Repair

In this post I will be showing you how to replace electrical outlets.  Surprisingly enough, this project doesn’t require a lot of tools and is fairly simple.  The first thing you need to do is to turn off the breaker. Then unscrew the outlet from the wall. is to pull the outlet out of the wall as far as possible. Preferably, the wires should be straight.  In my case, my outlets had holes that I plugged the wires into.  Simply put the wires in the same way they came out.  All you have to do now is to unscrew the green screw and twist your ground wire around it then tighten it.  Now put the outlet back in the wall and tighten the screws.

 

 

//Ewinslow

Lately I have been stropping all my knives because I think that it makes them much sharper than the traditional method.  Using a leather strop can’t replace a sharpening stone, but it is good to use after you have your knife somewhat sharp.  This method originated when barbers were still using straight razors.  When shaving your beard about half way through, the razor would start to dull.  They would get a leather belt and run the knife blade up and down as if they were using a sharpening stone.  Here are some pictures!

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//EWINSLOW

At the Tullahoma hamfest I bought a Workman model 104 dual band SWR/power meter. This is an amazing little meter that definitely falls under my “best buys” list. It has seen heavy use since I bought it and has worked flawlessly until recently.

Workman 104 SWR/Power meter

Workman 104 SWR/Power meter

When I would key up the transmitter and tune for maximum deflection, it simply wouldn’t build up that much power. After some tapping, banging and beating it would usually ping the meter and go back to normal. I thought this was an internal issue and spent an hour pouring over it with a soldering iron doing reflow work to no avail. Finally in frustration I turned to my sometimes friend sometimes enemy, QRZ forums.

I got lots of good feedback on this post and I simple reminder from N7EKU to check my SO-239 connectors and make sure they were not the problem. If my PL-259 was not firmly planted in the SO-239, I would be losing lots of power and therefore having difficulty tuning up the meter. That was it, a new SO-239 soldered in and it works great!

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If one one of your cable’s connectors has a big blog of solder on the end, it can squish the brass slats so tight up against the insulator that they do not make good contact with a normal PL-259. I could have straightened them up, but decided to go ahead and replace the connector for the sake of it. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best, thanks Mark!

There’s not much to this job.  In fact, if it weren’t for the face that I needed a 36mm deep well socket, this could be done completely with standard hand tools.

The only trick is that the large nut in the wheel bearing must be removed while the wheel is contacting the ground, but the weight of the car should NOT be on it.  So put a jack under the car and lift until the wheel barely contacts the ground before taking that nut off.

Nut is already removed in this picture.

Nut is already removed in this picture.

The brakes need replaced to.  I did that while I had them off.  After the caliper is off, the rotor and hub assembly slide right off.

The brakes need replaced to. I did that while I had them off. After the caliper is off, the rotor and hub assembly slide right off.

This is with the brakes, hub assembly and bearing all removed.

This is with the brakes, hub assembly and bearing all removed.

New hub assembly, which includes a bearing

New hub assembly, which includes a bearing

New rotor slid on over it

New rotor slid on over it

At this point, the caliper goes back on, the wheel is put on, and the car is lowered again until the wheel barely contacts the ground.  The large nut in the center of the wheel needs torqued to about 238 ft-lbs.

I did both sides in about an hour.  Since I ordered the parts online for both bearings and brakes, I saved about $550 versus having a shop do this job. I do recommend paying a good shop for an alignment after a job like this – If there was damage to the bearings that made them wear out, it could have knocked other parts out of line as well.

During another washer repair, I accidentally cracked the plastic tub surround (AKA the outer tub). The outer tub is fairly easy to break if you have it out, as it is made of pretty thin and brittle plastic.  After searching the internet for hours, I found essentially no useful information on how to fix it, accept to replace the entire tub surround. (About $100, which many washers aren’t worth). I decided to try PVC pipe cement, as it is designed to bond with a very similar material, and is waterproof.

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Below is a picture of my patch. The purple is the PVC primer, while the clear is cement. It may work fine without the primer, however since bonding tightly was the primary tossup, I applied plenty of primer. Many things could have held water in theory, but most of my other ideas would have had bonding difficulties

 

 

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As to the original repair, it went well too, but I did not have enough pictures to make a useful post of it.                                                                                                      The tub patch holds water perfectly. There doesn’t appear to be any pressure on the outer tub, so It should be a long term fix.

