25 September 2014

19 September 2014

The Saga Continues

So in our last installment I mentioned the transmission whine. A look on the forums suggested that, given the symptoms, the problem was most likely the center drive bearings.

Center drive is AWD speak for transfer case. The center drive is basically a limited slip differential with a viscous coupler that is driven on one side by the transmission and on the other side it drives the rear wheels. Under normal operations everything turns at the same speed, but in corners it allows the wheels to turn different speeds.

Like when you are pulling into a parking spot, for instance.

Fortunately you can dig into the center drive without pulling the transmission, it's about a two to three hour process to do so but it's not difficult. So I broke out the took set and pulled the tailshaft cover off of the transmission to check the bearings and sure enough I found two of them to be bad.

But wait, there's more.

Not only were two of the bearings bad, the center differential has come apart as well...which means it has gone bad, too, which is why I was getting the clunk in the front end during the tight turns. With the center diff locked up as it was the car is basically a 4WD instead of AWD, which is why on dry pavement the front tires would slip and cause the clunking noise.

Not struts.
Not driveshafts.
Not wheel bearings.
Oh no, that would be too easy and cheap.

Yeah...that's a $500+ part...but fortunately I found it for $411 shipped.

Looks like it will go back together next week then.

I did dodge one bullet, though, in that I didn't drive the truck too long after the clunking had stopped (the clunking stopped when the center differential viscous clutch came apart. At that point the center differential was no longer locked up and the rear wheels were no longer being driven at full power). It seems that generally when the snap ring comes off the center diff (which is what happened) it usually gets sucked into the gears. Because I didn't drive the truck very far in that condition, the gears were spared.

If they hadn't been, this might be a shorter story.

14 September 2014

One Damn Thing After Another

Eldest Son has been driving the Baja for a little over a month now, he took it to Florida and then he's been driving it back and forth to work since he moved back in. This weekend he got himself a little Honda to drive so I get my scoobytruck back. This is good because winter is coming and the Mustang is more of a fair weather friend.

Last weekend he changed out the front struts in the latest attempt to eliminate the front end clunk that first we thought were drive axles and then we thought were wheel bearings.  I took it down to get the alignment done and noticed that it has developed a gear whine in the final drive. I put that in the "deal with it later" category and took it on in to the alignment shop.

When it came down from the rack the machine showed everything (except the right rear where there is no adjustment) is straight, but it pulled to the right. I checked the tire pressure and the right tire was low. So, I fired up the air compressor and topped off the tire pressures all the way around and took it down the road to check it out.

Nope, still pulls to the right darn it, so at the end of the road I crank the wheels hard left to turn around...and all of a sudden now it pulls to the left.


When I got to the next intersection I cranked the wheels hard right and brought it about, and then it pulled to the right again but not as hard. Back to the turnaround, hard to the left, and the pull is completely gone now.

Back to the house, up on the jackstands, and check every bolt. Everything is nice and tight, the clunk is gone and the truck tracks straight and true with no pull. All's well that ends well, I guess everything just needed to be settled into place or something.

And now for that gear whine. Eldest Son didn't notice it at all, which suggests that it came about slowly as he drove it for the past month...slowly enough that he didn't identify it as something new. Since I hadn't driven it in over a month I noticed it right away.

The forums (not only is there a forum for the Baja, but there is a book of faces for it, too. Scary right?) suggest the whine may be coming from either the center drive (where the front axles connect) or transfer case bearings. There are detailed instructions on how to change out these four bearings. It looks like a PITA and I really don't want to do it, but it needs to be done.

Fortunately the forums also say it's not something that has to be done immediately, so I can hold off a while doing it until I can build up the car fixing fund again. It will have to be built up quite a bit because the Mustang is going to need another set of $1200 tires soon. I've gotten about 35K out of this set and I hope to get another couple of months out of them at least. Either way the Continentals have outlasted both sets of Pirellis so I'm happy with them and will certainly replace them with another set.

Several sayings about things with wheels come to mind...none of which are polite enough to share.

13 September 2014


Not a Brick in the Wall, added to the Morons of the HQ Kind Blogroll.

