Wednesday, September 26, 2012

2012 - What a Great Summer!

This was one of the most memorable summers ever for me.

It included two big events with Kelly and Rachel getting married in June and Alex and Becca getting married in August. Both weddings were in beautiful locations, very well planned with lots of family and friends celebrating and having a really good time.

Another life changing event happened in September as Alex and Becca moved to San Franscisco to take new jobs. They've found a good location to live and we'll be visiting often.

I had other fun times either solo or with family this summer.

 In April I rode to the Vintage Motorcycle Show in Tsawwassen, BC Canada. There were some beautiful classic bikes, some cool daily riders and one Unique Motorcycle Rig ridden by an seasoned motorcyclist.

We celebrated Cinco De Mayo in Poulsbo, WA. by taking a cruise out on the Sound on a Duffy electric boat. That was fun! It was a good deal too since I used a half-off coupon from Groupon. I put some photos from B's camera at Poulsbo May 2012 - a set on Flickr.

June brought Rachel and Kelly's wedding at Chico Hot Springs in Pray Montana. Good times, and such a great location. We have lots of special memories staying at Chico but this will be the best of them. It was a blast to drive out there and stay at Russ and Judy's nice house in Missoula.

In July we got together at Kelly and Rachel's house in Tacoma for the July 4th celebration. Fun times with sparklers, dogs and good food - plus a really cool air show.

August brought Alex and Becca's wedding at Alderbrook Resort in Union, Washington. A perfect venue for a wedding and the weather couldn't have been any better. So many good memories.

Both Rachel and Becca planned their weddings so well and there were so many people helping that things were just perfect. Beautiful brides and handsome grooms. Little things like the gift bags were so cool - with local and homemade items, special chocolate, jerky, smoked salmon...personalized Jones Soda.

September was the month of the big move for Alex and Becca. They had nice bon voyage parties at Rachel and Kelly's and then later at Jason and Kay's house. Very busy time for them - wrap up jobs, trip to Florida for honeymoon, pack, move, find housing...start new job, find new job. Yikes! Things are calming down now that Alex has started his new job and they have a place to live and Becca is exploring multiple job possibilities.

I rode up to Anacortes for the Oyster Run last Sunday. It's fun to see all the motorcycles and people. I parked down by the Anchor Tavern and walked into the busy part of town. Didn't have any real problem with traffic at all. I think it's because I showed up about 11 am and left about 2 or 3 pm...or I was just lucky.

I didn't take any major motorcycle trips this summer - just the trip up to BC and a day trip around the Highway 2 to Highway 20 loop to Eastern Washington and back. I do ride a motorcycle most every day so I'm not missing out on the wind in my face.

We went to a couple of Mariner's games this summer. We had lots of beautiful flowers in the yard, planters, hanging baskets and our flower boxes thanks to B. I started some tomatoes from seed that are ripening now. We had an unusual number of days without rain and with sun so that helped.

This was one great summer.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Oyster Run 2012

It was kind of cool to see this girl on a bicycle among all the motorcycles. Someone said she's from France - maybe heading to the ferry? I bet she was pretty surprised to see how busy Anacortes was today, probably ten thousand motorcyclists out on the streets.

I put the photographs I took at the Oyster Run today on Oyster Run 2012 - a set on Flickr

Linux Mint and a New Laptop

I installed Linux Mint on my laptop yesterday.

I've tried a variety of Linux distributions over the last 5 years and found Ubuntu worked the best for me. That is until recent releases of Ubuntu began using the Unity user interface.

As often happens with software development, things continue to change - into either something better or something different. Unity was different for me.

I liked using Cairo-Dock but it was becoming to labor intensive to get it to work the way I wanted with Unity. A simple explanation of Unity vs. Cairo-Dock is that Unity features a big honkin task bar/dock on the left side of your screen and Cairo-Dock has a nice sleek task bar/dock on the bottom of your screen.

Like most things in Linux this is all highly customizable. Here's a YouTube video of Cairo Dock on Ubuntu.


I think the bottom line is Ubuntu is great, Windows is great, Apple is great, and I wanted something different so I'm using Mint. 

