Monday, August 29, 2005


When was the last time you saw a barber poll? Here is another movie recommendation for you. 'The Man Who Wasn't There." Billy Bob Thorton is in this one. I keep waiting on him to pull out the swing blade. And a great line from it: "Doris and I go to church once a week. Usually on Tueday.... for Bingo."

I had to leave work early to pick up the kids after school. After-school-care had been canceled due to huricane Katrina. At that point it still hadn't rained here. Things are looking bad for New Orleans and Mobile.

I am investigating replacing the intake gasket on the Dodge. According to some of the stuff I have read, not only will this fix the oil burning problem, but it will fix the detonation problem that occurs when using 87 octane. Sounds too good to be true.


Washed the Miata this afternoon. I had two helpers. I discovered the seam on the rear window had become split. This means that even when the top is up, if it is raining, there will be rain in the car.

As is the usual circumstance, I took the car on a short drive Sunday evening. Due to the newly discovered split seam, it started to rain on me. Ok it was only a light sprinkle so I just speed up to keep the rain out. No point in putting the top up. That would cause rain to get into the car. Note to self, find some seam sealer.


Saturday morning I started out by heading out to the farmers market. Two dollars for okra. Then I headed on to Krogers to pick up some corn meal. Krogers didn't have any corn meal so I settled for corn meal mix. I also picked up an onion because I forgot to get one at the market. Two dollars even for the meal and the onion.

I once believed that good fried okra could only be created in a cast iron skillet. I suppose to a purist this is still true, but I have on occassion created a successful batch using a teflon coated skilled. We are talking pan fried okra here, none of that imitation deep fried stuff for me. I generally use a cast iron skillet, but every now and then I like to experiment with the process.

On this particular ocassion I tried two experiments. First I chopped up some onion and fried it along with the okra. Secondly I tried two different preps. A dry toss and a dry toss followed by a little milk. Both create distinctively different results. For best results I cook it on medium slowly. This keeps the amount of grease in the air down and the oil in the pan. The onion was a very nice touch, though next time I will add more onion. Perhaps some potato also. Mmmm.

Now you know my secret. My favorite food is fried okra. My mother-in-law asked me one time what I liked with my fried okra. The answer should have been obvious. More fried okra.

I made a nice pan of corn bread too.

I have no recollection of the remainder of Saturday. Oh yeah, I worked on the GMC. I managed to remove 3 of the four bolts holding the cab on. Two of the three were bent. To further supports my theory that the truck was in a pretty bad accident at some point. I will have to cut or the grind the remaining bolt in half.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Post #423
This evening I filled up the truck. Total cost: $64.50. Feeling I hadn't suffered enough, I came back home and hopped in the Miata to head back to the gas station for another fill up. $27. When I first brought it home, it didn't even take $20 to fill-er-up.

The Dodge has been bouncing during braking. I have been assuming this was due to warped rotors. This evening I removed the tires and checked the rotors. The runout on one was 0.002" and 0.003" on the other. Spec for the rotors afters turning is < 0.004" so I ruled that out as the problem.

After putting the tires back on I took it for a test drive to see if I could pick another possible culprit for the bouncing. It was still there but not as pronouced as before. The problem only occurs while braking so I don't think it is a balance problem.

While I was frustrated that I couldn't figure out what was wrong, I was relieved that the brakes weren't messed up again. Any ideas?

For the record, the rotor check occured before the fill up. The gas station trip occurred during the test drive. By the time I took the Miata out it was dark. The temperature made it a very pleasant night for a drive. I am considering taking another ride early tomorrow morning.

I got an email from John Deaton this week. He is moving back to Alabama. He will be living in Lexington. That is probably about 45 minutes from here. He and I go way back. We met in kindergarten.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I borrowed my engine hoist back from my friend last night. There is a slight chance I will get around to using it this weekend, but I am not counting on it.

At Least it's Paid For
My Dodge is acting up yet again. The brakes cause the truck to bounce when slowing down. There is also an occasional rubbing feeling while driving. My initial suspicion is that one of the brake rotors may be warped. I would guess the front right side.

And lets not forget the truck is still burning oil. And that the cost of gas is sky high and the truck gets 14 MPG on a really good day.

Having said all that, I will now mention the truck is paid for, so there is no payment. And even though it costs close to $60 to fill up, it is still paid for. And even though it burns a quart of oil per thousand miles, it is still paid for. Compared to gas, oil is cheap. At least per 1k miles.

