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Monday November 24th 2008

Not General Motors this time
This time I'm not going to complain about GM's usual stupid ways of making cars. No, this time it's actually Chrysler that's being retarded. I think this is the first time since I started working on cars (95% Chrysler products) over 10 years ago that I've come across a Chrysler solution that I find utterly stupid.

Exhibit 1 through 4:

Here's where I had to first drill holes in the trunk floor, then use the reciprocating saw to cut access holes.

A view "down the hole". These tabs are supposed to hold the "blind nuts" from turning when you go to remove the subframe bolts from underneath the car. All well and great as long as there's no rust on the bolts.

Here you can see the two bolts after I cut them off with the reciprocating saw. You can also see the cut off u-bolt for the rear sway bar retainer.

The remains of the cut off bolts, still securely stuck in the square nuts. I let them sit and soak over night in PB Blaster penetrating lubricant. It still took huge leverage and lots of heat to get them out the following day.

And why did I have to do all this? Because I wanted to change the rear stabilizer bar bushings while I was already back there replacing the bad ABS sensor and wheel bearing. The bushings should not have taken more than an additional 20 minutes. Instead, due to rust keeping the bolts from coming out, and the labor of cutting/welding etc. it took about 4 hours extra.

After it's all put back together, I spot welded the cuts I made and sprayed some paint over it.

Nice one, Chrysler. You could have at least made an access panel back there.

The only thing positive I can mention about this hole thing is that it seems Chrysler at least put some dimples on the trunk floor so you'd know where to drill through to get to the nuts.

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Friday November 21st 2008

A diamond that costs more than your car is what it takes to make her happy
This is basically what jewelry ads on TV tell you. I get pissed off every time I accidentally see an ad peddling diamonds.

So imagine my glee when I read that Zales is closing 105 stores!

Unfortunately Kay Jewelers seem to be thriving, though.

I'm not one for jewelry at all, really, but when they say you should be wearing thousands of dollars on your finger 'cause that means he loves you more.. well, this pisses me off. No wonder we're heading for the next great depression.

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Wednesday November 19th 2008 (Entry was updated on Wednesday November 19th 2008)

Google seeks transvestites
Apparently a great deal of Google search users want to see pictures of transvestites... and for some reason Google points them to my blog!

October's Google search stats for my site:

#	%	Query
1 7% hdr nude
2 7% tranny on suit
3 6% tranny job
4 6% flexible tranny
5 6% tranny flexible
6 6% amish caskets
7 6% piss tranny
8 5% tranny red
9 5% white brake cable
10 5% google boobs
11 5% caskets
12 4% tranny background
13 4% western tranny
14 4% hdr boobs
15 4% atv jack
16 4% brown leaves
17 4% exploded diagram software
18 3% clutch is sticking to the floor
19 3% exploded view
20 3% "awesome o"

As you can see there are quite a few searches for tranny.. only thing is when I say tranny I'm talking about transmissions, not transvestites. Google clearly doesn't know the difference.

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Friday November 14th 2008

Stopped short
This is one expression that doesn't exist in my vocabulary. Instead I prefer to use the phrase "was following too close".

Get real, people! It doesn't matter where or when cars stop, nor does it matter how quickly they come to a stop. If you hit them from behind, it's your fault.

Try allowing some space between yourself and the car in front of you, pay attention and get off the damn cell phone.

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Wednesday November 12th 2008

Another funny clip

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Thursday November 6th 2008

A fun flash game

Portal: The Flash Version.

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Thursday November 6th 2008

ABS problem.. solved

A couple weeks ago I hooked up my USB oscilloscope to the ABS sensors on the car. Below are the resulting waveforms.



As you can see they all look okay. The only abnormality is a slightly lower amplitude on the right rear sensor (#2 in the lower picture) compared to the left one. I figured this to be caused by a slight difference in distance from sensor to tone ring. It's still a strong signal, so shouldn't cause a problem.

Imagine my surprise last night though when I decided to ohm check the sensor circuits. 3 out of 4 sensors circuits showed a resistance of about 1.147kΩ, while the right rear sensor was an open circuit. Measuring at the sensor plug itself confirmed that indeed the sensor was dead.

So how does a dead sensor manage to produce a good looking signal? Beats me. My only theory is that there's a break somewhere in the sensor itself, and vibrations from the wheel turning causes it to complete the circuit. I took the brake disc off and turned the hub by itself, and I could feel a little roughness, indicating a bad wheel bearing. But even if the vibrations from that caused the sensor to put out a good signal, it should have shown up on the scope as glitches. Looking at the waveform now, there is a slight bump in the curve right after the peak.

