Saturday, October 7, 2023

Make It Aluminium They Said - The Finale

Started it up this morning around 10 AM and let it come up to operating temperature. So far, so good.

Decided I needed to road test it to make sure it would hold under a load. Also gave me the chance to burn the rust off of the brake rotors. Still it runs.

Took it to get an inspection so I can renew the registration that has been out since February. Local PD is standing in the parking lot of the station shooting the shit with one of the mechanics. Never looks at me twice. I have no doubt that if I were a "known person" that the situation would have gone down very differently. (Sometimes I love living in a small town.)

Passed the "inspection", such as it is, with no trouble.

Drove it home and started cleaning a couple of years of young adults driving it out of the interior coupled with almost a year's worth of dust from sitting. For being 20 years old, it's not a bad looking ride.

Now I have to decide if I drive it for a while or just sell it. I've got a few days while I'm waiting for the registration sticker to come in the mail.

Well, at least I got another project off of my to do list. Time to start the next one.

Until next time, y'all be good, and if you can't be good, be sneaky.


Friday, October 6, 2023

Make It Aluminium They Said Pt. 2

 Today was the day to re-thread the spark plug hole on the 2003 Grand Marquis. The procedure is pretty simple. The kit comes with a bore, a tap, and the steel sleeve insert.

It has enough sleeves in the kit to do an entire engine, and believe me that if I ever build one of these for a car I WILL do all eight as part of the build.

Like I said, it's pretty simple. Crank the engine around until the cylinder you're working on is at bottom dead center and both valves are closed. This will keep the aluminium shavings out of the rest of the engine. A  bore-scope comes in handy to check the valves. The kit even includes a hose with a rubber stopper that you can use to test if the cylinder is sealed up. Put air to the hose and if all is good it'll blow the stopper out of the spark plug well.

Without getting into too much of the nitty-gritty of it, this is the result.

The second pic is a side view of the new threads.

Last step is put anti-seize on the plug and screw it into the sleeve. Put JB Weld or other high heat bonding agent on the outside threads of the sleeve and use the spark plug and spark plug wrench to screw it all into place.

Now I have to wait until tomorrow to start the car and see if I actually fixed it.  At least it looks good for now.

I'll give a short post this weekend to let you know if I won or if it's going to the salvage yard.  

Until then, be good, and if you can't be good, be sneaky.


Monday, September 18, 2023

More Car Fun

 A while back I bought a 1999 Mazda Miata for my youngest as their first car.  It rough and that's ok because it IS a first car.  The only thing I knew I had to fix was the convertible top and to find the parasitic draw on the battery.

Let's start with the top. Here's a picture of what I was starting with:

This makes the fourth Miata top I've done and as a buddy of mine said, "The good news is that you're getting good with Miatas. The bad news is that you're getting good with Miatas." He's right on both accounts. Being the fourth one done did NOT make it any less of a pain in the ass. I'm a big fella and those are small, scratch that, tiny cars. First order of business was to gut the interior, so I could move around in there a little, and I mean little, easier.

All things considered, there are much harder convertible tops to install. Many of them have vary intricate steps to make sure they don't leak and so on. The Miata is relatively straightforward. That being said, these little foam bastards right here pushed me to almost hitting the "Fuck It" button. 

These push onto the studs that the top mounts to in the back of the car. There's one that goes behind the top and one that goes on the inside. The inside ones will not stay in place. The rain rail on the top keeps expending and pushing them off before you can get the retaining bar in place and bolted on. I went to bed about 35 seconds before I was ready to set the car on fire.  

As I lay there drifting between sleep and the waking world I had a thought, and I put it to the test the next day.

Worked like a champ, and now it looks like this.

Lastly I needed to find the parasitic draw on the battery.  My dad had a Miata that had a similar problem. My brother traced it down to a shit alarm that was installed in a shitty manner.

The last time I drove this car there was a weird sound from the front that kinda sounded like a wounded cow. My first thought was a moan in the brakes, but it went away and didn't happen all the time. 

