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Friday, November 26, 2010

cleaning out the mind clutter, November 2010

clearing out the upper closet, as it were...

1) closing the last musings... everything I can get to tests OK.  no vacuum issues, no hose issues, no valve issues, no vacuum control issues.  the car still provides heat until you really need it, or get far enough from home that you don't go back for the other car, then it dies.  nothing but a dud rumble inside the dash from pressure against... something... from the blower fan.

it is likely, then, that there is a failed damper door (how, I have no idea) or the temp regulator door, which would make Rube Goldberg barf if he looked at the design, has a failure.  you can feel heat behind the dash.  the temp regulator door has a long, known, sordid history.  it is recommended you remove the dash to replace it.  it is said that if you take out the passenger airbag and the glovebox, blindly cut the ABS around a screw you can't get and take out three that you are not easily able to get to, you can replace the thing.

with 204,000 on The Great White Whale and a shift-change scare that would have forced me to drive every day instead of bus to work, this sounds like a Springtime In The Garage issue.

2)  closed Mom's estate out.  took out a 401K loan.  I am going to get the credit card boys off my back for good real soon now, as soon as all the checks clear.  this crap about changing the rules behind the new CARD act laws and finding new ways to charge fees, jack up the rates, and ratchet down the availiable credit as soon as you see a little daylight is done here.  there will be one card left to knock out, probably within 1-1/2 years worst case.  WOO!  death to 20% and all the crap you can eat!

besides, one of the card outfits that is almost like family to me has a really toxic real-estate side, and is besieged over that.  soon as they start losing court cases, they will not be like family to anybody.  except maybe the ghost of Jeffrey Dahmer.  so they're the first guys I'm cutting ties with.

no, I'm not as dumb as I look, no registered trademark internationally-known brand name to be seen here, please move along.  leave your lawyers at the drawbridge, and note the moat monsters here are amphibious.

3)  we at Chez Swschrad have been thinking long and hard about a basement redo.  it's a musty mess, stuck in 1979 with 1x2 glued to the block, minimal foam insulation, and creepy panelling over that, orange pile carpet with a sorta-orange patch at the base of the stairs; dark, dank, some holes in the ceiling from needed repairs, awful bathroom.  windows too small to meet today's exit access requirements.  FPE "arcwelder" power entrance panel, so you can't meet code on the basement bedroom circuit by changing to an arc-fault breaker.

it aggravates my allergies and asthma, and needs to go, with all its creepy growths.

we are hoping to get on one of the DIY remodelling shows, which would provide crew assistance, some cash, and whatever freebies somebody wants to promote on TV that would fit right in.  it's called product placement, if you've heard of that... also has long history in broadcasting, right to Lee DeForest's water-cooled carbon mike in the cathode of the transmitting tube in the 1916 era, called "tradeout" or "comp" or "clearance" among other things.  DeForest played Columbia records during his demonstrations and scheduled test broadcasts, free for the mention.

and if we get it, we move up the schedule as we can.  expanding the windows means digging new holes and installing larger window wells.  hard to do in frozen ground with shovels.

whatever, it's not life or death.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

getting dark and tired out there

winter's locking in, raiding the fridge, and watching feelthy pay-per-views while the wife and I are at work.  an unwelcome guest we can't get rid of.

last couple of days were very nice for November.  50ish by day, overnight only 40 last night, 25 the night before.  we might get one great one Saturday yet.

but that's about it.  the garden is cut down, the bulbs are in the basement, have yet to clean gutters, but it's about time.  my car, The Great White Whale, has had a progressing failure to (a) provide heat out of the heater into the interior, and (b) provide any freakin' air out of the ducts period.  I am going to have to blow Saturday diagnosing it.  almost certainly vacuum.  ah, but where?

if it's the vacuum motors, bad news, the entire dash has to come out, they are unreachable behind the dash.  can't be the switch, I've put a manual controller in place of the computerized gollywog one.  found a bevy of leaks in the prime vacuum stuff back by the back of the engine last year, that didn't help.

way I figure, it could be shot vacuum motors.  there appears to be some sort of vacuum regulator between the isolation tank and the heater stuff.  it could also be the isolation tank.  the non-motor stuff can be replaced.  the vacuum motors... hell, you can't even get to the damper doors in these modern cars to wire them open or put throttle cables on there and run 'em manually without ripping off the dash.

so, I have some diagnosing to do.  there is, of course, no information on how the plenum stuff is built on crown vics/grand marquis, so no way of knowing if pulling the radio, drilling a little hole, and jamming a dowel in there is all I need to do.  more likely to ruin the dash than fix something.

Harbor Freight doesn't sell a shop vacuum meter any more.  bought a racer's boost/vacuum gauge, and it's a little bit better fit to the small tubing used in the heater system.  so all I need is warmth, adapters and hose, the gauge, and a little room to drive to chase it down.

hope the issue is one of the several fixable ones.  parts availiability is another question, but plenty of junkyards around.