Saturday, October 30, 2004

Test Drive
One of my neighbors, Rich M., bought a 2004 Viper last week. He came by today to show it to me. 500+ HP, 500+ ft-lbs of torque at the tires.

The car is triple black and very shiney. We went for a little ride. The car will do 60 MPH in first gear. He took it up to 120 and back down to 40 in a what seemed like a split second. Serious Gs'.

He said he was going to try to resist mod'ing it for a about a year. It already has the BRB (Big Red Button).

Zoom, zoom, zoom.
Are you tired of reading about the truck? Too bad. It is the current obsession.

Yesterday I stripped off the oil pan and oil pump. I also attempted to remove the rear main seal. It pretty much just crumbled but I had no luck removing it.

Last night I searched the Internet for insight into getting the seal out. Two suggestions: 1. Spray it with penetrating oil. 2. Loosen the main bearings and lift the crankshaft slightly. Today I did both and was able to get the rear seal out.

Today I also removed the rocker covers, pushrods, rocker arms, and cylinder heads. First impression of the cylinders - they look good. I still need to check the rings and valves.

Creg K. came by to take a look at the GMC. He has a 54 Ford sitting in his yard. He is attempting to be inspired by me. Good luck.

Tonight I took the little people 'trick or treating'. Some folks up the street go all out every October. Their yard is completely decorated. They have a grave yard, flying ghosts, a vampire in a coffin, etc. Oh, yeah and Bart Simpson and Sponge Bob. They do more than the Grizwalds do for Christmas. Very cool though.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Lunar Eclipse
I just happened to be awake at 2:00 am last night so I went out on the back porch to check out the lunar eclipse. It was a big disappointment.

I remembered the eclipsed was occurring because it was so bright outside, for 2:00 am anyway. The moon appeared full. That was the extent of it. From what I had read, I was expecting it to be red or orange. During the eclipse, the earth was between the moon and sun, and all three were in the same plane. In this situation the moon was visible because light from the sun was 'bending' around the earth due to the atmosphere. No big deal from what I observed.
I have been working on cleaning up the engine. The ultimate goal is replacing the rear main seal, the front seal, and the oil pan gasket.

Before pulling the engine I checked the compression. The Haynes book suggests that the nominal compression for a small block is 150 PSI. Seven of the eight in my engine measured 185 PSI +/- 5%. The other measured only about 95 PSI. It has been suggested to the me that the 185 reading is ok. The 95 PSI reading indidicates either bad rings or a bad valve. The cyclinder is still firing so I will probably leave it alone for now.

After pulling the engine, I was able to find the casting number hidden away beneath some greasy grimey grunge. The casting number is 14010201. Per the internet, this is a 305 ci, 2 bolt main bearing, cast between 1980 and 1984. The truck probably originally had a 307 but it doesn't now. This engine has probably been in the truck for at least five years based on what i know about the trucks history.

Today I removed the power steering pump, water pump, alternator, and all the pulleys including the harmonic balancer. Assuming I find some time tomorrow, I will drop the oil pan and remove the timing chain cover, cleaning as I go.

While on an errand today, I got caught out in the rain with the top down. I didn't need the extra shower, but I guess it couldn't hurt.

72 GMC Truck

Monday, October 25, 2004

Today I pulled the engine out of the '72. My neighbor, Lott, helped me. It took 3 hours but it should have taken much less.

I didn't drain the transmission prior to the pull. I ended up with all the transmission fluid on my garage floor. That was fun to clean up.

'67 Stepside
My friend, iMike, may be acquiring a 1967 Chevy Stepside. It belonged to his grandfather. I bet it is green.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

I almost forgot to mention that I took my weekly Sunday afternoon drive today in the Miata. When I got home I decided it was time to clean the windshield. A butterfly had left a nasty smear on it.

My Mother got a cell phone last week. It is her first. For the first few days she called almost everyday to make sure it was still working. It is still working.

My laptop is acting up. Several of the keys on the keyboard keep cutting out. If you see any typo's, it is probably me not the keyboard. But it could be the keyboard.

When the blog goes several days without an entry that means one of two things: nothing is happening or things are hectic.

I have been working toward removing the engine from the truck. At this point the hoist is in place and I am two bolts and the starter wire away from pulling the engine.

Friday I started to de-grease the engine. The plan was to spray on the degreaser and then drive over to the car wash to hose it down. Unfortunately after spraying the degreaser, I couldn't get it to start, so I just hosed it down in the driveway. My neihbor came over to look at it a little later. It cranked right up. He said I probably had flooded it.

Pulling the engine has involved removing the battery, draining the fluids (oil, coolant, power steering fluid), removing the radiator and heater hoses, removing the radiator, disconnecting the throttle and transmission linkage, disconnecting the alternator, and disconnecting the transmission bell housing. I probably left out a few wires and some other details, but that was most of it.

I went on a field trip with Jordan's class on Friday. We visited 'Constitution Village'. We got to see how to make butter, spin thread, make pottery, etc. Nothing like a field trip to make you need to take a nap.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

I have decided to attempt to tackle the oil leaks on the truck. After talking with a few knowledgable guys, I have a plan. Contrary to what I said earlier, it doesn't appear that HD rents engine hoists after all though I think I will be able to rent one around here somewhere.

