Monday, January 31, 2005

Ginger's Tahoe had a flat this morning. I let her drive the truck today and I drove the Miata. After work, I changed the tire on the Tahoe. It has a nail in it. I am glad the Tahoe was at the house when the tire went flat. I would have never been able to change the tire on the side of the road in the dark, much less even find the tire iron!

While outside this evening, I drilled out the final three bolts holding the forward wall of the truck bed onto the bed assembly. This piece along with the wheel well will acompany me to class tomorrow night. Pretty exciting huh?

Ground Hogs day is rapidly approaching.

Jordan says 'Hi'.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Today my friend Creg K. came by to help me disassemble the truck bed. We successfully removed about a dozen bolts. This was no small feat. Some bolts were removed by grinding off the head, others by drilling through the head. Either way, the bolt drops when the head is removed. Perhaps a few more sessions and I will have the bed disassembled. Thanks for the help Creg.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Automobile Obsession
This entry is not about me. Really.

I am watching the Barret-Jackson auction on the Speed channel. I just saw a car sell for 3 million dollars. The car was an Oldsmobile. This one just happened to be 50's vintage concept car (convertible). Wow. It was bought for a car museum in Colorado (Gateway?).

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Hello Dolly, The Sequel
Autobody class again tonight. I removed a dent from a fender using a hammer and dolly. Actually I repaired three dents using three different techniques.

I also put a few dents in a fender. The dent application occurs before the dent removal. The fender started out in pretty good shape. After applying a 2 foot piece of pipe to the fender there were plenty of dents to work out.

It turned out to be easier than I expected, though it will require some effort and practice to become very productive with the techniques.

For the record, the fenders we abused tonight were all off of Fords. I don't think the instructor likes Fords.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Hard Way
I forgot to mention that I removed the bed all by myself. Do you any idea how heavy that thing is? It was not too bad. I used the engine hoist along with some chains and tie down straps. Lifted straight up and set it down on a couple of saw horses. It was a little awkward rolling the hoist while it was holding the bed but it was a lot easier than rounding up a bunch of guys to do it the hard way.

This afternoon I also helped a neighbor move his treadmill upstairs. I am certain that thing weighted over 300 lbs. Three guys, one treadmill, 14 stairs. I told them if they ever moved, to count me out for bringing it back down the stairs.
Scratch and Dent
Today I managed to remove one of the inner fenders from the truck bed. Sounds easy enough. Twelve carriage bolts hold it in place. Eleven had to be removed using either a nut-splitter or a grinding wheel. This fender well will accompany me to auto body class. I will apply a hammer and dolly to it very soon in an attempt to remove some of the dents and dings. The plan is to complete the disassembly of the bed over the next few weekends. I suspect the majority of bolts will cause as much grief as the first dozen.

Final Resting Place
Speaking of beds, I moved the Cherry Bed into Brianna's room yesterday. I was concerned that if it spent much more time in the shop it would get messed up. Brianna was very pleased to get her 'big' bed. It looks a bit silly, a twin size mattress on a full size frame. That will be corrected soon.

May You Live in Interesting Times
I made a trip to B&N tonight to get a book. It is one of Terry Pratchett's from the Disc World series. I started reading the book back in November. At some point I lost it. Ginger thinks perhaps I left it at the hotel in Ashville, NC when we went to visit the Biltmore. I have keep looking around the house to find it but it is no where to be found. I finally decided to accept that it was lost. Thus the trip to get another copy. Top up, heater on. Outside temperature 24 degrees. Inside crazy guy wearing sweatshirt, fleece jacket, and shorts.

The previously unnamed book is "Interesting Times".

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Progress Report
This morning I repaired the brakes on the Dodge truck. Can you believe I made 3 trips to the part store simply for the brakes?

Trip 1: Buy brake pads and cleaner.
Trip 2: drop off rotors to have turned.
Trip 3: Pickup rotors.

Had the rotors not needed to be turned, it would have been only one trip. I made the most of it though. I drove the Miata with the top down and the heater on high. The first trip didn't require a jacket. The temperature dropped so fast today that by the third trip, I had a coat on and the windows up. All before lunch.

The parts store only charges $8.00 per rotor to turn them. They did a good job too. Total parts cost today was less than $40. This included brake pads with a life time warranty. They obviously don't know how hard I am on brakes or they would have never offered to sell me those.

