August 13th, 2015

#4861: Another day, another ache!

Got up, made breakfast for the Fungi, and here I sit in solitude. Mrs. Fungus went to work, the cats are off doing cat things, and I'm here at the computer.

The EGR gasket did not arrive yesterday. Today I am therefore going to push the Fiero out of the garage and get after the front brakes.

Incidentally, here's the U-joint from the Jeep's passenger side front axle:

Top and bottom is what all four bearings should have looked like. Left and right were decidedly less than optimal.

Funny part: this u-joint could, theoretically, be cleaned up and reused. In a world where replacements weren't available (or were cost-prohibitive) one could do exactly that. But in this world, at a replacement cost of $9, it's not worth the effort.

* * *

Crude oil is trading somewhere around $45 a barrel, and here in the Fungal Vale gas is selling for well over $3 a gallon as if crude were still twice as expensive as it is. Because one piece of equipment at one refinery went "poit" and let out its magic smoke. Thanks, EPA. Thanks, NIMBY-ites.

* * *

Larry Correia gets it right.
The real lesson to be taken from Trump and Bernie is that many Americans are so damned tired of the establishment and the media that they’ll root for anybody, no matter how crazy they are, if they’ll just quit sucking up and actually stand for something.
He's predicting the elections will come down to Hillary vs. Cruz.

Hillary--there are some very serious security breaches arising out of the private server fiasco but we've seen this show before; like her husband Slick Willie, Hillary is coated with an advanced low-friction coating which protects her from having things stick to her. "Slick Hilly", we could call her.

Fun Hillary Clinton Fact: the coefficient of friction of Hillary Clinton's skin is not actually zero because you still have to consider the Van Der Waals force. (That was a Hillary Clinton Fact and a physics joke two-fer! I'm smart!)

Bernie Sanders is, as Correia points out, not doing very well versus the "black lives matter" idiots, and furthermore made the critical mistake of replying (correctly) that "all lives matter", which the "black lives" morons insist is nothing but pure racism and bigotry.

You should read Correia's entire post, because it's got so much good stuff in it I can't possibly quote it all here. But Correia posts his own Hillary Clinton Fact!
Hillary is a sort of woman shaped carbon based life form.
Huzzah! I am no longer a lone voice in the wilderness!

I really hope he's right about Jeb Bush not being the GOP's nominee. I really do. I'm not the only person suffering from "Bush fatigue".
On Jeb Bush… Ain’t gonna happen. He was the media’s initial pick, and it was even more painfully obvious than when all the democrats showed up in our open primaries to “cross the aisle” to nominate McCain, and then promptly ditched him for Obama on election day. But Jeb’s got zilch. Actual conservatives don’t like him, the Tea Party hates him. On the issues, he’s mumble mumble amnesty and mumble mumble that’s not what Common Core was supposed to mumble. Seriously, do you know any actual voter who likes Jeb? Can you think of one? I can’t. Jeb has all the suck of the old, dying, big government GOP, so the conservative base will be even less enthusiastic for him than they were for Romney and McCain, with the added benefit that his last name is Bush, so automatically half the country hates him.
...and I'd bet that nominating Bush would hand victory to the Democrats, because I sure as hell ain't voting for another Bush. Particularly not when he's the most liberal of the three that have been up for the job.

The election is fifteen months away and a lot can change between now and then, but seriously, I don't see Hillary being hauled off to jail; and even if she is, she can still run. Worst case, Obama has to pardon her--and if you don't think that can happen, you'd better think again, bud, because while Obama doesn't like the Clintons he's still a Democrat and he's going to do what he can to advance Democrat interests. (Liberal: "Hillary was pardoned for the e-mail thing, so it never happened." This would be uttered in all seriousness. Reply: "Oh, so, since Nixon was pardoned, Watergate never happened, right?" "SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU NAZI NIXON IS EVIL HOW DARE YOU COMPARE HILLARY TO HIM")

Hillary has turned over her server, but if you seriously think anything incriminating was left on that machine, all she has to do is say that it was "someone on her staff" who did that, not her. The mysterious someone will take the fall, spend a decade in a minimum-security prison ("country club"), and retire to luxury thereafter, once he/she/it is safely out of the public eye.

But don't get your hopes up: Hillary Clinton will not go to jail over this. She won't even be prosecuted, much less charged or indicted. The people who support her don't see anything wrong with her behavior, and probably think it's all been manufactured by the GOP working with some bad eggs at the FBI, because those guys are a bunch of nazis anyway.

And pests won't be allowed to get in the way, either. Bernie Sanders' campaign stops are being interrupted by Clinton operatives. If Biden tries running, he'll get squashed.

The Democrat nominee will be Hillary.

