Are You Mannerly?

I do a lot of shopping at a small village store known for their meat and deli department. For some reason I have an aversion to buying such at the big grocery stores. Why is this? I guess it’s that I trust the village store to sell me quality and for the 27 years of shopping there they have never had a “recall”. This store also served as employment for our 2 sons when they were in high school and still hire a very young staff. Excuse me, but I could, if not careful, get off the reason for this writing. I want to talk about manners or lack of.

The subject is brought to my attention nearly every time I step out my door. I want to tell you that I don’t go with that thought on my mind or “looking for trouble” but there it is!

On a recent trip to the Derby Store, I parked, got out and almost immediately started gathering stray carts. I can’t tell you why but I feel a need to move them from the random areas they have been left. I guess some of the reason is the parking lot is small and it is hard to park with carts taking up space and I have to admit it annoys me that people won’t take an extra minute to put their carts out of the way of others. On this day, I got to the doors with all the stray carts. I need to tell you that the doors are not automatic open. Well, I was having a bit of trouble pushing the carts through the door, when I noticed two young people behind me. Get the picture – 2 people about 20-25 years old, looking very physically fit waiting for an “older woman” to push carts through the door. Now, “the rest of the story”. They saw the situation and (quick thinkers that they proved to be) went in the exit door which gained them a quick entrance and avoided having to wait or help me! Oh, I’m sure their elderly, sick mother was waiting in the car (with no heat) for them to pick up some chicken soup and get her home to bed! Maybe they weren’t raised by a mother but by wolves. Isn’t there a story about that very thing? By the way, I watched them and they were getting a deli sandwich. Well, that explains their behavior. They were hungry. All is forgiven!!

At first I thought that the lack of manners was only in some young people but sadly it seems to cover all the age groups. All this said there are some very mannerly people out there and if you are one, I personally thank you and ask that you pass it on to your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, friends, neighbors, and car enthusiasts. We can win this. For me, I’ve got carts to gather and maybe I’ll review my copy of Emily Post.

Before I sign off, thank you Gary for printing this, thank you members for reading it and a big Thank You VAE members for pushing in your chairs, picking up your empty cups and plates and finding the recycling bin!

The Body Control Module (BcM) – Dave’s Garage

lucas body control module BCMAbsent any questions this month, I’ll tell the tale of a recent repair to my Chrysler minivan. I have had problems with the Body Control Module for the past few years. The BCM is the “brain” of the vehicle, and it’s function is the control of all things electrical in the vehicle. This part is vehicle specific, and stores all the vehicle data, such as the mileage on the odometer and the Vehicle Identification Number.

This problem first presented itself with the wipers, lights and door locks randomly going on and off, regardless of the switch positions. This would happen whether the key was on or not. I was always able to “fix” the problem by rebooting the BCM. Rebooting the BCM is accomplished by disconnecting the battery overnight. Simply disconnecting the battery for a few minutes or a few hours would not work. Sometimes the battery would have to be disconnected for a day or two for the reboot to be successful. After a successful reboot the repair would usually last for several months, but the problems would always reappear. Recently, the wipers and the low-beam headlights ceased to function. I suspected the BCM, but a re-boot did not yield a fix. I checked the usual suspects, fuses, relays, bad grounds, etc. I quickly determined that there was no power going through these circuits. I thought I should check the wiper stalk, which is also the high beam/low beam switch. Imagine my surprise when I took the switch out, and discovered the Lucas Electric logo stamped on to the switch. You know, Joseph Lucas, Ltd. Birmingham, England- the punch line of many a joke about the poor reliability of English cars.
This switch actually tested out fine, so the BCM was once again suspect. Remember, the BCM is unique to the car in which it is installed. Even If I was lucky enough to find the same year, make and model van in a salvage yard, the BCM still holds the identity of the car it is built with. The VIN number and mileage are both stored in the BCM. The cost of a BCM through a dealer costs well over a thousand dollars, and the part needs to be programmed to the vehicle at an additional cost.