For better or for worse...

12 September 2014

A Day In Review

Pig for breakfast, pig for lunch and pig for dinner.

New rotors on the Mustang to get rid of the shake n' brake, and new pads because new rotors. Next payday I'll get the back rotors and the proper caliper compressor and do the back brakes.

Eldest Son got a car today, a 2000 Honda Accord, nice little car. The first place he took it, literally straight from the license plate office, was to work. Gotta make those payments, you know.

That means he will stop driving the Subaru, so I'll be getting it lined back up (we changed the front struts last weekend) and then I'll start driving it to work again. You know, to keep the miles off of the Mustang. Because that's worked so well for me so far.

And that was it.

You can live your life in fear or you can live your life in defiance. Make your choice.

11 September 2014

10 September 2014

Hey, Range Partner!

This Jones fellow, he sounds like a sensible sort of person.

This Womack guy sounds like he might have a clue or two as well.

How do I get them to move up here closer to the Refuge?

If we had folks like that here in Franklin County maybe that new range would have opened up here instead of over in Nash County.

And if flies carried .45's...

08 September 2014

Brought To You

by the War on Certain Drugs and exacerbated by the anti-Patriot Act: wholesale violation of your fourth amendment rights!

Libertarians have long gotten to be the butt of jokes because they argue against the drug war, and I have often said they are approaching it from the wrong angle. The problem isn't so much that you have the right to put various toxic substances into your body - you do -  the problem is the extremes to which authoritarian totalitarians are willing to go to in order to prevent you from doing so.

And once you get the nod for extremism against one thing that makes you feel ooky the door is wide open to do the same thing to other things you find ooky...like that pesky second amendment thing, or the belief that you actually have the right to keep some of your own money.

Note to Deputy Ron Hain of Kane County IL, your advocacy of “turning our police forces into present-day Robin Hoods” is fallacious at it's core.

Robin Hood, so the story goes, fought illegal seizure of the populace's money and goods by a government out of control. Today's police forces are being turned into a very stark example of that out of control government.

In other words, they are turning into the Sheriff of Nottingham.

But hey, if you aren't doing anything wrong...

04 September 2014


and my first day off of the month, my joy knows no bounds.

So first, some admin stuff, which starts out with a story. Today walking out of the building when I got off work I spied a co-worker who I had not seen for a while. I mentioned this and he said he had been out just a few days shy of six months.

With prostate cancer.

I mentioned that September is prostate cancer awareness month, and if I wasn't at work that I would be wearing a kilt to commemorate it. He laughed at that and said he had no need to wear a kilt now.

This story fortunately has a happy ending, they caught it in time and he is going to be fine, but there were some ominous shadows in the story...starting with the one where he had to go to two different urologists and insist on having his prostate checked the old fashioned way before they finally caught it.

The first urologist didn't  have the slightest clue what the problem was and the second diagnosed an enlarged prostate and wanted to just cut it up a bit, which very likely would have ended up in the cancer spreading instead of being caught. If you didn't get slightly bug-eyed at that you aren't paying attention.

Statistically speaking prostate cancer is as easy to treat, and as survivable, as breast cancer. The problem is catching it in time, and since most men are a little leery of the finger they may not be so eager to get checked. Not to worry though, it's not all bad. The recommended check used to be annually and digitally (and no, this doesn't mean by using a camera or a computer), now it is every two years by blood test. If you are over 50, or if you are in an increased risk group, it's worth the effort.

One in seven. Get checked. The kilt is on and the hot button is on the sidebar.

Me and Sis, breast cancer survivor

In commemoration of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and in view of the Kilted to Kick Cancer campaign, this month's redhead shares the stage with three other kilted lassies. Sorry for the poor picture, it's the best one I had to pick from. I really should have gotten a better one of her, but they all had to go back to work.

And last but not least, twenty eight years ago tomorrow I got a telegram. I was on the ship and a long way from home, and even though the news was expected it still came as a shock to this 20 year old sailor boy. It was that day that I realized that I would have to kill every male child on the planet.

Happy Birthday Youngest Daughter!

And with that, it's off to bed.