August 12th, 2015

#4857: Ouch

Having spent Monday and Tuesday engaged in car stuff, my arms and legs are thoroughly tenderized. I was up at 10 AM yesterday, spent most of my day working, and then went to bed with my wife at 1 AM...and couldn't sleep despite well-earned fatigue because of the pain in my limbs.

Sleep won out, even so, and very rapidly.

Today I am waiting for the EGR gasket to arrive. I've decided to add a few more foot-pounds to the axle nut on the Jeep, which means it's not going anywhere until I get some more cotter pins. Last night I did the math wrong; 175 foot-pounds is about eighty pounds at two feet (the length of my breaker bar) and I don't know if I leaned on it hard enough. Og's prescription for axle nuts is "Break it off and back off a quarter turn", which is about right; 175 lb/ft is a lot of torque.

The phrase I use is one I got from the MGB's owner's manual: "Just a sharp nip with the spanner," it said, referring to how hard the oil drain plug should be tightened. (I use that much torque with my oil drain plugs and it works spectacularly.) Well, that's what I want to do with the axle nut; one more nip, essentially, rather sharper than most.

One big benefit to replacing the hub is that the lug nuts go on much easier than they ever have. I think something partly munged the threads on the old hub, because even though the lugs were clean and lightly greased with anti-seize the lug nuts never spun on or off freely--I'd have to wrench them all the way. The new hub, I can spin them on with my fingers.

What I'm most eager to do is to complete the reassembly of the Fiero, and then try to get her started.

...but that must wait for the arrival of the EGR gasket.

* * *

Cotter pins: $0.27 each at Ace. I wonder what their cost on them is? $0.02?

Anyway I got four. I'm hoping that I can just put the Jeep in 4WD so I don't have to remove the tire, pull off the hubcap, remount the tire, tighten axle nut, remove tire, install hub cap, and reinstall the tire again. I can't think of a reason that wouldn't work, but with two differentials and a transfer case involved who the hell knows? But in theory, with the 4WD engaged, the front axle should be locked the way the rear axle is (through the park pawl in the transmission) and I should be able to do what I need to do. Here's hoping.

* * *

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," goes the First Amendment. But apparently it's perfectly legal for a state to tell a prison chaplain what he may or may not say is sinful behavior.

Homosexuals et al (LGBGTBLTBBQWTF) are regarded, by the aristocracy, as a "protected class", meaning that they're special snowflakes who are entitled to all sorts of special treatment. That includes, now, forcing those icky Jesus freaks to bake cakes for gay weddings and denying them the right to identify homosexual behavior as sinful according to their stupid neanderthal sky wizard.

And gays mustn't be told their behavior is sinful because that gives them badfeels.

* * *

And how, may one ask, are these tropical diseases getting into the Houston area?

Regardless, probably the best thing we could do for public health is to un-ban DDT. DDT is a highly effective pesticide and it would work wonders against the insects which spread these tropical diseases. Its low toxicity in humans would similarly mean less-safe alternatives could be abandoned.

"Rachel Carson"? Don't make me laugh. That crap was based on the same kind of junk science that gave us global warming and the lipid hypothesis.

* * *

Nighttime on the ground, morning in orbit. The airglow is a particularly nice touch.

* * *

Upper seventies today, low dewpoint--nice day for a motorcycle ride. What a pity mine's in need of repairs.

Riding home from Og's last night, though--as I noted in a comment reply for the last post--I saw that the quality of light from the headlight changed occasionally. I was too busy watching the road to see, exactly, how it changed; but the fact that it did tells me there may be a loose connection somewhere. That means I get to dig into the wiring harness! What a party!

...not today, though. Today I have other fish to fry.

#4858: Well, that helps.

I still have the shimmy. It still starts in at about 52 MPH and cuts off around 58.

There is, however, much less of it.

Before, at its worst, it was HOLY SHIT THE FRONT END IS SELF-DESTRUCTING but now it's more like "Damn, WTF is with that shimmy?" To the consternation of other drivers, I rolled down the highway in the right lane varying my speed between 52 and 59 MPH, and found that the worst of the shimmy was right around 53-54, and while it's annoying, it's within acceptable limits. It no longer feels as if the front end is going to tear itself apart, which is a huge improvement.

I have to believe that once I can replace the driver's side hub, it'll be even further reduced. I'm looking forward to that; and if the driver's side wheel U-joint needs replacing too, so be it. I might make that a priority for my first paycheck from the new job, in fact, because I am very encouraged by the magnitude of the improvement to the Jeep's driving characteristics.

As for tightening the hub nut? Putting the truck in 4WD locked the wheel and let me put enough torque on it to tighten the nut if there had been any room left to tighten it. I leaned on the breaker bar and saw it flexing--and by a good amount!--and that nut didn't move; I figured, therefore, that there is enough torque on it. (The breaker bar flexed enough that I was worried it would break if I put my full weight on it.)

...and when I do the driver's side, I now know that I don't have to go through the laborous process of removing the tire, removing the hub cap, remounting the tire, putting it on the ground, loosening hub nut--all I have to do is put 'er in 4WD and that'll do it. (As long as the other tire on the axle is on the ground, of course.)

Before winter I'll want to check the rest of the U-joints on the truck, of course; they all have 122,000 miles on them and if one failed, it's a good bet that more are going to. At about $10-$15 each it's not going to break the bank to replace the ones that are crunchy, and the retaining u-bolts for them are similarly inexpensive.

That, however, is for another time. Right now I have some house cleaning to do.


Incidentally, I'm trying to figure out when I last replaced the steering damper, because I'm thinking it was a "limited lifetime warranty" part and I might as well replace it now, as that'll help with the shimmy. Problem is, I didn't note it in the Jeep's maintenance log, and I don't remember when I did it. I commented on it here at the Fungus but can't find the post because none of the search engines index LiveJournal any longer. Argh etc.

#4859: Just in time for me to start commuting!

Refinery in Whiting, Indiana, went "kerpow" and probably won't be back on-line for months. Gas went up $0.75 a gallon overnight.

Yesterday it was $2.46-ish a gallon. Today it is $3.20.

If we had any spare refining capacity the price of gas might not spike like this when a refinery goes down. Of course the EPA has made it virtually impossible to build any new refineries, which is why refining capacity in the US has declined since 1979. The area relies on that refinery to pump out some 400,000 gallons of unleaded per day, and right now it's only running at half capacity.

They say "one month" but I'd bet it'll be longer.

#4860: $3

So today, along with some other errands, I ran the drip guard for the grill over to a local powder coating and media blasting shop. They blasted it clean, leaving bare metal, and charged me the whopping sum of $3 to do it.

I fixed the gas grill for $3 total outlay. That is a friggin' bargain, right there.