Talking about the best - operating system/software/laptop/computer/motorcycle oil/coffee/phone is like discussing the Worlds Best Cup of Coffee. Lots of other things fall into that highly subjective "whatever you like is best" realm...but I digress. I like Mint fine so far. It's nice and clean, and not totally unlike an older version of Windows in some ways.

Here's screenshot of my desktop -

So anyhoooo....

Mint was easy to install. I didn't have a DVD or DVD burner so I loaded the ISO file on a memory stick and booted from that. Like many Linux distributions, Mint is a "live distribution". This means that you can use it before actually installing it on your computer. After you've driven it around the block a few times you can install it or just reboot you computer from the hard drive and use your other favorite OS.

It took less than 30 minutes to download and have Mint up and running on my very simple and fast.


My Dell Inspiron E1405 laptop is getting a little tattered around the edges. It's 6.5 years old so that's pretty ancient I guess. It still works fine for me - I upgraded the RAM at one point and installed a faster 500 gig HD after that. The case has a small crack in it and one of the USB ports is broken; the latest problem is a Toy Fox Terrier jumped on my lap and laptop and broke off my 7 key. It's not fixable. It's still functional but I think it's time for a new laptop. This Dell Inspiron with a 14 inch screen weighs in at 5 lbs. It's not built to withstand much abuse. It's good enough for a laptop you leave at home or carry carefully to wherever you are going.

My old Fujitsu Lifebook laptop was built like a rock but was relatively expensive. My work laptop. a Dell Latitude E4200 is also rock solid. I throw it in the saddle bag of a motorcycle most days of the week and it's never complained. It has a SSD HD so that may help some. It has a 12 inch screen and weighs less than 3 pounds so it's a good portable laptop.

I think a laptop with a screen size between 12 and 14 inches works for portability and readability. 12 being a little on the small side and 14 being a little on the big side. The 15 inch screen laptops are too big in my opinion to be carried with you. I ordered a 15 inch Fujitsu once and returned it after I realized how big those things are. The 15.6 inch screens must be cheap though since it seems like the good deals tend to be that size. 

I ordered a  Sony VAIO S 13.3″ laptop. The one I got is a pretty basic model - but it has a couple of things I want; not too big and not too ugly.

I upgraded to 8 Gigs of RAM and the 500 Gig HD. I've wanted to try Sony laptops for awhile and was considering either the Vaio 13.3 laptop or a Mac. 

Since it's a custom build, my new silver Vaio (Vio) won't be here until October. I'm looking forward to trying it. I have my memory stick with Mint all ready so I can set it up to boot into Windows or Mint. I'm going to try using Windows as my main OS for awhile and see how that experience goes since I haven't used Windows on a home PC for quite awhile. 

I gave up on Windows for home use about 6 plus years ago when I was trying to reload Windows on a laptop. I had multiple Windows installation CD's around the house, none of which had the right code for my laptop. I'd bought all the software for 3 different Dell laptops we used at home/school, and it really bugged me that I couldn't re-install it on my laptop because of the security. The other problem - if I recall correctly was that Dell didn't include the complete Windows OS on a CD or DVD with some laptops. Sort of a problem if you want to install a new HD or need to re-install Windows for whatever reason.

With Linux you can download a distribution like Mint in 15 minutes using a torrent and install it in another 15 minutes - no problem with codes since it's free. I'm not sure how that business model works but if you've never tried a Linux distribution I'd recommend it if you have a bit of tech savvy and curiousity about what's available.

I guess that's enough geek talk for now. I think I'll meander up to the OYSTER RUN '12 and look at all the motorcycles that will be in the streets of Anacortes today.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Finding Oregon on Vimeo

Two cool videos.

Finding Oregon on Vimeo:

Finding Portland on Vimeo:

The creators of these videos estimate it took about about 4 hours of work for each finished 1 second of the Finding Portland time-lapse video - 51 days of shooting and almost 309,000 individual hots. 

I really like riding my motorcycle in Oregon, driving there, taking the train or awhile back riding my bicycle to Portland for the STP (which is going on today and tomorrow). I'm throwing in a photo I took of Crater Lake so there's something for the thumbnail view on the front page of this blog.

