Tuesday, September 19, 2023

YAWN.... I Gots Nuttin' Today

 Getting over a head cold that hit me last week and has overstayed it's welcome. Still, it's the first "Head Cold" I've had in about 8 months, and coincides nicely with stopping smoking, now six months in the rear-view mirror.

Health continues to improve, and it looks like my blood chemistry has returned to normal. Still on the "Low Normal" side for Sodium, but my Magnesium and Potassium numbers are now in-the-green, and my a1C has dropped to 6.0, which is pretty good. Have to work on building my stamina back, and trying to get my weight back to the range where my Doctor is happy. I was running around 190 Lbs before this last incident, but lost about 15 Lbs in the last month or so. SLW has embraced the "Heart Healthy" cooking philosophy, and so far everything she's made has been great. I'm eating like a horse these days, all healthy stuff, and still can't seem to get my 15 Lbs back. Oh, well, there's worse things that can happen.

Annnnd....still no action on the legal front. I'm getting ready to just walk in to a firm, and offer to pay them for a consultation. I've been "fretting" over this too much, and I'd like to get it settled, or be told "No Case.....".

Overcast, drizzly, and about 70* today, so I haven't done much garage work, and I'll most likely retreat to the basement workshop and chill out with some music. I'm almost to the point where I can paint the new speaker enclosures I've been working on, and then I can load the speakers and crossovers into them, and see how they sound.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

'Twas A Cold and Rainy Night.....

 Well, it sounds better than the "Dark and Stormy...." phrase people use.

Currently 54* and drizzling. We've received about 1/4" of rain, with more to come. SO....no antenna work today! I (finally!) dropped the mast my FM Broadcast antenna is on, and mounted the GPS antenna at the top of the mast. I ran the cable for it down through the mast, making a tidy appearance. I ran those two cables, plus two spares, through the 3/4" hole I'd previously bored through the foundation, secured them to the post and fence, and then packed the hole with good old "Plumber's Putty" so rain drops and critters can't get in.

I'm quite pleased with how this Harbor Freight Demolition Hammer works. It will operate as a hammer drill for boring concrete, or just as a hammer, which is how I installed all those ground rods.

Say what you will about Horror Fright, some of their products have gotten quite good. Their "Hercules" line of power tools are definitely one of their good products. I also have the Hercules 1/2" Drill/Driver, and it's an amazing value.

Paired up with a 5AHr battery, and it goes (for me) all day, and usually still has enough juice to keep going.

They also have a very nicely made 1/2" breaker bar, that's about 6" longer than my Craftsman bar. It has a nice finish, looks to be well-made, and has a great non-slip grip on it.

As long as you pick their top-of-the-line products, like Hercules or Icon, you get a good, solid tool at a savings. Definitely "Dr. Jim Recommended"!

As for the rest of the night, I'm either going to stoke the fireplace and drive some of the chill out of the house, or retreat to the nice, dry, toasty basement workshop, and do some cleaning up and a bit of tinkering.

Maybe both......

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Biden Impeachment Inquiry.......?

 Yawn....just more Kabuki Theater, but interesting reading, nonetheless.

Read All About It Here.....

Oh, Yuck.....

 Not me, I'm doing fairly well these days. I was tinkering around on the Supra last night, finally figuring out how to get the main fuse box separated from the wiring harness. I'll have much more room for cleaning that rusty area with the fuse box unplugged from all the cables.

And then I found this:

It's a junction box (or was a junction box) that lives underneath the main fuse box. The wire exiting the box on the bottom left side goes directly to the positive battery terminal, and feeds the entire car via the two wires exiting the top.

This particular area is prone to rust if you don't blast it out yearly to wash away the acid vapors that a NON-sealed battery produces during it's normal charge/discharge cycling. The residue from the vapors mixes with water that splashes up there while being driven and forms a pretty acidic mix. I'm very lucky that the car came from the Riverside area, which is dry and hot. I've seen these cars with huge chunks of that area just dissolved away, requiring some pretty extensive repairs. 

I doubt this part is available these days, so I'll have to fabricate up something new. The car stereo people have tons of similar parts, so I'll start looking there. I'm also going to add a small relay box for my Photon Torpedo high-beams, and the electric fans I'll be installing, when she goes back together.

