Showing posts with label Scoobytruck. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scoobytruck. Show all posts

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.

01 April 2014

Mixed Bag

The plan today was to change the right side drive axle on the Subaru because it's making a bit of noise and then go enjoy this 80 degree day with the top down to celebrate my little Firefly's fourth birthday (she rolled off the line at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant on April 1, 2010; daughter thought the cake and ice cream was a bit much but she ate it anyway).

The reality was two bad axles and two bad ball joints.

I already had one drive axle, but of course I didn't have the ball joints or the other axle. Off to the parts store I went (at least I got to ride for a little while with the top down) to get another drive axle and the ball joints. They had the axle, but we had to order the ball joints.

Back to the house with the drive shaft and the disassembly began. The right ball joint separated from the control arm just fine, but it was rusted into the steering knuckle. Son In Law and I managed to get it out after much cursing, sweating, pounding, prying and PB'laster. We then got the drive shaft installed (sans ball joint, which will have to wait until Thursday cause I have stuff to do tomorrow) and went over to the left side.

We were running out of daylight and the ball joint had barely budged, so we called it a day and went inside. After a quick shower I tried out my bacon cheddar broccoli soup recipe.

It must have been good, because it's all gone now.

6 slices bacon
1/2 of a medium Vidalia (sweet) onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half (or 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of heavy cream)
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 bay leaves
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped small
4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Bread Bowls

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat fry the bacon crisp. Remove the bacon and add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onions are tender. Stir in the flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the bacon grease is absorbed. Continue cooking until the flour has browned slightly, then transfer everything to a stew pot. Crumble the bacon and add it as well.

Slowly add the half and half and chicken stock, stir until smooth. Add the nutmeg and bay leaves and cook on medium low until thickened.

Reduce heat. Add the carrot and broccoli and simmer until tender. Discard the bay leaves. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper and serve in bread bowls.

13 March 2014


Heroditus Huxley has a post up about car values that got me curious to see how mine are holding up. So, I did a little research.

According to Kelly Blue Book, the Mustang is worth about half what I paid for it, but of course I bought it brand-spanking new and I've put more than the average number of miles on it. The Baja, on the other hand, is worth about 4K less than I paid for it, but I bought it used. I've had it almost 4 years and once again I've put more than the average number of miles on it.

The depreciation on the Mustang is more due to the fact that I went from brand-new zero mileage value to four years old and higher than average mileage value, and the Baja would be worth another thousand dollars if it had the average number of miles on it rather than the 40K extra that it has. And as much as I love my Mustang, I think I would miss the Baja more if for some reason I lost both of them. I could always find another Mustang convertible, but they don't make Bajas any more (and didn't make a whole lot of them to begin with).

Side note, apropos of nothing I suppose, the Baja regularly gets slammed by automotive journalists and internet pundits mostly for the fairly outrageous Pontiac style plastic cladding along the bottom and the short bed, but they are extremely popular among those who own them. KBB has an owner appreciation rating of 9.1 out of 10.

In either case, the enjoyment I've gotten out of not having to put a wrench to either one of them (much, in the case of the Baja, and not at all in case of the Mustang) for other than routine maintenance and desired modifications has far outstripped the value lost on either of them as measured by Kelly Blue Book.

08 February 2014

Got It...

So I went the "responsible adult" route with my bonus and put a windshield in the Baja instead of buying reloading supplies. It really needed a windshield, it had a chunk of glass out of it right behind the rear view mirror button; the button was actually mounted over the hole. Two cracks had radiated from that hole, one to the left and one to the right, and the one to the left neatly bisected the drivers FOV.

A little over 2 bills later and the crack was magically gone, but there was something...different. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I won't say I obsessed over it, but it did kind of niggle the back of the mind every time I got in the trucklet. So this morning I got in and reached up to pull the sunshade down and it hit me...the new windshield does not have the tinted strip across the top like the old one did.

And now, that mystery is solved.

07 September 2013

Catching Up

I replaced the scraped-up fascia on the Mustang yesterday, now it is restored to like-new appearance once more. I have one wheel that is slightly scuffed (one day I'll quit doing that) so that is next on the list to be fixed, and one day I need to put a windshield in the Scoobytruck as well.

I mowed the lawn today and managed not to knock off the corner of the house again.  I also got up early enough to score 3 boxes of 9mm at the Mart of Walls up the road from me. They also had some boxes of God's Own Caliber, but I'm pretty good on that for the time being and since I could only get 3 boxes total I went for the ones I didn't have rather than for the ones I did have.

Tomorrow Daughter and I will take the new Glock out for it's inaugural run. I'm also going to take the EBS out for another pattern check following its latest modifications. I've also been contacted via email regarding one of the items on the Guns I Want list, but since I just made some new purchases...grrr...