It’s that time of year again.  Barely October and there’s snow on the ground in Chicago.A basic toolkit is good to keep in every car.  Even if you don’t know how to use the tools to fix your car, they could still be useful in the case someone that knows what they’re doing stops to offer assistance and needs them.

I usually carry a large toolbox with me, but here is an inventory of other tools that are kept in the car at all times for the occasions I don’t have others:

  • A couple rags
  • Some jumper wires
  • Tire patch kit/air pump
  • Fuses and relays
  • Channellocks/pliers/adjustable wrench
  • Assorted sockets and open end wrenches
  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • Spark plug test light
  • Gloves

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You don’t need much, and they don’t have to be expensive.  A basic toolset such as can be purchased from harbor freight is more than acceptable.  I actually found a set of open end wrenches and sockets on sale, brand new for $10.  That is the majority of this kit.

Throughout the long course of my drywall repair project I have certainly learned to only use metal putty knives to apply mud. A wider blade is better, not to mention the fact that the whole thing seems to go better for different reasons such as better spreading and etc. That said the metal knives all seem to rust quickly.

I have began resurfacing my most often used knives with a crystal clear enamel coat in a rattle can. This seems to be keeping the rust away, at least for some time.

QUALITY CONTROL NOTE

Make sure the coating goes on smoothly. Drips or bumps will show up in your mud, no matter how small.

 

Due to the fact that I regularly scrape dried mud off of my knives, the enamel coat is not permanent. Below is a picture of one that had endured 2/3 months of use and abuse. The majority of that time was sitting with mud on it and then being scraped to use after a few days, whereas being used every day and kept clean would be better for it. Anyway, if I can sand off the old coat and redo it once in awhile, it is worth it to keep rust and mud from mixing.

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Here are some pictures of some auto body work I did.  It’s not perfect by any means, but it worked well enough considering what I have invested.  I used hydraulic jacks and a sledgehammer to straighten out the main crease, then an inexpensive auto body tool kit for most of the rest before finishing off with body filler and touch-up paint.  The bumper cover was replaced with one the same color from a junkyard.

The first picture is pretty much what it looked like when I started:

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This, by the way, officially totaled the car.

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Here are pictures of removing the bumper cover:

Nuts inside the trunk.  There are two on each side.

Nuts inside the trunk. There are two on each side.

There are some of these on top of the cover and some under the car.  All need removed.

There are some of these on top of the cover and some under the car. All need removed.

There are also bolts in here that have to be removed.

There are also bolts in here that have to be removed.

And here it is without a bumper cover.

And here it is without a bumper cover.

Here’s what it looked like when we were finished:

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It’s definitely still a little off, but since there was nothing wrong with the car but cosmetic damage it worked out pretty well.  It’s one of those 50/50 things…It looks really good 50 feet away at 50 mph, and not too bad when it’s sitting still.

 

Lately I have been doing quite a bit of drywall work in a single wide trailer. Due to the way trailers are transported (and the expense of paying someone to properly install drywall), they just staple on some cheap cardboard/trim over all the seams and call it done. This is okay, but after 20+ years of abuse the trim is coming out all over and it is almost easier to just rip it all out and do drywall the right way, this is what I’ve been doing.

I have used 3 kinds of mud.

around 18$ (includes bucket).

 

Mix your own low dust compound $18 or so and no bucket.

 

for about $6 (no bucket)

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Mixing drywall compound

This is pretty much the best way to get the non premixed stuff mixed. Make sure your bucket is clean, dump the mud in, add water, and mix. It is important to have a bucket with a good lid to keep the mud from drying out. The kind they sell premixed drywall compound with works good, but a food grade bucket is even better. Now, to my final conclusion.

The premixed regular dust compound is the easiest. The consistency if perfect, but it is pretty dusty.

The mix your own low dust compound is true low dust, it all goes straight down. That said, I don’t know if I contaminated my bucket with something or what, but it stunk, bad. And I kept having off color brown streaks show up as I was applying it. Not to mention a few certain spots did not dry white, but stayed gray. They are dry, but maybe not completely cured??? Also, after mixing it fills only about 2/3 if the bucket, paying the same price for less.

