I do try to learn something new every day…

So Monday I was in the food market in the crappy little town about 10 miles away. It is a sufficiently crappy food market that it is slowly losing all its customers to the perfectly good Safeway in the slightly bigger town about 35 miles away, and so more and more of its square footage is being given over to the owners’ Ace Hardware franchise.

You literally never know what you’re going to see when you walk through the door. But there’s a good chance the store will be selling it by the pallet-load. And sometimes, to an aging hermit, some of it seems…odd.

For example: Monday I saw an entire pallet of this…

I did not know what it was. Just from glancing at the packaging it could have been anything. I looked more closely…

Okay, look. I was a diesel mechanic. Small diesels, yeah, I never worked for Peterbilt, but there’s no such frickin’ thing as “diesel exhaust fluid.” Nor is there a round tuit, or a left-handed adjustable wrench, or carburetor grease.

On the other hand, back in the early Paleogene period when I was in tech school an instructor thought he’d play a little game with a student, sent him to the parts department to get a radial tire tube. The student left, the instructor chortled and let us all in on the joke that there was no such thing as a radial tire tube. Minutes later the student returned with a radial tire tube, because the instructor was behind the times and incorrect.

The store can be a little weird, but they weren’t selling an entire pallet-load of a fictitious liquid. So what the hell was diesel exhaust fluid?

So I’m behind the times. Way, way behind the times.

Fortunately I kept the matter to myself until I had a chance to look it up…

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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10 Responses to I do try to learn something new every day…

  1. jed says:

    Heh. Yeah, the first time I heard about diesel exhaust fluid, I figured it was a joke, and then I thought it must be somehow associated with rolling coal. Then I read something about how it was impractical for Volkswagen to do a retrofit of a DEF system to fix their little cheating problem.

    Some day, somebody will come up with a real product called blinker fluid too.

    In the IT business, the std. joke is to send the n00b network tech to bring over a box of token rings.

  2. John says:

    I got a round tuit. Once.
    Car pooled for a while with a fellow and on time the subject of the parking brake in my twenty year old car came up. Handle worked just fine. Cable was snapped. Being an able A&P he fashions up a shiny round tuit and gives it to me next day. Made of honest aircraft aluminum, a little bigger than a silver dollar. Has the word “tuit” engraved on both sides. It’s been hanging from the rear view mirror of the car for twenty years. Replacement cable came along last year. Hasn’t moved from the passenger side floor yet, so guess it works sort of slow.

  3. Anon says:

    With a lot of modern diesel engines this stuff isn’t just something you bung in if you feel like it. Most of the engines will shut off if you run out of it. Not using will apparently damage the engine. To make it worse you can’t just stock up on it because it does actually have a shelf life. They go into an emergency limp mode if you’re lucky allowing a max of 30mph. All to allegedly reduce emissions.

  4. Tierlieb says:

    Lovingly called “elephant piss” at some places or other, since it is
    a) made of urea (which probably explains the limited shelf live) and
    b) surprisingly expensive as if it was made from some rare ingredient (German price is ~10x the production cost, which is notable because you’re basically paying excess money to fix a car maker’s mistake)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Will it help my squeaky muffler bearings?

  6. Robert says:

    Yah, I initially thought it was a joke, too.

    Got my Round Tuit as part of my ship’s attempt to take care of all those nagging little maintenance issues that kept getting pushed down in the stack of requests. It’s in my desk drawer, or in storage or um, somewhere…

  7. MJR says:

    That’s one of the things I like about this blog, learning something new every day(ish). I had never heard of this stuff before but like so many other things it’s not surprising. Time marches on.

  8. Jerry says:

    Which is also why we only buy older JD tractors pre DEF fluid. They’re still serviceable, and probably better built in the first place.
    Farms with a couple big tractors miles from town will buy it in 250 gallon pallet tote’s, not jug cases on pallets.
    Metric crescent wrench? I found one in the ditch after an accident scene. Sure enough, made in China.

  9. terrapod says:

    Wanting very high mileage without fiddly crossbreed hybrid battery powered rollerskates, I did buy one of those *gasp* allegedly polluting VW Diesel TDI cars that use this stuff. The trick is to purchase one of the VW bottles of UREA solution just to get the screw on valve actuator that is part of the bottle. Once used up filling the on-board reservoir, you cut off the base of the VW bottle and get a perfect drip free funnel for the much cheaper stuff in the box. In about another 5K miles I will see how it all works out. I think the car carries around 5 gallons in the reservoir. Of course they placed it in near in-accessible location, they are Germans after all.

  10. Tennessee Budd says:

    I used to give round tuits to friends & family, back when I was working with wood for a living.
    Anytime I used a hole saw on a plank, 1x or 2x, especially if it had a nice grain or feature, I’d take the “doughnut hole”, put a nice finish on it, put a length of brightly colored twine or some light-switch pull chain through the center hole, & I had something to use as a gift when you gotta give somebody something & don’t know what to get them. Really only works once per person, though.
    I hate run-on sentences, & I just made one; however, it’s evening of Monday Part Four of this week, & I don’t feel energetic enough to go back & make it something I’d like better.

To the stake with the heretic!