Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Last night during the weekly wood working session I completed the hanging wall cabinet I started the week before. I would like to paint it but that will probably never happen. The cabinet is already being used to store things like car cleaning products and WD-40.

I drove the Miata to work again today. Yesterday's weather was so good I thought I would do it again.

Today as I was sitting at a traffic light I thought "Why not wet sand and polish the tail lights on the car." That would be really pretty. Bet that never happens too.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

What I Did With My Weekend
Friday afternoon Ginger left for Auburn. She went down to play at the game in the alumni band. I picked up the kids after work as usual.

I drove the Miata to work on Friday even though I had to pick up the kids after work. Fortundately my route from work to school takes me within 0.5 miles of my house. This allows me to easily swing by the house and swap the Miata for the 4x4.

Saturday morning me and my posse spent some time in the garage/driveway. I attempted to remove the back bumper from the '72 GMC truck. I managed to get two of the four bolts off. I sprayed the other two down with penetrating oil. Perhaps they will be ready to be removed by next weekend. I also removed the six bolts that hold the bed to the frame. I actually only removed three with a wrench. I cut one off with a grinder. One didn't have a nut on it. The other one was already missing. I lifted the bed from the frame and did a quick inspection of all the goodies underneath.

This morning I bolted the bed back on. I drove the truck over to Troy W's to give him some stuff. He recipricated by giving me some stuff. He loaned me his floor jack and a pair of jack stands. Next I drove to Home Depot to pick up a few bolts. These bolts are going to the replace the bolts holding the back bumper on. I would have gotten some for the bed as well but I couldn't remember the size.

I also adjusted the brake switch so that the brake lights will now go off when your foot is off the pedal. The switch on the truck is under the dash, above the steering column. It is very difficult to reach. It has two nuts that connect it to a metal bracket. The throw of the switch is altered by adjusting the nuts. I had Jordan standing behind the truck telling me when the brake lights went on and off. He didn't like the job. I eventually let him go once I realized the dome light dimmed everytime the brake lights came on.

The brake switch adjustment was made easier by the fact that I could easily lay on the floor of the cab. I had already removed the seat today. And then the carpet. And then the insulation. While all this was out I did an interior rust inspection. One small area will need to be replaced but in general the floor pan is in good shape. After vacuuming the pan, carpet, and seat I put it all back in.

How to Free Up Stuck Tire Lugs
I managed to get the lugs on the front wheel free today as well. I had attempted to remove them with a impact wrench but they were stuck! I sprayed them with penetrating oil 3 days in a row. Today I used my torque wrench and they came right off. The torque wrench has a pretty long handle. I cranked it up to 200 ft-lbs hoping it wouldn't slip. W=FD. Work equals force times distance. Double the length of the handle and it requires half the force. I have previously used a galvanized 3/4" pipe stuck over the handle of a socket wrench also.

Now that the front tires will come off, I suppose I should bleed the front brake lines.

Hello World
int main(int argc, char* argv[])
printf("Hello world!\n"
return 0;

Stainless Steel or Zinc
I was reading some dude's web site about car restoration. He was going on and on about how he now exclusively uses stainless steel bolts in all his cars because they don't rust (ever), or so he claimed. Check out the flatware in your kitchen drawer.

So I now have a few questions. Are their any drawbacks to using stainless steel bolts. Perhaps cost? The zinc bolts I bought today were about $.45, and the washers and nuts were about $.10 a piece. Do the stainless bolts really _never_ rust? Will they sieze up over time?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Smooth Sailing
Yesterday morning as I was driving to work in the Miata, I noticed my speed was a little bit higher than normal. I was pretty much just matching the speed of the traffic flow, which technically is speeding, but that is not the point. Something was odd. Something was missing. And then I figured out what it was. Where is the shutter I normally feel at this speed? It is gone! The new tires must be pretty close to perfectly balanced.
Scrap MDF
Last night was the weekly wood working session. It seemed like I got a lot more accomplished than usual last night. Perhaps that was because the shop (aka garage) was clean and organized. Nah, that can't be it.

I had decided to build another wall mounted hanging cabinet. The purpose of this one is to store my car cleaning supplies and other miscellaneous cans of stuff like WD-40 etc. Normally I make a hanging cabinet 12" deep but I decided to make this one 9" since there was not going to be a counter beneath it.