The regular dust mix your own compound is what I will use from now on. The dust doesn’t seem as bad as the premixed stuff, and I personally don’t even use a mask for it. It to only fills about 2/3 of my bucket, but for 1/3 the price it is not bad at all. FYI The product says it is ready for use, no mixing required. THEY LIE!!! This stuff is like clay, where mud should be about like pudding. Not a big deal, but it WILL need mixing.

 

This A/C repair includes a new compressor and receiver/dryer for a 2000 Ford Crown Victoria. It’s not too hard, but rather time consuming to do the job right, and doing it wrong could ruin a new compressor. Most of these procedures are the same for any car, the only things that change are mounting location for each component. In older cars, there is an adapter needed to use R-134a  in the system designed for R-12.  These can be purchased for $10-$12 at any auto part store.

Note that if there’s any freon left in the system, it will have to be properly recaptured before you can do anything.

First thing I did was remove the receiver-dryer and all the hoses:

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The other hoses are all held on with a similar quick disconnect to the one pictured above, so I went ahead and removed them all to set aside. Next the orifice tube needs pulled out and replaced.  It’s located in the metal tube that goes to the evaporator (one of the hoses removed in the last picture):

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There’s a lot of metal stuck to it from the previous compressor’s failure. All this has to be flushed out of the system before any new parts go on, or they will likely fail as a result very quickly.

That’s why you always replace the orifice tube.  Even if nothing catastrophically failed like this one did, there can still be bits of metal stuck to it.

Slip the new orifice tube in the same way the old one came out.

Next thing I did was unbolt the compressor and remove it.  The pictures from under the car were terrible, but they can give the general idea of where the bolts are:

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Here’s the compressor out of the car:

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This manifold needs moved to the new compressor before it’s installed.  Lubricate all gaskets and O-rings with the appropriate PAG oil for the compressor.  If the compressor needs additional oil, pour it in now.

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Flush EVERYTHING.  Any components that weren’t replaced need flushed with an approved A/C system flush.  Follow the directions on the can.  I flushed a LOT of metal out of the evaporator, but not nearly as much out of the condenser.  The hoses need flushed too, so you’ll probably need at least two cans.

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With everything flushed, I went ahead and replaced all of the o-rings for everything I took out, again lubricating them with PAG oil.  If the system needs more oil than is in the compressor, pour it into the correct port in the receiver-dryer. Go ahead and install the compressor, receiver/drier and hoses.

Now is the part where you pull a vacuum on everything.  If you don’t have a vacuum pump, find a good independent shop and they’ll be happy to “Evacuate and Recharge” the system for a reasonable fee. If you do this yourself, you need a vacuum pump and set of manifold gauges.

Attach the gauges to both the low side and high side, and open all the valves completely.  Attach the yellow hose to your vacuum pump and start it running.  After the gauge goes as low as it will (I got around 25 in-hg), continue to run the pump until there is no steam coming out of it or for the next 30 minutes, whichever is longer.

IMG_2768IMG_2771Once you’re done pulling a vacuum,close the two valves on the manifold itself.  If you have a leak, the system will lose the vacuum and you need to start over again after fixing said leak. If not, close the other remaining valve and remove the high side hose altogether.  Coil up the high side hose and put it away.

—SAFETY NOTICE—

CHARGING THROUGH THE HIGH SIDE IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND CAN CAUSE A TANK OF FREON TO EXPLODE.  ONLY CHARGE THROUGH THE LOW SIDE PORT.

Now is the time where they system can be charged up.  You can use cans of freon from any auto part store or Walmart, or you can charge it from a tank.  Start the engine and turn the A/C on high while you’re charging the system. Either way the process is the same, except the small cans will come with their own hose and won’t need the manifold gauges.  If you use a tank, hook the yellow hose to the tank and just open it up. Again, charge the low side only.

The acceptable pressure range varies based on ambient air temperature, but is typically around 45-50 PSI on the low side.  Once you’re close to the range, add freon until the air blows cold but without exceeding the high end of the acceptable pressure range.

I like having our laundry room plumbing out in the open versus hidden inside the walls.  That makes things like this easy.  We picked up a second washing machine and wanted to hook it up right next to the first.  Here’s the new drain I built, which just slips onto the existing drain pipe and allows both to drain through the same one:

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That drain is very similar to one that would be used in a double sink, but bigger.

