I've been looking at YouTube videos in between wrecking stuff in WoW, and then Mrs. Fungus comes in and tells me the basement floor needs to be cleaned. I got the vacuum out and took it downstairs. It cleaned...sort of. Not as well as I've been accustomed to, and in fact the other day it wasn't cleaning all that well.
The vacuum has a suction indicator, and it was mostly red, which led me to conclude that the upper filter--which is meant to be periodically rinsed clean, squeezed out, and allowed to dry--needed cleaning. I did that, but saw no difference in the performance of the vacuum, and was unhappy. I figured that when I tried cleaning it the other day I either did something wrong, or else the filter is clogged; either way, it means "new filter".
I got this thing in September of 2011 so I've had it for 4.5 years. Only today did I realize--upon consulting the manual--that my vacuum also has a HEPA filter on the bottom. Well, then! Checked that out and it's quite dirty, so I pulled off the bottom-most layer of filter material to see if that would change its performance any. It didn't, so I decided to clean out the beater bar and have a look-see at the mechanism.
...and in the process of cleaning junk out of the beater bar, I discovered that the lower part of the hose was clogged with hair and junk, and it was packed in so solidly that I had to take the hose off and run a coat hanger through the thing. I ended up with a double handful of cat hair and--it turned out--pine needles.
Tried it out again, and the suction indicator wasn't much (if any) better than it was before, which tells me that the filters do need to be replaced...but it occurs to me now that the way this thing is built, if the hose was clogged down there there might be a clog elsewhere. The hose that provides all the suction detaches so you can use extensions and brushes, and where that longer, upper hose connects to the body of the vacuum, there could easily be a clog. So off I go!
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I should have taken a picture: I went to drop the screwdriver through the hose, and it got about 6" in, and stopped dead. I did this because I couldn't see light through it, not even when I shined a flashlight through it.
After I did a few minutes' fiddling over the garbage can, out came another handful of cat hair and pine needles, and then I was able to see through the hose. Put everthing back together, gave her a try...and the suction indicator barely registered any red at all, and the thing sucks again.
I ran it around the family room a little, did the front hall, the other hall, and the bedrooms, and had half a canister of dirt and cat hair. That's without half trying, I might add.
Well, it makes sense: although we've vacuumed since we got rid of the Christmas tree, the vacuum cleaner hasn't been cleaning, not really; it's swept up cat hair but not much else because all that gunk has been clogging the hose, right where the pine needles jammed up.
So I'll have to run the vacuum again later, and do a proper job, but it sure is nice that I was able to fix the thing without having to buy all kinds of parts. I'm still going to get a new HEPA filter (not the least because I modified the existing one) but that can wait a little while.
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I worked on the resume a bit yesterday and shipped it to a prospective employer. It's a contract agency, so they wanted a "rough draft" and I tried to incorporate as many of the recruiter's suggestions as I could. (They were very good suggestions.) Since the full time position I interviewed for at Best Buy ain't gonna happen, I need to ramp back up with the submissions and applications elsewhere.
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I was really hoping to have the energy to write something this "weekend", but so far this blog post is about it. I woke up this afternoon feeling embalmed, because I needed Xanax to sleep last night (after the awful day I had Monday, I needed it, else my lingering rage would have kept me awake) and because various versions of my telephone--real and imaginary; see previous post--woke me up. And when I finally woke up around 2-ish I felt guilty about the idea of staying in bed, so I didn't, but that was probably a mistake.
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Bottom bearing: $9
Upper bearing: $45
Time spent replacing both: about 5 hours
Coming home and having to ask your wife if she's washing clothes: Priceless.
...and you can add "not having to turn the TV up during the spin cycle" to that last line, too.
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So I've spent a little time, trying to get to sleep, thinking about how I'd like to build the go cart. Bending tubing is probably out, because it would require tools I don't have, but there's nothing wrong with a basic ladder frame with triangulated reinforcements. Have nerf bars between the axles, maybe a roll bar and tie the nerf bars into that.
It's not f-ing rocket science, after all.
The hard part of this project is paying for the parts and materials.
The engine's going to cost about $100 and will probably be the most expensive single component. The clutch is another $20 or so. Steering gear, maybe $30-$50 depending on how I go about it. Ancilliaries (bearings, chain, control cables, etc) another $30-$50. Wheels--Harbor Freight sells perfectly acceptable go kart wheels for about $10 apiece on sale, so the only problem there is figuring out how to key them to the rear axle. Otherwise I'm looking at spending more money on hubs than I'd care to, but it's still within the realm of possibility. The rear axle's not going to be cheap but it's not going to cost as much as the engine will. Some kind of brakes--yeah. The materials to make the frame. Paint. Once I'm done with everything it'll be a miracle if I haven't paid $400 for everything.
The second hardest part is learning how to weld; everything else is simple. And damn will it be cool to have built my own f-ing go kart!
The nicest thing is, once finished I can modify it as suits me. If I want a transaxle with gears, I can do it. If I decide to change over to a torque convertor (from a centrifugal clutch) I can do that too. (Or both!) If I want a bigger engine, if I want an electrical system--anything I want to do I can do once I've learned how to weld and put this thing together.
...or maybe just upgrade to a real MIG welder, get 240 in the garage, and build a sand rail. You can do a hell of a lot if you know how to shape and weld metal, damn it.