stock ignition fires into a "fake" spark plug (the box), which then generates a trigger for the totally separate Crane system. Advantage: Fairly idiot resistant to hook up. Your stock system is disconnected from the new one. Disadvantage: You now have _two_ igniton systems, two coils, more weight, more things to go wrong and more stuff to buy. 

MSD's idea of a trigger adapter is to use a fake ignition coil specifically for Toyota's, part number 8910HEI. Note that they are familiar with Toyota's and even make this part just for them. Better already. It costs about $25 or so, versus the $72 of the Crane. The 8910HEI (gotta specify the "HEI" or you _will_ get the wrong one) goes after your stock ignitor where the coil was (electrically). The output lines from the 8910HEI then go to trigger the MSD 6A.

A guy on the Toyota Mods list (Mikhal) had a Crane unit he was trying to get working on his carbied 4AGE. He fought it for 6 months with all kinds of problems, some his fault some just bizzare and unexplainable. He finally bought a MSD 6A and had it running great in an afternoon. He would probably sell you the Crane with very little prompting. There is a guy with a race motor shop north of Houston that goes by "The Old One" (T.O.O.) He builds $100K race motors and recommends MSD ignitons. Take your pick.

Oil Leaks
I have certainly traced down my fair share of oil leaks, between the English cars and the Harley's I have owned. The problem with finding oil leaks is that you can not just look at where the oil is and say "Ah-ha! There is the leak." On a moving vehicle, the oil will leak from somewhere, then depending on the air flow over that point, go up, down, sideways, stay there, who knows. Then it will leak down from everywhere after you stop. A leak at the back of the motor can be from the front, top, bottom, anywhere. So here is Dr. Hess' sure-fire way to trace down oil leaks.

1. Clean 
2. Look for leak.

Sounds simple, right? Well it is, you just have to clean very well and look real close. Put the vehicle up in the air on ramps so you can (safely) crawl under it. To clean, start out with a can or two (depending on the size of your mess) of engine degreaser, such as Gunk, etc. Warm engines clean easier than cold, etc., but it works on cold motors as well. Maybe because I usually do this in Texas in the summer when "cold" is 105 degrees F. Anyway, spray it all over the motor and engine bay. Everywhere there is grease/oil/gunk. Take a brush of some sort to thick areas. Let it soak a while. Next, what I do is put some soap (dish washing soap, laundry detergent, throw in some hand cleaner, whatever I happen to have handy) in a bucket of hot water (about a gallon or so) and spray this on with my air compressor and the little liquids sprayer attachment. If you don't have an air compressor, you can try one of those car wash wands that you add soap to and hook on your garden hose. I blast off every piece of grime/oil I can find. Next, I get one of those car wash wands that you add soap to and hook on your garden hose and hit it again. Then switch over to plain water and a high pressure stream nozzle. Blast off everything. Now inspect. Look from the top. Crawl under with a drop light. Is there any grease left anywhere on your engine? If so, repeat until there is none. It should be squeaky clean.  Let it dry. 

Now lets find the leak. Start up the motor. Crawl under with your shop light (60-100 watt bulb), Look closely at everything and wait. The leak will likely just show to be a small moist spot (#include fat-girl_joke.h) at a gasket area. You may have to let it idle for a while to find the leak, but be patient.  It could take a half hour or more to find a leak, even though you think the leak must be huge based on the size oil spot you leave and the crud everywhere.

Converting spring rates (lb/in to Kg/mm): A lesson in dimensional analysis

How do you convert spring rates from lb/in to Kg/mm?  A lesson in Dimentional Analysis.

Dimentional analysis is probably the most useful thing I learned in Physics. I mean, how often do I have to figure the work required to lift a 10Kg box up a flight of stairs? Not very often. But dimentional analysis comes in handy all the time.

Problem: Convert lb/in to Kg/mm
(The _dimentions_ are lb/in and Kg/mm. The key to dimentional analysis is to just massage the numbers around using basic Jr. High algebra until what you start out with is converted into what you want. You can go anywhere you want inbetween.)

Let x be the conversion factor.

1 lb         x Kg
------- = ---------
1 in        1 mm

From definitions:
1 lb = 0.45359 Kg
1 in = 25.400 mm

1lb * 0.0.45359 Kg/lb = 0.45359 Kg
(lb's cancel out)
and we get:

0.45359 Kg      x Kg
----------------- = ---------
1 in                    1 mm

Kg's cancel out on both sides:
0.45359              x
----------------- = ---------
1 in                    1 mm

Now, lets get rid of the inches

1 in * 25.400 mm/inch = 25.400 mm
(in's cancel out)

0.45359              x
----------------- = ---------
25.400 mm       1 mm

mm's cancel out:
0.45359               x
----------------- = ---------
25.40                   1

x= 0.45359/25.400
x=0.017858 (_5_ significant digits)

So, the conversion factor from lb/in to Kg/mm is 0.017858.