Other than that, it just doesn't get any better than this...

27 July 2013


This came in today:

I think it goes pretty well with the back window stickers, don't you?

Also, I have verified that both of my new downhill neighbors are not only shooters, but he is also a member of the Mosin Militia. I'll have to invite him and his wife out to the Triangle Open Carry meetups.

That's worth knowing.

16 July 2013


We don't  need no steenking bodges!

In an effort to further irritate certain people (not really but it will probably have that effect) I've ordered one of these.

The four tabs I've chosen are: camping, fishing, military and 100K miles. In another 45K I'll order the 200K mile tab.

I also suggested a shooting sports tab, but truthfully I don't expect anything to come of that.

When it comes in I'll take some pics.

23 June 2013

Idle Thoughts

Watching that new Subaru commercial, where the guy is going everywhere and painting shitty pictures, gives me an eye tic. Particularly when he tells his wife that the one picture is upside down. I'd just like to punch him to the floor and say "There, how does it look now?"

It makes me think that Subaru is fighting hard for the "pretentious douchebag who can't afford a BMW" demographic. Sad, really, cause I truly like my Baja.

13 June 2013

In The Mail

My goodies came in.

First, the lights for the Subaru. They're a bit different than what came on the trucklet, the lenses are flatter, but that shouldn't make a great deal of difference as long as the mounts are right.

It's a good thing they were well packed, it looks like the gorilla squad was in charge of handling.

Also, two extra magazines for the 795, so now I'm all set for Appleseed.

It rained like hell this afternoon, but now that it's gone the forecast is dry and sunny for the next couple of days. Just right for getting the lights put on the Subaru and doing some shooting.

07 June 2013

She Don't Like, She Don't Like, She Don't Like...


My Glock, that is.

I attempted to put a few rounds through it at the Blogshoot but the darn thing wouldn't go back into battery, I had to smack the back of the slide every time. The round would eject, and then the next one wouldn't go into battery until I smacked the back of the slide again. The factory loads worked great.

Today I broke it down and tried fitting the rounds into the barrel. Both the earlier reloads and the latest ones with the moly bullets did this:

 but the factory loads were flush.

The reloads would seat all the way if I pushed them in, but then I had to pry them back out. The only thing I can think of is either the dies aren't set right or my Glock is being a picky bitch. Of course, there's nothing to say it can't be both.

I'm going to let Range Partner try the reloads, and maybe I'll invest in a Wolf barrel to see if that cures the pickiness, but until then I guess I'll stick with factory loads. I hope that it's something I'm doing wrong and can correct, with the present state of ammo factory loads are a pain to find.

In other news, my broken tooth is scheduled for a crowning. It's right across from the last one, so now I'll be balanced, at least in the bottom row of teeth department.

I also have a pair of foglamps coming in for the Scoobytruck, when I got it they were fine but within a couple of weeks they had been BB-gunned by a person or persons unknown (I have a feeling one or both of my boys were in the mix somewhere despite their denials). The left one came apart when I took it off the ramps after changing the oil on Wednesday, so it's time for new ones.

And last but not least, AGirl is hanging up her blogging spurs for a bit. I hope she can pop in once in a while now and again.

The remnants of TS Andrea are sliding through the Refuge for the next couple of hours and we expect to see scattered thunderstorms into next week.

That's it for now. I'll be ensconced in skating hell tonight for a few hours while Boy completely ignores me and chats up the girls, maybe I can get some homework done.

And maybe not.

UPDATE: A little adjustment on the seating die and all is, once more, good to go.

02 March 2013

Subaru Owner PSA

If you own a Subaru with the 2.5 liter flat 4 motor there are certain maintenance tasks which must be performed without fail.

Number one on that list is a timing belt change at 105K miles. Well, actually that's probably number 3 after regular oil changes and scheduled coolant flushes (yes they are very important, they will help to keep the head gaskets from leaking which is a bane of the Subaru 2.5L flat 4, also pay attention to your battery) but it is the major maintenance at 105,000 miles.

If you are doing this on your own it is imperative that you get the service manual for your car, but while on the subject of timing belts please do note you do not line the motor up to Top Dead Center to remove or install one, as you would with normal engines. You do this at TDC (#1 cylinder compression stroke) + 90 degrees.

For what it's worth, you can install the heads without pulling the motor. You have to put the heads in place with the bolts in the heads. It's easier to have two people to do this, one from the top and one from the bottom, to keep from dropping the head as you are trying to seat it on the block.

Eldest Son wasted most of his day trying to figure out why he couldn't put the timing belt on the Subaru today, when I got home we had it on in 5 minutes and he felt like an idiot. I'm hoping that the rest of the trucklet will go back together tomorrow, it's been down all week and I'm going to need it next weekend.