Also drilled a 3/4" hole through the foundation and into the basement workshop so I can run some new cables in there. I'll have one RG-6QS cable for my FM antenna, another one for the GPS antenna that feeds my Master Timebase, and two spares.

Gorgeous day outside. Blue skies, sunny, 70* temps. I don't want to get caught with half-finished stuff outside like last year, so I have the chainsaw batteries on-charge, and when I finish up the cabling, I'll saw some of the wood left from the huge limb the broke off the ash tree a couple of years ago.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

20 Meter Vertical is Vertical Again!

 Should have had this up a few months ago, but the hip and the other issue kind of slowed me down.

Slid the mast section out of the Rohn 5' tripod I was using, and loosened up the mounting hardware a bit.

After a bit of wrangling it around, it was up solidly.

And it's plumb. The red indicator needle swings back and forth for quite a while, and this was how far the needle was swinging. Average out the swings, and it's as close to 90* as possible.

The plate that bolts on the ground rod, and the "PolyPhaser" surge protector is mounted.

I'm about 85% finished. I have to run a jumper from the choke balun down to the PolyPhaser, and then run the coax to the RF Entrance Box, and I'll be back on the air!

Thursday, September 7, 2023

We Gonna Have Some Fun Now!

 My grandson will swoon when he sees this:

Since the little Dromida trucks get "lost" out there on the street, and they won't go through grass more than a a couple of inches tall, and since we only have my hybrid Granite/Senton "Big Red" truck to go "Off Roading" with, and since TLG can drive the big truck better than the little ones, I figured I'd better get another 1/8th scale R/C model to keep up with him.

 This is a higher-end model from ARRMA, and is probably what I should have bought a couple of years ago when I got interested again in R/C cars. It's built with a sturdier chassis than Big Red, and has a brushless motor that can run a "3S" lithium cell pack. I've seen these cars doing 75MPH, so I'm glad they have very good "brakes".

I'm going to install a "Super Duty Extreme" oversize front bumper, and replace the plastic skid plates with steel ones, check the radio, reset the front toe-in, which is now front toe-OUT (makes the car get "squirrely"), and test it this weekend.

Tomorrow I have an 0700 appointment for an follow-up Echo Cardiogram to see if my heart has stabilized, or deteriorated further. As soon as test is finished, I'm making an "ASAP, Please?" appointment with my Cardiologist so he can review my past tests with the current results, and give me a prognosis. I'm not really looking forward to all this, but it is what it is, and helps fill out the picture of what happened last month.

And since I'm actually feeling "better", I staged everything I need to get my 20 Meter Vertical Antenna mounted up on the post, radials in place, and new cable to run from the ground rod into the house. Gotta have certain Winter Time indoor activities ready to go this month. It'll be snowing here before you know it!

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Race Day Recap.....

 Sorry, but no pix. Try as she might, SLW just couldn't use my Nikon to capture the event, and for some reason, her cellphone wasn't tethered to her like it usually is.

We started by laying out a "course" in the cul-de-sac with the small orange traffic cones I had, and quickly realized I didn't have enough cones to lay out an oval track, with cones on the inside and outside. So I introduced him to the concept of "gates", using two cones for each gate, and then setting up the gates to make a small course. We got out the two little "Dromida" trucks to start with, and I promptly found out I'm really out of practice! The "race" soon degenerated into who could knock down the most cones, and it was a lot more fun than "just racing".

TLG, SLW, me, and the neighbors were laughing our behinds off as TLG and I were playing our version of Field Hockey with little R/C trucks, and 6" traffic cones! WHAM! Got One! A bunch of other neighbors came by to see what was going on, and an absolutely splendid time was had by all.

Then we got "Big Red" out. That thing weighs about 6 pounds, and goes about 50MPH. Hit a cone with it, and the cones either goes sailing through the air, or the truck just flattens it out and goes over it. Most impressive.

And as in real life racing, we got cut a bit short by some sprinkles and lightning. TLG is driving the big truck better than the small ones, and it was fun to watch him learn to use the throttle to crawl along at a waking pace, while turning the steering wheel to see how the truck responded. In short, he's developing a good "feel" for the controls, something hard to teach to somebody unless they really want to learn it.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Not Quite Up to Working on My "1:1 Scale" Car, So Let's Bust Out The Little Ones!