175 lb/in * 0.017858 = 3.13 Kg/mm (3 significant digits in 175)
200 lb/in * 0.017858 = 3.57 Kg/mm
To convert the other way, divide instead of multiplying:
3.13 Kg/mm / 0.017858 = 175 lb/in

Advanced question:  What are the dimensions of the conversion factor?
Answer:  Well, gotta be in*mm/lb*kg cuz:

lb         in*kg           kg
---   x    ---------   =  ------
in         lb*mm        mm

Proving it is left as an exercise for the student.
 How to Make Sourdough Bread From Scratch

OK, it is not automotive, but here is how you make sourdough bread.  This is how people made bread for thousands of years before you could go to the store and buy store-bought yeast.  You need some ingredients:


If you can manage to find that, then you need some equipment:

Mixing Bowl 
Fork or other mixing tool
Bread Pan
Jar with lid

Not too difficult so far, huh?  Lets get started.  Sourdough is sour because the culture is a mix of bacteria and yeast living in a symbiotic arrangement.  So, you need a culture to get started.  I suppose you could buy one, buy why, when it is free?  Mix one cup of flour with one cup of water until you have a batter.  Leave uncovered (if bugs are not a problem in your kitchen) and let it set for a while someplace warm like on top of the refrigerator, water heater, whatever.  After a couple of hours, you can cover it with a towel.  Let it sit for a day or two until it is bubbly (full of little bubbles).  This is your Starter (sourdough starter, not Toyota starter.)  Take 1/2 of your starter and put it in a jar with some more 1/2 flour and 1/2 water mix.  Place in the refrigerator.  This is what you will use for your next loaf of bread, replacing what you use with 1/2 and 1/2 flour/water.  

Now we make Sponge.  Take the other half of your starter (or 1/2 of your starter from the refrigerator if you are making it the second time) and add 1 cup water and 1 cup flour and mix well. Cover and let sit someplace warm for a while until it is bubbly (four hours to a day).  

Now for the dough.  Add in 3 cups of flour, two teaspoons of salt and enough water to make a dough (a cup or so).  Add too much water?  Just add a little more flour.  Mix it all up well until it is like bread dough.  I like to have it a bit more watery than other bread doughs.  I mix mine in the automatic bread maker set to dough, but mixing by hand will work fine.  Recommended but not necessary:  take the bread pan and spray it with the non-stick agent of your choice (I use Pam).  Then pour the dough into the pan.  Cover and let sit someplace warm for a while (fastest I have observed:  4 hours, slowest: 2 days, typical: 24 hours) until it rises up to about the top of the pan or a little more or you get tired of waiting.  Place in the oven preheated to 375 for about 35-45 minutes. 

That's it.  Pretty simple, huh?  And nothing to it but flour, water and some salt.  I would call that all natural.  For the next loaf, just use 1/2 the starter from the 'fridge and start with making sponge.  I have had my starter sitting in the fridge for three months without problems.  If it goes "bad" and gets all nasty looking, just take out some that still looks OK and add it to some 1/2 and 1/2 flour/water and let it make starter again.  I also like to pour off all the water on the top of the starter before I take out my culture for the sponge.  If you smell it, it smells a lot like alcohol, and I figure that the yeasty guys work better if you don't get them drunk first.

Super Rye Bread Recipe

OK, continuing on the bread theme, so you bought yourself a bread maker but the damn boxes of bread mix cost more than buying it already made.  Well, don't waste your money.  Here is one of my favorite bread machine recipies for "Super Rye Bread".  Buy the yeast for about $3.50 for two pounds at Sam's or another restaurant supply store.  Don't buy those rip-off packets at the grocery store.

3 cups white flour
1 cup stone ground rye flour
1-3/4 cups water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon dry onion
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon oil of your choice (olive, whatever)
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon glutten (optional, don't worry about it if you don't have it)

Dump all the stuff in the bread maker, push "go".  Make sure that the mixer blade will mix it all with the extra water.  If it won't, help it along some by mixing it a little first with a spoon before you press "go".  For my whole wheat recipe, delete the onion, caraway seed, garlic powder and substitute whole wheat flour for the rye.  Been a while since I calculated it, but without the glutten I think a loaf of whole wheat costs about a quarter.

A note on bread machines:  We had a Hitachi for several years.  It finally died (motor) and we replaced it with a Breadman brand, for no reason other than it was the only one for a hundred miles in any direction on the week after Christmas when the Hitachi died.  The Breadman takes about an hour longer to make bread and has an extra rise cycle in it.  It works OK, but I like the Hitachi better.  Just couldn't find one.  The Breadman is very sensitive to the amount of water you use.  An 1/8th cup difference in water makes a big difference in how the bread turns out.  In general, if it doesn't rise enough, you need more water, and if the top falls in, you need less water.  Different flours will need slightly different water amounts with the Breadman, dependingon their water content.  I also only use 3 cups of flour with the Breadman.


How To Make Beer (Proof God Loves Us)

A good source for supplies is Defalco's Liquor in Houston.
They ship. Don't buy one of those "kits" on eBay or from a magazine/catalog. Junk and way too expensive.

5 gallon water jug (plastic OK)
large pot (~2 gal up), not aluminum, preferably stainless
large spoon
thermometer (candy or digital IR pyrometer, whatever)
gas lock (a rubber stopper for the top of the 5 gal jug with a hole in it and a little water lock system to let gas out but not let anything back in. Few dollars at Defalco's, or you could rig up something with plastic tube through a bucket if you had to, just make sure it is air tight and designed so no air can get into the jug.)
bottle capper (about $15, Defalco's)
2 cases worth of glass bottles and caps. My fraternity brothers would sometimes use 2 liter soda bottles, but they won't keep the beer good as long. If you are saving bottles, make sure you get bottles that are compatible with your bottle capper. I have found Samual Adams, Coors, Cott Premium Glass Root Beer, and some others with the same wide top mouth part (you'll see if you look) to work well. Twist off are OK. I think the press type cappers will cap about anything, but the little $15 tool type need the neck in the right place to grab on to. Try capping a bottle to make sure it will work for you, because you don't want to find out it won't cap when you have everything ready to go.
bottle caps
charging bucket (5 gallon bucket with on/off spigot at the bottom)