We just used a couple cheap hose splitters to connect the water supply.  You can’t get a hose splitter rated for hot water that I know of, but I’ve never had a problem with one as long as it’s metal.  The plastic ones don’t last. I also don’t know that I’d drink out of them, but that’s still up for debate and not really an issue here.  I wouldn’t drink out of the clothes washer anyway.

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I was (pleasantly) surprised at how easy it is to change the fuel pump on certain year Buicks of various models.  There’s actually an access cover in the trunk, so you don’t have to drop the gas tank.

—SAFETY NOTICE—

DISCONNECT THE BATTERY! AND DO NOT USE ANY TOOLS THAT COULD CAUSE A SPARK IF THEY SLIP! USE BRASS AND RUBBER TOOLS IF AT ALL POSSIBLE!

I don’t include needless safety warnings, so when I do include one it’s for a good reason.  Gasoline vapors easily ignite and explode.  You’re taking off a fuel pump that is immersed in gasoline, on top of a tank full of gasoline.  It has electrical contacts, bolts, and a spinning metal ring that holds it on, any/all of which could easily product a spark.

This is the access cover.  The trunk needs completely emptied and the carpet pulled out.  If the car has seats that fold down, it’s much easier to access the fuel pump that way.

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After removing the access cover, this is the pump:

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Here’s another up-close of the hoses. It’s easy to see in the picture how they’re removed.

Both plugs need disconnected, and so do all three hoses.  Keep track of which hose went where.  Only after they are all disconnected and pushed as far out of the way as possible, there is a large metal ring the diameter of the pump that needs spun counter-clockwise.  After this ring comes off, the pump will pull right out.  If there’s a full tank of gas, the pump may pop out on its own since it easily floats.

There are no pictures of the pump after removal or the new pump, because at that point my hands were covered in gasoline and I didn’t want to touch the camera. Start to finish, this job should only take around an hour.  That’s pretty nice, compared to 4-6 hours dropping the gas tank (and that’s if you know what you’re doing!).

Here are the new straps installed, and a picture with a car loaded.  I was impressed as to how well it pulled, the dolly tracked straight and it wasn’t difficult to stop.IMG_2506

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Here are pictures of a rather unsafe way to use a tow dolly that I saw in town a few days ago:

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It was a truck pulling a trailer pulling a tow dolly, but the hitch for the tow dolly appears to be homemade and attached to the trailer with some chains. I’m just glad it was stationary when I saw it.

Here's what it looks like after I've pulled off the metal sides and the wood floor.

Here’s what it looks like after I’ve pulled off the metal sides and the wood floor.

The wood was nailed on.  I've never heard of nailing wood directly into metal, but it apparently worked since we've used the trailer for over 8 years with the same floor.

The wood was nailed on. I’ve never heard of nailing wood directly into metal, but it apparently worked since we’ve used the trailer for over 8 years with the same floor.

The outside of the trailer was fine, but the inside was scraped up and had some light rust because of things being loaded and unloaded.  I ended up painting the inside but leaving the outside alone.

The outside of the trailer was fine, but the inside was scraped up and had some light rust because of things being loaded and unloaded. I ended up painting the inside but leaving the outside alone.

Some of the new hardware

Some of the new hardware

More new hardware

More new hardware

Light gauge angle iron attached to the end we load from keeps the edge of the wood from chipping away.

Light gauge angle iron attached to the end we load from keeps the edge of the wood from chipping away.

Finished product

Finished product.  The new wood was painted on both sides before I put it on, whereas the original wood wasn’t painted or treated against moisture as far as I can tell.

 

 

 

Here are several pictures of the car dolly I brought home last week and the repairs I made. It needed nothing but new straps, some hardware, a ramp, and some welding.

What it looked like when I brought it home, but after the old straps were removed.

What it looked like when I brought it home, but after the old straps were removed.

These brackets hold straps to the dolly.  I pulled them off to change the straps, and decided to replace the bolts too.

These brackets hold straps to the dolly. I pulled them off to change the straps, and decided to replace the bolts too.

The broken ramp, which has been discontinued by the manufacturer.

The broken ramp, which has been discontinued by the manufacturer.