While I was outside shivering, I also removed the bed from the truck. The idea is to get a few panels loose so that I can take them with me to auto body class and beat on them with a hammer. If I spend anytime out there tomorrow I will have the door down and the heater on.

For the first trip out in the Miata today, the temperature was 55 F. On the way back from dinner tonight, the temperature was 29 F. Dinner tonight consisted of a trip to Green Brier's Restaurant for Catfish and hush puppies.

72 GMC

Friday, January 21, 2005

Circle of Life
I have been meaning to mention this for a few weeks now but it keeps slipping my mind. Huntsville recently opened its first traffic circle. Because it is near my house, I drive though it a few times a week. If someone is in the car with me who has not passed through it before, I will usually go around a few times before exiting the circle. Believe it or not, the traffic circle actually has improved traffic flow at this intersection. According to this report, that should not be a surprise. It says roundabouts save lives. You can even watch a video. No peer to peer file sharing please.

For your viewing pleasure, here is another article regarding the traffic circle. I was surprised to see 3 folks listed in it that I know. Mary lived in the house behind us when we lived in West Ridge. David and Todd built our house in West Ridge. That was a few years ago. We are no longer in West Ridge but we are not very far away.

I have even spotted a few armadillo's in the area. Real ones.
I can already tell it will be one of those weekends where I don't get everything done that I intend. I was suppose to get started on the brakes of the Dodge this evening. We have guests so I am inside.

Tomorrow the plan is: 1) brakes, 2) remove bed from GMC, 3) whats wrong with the pressure washer?

Drove home this evening with the top down. Yes, the temp was above 40 so the top was down.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Picasa 2 has been released.
Hello Dolly
Auto body class was tonight. Learned how to use a metal shrinking hammer, dolly, and slapping file. Note to self: Take ear plugs next week.

It's cold outside
and it gets so hot in here... This morning it was 19 degrees with a wind chill of 9. And the top was still up.

Any Bloom County fans out there?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Because it was some soft of holiday, the kids were out of school today. I however had to go to work. This allowed me to drive the Miata on a Monday. Because the wind chill was 19 degrees F, I decided to leave the top up, and just for fun, I put the windows up also. Were is the 40 degree threshold I requested?

Tomorrow is the 2nd installment of the auto body class. Rumor is we will be watching some videos. I am looking forward to the hands on stuff.

The brakes on my Dodge are starting to have that dreaded feel. I suppose I will be changing the brake pads on the front end this weekend. There goes my plans to replace the transmission seals on the GM. The last brake job on the Dodge ran about $200. I recall that this will be the third brake job on the truck. The first occurred very early in its life (around than 10k miles) due to some problem which I don't recall. The second and third were simply due to the fact that it is a large heavy truck and I have a lead foot. The truck has somewhere around 65k miles, if memory serves me correctly.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Useless Information

I heard an interesting statistic which got me curious about how life expectancy has changed over the last 500 years. Here are some numbers.

Life Expectancy (USA):
born in 2000 77.0 years (source)
born in 1900 47.3 years (source)

France 1800, ~30 years (source)
UK 1800, 36 years (source)
Ireland 1800, 19 years (source)

In 1830 the average life expectancy for factory workers in Bolton (England) was only 17 years. {Due to sanitation conditions} (source)

London, early 1700's, more than 74% of children died before reaching the age of 5. (source)

France 1600's, 20 years - only 58% reached 15 years of age (source)

All this said, a low life expectancy number does not seem to be an indication of how long people lived so much as it indicates the child mortality rate.

Aristocracy in England, from the 1200's - 1700's lived to approximately 64 years of age, assuming they lived to their 21th birthday. (source)

What was the point of all that? There was none.

And just to let you know that the world may not necessarily be going to hell in a handbasket, "For every person murdered today, it is thought that ten were murdered in the Middle Ages. The murder rate has halved in the past two hundred years." (source, #1387)

The last source had many interesting facts. Becareful following that link. You could easily kill (no pun intended) an hour reading more useless trivia.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Summer Time Blues
The Miata hasn't gotten much road time in the past couple of weeks. I drove it Tuesday even though it was raining. On Thursday, which is normally a Miata day, I had pickup duty at school, so the Miata stayed home. Last week was pretty similar, one trip to work a possibly a errand or two on the weekend. I think last weekends errand list was composed solely of me driving it to the gas station simply to fill'er up. I hope the entire winter doesn't go like this. On the bright side, spring is just a few months away. Expect to see me out with the top down on the first clear day with a temperature above 40.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

TH350 Transmission Vent
I have a hole in top of my transmission. Yes, the Turbo 350 in the '72. The hole is on the driver side, behind bell housing near the top. There is suppose to be a short tube sticking out of the hole call something like a vent tube. Why is mine missing? I don't know. Does it really matter. Probably not to much if you stay out of the deep water. Why do I care? I want to pressure wash the transmission before I re-install it. The vent tube will keep water from going into the vent hole. Water is not the friend of a transmissions guts.

