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Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/5/20 10:23 p.m.

yesterday I finished the upper end of the engine on the Fordzda Branger.  It needed valve cover gaskets which requires taking off the plenum.  So I decided to do injectors, some painting, belts, hoses, etc while I was in there.  Also discovered a faulty fuel pump relay (which was the cause of my very intermittent non-start problem... he says hopefully).

Then I upgraded to a 2-row radiator with a new heater core and a full flush.  I tried to stuff in an electric cooling fan, but the one I had was too big.

After all the work, I decided to do some paint correction starting with some wet sanding on the roof, then rubbing compound, polish, glaze, and wax.  That spiraled into a whole host of exterior stuff.  I wanted to repaint the back bumper, but first I wanted to cut a hole in the bumper for a proper, 7-pole trailer wiring connector.  Did that with an acetylene torch and only set the truck on fire twice.  Then I painted the bumper with a rattle can of bed liner.

Of course, since I have a 7-pole trailer connector, it needed to have 12v+ and (since I put in a Tekonsha Prodigy as well) a brake controller wire run to the back.  The brake wire I did with 12 ga since that's what it called for and I had a fresh spool.  The 12v+ wire, the only thing I had was some audiophile-quality 8 ga with fine-stranded, tinned copper.  I kinda went nuts at this point.  Every single connection was soldered and shrink tubed.  I put new battery terminals on the cables and soldered them full.  I sourced the trailer 12v off the positive terminal with the 8ga to a 40A self-resetting breaker.  While I was doing that, I wired up redundant grounds from the trailer wiring; one using that same 8ga going to a 5/16" stainless bolt that I drilled and tapped the frame to receive.  The other was a secondary 16 gauge that was included with the factory 4-prong that goes to factory ground on the frame.  I think I'm grounded.

Well, then I couldn't stop there.  Seeing as how I sometimes camp in this truck, I put a weatherproof 12v outlet tucked up under the bed rail on it's own 12 ga feed with a 15A fuse.  Of course.... still couldn't stop, so I ordered some waterproof tactile pushbutton switches to tuck in there as well, along with some short LED strips.  Four of those strips will go under the bed rails, and two will go under the bumper above the hitch.  I'm always shocked at how many times I find myself hitching a trailer in the dark.

I'll be starting another thread soon for backup cameras.  If I can find one that isn't too expensive, I'll get it; if for no other reason than I also tend to find myself hitching up a trailer without someone helping me line it up.

Also treated myself to a stainless steel hitch insert and a stainless convert-a-ball hitch ball system.

I think I might like this truck.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/6/20 12:22 p.m.



Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/6/20 1:00 p.m.

Pretty much done with the first refinished dresser, I just need to do the final sanding. Now Girl-Spawn just needs to clear out a place in her nasty room to put it.


Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/6/20 1:34 p.m.

That grain is lovely.

MadScientistMatt PowerDork
5/11/20 8:27 a.m.

A project gallon of ale. I used to have a Mr. Beer kit, but this one is from Love2Brew.com.



AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/11/20 9:15 a.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

with all that "couldn't stop there" goodness, i'm a little surprised and simultaneously not surprised at all to see three clean screws and one rusty screw on the trailer wiring connector.  we've all been that guy.    :-)

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/11/20 11:23 a.m.
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

with all that "couldn't stop there" goodness, i'm a little surprised and simultaneously not surprised at all to see three clean screws and one rusty screw on the trailer wiring connector.  we've all been that guy.    :-)

Haaa!  Yes.  I refused to go wait in line with infected people at HD to get four #10 stainless bolts.  I had four of these rattling around my garage so they got repurposed..  Same goes for the two different breakers.  It's what I had left over from other projects.

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/11/20 11:35 a.m.

I decided to tackle some projects on the minivan. I took it to the dealer to repair the parking brake, and that ended up being a big job because the cables were toast and the pads were gone, so bye-bye to a grand. But not all bad, because they also alerted me to a list of recall work that had never been done (and that other dealers failed to mention) and did it all for free. So new coils and a-arms and some other stuff. Yeah! They also told me that my check engine light was probably not bad cats, but rather the Y-pipe that looked like a spaghetti strainer. I decided to do that myself.

After the wife had removed the front fender, nosepiece, and headlamp in a prior drunken road-rage incident (ok, she hit a pole while backing up and swinging too wide) I had slapped on a fender of a different color and a new light and patched the nose. I decided to fix these too while it was in the garage. I sourced parts from a junkyard that were the same color code, a simple swaperoo. I also snagged some foglights on one trip to the U-Pull-It and would be adding these as well.

The body parts went well, everything is done except for adding a switch for the foglights. While OEM, my van did not have the wires for them so I did all that myself. Looks pretty good if I do say so myself.