Until then I'll be forced to ride the pony I guess. The sacrifices I must make...

20 February 2013

Scooby Down

If it isn't one thing it's another...

Subaru has a nasty rep with it's 2.5L flat four motors, they tend to leak at the head gaskets.  Fortunately for me leaking at the head gaskets for the early 2000 and up models means external leaks, not internal ones like the earlier versions, but it's still something that needs to be fixed.

I was hoping that the valve cover gaskets would take care of the oil leak, and it may have, but now it is being overshadowed by the coolant leak. The head gasket set is an order item at the local parts store, if there isn't anything wrong with the heads (there usually isn't) a quick check with the straightedge should be all that is needed to put it all back together again. Since there hasn't been any overheating or other problems I'm guessing the heads are OK, if not then it will cost a bit more and take a little longer. I'm hoping to get it done for a few hundred bucks tops, that's the advantage to doing your own work.

It isn't something I was intending to do but it looks like the boat is on it's own schedule (why should it be any different). At any rate the forecast looks like crap with an extended chance of crap this weekend, so it won't get done then. Hopefully I can get it done next weekend, I was intending to haul the trailer out to Range Partner's new abode to help him clean up a bit the weekend after next and it's hard to do that without a trailer hitch equipped vehicle.

(No. Don't even suggest it. Ain't gonna happen.)

Until then, I guess I'm riding the pony. It seems like there is a silver lining to this cloud after all...

09 February 2013

Scooby Fixing

I've mentioned it a couple of times, but the Subaru has been a bit under the weather as of late.

It started with a power loss, something that was very subtle but noticeable. When the weather turned nice and I pulled the Mustang out for a couple of days the Subaru sat, and when I got back in it there was a dead miss. I ended up driving the Mustang the rest of the week.

When we pulled the plugs out the number 4 plug was fouled. Number 2 was slightly better, numbers 1 and 3 looked fine. I had Eldest Son change out the plugs and put valve cover gaskets in (the left cover gasket had been leaking for some time) and then change out an O2 sensor that had been throwing a "check engine" light that I had been ignoring for a couple of months.

A fresh filter and crankcase of clean oil and it ran better than it ever had before. When I got it there was a noticeable stutter at the low speeds which was almost (but not all) eliminated with a good tune up. Now that the 02 sensor has been changed the stutter is completely gone. I think it had been in the process of going bad for a while and it had been the cause of my previous problems with it (a "check engine" light that called out an Idle Air Control Valve, which going by the price must be made out of platinum plated diamonds. I got one off of Ebay for about 20 bucks that fixed it for a while, but it came back, and then the old one fixed it).

A couple of days later, sitting at a stoplight on the way to work, it coughed once. It sort of startled me, it had been running so smoothly for the past couple of days, but when the light turned green it took off without a hitch and did not stumble again at the next light. I figured it was an abberation and put it out of my mind.

On the way home, however, every time I'd come to a stop behind the school bus I was following it would idle fine for about 30 seconds and then start to cough and stumble. It would run fine as long as it wasn't idling, but it surely didn't like to sit still for long. When I got in it to go to work that night, however, the power loss (but not the light!) was back and the miss was evident from idle on up.

Eldest Son pulled the plugs out of it and sure enough that number 4 plug was fouled again. We cleaned the plugs and I got a set of spark plug wires for it and the stumble was gone again. I drove it this morning out to Range Partner's place, about 50 miles away, and it was fine out and back.

We will see how it does this week, but I think it's back to 100% now.

04 January 2013

Cool Kids

Apparently I are one now, cause now Tam has a Subaru to go along with her 'vert.

Too bad I gave away my last sticker, otherwise I'd send it to her.

29 June 2012

Comments On The Day

I am steadily improving in my pistol shooting. I shot 50 rounds of steel case Tula ammo through the Glock and was slightly left of centerline but it was mostly all in the 8 ring with a handful of fliers and the dozen or so I put in the head - on purpose, I might add. The High Standard is still a fun and accurate little gun as well, I put 100 rounds through it and had a nice little hole in the middle and a dozen or so zombie-killing holes in the head. All of this hole-making was done at around 10 yards or so. At this rate I can work my way up to Tam's definition of "mediocre" maybe by the time I am 80 or so; before I was looking at 120 at least. This makes me happy.

The G-36 will reliably feed steel-case Tula ammo, for varying degrees of "reliably". I had one FTE in a 50 round box, which is about the norm for this pistol. On a different, but related, note I find that the G-36 will NOT reliably feed light hand-loads. This seems to confirm my suspicion that the recoil spring is maybe a bit too tight. I will be getting a lighter recoil spring* to see if it makes a difference. I am sanguine at the prospects (the hopeful kind, not the bloody kind). This makes me happy.

