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Cars

Reassessment

I spent a good portion of the day checking off things on the to do list. First on the list was to get the keys cut and programmed to the car. Lowe's was nice enough to cut the keys for me. Home Depot on the other hand refused. Boo Home Depot.

All was not roses however. Try as I may, the new keys simply wouldn't program. What gives? It didn't seem to matter what I tried, the car simply refused to enter into reprogram state. Then I started to dig outside the box. The key we have always bugged me a little. It wasn't really black. It wasn't gray like a Toyota valet key we had for our old Camry either. I simply assumed the color fade was from age. Turns out, it went from a lighter gray to a darker gray due to age. Three things really made it clear we had a valet key.

The key itself only had 4 pronounced bumps. A true master key would have had 6 bumps.
The key we have is unable to lock the glove box or open the rear hatch.
The key when inserted into the ignition illuminates the Security light for a full 3 seconds instead of immediately turning the Security light off.

Hopefully the master key can be located, but I'm not hopeful. We'll just need to be careful with the key, though I'm leaning towards leaving the valet key taped to the ignition cylinder as a "permanent" fix.

Next up was to clean up the AC coil. The AC had a funny scent to it. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't "healthy" feeling either. I picked up two cans of Kool-It AC Evap and Heater core cleaner and gave it a go. I emptied one can by feeding the plastic hose up the drain hole. I then emptied the other can by going through the opening used by the blower motor resistor. Here's what it looked like before I did anything. It's hard to tell in the picture, but some of that slime was green in there.

And here it is after. One thing I noticed was that on this car, the drain is on the other side of the AC evaporator coil. So the foam really has no chance of making it to this side and clearing the grime. It's not really a failing of the product, but it goes to show that one size does not fit all. Shooting the product through the resistor opening did a great job, though it too wasn't perfect. The slime was pretty tenacious. The air smelled significantly cleaner. Almost great, but the slime gave me pause when I peaked inside. So, I shot up the coil with a huge does of Lysol and buttoned it back up. Now everything smells like Lysol unfortunately. I'm sure it'll dissipate, but maybe I shouldn't have hit it with Lysol.

The product definitely did something though. The liquid was a seriously disgusting black and brown in color with bits floating about. If the smell returns, I may go back in with a different water based cleanser like Odoban and use a soft brush to remove more foreign matter.

With that out of the way, I went ahead and greased up both drive shafts. I used Mobil 1 Synthetic grease and hit all of the zerk fittings. I took it easy on the slide yokes with 4 good squeezes of the pump, and really let the other fittings have it. I didn't stop pumping until I could see the bright red grease popping out of the U and Cardan joints. The clunk that would happen when coming to a stop or moving from a stop are gone. This maintenance item was quite satisfying as it was really obvious that the bearings were full of dirty grease.

While I was under there, I got a real good look at the passenger side frame rail. It wasn't pretty. Apparently this is where its worst, right around the exhaust. In the picture it may not seem bad, but i'm sure if I took a hammer to it I would end up with a huge hole that is about 1-3 inches high and about 2 feet long. I'm not sure what I'm going to do from here. I don't have a welder nor know how to use one. Our garage is only wired up for a 110v 15amp circuit too, meaning almost all welders will be unhappy with the electron pipe.

I think my current plan will be to push on and do a fluid change on all the diffs and the transfer case. After that, the frame rails will be sprayed with fluid film on the inside and outside. The rest of the undercarriage will also probably get the same treatment. After that, I think all further action items are going to stop. It's obvious that Kitty has had a hard life, and while I think we can coax another year or two out of her the long term view isn't looking so hot. Not unless I get a welder of course...

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