Either tomorrow or Thursday I will probably try to test the cyclinder compression.
Assuming it is good, I will pull the engine and replace a few gaskets. Assuming it is bad I will re-evaluate the situation.

The sun finally came out this afternoon. Of course I took a little cruise with the top down.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Friday afternoon I hit 5 boneyards to look at the supply of available used parts for the truck. (I did not see any Ranchero parts.) There are quite a few trucks, but they are all picked over. I did purchase an ashtray. I had a choice of blue or red. The interior of mine is red, so the decision is easily made. Why did I need an ashtray if I don't smoke? n
Friday afternoon I also put the truck up on jack-stands. Using the creeper, I then entered a scary world of spiders, oil, and grease. By now I have gotten most of the spiders off the truck but I did manage to find one.

The purpose of raising the truck was to make it easier to inspect for leaks. I found three. The rear main seal, the front seal, and the oil pan gasket all leak. My father-in-law said they could all probably be fixed with the engine in place but because there are 3, it would probably take less time if I pulled the engine. DM is sure going to be happy when I volunteer his help.

I can get an engine stand for $35 and HD rents engine hoists. I may be able to find a friend to loan me a hoist. If I start now, I wonder if I could be done by the end of the year. I wonder if I can actually get started before the end of the year.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Fuel Economy Update
The last tank in the Miata got 28 MPG in the city. The last tank in the Dodge 1500 got 14 MPG and that was on the highway. Good thing gas prices have gone way down. Doh! Today's gasoline purchase price was $1.939/gallon for 87 octane.

Presidential Debate
I watched part of the debate again last night. I turned it off before it was over. That is all I have to say about that.
Miata Daze
It has been quiet around here for a few weeks. Perhaps that will change soon.

This morning it was a cool 54 F with cloudy skies. There is currently a severe weather alert. What a beautiful day for driving the Miata with the top down. Todays musical choice was "Bowling for Soup".

72 What?
Monday evening I took the front bumper, headlights, grill, etc off the truck. While it was dissassembled I got the parking lights working. One less thing.

I also discovered a new color of paint. So far I have found 2 distinct reds, white, yellow, and now I have added green to the palete. The green paint was found on the passenger side front fender. Of course this indicates the fender has been replaced at some point. I am now certain I have parts from at least 3 different trucks, though it could easily be 4 or more.

So the question now is what kind of truck is it really? A Ghevy or a CMC?

Blue Light Special
I forgot to mention this last week. On our vacation trip, about 20 minutes after leaving the house, a friendly Alabama State Trooper asked me to stop and chat for a few minutes. Apparrently I was doing 90 on the interstate. Now the bad part. I didn't even realize I was speeding. The Tahoe sure rides smooth and doesn't feel like it is going fast. And of course I was distracted. I was trying to explain how to use the Mapopolis software running on my PDA. The PDA was connected to my eTrex GPS and we were watching ourselves move down the interstate real-time.

Mr. Friendly wrote me ticket for 90 in a 70 for Limestone county. I was in Morgan county. So who was more distracted? Me or him. At least I knew where I was. He was driving a big unmarked Ford Expedition. It had a whole office setup in it complete with a laptop and a printer. Unfortunately he had a virus on his computer so it was working. He had to write the ticket out by hand. And I thought I had bad penmanship. He said he had Internet access but he wasn't sure if it was modem based using cell technology or a statelite connection. Regardless, internet access in the car is pretty cool.

After receiving my ticket, we were on our way once again. No hard feelings toward the guy. He was doing his job and I was speeding.

I think the last ticket I got was shortly after Ginger and I got married. Our tenth anniversary is approaching so that was a few years ago. We were driving to my Fathers house and I got pulled over between Courtland and Town Creek. I have been told Town Creek is a speed trap but I don't recall ever seeing a police car there. Hopefully I can behave and won't get another ticket for a long long time. And if I can't behave, then maybe I can just be lucky and not get caught.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Happy Birthday
Today is Brianna Baby's 4th birthday. The party starts in 15 minutes. We are having a Princess Party complete with princess cups, princess plates, and princess cake. Brianna is a Princess.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

I am back from vacation. Contrary to what we were told on the phone, our condo did not have Internet access.

Technically it did have Internet access. By this I mean if you plug your modem cable into the phone jack on the wall in the kitchen, and you already have a local ISP. That is not what I expected when I was told they had Internet access.

We stayed in Panama City Beach. Compared to the Destin area, this place is pretty run down. Perhaps I should take that back. The Destin area probably doesn't exist anymore. There is a lot of new construction going on right now. I suspect a year or two out this will be a very nice/new/popular area.

We stayed at a resort called Edge Water. Our room was on the tenth floor of Tower I. There were three towers. The view looked out over a very large lagoon style pool as well as the beach.