My auto parts store can't find a part number. I don't really want to go the Chevrolet dealer ship. I would prefer to keep all four of my limbs. I suppose I could hit a salvage yard, but that is not a convienent solution. It may become the solution though.

Perhaps a little duct tape and being careful not to aim directly at the vent hole. Maybe I should get some of that colored duct tape. I am thinking a nice dark red would do nicely.

That is all.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

It's A Small World After All
Started the auto body class last night. I am pretty excited about it. There are about a dozen guys in the class. Most of them are working on older vehicles: Mustangs, Cameros, 280Zs, Impalas, '32 Fords, and even a few trucks.

Mr. Rice, the instructor is a very interesting guy. It seemed odd calling him Mr. Rice since he was several years younger than myself. He collects and restores old gas pumps, coke machines, and other similar stuff.

I know 3 of the guys in the class. At lunch today I ran into another one of them who I just met last night.

Shop time at home on Tuesday nights will pretty much disappear for the next 15 weeks. I will have to work smarter/faster on the weekends if I want to have the truck running soon.

And speaking of trucks, I put two quarts of oil in the Dodge this morning. It appears to be using about a quart per thousand miles. No smoke, no drips, no detectable leaks.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Top 20, er, 19 Search Hits On My Web Site This Month far.

1 - 1961 chevy pickup
2 - noticable windshield chip
3 - oh yes wyoming
4 - theres a little black spot on the sun today
5 - 69 chevy step side
6 - auburn car tags
7 - calories in a can of coke
8 - chevy model 1928
9 - freezing temperature of dr. pepper
10 - golden pecan chest of drawers
11 - how to dismantle an atomic bomb song leaks
12 - l6278
13 - l6278 ic
14 - lyrics oh yes wyoming
15 - obsession truck
16 - oh yes wyoming lyrics
17 - pimp my ride season 2 acura
18 - tool cabinet guild
19 - vigor
I am Sorry Dave, I cannot let you do that
The HAL 9000 AI comment sensoring tool has been disabled.

I had forgotten about the hoops I had jumped though to get comments to work in the first place. So now 2005 should work. While I was at it I went ahead and fixed 2006 also. That pretty much guarrantees the computer will crash this year. Fortunately Blogger is backing up my web archive and Google has my homepage cached. I suppose I will miss all the images, but lazyness comes at a cost and I have found the price I am willing to pay.

And as a reminder to myself, I got the comments to work by adding a symbolic link from the web home to the blog account.

ln -s /home/blogger/2005 2005

And now life is good again. You can now post your pithy comments.

Tomorrow is the beginning of auto body shop class. Note to self - I need a mullet.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

And finally, this evening I made a quick trip to the gas station to fill up the tank on the Miata. It was mostly empty and I don't like having to stop on the way to work in the mornings. Traffic is bad enough without having to fight for a fuel pump. The drive was chilly with the top down but well worth the chill. I took a couple of back roads I don't normally take because I figured the traffic would be lighter and I would enjoy the drive a little bit more. It was nice. I was wearing my long sleeve yellow t-shirt, shorts, Auburn cap, and gloves. I took the gloves off once I got to the station. I didn't won't to look any goofier than normal.

While fueling up, I asked the guy at the next pump if I could look under his truck. He thought that was an odd request but said sure. I told him what I was up to and took a quick peek. I still haven't found what I am looking for. I was trying to figure out what is suppose to be hooked up to a hole on the top driver side of my TH350 transmission. There was nothing there when I dropped the transmission, but that doesn't mean there isn't something missing. When I crawled out from under the truck, the guy asked me if I had it figured out. Nope I couldn't see it because the truck was so low and unfortunately I hadn't brought a jack and jack stands. He seemed amused. Not very often you get to see someone crawl under a car in a gas station parking lot. Especially when it is not their car. He made a few guesses: vacuum line or kickdown cable. I already know where the transmission fluid lines connect which run to the radiator. I also know where the throttle velocity (TV) cable connects and where the vacuum line connects to the vacuum modulator. At this point I even remember that the other end of the vacuum line connects to the intake manifold, not the carb. What I don't know is what the extra hole is for.
Last summer I wrote a short story about a recent camping trip I had been on. I intended to post it but I wanted to proof read it, spell check it, and add a few photos. I never got around to it and now it is just sitting on my harddrive suffering from bit-rot.