1 oz Hops - Mt. Hood or whatever
4 lbs Alexander Pale malt
1 lb domestic 2 row barley, cracked.
2/3 cup honey or one "packet" of "priming sugar" for 5 galons
Brewer's yeast (not baker's yeast, not cheap brewer's yeast from a kit)

Make sure everything you use is very clean. I wash with bleach and rince thoroughly. Put some water in pot, not full, but a couple inches in. Boil. Put cracked barley in a panty hose leg, tie knot, place in water, temp around 180F for 30 min. Rinse barley with hot tap water (that is, hold the packet of barley over your wort [soon-to-be-beer in the pot] and pour hot tap water over it, letting it drain into the wort), squeeze out excess water into wort, throw away barley/hose. Bring to boil, add 4 lbs alexander pale malt while stirring. Make sure you have left enough room in your pot for the malt. You don't want to spill it. Add 1/2 oz of hops. Boil for 30 min. Add 1/4 oz hops, boil for 20 min, add 1/4 oz hops, turn off heat. I add an additional 1 lb of honey at this point for a little extra punch. Put big funnel in mouth of jug. Put some ice cubes in the funnel. Pour the wort over the ice into the jug. Fill jug to about where the end of the straight wall part is and it starts to slope inward to the mouth. You want to leave a little room for expansion to avoid a mess. The temp should be fairly close to room temp at this point from the ice cubes and the water you added. Add yeast (you can sprinkle it over the top or mix it with some water first and pour it in. I don't think it matters.) Cap with your gas lock. Let sit for 5 days. It should start bubbling pretty well by the next day or the day after that. If it doesn't, your yeast was bad. Get some more immediately and put it in. If everything was clean, you should still be OK, but if you used good yeast from Defalco's or another home brew store, you should be OK the first time. After 5 days, the bubbling should stop. If it is still bubbling, let it go another day or two. A small bubble every few minutes is OK, but it should be about done with the bubbles. Pour the beer out from the jug into your charging bucket. Some people use fancy siphons, I just pour real careful. You want to leave all the funk at the bottom and not pour that in. Put your priming honey or sugar in some water in a sauce pan and heat it up/disolve it. If you're going to use honey, make sure you use exactly 2/3 cup. More will burst the bottles, less will be a bit flat. Pour into the charging bucket and stir. Have your bottles clean. I put my bottles into the dishwasher with some bleach in the bottom in addition to the soap and run them through. I wash up about 52 bottles to have a couple extra. Fill a bottle from the charging bucket up to about an inch below the top. Cap. Repeat. A helper is real handy right here. After you have filled all the bottles, put them somewhere in the dark, preferably, and in a large container like a plastic storage bin or something so that if a bottle bursts you won't have a big mess. Let sit a MINIMUM of 3 weeks, and 6 weeks is better. Enjoy.

Also, I take the sludge in the bottom of the fermentation jug after pouring off the beer and I put it in a bottle and cap it, then stick it in the refridgerator for next time and use that instead of more store-bought yeast. Saves money. Just make sure you put it in the refridgerator or it will burst and you will have a mess. It will stay good for months, but not years.

Ingredient costs per 2 cases is about $16-18. I started priming with honey because it was cheaper than the priming sugar packets, but the price of honey has gone through the roof, and I think I'll switch back to the packets. I still like to add the extra pound, even if it would be cheaper to just add a pound of malt.


4AGE Flywheels: What fits what

OK, I churned the EPC (electronic parts catalog) and came up with the definitive what-fits-what chart for 4AGE flywheels for models imported to the US. This is based on vehicles that have the exact same part number for their flywheel. "13405" is the Toyota abreviation for "flywheel" so the actual part numbers are 13405-#####. All motors are 4AGE except the MR2 SC which is a 4AGZE. The main difference is in the clutch size, and that is dependent on the size of the bell housing. So if you, say, put a 20 valve 4AGE into your '87 AW11 with the original AW11 trans for instance, you need to use the flywheel and clutch for the '87 AW11 (16030) and I guarantee you it will bolt up without any problem. Near as I can tell, any 4AGE flywheel will bolt up to any 4AGE.  The clutch sizes are from Fidanza.

Part number       Model     Chassis     Prod. Dates    Clutch Size"
19145              'Rolla       AE82         8609-8808    7-7/8"
                                       AE86         8408-8707
                                       AE92         8708-8908
                        MR2       AW11         8412-8506

16030              MR2       AW11         8506-8912     8-3/8
                         'Rolla     AE92         8908-9106

16050              MR2SC  AW11         8708-8912     8-7/8


How to remove rounded off bolts.

Well, first off, squirt a bunch of WD-40 on the bolt. Next, take your 12 point socket set and put it in the back of your tool box so that you will have something to take 12 point bolts off with. Now buy yourself a quality set of 6 point sockets. There, you just solved 98% of all your rounded bolt problems. You might even be able to get that bolt out with a 6 point socket now. That is unless you rounded the bolt with a 6 point socket, which is a very rare event. 

If you did just round it totally with a 6 point socket, then try this:
WD-40, biggest vice-grips you can find squeezed on as tight as your two hands will go, hammer. Otherwise it is dremmel tool/grinder time.

One more thing, on stuck bolts in general, not necessarily rounded ones, if WD-40 did not work then my personal ultimate penatrating oil (and I have tried just about all of them) is Marvel's Miracle Mystery Oil, but it can take days to weeks to work depending on how stuck it is. I once un-stuck a window on a ship I was on. The window hinge half was brass and the bulkhead hinge half was steel. Guess what happened in a salt water environment? Welded itself together. (Once upon a time I could give you the chemical reaction and voltage difference, but that was many courses ago, and I think you reach a point where you learn one more thing like the connections of the Globus Pallidus and something pops out, like setting up voltage differences with different metals.) Anyway, I would put a little MMM oil on it every day weather permitting, tap it a bit with a hammer, wiggle it, and in about a month the window was working smooth as silk.

