Sunday, April 29, 2018

Spring Blooms

I am NOT a "Nature Photographer" by any means. I tend to be more of a "Technical Photographer" who tries to record things mechanical and electrical for posterity and/or understanding.'s what's been happening the last couple of days. I can't believe how fast these various trees and plants exploded in the last few days.

Here's our crab apple tree in the backyard.

It's prettier than this, depending on how the light hits it.

"My" maple tree in the front yard is doing well. It was just dying down from it's fall colors when we first looked at the house, so my wife never got to see a maple in full regalia.

We still don't know what these are. Guess we'll find out when they bloom.

And the same goes with these by the side of the garage.

I thought these were weeds, and then they surprised my yesterday with flowers!

And even the little 'rogue' pine tree is getting into the act with little future pine cones appearing.

All over the neighborhood things are blooming and growing like crazy. We're supposed to get some rain about mid-week, so things will really get going.

My wife is really enjoying spring here. She'll probably be breathless when fall hits, and everything turns.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Cap and Rotor Time

Since one of the priorities in this project is to take care of deferred maintenance items, I thought I'd start with the ignition system. It's easy to get at, and relatively easy to work on.

The cap is held on by three hex head screws that also have a full-width slot, and a Phillips head drive. I have no idea when the cap was last changed, but holy smokes were the screws ever tight. I tried a Phillips head, and could only get the top one loose, so then I tried a big flat blade. Barely any better, so I got out an 8mm nut driver. No dice, couldn't get a decent grip on the handle, so I broke out the 1/4" drive socket set, and busted the other two screws loose.

And then I had to get out a soft hammer, and tap the cap to get it loose from the distributor housing.

The cap isn't the worst one I've seen (or used..), but it was really stuck on the housing by some corrosion.

The inside of the housing is fairly clean, and I'll be really gentle cleaning it, as these things are a bit delicate, and expensive to replace. You can see the corrosion on the right side of the housing. There are two "Reluctor Pickups" in this distributor. The one with two "lobes" tells the Engine Control Computer that the crank has made one revolution, and the one deeper inside with all the teeth gives the ECC much more precise information.

NEVER disturb the pick-up coils or the spacing to the teeth unless you know what you're doing and have the shop manual.

And the hold down clamp doesn't look like it's ever been loosened.

The rotor looks really weird, and I can't recall ever seeing one with this pattern of discoloration on it. It's all mottled and a bit 'sooty' looking, but shows no signs of cracks or carbon tracking, and the car idled as smooth as silk. The parts are pretty dirty and worn, but they were still working. Just gotta love that Toyota reliability, although I'm sure WSF might disagree.

I think it's made of the carbon button contact in the cap, and other "stuff" like oil vapor and humidity that gets in through the vented cap. There's a baffle on the outside of the cap that covers the vent hole, but stuff still gets in, and over time, it looks like a lot got in.

I have no idea when the cap and rotor were last changed. I put a new set of plugs in her the first time it failed smog, but that's all I did to the ignition system.

Looking at the plug wires reveals a manufacturing date code of 2003, 15 years ago.

Looks like I'm off to Rock Auto to order a set of plug wires, as nobody local carries them.

I might very well have the only functional, road-worthy MKII Supra in the area.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

New Post "In Work"

But since I've been posting a lot more lately I thought I'd do a quickie....

Spent the day waging Chemical Warfare on the back yard. Holy Moley did the weeds ever explode the last two weeks. We have concrete edging in the back yard along the fence and house, and between the edging and the lawn is an area filled with what I call "River Rock". The rock is quite possibly grown and harvested locally, and is most likely from the Cache Le Poudre river. With the rain and warm weather we've had, all the seeds that had blown in all year took root, and BOOM!

I mean I like a green yard, but I prefer it to be all GRASS!

So I loaded up two gallons of RoundUp 365 in the sprayer, and commenced firing.

Was able to give ALL of the rock area a good spraying, and then went after the rogues in the lawn. We have some YUGE bare spots, and the local chapter of "The Brotherhood of Weeds of Opportunity" gang tried to grab and hold a little turf.

I took out the Big Ones in a Decapitation Strike, and I'll continue mopping up tomorrow with an Air Strike, but this time loaded up with Agent Weed-and-Feed. This should knock out the remaining cells of The Gang, and give a good dose of support to our allies in the lawn who are valiantly trying stage a come back.

Not sure what this little bush is, but it brightens up the backyard, so we left it. Our neighbor has a big one in her front yard, and it's quite pretty. This poor little guy has been neglected, and is pretty sparse.

Oh, and I've spending one to several hours a night cleaning the paint on the Supra. I'm using Meguiar's "Professional Quik Detailer" spray and a very fine Scotch-Brite pad. The spray is what normally gets used with a clay bar to clean the finish, but the paint is so bad, aint no way, no how that a clay bar treatment will get the "stuff" off, so I dug out some of the very fine Scotch-Brite pads I have, mounted one to a flexible sanding block, and had at it.

