Computers are wondrous and glorious things… except when they malfunction and prevent our vehicles from operating, of course. I’ve been working on cars since before I was licensed to drive them. I’ve rebuilt countless Rochester Quadrajunks, I’ve replaced ignition points (with a swiss army knife in a parking lot during a snow storm), I’ve used a flashing light and a vacuum pump to time an engine’s ignition. None of these things matter anymore because all of these functions have been taken over by the mysterious Engine Control Unit.
That’s all fine and dandy until the ECU starts to misbehave in strange and unusual ways that make us think the problem isn’t the ECU. And thus begins my tale of Jeep woe. Continue reading →
Being resourceful often requires one to think “outside the box.” However, it has been my experience that sometimes being resourceful actually requires one to be acutely aware of the box. Not to just think outside the box but to think about the box itself.
Never was this more evident than the time I decided to replace the rear differential gasket on my old ’72 Pontiac LeMans.
The rear differential was leaking gear oil. (The car was around 20 years old at that point, so it was to be expected.) I decided to remedy the situation by replacing the differential cover gasket. I ran out to Dyer Auto Parts (which doesn’t exist anymore) and asked for a 10 bolt differential cover gasket for a ’72 LeMans. I hadn’t yet lost my faith in the abilities of others, so I accepted what he gave me without really scrutinizing it. Continue reading →
Yes. Yes I was supposed to do a lot of things. Like keep my site more up to date than this for starters. Oh, and run a marathon a couple months ago. My goal of running a marathon had to get postponed until 2015 for medical reasons. My lack of site updates… well I have no good excuse. That’s just plain laziness.
However in an attempt to not appear to be a total looser, here are some things that I have accomplished in the past 4 months (in no particular order)
I tried explaining to her that the yellow lines in the parking lot should be on either side of your car when you’re done parking. My efforts were in vain. Finally I decided to heed the old adage, If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
… especially when you’re pushing a 1000 lb motorcycle.
It all started when I got caught by a train on the way into work:
I decided to shut the bike off. When I tried to start it back up… “click click click” which lead me to this:
And then I had to figure out how to get the seat off:
And then I tried to jump start it to no avail:
And now I’m on my way to a dealership for a new battery!
The moral of the story is, don’t ignore signs that your battery is getting weak. Someday you may decide to shut your bike off at a rail road crossing, and you’ll end up pushing it the rest of the way to work.
This winter has been brutal! Since 2006, I haven’t gone more than 4 – 6 weeks without riding in the winter. It’s been so long, that I actually had to buy a battery charger for the bike this year! Never before has any motorcycle of mine sat long enough to need one until now. In fact, this winter was so bad, that the clock on my bike was still set to daylight savings time from last November!
Well, enough is enough and I’ve had enough!
Winter, you’re done. It’s my turn now.
Next winter, I’m buying heated grips and snow chains!
There was a rather anticlimactic end to an otherwise pleasant ride home. The gelatin that was my yard succumbed to the thousand pound behemoth and gave way to do its best impression of the Grand Canyon. Hmmm… ever see a Harley touring bike with knobby tires? Food for thought…
I could sum it all up in one word. Cold. But that’s not very interesting, so I’ll think of a few other words to add to it.
The year started off with a bang! Well more accurately, last year ended with a bang. Fortunately, (after a 2nd trip to the body shop) the damage has been repaired and my truck has been restored to it’s former glory. I had my truck repaired at Riverdale Body Shop in Schererville. According to their website, their repair process involves disassembling the affected area and determining if there is any “hidden damage.” Well, they didn’t do that. When I picked it up the first time, I got about 100 yards down route 41 before I noticed that the alignment was still off. Hmmm…. the impact tore out the fender liner and obviously hit the front wheel. Why on earth would they have thought to check the alignment? I called them right away, but was told that they’d have to call me back to schedule the alignment. I was disappointed to say the least that they would have missed something so obvious. At least the cosmetic work was done well.
No matter how tempting it may be, do not drive underneath a moving Suburban. Not only will it cause undue stress and monetary obligations for the driver of the Suburban, but you may become seriously if not fatally injured yourself. You have been warned.
So… as much as this pro tip sounds like common sense, it was a bit of advice that a young girl could have used prior to attempting to drive under my truck last night. Another bit of common sense would be not to run red lights. Either one would have saved us both a lot of trouble and money.