Guess who discovered the text color option on blogger.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Four Stars
Last night we watched one of our NetFlix movies. The movie was The Count of Monte Cristo. This was an excellent movie. I highly recommend it. The writer mentioned the movie did not necessarily follow the book so just because you have read the book is no excuse to pass on the movie. Go rent it now. This one is almost as good as the pirate movie, it practically is a pirate movie. No really! It has pirates in it. Lots of great one liners too. (2 hours 11 minutes)

One great line in the movie is something like "God has nothing to do with it. God is rarely ever in France this time of year." The context is of course what makes it so funny.
HOW To Repair - ABS Light and Brake Light are On

Here I will document a few details of repairing my 1998 Dodge 1500 truck in hope that the information may help others with the same problem.

This evening I installed the new RWAL speed sensor (or ABS speed sensor or differential speed sensor or what ever you want to call it). The sensor mounts on the top of the rear differential on my '98 Dodge 1500 4WD pickup. Installation took about 20 minutes, but give yourself and hour. I had already taken the sensor out once and knew what to expect.

The problem was that the ABS and Brake light on the dash had come on. A little investigating on the internet indicated that this sensor was probably the culprit. My Haynes manual says that this means the ABS is disabled, fortunately the brakes still function, just no anti-lock functionality.

I tried 4 parts stores on Sunday looking for a replace sensor. Finally a mechanic who happened to be in the same store told me I would only be able to get it from the Dodge dealership. I went by the dealership and picked one up this morning. Total cost was about $46. Ouch! I was told I could expect to pay between $150 and $200 dollars to have have dealer fix this problem. I have not attempted to verify those numbers.

The good sensor measured 1.8k ohms between the two pins. The bad sensor measured OPEN or infinite resistance. This is a good test to determine whether the sensor is bad. I believe the MOPAR part number is 1-05014787AA. My truck has an automatic transmission. I believe trucks with a manual transmission use a different part. The dealership should be able to help you determine which part you need.

After hooking up the new sensor the lights all went out. Installation required two metric wrenches. One was a 15 mm. I don't recall the other. To remove the sensor, a nut is removed, the brake line bracket is removed from the bolt and then the bolt is removed from the diff. The sensor then pulls out of the diff. There is an o-ring on the sensor that holds the sensor snug in place. There is a pretty good picture in the brake section (chapter 9) of the Haynes manual for the Dodge truck.

I would recommend removing the part and looking at it before going to get a replacement. The parts stores I went to tried to give me three different incorrect sensors. Fortunately I had already seen what it should look like so I didn't take the wrong part home.

A brief review of the weekend:

Sunday I removed the gas tank from the cab of the '72 GMC. Tomorrow I will probably retrieve the engine hoist in preparation of removing the engine again.

Saturday afternoon we went to G's Uncle Richard's house near Athens. Tubing, water skiing, and jet skiing. Fun was had by all.

Friday evening we attended a Sunday school social.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I have now written and erased todays entry twice. So far it has been focused on my lack of quality sleep. It was not a very interesting topic so I just erased it. x 2.

I had a story I was going to write but guess what, I forgot it. I have a streak going don't I. I believe it probably has something to do with my lack of sleep.

I am looking forward to the weekend. Woohoo.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Which story do you want to read tonight?

1. The More Rocks Story
2. The Ferrari Story
3. The Formula One Story
4. The I Swallowed a Bug Story

While your thinking about that, I will mention that I did not work on the truck tonight. Evan, er, David couldn't come over and play tonight.


Monday, August 15, 2005

I Remembered What I Forgot

My naive friend who will rename mainless, I mean remain nameless, mentioned to me last week that he would appreciate it if I saved all my soft drink can tabs for him. His daughter's class is saving them to donate to cancer victims.

I agreed to save them for him on one condition, that condition being that he Google for "coke can tab urban myth". I received a startled look. I explained that I believed the can tab charity was a myth.

He, who I will now call Evan, because it is spelled similar to Evian, which is a brand of water which everyone knows is niave spelled backwards did the research and discovered the truth. A million pull tabs is worth roughly $300 dollars. Hardly worth the effort. Collecting a million of anything would be a lot of effort.