The ATV ramp I built a replacement ramp out of

The ATV ramp I built a replacement ramp out of

The replacement ramp looks ugly, but it should work.  I'd still purchase a new one to match the original if I found a source.

The replacement ramp looks ugly, but it should work. I’d still purchase a new one to match the original if I found a source.

The bottom of the ramp, with some reinforcements

The bottom of the ramp, with some reinforcements

Painted, so it looks just slightly less ugly

Painted, so it looks just slightly less ugly

I welded this bracket onto the tongue to hold a portable winch.  That should assist in loading vehicles that don't run.

I welded this bracket onto the tongue to hold a portable winch. That should assist in loading vehicles that don’t run.

The portable winch attached to aforementioned bracket

The portable winch attached to aforementioned bracket

A newly welded crack in one wheel pad

A newly welded crack in one wheel pad

Another newly welded crack in the same wheel pad

Another newly welded crack in the same wheel pad

All of the bolts I had to remove were rusted in place, so I cut them off. Here’s an easy way to do it with an angle grinder:

Slot the top like so

Slot the top like so

And chip off the four pieces with a heavy duty chisel.

And chip off the four pieces with a heavy duty chisel.

 

I’ll add another post with pictures of the whole thing once the ramp and straps are attached.

In the end, it’s fully functional and heavy duty, but it only looks good 50/50.  That is, 50 feet away and rolling 50 miles an hour.

The pictures pretty much say it all.  The only thing not shown is the finished product, which required sanding a couple days after joint compound and tape was added.

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Several weeks ago the dryer vent hose burst open, raising temperature and humidity in the laundry room. Below are some pics of how I found it.

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Note the heavy layers of dust on everything. Another good reason to duct the linty air outside.

IMG_5330 In addition to being torn at the end, it also had several holes going all the way down the hose.

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With a new hose and tight connections at both ends, the laundry room stays cooler, dryer, and has less dust. TIP: I used a large zip-tie at both ends to keep it tight.

 

A few months ago I got a dual band reverse SMA  15in whip antenna for my Baofeng uv-5r. It works very well compared to the rubber duck, however starts to look worse for the wear after heavy use. Just cosmetic issues, torn rubber casing and etc…

I finally tore off the black shielding, which looks pretty good to me.

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Not a big deal, but just a tip I thought I’d pass along

This one can go in the list of weirdest items to break.  Part of the lower shock mount broke off the Suburban – in order for that to happen, the nut has to have come off the bolt, the bolt work its way out, and that weld fail, with the bolt coming out and the weld failing at about the same time, making this failure essentially unheard of.  Alternately, the bolt could have broken, but I think if the bolt had broken it would have come out and left the rest of the mount alone.  Even more unusual, there was no rust at all in the area that broke.  If it were rusty, I could at least explain why it broke.

(on a side note – if anybody finds an odd shaped piece of metal and a bolt near the 4500 block of Cainsville Rd, I may know what it is. I think we heard it hit the pavement there, not knowing what it was until a few days later.)

Needless to say, since it’s almost unheard of, the only repair would be to  replace the lower control arm.  Replacing the control arm for is a lot of trouble and major expense considering there was nothing else wrong with it, so once I figured out it was missing I went home on the back roads and found a piece of scrap metal with a hole in just the right place:

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Just for reference – here’s  what it looked like when I found the damage:

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Here’s the new piece of metal cut to size:

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Welded on and then with a new bolt:

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Using two nuts lessens the chances of one working its way off.   While that should never happen to begin with, it must have done just that at some point.

Using two nuts lessens the chances of one working its way off. While that should never happen to begin with, it must have done just that at some point.

This should last for the life of the vehicle, just as the first one should have.  If for some reason it breaks in the future (which I’m not expecting, since it’s already been driven quite a bit after the repair) then I won’t be out anything but an hours time.

As I have mentioned before, my Baofeng HT lives a hard life. This is the third time I’ve broken the piece of plastic which holds the battery in, so this time I decided to fix it for good. Tape doesn’t hold well and makes for a poor connection, but  super glue works fine.

IMG_5167     The remaining plastic was still up in the radio.

IMG_5169 The next step was to glue the other end, still on the battery, and then slide it into place.