Crater Lake III by Jack Crossen
Crater Lake III, a photo by Jack Crossen on Flickr.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Buffy The Bear

These pictures are from a trip to Montana in the early 90's. We were staying at Chico Hot Springs and the girls were playing Marco Polo in the pool with some other little girls. Their uncle Ben Mikaelsen, who was an author, owned a bear - named Buffy. He invited us to visit his house on Bozeman Pass to see his bear. He signed a couple of his books for the girls - "Rescue Josh McGuire" and "Sparrow Hawk Red". That's Betsy kissing the bear while Becca and one of the nieces watch.

Kissing a Bear - 2 by Jack Crossen
Kissing a Bear - 2, a photo by Jack Crossen on Flickr.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

KZ1000P Valve Adjustment

I finished the valve adjustment on my 2000 P-19 KZ1000P motorcycle last weekend.

This engine has shim over bucket valve arrangement (as opposed to shim under bucket, hydraulic valve lifters, screw type adjusters). There are two camshafts and 8 valves (2 per cylinder).

 The valves are held closed by springs. As the camshafts rotate, their lobes press on the shim/bucket which opens the valves to allow the air/fuel mixture to enter on the intake stroke and exhaust to leave on the exhaust stroke.

When the camshaft lobe is pointing away from the shim/bucket the springs hold the valve closed during the compression and ignition stroke. Clearance between the camshaft and shim should be .05 to .15 mm when the lobe is pointing away from the shim/bucket.

As the valve wears into the seat the clearance between the camshaft and the valve stem decreases. With zero clearance the valves will not close all the way during the compression and ignition stroke. This will cause poor performance, loss of compression, decreased fuel economy and eventually burn the valve and or valve seat.

This engine uses a 29 mm diameter shims. Shims are available in thickness from 2.00 mm to 3.20 mm in .05 mm increments.

To do the valve shim adjustment you need a valve cover gasket 11061-1121, pulsing coil cover gasket 11060-1072, cam end plugs 92066-1552, a set of metric feeler gauges, inch/pound torque wrench, caliper accurate to about .01 mm, shop manual or Clymers manual, shim removal tool, magnetic pickup tool, small screwdriver or metal pick and some shims.

Remove the gas tank, fairing, coils, spark plugs, valve cover. Check the cam shaft mounting bolts are torqued correctly.

Measure the clearance between each shim and camshaft.

If the clearance is not .05 to 15 mm, remove the shim using the instructions for the Motion Pro valve shim tool and note the thickness. This is where you may need the caliper since the shims may not have the thickness marked on them.

Determining the new shim thickness is pretty simple. Assume there is no clearance (for example) and the existing shim is 2.50 mm. To get to the .15 mm clearance you need a shim that's .15 mm thinner - so you need a 2.35 mm shim.

You can probably swap some shims around so you won't have to buy all new shims.

Most of the valves on this bike were .04 mm or less. The thinnest feeler gage is .04 mm, which is really thin so you have to do some rounding. Assume the clearance is somewhere between .01 and .03, if you get a shim that's .1 mm thinner you're good because your clearance will between .11 to .13 mm. Once you figure out what shims you need, order them from Z1 Enterprises or your favorite source (Z1 has good prices).

Here's a picture of the Motion Pro valve shim removal tool.

With the cam lobe point away from the shim you use the little bent-screwdriver looking thing to push the bucket down on the spring, then insert that other piece on the edge of the bucket to hold it down. Pull out the bent-screwdriver and the shim is free. Rotate the bucket so the groove is visible before depressing it so you can get a small screwdriver/pick under the shim to break it free from the oil suction holding it in place. Once the shim is free use the magnetic pickup tool to fish it out. It takes a fair amount of force to push the bent-screwdriver thing in-between the cam and the shim. If a shim seems stuck make sure the tool isn't on top of it and use a steady force to break the oil suction holding it in place - it can take awhile for that to happen. Just be patient and don't try to force anything.