I was travelling east on RT 30 and the dim-witted antagonist was driving west on RT 30, attempting to turn south onto RT 41. The red light shining down on her car must have gone unnoticed, because before I knew what the hell was going on, this car flew up under my left front tire! It takes an awful lot of force to launch the front end of a 6 thousand pound truck into the air. As for the other car, lets just say it’s hood looked like a 6 thousand pound truck drove over it.
There were no injuries, fortunately. As my friend Steve once said, “stupid should hurt more.” but in this case it didn’t. No, the only casualties were 2 vehicles and the other driver’s underwear.
Come Monday morning, I need to have a sitdown with my insurance agent and figure out how to proceed from here, and to find out how much this dipshit’s negligence is going to raise my insurance rates.
Rear View Mirror: as the name implies, it is for viewing things behind you.
Peripheral Vision: to alert you to things moving outside of your field of vision just in case they may be of interest.
White and Yellow Lines on the Road: to guide you on your way without endangering those traveling around you.
Rumble Strips: to aid you in finding the edge of the road during inclement weather when conditions make it difficult to determine said information visually.
see where I’m going with this?
What these things are not supposed to be used for:
Rumble Strips: these are not meant to be a signal to violently jerk the wheel to the left so that you can continue down the road without looking where you’re going.
White and Yellow Lines on the Road: these are not polite suggestions, they are necessary to prevent travelling by automobile from becoming this:
Peripheral Vision: is not useful for watching where you are going. In fact, it’s not useful for watching anything. You can’t watch things that are in your periphery. In this region, you have vague light and motion sensing capabilities at best.
Rear View Mirror: is not meant to be used while in motion to put on your goddamned makeup!
Open letter to all dipshit women who put on their makeup while driving:
Just recently, I happened upon a car swerving wildly across a few lanes of traffic while on my way to work. As I got closer, I saw that the rear view mirror of the car was cranked around completely facing the driver, and the driver was staring directly into it while applying her makeup. I’m not even sure that she was aware that she was driving very slowly and yet effectively occupying all lanes of traffic making it near impossible to pass her. In fact, I’m reasonably certain that awareness is not one of her strong points.
So to all you dipshit women who do this: I really don’t care that you’re going to look like Heath Ledger’s Joker portrayal in your casket. In fact, had I been driving my old ’86 Suburban instead of my ’10 Suburban, I might have been inclined to expedite the inevitable conclusion of your negligence before you had the opportunity to cause harm to someone else. What I cannot abide is the danger to others that your actions result in.
Bottom Line: Put your damned makeup on before you leave, after you arrive, or not at all.
Scenario: You’re in a hurry to get to work. You’ve decided to throw caution and fuel economy to the wind in an effort to reduce the impact of your tardiness. You are cruising past cars on the expressway like they are standing still. Suddenly, that gleeful feeling of acceleration dissipates and you suddenly feel as though there is something wrong with your truck.
There is nothing wrong malfunctioning on your vehicle. It is operating as General Motors intended. They have decided for you, that you don’t need to drive faster than 100 MPH.
… I disagree.
I’ve already priced out a programmer to remove that restriction. Oh yes… it will be mine.
So I filled the gas tank on my truck for the first time yesterday. I discovered 3 things while attempting to fill a bottomless pit with fuel:
Compu-burban says I’ll get 500+ miles out of a single tank!
My truck has the optional 31 gallon tank instead of the standard 26 gallon tank.
The gas pump stops you at $90 and makes you put your credit card in again, as if to say: “Hey, we think your tank has a big hole in it and it’s just pouring this stuff out on the ground.”
It costs $107 and change to fill it at current prices. (No, I don’t remember the price. I stopped looking long ago and I’m a much happier person for it. Oh, and I’m too lazy to do the math to figure out an estimate.)
The good news is, now I can drive to our plant in Pennsylvania, drive around for a week and not have to gas up until I’m already on my way home.
Okay, so it wasn’t really stolen because it technically wasn’t mine yet… but now it is! As of 9:30pm last night, I am the proud owner of a 2010 Chevrolet Suburban LT! I would have taken a picture last night, but it was so foggy and this truck is so long that a picture of the front wouldn’t have shown the back and vice versa.
Oh it feels good to drive a truck this big again! Jenn is jealous because it has a remote starter. The boys are happy because it has a DVD player. I’m happy because it has mirrors, a working 4 wheel drive, and the steering wheel doesn’t make strange squeaky-balloon sounds when you turn. You’d have to have seen my Cherokee lately to really appreciate that last bit. Speaking of the Cherokee, they gave me $500 for that beat-to-shit conveyance! I was prepared to take anything over $300 for it, so that was a bonus!
Now to make sure I know where all the nearest gas stations are…