IMG_5171At that point I turned it on to make  sure all the connections were working. The last step is critical to keep it from braking again. I filled the entire border around the battery with as much super glue as it would hold.

Now it seems to be about impossible to break. If I ever need to take the battery off, a little acetone should do the trick.

A simple but very time consuming job, it’s a common repair made to almost any car with a Ford 4.6L engine.  This includes most years of the Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis, and Town Car from 1996 up.  It’s also the same intake used on some Mustangs and Thunderbirds, so the job could be the same  for them too.  The original intake on that particular engine is all plastic, and is now known to crack along the front where coolant runs through it.  If you buy a replacement part, it has an aluminum coolant crossover, which makes me think Ford recognized it as a major design flaw.  That being said, there are no current recalls in place for this intake.

I took many pictures of the disassembly, primarily so I would have something to reference if I forget where a hose or connector goes.  It’s not a bad idea to mark everything with tape and a permanent marker, but I didn’t think it was necessary in my case.  Two other notes – I installed a used intake with the aluminum crossover.  Because of that, I chose to use RTV sealer in place of all the gaskets to decrease the chances of leaks.  I have had no issue with this, but I would probably use all new gaskets if I had a new intake. The other not – if using a Dorman aftermarket intake, the alternator bracket may be different.  I had no issues with this either, because I just used the bracket off the car the intake was on.  It is, however, another consideration to make if you were buying a new intake.

This post will be mostly pictures – it’s very simple to do, it just requires a lot of time.  I had help removing the used intake I installed, and we had that off in about 45 minutes.  It took me around 6 hours to install it, but that’s counting two hours of letting RTV sealant set.

The leak on  the old intake.  It was running into the #1 injector and spark plug, causing a severe misfire under certain conditions.

The leak on the old intake. It was running into the #1 injector and spark plug, causing a severe misfire under certain conditions.

The new intake.  I removed the aluminum crossover and replaced the gaskets with RTV sealant to ensure a good seal before installing.

The new intake. I removed the aluminum crossover and replaced the gaskets with RTV sealant to ensure a good seal before installing.

Both of these sensors were also removed and cleaned, before reinstalling with liberal amounts of new thread-seal tape.

Both of these sensors were also removed and cleaned, before reinstalling with liberal amounts of new thread-seal tape.

First thing - remove the intake and upper radiator hose, after draining the radiator.

First thing – remove the air filter housing/intake duct and upper radiator hose, after draining the radiator.

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These hoses are removed

These hoses are removed

All the COPs were disconnected, as were the fuel injectors.

All the COPs were disconnected, as were the fuel injector and PCV valve/hose.

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The entire EGR valve could be removed, but the metal exhaust tube is difficult to get off.   I just disconnected it from the throttle body and left it hanging.

The entire EGR valve could be removed, but the metal exhaust tube is difficult to get off. I just disconnected it from the throttle body and left it hanging.

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Remove these hoses and the alternator bracket.

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There are 5 bolts on the throttle body. Two are on the front, the others are on the back but I marked the approximate locations.

There are 5 bolts on the throttle body. Two are on the front, the others are on the back but I marked the approximate locations.

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At this point, it got too messy and I had to stop taking pictures.  Essentially, the only thing left to do after this picture is remove the fuel rails, unbolt the intake, and pull it off.  There was a lot of grease underneath the intake that all had to be cleaned before the new one could go on.  I changed the spark plugs while the intake was off – one of the plug wells was full of coolant and another was full of oil (presumably from an old leak or a spill as some point). I removed as much as I could before pulling the plug out, but there was still some that got into the cylinders.  After everything was put back together, it ran very poorly at first and misfired hard on two cylinders.  After 3-4 minutes of idling it started to smooth out, and 15 minutes later it was running as smooth as could be.  This whole time there was  lots of white smoke coming out of the tailpipes, which I assume was the oil and coolant burning off.

One last thing – the intake bolts have to be torqued to 18 ft/lbs in a specific order.  Here’s the diagram:

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The completed job.  So far I'm at 100+ miles with no leaks of any kind.

The completed job. So far I’m at 100+ miles with no leaks of any kind.