* * *

Fred Reed really does understand the race problem.
{Why] do blacks not fit into American society? First, very poor education. People reading at the level of middle school or below cannot find work in a technological society in which automation is putting literate whites out of work. Second, a culture of hostile dependency brought about by condescending racial policy that requires nothing of them.

What to do? To suggest that blacks need to make their kids do their homework is racism. To suggest that marriage is key to upward mobility is racism. To suggest that blacks really need to stop shooting each other is racism. To suggest that PhDs ought to be required to write English is racism.

Merry Christmas.
Worth reading.

* * *

Michael Flynn has a cogent discussion of the issues surrounding gender dysphoria.

* * *

The biggest hard drive so far is an SSD storing 16 terabytes. It's a 2.5 inch drive, so they mean "large" in logical terms (data stored) rather than physical (form factor).

Shucks, anyone can make a large thing powerful. It really takes skill to make small things powerful. If someone tried building a 5.25" full-height hard drive with today's technology, they could easily pack a few dozen terabytes into one, if not more. (To say nothing of how much an 8" HDD could store.)

But 16 TB in the 2.5" form factor...that's only possible with silicon, and state-of-the-art silicon to boot. costs about $7,500, of course. It's not even the size of a deck of cards.

* * *

Late to bed, early to rise--I'm going to have a nap before I start wrenching, because the past few days have shown that if I wrench first, intending to nap later, instead I end up wrenching, then wrenching more, then doing this and that and the other thing...and by the time Mrs. Fungus gets home I'm exhausted.

The Fiero's brakes are primarily an issue with the sliders. They need some TLC. I can do an uncomplicated brake job in about an hour; it's all stuff I've done before. This will take longer because I'm having to do other things, like replacing the brake hoses, which means bleeding the brakes and-and-and, but (again) it's all stuff I've done before and I'm not worried about that.

I just really need that f-ing EGR gasket to get here so I can get started on making the thing run correctly. Argh.

Well, one thing at a time, right?

#4862: They charged me $13 for shipping.

Left on the porch by UPS guy: a box about the size of a large box of Pop-Tarts, weighing considerably less than a pound.

Inside that box: a smaller box, roughly the size of a box of small-caliber pistol ammo. No packing material other than the packing list.

Inside that box: a small manila envelope, 1" wide by 2" long.

Inside the envelope: the gasket.


* * *

Hillary makes, per speech, about five times the average American's annual income. Just remember that when you talk about how she's a champion of the people.

* * *

It is important to remember that the various Indian reservations inside America constitute foreign countries. That's why this article about Navajos intending to sue EPA for their massive wastewater spill talks about the Navajo Nation.

The article concludes, "It's not illegal when the government does it." That is probably the most damning evidence of how far our nation has fallen.

* * *

As for me, since I've got the EGR gasket (finally!) I'm going to go get to work. Cross your fingers and wish me luck.

#4863: Back to square one.

Back to October 29, 2011, to be exact.

From the time I hit the driveway to the starting of the car didn't take an hour. The battery has plenty of juice in it and it ran everything the way it's supposed to. Turned her on and off and on and off and on and off several times to prime the fuel rail, then tried cranking, got nothing. Did some more priming.

Cranked her and she almost started, so I waited a couple of seconds and tried again...and then she sputtered to life, exactly the same way she did four years ago.


I have therefore eliminated spark and fuel as the cause of my Fiero woes...and if my problem is compression I am well and truly screwed. I would have been well and truly screwed regardless of when I started this because rebuilding the engine is well beyond my financial capacity right now. I might be able to handle getting a set of rings and a "bottle brush" hone and doing a half-assed ring job, but if it's valves I'm fucked, if it's bad cylinder wear I'm fucked, and basically if it's anything really complicated or involved I'm fucked.

But how could it be compression? The last time prior to October 29, 2011, that the car moved under its own power, it ran fine. It was only then, after a bunch of stuff had happened (like my sister dying) that I had time to get after the brakes, and that's when the car decided not to run well, and that happened as soon as I turned the key.

Now is not the time for despair, though. The car won't stay running long enough for me to time the engine, but that's what needs doing; I need someone to help me find top dead center and make sure the distributor is somewhere near that point. I know that it is almost there--because the engine wouldn't start if it were too far out--but the engine will start, run for a bit, increase in speed, throw a code, and die.

It'll do so reliably, though! It starts, at least! Whee! It cranked over as easily as it always has, in fact, like I had just driven it yesterday.

So I need to find my ALDL shorting plug and check the engine codes. If I had to guess, I'd say it was likely that the code being thrown is a timing code. It might also be the ignition module, but I could check that in about two minutes by throwing another module in there. (And if that turns out to be the problem, I'm going to shit twice and die.)

So, first step is pulling those codes, and trying another module; then I'll have to visit the Fiero forum, I guess.

Ain't owning an antique vehicle fun?