This was an interesting maintenance task and fairly involved. I ended up cutting a gasket for the pulsing cover using some Felpro gasket material from Autozone. It was a pretty simple gasket - I wouldn't try doing that on anything with too complex of a shape or too many holes...unless I was totally stuck.

All in all pretty enjoyable and educational.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sold My Project Lawnmower

I was driving home from the hardware store a couple of weekends ago and saw a lawnmower with a "Free" sign on it in a yard. The mower looked like heck, but it had oil in it and compression so I loaded it in my pickup. It was a fun project to clean it up, paint it and get it running. I learned about Briggs and Stratton Pulsa Prime carburetors. This YouTube video from Mower Medic 1 shows what the carburetor looks like and how to take it apart and fix it. This PDF file is helpful too.

I used Dawn dishwashing soap and then Pinesol to clean out the carb, and the gas tank. Dawn and hot water to clean the foam air cleaner. I blew air on them out of a shop vac and let them sit in the sun to dry. I used a little screwdriver, some W/D 40 and then carb cleaner to clean out the metal fuel reservoir on the top of the gas tank because it had some hard to get to dirt/varnish that was stuck on pretty good. I used a fine piece of wire and then blew through them to make sure the jet and fuel pickup tube were clean. I took the carb off a couple of times and fiddled with it before it ran right.

I disassembled various pieces of the mower so I could wire brush the rust and flaking paint off and get it ready to paint. I let the wheels soak for awhile in hot water and Tide before using a scrub brush to get the gunk off of them. It took me awhile but it was a nice day and I wasn't in any big hurry anyway.

I posted this Craigslist ad on Friday night -


Bolens Lawn Mower 22 in 4 1/2 hp - $40 (North Everett)

Date: 2012-04-13, 7:17PM PDT
Reply to: your anonymous craigslist address will appear here

I've done the following to get this mower running and ready to go cut some grass -

Cleaned air filter, carburetor, gas tank, and spark plug.
Sharpened and balanced blade.
Changed oil.
Removed rust, gunk and flaking paint and applied a couple of fresh coats of Rustoleum paint.

I got this mower for free because it wasn't running and looked pretty rough. It looks pretty good now and runs fine. I think I have about 8 hours into it so I was thinking 5 dollars an hour for my time would be reasonable.


Got my first call in about 1/2 hour from someone who was apparently in a bar or some place with lots of background noise. She was talking to her hub/significant other and apparently some other people on a speaker phone while talking to me. The conversation went something like this -

"Hi This is Jack."
"Hey I'm calling about the lawnmower (sound of yelling, music?, loud thumps, breaking glass in background)"
"Oh good."
"Would you be willing to take less than 40 for it?"
"I don't think so the ad has only been up 1/2 an hour and you're the first person who's called."
"My husband likes to drive we'll come up from Olympia (about 90 miles away) tonight."
"That's a pretty long drive."
"You sure you won't take less than 40?"
"I'm sure."
"I'll talk to my husband."

5 minutes later...

"Hi This is Jack."
"My husband likes to drive."
"That's good."
"Yelling in background could only make out some of the words - if you don't mow that lawn tomorrow it's not going to get mowed...where is your house?"
"I live in North Everett near Providence Hospital."
"Is Everett North of Marysville?"
"No but it's about 90 miles from Olympia so with traffic it's going to take you a couple of hours to get here. It's about 8 pm now. How about if you come on Saturday?"
"My husband works on Saturday."
"We're going to stop at Nordstrom and someplace (unintelligible) on the way to Everett - is that okay?"
"No that's not okay - thanks anyway though." Thinking to myself - It's Friday night I'm not going to hang around (stay awake) waiting for you to finish shopping at Nordies and then haggle over a 40 dollar lawnmower.

5 minutes later...