In November I started writing a short story about my search for a 1960's vintage Chevrolet pickup truck. I wrote it but I didn't post it because I wanted to proof read it, spell check it, and add a few pictures.

In November I also begin writing a 67-72 Chevy truck spotters guide. I got an outline written and collected a few photos but as usual I never finished it.

Last week I did some research on the C++ Standard Library's auto_ptr. I made a few notes with the intentions of writing a brief paper. During the research process, I made a few discoveries, things the average std::auto_ptr<> user is probably not aware of. I never got around to writing it all down though it is still rattling around in my head. At least for a little white.

If your interested in any of this nonsense, let me know and I will post the rough copy. Obviously, they will never be finished.
Weekend truck update: Yesterday the push rods got adjusted, the intake manifold installed, and the block got a coat of shiny black paint. No progress to report for today.

Upcoming plans. Body shop class starts on Tuesday. As you have probably figured out by now, I did not get it running by the end of November, or the beginning of the new year. When?

Next step: clean up the transmission and then bolt together the long block, flex plate, torque converter, and TH350.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Ask and Ye Shall Receive, Seek and Ye Shall Find
I few days back I wondered aloud about the cost of having the transmission fluid and filter changed at Express Oil. My Father provided me with the anwser from a receipt dated September 7, 2004. The answer is $44.72. Just over 3 times the cost of doing it yourself. I suspect most folks would rather pay than have transmission fluid all over the garage floor. Even though it is messy, it has a very pleasant color.

Weather Update
Today's weather was Miata, top up all day.

Code like the wind.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

We have a Situation
Today I got the official call. The auto body class starts on Tuesday night and I am officially enrolled.

Weather Forecast
Tomorrow it will be mostly Miata with an 20% chance of top down, temperatures expecting to remain in the mid 50's through out the day.

For the weekend, there will be a 50% percent chance of Miata on Saturday, with an 80% chance of top down, the afternoon high is expected to reach 60 degrees.

The extended outlook for Sunday is a small chance of Miata in the late afternoon with a 90% chance of top down. The temperature will be in the mid to high 60's.

I am Rick Martindale and I am proud to annouce I used Blogger to spell check this entry.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Well Ain't That Sweet
Auburn beat Virgina Tech in the Sugar Bowl. That gives AU a record 13-0 season. That might be good enough for a 3rd place finish this year.

USC is currently walking on Oklahoma. And when it is all said and done the #2 team will lose. And undefeated Auburn (13-0) will hopefully be able to hold on the #3 spot.

Begin Transmission
David M. and I opened up the transmission tonight. I wanted to change the fluid and filter before it went back into the truck. Total parts cost: Less than $13. I wonder how much Express Oil charges for that service.
[End Transmission.]

Monday, January 03, 2005

It is a Good Day to Die, and the Day is Not Yet Over
According to SlashDot, Tivo has decided to let me export my favorite shows to my computer, and watch them.

Auburn is playing in the Sugar Bowl and is currently ahead 6-0.

And Babel Fish is once again entertaining simple minds.

Hello to Wade T. Good to hear from you.

And finally the Christmas tree is being dismantled. That is everything I have to say about that.

May all your doors be plumb and square.

My name is Rick Martindale and I proudly do not censor your comments here.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Christmas on New Years went very smoothly. I got the opportunity to play soccer and kickball with Jordan, my sister, her boyfriend, and my nephews. Fun was had by all.

This afternoon the heads for the engine got cleaned. I got one installed with the head bolts hand tightened. I ran out of thread sealer so I didn't get the second one on. After cleaning up, Jordan and I had a quick trip to the store to pick up some more sealer. I am ready to install the other head once another opportunity avails itself.

After the heads are installed, the intake manifold is next. At that point I think It will be time to take a look at the transmission. My task list for the transmission is limited to replacing the filter, gasket, and fluid. I wonder if I will get around to that this month.