The paint is coming out smooth, "flattened", and best of all, pretty clean. Some of it came back stunningly good, although it's not shiny yet, due to the myriad of "micro-scratches" in the paint which refract the light far better than they reflect it.

This is the left front fender flare. It's not dirty. It's been washed. All the discoloration is IN the paint; i.e. the paint is stained. It looks much worse in person due to the way the extremely dirty surface reflects light. Pretty "nonspecular" and FUGLY!

This is the right front fender flare after scrubbing. It was actually worse than the driver's side.

The stains are 95% removed. And while the top picture shows signs of a shine coming back, it looks much different in person. The surface is clean, and reflects light much better now that it's been "flattened" (i.e. leveled out), but it looks "soft" and not "shiny" because of the "Billions and Billions" of small scratches in the surface which scatter the light at many different angles.

At least it appears to be pretty much all-one-color now, a far cry from the dirty, splotchy, neglected car she was "As Delivered". The Bill of Lading said it best under the "Comments" section filled in by the driver: "Car extremely dirty 360".

Pretty much described her.

I have the hood, roof, hatch, and most of the right side done. When I'm satisfied the right side is acceptable, I'll open the door and clean the door jambs and lube the hinges.

And I'll continue around the car until all of the exterior surfaces have been scrubbed like this. Then it's on to doing some touch-up work, and treating the now clean paint to some restorative treatments which will buff out the micro-scratches while chemically cleaning the paint. Then a wax/sealer, and that's it for now.

As to the question of "What's playing tonight in the Engine Room", sorry, but it's closed for cleaning!

Kinda hard to see the amount of grime in there, but it's plenty. Most of it is dust blown in and washed in, and it wipes up pretty easily with just some Windex and shop towels, but some of the areas were exposed to oil vapors, and then the heater core blew, and then the power steering pressure hose started leaking, so some areas are covered with Mechanic's Favorite.....oily, greasy, muddy, glop.

And that stuff needs something like kerosene or mineral spirits to clean it off.

This area under the hood has both kinds of dirt. The stuff in front of the rubber seal that runs side-to-side behind the hood latch striker is pretty much "dirt", and cleaned up easily. The crud in the recessed areas to either side of the hood latch striker is a mixture, and will take some mild solvent to get off.

The underhood pad will be vacuumed in place, then removed to be refurbished. The black "scrim" type fabric will be peeled off, the fiberglass pad will be solvent cleaned, and then new scrim fabric will be glued back on. New OEM molded pads haven't been available for probably 15~20 years, and the replacement pads are $100, but they're not a molded pad, just flat pad material, cut to size, and punched in all the right places to install on your clean hood. It's pretty labor intensive to restore one of these, but as my buddy Marvin would say, "It just looks "nice" when it's done".

The complete underside of the hood will get cleaned when the pad is off. Great care will be taken to preserve the decals under the hood. Some repro decals are available, but not too often, and rarely in full sets. The printed-on-foil fusebox decal can be saved, cleaned, reglued, and reused.

The rest of the engine bay is a similar mix of the two kinds of dirt, with the greasy stuff being down lower and for the most part, out of sight.

The inner fender area is cleaning up nicely, and I'm planning on unbolting all those bits so I can clean them up, and get at some of the harder to reach areas.

And it sure is nice to have enough light to work by! The 7000 Lumen Husky LED worklight makes things jump out at you, and yet it's not a super-bright bluish color, but nice and warm so colors don't get distorted, and the contrast between differing surfaces is distinct.

And yes, the front bumper is on the task list to refinish. The paint is completely shot, down to the primer in places, and down to the yellow urethane in others. It's got a small ding on one corner, so I bought  one of the "Flexible Bumper Repair Kits", a kind of rubberized Bondo, and I'll see what special procedures need to be followed in priming and painting one of these that's been allowed to weather like this. There's no surface cracking or "checking" of the exposed urethane, and it wasn't this bad when I parked it last September.

And I haven't even started on the interior........yet!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Bit Of This and That, and an Error Admission

Well, it turns out my Air Intake Pipe is made correctly after all. It just doesn't fit in a neat, tidy way, with the straight section crossing the cam covers at 90* like I would have designed it. Nope, it's meant to run at a sloppy-looking angle, and when you position it like that, it "fits". This is thanks to a couple of members of the MKII Supra Tribe who sent me some pix. If my case of "Adrian Monk Syndrome" flares up I'll probably fabricate one myself. In the meantime, I'll shut up and use the one I paid for, as what I consider to be a "less than beauteous" fitment will have NO impact on how well it works, and I know they work well. Another thing I'm considering is to wrap the pipe with some heat insulating wrap. This keeps the air cooler, resulting in a denser charge of air going into the engine, which makes more power as it allows the electronic fuel injection to richen the mixture. And then there's the hidden "Stealth Model" cold-air duct to the air cleaner, further dropping the inlet air temperature.

Got up at 0500 to let the dog out, and there was an inch of snow in the backyard, and it was still coming down. I had to shove the dog down the steps to get her to go out and do her bidness......