 Grandson #1, aka "TLG", will be spending the night on Saturday, and he asked SLW if we could play with the little Radio Controlled trucks I have. Since I'd mentioned it to him when he, his little brother, and our DIL came by to see me in the Hospital, he's been patiently waiting for me to be able to do this.

These two "little guys" are Dromida brand, and while it looks like the models I have are discontinued, they brought them over by the container load, and can still be found on-line.

 And since I'm in a "small car" mood, I also busted out Big Red, my "slightly modified" ARRMA Senton Short-Course Truck. Big Red needed new shocks, as the plastic shock absorber bodies were worn internally to the point that new o-ring seals still leaked. The first go round were some cheap Chinesium aluminum shock absorbers, but they were an odd size, and some vital needed parts were not included. The odd diameter meant nothing I had would fit, so I coughed up the bucks, and bought a set of aluminum shocks for an ARRMA Typhon 4WD buggy. They're very nice quality, BUT I didn't check out the mounting hardware differences, and wound up fabricating some little aluminum sleeves from an 8-32 x 1/4" aluminum spacer from my Radio Parts stash. Used an "MS" washer on each side to take up the slack, and presto! Typhon shocks on a Senton!

 TLG is bringing over a bunch of small, orange cones, and I have a good stack of them, too. We're to set up what he calls "An Obstacle Course", specifically so he can learn to drive the truck! He sees me doing some maneuvers around my orange cones, and can't quite duplicate them, so he's going to practice. I didn't think stuff like this was rubbing off on him, but I'm tickled pink it is.

And since LSP has posted some art, here's one I bought while I was in the Hospital. One of my favorite WWII works by Rockwell. Printed on canvas, blocked and framed, and delivered to my door for $100.

Sorry the picture is a bit blurry. Those M1917's make a hell of a racket! Oh, and I forgot to pop up the flash....

It's going down the Basement Workshop.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Going Dark on the Medical Website Issues.....

 Yup. Getting a lawyer.

AFAIC, we're gonna fire a 16", 9-gun AP salvo and see what happens.....

Thank you all for your concern, prayers, and well wishes.

We're weapons free, going in hot, and full-speed ahead.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Timeline of What Happened, and Why.....

 This recent incident started when I ran out of a prescription med, an SSRI, and had some difficulty getting it refiled. My Primary Care Provider (great Doctor, BTW) had her "Patient Portal" changed from UC Health to Village Medical. 

The new website was NOT ready to roll-out, and they had several weeks of major issues. Medical records were lost, messages to your provider was were lost, appointments were dropped, scheduled wrong, or scheduled for after they were supposed to occur. i.e, your appointment for the 14th was made for the 4th, meaning you "missed" your appointment. Telephone calls subjected you to an hour more of music-on-hold while you waited. SLW was on hold for 90 minutes, and finally hung up. I lasted about 45 minutes when I called.

This is one of the worst Charlie Foxtrots I've ever seen. I've helped roll-out big sites like this, and this would have been totally unacceptable. I've seen people walked out the door for such a gross failure of a project. For a Medical website, this goes way beyond "unacceptable", and belongs in the "Inexcusable" category.

I went over Monday afternoon and told the receptionist I was in dire need of this medication, as I was starting to feel pretty bad. Nothing happened. SLW went over Tuesday afternoon, demanded to see a Nurse or somebody who could get this approved, as the pharmacy kept sending texts to me "Awaiting Prescriber Response".

After she "talked" to them, I had the prescription in an hour or so, but it was too late, and I was in withdrawl. Freezing cold, shaking like a leaf, teeth chattering, and covered in sweat. After about 20 minutes it would pass, but then I was gasping for air. Four hours later, it would hit me again. Tuesday night I started hallucinating when I closed my eyes, making it a bit difficult to sleep. All I could keep down was ice water, and even that came back up a few times. In short, I was a wreck.

Wednesday I felt a bit better, and had some ice cream, but I decided I had something was really wrong with me (Ya Think??), and Thursday morning we went to the Urgent Care Clinic. The Doctor there had spent most of his career in ER service, so he was really good at nailing things down rapidly. Had several blood draws, and exam, and an EKG. He came back in and said he had bad news, as I was experiencing a severely abnormal heart rhythm, along with "Significant T-Wave Inversion", and critically low Sodium (down to 119), Magnesium, and Potassium levels. He told us to go IMMEDIATELY to the ER, don't race there, but don't stop at Wal Mart, either. He'd phoned ahead to alert the ER, and they were waiting for me.