"Hi this is Jack."
"I saw your ad for the mower. Do you still have it?"
"I live in Seattle and would like to buy it."
"My name is ___ and I can come Saturday."
"Sounds good - my address is _____ ."
"Okay what's a good time - early morning, mid morning, afternoon?"
"How about 9 am?"
"That works for me - do you want me to call before I come?"
"No." (Thinking - you sound sane and there isn't a lot of yelling in the background)

Guy showed up right at 9 am, started up the mower, he gave me two twenties and I helped him load it into his truck. Done deal.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pressure Washer Repair

I have a 2300 psi Craftsman pressure washer powered by a 6 hp Briggs and Stratton vertical crankshaft engine that has worked great for about 10 years. A couple of weeks ago it started to lose pressure while using it so I took the bottom of the pump off and inspected it, cleaned the water screens and changed the pump oil. I didn't totally disassemble the pump - those things have a lot of springs, o'rings, guides and washers inside of them so I did the simple stuff first. If you are going to disassemble the pump you should remove it from the frame and have it on a work bench or else you'll have a lot of little pieces to search for.

To make a long story short the pump disintegrated and then seized up.

The part that failed is called the wobble plate.  Here's an animation of a wobble plate pump. The rotating disk is also called a swashplate. It converts the rotation of the engine into a reciprocating force to drive the pump pistons. This video shows how a wobble plate (swashplate) is made -

I looked at parts to repair the pump and they were pretty expensive. The wobble plate and needle bearings had come apart and pieces were in the pump I wasn't totally sure how long it would last even if I did replace the plate.

I ordered this replacement pump from Amazon -

Briggs and Stratton 207365GS Pump Kit for Pressure Washers

One tip would have made taking off the old pump a lot easier - you may need a bearing/gear puller. Autozone will let you borrow one if you leave a deposit which is refunded when you bring it back.

The new pump slides on the crankshaft once you get it lined up just right. There's a woodruff  key in a keyway on the crankshaft that has to line up with the keyway on the pump. The pump is mounted to the pressure washer frame with 3 bolts.

The time consuming part for me was figuring out how the old pump housing was mounted to the engine. I removed the 3 bolts but it wouldn't budge. I disassembled as much of the pump as possible to try and see how it was attached and finally figured out it was a typical keyway shaft affair. After 10 years or so the crankshaft and pump were pretty well mated together due to corrosion. I tried PB Blaster penetrating oil but I didn't want to hammer on it and damage the engine bearings. Using the bearing/gear puller it took about 5 minutes.

That new pump cost me less than 1/2 the price of a new pressure washer so I'm pretty happy. It has more pressure than the old one ever did.

A few tips for keeping a pressure washer operating - don't let them run without water ever (the pump gets hot fast without water), if you aren't spraying turn it off - they have an unloader valve that should open when it reaches a certain temperature and allow water to flow out of the pump but it's still getting hot and that valve may not work, and use a hose that doesn't leak and has adequate water supply - if you let the pump cavitate (suck air) it will beat itself apart.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kawasaki KZ1000P Motorcycle - Voltage Regulator Replacement

I've been having intermittent electrical problems on my Kawasaki KZ1000 P-19. At first I thought it was the battery, then the wiring or connections or maybe the rotor/stator (alternator) and finally settled on the voltage regulator. This link provides a pretty good step by step trouble-shooting guide for motorcycle electrical systems.

 The problem I was having was the battery would charge normally and bike would run fine most of the time but a couple of times it wouldn't start. The first time I got stuck out in the rain and sleet with a dead battery and had to call Betsy to give me a jump start I decided I needed to get my police bike back to it's old reliable self.

 These are the basic steps for checking out the electrical system -
Verify battery voltage is about 12.8 volts DC with engine off. 
Verify battery voltage increases to 13.5 volts DC to 14.8 volts DC with engine running. The voltage should increase as the RPM's of the engine increase. Turn on all electrical loads and verify voltage stays above about 13.5 VDC. It's about 13.5 VDC because the voltage of a fully charged battery is about 12.8 VDC, so the charging system needs to be slightly above that to keep the battery charged. If voltage is too low your battery won't stay charged and the bike will run off the battery - until the battery discharges to the point that it can't fire the plugs. If the voltage is too high you'll boil water off the battery and may burn out light bulbs. 
Do a visual/meter-aided inspection of wiring looking for shorts or grounds. 
Clean/tighten all connections. 
Check voltage at the three stator wires is above 50 VAC. 
Check voltage regulator diodes front to back ratio.
I ordered a new voltage regulator made by Accel from Amazon. It took awhile to get to me but the price was good and it works fine. You'll need longer screws to mount this regulator since the form factor is slightly different than the OEM regulator from Kawasaki. This is a link to the regulator - Accel 201411 Chrome Motorcycle Voltage Regulator for Kawasaki. The Accel regulator is less than half the cost of the OEM Kawasaki part (68 vs. 152 dollars)