The snow's pretty much gone now due to the off-and-on rain we had that started shortly before the dog came back in, which required the standard 15 minute paw-cleaning drill. If it's really muddy outside, I summon the "Paw Patrol", and my wife brings a bucket of warm water to wash with while I hold the dog. Pebbles has gotten quite used to this, as she knows if she cooperates, she'll get a rawhide chew. Pavlov was right!

Our lawn guy quit on us over a "contract dispute" with my wife. The Big Winds we had damaged the fence on the North side of the house, and we wanted a gate installed to replace a single panel on that end of the house. He quoted us $4k to replace the run of fence. Our neighbor on that side, my Ham friend, said he could do it for a lot less. It required two new posts to replace the two that rotted out at ground level, a few new pickets, a bag or three of Quickcrete, and three days of his labor to remove and reset the post. She called the lawn guy (who also does fences) and said she'd changed her mind and wanted to cancel the contract. She'd also had him come back twice concerning his original plans to redo the front yard, each time working with him to remove some things, and get the price more manageable. See my comments about the proposed electrical work.

WELL.....we got a certified letter on Friday that he was cancelling all contracts with us, and we'd be receiving a refund of all monies paid, and we'd paid him in advance for a full year of lawn care. He was here once to do work, and several times to measure the yard in preparation of a sprinkler install. Kind of annoying, as he seemed to have plenty of time to come and design stuff for big projects, but never came by to whack the weeds like he said he was going to do. Oh, well.......

Then the quote from the electrical contractor came in Friday.

$3600, which means I've got to chop it waaay back to get it under budget. The separate outlet boxes for the garage door openers will go, along with the 240 Volt outlet for a future air compressor, and the separate outlets for the overhead workbench lights. While the material cost those items isn't all that much, the labor to add the additional conduit, and pull the wire, is what kills you. I'll be down to "only" three, 20 Amp quad outlet boxes. I'll do what a friend suggested for the air compressor; make an extension cord that plugs into the easily accessible dryer outlet just inside the entry door. And I'll pare back the new circuits for Radio to just having him install a couple of "spare" breakers that we can use for future expansion.

The two door openers and the overhead lights can get plugged into one of the quad boxes, saving me a nice chunk of change.

The real kicker is that he did some "Load Calculations" indicating we might possibly draw 135 Amps from our 150 Amp service. Since this loads the incomer to 90%, he said the city would  most likely require us to upgrade our incoming line to 200 Amp service, at an  additional $2600. Since I've done these calculations before, I understand them. In "The Name Of Safety", they're very conservative, and somewhat unrealistic. I strenuously doubt that the clothes dryer, AND the air compressor, AND every heater in the house, AND my Collins 30L-1 would ever be all running at max draw at the same time.

In fact, I could damn well guarantee it.

But, they're done "To Code", and sometimes you have to make adjustments to suit the code.

Still, I'd rather ask for everything I could want and get shut up by the "Fully Loaded" price than to start adding things to the build-out and have it get out of hand.

The Little Guy is still here, and getting over being Captain Crankypants for the third time today. He's got another tooth coming in on top, and TWO more ready to bust through on the bottom, so I guess he's allowed to be a bit fussy. He's really warming up to me, and my collection of Amazing Funny Noises I know how to make. And he's pulling himself up and cruising along on the furniture. If you hold him by one hand, he can manage to do two or three steps before he Blue Screens, so he'll be blasting around the backyard with Pebbles before long.

Final item for today is I'm going through all my t-shirts, polos, pants, and other clothing coming up with a box (or three) for Goodwill. And our in-laws just stopped by to drop off some things we inadvertently left at the country house in Bellvue. All four of my Caldwell shot bags for my Lead Sled, a box of "misc electronic bits", and another rolling suitcase full of t-shirts, hence the drive to sort stuff out and get rid of what doesn't fit, like medium size shirts. I can now get back in a Large shirt, and the XL shirts are starting to look decidedly Urban Youth on me. Still, some of them like my Sea Launch shirts, have sentimental value, so I'll hold on to those.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

GROAN.........More Pigeons......

NOT having good Kar Karma the last few days. Probably lost a whole lotta Kar Karma points for leaving the poor Supra sit outside for five months, but that's past.

The tire store my wife got her snow tires from wanted $78 to swap out the mounted snow tires for her OEM aluminum rims and tires. I thought $20 a corner was a bit high, so I told her I'd do it.

The two rears came off no problem, but the left front lug nuts felt "funny" as I unscrewed them. Normally you bust them loose with a big breaker bar or an impact, and then they just spin right off. I started smelling something rotten when I had to use my impact to get them completely off the studs, and that 'aint right!

Before I even tried mounting the tire I tried a "test fit" of the lug nuts I just took off.

NONE of them would screw on the bare stud by hand. Closer inspection showed three of the lug nuts had the lead thread mashed up, and all 5 of them showed signs of thread distortion, most likely due to excessive tightening torque.