The exhaust was a different issue. When I went to unbolt the old Y pipe, I discovered that a previous owner removed the third cat and welded in a straight pipe.

This eliminated two flanges, so my easy bolt-in replacement was a no-go. But a new cat and mid-muffler were only $300, so  I went that route. I was able to unbolt or cut out the old stuff and bolt in the new stuff, so I call that a success. Ill have to see if the light comes back on, but so far so good.

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/11/20 11:57 a.m.

My other project was this:

electric juice exits garage, powers the timer for the pond fountain, then goes underground. 


it reappears at the shed...


where it keeps batteries topped up when in storage...


and passes through a switch...

so's I can see stuff at night!

dropstep UltraDork
5/13/20 3:24 p.m.

after 7 years I can finally see the floor of my tiny 1 car garage again and my back porch is clean. Between the garage and leftovers from a home improvement project it was 560lbs too the dump and 280lbs of scrap.  My garage looks downright roomy without a bunch of crap piled along each side! 

STM317 UltraDork
5/17/20 10:43 a.m.

Work has slowed thanks to potty training (not me I swear, but a refresher can't hurt I guess) but I've finally gotten the shop walls ready for primer/paint (woot).

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/17/20 11:07 a.m.

My finches finally fledged the nest under the patio roof, so I got busy tearing it down and building the new one.  The old one was that 40's aluminum stuff and the sharp edges were right at forehead level.  I was able to gain over a foot of clearance at the low end of the slope and still maintain a 1.5 slope, plus the translucent PVC panels REALLY let so much light through.  The kitchen and laundry room just inside are no longer dungeon-like caves.

Out with the old, leaky, lacerating roof:


In with the new. My family came to help (social distancing, of course)

dculberson (Forum Supporter)
dculberson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/17/20 8:10 p.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

That looks so much better. 

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
5/18/20 9:02 a.m.

I had a busy weekend tackling small projects. First up: fixing the electricity in the garage.
About a month ago, I nicked this wire with the tape with a staple gun trying to hang this insulation back up. Dumb!


I opened up the box and traced all the wiring, figuring out what went to where in the garage, and ID'ed the bad wire.

New wire is the leftmost white one coming out of the box. Re-routed it to avoid stapling it again.

All fixed up, and it all works. Yes, the insulation is sloppy, but it will be replaced when I start fixing the structural stuff in there.

While I was doing that, I had the smoker going. I've smoked twice since the shutdown, and both times went well.

This weekend it was a Boston Butt. I love pullled pork, and I have been doing that in a crock pot, which left a lot to be desired. After 10 hours, it looked like this:

And 10 minutes later after resting it in foil, it looked like this:

Made that cornbread and the potatoes in there too. Holy mother of deliciousness, it was good.

And one last project: we decided to use our much-neglected garden this season.

We haven't planted in there in a few years, mostly because the wife had been sick for 2 summers with Pancreatitis. She's doing great now, so we decided to clean it up and put up some new fence. The bed frame things were her weird idea, but we will be planting peas to crawl up them. The greenhouse has a bunch of plants in there, and we will be doing both pots and in-ground planting. I really should have taken a before pic. We cut down about 20 big branches from above to get sunlight on the plot.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/18/20 9:45 a.m.
dculberson (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

That looks so much better. 

Thanks.  The monumental increase in space and light are worth it.  Still planning on a bar-height counter between the two left posts with some bar stools.  Hoping to find some suitable composite countertop material; quartz, corian, or similar that I can put there.  Tiki-bar style.

All right, I've got a couple.

First up, I rebuilt a bump press thingie I made for my press some years back.



Second up, I've been playing a game. What if we really had almost no resources? What if I really had to simply make do with what I have?

This pressure washer was making a god awful racket last time I used it. I had lent it to people, and it sat for a long while when I was moving, so I did the logical thing when it wouldn't turn over-let it sit outside in all sorts of weather for 6+ months.

First, I determined that it would start once the pump was removed. Locked pump. The internet said no changing the pump oil, but I figured what the heck. Long story short, with the help of a hammer, PB Blaster, acetone, and a variety of old oil I had laying around, I got it going again, and it works loke a champ. It is getting quieter the more I run it, also. Investment-$0

Sidewayze New Reader
6/13/20 11:56 p.m.

Just putting the finishing touches on.  36" RC Fleet 80 Canuck.  Scratch built, balsa, 300 brushless electric power.  Working bungee suspension landing gear. 

STM317 UltraDork
7/7/20 10:10 a.m.

Don't know if this still counts as 'quarantine' or not but with the exception of some small trim painting and receptacle wiring, the walls are now pretty much done. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter:

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