Thursday, November 27, 2008

A few days ago while watching a movie, I commented that I don't recall ever seeing a film with Morgan Freeman that wasn't good.

Today I read that they are bringing back "The Electric Company" on PBS in January.

Like I said before, can you think of anything Morgan Freeman was in that wasn't good.

(Sure, your going to mention that movie, but for the record, I haven't seen it.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Big One that Got Away

I spent the last week watching a local car on Ebay. The car was a 1968 Corvette convertible. I was very tempted to buy this car. I contacted the seller last Thursday and arranged to look at the car on Saturday.

This car was very sound mechanically and it looked pretty good from about 10 feet back. Did I mention I was tempted. After giving the car a good look over I went home to sleep on it.

I eventually decided to let it pass. While the price was right, there were just too many little things that it needed. All these little things could add up to many-many weekends of work (and a empty wallet). I don't need another project right now. I already have a few.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Goals and Procrastination

My goal for today was to write two papers for school. Having gotten one out of the way I decided to take a short break before finishing the other paper.

I decided I would use my break to do a little home maintenance (one of the toilets was stopped up). Now your thinking someone must really be wanting to avoid writing the next paper to tackle a glorious job like unplugging a toilet.

A mere three hours later after completely taking the thing apart, putting it back together, a trip to home depot, and taking the thing apart and putting it back together again, it was working. The entire episode was also a comedy of errors. Fortunately for me, know one was around with a video camera.

Guess what stopped it up? I little plastic Dixie cup. I have not idea how it got in there and at this point I don't want to know.

Now it is time to work on that other paper. What a glorious day it has been.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More Interesting Bits About Diagnosing A Tractor's Electrical System

I somehow managed to forget to post the follow up on the tractor. Until now. Lucky you!

Testing the alternator determined it was good (as was probably the voltage regulator). It turned out one of the wires to the regulator was bad. Upon close inspected it appeared to be smashed. It turns out it had melted. (Can you say "too much current"?). I ended up unwrapping the wiring harness and replacing a section of wire that had been melted. After wrapping it all back up, we jumped the tractor off a car (because the battery was dead). The tractor cranked and ran fine. White it was running I used my voltage meter to measure the alternator output and the battery voltage. The alternator output was fine and the battery was charging.

Using my twenty/twenty hindsight, it makes perfect since that a wire was bad.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

1972 GMC Frame Pictures

Here are a few picture of the 1972 GMC pickup frame. This has been a very slow process. A few years back I bought a truck to restore. First I completely disassembled it. The frame has been sandblasted and painted along with all the suspension and steering components. These pictures were taken before the front wheels were back in place.

This first picture is where the trailing arms connect to a cross member. The differential is mounted to the other end of the trailing arms.

This is picture of the entire assembly. Finally I can see my progress.

Here we see the trailing arms again, this time showing their attachment to the differential.

Looking down the length of the frame from just above the second cross member. The cross member you can see is blocking the view of the trailing arms and the differential. My '06 Dodge Charger is trying to hide behind the rear tire.

The front end of the frame. The first cross member will be below the radiator. The second is below the engine and was quite heavy.

The rear view of the differential. The truck originally had leaf spring suspension. I am in the process of completing the conversion to trailing arm suspension.

This is the front suspension, passenger side. Shown here are the upper and lower A-arms along with the coil spring and the spindle. I mounted the brake rotors on the spindles today and put the tires on the front end.

GMC Progress

This afternoon I put the front wheels on the '72. There was actually more to it than that, but visually that is what you would notice. Also included was the installation of the brake rotors, inner and outer bearings, and other miscellaneous foo foo.

Wood Working SkillZ

Saturday's adventure was hardly as glorious. I re-sawed and planed a few pieces of scrape pine that were originally destined for the refuse bin.

The wood was actually 8 pieces of 2x4, each about 14 inches long. Really too short to be useful. (Unless one decided to make some small boxes to practice making dovetail joints.) I have certainly got a fair amount of use out of these boards. Their last use was as part of a large dolly I built to move the truck frame around on before it had its wheels back on. I recall at that point I was recycling the wood from another project though I don't recall exactly what it was at this point. Not that it matters, but I certainly felt good about using the pieces of that 2x4 three different times on three different projects.