So out comes the rethreading set (my wife is starting to understand why I have two full size rolling cabinets with two full size top boxes), the metric thread pitch gauge, the dial caliper, and some tapping oil. Yeah, I could have looked up the thread size on-line, but I have the tools to figure it out, I'm not time constrained, and doing it will calm me down a bit over what I'm feeling for the person that did this. Plus I enjoy doing that kind of thing.

An Extreme Rookie Mistake was made, and I've seen people fired at auto and tire shops for doing it. And if the person doing it was an Extreme Rookie, it also becomes a management mistake for allow that person to work on a car without proper supervision.

Turns out it's a 12x1.5 thread, so I start running the die over the studs, and then the tap into the lug nuts. Flush the chips out of and off them, and do the next.....

Took me a good hour to rethread the 5 lug nuts and wheel studs, but now the nuts spin right down on the studs like they supposed to. Three of the nuts showed signs of leading thread damage, which almost always happens when you use an impact wrench to start the nuts on the studs.

Doesn't wanna fit? Mash the nut into the stud and hold down the trigger on the impact. It'll start sooner or later.......

Le Big Sigh......

Only one damaged nut and stud on the right front, so maybe the goober that did the first corner had some oversight on the rest.

All four OEM wheels and tires are back on the car, properly torqued to 80 ft-lbs, and the tires aired to 34PSI.

What would have normally taken 90 minutes wound up taking four hours.

And that tire store has lost TWO customers forever........

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Huh.....Looks Like Another Pigeon Or Two Showed Up.....

After I wrote the post last night, I went back out to the garage to stand and stare for a while.

Sometimes I'll get a flash of inspiration or an insight while just standing there looking at random things.

Since one of the long deferred maintenance items are the hoses that carry the coolant, I started checking them. The upper and lower radiator hoses have worm-drive clamps on them, along with most of the heater hoses, indicating that they've probably been replaced at some time in the past. The radiator looks newer than the rest of the things in the engine bay, so I'm SWAGGING that it and the upper/lower hoses are replacements.

I have new upper and lower hoses, so I'll replace them.

One of the heater hoses is a weird two-piece thing with a metal coupling joining the two sections. It's not a flow restrictor, just a coupling.Why on Earth Toyota did it this way is unknown, but there's a similar one piece hose used on the Tundra pickup truck that fits with trimming an inch off each end, so I bought one of those when I found out about it.

And there's the rub.....That hose is disconnected at one end!

And looking at the amount of glop on it, it's been disconnected for some time. I stumbled on this as I was doing the "Wiggle-and-Jiggle" on that hose to see where it went, and found out it goes......NOWHERE!

 Looking closely at the firewall reveals an empty hole where the pipe from the heater core is supposed to be.

The out-of-focus hose is the loose one, and the connected end is out of the picture. It's connected to the other heater core pipe, which is still there.

So while this is going to be a Royal PITA to fix, at least it explains the ruined carpet that I thought was caused by the clutch master cylinder failing and dumping the fluid inside the car. And in retrospect, it makes much more sense. The clutch master cylinder only holds a few ounces of fluid, and even if the seals blew, it's a contorted path for the fluid to actually get inside the car.

I've had heater cores let go before, even in well maintained vehicles. Some are fairly easy to change, and some aren't. This one isn't, requiring the removal of most of the dashboard. The heater cores are between $50 and $75 depending on where you buy it from, and nobody local stocks them. Rock Auto wanted $75 for the same "Spectre" core that O'Reilly's gets $51 for, so I ordered it from O'Reilly's. I doubt if I'll change it soon, as I don't need heat here in the summer, so It'll get deferred until Fall, and I'll do it when I pull the interior out to install the new carpet and have some of the interior parts refurbished/recovered. The tops of the door panels are completely disintegrated, and crunch when you slide your fingers along them, so the foam under the vinyl is shot, along with the vinyl being split in many places.

ANYWAY.....going to see Brandon Marsalis Quartet tonight at the Lincoln Center. Not sure if my wife likes Jazz or not. Guess I'll find out!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Somedays You're The Pigeon, and Somedays You're The Statue

And today I'm a statue.

I removed all the OEM air ducting on the Supra today to replace it with the Air Intake Tube I bought a couple of years ago. The story of this particular piece of kit is a tale of woe. It came from Canada, and somewhere along the way, it "broke open", the pipe disappeared, and it was taped back up, and sent on it's merry way.

It took the vendor and I SIX MONTHS to get it straightened out with the shipper, and I had to send everything I received to a special address where the shipper investigated it, admitted it had been stolen, and paid up.

In the mean time the vendor sent me this one, and it's been sitting on the shelf all this time. As part of the "5000' Elevation Adjustment Program" I'll be investigating ways to pick up a few "free" horsepower by making the engine breathe a bit better, and reducing Parasitic Drag.

So, after stripping off all the OEM air ducting and installing the new parts, I get this:

There are two "air taps" with hoses connected to them, so I keyed the position of the tube off where they connected to the OEM ducting. And notice I had to pull my strut tower brace to get even this far.

That's a 3" tube in the above picture, so to say they don't line up is being kind.