Last night I got the case and face frame completed. I also made a European style mounting bracket. I was going to hang it but the battery in the stud finder was dead. Sure I could try finding the stud the old fashion way, but then I would have 500 extra holes in my garage wall. I can image it would look something like a shot gun blast.

All that is left to do it make the doors, paint it, and hang it.

And yes, I did make it out of scrap MDF. I don't like working with MDF because of all the dust, but at least it is always straight and knot free. I guess I misspoke earlier when I said it was wood working night. Correction: MDF working.

Yesterday was again purpose built Miata weather. Top down, windows down, jacket on, Barenaked Ladies in the CD player, long route to work.

I am going to get insurance and the tag renewed for the '72 pickup today. This morning as I was driving out of my neighborhood a guy passed me in an old truck. For a second I thought he was in my old truck. It was the same body style, fleet side, short wheel base, and it was also red and white. I did a double take. That was weird.

Monday, September 20, 2004

One of the front tires on the '72 is stuck. One of the lugs is missing. Three of the remaining four are stuck. I bought some penetrating oil at Lowe's today. When I got home I sprayed the lugs. Hopefully the lugs will break free tomorrow.

Me and the Miata had a very pleasant drive to work this morning. And we shall do it again tomorrow.

The new tires are great. Details withheld to protect the innocent.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

I should also mention the Miata when out for another drive this evening. Ginger decided she should take it out for a spin. She says the new tires provide excellent handling and corner well. She also said she finally figured out the controls on the radio. I guess she didn't want to listen to ELO.
This morning I took the Miata out for a short spin. I needed to return some jumper cables to a friend. He loaned them to me a while back when I was trying to get the '72 GMC to crank back before I bought it. Mine were not heavy duty enough to make it work. (This use of jumper cables probably caused iMike's battery to die). For the record, nothing is wrong with the battery. It was simply low from under utilization.

It was chilly again this morning. I turned the heater on to keep my feet warm. (I didn't have on any socks.) I guess I will be needing a jacket for my future early morning treks.

This afternoon I clean up the shop and rearranged the tools and benches a few times. The goal was to make both trucks fit easily while still providing reasonable access to the tools. I finally got it to work, but I am not sure I like it. I ended up pushing two of the benches up against the wall. Sure that's good enough for most people but I like to be able to work on the bench from which ever side suits me at the time.

As for the '72 GMC, I spent a little while crawling around under it this afternoon. Most of the spiders have moved on but there are still a few living under there. I applied a little bit of bug spray so maybe they will move on or drop off.

What did I learn while under the truck? More than I can describe here. I also took the instrument cluster out of the dash, removed the steering wheel and took out some a/c duct work that had dry rotted. The cluster was put back in place. BTW, the odometer works and so I am guessing the truck has 130k miles on it. Could be 230k but I doubt it. The gas gauge and oil pressure gauge also appear to be functional.

And finally, I managed to get the steering wheel tightened down. Previously it had about an 1/2" of play along the axis of the steering column. That was pretty freaky.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Yes, the truck can now stop. I managed to get the drum brakes reassembeld. I will admit that changing the pads on disc brakes is nothing compared to changing the shoes on drum brakes. My neighbor helped me bleed the lines. That is definitely a two man job.

I also installed the new parking brake cable, though the parking brake is still not functional. Yet another missing part.

Next up: Either the head lights, the horn, or the brake lights.

I also pressure washed the truck. All the stuff that was growing on it is now gone. I am resisting doing any body work before the first of the year. That should give me plenty of time to get the safety issues resolved.

The weather has changed. This morning I drove the Miata to the barber shop. It was rather chilly.

Friday, September 17, 2004

And So It Begins
The new old truck has been living in my garage for almost a week. I decided it was time to get started.

First goal: safety. The brakes are soft so my first goal was to fix them. Supposedly the front rotors and pads were replaced within the last 500 miles. I had already discovered that the rear reservoir of the master cylinder was almost empty. I also discovered the parking break cable was broken.

My neighbor is a very knowledgeable car guy. He offered to give me a hand. His suggestion was to bleed the brake lines and check the drums. The drums were a bear to get off. The shoes looked fine. I broke the value screw in half trying to get it off the wheel cylinder. He did the same on the other side. Since I was going to the parts store anyway, I decided I would go ahead and replace the brake shoes. At $11 a pair (life time warranty), it would be worth it not to have to take the drums off again anytime soon. The wheel cylinders cost $10 a piece.

