Monday, February 27, 2012

International Man of Mystery

Global views of this humble blog, or
proof that people outside the US are crazy too.
Last time I ended with a fancy pants French phrase, and that brings me to an interesting point. You may be feeling quite alone reading this blog as you do, anxiously awaiting each installment with a burning obsession. But I bring good news - you are not alone.  In fact,this blog has acquired quite an international following. As you can see, the blog has visitors from every populated continent except Africa. (Breaking news: literally during the drafting of this post I got a hit from South Africa). I beg you, if you know someone in Djibouti please ask them to visit this blog.  Also, maybe one of you new Lockheed Martin contractors in Antarctica could use a little entertainment - you could also send me a million bucks and keep the other $1.999 billion you'd have left from that contract. So far, the countries I see represented in the logs are (in rough order of number of visits):

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Elusive O-Ring - First Oil Change pt. 2

Besides the oil spill from our last installment things went pretty well getting the oil out of the car. Now to change that filter. The filter is held on with one bolt that has to be removed from underneath the car, and an oil pipe connection has to be undone. The big bolt at the pipe connection is bigger than my adjustable wrench, so I had to buy a bigger one of those. Also, I had convinced my 11 year old son to help get the filter off with me and unfortunately got his head in the way of the final thin stream of dirty oil coming down from the oil pan and decided he'd had enough of car maintenance for a few months. Other than that, not too hard to get the filter cannister off. Surprisingly, the pint or so of oil in it didn't leak out as long as I kept the thing fairly upright after getting it loose.  It's probably a little messier than a normal oil change, but not bad at all.

Fitting the new felt filter insert. It's fleece is white as snow.
Notice the nice oil stained fingers.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Strangely Unfamiliar - First Oil Change

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. When I first bought the car I checked the oil level and color. It had plenty of oil, but it looked new, though that told me nothing about the condition of the engine. After a month or so of owning the car and seeing regular but not extreme evidence of oil drips I figured it would be smart to check the oil level again. To my horror I discovered I was already low on oil, and the oil was already looking "used".  At this point I might have put a few hundred miles at most on the car. I suppose the previous owner could have just topped up on oil without changing the filter, so it was time to tackle the first oil change.

Like no oil filter I've ever seen...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

When Good Wires Go Bad (or How I Got Stranded)

You can exhale now. The car is running fine again. Earlier this week, I reported that I'd gotten stranded 3 blocks from the house, resulting in the first time I've resorted to a tow home (even a homemade "tow" behind the SUV). I was just too tired that night to dig into the problem, but the next day it only took a few minutes to track the problem down.

You know, I am color blind. Did I mess up this spaghetti of wires while
putting things back together after recent maintenance?

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Proper Stranding

Whoa, did you feel that? That sudden shift in the fabric of time and space? We just lept forward from the past to the present. I have so many more things to tell from the past few months and my writing is behind at least 5 good posts (10 total, but only 5 of them any good). But tonight's episode is better served fresh, so the other stories will have to wait.

A live action shot of tonight's adventure. The chain was a little short, so
I was about one foot behind Shelly's bumper on the way back.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Baby It's Cold Outside

I mentioned in a previous episode that the heater stopped working.  In warmer weather there was so much heat coming from the engine bay that I wasn't sure I was going to ever need the heater. Now even before the truly cold weather (10-30 Fahrenheit in my area) has hit the heater feels like a mandatory piece of equipment.

Broken Heater Panel. I forgot to take a picture of the broken wire actually being
discussed, but it would have been boring anyway.