Pondering over this fitment issue during dinner, and remembering the vendor said he'd "get a kit right out so you don't have to wait", and our shared tale of woe in my even acquiring this item, I chuckled to myself and said "Gee....I wonder if they put the air fittings in the wrong place, and they thing is really meant to be flipped around".

Nawwwww...couldn't possibly be that simple, could it?

Considering the Air/Fuel Meter (the Nippondenso box) is loose, and the coupling on the other end is loose and sloppy, I'd say it fits pretty nicely when flipped around.

Sorry about those air tap fittings, though.......

And oh, man.....I really hate to contact the vendor about this. He bent over backwards to get me the first pipe out of the next batch that was being ceramic coated. And he's gone out of his way for me on other items, he's one of the few vendors to make anything for these cars, and he totally supports the car community. AFAIC, this is one of those "Let's Have A Few Beers Next Time", and I'll cut those fittings down, seal them up, and install the two fittings I have from when I was going to fab one of these from scratch.

My wife was wondering what I was having such a hoot about, and came out to the garage. I showed the "before" and "After" versions, and she said "You're taking this awfully well". Then I clued her in as to what this part was, and all the trouble it caused, and she said "OH NO.....That's the part you told me about? And now it doesn't fit? Because it was made wrong?".......

Yup. Call it irony, or Kar Karma, or what ever, I think it's hilarious because of the back story......

And I took about 50 detailed, well-lit photos of the engine compartment, the vacuum lines, electrical connections, the throttle and cruise control linkages, and some other details. I'll do the same when I start stripping the front of the engine down to replace the timing belt, tensioner and water pump. And I'll do the same when I strip down the intake side to replace the fuel injectors and give the throttle body and EGR passages a complete cleaning.

I was inspecting the hoses, and noticed one of the heater hoses is disconnected. That's NEVER a good sign, and usually indicates a bad heater core. I just checked Rock Auto, and they had ONE left in stock, so I ordered it. So far, none of the auto parts stores here have anything in stock for this car, compared to SoCal. Which I kinda knew in the back of my mind but never started appreciating until I got the car our here.

Swapping out the heater core in this cars is a Royal PITA. Most of the dash has to come out, at least as much as I had out when the car was apart before. And the destroyed carpet in the car, and the way it feels, leads me to believe that it was the heater core dumping coolant inside the car that ruined the carpet, and NOT the clutch master cylinder blowing out and dumping brake fluid inside. The carpet still has that sticky "antifreeze" feel, and from the area of the carper that was ruined, it would have taken more than the 5 or 6 Ozs of fluid in the clutch master.

Geez....and I wanted to drive the thing this summer!

Supra Is Now "Colorado Tagged".....Crazy Windy Today

Total cost including title transfer was $206.20 for FIVE years of registration. Add in the cost of the emissions test and VIN Verification and the total is $251.20.

The cost of registration is Kommiefornia was $130 PER YEAR.

The Jeep is about $77 per year here in Colorado, while it was well over $200 "back there".

They gave me a temporary paper tag in a nice holder until the other plates get mailed from Denver. It should take about 3 weeks to get them.

And I sent the paperwork to Denver to get my callsign plates for the Jeep. Those have to be "approved" before they get made, so they'll take about 8 weeks to get.

And it's crazy windy here again. We're having sustained winds of 40~45 MPH with "gusts" of 65+MPH.

The big double gate blew open again, this time ripping the latch clean out of the 4x4 post. I'm getting REALLY tired of fixing this damn thing every single time the winds get up over 40MPH.

I'm gonna nail the GD thing shut with some 2x4 bracing. Maybe I was nuts to get a 14' wide double gate put in there that MIGHT get used once every few years. needs to be repaired AGAIN after the wind dies down.

This is really making me rethink the antenna tower plans........

And the wind just blew over the 5' tripod with the Davis weather station on it AND my 8' satellite antenna tower, which landed in the yard with a pretty big THUD.

And three complete panels of fence just blew down in my neighbors yard! Ripped all three panels clean off the posts, and THUMP! they went down in his yard. I'll help him get them back up after the wind dies down. Three 8' sections of fence is a little too much 'sail area' to be fighting with in 50MPH winds....yep, FIFTY MPH sustained winds.

It's almost hard to walk out there. I'd hate to be on I-80 up by Cheyenne. Probably blow a big rig all over the road.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Supra Passed Smog "With Flying Colors"

Started this post last night, so what's below is from Sunday......

Took her out for about 2-1/2 hours today and put about 70 miles on her. Even got about 30 minutes of 75MPH highway time just to shake things out.

It's definitely down on power at 5000' compared to "sea level" in Long Beach, so I'm thinking of ways to free up some horsepower. In particular, the engine-driven clutch fan is notorious for sucking up to 18 HP at 6500 RPM! No, I don't drive around at 6500 RPM, but I do shift up there when I'm "In The Mood". Replacing the Old Skool engine-driven fan with thermostatically-controlled electric fans is crazy easy to do on these cars. If you don't want to go the aftermarket route, there are some Ford fans that bolt right in, and they  look like they came from Toyota! Plus, the clutch units on the OEM Toyota fan are know for failing catastrophically, allowing the sharp, spinning fan blades to violently contact the radiator.