Armed with the truth, he is still collecting can tabs and so far I have given him three(3). He mentioned the truth to his wife and recommended that she make the teacher aware. So far they have not told the teacher. They don't want to embarass her. "Plus it is really about the kids learning to help others", said Evan. I guess she will figure it out eventually. Perhaps they should try collecting pennies instead. As the link mentions, a million pennies is worth $10,000.

Now to demonstrate how difficult it is to collection a million pennies, I will ask that everyone reading this send me a penny. I will know if you don't send one because I can count to one - the total number of people who have accidentally run across this blog.

I had something else I wanted to say also but I forgot what it was.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

I did a little rock raking today. What's up with that?

Remember the dirt? Of course you do or you haven't been paying attention. There were lots of rocks in the dirt so I have been raking up the rocks. Why? So the mower won't throw them through the window.

I am about 60-70% done with the rock raking. So far I have raked up 5 wheel barrow loads of rocks. These are all smaller than my fist, most are smaller than a golf ball. I had previously spent some time picking up the larger ones. Today as I was working in the hot sun, I asked myself why are you doing this? I did not have a satisfactory answer so I called it a day.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Don't you hate it when you forget what you were going to say?

Axle Grease
Mr. Wallen is blogging again. Maybe. And this entry warrants the addition of a link to the side bar.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Last night we went to open house at the kids school. It was nice out so I drove the Miata. No hint of rain at this point. As we are sitting in Jordans class listening to his teacher, another woman comes in to announce that it is raining and there is a red Miata in the parking lot with its top down. The rain drops were huge. And cold. By the time I got to the car, the passenger compartment was overflowing. I opened the door to let most of the water drain out then I put the top back up. I was completely soaked by the time I got back inside. Later when I got home I had another dilema. Do I leave the car in the garage with the top up so that the top can dry out or do I leave it with the top down so the interior can dry out? I selected top up with the plan to let it dry overnight and the put it down this morning so the interior could dry out today. If it is sunny tomorrow I will park it in drive way.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I mentioned the rocks already?

A few months ago I was at Goodies buying some new shirts and they had Hawaian shirts on sale for $9.99. It has become a bit of a tradition at work to wear a Hawaiian shirt on Fridays, casual day and all. At that price I decided to pick one up and join the casual Friday crew. The shirt I selected is blue with old cars and motor cycles as well as the required palm leaves, etc. I wish I had gotten a couple more. (For the record, G' does not like the shirt.) This is a true story.

Pulled the radiator and core support from the truck tonight. Baby steps.

A friend from work is taking Th and Fri off. He is heading over the Aiken, SC for a long weekend. This is a true story.

Today was the first day back to school for the kids. Second grade for Jordan. Brianna is in preschool again.

Is it Friday yet.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Recap on Today
Laundry, laundry, laundry, and laundry. Dear ole Dad came over for a few hours. Sonic for lunch. (I had a kids meal!) The Scooby Doo movie is on Nick tonight. (TDSDM) Haven't we already watched it a half dozen times?

Mr. Wallen came by this afternoon in his '70 Dodge Charger. I snapped a few pictures. You will not see them here today. Maybe later. He's talking about a new carb. The current one is leaking gasoline.

The ABS and Brake lights came on in the Dodge yesterday. According to the Haynes manual, that means the ABS system failed the powerup self test. The brakes still work, but just not the anti-lock functionality. The plan is go by the auto parts store tomorrow and have them read the failure code. I also need to pick up a spark plug as the #8 cylinder is starting to miss again. And I guess I need to add a little oil because it is all burning up in the #8 cylinder. Check out iMikes blog tomorrow to read about how he is having similar problems. Sorry Mike.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

For The Weekend
G' has split town for the weekend. She went on a women's retreat for the weekend. So I have the kids all to myself for the weekend. What does that mean {for the weekend}? Spoil them rotten all weekend!

Now might be a good time to start planning a camping trip. I could probably manage to get approval pretty easily come Sunday.

For the record, SouthWest flys into Birmingham which is only 1.5 hours away. Are you thinking what I am thinking?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

DM made himself a windscreen for his Miata. It consists of a piece of plexiglass and some tie-wraps. The plexiglass is cut to match the profile of his roll-bar. He says it is still in the experimental stage. He believes it made a noticeable difference but I have been requested to confirm said change.

I do not have a bar on my Miata so I will not be copying his masterpiece any time soon.

Is it Friday yet?
Today my stepfather, Chuck, had his spleen removed. He is currently enjoying the good drugs. Enjoy is probably to strong a word.