The Marlin is still a tack driver. I was only shooting it at 25 yards but I had a large hole in the center of the target for my troubles. Incidentally the Marlin is almost exactly dimensionally identical to the Arisaka T30 carbine, the length is the same but the trigger group is about 1/2" farther forward on the Marlin. I had never put the two side by side so I hadn't noticed until now. This makes me happy.

.338 Lapua makes me laugh every time it goes off. By the time GB had blown through a C note worth of smoke and noise** I was giggling uncontrollably.  Yes, the bitch goes boom, and she does so with authority. She also kicks like a mule. A well-behaved mule, but a mule nonetheless. I was a puddle of giggle by the time I had touched her off for a second time. That is one hell of a rifle. That made me delirious.

By definition any day at the range is a good one, and this was one of the best even though I only brought my little poodle-shooter to play with. The difference in report was pretty funny as well...tap - tap - tap - BOOM! tap - tap - tap...after a while I just gave up. It almost didn't seem worth the effort.

The day was finished off with a haircut, ordering the right tool kit for the Scooby so that I have a jack handle*** and dinner out with the kids. Plus, convertible. 110 degrees F is almost too hot for top down. Almost. Now, it's nap time.

*I should probably get another barrel for the G-36 as well. By my calculations I have put between 800 and 1000 rounds through it and it was used when I got it. How can you tell when the barrel needs to be replaced?

** The cheapest my Graf & Sons catalog has .338 Lapua ammo for is $52.99/box of 20 10, which ends up being  $2.65 $5.30 a round. He was shooting handloads at around $4.50 a round. Kind of makes me feel better about paying $22.99/box of 20 for 6.5x50 Japanese ($1.15/round).

***The trucklet was missing both jack and tool kit when I bought it so I had to order them both; the jack was OK but the tool kit ended up being the wrong one. It has only a tire iron and a screwdriver; the right one has a jack handle and a two-piece tie down kit for the flat that screws into the bed of the trucklet. I found this out when a friend in Florida tried to use the jack on his car. Good thing I never had a flat.

10 March 2012


Today I took the Scoobytruck down to the tire store. It has been pulling to the left and has had a vibration in the wheel since Daughter and S-I-L took it to Florida, and I suspected it had a bad tire.

It did, on the right front, which is where I thought it was. My tire-fu remains strong.

I had an open carry lunch to do first, and afterwards we went back to the tire store where we got four new tires and an alignment for about half of what it cost for the Mustang.

I was happy to see that Merchants Tire has an alignment rack.

I was happier to see what Merchants Tire does not have.

I think they will be getting my tire business from here on out.

On another note, TDP rides again, and this time I didn't have to spend a single thin dime on it.

30 December 2011


I got a new radio for the Subaru that has bluetooth and can play from both an SD card and a flash drive. Everything is hooked up and it sounds great.

Now I have almost everything in the Subaru that I have in the Mustang, audio-wise. I lack only steering wheel controls (which I do use) and voice commands (which I don't use, except for the phone).

Daughter and Son-In-Law will be taking the Subaru to Florida next week, I'm going to have one or the other of them sync their phones for the trip.

And of course, since they will have the Subaru I will be forced to drive the Mustang.  I guess I will have to learn how to cope.

27 July 2010


The toll is now three strap wrenches. I got a chain type that the plumbers use for the next try, I'll bet that one won't break. As soon as this timing belt gets done the PM on the Subaru will be complete until the next scheduled oil change in 3000 miles.

The second key for the Mustang showed up today, so now I have both of them. I had to drive it to work again, oh darn. The Firefly keychain got hung up in my pocket the other day and it's gravity rotor housing (the part that goes up and around the middle and extends along the tail section) got pulled off. I glued it back on, but now I'm carrying the second key on another keychain.

TDP will wait until we get back from vacation next month.

26 July 2010

The Fun Continues

The Banana Boat's planned maintenance is underway. So far two strap wrenches have been sacrificed to the cause, they are being used to hold the crankshaft pulley to remove the bolt but the ones I got from the local parts store haven't been up to the task. I went to one of the big tool stores and got one that will hopefully be a bit more robust.

I also got a Sirius radio for the Boat today. When I called in to activate the one in the Mustang I found that the dealer had already completed that particular task for me, but I went ahead and ordered one for the boat as well. It's a stand-alone unit that plays through the existing FM radio, but I'm going to put an antenna switch in for it.

For some reason the boat's right rear speaker doesn't work. It's just an annoying problem, but maybe I'll find something when I pull the radio out to put the antenna switch in. If not, I guess I won't miss it much.

At any rate, I drove the Mustang to work since the boat's engine is apart for the timing belt replacement. Middle daughter got her crack at the Mustang as well, I sent her downtown for a few things and let her drive it. She came back with no scratches and a big grin so it worked out well.

I guess she likes it.