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.


  1. With your background, can you barter for things you need done?

    1. I'm not sure I have anything of value to the contractors. I explained my background to the electrician, told him I'd do the end-of-day cleanup, and could help him pull the wire.

      If he shoots me back a fully-loaded price like that, I'm assuming he brushed it off, and most likely for insurance reasons.

      When a family member comes out to do something for us requiring equipment use, we get billed at about half the going rate they'd charge anybody else.

      I'd probably do the same.....

  2. 460 in breakers in a 200 panel. Probably beat you for load possibility, and fire risk with some of it being up to 40 years old. Barn, not a house though.

    1. Our main is a 150, and I suppose I should go add up the breakers to see what they total up to....

  3. With so much electrical gear in houses these days, I would figure on having a 200A service, 300A if the garage is used as a workshop of any sort. If someone expects to have an electric car, definitely get the 300A install. That, and LOTS more outlets per room, if building/reworking. When you go into an apt or other rental home, and find multiple powerstrips plugged into 'strips, to get enough slots for all their gear, you know housing designs need a serious makeover.

    BTW, if you do the extension cord to dryer outlet for a compressor, make sure you have an on/off switch on the compressor motor. If not, having the motor start by the action of plugging in will end up damaging the dryer outlet contact surfaces eventually. BT;DT. Use a heavy wire, severe condition cord. Don't bother trying to run a small (1-2hp) compressor on 115v. Requires at least a 20A circuit. Even then, they tend to trip it, and they WILL run slow on that voltage. Not good.

    1. Great idea to add a switch box on the compressor cord. I never would have thought of that, and I agree 100%.

      All the new 120 circuits will be 20 Amps, so I should be OK for anything I'd want to run on 120.

      I sent a reply to the electrician about scaling it back some, and noted that since I had no idea what work like this goes for these days, I asked for everything at once so I'd have a cost ceiling. I understand breaking it down will increase the total cost, but sometimes a higher cost can be more manageable when spread out. That's why we're having the windows done in two phases.

  4. I never ever get into contractor type operations unless I have to, and that kind of thing is why. About the only thing I can't do for myself is electrical work, some plumbing, and tree removal. But fortunately, I've been here long enough to have a good working relationship with people in those fields. However, I haven't been able to find a good roofer who has insurance on his workers, so it's not a perfect world in that respect.


Keep it civil, please....