After many past attempts, I did finally manage to get the band saw tuned up sufficiently to re-saw the wood without any wander of the blade. The solution was so simple, I can't believe I hadn't spotted it before. (One of the blade guides was misaligned.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

2007-2008 F1 Championship

This weekend was the final race in the 2008 Formula One World Championship.  The race held in Sao Paulo Brasil was on Speed at 11:30 AM central.  Per our normal modeus operandi,  we Tivo'ed the race to watch it that evening.
Middle of the afternoon I was online reading the news and I accidentally saw a headline stating who won the championship.  Bummer dude!  The headline stated that Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) won the championship.  I had been pulling for Felipe Massa (Ferrari) all season so I was disappointed.  Going into the final race, Lewis was ahead of Massa by 7 (or was it 5) points.  This meant Lewis needed to finish in the top 4 cars to win the season.  Massa needed to finish first with Lewis outside of the top 4 to win. 
The race turned out to be a thriller.  Even though I knew how the season would end, I didn't know the results of the race. 
Massa started from pole and maintained the lead most of the race, but that wasn't enough.  The race was actually decided in the final turn of the final lap when Timo Glock (Toyota) slowed down due to the rain and not having the correct tires.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing, nor could the folks in the Ferrari garage on TV.
This season was absolutely the most exciting season for F1 since I have started watching.  (Though I would like to see Michael Schumacher come out of retirement.)   Alonso who was stagnant most of the season, was showing his skill toward the end of the season.  Kimi Raikkonen who I thought would win his second championship this year showed he was a team player (and that he could smile).  Kubica showed his skill as well as a promise to be a future F1 champion.  
This year also marked the final season for David Coulthard and possibly for Rubens Barrichello.  We also saw the demise of the Super Aguri team.
Next season should be exciting (if the FIA doesn't mess it up with more stupid rules).  Maybe next year will be Felipe's year.  And maybe we will see F1 return to the United States in 2010!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

This weekend Capn. Dan became a grandfather again. As I predicted, the baby and Danny both share several common family traits. Neither have any hair and they both drool a lot. Congratulations Danny.

For your viewing pleasure, here is a picture of the new baby Sean Connery Steve Jobs Danny. Note he is not drooling in this photo.

The End

Sorry iMike, I hate to be the one to break the news to you but the old truck has found a new home. Here is a final picture of Jordan at the wheel of the 1925 Chevrolet Superior Series K truck. (This is the vehicle he learned to use a clutch on.)

And here is a picture of the new caretaker loading it up to take it to its new home in Fort Payne Alabama.

Trick or Treat

Here is a picture of my neighbor Brian with the saw blade in place. He was going for a Norm Abrams "New Yankee Workshop" zombie look complete with flannel. It wasn't until I looked at the photo this evening that I noticed he didn't put on the beard. Proabably too much effort. The over all look was well done though.

Tractor Mechanic

As a graduate of Auburn University, people believe I should know how to repair a tractor. Unfortunately I never took an AG classes so I missed out on John Deere Repair 101.

My neighbor asked me to take a look a this tractor (a YANMAR 1500) with him. The first symptom was a dead battery. Sometimes a dead battery is just a dead battery. Other times it is a problem with part of the electrical system. In this case, the problem was not just the battery. After doing some research online, I took some voltage measurements on the tractor. Based on the numbers, it appeared the alternator was generating sufficient voltage but the regulator was not working. We replaced the regulator but things were still no go. At this point the alternators output had dropped from about 18 volts to about 9. This was a bit of a mystery to me. The best I can figure out, the regulator input was "open" so alternator appeared to be working. Once the regulator was replaced, it put a load on the alternator causing the alternators output under load to drop to 9 volts.

What are the odds both the alternator and the regulator were bad? Not very high if you ask me, but the original symptoms pointed to the regulator not the alternator. Obviously now, the alternator is the problem. Hopefully we will get Coy's tractor running again this week. And then I can take it out for a test drive.