Goomfletch's Big E-venture
A Report from the Hinterlands

 The following is a verbatim e-mail from Goomfletch
AJ, Here is the adventure.....

A few months ago I was informed by the Ohio BMV that it was time to renew my privilage to use our roads, and they also wanted me to help them in there never ending quest to line the pockets of well connected out of state buisnessmen. Yes I am refering to the dreaded E-check!

Now keeping in mind that one of the reasons that this little workhorse, a 72 Volkswagen bus, is no longer imported into the land of the free was the fact it couldnt pass the newer more strigent emmision standards, I became very worried that my bus would have to end up spending the rest of its days in a county that was not subjected to this new form of goverment protection. That worry was soon to change.

My brother John has never been one to let little things stand in his way when it comes to pushing the envlope, He had his rusty, rotted, floorless 1977 Honda Cvic tested first. The first thing most folks would do when preparing for test like this is to get a tune-up right? Not John, He found a bundle of Mother Mary and St.Jude bumper stickers. and plastered them all over the back of his little Honda. The second step was renting a Priest outfit from the costume shop.

He showed up at the testing center dressed and ready to play the part. They tested his car and promptly failed it in record time then gave Fr.John the bad news. He went balistic!!!! How could they fail his car after all it had carried him through!! The Parish has just put $400 dollars into his car so it would pass the test!!!!!! They had to be wrong, Then he began praying. They went back and tested the car again and somehow it passed. He blessed them and thanked them and of course gave them the 20 bucks, but he is good for another 2 years and John showed the world nothing can be that bad if you put a little bit of imaganation into you plan. Incedently John spent the rest of the day hanging out around the local bowling ally hearing confesions from some of the local girls that he had convinced about his transfer into the local parish.

I did not take that approach with my bus. If I failed all that was needed was a 30% reduction in emmisions and I could get a one time waiver. The bus is a 1972 and the program mandates all cars up to 25 years are to be tested every other year. So a one time waiver is all I needed and that is the plan I took. I have the 1700 type 4 motor with dual carbs so we made our adjustments to run real (I mean real) rich then about a block away I stopped and puled off a plug wire.

I was now ready to go in and do what nobody had ever set off to do I wanted to flunk the test! I pulled in and the first thing they did was put a mirror under the bus right by the front door, I asked the fellow what he was doing and he informed me that he was checking my exaust system. Strange place to be looking for a exaust I thought but they are the experts.

Now it was time for the actuall test. I refused to let them put my tired old bus on the rollers and the opperators of this test center learned that it was my right to refuse to IM-241 test and was able to take the AIM test instead. We flunked and flunked big..I was happy!

A week had gone by and during that time I changed my oil put in new plugs, and set my air mixture real lean (35 mph top speed lean!)then gathered recipts for everything under the sun (you also have to show that you have spent $100.00 dollars foe repairs to get the waiver) I filled out their form thet showed what repairs I had made. I checked off new plugs,oil change, rebuilt carbs, and just to see if anybody was paying attention I also put down that I had changed engine coolent and radiator cap. I was now ready for the test

Saturday came around and I pulled into the place were I was greeted by some litte shmo who was obviously bucking for a management postion and presented him with my form and recipts. He took my recipts and handed back the one for the pizza the night before and the 12 pack of genny, we argued over the fact that the gasoline recipt was nessacary and I won (couldnt take the test if I ran out of gas) He never even noticed the one a pair of sunglasses or momma's new summer dress.

With that part out of the way I did what nobody in a civilized democratic society should be forced to do, I surrendered my keys and my bus to a total stranger. I had no idea if he even had a drivers license let alone insurance but its the law, It was for my own good. It turned out not to matter when he got in and realized it was not a automatic transmission he turned my keys and my bus over to yet another stranger "The standard shift specialist" I was then escorted into a glass walled room were I could veiw their antics.

As the bus was put up on the rollers I decided that maybe it was time leave my little glass observation post and try to protect my gearbox. When I explained to this crew what I had explained to crew a week before they consulted with the manager and prepared to give me the AIM test.

The AIM test consists of a taking samples at idle amd at 2500 rpms, Now rather than hooking up a tach technolagy has allowed then to put a box about the size of a carton of smokes on you hood and it reads the vibration and estimates you rpm.

First attempt Zeek and Elmo cant put box on hood of bus. Zeek puts it on the roof right above the drivers seat. Elmo gives it some gas no reading. I come out of my little glass cubical and sugest the try to get the device closer to the motor the both nod in agreement and point me back to my room while they look it over. Elmo suggests putting it on top of my fromt tire. (he is managment bound now!!) They try again, this time it was even worse and begin to diagnose their hardware. While all this hi tech star treck Dr. Spock logic was going on 2 folks have come and visited the little glass cubical I was calling home and were having more fun watching my test then the were their own.

Second attempt Elmo had gotten out of the bus to assist Zeek and stumbled upon something very important, There was more noise coming from the back of the bus than there was from the front. Mmmmmmmmm could it be? They walked up front then walked around back. Yep it had to be. So they did the logical thing, they came back into my little glass room and Elmo mustered up all his management skills and very seriously asked me "Sir where is the motor in this car?" When I told them they both got very stern looks on their faces as if I had personaly made this little modifacation just to make them look stupid and left. Meanwhile one of my new visitors who was waiting on her test began laughing at them and then began trying to sarcasticly shame me into admiting that I had put the motor there. So now Zeek and Elmo had a plan They put the sensor on the roof of the bus above the motor. Elmo gives it some gas and poof the get a reading. We are now ready to test. In the meantime I was rearanging furniture and measuring for drapes. Mid way through the test the sensor came sliding off the roof and crashed to the floor. While they try to find a unit that works I wait.

Third attempt new sensor Elmo gives it some gas while Zeek holds onto the sensor as if he was trying to keep the bus from rolling overtop of him. I passed the first part! Now it is time for the idle test. They put a probe in to my tail pipe let it idle for a few miniutes and come in and give me the bad news I had flunked! seems that using a 24"long probe in a 4"long exaust was causing too much outside air to get on the probe and contaimanating the results. I couldnt finish the test and by virtue of that I had flunked. Now it was my turn for some of that "Spock logic" I restated the situation to them as I understood it. Last week you sent me and my bus on their way because we stunk to bad, This week we are faceing the same fate but because we dont stink enough. After all wasnt that the goal they gave me Reduce the stink??? I thought I knew the rules.

Fourth attempt, We now have the manager involved Zeek and Elmo explained to Stella the problem we were facing and she also had reason to belive that the whole thing was some sort of a sick joke and also felt I had moved the motor just to give her more grief then her minimum wage job should allow. She made a decision one more try and that was it. So we begin the procedure again I passed the 2500 rpm part again and now it was time for the Idle Test but this time it took a new turn. From were I was watching The probe did not go in my exaust, It went into a trash bag and they stood there watching the computer and watched out for Stella and Bingo! TEST COMPLETED appearded on the screen, Maybe Elmo wasnt so bad after all, And he may make it as a manager. Zeek however will probally be working weekends for the next six months to pay for the sensor he let fall of my roof.

The next part was to test my gas cap and they couldnt so they gave me a little paper and took my 20 bucks. and looked at the line I had created during my 45 minute ordeal and we drove off into the sunset.

I would like to thank the State of Ohio First for protecting me from myself, Second for providing live entertainment on a saturday morning and third for alowing me to make all the new friends I made while I was waiting for Zeek and Elmo!

There it is AJ, I also attached a jpg of my bus

Later Goomfletch

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c 1996 Goomfletch This story may be distributed only if it is not altered in any way and is distributed freely without charge. You can contact Goomfletch at