Saturday, August 26, 2006

So Far, So Good

Terry rolled in yesterday afternoon. She arrived early enough to have the Mustang's windows tinted on Friday. She went with the darkest legal tint, as had I. The tinted windows on the Mustang were a nice touch. She also had a dark strip put across the top of the windshield. I have been considering doing this on the Miata but was concerned that it might obstruct my line of sight. After sitting in her car I have decided it would not be a problem. The darker tint used for this strip is not as opaque as I thought it might be. Assuming I do it, I will probably limit it to 5" instead of the 6" maximum allowed by law.

In celebration of this weekends F1 race, Jordan coerced me into setting up the slot car track. It was out less than a total of 9 hours. One of the cars had an internal gear damaged so I decided to put it away before anything else happened. Only one broken piece per session is my motto.

Last week, they announced the date for next years F1 race at Indy: June 17 2007. This is good news as there was some concern that the race would not be held at Indy next year.

My Father also came up to spend the day with us. I tried to convince him he needed a '69 Karmann Ghia. I don't think he bought it.

We all made the trek out to Green Brier for lunch. Greasy hush puppies were enjoyed by all. And squirrel ice cream.

Ginger pointed out this evening that Auburn Football starts next weekend. That means Fall is just around the corner.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

After a three week break, there will finally be another F1 race to watch this weekend. The kids have been asking about getting out the slot car set so we can have a race of our own.

Also this weekend, my sister (say "see-stir") Terry will be coming to visit. She is planning on getting the windows on her Mustang tinted while she is here. I was very pleased with how the windows on the charger turned out. Hopefully her's will turn out as well.
Fall 2006

Another semister started yesterday. I had my first class last night. In this class, a math class by the way, we proved that if 2x+4=8 then x=2. Not by solving the equation though, but as a mathematical proof. At one point I asked myself, why would you want to do that?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Saturday mornings activities involved a hair cut and a trip to Home Depot. In transit from the barbershop to the HD, I spotted a car show in the parking lot of Best Buy.

I met a guy named Randy with a whole bunch of orphaned cars. He was in a Packard Patrician. Here is his web site.

He told me about the site for the North Alabama Region (NAR) of the Antique Automobile Club of America (ACAA). Here is their site. It contains a list of upcoming local car shows.
Suspended Animation

I made a little more progress on the truck suspension today. I removed the ball joints from the lower A-arms. These are pressed in and required a bit of force to remove. Of course there is a speciality tool to remove and install them.

Next step: Remove the 8 struck bolts from the end of the control arms. Yes, eight stuck bolts. After this, it's almost all down hill. A little degreasing, some sand blasting, some painting, and then the front end suspension can be re-assembled. That was half of my goal for this summer. It seems I am behind schedule. Ce la vie.

The total goal envolved the rear suspension as well.

I took a ride in the '66 Mustang convertible today. About 15 minutes into it, it began to rain. Eventually the sky cleared up. It rides very nicely for a 40 year old car. Compared to the Miata, it has a lot of interior space. Fun ride.
The Punch Line

Cheetahs never win.

Surely there is a joke to go along with this. I checked the net, but couldn't find any obvious links.

Do your worst!
I am now using 46 of 2756 MB in my Gmail account.

It doesn't seem like very long ago I had a 40 MB harddrive and it was the envy of my friends.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

It's All Good

After much frustration, grimacing, and a little upper body soreness, I have finally seperated the lower ball joints on the truck suspension.

I tried making the specialilty tool shown in the shop manual. I could not apply enough force to make it work. Actually I started to strip the threads on the 3/4" bolt so I gave up.

I had applied penetrating oil to the joint several times over the last week.

Today I heated the joints with a propane touch and then violently tapped on the bolt until the joint released. Unfortunately the threads were mamed. I had to file the deformed end of the bolt so that it would fit through the hole. A few minutes with a file and all was good.