>Someone's been in
>here before, and the inside of the hex bolt is rounded! 

Those present a special problem in rounded off bolts. OK, couple ways
you can go:

1. Get the next bigger size hex key socket. For instance, if your bolt is a
10mm hex, find the next bigger SAE size, one that almost fits the rounded
off internal head. Little time on the grinder to slightly taper the ends and
hammer it into the head. Put wrench on and try to back it off.

2. Get a good quality drill bit ideally about the size of the minor diameter
of the bolt in question, start drilling straight down the middle of the
rounded head and as soon as you get almost to the shoulder of the bolt, it
will all let loose
3. Take dremel tool with a carbide bit or a stone and grind the head off.


Pictorial Guide to Strut Replacement

Here is my pictorial guide to strut replacement.   Click here for the first page. Here is the second page.

How To Cut Down Your Bump Stops To Increase Suspension Travel

Remove strut (see my web site for Dr. Hess' Illustrated Guide to Strut Replacement, under Clip-n-Saves (R)), take apart the old strut and set the bar aside. Use the bar as a jig in a few minutes. The ST lowering springs came with destructions to cut out the middle part of the stop, I suppose so that the top part will retain the bevel. This returns travel to the now shorter suspension.  Put the rubber boot in a vice, gripping the top part of the stop. Using a hack saw with a new blade, cut through the middle of the stop. Set the top part aside. Now take the lower half with the boot and grab it by what is left of the stop. Cut the boot off at the "neck". Put the boot over the strut bar part you took off earlier and push it down a few inches. Take some silicone gasket sealant (I like Ultra Black by Permatex, and it matches to boot too) and apply a healthy bead around the top of the boot. Push the top part of the stop down on the bar and squish it into the silicone, getting a good seal. Apply more silicone if needed. Get everything as straight as you can and set the assembly aside upside down for a couple hours to overnight. When dry, push the boot/stop assembly off the bar and install it on your strut, then reassemble. There are pictures of my completed shortened boot in my Illustrated Guide. The best shot is on Page Two, about the 12th picture down. If you don't have a spare strut bar thingie, you can use your current strut as a jig instead. Just let it dry before you put it back together so it won't separate or get crooked.


Why not use an electric water pump?

>> What do you think about electric water pumps? They'd
>> solve the problem of an inefficient cooling system
>> when we are planning on running higher boost from a SC
>> that runs off the same belt (like a 4AGZE), and takes
>> away any parasitic drag that the water pump pulley
>> puts on the system...
>Ya but it puts a parasitic drag through your alternator\electrical system.
>In the long run, if your alternator is even rated hi enough, you lose more
>power through the electrical system rather than mechanical belt. Also you
>need a big alternator to make the power (i.e. heavy)... the power has to
>flow to the water pump (resistance loss)... then you need a big electric
>motor to spin the water pump (more weight). So all in all... it doesn't have
>many advantages except that you can mount the water pump wherever in the
>engine bay and it doesn't have to mount inline with the crank pulley. Other
>than that... its pretty useless.... Its basically why you don't see any
>electric superchargers (except that dinky sub 1 psi intake fan) or other
>accessories. Since the car is a 12 volt system... and kind of serious power
>is gonna take some major amps... and that means major thick wires... which
>means major loss. Convert to 120 volts or higher (more pain then its worth)
>and you would see much less loss through resistance.
>Modern cars for the most part just have a really really complicated pulley
>system to drive everything off of. The only thing more efficient is using
>the energy lost through the exhaust (think turbo). But that's just to much
>of a pain then its worth for a lousy water pump.

It is not just the resistance of the wiring, but the efficiency of the whole system. Loss in the actually wiring (as heat) going to the pump would probably be quite small compared to the whole system. Consider this: Just picking some rough numbers for the sake of argument, lets say: 

2/3rds efficiency for an alternator 
2/3rds efficiency for an electric motor (not all that far off), 
2/3rds efficiency for a mechanical water pump

By efficiency, I am talking the thermodynamic efficiency of power out divided by power in. So, if an alternator is putting out 6.66HP of electricity (4.966 KW), it takes 10 HP (7.457 KW) of mechanical energy to spin it at 2/3rds efficiency. If the motor is putting out 6.66 HP mechanical energy, it is taking 10 HP of electricity to drive it. The water pump is doing 6.66 HP of mechanical work and using 10HP of mechanical energy to drive it. 

Of course, one of the basic rules of thermodynamics is that you cannot get more power out than you put in. So, if you get 10 KW of electricity out of an alternator (or motor, or water pump, or whatever), you need to put in at least 10 KW of energy (100% efficiency... superconductors approach this). If you got 10 KW out and only used 9 KW to drive it, you would have over 100% efficiency, be in violation of the laws of thermodynamics and Gov'ment agents and Big Oil hit men would come burn your church down and swear you all commited suicide.

OK. Now, lets look at the numbers to use an electric water pump:

(gas) motor turns alternator, alternator drives electric motor, electric motor spins mechanical water pump

2/3 * 2/3 * 2/3 = .296 total efficiency of the system.

Now lets look at a plain mechanical water pump driven off the harmonic balancer:

(gas) motor turns mechanical water pump

2/3 = .667 total efficiency of the system.

So, the mechanical water pump is over twice as efficient as an electric water pump, which means that for a given amount of work (moving water through the system) you lose less energy by driving the water pump off the motor instead of using an electric one. Note that I am not taking into account the loss for the gas motor, as it is the same for both (what, 40-50% efficient? Ballpark.)