 

The pulley I’m repairing is one of several that the mower belt runs around.  The bearing in the center wore out and flew apart, but since it was originally built as one assembly and then welded together  I couldn’t press a new bearing in. Usually I could just order a new pulley, but this was attached to a Honda HT4213 that’s nearly 30 years old.  I had quite a time finding an exac replacement pulley and the only ones similar in size were rather expensive, so I decided to cut the old one open and attempt replacing the bearing.

For reference, this is what it looked like before it flew apart and landed in the grass a few feet from the mower:

IMG_2098This is what it looked like when I started work on it:

The pulley and the parts of the bearing that we were able to find

I started by drilling out the four spot welds:

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Then I pried the pulley apart and cut a notch in the cap to get the old bearing out:

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With the old bearing removed, I took all the measurements with a caliper and called NAPA.  They had a bearing in stock for less that $6, and it was waiting on the front desk when I got there.

I cleaned and sanded everything, then put the bearing into the cap before lining up the holes and clamping the pulley together:

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Next step is to weld it back together and reinstall:

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If anybody else has the same problem, this is the bearing:

IMG_2099I know the chances of someone else still using this model mower would seem (and probably are) slim, but just a couple days ago I opened an email newsletter to see a picture of the exact same model lawn mower being worked on. Quite a coincidence, considering that I had just given up on finding a pulley or any more information than I already had about the lawn mower online.

This was done on a 4cyl Nissan Frontier, but any vehicle where the water pump is NOT driven by the timing belt/timing chain will be very similar.

The first thing I did was remove the air cleaner/ducts and remove the screws marked in the picture below:

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Next remove the four screws that hold the fan clutch to the water pump.  If the vehicle has electric cooling fans, you will need to remove them now. Also remove the serpentine belt now if equipped, but if it has fan belts you can wait until the next step.

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Remove the fan belts and pull the fan out.  Remove the shroud over the radiator, but not the radiator itself.  Drain the coolant out of the engine.

IMG_1872This is the water pump with the pulley and fan removed.  Remove the four bolts (three are marked here, the other isn’t visible) and pull the pump straight out.  You’ll need to clean all of the old gasket off the engine block before moving on.

Install the new water pump using RTV sealant (instead of the gasket that may/may not have come with the pump).  That’s the way it was done from the factory, so that’s how the replacement is attached.

Make sure to follow all instructions on the RTV sealant, or it WILL leak.  That will include letting the sealant dry for an hour before tightening the bolts.  When the water pump is fully installed and the bolts tightened, reassemble everything and add coolant.

This job will be mostly the same for and FWD/4WD vehicle, with only minor differences for a RWD vehicle.  These pictures were taken while changing the assembly on a 1999 Buick.

Jack the front end up, put jack stands under it, and remove the wheel.

The next (and probably hardest) step is to remove the driveaxle nut.  It’s huge, and it’s very tight.  I had to buy a 35mm deep well socket for the job, and bent a socket wrench.  I got another close to the point of breaking, before I took out the impact wrench.  It wasn’t easy to get off even with that – I coated everything with penetrating oil and then applied a short burst with the impact wrench every 5-6 seconds.  After just over 10 minutes, the nut broke loose and then spun off easily. If you use a breaker bar, someone needs to stand on the brake while you turn it.

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With that nut removed, take off the brake caliper, caliper bracket, and rotor.

Remove the three nuts holding the hub assembly on:

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They’re accessed from the back, but these are the approximate locations.

Unplug the ABS connector (if equipped) and tap the hub assembly off.

Coat the splines in oil or light grease, tap the new assembly on, and plug in the ABS connector.  Reassemble the brakes, then put the driveaxle nut back on before torquing it to spec.  For this car, that’s 118 ft-lbs.

Put the wheel back on, and you should be done.

 

Occasionally, an important tool will break partway through a job, and this typically happens when you don’t have time and/or don’t have a way to get another suitable tool.

Such was the case when the legs collapsed under a table saw a few months ago and flipped the saw/partially cut board over into the dirt. The temporary workaround I came up with actually works quite well: securing it with ratcheting straps to a sturdy table. As an added bonus, it is actually much sturdier than the legs that were under it and doesn’t move around as much.

Eventually I’ll build a sturdy table to bolt the table saw to, but in the meantime this works very well for occasional use.  I ripped 10 2x6s lengthways on it like this just last week, and it never shifted or moved a bit.

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