Ran the codes, got a "MAP sensor error" from the ECM. Looked over the MAP sensor, and while it was plugged in and connected, there was a hose near it which was not, and guess what that hose was for? Oh, it was only THE VACUUM PORT FOR THE F-ING MANIFOLD ABSOLUTE PRESSURE SENSOR, that's all.

Started the car up, she runs like watch in need of a minor timing adjustment and doesn't quit. There's some kind of vacuum sound near the throttle body, which I need to identify and fix. Timing needs to be adjusted, and-and-and. Still, this is a major improvement over how she ran in October of 2011, and a huge step forward.

I'm glad it was something simple this time.

#4864: Brakes!

Cleaned the slides out on the driver's side, checked them...stuck. So it is either the hose or--worse--the caliper. If it's the caliper, it's going to take some doing; what I get to do right now is to put in the new hose and hope against hope that the hose is the problem. If it's the caliper--

Front calipers are $28 at autozone, but have to order them; I don't remember if I replaced them in '02 or not. Probably "not", considering. I did replace the rears in 2002 (and again in 2005 or 2006) but the rears aren't the ones that are giving me the problem I'm having.

So I'm going to replace the hoses, and further I'll "exercise" the piston per Og's suggestion, and see if any of that helps. It's almost 6:30 PM, so I'd better get moving if I want to have this corner buttoned up before dark.

At least I don't have to push the car back into the garage when I'm done. That helps a lot.

#4865: And right on schedule, there's the setback.

So let's get a Fiero update!

The idle problem has been fixed; after the engine had cooled down enough I was able to find that the crankcase vent line that went from the back of the engine to the throttle body had not been connected. When I was putting the car together on Monday I had put that hose into position, but it must have slipped out while I was finagling the throttle body gasket into place. That was where my "sucking sound" was coming from, and the open port on the throttle body was why the car was running at 2,000 RPM. With the hose put in its proper place and everything buttoned down, she idles nice and smooth at 800 RPM just like she ought to.

So, it's a good bet that the actual problem with the car was the EGR pipe, which--as I discovered during disassembly--had broken, probably the last time I shut it off before October 29. Anyway, I can call it "fixed", and now all I have to do is to set the timing. That can wait until I've gotten the brakes attended to.

And so, I set to replacing the left front brake hose, figuring that because I have the part I should try the easy fix first.

Ten years ago I had that "as needed part time" job working for a mechanic, and one of the things he always complained about is that I would never leave the propane torch on a seized bolt or nut long enough, and make getting the stuck parts apart much harder than it had to be. So the other day, when I needed to get the nut off an EGR stud, I got that mother hot...and sure enough, I didn't even need to use any muscle to get it off after that. I blasted it with PB Blaster until it stopped smoking, and then it just unscrewed. (Of course I didn't touch it with my fingers.)

Today, then, I had to get the brake hose unscrewed from the brake line, after thirty years of weather. I made an attempt, then made for the propane torch.

Sat down, tried to light torch...the lighter self-destructed. I mean, when I tried to strike it, the spark wheel just came apart in my hand. I just looked at it for a moment, then went inside for another; on my way in I tossed the broken one in the trash. One of the things Mom had--when she'd go get smokes, the liquor store would throw in a few lighters, and she had quite a collection of them. She stopped accepting them after she'd filled one of those boxes that banks used to send you your blank checks in. Well, I kept that box, so I (as a nonsmoker) probably have enough cigarette lighters to last me well into my declining years.

So I got the torch lit and started heating the fitting, and heating it, and let it heat for a good while; then I hosed it with PB Blaster and tried unscrewing it. That didn't work, so I got the torch lit again and heated the everlovin' piss out of it. And as I watched the flame heat the fitting, I thought I could see...was that something dripping out of the--



The heat in the fitting had boiled the brake fluid, and the hose had blown right out of the fitting. After I got my heart restarted I laughed and shut the torch off. The fitting yielded easily to the wrenches and I used a rag to extract it from the bracket.

That left the caliper itself. I tried to compress the piston back into the caliper, and it absolutely would not budge, which meant the caliper was seized. With the hose blown out I was not going to be able just to screw everything back together, so I went ahead and pulled the caliper off the hose and took it to the workbench, intending to see if I could free up the piston by exercising it.

I had finally managed to do so, after several in-and-out cycles; then I tried to get just a little too much travel from the piston



Yes, I blew the piston right out of the damned caliper. It was working, and I blew it. Literally.

That's where I am now: the caliper is disassembled and I cannot figure out how to get it back together. Theoretically I should be able just to push the piston back in, but it has resisted all attempts at reassembly and instead has gotten jammed in the bore, twice. I did get the dust boot off, without damaging it, so that's a plus, but it doesn't matter if I can't get the damned piston back in.

Og has suggested some light brake grease on the piston, then try to work it in, turning as it goes. I'll try that, and see how we do.

Further bulletins as events warrant.