Not pretty....

If she passes smog on Monday, I'm good for five years, so the Air Intake Pipe I bought from good old George at Raptor Racing will go on. This eliminates 3 molded, somewhat flexible rubber air couplings, the OEM "Silencer" in the intake tract, and the constricted, molded plastic air assembly that runs across the cam covers, and replaces it all with a mandrel-bent, ceramic-coated, aluminum tube. These are proven to be worth 8~10 HP at the rear wheels, as measured on a reputable chassis dyno. The Electronic Fuel Injection system has more than enough latitude to compensate for this, AND a hi-flow exhaust, AND a cold-air intake (outside air) for the air cleaner, AND a header, AND....that's about it, folks. Hey, it's a 1985 EFI system, has one "narrow band" (basically ON/OFF for RICH/LEAN) Oxygen sensor, and a "spring-loaded pot with a flapper valve" for an Air/Fuel Meter!

Quite primitive compared to the EFI systems of the late 2010's, but flexible enough to properly support the air flow needs of lightly modified engine.

Anyway.....the electric fan(s) and air intake tube are a gimmie; I already have the tube kit, and the fans are available at Rock Auto. Just have to go back to the forum and see what I need to buy.

This Is From Today....

Yep, she passed. HC, CO, and NOx were all less than half of the allowable amounts. The staff at Air Care Colorado were surprised to see a 33 year old Japanese car in such good condition, as these cars have a remarkable tendency to dissolve before your eyes. The younger Techs were asking all kinds of questions about it, and I was happy to answer them.

I took her out for a good hour to get fully warmed up, including about 25 minutes on the highway up to Wellington and back.

There was NO line at the emissions testing place, and they got me in, tested, VIN verified, and out the door in about 30 minutes.

Not quite so rosy at the Courthouse, though. When I called my insurance company, Hagerty, back when we first got here, they told me they'd rewrite the policy after we had a residence, and the car was registered in Colorado. The DMV told me I can't register the car unless it has Proof of Insurance in Colorado. The POI card Hagerty just recently sent me is a "California" POI, and Colorado will not accept it.

Catch 22!!

So I went ahead and applied for the change of title, and came home a bit dejected at how to figure this out. I called Hagerty as soon as I got back home, and it turns out I misunderstood the first Hagerty agent I talked to. The agent I talked to today verified all my information, and sent the policy over to the Underwriter's for the required changes.

Everything went through, and I now have the required Colorado-specific documents.

SO.....back to the Larimer County Clerk's office in the courthouse tomorrow where I can finish the process of getting the car registered as a "Collector Vehicle", and duck the smog test for 5 years.

Both times I've been to the Courthouse have been pleasant, and the employees helpful. Both times I waited less than 15 minutes after I logged in at the kiosk, and so far it's been painless.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Waiting For The Electrician......

Or someone like him......

Just spent an hour going over the plans for Garage Electrification, along with adding some more circuits to the impending Radio Room.

The garage will get:

A new sub-panel fed from the main panel

Four, 20 Amp quad outlet boxes, each on it's own breaker

A duplex box for the garage door openers (they're plugged into one of the four available outlets now) on it's own breaker

A ceiling-mounted quad box for the over-the-workbench lights

And a 240 Volt/30 Amp circuit/outlet for an air compressor and/or MIG/TIG welder.

The Radio Room will get two additional 20 Amp duplex boxes on three of the four walls, and another 240 Volt/30 Amp circuit with outlet for use with my Collins 30L-1 linear amplifier. The 30L-1 is wired for 120 Volts now, but it's trivial to change a couple of  jumpers inside and swap out the power cord for one with an appropriate plug.

And I've been looking for either  a Heathkit SB-220, or a Drake L4-B so I can go to Ludicrous Speed if I need to.

The additional circuits for the Radio Room were added at the last minute. He was here, so I showed him the path from the garage, through the water heater area, and to Radio, and he agreed it would be pretty easy, and loss costly, to add those circuits while he was here doing the other work for the garage.

His rough SWAG was about $2k for all the work, but he won't get me a finished bid until later this weekend.....

Friday, April 13, 2018

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Resurrection Of Ms Swan.....

She's alive!!!!

Got the new battery properly installed, and added the Battery Tender 'pigtail' so I don't have to fart around with the big battery clips. Just plug it in when I get home, and the battery stays topped up regardless of how long she sits. I've been using Battery Tenders and the newer Battery Tender PLUS models for about 15 years now, and they work "As Advertised", with no worries about overcharging the battery. These are NOT 'trickle chargers', which are basically a small power supply, but are "Microprocessor Controlled", low-current chargers with a "Maintain" mode in them.

One good thing I did was to clean all the ground connections where the negative battery lead goes, and clean and grease the clamps and posts.

And wonder of wonders, my "No Charge At Idle" problem went away!