They started pumping me full of saline, Na, MG, and K, while taking numerous blood draws, and getting me stabilized, as my blood chemistry was way out-of-whack, my glucose was bouncing between 80 and 200, and my BP was bouncing around quite a bit, too. I had a Gamma Scan of my heart, then a stress test, then another Gamma Scan, and an Ultrasound exam of my heart. My Troponin levels were elevated, indication I suffered some permanent heart damage from the withdrawl I went through. My Doctor called it a "Cardiac Insult" which I thought quite appropriate. Heck, it "insulted" my whole doggone body. In my weakened state, the UTI that was starting went wild, and crossed over into my bloodstream, leading to a high white platelet count. My last two days in the hospital were spent waiting for the lab to do cultures on the strain of bacteria in my blood so they could proscribe a very specific antibiotic to target the bacteria.

Had my yearly "Wellness" visit with my Doctor, and she was very upset over this fiasco. The had several other patients who wound up in the hospital over the loss of communication between all parties, but I was about the most extreme one they had. I very possibly could have died from this, and I'm pretty upset about it, too.

So anyway....my blood chemistry is coming back into limits, I have some new meds to help offload fluid from the cardiac area, and ore heart exams to follow to check the damage caused by this incident.

I'm feeling better, but still a bit weak, and I lost 15 lbs during this incident.

Thank you all for the prayers and best wishes!

Friday, August 25, 2023

Home Again, Just A Quick Post.

 Got home Tuesday about 1400, and was feeling pretty good, with a few dips, and one "splat", where I just had to stop, sit down, and have some 50/50 OJ and water. My mental state has returned to normal, and the Docs are watching my blood Sodium, Magnesium, and Potassium levels, which were lower than normal. The Sodium really bothered them, as the normal range is 135-to-140. and I was down at 120/121. If you go much below 120 for any length of time, you're looking at a REAL Medical Emergency.

SO......got my new glasses, and they're much better. Feels nice when something good happens!

Longer post to follow, but just wanted to thank you all for the prayers and well wishes. Feeling better today (Thursday), and I'm off to see my Primary Care Doctor in an hour.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Oh, Boy....Back in the Hospital

Turns out going to Urgent Care this morning was a wise decision. They drew a bunch of blood, and did an ECG. The ECG came back with some Abnormal findings. That, along with the blood test results, was enough for the Urgent Care Doctor to give us our marching orders to report *Immediately* to the ER, and I was admitted. So tomorrow I have an cardiac ultrasound in the morning, and possibly a Cardiac Catheterization,  formally called an Angioplasty. So depending on the outcome I'll either be discharged tomorrow afternoon, or the next day.
I'll post more tomorrow, if able.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Medical Semi-Emergency. Be back when I can

My Primary Care Provider changed their Patient Portal (where you log in for appointments and stuff) to a different one, and yowie, what a Charlie Foxtrot it turned into. Appointments were dropped, medical records didn't transfer over, and the phone system is all bollixed up. As a result, one of my prescription didn't refilled, and I ran out. Two weeks ago! I went over in person on Monday, talked to receptionist, and she assured me it would get taken care of. Didn't happen. Sweet Little Wife then went to the pharmacy, talked to the Pharmacist, and he confirmed my thoughts about me being in withdrawl, although these days they use the term "Sudden Discontinuation Syndrome". She went back to the Doctor's office, and told them this had to be taken care of NOW, as I was in distress. Hot flashes where sweat would just pour off me, followed by the trots,  chills, shakes, and chattering teeth. The receptionist got a Nurse out riki-tik, she took over the receptionists PC, and sent the order out while SLW waited. I got the prescription refilled, and the Pharmacist recommended I start with a half-dose for four days. All I could keep down was cold water. Then last night I started seeing things. Not scary or unpleasant things, but it was enough to grab my attention.

We're going to the Urgent Care facility tomorrow morning, and see if they can do anything to ease this unsettling situation.

Be back when I'm able. Just took me ~45 minutes to type this post. I am really out of it....

Monday, August 7, 2023

A Tale of Two Alternators, Or "Why It Still Ain't Smogged"

 It Was A Dark And Stormy Night........

