A light, airy, effervescent, blog of grave consequence. (NOT!) Dedicated to those of us who must respond to negative stimuli by Chernobyling (entombing in concrete) our innermost thoughts.

Location: Slaughter, Louisiana, United States

A semi-gruntled corporate reliability engineer trying to make ends meet while keeping my wife happy, and myself out of the asylum.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We Are Doomed

And that's not just the title of a great book by John Derbyshire.

We travel I49 fairly frequently. Over the last several months, we've watched workers installing some reasonably complex curb sidings along the outside of the breakdown lanes on each side.

These things are trapeziods of maybe 6' by 10' by 6' wide. All of them were dug out, had a stone base compacted into the hole and have a rebar grid installed prior to the pouring of about a yard of concrete.

I figured they would be for a sign.

The project is complete and we now know what they were for.

In the center of each of these concrete slabs that could support an auto lift, is a single mile marker sign.

And to top that off, there were already existing mile marker signs that they have since removed.

I49 is a bit over 200 miles long so thats 400 signs at probably $40 each, plus all the work to build the ludicrous bases. We're talking about a million dollar project or better to replace stuff that was in fine shape.

I'm betting it was "stimulus" money from the feds so it probably seemed like a good deal to the state, but it's still stupid.

If we can't even see what's worth doing, how can we expect anyone else to?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tapped out

Grabbed the remaining fastener and headed to LeBlanc's this morning. The store has just about finished its renovation and the interior is rather impressive. They have moved all the hardware to the opposite end of the store, but I found it eventually and checked out my fastener.

Turns out it is an M12x1.75 thread. After determining that, I noticed that they are now stocking Craftsman tools in addition to all the other Ace/True Value stuff. I didn't have high hopes that they would have what I needed but I poked around a bit and sure enough, they had two M12x1.75 taps hanging with all the rest of the SAE and metric taps and dies. $10 out the door.

Got it home, popped the wheel off, retapped the hole and threaded the bolt in where it should be. Torqued it up and checked the others and we're back in business.

When old is better than new

I needed to find something to keep me busy this weekend. Two weeks ago on the ride, the Buell puked all the oil out of the other front fork and dumped that onto the front brakes, so now it doesn't handle or stop very well and I didn't really want to go for a ride.

I took the Ford to go vote and shop and decided that I'd rotate the tires when I got home to put to best ones on the front and the somewhat oddly worn ones on the back for a while.

While doing that, I adjusted the rear brakes a little more to firm up the pedal. I also did a general inspection of all the work I did in replacing the entire steering system last month. All of that looks great, but I re-noticed that I had a bad CV boot on the left front axle and all of the CV joint lubricant had dropped out on to the lower A-arm. The axle was not making any noises but it was obviously contaminated and low on lube for some time, so I figured let's see what a replacement boot costs.

A replacement boot for this truck is about $25 and the entire axle must be disassembled to replace it. If anyone has ever taken a CV joint apart, you know how much fun that is.

Then I remembered that the entire upper A-arms were only about $10 more than the single ball joint when I replaced them so I looked up the entire axle price. $53 with a $10 core charge.

Off to Autozone I went. The counter nerd couldn't find the remanufactured axle their computer said was in stock, but said he could have one there by 1430. I figured, well, if we have to order it anyway, get me the new axle as it was only $15 more than the repop and I wouldn't have to bother with the core.

In the interim, I disassembled the left front end and removed the axle. It come out with surprising ease given that it is the original piece. The splines were clean and other than having to find a 12-point 12mm socket and buy a 35mm socket there were no issues found.

I went back to Autozone to pick up the axle and it had just arrived. It looked good. I got it home and began the installation.

The first thing I noticed was that the splines were a tick loose. Not bad, but not as snug as the one I had just removed. Then the bolt circle where it attaches to the center section was just tweaked enough that I ended up cross threading one of the bolts. Then after I got it in place it wouldn't turn at full suspension droop. It would work if I put some weight on the suspension but the section that attaches to the center section did not have enough articulation at full droop and it would lock up.

So after cursing that thoroughly, I pulled it out, and headed back to the parts store. I got a different counterman this time and as he was working the return he looked around in the back and found the supposedly missing repopped axle. I swapped them at the store and headed back home to try it again.

The remanufactured axle splines were smooth, but very stiff going in. The hole pattern at the center section was perfect and the unit works perfectly no matter where the suspension is in its allowed travel.

So I torqued and lock-tighted five of the six little bolts that attach the axle to the center section, remounted the sway bar attachment, reinstalled the tire, let the truck down and torqued the axle nut to 225 lbft. Locked that with the castle cap and cotter pin and we're good to go.

All's left today is to determine what thread these little bolts are and buy a tap so I can fix the threads I bodged up while attempting to install the new axle.

So after all that here's the Top-Tip. "Remanufactured" means - These pieces have already proven themselves in the application you're needing to repair and they have been brought up to like or better than new condition. They also have the same warranty as the "new" parts. "New" means - These parts have never been tested, the castings are made in China by slave labor that really doesn't give a fig about following the prints and they're probably going to fit poorly and malfunction immediately upon installation.

So, yes, sometimes old is better than new.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Off to vote again

We ended up with a couple run off elections after last month's voting so I'm headed to vote again this morning.

Talmadge Bunch, (our Sheriff, was there ever another Sheriff better named for a parish in southern Louisiana?), was the only "D" I voted for last time and since he did the honors and randomly picked me as grand jury foreman, I guess I'll go pull the lever for him again.

(The warden at the East Feliciana Jail, Ray Newman, an impressive man in his own right, in a Sorel Booke sort of way, (stature-wise, not operationally), mentioned that he'd probably be out of a job if ol' Talmadge didn't get relected. So since everything seemed to be functioning properly while we were there and since he gave me a ride back to the courthouse after the prison bus we were in broke down, I'm off to the polls.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Alrighty Now. What would I do in their shoes?

So, these occupy-our-parents's-basements imbeciles are threatening to "burn NYC to the ground" having been evicted from their squatters's row after over six weeks. I guess being on a union payroll isn't enough for some people.

These idiots have been in the news so much lately I forgot about radical moslems for a minute.

Here's what needs to happen.

The next bunch of these retarded jackasses that "occupies" anything without a proper permit gets shot like those most deserving hippy dipshits at Kent State.

If any more show up, bring in the tanks and create a new Tienanmen Square.

Maybe then the next bunch of whiny assholes will take their Masters in Queer Literature degrees, stick them up their asses, and go get a fucking job picking vegetables in California so we can deport some of the fucking illegal immigrants we can't seem to live without.