atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1706: Ouch.

So what does a connecting rod bolt cost, when you get one from your friendly Ford dealer?

$8.44. And you have to buy four at a go. Total: $36.

I hadn't realized my car used iridium-plated titanium fasteners...?

No, it's just the regular dealer ass-rape price. Parts from the dealer always make you clutch your glutes and wish for Preparation H; that's just how it is.

And so let's tally the results of the day's efforts:

Lawn: mowed.
Bread: bought.
Pistons 1-3: installed
Oil pump: disassembled, cleaned, reassembled, needing only 2 new bolts.
Intake manifold: cleaned.
Broken stud in exhaust manifold: removed.
Rear main seal boss: cleaned.

The oil pump was being a total bitch. I had to use the wire wheel to get the old gasket off; wanting to dunk it in the parts washer to clean the wire wheel gunk out, I had to remove the crank sensor. Naturally both of the metal washers embedded in the thing's plastic housing were frozen to the pump housing. One bolt broke off, leaving about 1/8" protruding above the surrounding surface. The other one came out but when I tried to remove the sensor the bushing remained behind.

So I'm going to need a crank sensor and I may need a new oil pump, too, if I can't get the rusted bolt out. Argh etc.

The other bolt that needs replacing is one of the bolts which holds the pump together. While I was trying to disassemble it, it ate a T-30 (torx) bit and then died itself, making it impossible for me to loosen it with my other T-30 bit. Hammer and chisel did not bother it, either.

I drilled a hole clean through it with the drill press, then applied heat with the propane torch. After a quick shot of WD-40 to cool it, the hammer and chisel then were able to break the goddamned thing free, and I had it unscrewed in pretty short order thereafter.

I may try using the drill press on the broken bolt.

Pistons 1-3 went in without a hitch and the new beam-type torque wrench did a yeoman's job of properly indicating that the connecting rod nuts were tightened to the specified torque.

* * *

Dinner tonight is Chinese, and the parking lot over by the Chinese place is literally a circus.

Longtime readers of the Fungus know we don't throw around the word "literally" unless something is the literal truth, and I can honestly say that the parking lot was literally a circus, complete with big top, elephants, camels, clowns, etc.

It was hard finding a place to park.

I don't remember the last time I actually saw an elephant in the flesh, either. Or camels, come to think of it.

* * *

Your Toyota Prius is raping mother Earth! With a spiky thing that has a lot of sharp edges!

Rare earth metals are called that precisely because they're rare. Iridium is one of them. Platinum is one. Neodymium, osmium, tungsten, tantalum, and several others.

Every single element I listed there is used by industry. Rare earths have properties which make them incredibly useful.

In my short story Singularity aliens arrange to buy a year's worth of Earth's production of palladium in order to repair their spacecraft. It does not turn out to be a hell of a lot--on the order of two hundred tons. (I based that figure on current consumption, which is extraordinarily pessimistic, considering the story is set several decades from now.)

So figure that as China continues to industrialize they're going to start using their rare earths for their own industry and stop selling it on the world market--where will that leave others?

* * *

Dang, I'm tired. Maybe it's time for bed.

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