No, really, it was. We've received over 4-1/2" of rain in the last couple of weeks, and since I won't take Ms Swan out in the rain, I thought it would be a good time to change out the slooowly failing alternator with the new, higher capacity unit I bought a while back. I've swapped more than couple of alternators in the past, and it's generally a pretty straight forward job, when you can see all the bolts. The car had a pinhole leak in the power steering high-pressure hose, which sprayed out a fine mist at certain times. The mist coated that side of the engine, and the underbody, with a mix of road grime and hydraulic oil. The resultant gunk was about 1/4" thick in spots, meaning I couldn't see the bolts to get a wrench on them. This is after a quick douse and brush with a bit of mineral spirits. The slider on the threaded rod was completely jammed with gunk, and I could't move the alternator enough to loosen the belt.

 Prior to cleaning this bracket and adjustment bolt you couldn't see them. To get to this point, however, I had to remove the pulley on the power steering pump.

And it's on there really tight.

Takes a big wrench, lots of grunt, a dash of PB Blaster, and a means to hold the damn thing while you break the nut loose.

 The pulley had to come off to reach a bolt holding the alternator bracket (the jammed-with-crud bracket) to the block. This required pulling the cooling fan and fan shroud. To pull the fan shroud requires you to remove the top radiator hose, which means draining a bunch of coolant. If I'm going to do that, I might as well replace both radiator hoses. That required pulling the radiator, as the degraded bottom hose was stuck on there so tight that I had to cut it to pull the radiator. 

The hose clamp is also installed perilously close to the end of the outlet, and was barely clamping the hose on. Looks like it was in a different place during it's life, too.

Since the coolant had been drained, I decided to look into "The Case Of The Missing Thermostat", or so I thought because the engine ran too cool, rarely reaching the normal zone on the gauge. The water out of the engine through the top hose also showed immediate warming from a cold-start, a sure sign of a missing thermostat.

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

It had one in it, but it was stuck wide-open.

It was also installed wrong, as the "Jiggle Valve" should be at the top to allow air to bleed out as you fill the engine with coolant.

So I'm cleaning a ton of parts, including those it's very hard to see or reach with these various bits on the car. 

And as long as I'm this far into it, I'm going to go ahead and change the cam drive belt, tensioner, and spring.

And It All Began On  A Rainy Day......

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Minor Step In A Major Project

 Got another exhaust manifold for a too-good-to-pass-up deal. I used my rethreading tap and die set, and a bunch of PB Blaster, and cleaned up the studs and nuts. The nuts now spin on easily, and aren't loose, like if I'd used a "regular" set of taps and dies. I'll go over it with my little 1/2" belt sander and Dremel to break all the sharp edges off, and knock down the casting flash it has on it. I was hoping to avoid getting the exhaust flange resurfaced, but after carefully inspecting it under a bright light, I can see that it had been leaking at some point in it's life, so now to find a shop to do it. Any shop that can mill a set of heads, deck a block, or resurface a flywheel can do it, but I haven't found a friendly little shop like that. I'll ask some family friends.

After that's done, I'll coat it with some POR-15 High Temperature paint, cure it in the sun a few days, then wrap it up and put it on the shelf until such time as I really want to spruce up that side of the engine bay.

As far as yesterday's rain......

Monday, July 31, 2023

Holee Molee It's RAINING!

 On the basis of gut feeling, the NWS reports, and my own instruments, I can confidently say this the most rain, in the shortest period of time, we've ever received.

FIVE INCHES per hour rain rate, and 1.8" of rain as of 2100LT. Current radar indicates a lot of rain still out there, and some of it might get here.

We had so much lightning and thunder, that poor Little Miss Pebbles, went down into the basement, and then into the basement bathroom, during the worst part of the storm. Based on my survey for the "Safest Place In The House In Case Of Nuclear Attack", the two safest places are in the basement bathroom, and in Der Boonker, as you have the concrete foundation of the house on three sides of you, and sturdy joists and bracing above you.

SLW, DIL, TLG, and TNLG had been in KCMO for her Granddaughter's wedding, and hit this mess coming back up through the Denver area. Good thing they were in DIL's Mom's car, a big, honking Audi Q8 quattro SUV of very recent vintage. Audi's "Quattro" AWD system is superb, from what I've read. My Jeep had "Quadra-Drive II", and was amazing, so I'd imagine the Quattro system is at least as good.