A few notes -

The regulator is sometimes called the RR, short for regulator rectifier since it Regulates - keeps the voltage between 13.5 and 14.8 VDC, and Rectifies - changes stator voltage AC to DC. Stator outputs 50 VAC to the RR which outputs 13.5ish VDC to the battery, lights, horn etc.

The electrical power on this motorcycle is provided by a rotor - a wheel with permanent magnets embedded in it, that rotates inside a stator - a stationary circular piece with coils of wire mounted to it that convert the rotating magnetic field to electricity.

The removal and replacement of the regulator is (like other things on motorcycles) made difficult by lack of access. The regulator is mounted under the battery tray and it took me about 3 hours to get the job done. I'm really happy to have bright lights and I'm looking forward to riding my winter bike to work today.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New Work Bench, Vise and Tool Box

I've been looking around for a workbench to replace the plastic topped portable table that I've been using in the garage. The workbenches available from Sears, Home Depot, Lowes and Harbor Freight are either expensive or flimsy and sometimes both.

I found an ad on Craigslist for a workbench and vise that I ended up buying for 100 dollars. It's a 6 foot Shure workbench manufactured in Missouri and a Wilton Columbian D45-M4 vise which is made in the USA as well. The table and the vise are both heavy duty and had been well used in an auto-body shop for years before being sold at auction. They were both covered in overspray from painting and the table had a lot of bondo drips on it.

I'm assuming a lot of people would look at the pictures on Craigslist and move on because the table and the vise looked pretty rough. I kind of thought they looked like diamonds in the rough. That Shure workbench is a few hundred bucks and prices can be crazy for a Wilton Columbian vise made in the USA.

After an afternoon of wire brushing and sanding, then another day of priming and painting, the table looks like this. That's a piece of left over vinyl flooring, I had laying around, on top of the bench to protect the metal top and keep tools from banging when I throw them on the bench.

I didn't paint the vise because I like the patina so I'm just wiping it with a little oil to keep the rust off. Both pieces had zero rust when I got them since they were kept in a heated shop and covered with coats of over spray.

The only problem with the vise is that one of the jaw inserts was missing. Those things are expensive if you can find them (hundred(s) of dollars) so I made one out of some aluminum bar. When I get around to it I'm going to get a piece of 3/8 by 3/4 aluminum and make some that look more store-bought. The one I made is three pieces of 1/8 inch aluminum stacked together. It works fine - but I'd like to have two aluminum jaw inserts. I have some 1/4 inch fillister head machine screws (smaller head than normal machine screws) that I got from McMaster Carr that will work for attaching the jaw inserts. For my first try and ground the heads down on some regular machine screws because my largest drill bit is 1/2 and the head diameter is slightly larger than 1/2 inch.

I bought this Craftsman tool box a couple of months ago. I couldn't find anything on Craigslist that seemed like a good deal so I went for the new one. It works fine but I liked having my tools laid out on top of the I'm opening drawers looking for stuff. But it looks cool.

It's sort of funny to me that I've never cared to have a fancy tool box but have spent a fair amount of time in my life as an avid do-it-yourselfer using whatever tools/toolbox I happened to have and only buying tools when I need them. The shiny Craftsman tool chest replaces this tool carrying device I bought 40 plus years ago from J.C. Whitney. 

The rural part of Montana I grew up in didn't have much in the way of stores so I ordered a toolbox and some tools from J.C. Whitney to work on my bicycle, pickup, car, motorcycle, or whatever. It served me well and I sort of hate to get rid of it. I think that orange tape and the wood I used to reinforce the handle is from the 70's. You can click on the picture to enlarge it to see how beat up that thing is. 