I am using a Haynes auto manual. It is reasonable but it certainly could use more photos and less terse verbage.

After getting home, I discovered that the right brake adjustment assembly was stuck. The auto parts store web site says I will be spending another $6 tomorrow morning.

After the brakes shoes are installed and the lines bled, I will probably tackle some electrical work next. The headlights and horn don't work. The wires to the horn are disconnected. I have no idea what's up with the head lights. They worked when I was inspecting it before I bought it. Probably a fuse. I will probably get around to this stuff around spring of 2030.

Hurricane Ivan caused school to be canceled on Thursday and Friday. The kids stayed home so someone had to stay home with them. I spent a lot of time at home over the last two days.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

New Tires

The new tires have been installed. I took it to Wal-Mart because it is within walking distance to my office. The cost was $3.50 per tire for mounting, and $7.50 per tire for balancing.

The car seems to handle so much better now. The steering feels tighter and the ride seems smoother. It is probably all in my head but that is ok by me.

New Tires

I picked up some DOT 3 brake fluid while I was at Wal-Mart. Perhaps I will be able to figure out where the suspected brake fluid leak on the truck is this weekend. While I am working on that I will also check the rear drum shoes to determine if they need to be replace.

While the Miata was on the lift with all four tires off, I took the opportunity to inspect all four rotors and the brake pads. The rotors are all smooth and plenty of pad left. No worries.

Did I mention it is perfect weather for a Miata with the top down?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Here is a photo from the advert where I found the truck. Yes, the front bumper is just barely haning on.

72 GMC

So now I have a white Dodge truck, a red Miata, and a red and white GMC truck. Anyone from around these parts might think I was a Bama fan. I guess I need to paint some of the vehicles orange and blue before anyone gets the wrong idea. War Eagle!
The tires are loaded up in the passenger seat of the Miata, eagerly awaiting the trip to Wal-Mart for mounting. I snapped a photo of them resting in the car. This like so many other photos may some day be shown here. (As soon as I download them from the camera.)

Tomorrow is PTA night at Jordan's school. Are they still calling it PTA or is it PTF or is it PTSA or is it, Oh Yes Wyoming! Gotta get that song out of my head.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

New Toy
After much looking, today I bought a new toy. New to me anyway. I got an old 1972 GMC Pickup. Since the beginning of time I have wanted a 1967-1972 era Chevy short wheel base, fleet side pickup. The GMC is essentially the same as a Chevy. And now I have one. I will share the story of the search later.

Out With The Old
Tuesday night, David M. and I cleaned up all the wood we had gotten at the barn. This involved removing lots or rusted nails from the hard white oak. There were just a couple of pieces that didn't make the cut. Those got thrown in the back of the truck (The newer 1998 Dodge). I returned the bad pieces to a burn pile out by the barn. It happens to be very near my house.

This afternoon I was dusting off the remaining 'good' wood and moving it into the wood storage area. This involves carrying large heavy boards up a flight of stairs. I had about half of them put away when I noticed some dust falling off one of the boards sitting on the saw horses. After closer inspection, I discovered there was a powder post beatle enjoying an afternoon snack. I immediately got all the newly classified 'bad' wood out of the garage. All this wood is now heading back to the burn pile as well. And just hours prior to this I was gloating to one of my neighors (also a wood worker) about all this free white oak I had gotten.

This evening I went outside to take the trash can to the street and close up the garage. While I was out there I decided I had to crank up the old truck one more time just to hear it run. Did I mention it has a 305 V8. It sounds incredible. David M. went with me to pick up the truck today. We had to jump start it because the battery was dead from sitting unused for a while. When It did crank, it went VROOOOOOOOM! I saw a smile cross David's face. It sounds awesome. A picture will soon follow.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

I still haven't gotten the Miata down to the shop to have the new tires installed. Tuesday!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Where's My Stuff
According to the UPS web site, my new tires and some books from Amazon are on the truck "Out for Delivery" today. I went outside at 6:30 pm and they still had not shown up. I guess they will be here tomorrow. This is not the first that has happened.