I opened the hood and found the siren horn mounted to the firewall. Guess what I found under the dash? Yup. A shit alarm that was installed in a shitty manner. They also for some reason installed a door lock actuator, but only on the driver's side.

Once I got that all removed and the hack job on the wiring straightened out the moan of the wounded cow went away. Go figure.

While I was there I also removed the aftermarket stereo that was installed equally as badly. I'm waiting on the install kit from Crutchfield to put in the replacement. The car has a Bose amplifier and speakers, so I'm just doing the head unit.

I reconnected the battery and nothing caught on fire. The car even started, so I must have gotten the wiring right. Now I just need to wait a day or two and see if the battery stays fully charged.

Fun weekend. Now I just have about 6 more broken...project cars to sort out and get out of my driveway and/or yard.

Pray for me, and in the meantime be good, but if you can't be good be sneaky.


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Breakfast, Cause a Man's Gotta Eat!

With working out and trying to lower my weight and blood sugar, I've been on a high protein diet for a couple of years now and to say that I've run out of ways to make eggs interesting would be putting it lightly. Last week I decided to add some Kent Rollins Original Seasoning to my usual list of ingredients and man are they good! 

Thought I'd share it with you. 

In a small bowl:
3 or 4 large eggs
3 finger pinch of salt
12 or so grinds of black pepper
5 or 6 splashes of Cholula hot sauce
Kent Rollins original seasoning to taste (I use enough to lightly dust the entire surface of the eggs)

Beat 'em like you're mad at 'em until they get kinda frothy.
Pour the eggs into a buttered skillet along with about 1/4 cup of shredded cheese (I use colby-jack).

Cook 'em until they're as done as you like your scrambled eggs.

Match that up with some coffee, thick cut bacon, and some griddle toast and breakfast is on!

Be good, and if you can't be good, be sneaky!
Have a  great week!

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Chronic Pain

 So one of the results of the last year's worth of strength training is that I have learned to live with almost constant pain from the arthritis/bone spurs in my hips. Except for when it's a stabbing pain, it's mostly just background noise now. 

Here's the part that freaks me out, and I'd be willing to bet that any of you who have chronic pain in your life can identify with this. Any time I find that I'm not hurting, instead of my first thought being "what a relief" I find myself thinking "what the hell's wrong now?" After a long enough time has passed, it's almost like the absence of pain is more disconcerting than hurting.

Is that weird?

On that note, I'd better get to work. Take it easy, and if you get it easy, take it twice.


Friday, February 24, 2023

Make It Aluminium They Said

 So this weekend I get to do something I've never had to do in all the years I've been turning wrenches.  I get it. I do. Aluminium is light and it's strong enough to take the stresses of an internal combustion engine. Having said all of that, I've never had cast iron blow a spark plug out of a head and take the threads out with it. Apparently this is a common occurrence with the Ford Triton engines.

So, now I get to bore out, re-thread, and install an insert into the cylinder head of my 2003 Grand Marquis. The process is done without pulling the head off of the engine and appears to be relatively simple.  Barring catastrophe it shouldn't take long. Of course now that I've said that, it's going to blow up in my face.

I'll post a follow-up on Monday.

Wish me luck.  

Y'all have a great weekend and remember...

Be good, but if you can't be good, be sneaky.


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Stroke Risks

 We recently had to have the entire fire alert system replaced where I work. The actual install wasn't awful, but now we're in the testing phase. The first couple of days involved setting off the alarm over and over from each smoke detector and pull station. Then came the making sure the alarm could be heard everywhere in the building. Now we're at a point where we don't have to have the siren sound, but instead it's this high pitched alarm on the system itself. It's about a half tone off from the ringing that is in my ears most of the time. It's creating a most uncomfortable dissonance. I can feel the Clint Eastwood eye twitch starting. Pray for me.


Make It Aluminium They Said - The Finale

Started it up this morning around 10 AM and let it come up to operating temperature. So far, so good. Decided I needed to road test it to ma...