Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New mechanical skills day

Hello car and truck owners and operators and welcome back to 'Greenhorn's Shadetree Garage"!

Hope everyone is doing fine and their mechanical world is in order. Ours unfortunately is not exactly running like clockwork. But fear not, it is becoming more in hand as the minutes tick by.

Here's the haps:
In the event you are not aware we are down to one vehicle and have been for a while now. The Ford decided to blow it's head gasket, which in terms of bad is really bad. Now, Emiloo drives the monster Ram to work each day which is fine. It's the safest vehicle we have and regardless of anything else that alone makes it just fine with me. Emiloo has an ongoing record of clipping the various local fauna so having her in a big vehicle brings me some comfort. Anyhoo one day last week Emiloo notifies me that the a/c has stopped blowing cold air. Hmm I think, that could be a number of items from big to small and none of them are really good to have happen.

Nonetheless after opening the hood I realize I have a couple of problems, not just one. To begin I have to roll us back to before our wedding, which if you missed it we are sorry as it was great and went off with only one hitch, ours. In preparation for the honeymoon I had outfitted the Dodge with a rack, toolbox, and what is called a "Cold Air Intake" on the engine (a higher performance air filter to increase horse power and mileage.) For our road tour of "Holes in the ground' we knew we would be piling on immediate miles so that was a good time to make that change. And indeed it helped increase mileage by 2-4 miles/gallon depending on where we were driving. Everything went to plan.

However, here in the present upon opening the hood I immediately spotted the cold air intake resting against an aluminum colored tube which ran alll the way back to the firewall and a thing called a 'drier'. Hmm, I think, that's going to be expensive as those are a/c parts. I then spot why the intake is resting against the tube and discover the bracket that held it in place is broken at the bend in the metal, showing itself as the weak spot. Hmm I think, I wonder if that's under warranty (being less than two years old), or if I can get it replaced...or something.

Bah. I have log work to do. Sigh. Life is what happens when you have things planned I suppose. So I plod on with my investigation. I notice a nice little flat spot on the aluminum colored tube where it was being rubbed and discover a teeny tiny little hole, and a slippery fluid staining the area. There's your problem I exclaim out loud.

I'll stop us here momentarily to say thank goodness for good country folk that seem to have endless knowledge of truck engines and who are willing to help you with tools and skill education in circumstances like these. Remember the guy who called me over to grab the swarm I caught the year before last? Same guy, really good person, super handy with most topics and always willing to help.

To continue we looked at it, talked a bit about options and I have to say I came away feeling relieved. The part would be about $250, that's the biggest ouch. I can take out the old pierced tube with tools he will loan me while I do it over at his place. Nice. He will then let me use his vacuum pump and gauges to get it recharged so Emiloo can have nice chilly air again. Man I love living out here more every day.

By the way the intake manufacturing company is out of business so no warranty path is available and thus the welding path is taken.

At this point I have removed the intake, disassembled it for welding and will pick it up tomorrow which is when I can shoot over to Hondo and go to the NAPA and see which parts I need for the a/c, then out to SA to pick up Emiloo at the airport from a conference she is returning from.

We can't really piddle around in the big city too long though as we have to get back to feed/milk the goats. Whoosh! Thursday is gone. If NAPA has the parts then I can possible have it recharged by the weekend which would be super good. I'll keep you posted and hopefully will have some pictures too!

Speaking of the feeding/milking the goats: We are feeding 4 babies about 12oz of milk 3 times a day. We are milking out about 64oz a day so you can see we are in a deficit situation. Thank goodness for all of the pasteurized milk in the freezer. I thaw one of those a day to cover the gap. What has happened is all three goats that had triplets cannot seem to keep up with demand and the #3 goat of the triplets (and the #2 kid from Plum) do not get their fair amount, so we supplement. And rather than use a man made milk substitute we are using our own milk, which we feel is good for the kids. Say "It's good for the kids!" in a Mr T voice, c'mon it's fun!

The only other thing I can report about is the extreme wildfire danger we are under. We are holding our breath watching the situations unfold north of us where numerous wildfires burn out of control. Here's a neat map showing at least the reported current fires here. Wish well all the firefighters on scene battling all of those fires.

Ok it's late and tomorrow is going to be long long long so I will say see ya!
Sleep well,

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