I have decided that I prefer staying in a building that is not quite so big. The condo's we normally visit in Fort Walton are just about right. With the bigger resort you have to deal with more people, more cars, etc.

While we were there we played on the beach, and in the pool. We also played mini-golf and rode go-carts. A trip to an arcade was also mandatory so that ski-ball and wac-a-mole could be enjoyed. The guy who came up with the idea for games dispensing tickets to be traded in for trinkets was a genius. He should also be hung.

We have worked out a great plan for riding go-carts. Because the kids are too small to drive we get the two seater carts. The real fun is not in leading but in passing. While racing, as soon as we pass, we move to the outside lane. This allows us to pass 3 or 4 times per laps. The kids love it because there is lots of action. The cars behind us can't figure out what we are doing. Why would anyone leave the line intentionally? The trick is to get back to the inside ASAP so the next car back doesn't pass you also.

We dined at three restaurants while in Panama City Beach. Each night we went out early, about 5:30 pm, to beat the crowds. We were successfull with this strategy as we never had to wait for a table. There was usually a line though be the time we left.

The first was called Sharky's. We sat outside. The food was decent but I didn't really care for the green plastic table. I had a broiled seafood platter that reminded me of butter flavored rubber. The kids had popcorn shrimp. It was very good. Ginger had the seafood alfredo. It was very good. From this I learned while in Rome, eat like the Romans. No more broiled seafood for me. Bring me the fried stuff.

The second night we went to Captain Andersons. This place was recommended to us and was huge. We sat inside here. This time I had the fried seafood platter. This is the obvious choice of someone who doesn't want to make a decision. Jordan had popcorn shrimp again. He was shocked to discover that they still had the tails on them. The tails are a bit crunchy. I thought popcorn shrimp always had the tails removed. Brianna had Mac&Cheese caught fresh in the gulf that very day. The cocktail sauce was very good here. Plenty of horseradish in it.

The third night we visited Pineapple Willies. We dined outside here. The kids both had popcorn shrimp, again with the tails still attached. I had shrimp, fried. Ginger had BBQ ribs.

Night four, back to Sharky's. It was very windy so we chose to eat inside. This time I had the seafood alfredo, the kids had the popcorn shrimp, no tails, and Ginger had the fried seafood platter. We both nearly broke a tooth on a hush puppy.

All of these were definitely tourist traps complete with plastic souvenir cups and beach buckets. Of the three I prefered Captain Anderson's the most and Sharky's the least. I think Ginger's preference was just the opposite. I felt the service, food quality, and atmosphere were all superior at Captain Anderson's.

We stopped at Cracker Barrel on the way home. For reference, I think the service and food quality here were on par with Captain Anderson's. What does that tell you?

I am glad to be home.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Where Am I?
Last year I got a Garmin eTrex Vista GPS. I had borrowed one from a friend in the past. They are pretty cool. To me, it is nothing more than a high tech toy but I guess that is why I bought it.

I also have a cable that allows me to hook the GPS up to my Axim PDA. I have tried to get MS Pocket Streets to work on my Axim with the GPS several times. There is apparrently a problem with this setup. I have actually gotten it to work once out of more than ten tries.

MS Streets and Trips is pretty cool but it doesn't run on a PDA. I have tried it with my laptop but the laptop is very awkward to use will riding in the Miata. The real time positioning is nice though.

I downloaded a demo of Mapopolis (again) for my Axim. I also downed several demo maps. Mapopolis also provides real time positioning. It also allows route selection and provides directions. The directions are displayed on screen on a map with written directions and verbal directions. This application rocks. I will be giving the demo a good workout this week as we do some traveling.

The best thing about the GPS is when Jordan asks how long til we get home I can tell him we are 123.4 miles away with an ETA of 2 hours and 11 minutes.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Life's a Beach
Technically I have been on vacation since about 5:00 pm yesterday. We don't actually leave for the beach til Monday. We are going to Florida. We usually take a trip to Fort Walton Beach Florida the week after Labor Day. This year with Jordan in school we put off the trip til Fall break. Unfortunately the beach we normally visit has been washed into the Gulf of Mexico. We revised our plans and we are now heading to Panama City Florida.

Trip to the Salvage Yard
This morning I visited a couple of local salvage yards. For a song and a dance, I acquired a gas pedal and a replacement plasic instrument cluster bezel for the '72. The gas pedal was just plain missing. The bezel was cracked and had a few pieces missing. I installed the pedal. The instrument cluster will wait. The guy though in the speedo that was attached to it. I don't need it but if the mileage is higher I could swap.

I saw some really trashed '60-66 Chevy trucks and a few '67-72s. I ran into another guy looking for parts for his '71. He said he already had several trucks at home. I got tips from a couple of guys on other yards worth visiting.

The two yards I visited today was choosen simply based the fact that they were opened on Saturday morning. There were a lot of people there. I expected it to be like a ghost town.

We pretty much forgot about the race this weekend and let it slip up on us. There was talk about me and a few of my friends going this year. Oh well, maybe next year. It is close enough that we could leave at 8:00 am, get there in plenty of time for the race and be home in time for dinner.

Dah dah dah.