Before, the external voltmeter I have plugged into the cigarette lighter outlet would drop down to 13 Volts -or less- idling in traffic. A quick rev would bring it back to 14.1 Volts, but it was troubling. Now, the voltmeter reads 14.1 all the time, even with the headlights on high-beam, at idle. I'd thought maybe the alternator was dying, but it appears I just had some crummy connections.

But now the radio is dead. It worked fine, crummy speakers and all, when I parked the car at my son's place back in September. Now it's a brick in the dash. I popped the face plate off the head unit and cleaned the connectors, but no joy. I'll have to dig out my notes and see if I can pull the radio out with the console in place. Pulling the console starts to get involved, as there's 4 switches, and several sensors, mounted to the console, and putting it all back together is an exercise in frustration in getting the three wiring harnesses to lay in the space just right so the console can snuggle down to the floorpan.

ANYWHOO.....After I did my fluid checks, tire pressure checks, and verified all the air couplings in the fuel injection intake plumbing were tight, I cleaned the glass and took her out for a couple of hours.

Stopped for gas, and Sum Young Dude offered me $5k for her! I laughed and said I had more than that in her, and he came back with "Will you take $6500?", and that gave me real pause........but I smiled and said I wasn't done with her yet, and thanked him for his offer.

So, we headed out Drake Road, turned North on Taft Hill, and went all the way to Bellvue, where I turned South, and took the road that parallels the Horsetooth Reservoir.

Lots of nice twisty bits and elevation changes, but sadly a 35MPH speed limit. Still, a very pleasant drive after six months without her. And I (generally) obeyed the speed limit.....

Sunday is supposed to be mostly sunny with a high of 63*, and if the roads are dry, I'll take my wife out for a cruise. She's only had a couple of rides in the car, and that was before I did all the work.

I promise I won't scare her!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Two Down, One To Go

Went to the Larimer County Courthose today and got the Colorado plates for the Jeep. I wound up with standard green-and-white Colorado plates because they don't accept applications for personalized plates. I'll have to mail the forms to Denver, and then the Courthouse will call me when my Amateur Radio plates arrive. I'll go back up there, pay the $2 ( !! ), turn in my old plates, and get my new ones.

They do accept the application for Collector Vehicle plates, so after I get the Supra smogged and verified at least I'll walk out with the collector plates for the car.

Total cost was $140. $90 for license, title, and tax, and $50 in "Late Fees". I told them we bought a house November 1st, and they held me to it. Didn't matter I got my CDL on April 8th, I was on the title for the house, and that's pretty strong evidence of residency.

Oh, well, it was my fault. I dragged my feet and had to pay the price.

The staff was extremely helpful and friendly, but it took a bit longer than I expected because I brought my next proof-of-insurance card, and not the current one. I called my agent (two blocks away!), and they emailed the proof to the Larimer Courthouse.

And the nice young lady who handled it all was new (first week on job), so her supervisor helped her with some things she didn't know yet, and things went smoothly.

I'll take the Supra for smog next week. I want to spend some time going over a few specific items, and then drive her a bit so she gets limbered up again.

And tomorrow is supposed to be almost a carbon-copy of today. Windy and sunny and 74 degrees, so I'm going to back her out on the driveway and give her a good bath.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

One and a Half Finished, One and a Half To Go

The first "One" is my Colorado Driver License. Went in last Friday with all my paperwork, and was out with my temporary CDL in under an hour. The snow we had Friday morning definitely made for fewer people at the office.

The first "and a Half" is getting the Jeep registered here. It flew through the smog test with flying colors, and the VIN verification was done at the same time. I'll fill out the paperwork for my "SCL" (Special Call Letters) personalized plates, and go to the Larimer County office in Old Town to turn all that in tomorrow. Yes, I'll get "paper plates" to use until the regular plates get here, but I don't mind.

The "Air Care Colorado" place I went to was well-run, the staff was friendly and helpful, and the shop and waiting areas were spotless. $45 out-the-door, and it took about 40 minutes.

Remains to be seen how things go at the County office, but my sweet little wife was in and out of there in under an hour, and under $100.

That leaves the Supra, which had a real bad habit of passing smog when it felt like it. The last time I smogged it, it passed by ONE part-per-million on HC according to the report from The Last Kommiefornia Smog Test. I was going over the smog test reports from when the car started requiring a smog test (1990; The original owner kept everything!), and you can see through the years how Kommiefornia had progressively tightened the limits up; i.e., what was a "legal" amount of smog in 1985 when the car was built was slowly made "illegal" over the last 20 years. It's getting to the point where older cars (and not just mine) can't pass the emissions test because the limits have gotten stricter than what the car was required to pass when new.

This is cause for uncountable Internet Forum discussions where a class-action lawsuit was mentioned. I'm sure it'll be like the majority of Internet Forum comments, and nothing will be done, but it's well-known in the auto hobby community that Kommiefornia has been pulling this crap for years, and they get away with it.

