First up, the thermostat housing gasket. I uncorked the hoses and tapped it off; the gasket that I made last year--out of a piece of cat food box--was indeed the correct shape and had all the right holes in the right places.
I got my new $2 gasket scraper, thoughtfully provided by Mrs. Fungus, and cleaned that sucker off before trying to find the gasket sealant. I can't remember what the stuff is called, but it's not ordinary gasket shellac; it's black tarry stuff that works incredibly better than gasket shellac, especially for sealing the cooling system...so much better in fact that it's sold in auto parts stores.
Put it back in place and bolted down; then turned my attention to re-flushing the heater core.
When I blew it out, ye gods the gunk that came out--it was nasty stuff. I then poured in the CLR and waited, also futzing around with the hose while letting it do its thing. Once I'd judged that enough time had elapsed, I blew that crap out of the core...and out came this foamy, slimy mess of crud. Then I hooked up the hose and flushed the core out, and a whole bunch more crud came out. When the water ran clear I shut the hose off and started buttoning up the system.
The hell of it is, that was pretty much the case last time.
Anyway, I filled it from the heater core inlet hose, in order to eliminate as many air pockets as I could; once coolant started coming out of the radiator I closed that and added more, until it started coming out of the heater hose nipple. Then I closed it up completely and put the remainder of the gallon jug into the overflow tank. Started the truck, no leaks.
Let it idle. I revved it to 5k a couple of times, then let it sit; after about ten minutes or so I was getting nice hot air from the heater, even on high...and it stayed hot. This is with an outside air temperature of about freezing, so hopefully--hopefully--this danged thing is fixed and I don't have to do this again.
Won't know for sure until the next really cold day, and we're not due for one of those until next week at the earliest.
Still--not bad for starting a bit before 2 PM; I don't think it took me as long as two hours to finish the job. The hard part was finding the hose with 6" of snow in the front yard.
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The way my old system was set up, I could go bing-bang-boom and switch it on or off as suited me. This one, no. *sigh*
Speaking of computer systems, I've been thinking about skipping Win 7 and going to Win 8. Having worked with it a bit at work I'm seeing that it's not as warty and annoying as it initially seemed it would be. It's best for a touchscreen interface but it's usable with a mouse, and switching to a desktop takes a simple keypress (Windows Key+D). The software that I use the most is already Win 8 compatible, so no worries there, and I'd have the benefit of being able to buy it from work, where I might get a discounted (even if only slightly) price on it.
I'll have to look into that.
...but the system still needs maxed RAM first, which is going to require a significant outlay of cash even with my discount. It's not happening before next year. But once it's done I can put in the high-zoot video card Mrs. Fungus bought for me last year, which has 2 GB of VRAM on it, and I'll be able to take full advantage of the thing.
With Win 8 64 and the 2.5 GB of RAM currently in the system, it would be...less than optimal, I think.
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Well, the pies have been ordered. All I need to do now is go pick them up, and the Cinnabons, and the stuff for dinner on Christmas, and-and-and.... *sigh* But at least I have time off next week that I can, without having to go anywhere on Christmas Eve. Whee!