Be safe out there!

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Loose Ends....

 Even though I've been spending a lot of time in the garage lately, I haven't let my "Downstairs" projects languish. I finished putting the acoustic foam inside the speaker enclosures I started right before I broke my hip, and I'll be dragging them upstairs to the garage to sand the outsides and do some filler work on them.

I'm still at the Beginner's Stage for woodworking like this, but I'm getting much better with every enclosure I build. I now have several sets of corner clamps, long bar clamps, short bar clamps, and a small 1/2" belt sander to knock off the "dingleberries" on the CNC-cut parts, and to bevel ALL the parts that fit together. That last tip was stumbled upon as I was trying to fit the large second side of the enclosure together. They would NOT go together smoothly, even though the sides were routed like a mortise to accept the tenon part on an internal brace. Took a lot of head scratching, and then some heavy sanding on the tenons to get them properly fitted. In retrospect, there are things I would have done differently, but it's glue-under-the-table at this point.

Gonna take my Big Foot hand cart to get these up the stairs!

Once they're sanded and smooth, I'll coat them with a polymer "Road Case" coating, put the crossovers and speakers in them, glue-and-screw the side on, and touch up the coating along the seams.

Just hope they sound decent.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Catching Up....

 Well, it rained, I had some Honey Dews, and two Doctor's appointments. Then we had some more rain, then I had a few more Honey Dews, so I gave up on getting the Supra smogged until this coming week.

It sure runs nice, though, and I've been tinkering away, cleaning up some loose ends (like mounting my speakers), cleaning up the garage, and making a written inventory of what I have, and what I need. VERY few of the molded hoses used on this car are available, so we have to adapt things. For example, Toyota used two hoses with a brass coupler to join them for the heater return. There's a single piece hose from a Tundra/Sequoia that fits perfectly, and costs less to boot. I have a couple of those on order. Some of the other, smaller water bypass hoses are somewhat available, but are again, from a different car, like a Honda or Nissan, and have to be cut and trimmed a bit to fit properly. Just another one of the things you deal with when working on older cars that are no longer supported by the manufacturer. Some day I'll do a post on why it costs so much to "restore" a car. A very large part of it is labor, including time spent chasing down obscure parts, or finding suitable replacements.

Things are growing like crazy here. I have to spray the gravel bed borders again, and the drip system for SLW's front garden is lurking in the background, too. I have all the bits and pieces we need to get the system installed, and plenty of tubing, drippers, adapters, and other things we might need in the future for expansion and repair. I have the next roll of 1/2" tubing unrolled in the yard so it loses the "set" it had from being coiled up. It also softens the tube, making it easier to lay it down and take the shape you need.

So that's it for the last week. Hope you all had a pleasant and Blessed weekend.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

And Boy, Does It Run Well!

 Took her off the stands today, checked the oil, checked the tires, cleaned the windshield, crossed myself, crossed my fingers, and took her out for a spin.

YOWZIR, what an improvement! It's no longer all herky-jerky pulling away from a dead stop, throttle response is improved throughout the RPM range, and it pulls harder now that the throttle plate goes wide-open. Besides the throttle work, I also put in new plugs and wires, and replaced a whole lotta vacuum hose. Some was cracked, but most of it just didn't fit tight to the places it plugged in to, and was a source of potential vacuum leaks.

And two of the plug wires were bad. Looks like they may have come loose slightly, allowing water ingress, and the terminals were corroded.

So tomorrow we head off to the emissions testing facility, God Willin and the Crick Don't Rise!

Oh, and no rain. Ms Swan does NOT like getting wet!

Obligatory Engine Room pr0n....

Monday, July 17, 2023

It's Alive!!!!!

 Work on a "Project Car" is never finished. There's always something else to do, or something to clean, polish, replace, repair, modify, ponder about, and budget for.

And the more things you do, the more you find to do. "That doesn't look right", or "I didn't know those parts were that worn out", or "Gee...those vacuum hoses are cracked. Better replace them".

It goes on and on, and is subject to "As long as I'm in there....", which is a good starting point at understanding "Mission Creep".

And that's what I've been doing all this week.

This particular episode started With searching out an oil leak. A very sloooow oil leak. Since it leaked ALL the oil out the Winter before last, I assumed (ruh-roh...) that it did the same thing this Winter.