Next: Press the ball joints out of the lower A-arms and perhaps a little more de-greasing.

My neighbor Brian got back from New York today. He had flown up there to pick up a car he had bought on E-Bay. After two days of driving he arrived back home. The car is a 1966 Mustang convertible.

I offered to buy it from him. He graciously declined.

Oh yeah, he named his car Vanity.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Some serious effort went into this. I want to see Vertigo next.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Just finished watching Phantom of the Opera. Good movie. Too bad I can never remember which Lloyd is which. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Suspension And Steering

Today and yesterday I applied a little time and effort toward disassembling the front steering and suspension components. I spent a lot of time tapping a ball joint separator with a hammer. I also applied a lot of penetrating oil (Not WD-40) to stuck nuts and bolts.

I managed to separate all the ball joints but two, the lower ball joint on the lower a-arm on boths side of the truck. Why not these? My separator is 3/4" and these need one that is roughly an inch, maybe 15/16" or even 7/8"s but definintely not 3/4".

It is amazing how greasy, grimy, grungy these pieces are. I thought I was done with most of the grim when I finished up the engine. Nope.

I got the top a-arm removed, pulled the rotors, removed the wheel bearings, etc.

I have also looked up which piece the pitman arm is. And the idler arm. And a couple other necessary for steering type pieces. And then I prompty did _not_ commit them to memory because it doesn't really matter. Actually I was afraid if I tried to remember which piece was which I might forget my name or telephone number or some other useful piece of information.

Now I have to ask you a grammar question. Is it bad form to end a sentence with the word is or are? Assuming it is, re-write the following sentence:

It is amazing how greasy, grimy, grungy these pieces are.

(You will receive extra credit for correctly diagraming the sentence.)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Please Forward To Wendy

Stop me if you have heard this one before.

The leopard, dog and cockatoo

A wealthy man decided to go on a safari in Africa. He took his faithful pet dog along for company. One day the dog starts chasing butterflies and before long he discovers that he is lost. So, wandering about he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the obvious intention of having lunch.

The dog thinks, "Boy, I'm in deep doo doo now."

Then he noticed some bones on the ground close by, and immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat.

Just as the leopard is about to leap, the dog exclaims loudly, "Man, that was one delicious leopard. I wonder if there are any more around here?"

Hearing this the leopard halts his attack in mid stride, as a look of terror comes over him, and slinks away into the trees. "Whew", says the leopard. "That was close. That dog nearly had me."

Meanwhile, a cockatoo who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard. So, off he goes.

But the dog saw him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figured that something must be up.

The cockatoo soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.

The cat is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here cockatoo, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine."

Now the dog sees the leopard coming with the cockatoo on his back, and thinks," What am I going to do now?"

But instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers pretending he hasn't seen them yet.

And just when they get close enough to hear, the dog says, "Where's that cockatoo. I just can never trust him. I sent him off half an hour ago to bring me another leopard, and he's still not back!!"

Originally the cockatoo was a monkey, but the part was re-cast for reasons to difficult to explain.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Oil Change Time

The Charger now has just under 3000 miles on it. Time for an oil change.

On April 4, 2006 I got the new 2006 Charger. It already had 450 miles on it when I got it.

The car was built in June of 2005 so perhaps the oil needed to be changed when I got it. Some folks recommend every 3000 miles or 6 months. Six months had definitely been exceeded.

Since I got the car, I have been considering using Mobile 1 in it. But first a little research was required. Having done the research, I believe that Mobile 1 provides superior engine protection but I was unable to convince myself it was worth the additional cost.

Roughly speaking, the synthetic oil was going to double the cost of the oil change.

From what I had read, the oil has an extended life, but Mobil recommends not exceeding the maximum change duration recommended by the car manufacturer. The typical schedule for my car is every 3k miles but for non severe driving conditions you can go every 6k miles. Per Mobil, I could go 6k miles between change.