Advantage of an electric water pump? Well, you could turn it off momentarily to gain some HP. Don't think you would want to do that for long, though. I guess drag racers don't use water pumps for a whole 1/4 mile. I would not want to do that with my aluminum head Toyota. You would also need a much bigger alternator which will probably have more drag on the motor in low load states than the smaller alternator, so you will lose some power there as well.

You can under drive the mechanical water pump (bigger pulley on the water pump or smaller crank pulley) and gain some HP, assuming your motor usually spins fast enough to keep the water pump spinning enough to keep things cool. Hey, I routinely bounce my 20 valve off the rev limiter at around 8100 RPM. That's how I can tell it is time to shift. How's that for a 4A bottom end?

The original poster was concerned with the "inefficient cooling system," but probably meant to say "low capacity cooling system" instead. I suppose that if one wanted to get technical (isn't that what our list is for?) one could describe an inefficient cooling system as requiring a large amount of power for a given amount of cooling. I don't think we have that problem. He just may need an increased cooling capacity. You could increase the capacity of the cooling system by using a bigger/thicker radiator, second radiator, taking the AC condenser off, etc. I think the 300+ HP 4AGE MR2's around have bigger radiators in the front.

(Please note: This message was not smiley captioned for the humor-impaired. With additional funding, I am hoping that smiley captioning will be available in the near future.)


How To Fix Your MR2 MK1 Driver's Windows Switch For Free

(Maybe I Have Enough Tools Now...)

Tools Needed:
various screwdrivers
needle nose pliers (smaller the better)
small punch
drill bit index
engine Lathe
Hack Saw
Dremel tool with cut-off wheel
Dental Pick

Parts Needed:
Piece of aluminum stock approx 5mm x 25 mm
Glue (JB Weld, Super Glue)

A quite common MK1 problem is The Dreaded Driver's Window Switch. I had been nursing mine along for a year now, but it finally gave out entirely. It had been working if you pushed far enough and jiggled some, but no more. Well, a new one is, what? $180?. No junk yard or parts car has a working one because they all break, so I thought I would take a look at the old one.

Take the combination switch out of the door by putting a flat blade screwdriver under the switch cover at the back (end closes to the driver) and gently prying up. Disconnect the plug, remove the cover (2 phillips screws). I am going to call the part you put your finger on the driver's window switch toggle ("The Toggle"). The Toggle pivots on a pin that runs transversely and can be removed by carefully pushing the pivot pin over to one side, working a screwdriver between the toggle and the ear that holds the pivot pin and gently prying to slightly spring the ear, working the toggle up. Once clear of the ear, push the pivot pin in on the other side, and the toggle will be free. 

The toggle has three little "buttons" inside it that are spring loaded. They each ride in their own cylinder cast as part of the toggle and push down on the middle of three little W shaped contacts inside the switch housing that are the actual switch. When the cylinder is pivoted by your finger, the button is pivoted into the W and contact is made as the W pivots down. The W's are in loose, so watch out for them. The center cylinder is the one that breaks, stopping your window function. Close examination of the part reveals the design defect: The cylinders that the button ride in are actually round inside and square on the outside. The lateral aspects of the cylinder have cut-outs cast into them, so the entire force of pushing your window button actually is held in place by two small areas of plastic about 2mm x 1mm x less than 1mm. Guess where it breaks? 

I experimented with super-glue to try to hold the broken cylinder back together without success. If solid plastic was not strong enough on this tiny area, super-glue will probably not be either. Eventually, I decided to replace or actually supplement the plastic cylinder with an aluminum cylinder. Any material would work, but aluminum is pretty easy to work with and I found a convenient piece, so that is what I went with. I cut a chunk off of an aluminum spike (no idea where it came from) and turned it down to round to an outside diameter that would fit inside the remains of the broken and slightly bulging middle cylinder (about 0.20"). I then bored a hole through it with a drill just big enough so the little button would fit inside (but not loose). I believe it was .152". This gave me basically an aluminum straw about 10mm long or so. Using the cutoff wheel in the Dremel tool, I cut a notch in one end so that it would ride saddle-like over the pivot pin in the toggle, cut the length to be about the same as the other two cylinders and glued this to the remains of the middle toggle with some JB Weld. After letting the glue dry, I put the springs and buttons back in their cylinders and reassembled the switch. At this point I found that the W contact was not working in the up direction, so I took it all apart again and bent the up leg of the W a little so it would hit, then reassembled it again. Works.  Here is a picture of the repaired part.

Total Cost: Free. (not counting electricity, time or the aluminum spike I found in my scrap box).

Alternately, if the middle cylinder had been in better condition I would consider repairing it as follows:  Obtain some stranded electircal wire.  Take the wire apart and use a single strand of the wire.  Wrap this wire around the outside of the square middle cylinder multiple times and seal with some glue.  This should reinforce the cylinder enough to hold it together.  Unfortunately, mine was too far gone to try this method.  This would also require some nerves of steel, and would not be unlike making fishing flies.



How to remove a broken bolt extractor or tap

>Ok, Im stuck here. Literally.

>I'm trying to remove a bolt which had broken off inside my turbo, where the
>downpipe bolts on. I did the usual liquid wrench, wait a couple days, more
>liquid wrench. Then I use a screw extractor and it snaps off inside the
>bolt. Ouch.

OK, from where you are now, you have a couple of options. 

Option one: Take it to a shop (or send it off) that has an ultrasonic
disintegrator. They put this thing on the hard steel and it disintegrates,
but the housing wont. Seen Harley camshafts with broken off taps in the end
fixed by this method.