I slowed the leak down enough that the oil level barely showed on the dipstick. Thinking it was empty, I crawled under the car and pulled the drain plug. I was greeted by a deluge of oil. I didn't think I could get an oil plug back in that fast, but I did. After the initial surprise faded and I'd cleaned up the mess, I added a quart of oil, and it *barely* showed on the dipstick. I added two more quarts, and it was full.  So, I didn't lose all five quarts, only about two. I slowed the leak down considerably, and next time I change the oil I'll put in a new drain plug and gasket.

Next was the process of putting the OEM air intake ducting back on. Which meant cleaning up all the pieces. Not difficult, but busy work. In the inspection process I do to everything I touch on this car I noticed the throttle linkage had a ton of free play/slop/looseness in addition to feeling gritty and not working smoothly. I sourced a replacement Throttle Crank assembly, cleaned it up, blew out all the crud in the moving parts with solvent, and lubricated it. Works as smooth as a baby's bottom now! I shot some graphite "Speedometer Cable Lube" down the throttle and cruise-control cables, as I doubt they've ever been lubricated. I lubricated the linkage on the Throttle Body, too, as well as putting a dab of grease on the ball studs the pushrod snaps on to. Put the throttle and cruise control cables back on, and adjusted the throttle. I had to run the throttle cable adjustment out to ~90% of the available range, and it was enough to get the freeplay out. The throttle cracks open now with a gentle push on the accelerator pedal, AND now opens 100%. Should be more driveable now, and maybe even a tad quicker.

So now she's all back together and running. I pulled the EFI fuse so the fuel pump wouldn't run, and cranked it for about 20 seconds to get oil pressure. Put the fuse back in, and she started right up, and fell into a nice, smooth idle. Throttle response seems greatly improved with a properly adjusted, lubricated throttle linkage. It should drive much smoother, which I'll find out tomorrow.

I still have to get the routing of the new plug wires nice and tidy. I used the wrong plastic wiring loom in the wrong place, and they don't lay right where they break out and go to the distributor cap.

And after the setbacks I endured over the last several months, I gave myself a little treat, and put some bling on the car.

Yeah, I know.....it's slightly crooked. Le Sigh....

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Inventory Time

 One of the things I learned from both my Dad and The School of Hard Knocks, is that to do and complete a job requires with having all the required parts on hand. Since I'll be changing all the belts and hoses this Summer, I figured I'd better see if I had all the required parts.

I have at least one of everything, and the "One Is None" got rectified tonight with another order to good old Rock Auto, one of the few places left that actually stocks parts for these cars. I have multiples of the V-belts for the power steering and A/C compressor, and several different lengths of the serpentine belt that drives the water pump and alternator. Since I'll be swapping out the 60A alternator for a 100A unit from a Camry, and it's bigger but with a smaller pulley, the OEM belt doesn't fit. One of the guys on the CelicaSupra forum went through all the different belt lengths, and found an optimum length for the alternator swap, so I have several of those belts.

I only have one cam drive belt, and that's going on the car along with a new tensioner. I was going to get another one, but ooops...."Out of Stock". The only ones they had were $9 "Economy" belts, and I'm not going to risk a cheap cam drive belt on an interference-type engine. OOOPS...Just found out this engine is a NON-interference engine. I still don't like using an El Cheapo timing belt (or chain, or gears) because they're almost always a PITA to replace.

Since the current Hot Problem is an oil leak from the drain plug, I ordered several different plugs (M18-1.5 thread) along with several different types of oil drain plug gaskets. I git yer nylon ones, your fiber ones, and yes, even the Holy Grail of oil drain plug gaskets....the Dead-Soft Copper ones! I have to get this fixed before I refill the oil (groan...another 5 quarts of 10W-40!) and start the engine. Which means I have to shovel out several pounds (or more....) of oil-soaked kitty litter from under the car, along with the cardboard sheets I threw down there when I noticed it was leaking. It NEVER leaked a drop in Long Beach, and it only seems to start leaking in the Winter, so I'm thinking *something* is contracting enough from the cold to allow the oil in the pan to drip out. I put a new gasket on it the last time I had the plug out, and the plug, gasket, and oil pan surface were very clean when I put the plug back in and I torqued it to spec. When was the last time you got your torque wrench out to properly tighten your oil drain plug? Yeah, it was a first for me, too. So clean surfaces, new gasket, properly tightened.......WTF did the oil leak out? Absolutely NO TRACE of oil around the pan gasket, front main seal, or rear main seal. No trace of oil at the cylinder head/block interface. Oil filter clean, dry, and tight. This engine is sealed remarkably well for a 35 year old engine with 168,000 miles on it. It's DRY externally. The only place I see any wetness (besides on the floor...) is around the drain plug. So either the threads are worn, or something I've only seen a very few times. Rarely, the area around the drain plug where the back-up plate with the female threads is welded inside develops cracks. It's an easy fix. Scrupulously clean the area with a no-residue solvent, and butter some JB Weld over the cracks. Beats pulling the pan to have it cleaned and welded up. You could even braze the area to seal the cracks. 