(Aside: Per the description, there is really no such thing as non-harsh driving conditions. Less than 10 mile trips are considered harsh. Driving above 50 mph more than 50% of the time is considered harsh.)

While reading up on the subject, I read a story about a guy was driving 16k miles between oil changes with Mobil 1. Amazing. While my car is under warranty, I will not be trying that.

What is the decision? Nothing for now. I went ahead and used regular oil. I will continue to evaluate this decision.


The Charger's manual says the 5.7L Hemi requires 7 quarts of oil. It only took 6 quarts to fill it back up. After letting it set for a few minutes it was still full. After 10 miles of harsh driving conditions, it is still full. Is 7 a typo? I talked to a guy at Express Oil. He said his computer says 6 quarts. Perhaps it was a typo.

Seven is definitely an odd number.
Today I stayed home from work. Unfortunately I am not really able to enjoy the time. I either have a virus or ate something that disagreed with me yesterday. I feel like I am being turned inside out. Too much information? Sorry.
Thursday was hot. At least until the storms rolled through in the middle of the afternoon.

My plan was to go home an perhaps do a little bit of sandblasting in the driveway. The rain put an end to that plan. What to do?

The storm had caused the temperature to drop down into the 80's. I had to make good use of this time. I finally decided I tackle disassembly of the rear end. The first task was removing the leaf springs from the axle. And the shocks. I started out using a breaker bar and then switched to the air wrench once they bolts got moving. This little exercise had me worn out. I will be sore for sure.

Next I began taking part of the front end suspension apart. As you may know, it had been removed from the truck, but it was still all bolted together. The goal was to separate the upper A-arm, lower A-arm, spindle, brake caliper, and brake disc. The left side had to be disconnected from the right side. They were connected by the steering bar thingy. Is this called the tie rod? I don't know. I will look it up later. After getting the caliper removed, the assembly was light enough (ha!) to pick up and put on a table. This stuff is always easier to work with on top of a bench. I tried picking it up before removing the caliper. I could pick it up, but not enough to put it on the table. At this point I sprayed all the bolts with penetrating oil and did a little shop cleanup. Time to go inside and prepare dinner.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It occurred to me today that I haven't had any internet access problems in a while. It seems like for a while there it was a daily occurrence. Knock on wood.

Last night I took my final for the education class I took this summer. I should know what I made in a few days. I think I was borderline A/B. Expecting the worst, hoping for the best.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

To Make a Long Story Short

Yesterday we spent the day at Guntersville lake. Grilling, swimming, boating, jet ski'ing, and tubing.

This afternoon I painted the motor mounts for the truck. I used Eastwood Chassis black paint. Looks good so far.

Todays Hungarian Grand Prix was a really good race, though the results were rather unexpected.

This evening I took a little ride in my red Ferrari Barchetta, er, Mazda Miata.

I strip away the old debris
That hides a shining car
A brilliant red Barchetta
From a better vanished time
I fire up the willing engine
Responding with a roar
Tires spitting gravel
I commit my weekly crime

(from "Red Barchetta" , Rush, Moving Pictures, 1981)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

How to Dismantle An ...

Well I finally broke down and got a portable MP3 player. Yep. I got a 1G Sandisk Sansa. So far I am very happy with it. Cost: just under $60. I suppose I could have waited another 3 or 4 months and got one with 8x memory at half the cost, but so what. With 1G of space I put 12 albums on it and had 268M left. Reasonable.

The sound is pretty good. Yesterday I was listening to ...Atomic Bomb on it and I heard a guitar part I had never heard before. Pretty good sound. And that was using a mediocre pair of head phones.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sunday I acquired a small blast cabinet from the local HF store. This thing has exceeded my expectations.

It sure is nice to be able to sand blast an object without having to put on goggles, a face shield, a respiratator, a hood, and hearing protection. I do wear the hearing protection because the compressor makes a lot of noise.

Hopefully I will have the time and motivation this weekend to put this thing to use.