I spent some time talking to one of the Techs at the emissions testing place, and she said that Colorado smog limits aren't as tight as Kommiefornia, and that while she couldn't guarantee anything, if it was just squeaking by the limits in Kommiefornia, it might very well fly through the test here due to the different gasoline and the altitude.

If it does, then YAY, RAHRAHRAH, WHOOPEE! If it doesn't, I'll swap out the catalytic converter, and then I'm sure it will. The last place that smogged it was owned and operated by an older guy who knew older Japanese cars very well. He looked at all the smog records for when it failed (I have all the test reports courtesy of the original owner), and how it failed, and said he thought the converter was end-of-life. Since I'm no longer under the control of Brown The Magnificent in Kommiefornia, and am not required to buy a "CARB Compliant" catalytic converter, many more options open up. A new, HIGH PERFORMANCE converter for the car is around $120~$175, vs double that "Back There" for one that was legal, and had the laser-etched "E.O. Number" on it. The car already has a custom 2-1/2" "Cat Back" exhaust with a Walker DynoMax "Turbo" muffler, so a new high-flow converter would be icing on the cake.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Home Theater Rework

I finally got tired of the cabling MESS behind the Home Theater Center, so started cleaning it up yesterday afternoon after The Little Guy left. We have him from Friday evening until Saturday evening while the kids are at work. This gives Grandmomius Prime an extra 'day off', and lets us spend some time with him.

ANYWHOO.....the first order of business was to get some furniture glider pads under it so I could move it.

These simple little things are worth every penny you pay for them, and that goes double for us Olde Fartes that aren't 25 years old any more.

This was just going to be a "words only" post, but then a bit after I started it I figured it might be nice to kinda-sorta document it. The shot below was taken after I'd already cleaned up all the HDMI and neatened up the combined video/audio cabling for the Wii.

And a network verification test to the Oppo BluRay player and Denon A/V receiver. This took a while because both devices squawked there were firmware updates available, so I did the receiver first, and then the BluRay player. The big white box in the foreground is the Arris "SurfBoard" cable modem/Dual-Band WiFi router. The smaller white box in the background is our Wii game system. The silver box with the turquoise stripe on it is the D-Link 5-port 10/100 Ethernet switch that connects the A/V devices to the router, which has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Annnnd......almost finished. Still have a few cable to clean up, the telephone base station to wire in, and then push the whole shebang back towards the wall.

I'll clean this up tomorrow.....

There's an auto race on now!

Thursday, April 5, 2018


Pounds, that is, something I haven't seen on the bathroom scale in quite a while.

When we moved here six months ago (already six months?) I was 230~240, depending on what time of day, day of the week, season of the year, and probably the phase of the Moon. I was also having a double cheeseburger, small fries, and medium Diet Coke at least 4 times a week, and would have KFC, Jack In The Box, Taco Bell, or other junk food an additional several times a week.

I've had ONE drive-through burger (Burger King) since we moved here, and that was the night I drove to DIA to pick up my wife on her return from the trip she made to SoCal some weeks ago. I still loves me some cheeze-burgers, but now when I get a burger, it's in a sit-down place like Smashburger, or my favorite, Vern's Place, up in Laporte. My wife doesn't care for Vern's, but their burgers are about the best I've had here. Sorry, but the closest In-N-Out is in Utah, either SLC or Ogden.

My target weight is 185, per my Doctors back in Long Beach, and my new Doctor and Cardiologist agree that would be a good weight for me to be at. The charts say 175, but my previous Doctor thought that would be a bit light for my build, and when I told him I felt better when I weighed 185, he said to make that my goal.

And I'm slowly getting there. My A1c is down to 6.8~6.9, much better than the 7.4 it peaked at when I was at Maximum Gross Takeoff Weight back in Long Beach. My hips and knees appreciate less to carry around, and I'm finding it's now much easier to squeeze into tight spots on the car to work on it. I'm no longer the "Designated Under The Dashboard Guy" that I used to be, but I can still do that type of work, albeit a lot slower than I used to.

And even though we're expected maybe an inch of snow tomorrow, Spring is really getting cranked up here. Our neighbor Sarah's flowers have popped up and are blooming, and the Iris and Crocus bulbs that 'came with the house' are through the soil and growing like weeds.

The landscape guy was here this morning, and did the first Weed-and-Feed application. With the rain coming tonight, I'd say he made a good choice to do it today. I went out and talked to him for a few minutes, and he said he had a dozen yards to treat today, and that the rain tonight should let the treatment penetrate into the grass where it will help bring it back.

One thing I noticed in the backyard was the multitude of small holes everywhere there's just dirt. I thought maybe they were from birds browsing for insects, but SURPRISE, the holes are from all the earthworms we have.

I haven't seen really big earthworms since I left Illinois in 1982. The soil in SoCal is mostly 'black adobe', about the consistency of concrete, and the earthworms there are much smaller. They almost need tungsten carbide tips on their little heads to punch through what passes as "dirt" in SoCal.

I'm working on a "6 month AAR" post, and hopefully I've have it done in the next couple of days......

Meet Luna!

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