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Phillips, JIS and Pozidriv®

I always have assumed any screw that looked like a Phillips head was just that until I ran across this information regarding the JIS - Japanese Industrial Standard while reading the screwdriver notes in Cleaning the carbs 1 - Ninja250Wiki.

JIS screws may have a dot or "X" on the head to identify them. They are built to JIS 4633B-3/1991 and DIN/ISO standard 5260.

The Phillips head was invented by Henry Phillips in the 1930's to be used in assembly line production. Unlike the JIS drive, the Phillips drivers have an intentional angle on the flanks and rounded corners so they will cam out of the slot before a power tool will twist off the screw head.

The Phillips head tends to be fairly easy to strip particularly if the screw material or driver is soft or damaged. This was more of issue on motorcycles built in the 1960's but not so much anymore as Phillips/JIS screws have been replaced by hex head screws.

I was going to take a picture to show the difference between a Phillips and JIS screwdriver. There are subtle differences that don't show up well so I decided to just take a shot of the screwdrivers I got from IKASWEBSHOP showing the No. 2, 1, 0 and 00 screwdrivers.

Hozan JIS Screwdrivers by Jack Crossen
Hozan JIS Screwdrivers, a photo by Jack Crossen on Flickr.

I originally ordered some German made screwdrivers from Ames Supply Company in Illinois online but they called me back and have a 50 dollar minimum order policy so I went with the Japanese Hozan's from IKASWEBSHOP in Everett. They have sort of chintzy handles but I'm assuming the steel is good and they'll work fine.

The Pozidriv® is another common type of screw that looks like a Phillips. These are sometimes called drywall or deck screws. They can be distinguished from Phillips by 4 indentations on the head as shown in this photo.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Snow 2012

It started to snow in Everett on Saturday January 14th. I was at the gym when it started and within a half hour or so there was a few inches on the ground. It was fun practicing my winter driving skills in the empty parking lots. There were some cars getting stuck, a few pulling off to the side of the road and one motorcyclist who had done a low-speed get off.

 I took this picture on Tuesday looking off the front porch.

The two pictures below are after driving to the airport on Thursday January 19th in an ice storm. I'm holding the windshield wiper up to show the ice that was stuck to the blade. That ice made it hard to keep the window clean as the sleet/snow/ice fell. Combine that with a combination of drivers driving too slow for conditions, too fast for conditions and it was interesting to be on the freeway. I made good time though - most people were staying off the roads.

The snow, sleet and ice mixture was sticking to the underside of the fenders. No problems with traction but that low-riding Hyundai was getting close to high centering coming up the driveway since there's a natural hump in the middle of the drive.

This picture was also taken on Thursday January 19th. By this time we had 7 inches of snow on the picnic table.

I didn't get all the way to the airport since they cancelled B's flight (the third cancelled flight for her that day). Becca finally got her a flight at 8:30 pm and gave her a ride to the airport so everything worked out okay.

I enjoy the snow here with the exception that it's no fun to get stuck in traffic so I'm careful about where I drive when it starts snowing. Driving can be a challenge since this is a fairly hilly area, conditions can very widely within short distances, traffic can be heavy, people tend to not know how to drive on snow/ice and the snow tends to be heavy/slippery - no powder snow here that blows off the roads.

As I write this they are predicting temps into the high 40's or maybe 50 later this week with some sun and no precipitation for the first week of February.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

S10 Pickup Beltline Weather Strip Replacement

I didn't get around to taking a picture when I replaced the passenger side window beltline weatherstrip on my 1985 Chevy S10 pickup last weekend so I'm using one I had from a few years ago. The beltline weatherstrip is that rubber piece on the outside of the window that I have my hand on.
cruisencrossen by Jack Crossen
fisheye, a photo by Jack Crossen on Flickr.
The drivers side looks good because it doesn't get the sun like the passengers side has over the last couple of decades parked in front of our house.

The passengers side weatherstrip was falling apart and allowing rain to drip inside the door. I went to a couple of junkyards but couldn't find any better weatherstrip on the junk vehicles - plus I wasn't really sure how to remove that piece of weatherstrip without destroying it.