Oh...and I just noticed the throttle linkage is really sloppy. Looks like a plastic bushing has worn out, and the cable has stretched some over 35 years, requiring adjustment. The linkage is more of an issue, as the parts are staked together, making disassembly problematic.

It's been pleasant out in the garage getting Ms Swan awakened, and I'm looking forward to dancing with her again.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Rainy Day Project - Cleaning Supra Parts

Since it's been raining off-and-on here the last several days, and I don't like playing dodge the raindrops with corded power tools, I put the ground rod installation on hold.

So let's clean-up some of the parts I have to reinstall on the Supra!

And it all starts with hot, soapy water.

The parts in the sink are a weather seal from under the hood, and a shield that goes behind the fabled Timing Cover #3. Prior to this, I scrubbed the daylights out of the rubber air couplings used to pipe the air from the Air Flow Meter to the Throttle Body. There's three of these couplings, and if any one of them doesn't seal properly, you have an air leak between the Air Flow Meter and the Throttle Body, which throws off the Electronic Fuel Injection. It's similar to a vacuum leak on a engine with a carburetor, and makes for poor running, and failed emissions testing.

35 year old rubber air couplings like these don't age well unless they're taken care of. And very few people bother to take them off and clean them yearly. It's not on the Toyota Maintenance Schedule other than to "Inspect and Replace If Required", so they only get a brief glance, if that.

I was fortunate to get a set of used ones in good condition. I scrubbed them with soap and water, and then took a toothbrush and scrubbed in a generous amount of Eastwood "Rubber, Plastic and Vinyl Restore". This stuff is amazing. Next to the cleaned and restored piece is the one that came on the car.

It was pretty trashed, and I'd resorted to using some 3M "Super Weatherstrip Adhesive" to glue it back together and fill in the cracks.

The cracks went all the way through, so I had to use some tape to keep the adhesive in place.

Even though they "hold air" now, they're very stiff and brittle. The brown color is oxidized rubber, and will not come off with soap and water. Altogether, I'm glad I had a good replacement, which looked new after cleaning and treatment. Nice and flexible, too.

I also scrubbed and treated the two rubber seals under the hood. One is at the cowling, and keeps hot engine art from getting into the A/C system, and the other is on the bottom of the leading edge of the hood. It's purpose is to block any air coming through the grill from going over the radiator, rather than through it.

So those have been my rainy day activities, I should have Ms Swan back on the road in the next week or so, and then we can start the process of getting her properly licensed again.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Ground Rods - Two Down, One To Go!

 And it's turning out easier than I thought it would. It starts with using my 30" deep watering spike to get the hole started.

Takes about 15 minutes to melt its way down, and you have a nice, 30" deep hole, slightly larger than the ground rod.

Then I set the rod in the hole.....

Slide the ground rod driver tool over the end of the rod....

And drive the rod into the soil until there's 10" or so above ground.

This is one I did yesterday.

Easy-Peasy to drive the rods in.

The next step will be to install the surge suppressor mounting plate and suppressor. This one is just mocked up finger-tight. The bronze clamp on the rod will be for a #4 solid copper wire that bonds this ground rod to the other two rods I'll be putting in at this location.

I still have to mount the 20 Meter vertical on the post, and install the coax from the antenna to the suppressor, and then the suppressor to the RF entrance panel.

More to come as soon as the weather cooperates a bit better!

<i>Things My Dad Taught Me....</i>

 In meme form.... And many, many more....