Update: When Ginger got home at 9:30 pm she told me my tires were out in the driveway. She brought the Amazon box in for me. The UPS site says they were delivered at 7:44 PM.

I will probably not get the tires installed tomorrow. I have a busy day planned.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The tires shipped on Friday. I expect they will be delivered on either Tuesday or Wednesday. I sure am glad I didn't have to wait on these to be shipped from somewhere out of the country.
Home Again, Home Again
I am glad to be back home.

On the way back I stopped just west of Corinth, MS to look at a green 1970-ish Chevy Long Bed. Not much to see on this one. The interior was stripped, no vent controls, no radio, barely a dash. Two flat tires and a rusted bed. I tried to pop the hood to check out what it was hiding. The hood release didn't work. Keep on driving.

Next we stopped in Tuscumbia to have lunch with my Father. After lunch we went to Spring Park to ride the train. I took a few pictures. I will post one later.

While at the park, we had the opportunity to admire a 1928-ish Model A. At least that is what my Dad estimated it to be. He also told me about the 1932 Model A his GrandFather had. I forgot to ask if he ever drove it. Again, I will post a photo of this later.

I made a few calls today regarding a '69 and '70 C-10 listed in the local papers. One had already sold, the owner of the other had changed his mind about selling it.

And just for fun tonight, I completely demolished some floor standing cabinets I made a few years ago. I wasn't storing anything in them and we needed the floor space. I was storing stuff on top of them. Actually it was more like stacking junk on top of them. I threw out about half of the junk. Probably should have thrown out even more.

Tomorrow morning DM and I are headed to the barn to fetch some free white oak. I will let you know how that turns out. I am taking a chainsaw just for fun!
Weekend Update
So far this weekend I have spent all my time eating and sleeping. Ok, that is not quite true. I also spent a little time reading. And very little time blogging.

Yesterday morning we went to visit the children's museum of Memphis. The kids had a good time because everything is hands on.

While at the CMOM I ran into Steve G. Steve was one of the guys that went on the camping trip a few months back. He lives in Mississippi, possibly Jackson. A few years back Steve and I worked at the same company though I didn't really know him then.

Yesterday evening we went for a walk around the inlaws neighborhood. As we strolled through an intersection I commanded a left turn. I had spotted a 1964 Chevy Truck two houses up. I stopped to talk to the old guy spit shining the truck. His father had bought it new in '64. It was currently black. He had done many upgrades including replacing the 6 cyc with a V8, adding power steering, tilt steering column, front power disc brakes, and a shiney black paint job. The truck had originally been sky blue. It was a nice truck. He was talking about selling his Toyota and making the '64 his daily driver. Sounds like a good idea to me.

We are heading back home today. The plan is to stop in Tuscumbia on the way home and have Lunch with my Father.

If we get home early enough today, I will go back to the barn and see if any of the 'free' white oak left is worth rescuing. I could probably make room for a couple hundred board feet of it assuming it is in good condition.

I will also probably do a more search and rescue work for the elusive 196* truck. Permission has not been granted but I am hopefull. Anyway, the thrill is in the hunt.

Bloggers spell checker dictionary does not know the word 'blogging'. Perhaps 'blogging' is not a real word and you are not really reading this.

Friday, September 03, 2004

I took the day off from work so we could drive over to Memphis to visit the inlaws. I plan on an entire of weekend of eating and sleeping. So far I have eaten twice and slept once.

I brought my laptop so I could tell you all about my weekend of eating and sleeping. Did I mention that already?

I ordered some tires (online) for the Miata last night. I ended up purchasing them from the Tirerack. I will probably have them installed at Wal-Mart. There is one about 100 yards from where I work so it should be an easy drop off/pick up. I ended up getting these. The price was good. Including shipping cost it was about $180 for four tires.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

TGIVF - Virtual Friday

The electrician finally finished up his work on the porch. There is a big dumpster in my driveway right now. I am sure the neighbors love that. All the construction mess has been cleaned up. And now I have a nice big spot of dead grass where all the trash previously previously sat. The only work left is to add the gutters and downspouts. And of course it would be nice if the screen door actually closed.

I will probably get around to ordering some tires for the Miata this weekend. I gave the free set of Dunlaps another good look today. They are not in any better shape than the Dunlaps on the car. I decided while I had a dumpster in the driveway, I would clean up the garage a little bit.