Option two: try turning the bolt out with a hammer and punch, pounding at an
angle in the anti-clockwise direction. You should have tried this before you
stuck a bolt extractor (those _have_ to be mis-named) in it.

Option three: Using your dremel tool with a bag of small stone bits and a
lot of patience, grind out the extractor.

Option four: Put thing in vice, use a good quality pointy, hard punch and a
3 lb sledge (or bigger, mine is named "Thor"), pound on the broken extractor
(or tap) and little pieces of the hardened steel will fly off. -->OO<-- Eye
Protection A Must.

Option five: This is for before you foolishly try to use the extractor. 
If there is a stub protruding (wish wish) weld a nut to it.
Let it all cool, add penetrating oil de jour and try to back it out. The
heat helps to break it loose too.  

In the future, try to avoid bolt extractors such as Easy Out, etc. But if
you are going to try it anyway, then first drill the biggest hole in the
middle of the bolt you can, threads be damned, then put the biggest
extractor in you can fit and carefully turn it so as not to put any stress
on the extractor besides in the rotational direction. If it comes out and you have any
threads left, clean them up with a tap. If not, get an Time-Sert or a
Helicoil and repair it.

I actually prefer destroying the cheap Tiawanese bolt extractors because the
steel is a much lower grade than the expensive ones, and not hardened as
much. Tend to bend or twist first instead of snapping off. Either way your
bolt probably won't come out because hey, it is stuck or you would not be in
this fix, but if you are going to try it it is better to just ruin the cheap 
extractor than face what you have now.

T50 trannies, where do they come from?

OK, guys, from the Toyota Electronic Parts Catalog: The exact same T50 transmission went in the Toyota Corolla from manufacturer dates 8308 to 8708 for the DX and SR5 manual transmission models. This chassis "model" code is AE86. The GTS model is from 8408 to 8707 and has a different part number, the same chassis "model" code (AE86). GTS (4AGE) model will have a VIN with AE87 in it. 

Differences between the two T50's (GTS v. everything else) that I can see with a quick look are the speedo drive gear and the bell housing. All the other gears look to be the same. The input and output shafts are the same. People who look at lots of these will tell you that there is usually a stamp on the bell housing that matches the motor it originally went to, like 3A or 4A.

So, if you go to the breakers and say "I need a 5 speed tranny from a 84 to 88 rear wheel drive Corolla" they will hand you a T50 with the newer output shaft. If you insist on a 1986 Corolla GTS, they will hand you one with a different speedo drive gear. Bell housings from a car with any A series block will all bolt up to any other A series block (I am ignoring the Tercel FWD and 4WD issue). In other words, any T50 that was on an A series block will bolt up to any 4AGE, including a 20 valve.  Be sure to add a pilot (spigot) bearing to the crank shaft if it was originally in front of a slush box.

What is Bump Steer?

Bump steer is when your wheel turns in or out (change in the toe) with a change in vertical suspension movement (up or down). Depending on the geometry of your suspension, the wheel could turn either way with either up (bump) or down (droop). This is generally something you want to minimize in your design. I think that sometimes car manufacturers stick suspension together as a complete after-thought using whatever they have lying around that won't out-right kill the driver. Early (all but the last year) Fiero's are known for having serious bump steer issues in the rear. They redesigned the suspension then promptly cancelled production.

Bump steer is bad because: Lets say you are driving down the road at 70MPH. You hit a bump. Your wheel turns to the left, you go to the left. You really wanted to go straight. There was a tree on the left. This is bad.

Most bump steer can be tuned out by moving the rack up and down. That is, if your car has room to move the rack. If you have bump steer, it is probably because there was not room to put the rack in the right spot in the first place. You can shim the outer tie rod ends and achieve some change in bump. Circle track parts places carry a tapered piece that fits in the tie rod end hole on your upright that you can then shim to move the outer tie rod end pivot up/down. You can change the length of the rack, either lengthening or shortening it. This is a PITA job.

There are some basic guidelines to design a suspension without bump steer. If you have your inner tie rod pivot on a line drawn between your inner upper and lower pivot points and you have your outer tie rod end on a line between the outer upper and lower pivots, then you should have 0 bump steer. This is for a double A arm setup. I don't do strut designs. This is also the theoretical way to do it. In practice, the outer tie rod end may or may not be in the perfect place, so you move the rack around until the bump is minimized over the majority of your suspension travel, and especially in bump. I had a friend that helped me design my suspension with a 3D cad system optimized for suspension design move my rack around in the CAD app and find a "sweet" spot for it. I didn't have the luxury of designing a rack from scratch and having one made like GM should do when they make a car. I used the rack from my donor MR2 (RIP).

And, once you have things in steel, things can change. Change the amount of static camber you run or the toe in or caster and now nothing is in exactly the same place it was before. So, even if you had 0 bump in your design, you have some now. Shim, move, fiddle until the bump steer is gone or minimized. If you can't get it all out, then have it so that what bump steer there is tends to turn into a turn instead of out of a turn. In other words, the wheel turns in when it goes up.

Or don't worry about it. I have a video here somewhere of a Sweedish (I think) guy jumping up and down on a Westfield chassis. The front tires are moving in and out quite a bit. I mean, like more than a half inch. No one ever complains that Westies don't handle.

Putting some killer springs on, like 300 or 350 lbs/in on a Sevenesque, and now your suspension is not moving much at all. Suspension doesn't move and you have no bump steer. You also have no suspension.


Dr.Hess on Mental Health

OK, if you people want to know my professional opinion, here it is.  If you donít want to hear it because you know it all already or think I donít know what Iím talking about or you donít have enough concentration to continue, then skip this.