A google search proved to be quite productive. I found an outfit in Michigan that has identified the weakness in Chrysler BCMs and rebuilds them with improved components. All they need is the year, make, model, mileage and part number on the BCM, and they send you a rebuilt BCM already programmed for your car. While not cheap (at $250-including shipping…) it is less than a quarter of the cost, better quality and much faster turn around time than the dealership.

What did I learn from this experience? With today’s cars, there is less of a difference between foreign and domestic cars. With world wide vendors supply-ing the OEM parts market, there is no telling what you will find. I was stunned to find a Lucas switch in a Chrysler minivan.

It also pays to use the Internet when doing automotive repairs. Finding the outfit in Michigan that repairs Chrysler Body Control Modules probably saved me over a thousand dollars.

Please email all inquiries to: Dave
or snail mail
32 Turkey Hill Road
Richmond VT 05477

John Vetter’s 1942 Stuart M3A1 Tank

american car and foundry co m3a1 tankThe tank is a 1942 M3A1 built by the American Car and Foundry Company (Berwick, PA). Their main production was in rail cars and like other heavy industry companies; they were selected to build the initial run of tanks before the start of WWII. These Stuart models (all were informally named by the British – Lee, Sherman) began with prototypes in the mid-thirties and continued with variations through 1945.

Power is supplied by a 670 cubic inch Continental 7 cylinder radial air cooled engine. These are twin magneto equipped and were simultaneously used in the Stearman trainer and a variety of other aircraft. The need in the Stuart and in the bigger tanks was for high horsepower with light weight, thus providing more opportunity for heavier armor. A rather large combination transmission and stick controlled steering differential, feeds into final drives on each side to turn the track sprockets. Not unlike an airplane there are lots of instruments to check and some vigilance necessary on the permissible engine revs. Twin tanks carry 70 gallons of fuel and an oil change is 24 quarts.

The tractor is a 1956 Diamond T (M52). It is powered by a 6 cyl Continental 602 cubic inch producing 225 HP.

john vetter stuart m3a1 tankRestoration:
Working on a tank is not for the faint hearted. Parts are not available at NAPA, manuals rare and there is a steep learning curve. I have been fortunate having friends in the hobby, including Jim Mandigo, a professional mechanic from Morrisville, who works at Majestic Auto in Waterbury. Countless weekend sessions have allowed us to redo the suspension, power train, turret, and hull fixtures back to original specifications that likely make this Stuart one of the most accurate restorations in the county.

A very common question is what do you do with a tank- answer is similar to the enjoyment of any antique vehicle; learn about its history, look for parts, regularly skin some knuckles and drive it in meets and shows. There is a Vermont Chapter of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association (, with like minded restorers that features an open to the public annual July show in Waterbury (12th-14th).


Editor’s Notes…The tractor is a 1956 Diamond T (M52). It is powered by a 6 cyl Continental 602 cubic inch producing 225 HP. It has a 2-speed transfer case with auto front wheel drive engagement, using todays terms that means ALL-WHEEL-DRIVE….impressive!
In the smaller picture, John is pictured left on the tank. Dan Murry and Ryan Liszewski to John’s left. Bob Hargrove and Liszewski from left on the ground. I wonder if the bag contains secret enemy position maps or lunch?
Throughout my conversations with John another gentleman was often mentioned, that was Jim Mandigo. I needed additional information and when I called he and Jim had just finished dropping an engine into their latest project that might be ready for the next Stowe Show. That is a 6-ton 1945 Ford M20 Armored car. It is a 6X6 with a 140HP Hercules engine and carries a crew of six when used in recogni-zance. The British were so impressed with it’s maneuverability that their nickname of ’Greyhound’ took the place of M20.
You will always find John and the rest of the Green Mountain Military Vehicle Club at the Stowe Show, just walk into the main gate and they are right there on the right. It is tough to talk to them long and not want to go shopping for something in Army colors. Check out their website