Turns out it's really easy once I got the new one and could see how it's fastened to the door. There are four or five metal tabs on a metal piece inside the weatherstrip that slide into slots in the door. Removing it is simple - I sprayed some WD-40 like stuff on it to soften it up and tapped it with big flat bladed screwdriver until it popped out. Installation is simply a matter of positioning the weatherstrip on the door and giving it a few whacks with your hand to seat it into the slots in the door. It slides under the side mirror housing on the front end and the vertical weatherstrip on the back end - so you don't have to remove either of those.

The passengers side beltline weatherstrip is Partslink Number GM1391119 which I purchased from Amazon for $16.78 plus tax (free shipping with Prime). You should verify but I believe that part fits any of the first generation (1983 to 1993) S10's.

Here's a cartoon showing the beltline weatherstrip. The inside is the piece of felt the window slides on and the outside is the rubber drip guard thingamajig that tends to disintegrate over the years. This gives you an idea of the metal tabs on the rubber strip at least.

I thought this information might come in handy to someone with an old S10 pickup. I'd read some discussions on the web saying this piece was very expensive/hard to find, you had to take out the window, remove the inside door panel and whatever...but it was so easy it was sort of disappointing because I'd planned for a multi-hour cuss-fest knuckle busting exercise. Took about 10 minutes - no swearing required.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Who Cares What I'm Doing?

Hi Monkey and Rachel by Jack Crossen
Hi Monkey and Rachel, a photo by Jack Crossen on Flickr.
What I've been doing since my last post. (By the way that picture has nothing to do with this text - I just wanted a picture and that one seemed like a good enough choice.)

Fixed a roof, fixed a fence, replaced a mirror and tail light lens on my pickup, visited a couple of auto junkyards multiple times, cut down a tree, dug out the roots, rode motorcycles most days, picked up and delivered a couch and chaise, got a new iPhone, talked to Siri (pretty useless but fun for a couple of minutes - I wish she could help me find my glasses and other stuff I misplace), worked on a lawnmower - ordered two new wheels (Snapper parts are expensive), got a free North Face 1/4 zip fleece from Moosejaw, ordered 75 dollars worth of misc. from Harbor Freight online (they sell cheap stuff - cheap), cleaned up garage, fixed a light in our bedroom, went to see the movie War Horse, made some potato soup, went to a designer clothing outlet mall a couple of days after Christmas (had to return a Wilson leather jacket that didn't fit B...don't go there unless you have to), joined Amazon Prime again for a free 1 month membership. I've been reading a variety of things as usual, watching some TV, cooking, shopping (mostly online) and trying to go to the gym on a semi-regular basis. I've been keeping busy.

I bought a copy of Pocket Ref 4th Edition with my Christmas gift card from Harbor Freight. If you've never seen that little book it's really interesting and has a wealth of information on a wide range of things, including how to give CPR to cats and dogs. It gets 5 stars from 178 reviewers on Amazon so other people think it's good too.

I'd say in summary I've been doing a lot things that are interesting to me and of no interest to anyone else. Blogs are good for that sort of thing since they can end up being diary-like and no one cares since no one reads them anyway. "Too many words didn't read" as someone says on the motorcycle forums I like to read. That strikes me as funny and really true - on the other hand I read several thousand words in a New Yorker article about an old man looking out his window through the seasons in New Hampshire and it was great - but that guy (Donald Hall - Poet Laureate of the U.S.) knows how to write.

In the last couple of weeks I replaced the passenger door outer belt weatherstrip on my 27 year old pickup, bought a digital micrometer, some JIS screwdrivers (Japanese Industrial Standard), and a big pair of channel locks. Repaired some cracks in the grout in the shower. Rode my motorcycles as much as possible.


On the other hand - I find this adventure story from a Danish couple that rode their 650 cc motorcycles from Prudhoe Bay to Ushuaia very interesting. They have a lot of pictures that are great and a good writing style that emphasizes the positive aspects of travel and meeting new people - plus they like licorice pipes so we have something in common. Their travel story is in the Advrider forums at Alaska to Argentina - N69S54A - ADVrider  and they have a blog N69° - S54° Americas | Going from Prudhoe Bay to Ushuaia on 2 motorbikes.