The statistics on the number of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder are shocking.  There are schools where half or more of the students are "ADD".  There was an article out some time ago where the doctor that more or less coined the term said that it was being terribly overused.  Iím not saying that the disorder does not exist, but it has become a junk diagnosis and an easy way out for both the physician and the patient/patientís parents/patientís school.  Right now, a child misbehaves in school.  The teacher says ďthis kid needs drugs to help them" and the kid is sent home until he comes back drugged up.  Thatís not the way it went 30 years ago.  30 years ago, children had an incentive for not misbehaving in class.  That is no longer acceptable in todayís PC society. 

I mentioned once before about the head of child neurology at my medical school and when he was in Saudi Arabia.  There was a rash of ADD in the children.  Getting diagnosed everywhere.  His solution was to send the child to work with dad.  See, dad had to go to the mosque and pray X times a day, and the kid had to go with him.  No child in Saudi would dare misbehave in a mosque because of the shame it would bring on the family.  So, the kids learned how to behave themselves and their ADD was miraculously cured. 

Concentration is a skill to be learned.  Modern society has reduced our attention spans to 30 second sound bites on TV, instant shooting/driving video games, quick flashes of entertainment, one line jokes, etc.  We are constantly bombarded with short high intensity informational bursts.  We are not teaching our children how to start a 2 hour project and stick with it until it is done.  Much less a 5 year project.  If it isnít done in a few minutes, itís over with as their attention drifts to something else.  Even food has become a quick fix item.  And, now that mom has been forced into the workforce as just another drone, (that is, ďliberated" in newspeak), she is no longer home to help train the children.  She comes home tired, dad comes home tired.  The kids are bothersome and the easy solution is video games, TV, and drugs.  These kids grow up addicted to these drugs and never having mastered the skill of concentration. 

So, why are these drugs being prescribed?  Outside of the very small number of actual ADD cases, the doctors doing the prescribing fall into three categories that I can see: 

1. Those that think they are helping. This is by far the majority of the physicians.  They really think they are helping.  After all, the drug companies say these drugs will help, you can find a study (likely funded by a drug company) that says these drugs helped some patient population, and the physician really does want to help the patient.  The kid slows down and the parents and teachers are happy.  The fact that their diagnosis may be wrong or that the drugs may be doing long term damage to the patient doesnít really enter into it.

2. Those that donít care.  This group of physicians is burned out and just want you out of the office.  People come into the office all the time wanting drugs.  Vicodin, benzodiazepines, whatever.  If you write them a script, they go away (happy even) and you get an office visit payment out of it that you can apply towards that Mercedes or the wifeís latest purchases or to the office help or malpractice insurance or various other costs of doing business. 

3. Those actively ripping you off.  There also exists (in my opinion) a small subset that just want the money and have no problem getting you addicted to drugs to do it.  Iíve seen doctors with practices like this:  Patient comes in, talks to a PA (Physicianís Assistant), doctor sticks his head in for 30 seconds (maybe), patient leaves with another monthís worth of drug prescriptions.  Doctor gets $100 office visit, makes Mercedes payment, looks at Car and Driver at the F cars and P cars.  Patient is forced to come back next month ďto see how youíre doing" and doctor gets another office visit.  Patient is physically and psychologically addicted to these drugs and has no choice but to come back.  Keep in mind that you can die from stopping benzodiazepines (BZDs).  Thatís an addiction.  If youíre a heroin addict, you can stop today and you wonít die.  You might feel like youíre going to die, but it wonít kill you.  Stopping BZDs can kill you. 

The pharmaceutical companies just want the money.  The more people addicted to drugs, the better from their standpoint.  Look at AIDS.  A terrible disease with no cure, but, hey, take these pills and youíll live.  Donít take the pills, you be dead.  Go ahead and continue to butt bang your buddy and spread it around, itís your constitutional right.  Have another pill.  Or the recent push by Merck to force a STD vaccination on all 12 year old girls in the country.  Oh, at $400 a shot, by the way.  A prime example of how politics and business work in todayís society:  Invent something that is good, like a HPV vaccine that can prevent cancer.  Pay off your politicians so that they pass a law forcing the public (that would be you and me) to buy your product.  A few pennies to a few politicians yields a billion dollar industry.  Is the vaccination beneficial?  Yes it is.  Should it be forced on 12 year old children?  No.  Should the parents be given the opportunity of having their children vaccinated?  Yes, sure.   But there should be some parental choice here.  Is there a problem with 12 year old girls out having sex and acquiring HPV and passing it around to other children at school?  I donít think so.  Thatís why we have school vaccinations, remember, so they donít give the mumps to each other, not so that Merck will make more money.

Hereís something that fits with todayís society:  You have become a victim.  Yes, you have been victimized.  You can now claim your right to victimhood and all the associated benefits that go along with it. 

Now, lets look at some specifics:

Benzodiazepines (BZDs):  Include Valium, Xanax, Ativan, various sleeping medicaitons.  Probably the worst drug ever discovered.  Work on the same receptor as alcohol.  Physically and psychologically addicting, with Xanax being the most addictive substance yet discovered.  Worse than cocaine, heroin, nicotine, tobacco, whatever.  Very, very useful in stopping seizures.  Also useful for Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and I mean extreme cases where someone wonít get out of bed from an anxiety attack, and until they can re-learn how to deal with the world again.  Outside of that and with very few exceptions, these drugs should be banned.  As I said, withdrawal is life threatening.  BIG money maker for the pharmaceutical industry.  Long term use will flat out pickle your brain.  Talk you whoever is prescribing you this poison to get off of them or find another doctor that will taper you off.  If youíre taking a BZD every day, youíre addicted.

