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Sunday, March 30, 2014

putting a little life back in the car

I thought I had three problems with The Great White Whale... transmission, engine, and The Mystery Choking (fuel?).  it was almost undriveable.

last weekend, I noticed the plastic capsule around both ignition coil packs was cracked and peeling.  $180 later for two coil packs, it was better for a couple days.  then I started getting chunks and sags again.

so today, plug wires.  the box didn't have the longest one, of course, two shorties.  ohmmeter said I had some life left in that wire.  shotgunned the rest.  there was a screaming tubload of rust and crud in each spark plug well, which I had to blow out.  two hours later, it's running smoothly.  oil change and a new air filter, after blowing out a ton of leaves in the housing, and we're up to 19 mpg from 15, and it's running well again.

there was some corrosion on the connection of #5 plug, which unfortunately is in a Heli-Coilled repair of a stripped cylinder head, so I scraped it with the old plug wire a few times.  it's all better now.  there are two coilled plug holes, so I didn't want to mess with them.

for the first time in months, I test drove with the overdrive enabled, and there is no transmission issue, either, it was all misfires.  only one cylinder lit up the check engine light, but basically everything had to be honking off periodically for the engine to run that badly.

an oil change finished off a wonderful 60 degree day in the sun.  tomorrow, thunderstorms turning to snow.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

life in the great plains: winter

been a while.  same old same ol'.

this has been a cold, snowy winter so far.  had to have 2nd son Eric over with a buddy and a Bobcat to push the snow back so we can blow any new stuff (expected Sunday night) off the driveway.  it was too high for our one-lunger blower to get over the top.  now we have some semi-spectacular ski hills in the front yard, but just enough visibility to see cars coming.  season total 40.4 inches.  today, just a trace.  Sunday, another inch or two overnight into Monday.  as usual, Monday commute should be a screaming bear.  back to locking out overdrive.

we probably have 16 inches standing.

have some pretty good rust-outs on both cars, so Springtime will be a time of Bondo and screen, sanding and primer.  her car's got it the worst.

in the Hulk HATE 8! department, any advice I can get on keeping Windows 8.1 from jumping out the Charms menu and going Modern while I work on the laptop would be appreciated.  rumor has it Microsoft is going to make that possible with whatever they call 8.2.  the third party stuff I've tried either is not sticking, or prohibits starting up Chrome, so we're not making good progress.  in a perfect world, the geniuses of Redmond would finally admit that touchscreen torture on a machine that does not have a touchscreen is abject nonsense.  but with Ballmer and his billions in MS stock still on the board, I don't expect much.  just stopping frickin' Charms from jumping out when I mouse to the left is quite good enough, for almost any next move hops you away from doing anything useful, and back into the tiled Modern window, which folks, is really Windows 1.1, or maybe Presentation Manager v2.  1980s stuff.  GEOS stuff.

I have become kind of appalled at the support back home for people with cash flow issues.  my sister's car is suffering mightily, and there is no aid apparent to diagnose and fix the dying for minutes after warmup issue.  I did a long tune-up in October, which apparently only works for her at 32 and above.  there are a zillion things that could be at fault, from low-resistance injectors to sensors to oxidized plug connections, and it's a bottomless money pit to stand back, throwing parts, and seeing if any of them stick.  she and I don't have bottomless money.  in larger cities like the Twins, there are annual and semi-annual fix-it days donated, replacement cars, and the like.  not in the 250,000 metropolis that is Fargo-Moorhead-Dilworth.

so that's where we are at on my birthday.  oh, yeah, there's taxes.  this year, we owe what we usually get back from refunds, because we maximized cash at payday to take down the cards used in fixing DeBasement.  with God's help and our own, we will get through.  our quarter of beef for the year is just two weeks away.  we have half a tank of fuel oil, love, and the Cat Show is always on if we get bored.  it's OK.

God never throws anything at you that you can't handle.  I joke that I wish He didn't trust me as much.  but we always get through it.

if by chance you are not getting through it, it's way past time to give God the chance.