Sleep disorders:  STOP THE CAFFEINE.  You should not have more than 2 cups of coffee a day if you are having sleep problems and even that may be too much, and NO CAFFEINE AT ALL after 10AM.  It is difficult to understand people who say they canít sleep at night and consume 2 cups of coffee and a Latte in the morning, a coke or two at lunch (biggie size me), a mountain dew in the afternoon and iced tea for dinner.  Uh, yeah, no one sleeps with that much caffeine in them.  Then they want a BZD to put them down at night, and then they need that much caffeine to get them going again the next day.  Instead, exercise some during the day, no caffeine after 10AM, have a little milk (warm is OK and better) at night before bed time, and if you MUST, take one Benadryl (diphenhydramine) 30 minutes before bedtime.  Set an alarm clock and get up at the same time each day.  No TV in the bedroom.  The bed is for sleeping.  If you donít sleep the first two or three nights, donít worry, you will the next. 

ADD/ADHD/whatever the buzz phrase is of today:  99% over diagnosed.  A product of todayís information age.  Learning to meditate would probably cure 90% of the adults diagnosed with ADD.  Iíve seen people that went to their doctor, the doc asks ďdo you have trouble concentrating?"  ďUh, yeah, I guess sometimes." ďOh, you have ADXX.  Take this pill and come back to see me next month."  With children, it goes like this:  12 year old Johnny wonít sit still during his political indoctrination sessions.  He wants to go outside and play or do anything except learn how the Democrats have saved America by allowing the butt banging of buddies as a protected Federal Constitutional right, and how the Second Amendment only applies to the Stateís right to have a National Guard (created in the early 20th century) despite clearly saying ďthe right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."  Johnny thinks it is all a bunch of crap and would rather be out playing ball so he can become rich like the people on TV.  God forbid we just have a 12 year old boy full of energy.  Obviously, Johnny has ADD too and needs drugs.  Some solutions:  Create a better learning environment for Johnny, where TV and video games are limited (or even eliminated), let him run off that excess energy (heís a 12 year old boy, remember), find something constructive for him to do like a hobby, teach him how to read if it isnít too late and supply him with books.  The parents need to take an active role, despite their own busy schedules.  No one said having children was going to be easy.  The easy way is to kill them in the womb, then you donít have to deal with these problems.

Depression:  Depression is a very bad thing indeed.  It is treatable with some excellent drugs today.  Serotonin Specific Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac, Zoloft, etc., are truly a wonder drug.  But, they donít work forever.  See, people get stuck in a loop, or rut, if you will.  They spiral down into this rut and find themselves overwhelmed with life, stuck and unable to break out of it.  Like they have walked a rut into a trench 10 ft deep and are now trapped.  A SSRI will help them climb out of the rut, realize that everything around them isnít really all that bad and let them get on with their lives.  The problem is that the SSRIs donít work forever.  You must learn how to deal with the piece of crap that life handed you (as it hands all of us) without the drugs, because they wonít work forever.  They are just a temporary reprieve that can be used to get a handle on life again.  Severe cases of depression take other and stronger means as well.  I recall a Hollywood personality that had severe depression.  Part of the disease is lacking energy and drive to do anything about anything.   They were treated with Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT).  ECT is like a cold boot on a computer thatís locked up (a Microsoft Moment).  Their depression was cured and they now had newfound energy and a drive to tell everyone how bad ECT was and how it should be banned because they couldnít remember the 3rd grade anymore.  But, they got out of the deep hole they were in that would have killed them otherwise.  Maybe they preferred to be back in the hole.  A serious problem with treating depression is that there is a period where the patient is feeling much better after starting their drugs and they can now do something about their particular life, and what they do is kill themselves.  This is not a new phenomenon or one that is just linked to one drug or other.  Tricyclics have been associated with this long before SSRIs came out.  A friend of mine in undergraduate school killed himself because of this.

Schizophrenia:  A really terrible disease.  These people are not in touch with what the rest of us call reality.  Their brains are constantly running in hyperdrive.  They see things, hear things, perceive things that arenít there or arenít real.  You sometimes see them on the news shows:  This person thinks the CIA is spying on him because he invented the turbinator and his brainwaves were read when he walked through the metal detector and he saw his invention on TV and the TV was talking to him about it.  Letís all laugh at him.  Ha ha.  The person is schizophrenic and needs help, not ridicule on TV.  Giving these people powerful drugs like Haldol (Vitamin H, in the trade) slows their brains down to a point that they perceive things in what we consider a more normal fashion.  The visual hallucinations disappear.  Auditory hallucinations are a lot harder to get rid of and frequently persist.  The strange thoughts can clear up a lot.  Side effects are also not good and include diabetes with some.  These people are just screwed.

Note that Iím not saying that there are not cases where these drugs like BZDís or Ritalin are beneficial, and maybe you think that you are that 1% that was diagnosed correctly, and maybe you are.  And maybe youíre the product of an informational overload age that has wiped out the ability to concentrate longer than 5 minutes.  And if youíve got this far, maybe there is hope for you yet.  But when you see a 6 year old child diagnosed as ADD, think about it.  Maybe heís just being a 6 year old child that was left to his own devices in a world of TV and video games. 

 Itís just that in general, people want a magic pill.  They donít want to be told to spend time with their children and teach them to behave and concentrate.  They donít want to be told to learn meditation and how to focus.  They donít want to be told to stretch their back muscles, lose weight, exercise, eat right, cut down on caffeine, stop smoking, relearn the skill of how to go to sleep by yourself, etc.  They want to be told:  Here, do whatever you want to and take this magic pill, and please pay the receptionist on the way out.