Now that I confirmed a bad sensor, I shoved a piece of welding wire in the terminals of the connector for the sensor, then turned on the ignition. ABS light comes on, then goes off after a couple seconds. Bingo!

A couple things to note:

The ABS system will detect an open circuit due to a bad sensor. It does not know the difference between a good sensor and a dead short, though. This makes testing easy. This only refers to the static tests, of course. Once the vehicle starts moving it'll realize something is wrong with the sensor which now has a wire in its place.

Now to put a new bearing and a new sensor on there to see if there are any other issues with the ABS system. I'm guessing not.

At this point I really don't have to make my ABS error code clearing gadget, but I might anyway just to see if the codes really do clear after 255 key on/off cycles.

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Thursday November 6th 2008

Teves Mark 20

This was supposed to have been posted yesterday, but apparently I forgot to press the post button after writing it!

Means nothing to most people. Meant nothing to me until a few days ago.

Turns out this is the ABS system in my '99 Intrepid (as well as my '01 Intrepid). The ABS light is constantly on, and in reading the ABS codes it shows 7 codes! One of them is undervoltage. I measured the voltage at the ABS module and it's perfectly fine, so I'm thinking this is a leftover code from earlier times.

Problem is, you can't clear the ABS codes just by disconnecting the battery or anything like that. Noooo. It requires a scantool, which is a dealer only item (unless you have $2500 to fork over for a used unit). I'm not about to spend good money paying a dealer to hook up the DRBIII for 20 seconds to clear my codes.

So, in my research I've found out two things that might help me:

1. Codes are automatically cleared after 3500 miles.
2. Codes are automatically cleared after 255 key on/off cycles.

#2 is the one of interest to me. I figured if I use some sort of time delay circuit to power up the ABS unit (fuse #17 in the car, btw) for a few seconds to where it completes its static diagnostic tests (about 3 or 4 seconds), then kills power for a few seconds and repeats indefinitely then the codes should be cleared within within 42 1/2 minutes (5 seconds on, 5 seconds off) worst case.

All I need is a simple way of getting a relay to go on/off every 5 seconds. I suppose I'll have to either build a circuit based on a 555 timer IC, or I thought maybe I could modify a good old thermal turn signal relay to work. A time delay relay with built in delays would of course be the easiest solution, but I don't have one.

We'll see.

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Thursday October 23rd 2008 (Entry was updated on Tuesday October 28th 2008)

Beauty is a Porsche 911

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Thursday October 23rd 2008 (Entry was updated on Thursday October 23rd 2008)

So I was reading an online forum...Who am I kidding.. again.
And I was searching for "abs pump" (that's a-b-s, not abs!) to see if there are any common issues with the ABS brake pump in the Intrepids.

A bunch of posts matched my criteria, none of which had any technical info, of course. This is typical of

Anyway, I came across a post that went something like this:

So, this morning while driving my wife to work I had a little smash in to the back of a Verizon truck.

He turned Right, I was turning Right behind him, he went to turn Right again in to a gas station and he short stopped. I hit the back of him, smashed the passenger side turn signal light on my car.....long story short, he tried to make out I was following him too closely (even though I wasn't) I was starting to get pissed off, so instead of hitting him, I said forget it and he said ok and that was that. (I really need to learn how to control my anger better!)

Again, this is so typical of the members of this forum. They all sound like they're 16 year olds, have no fricken' clue about cars and spend 24/7 in front of the TV playing Playstation games.

Of course the guy was following too close. Take some responsibility for your own actions, dumbass!

If it wasn't for the 2% of posts that actually contain some useful info, I would just forget about the whole forum.. it's really that depressing reading what these people say. They're so incredibly clueless about anything automotive.

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Monday October 20th 2008 (Entry was updated on Monday October 20th 2008)
Seeing as I have a couple Intrepids I joined the online forum at

Came across this post today, and had to laugh:
Is it possible to make a 3.5L a 4.0L just by going .030 over? Would anything really need to be done, If i did go .030 over should i get different pistons or just bigger rings? I'd like to make a stroker with my 3.5L or just a power house :P I'm looking at rebuilding an engine this summer and trying to get 320-350 WHP

He's planning on rebuilding an engine and thinks he can gain .5 liters from boring .030" over? LOL! Not only that, he wonders if he can use the standard size pistons and just get bigger rings after boring it? LOL again!

I sure hope this guy doesn't try rebuilding the engine himself.. it's bound for failure.

Unfortunately I think 90% of the members of the forum are at about the same level as this guy. They're all excited about chrome shift knobs and tinted windows.

While on the topic of Intrepid rebuilds: 1700 miles on the rebuilt 2.7 engine now.

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Monday October 20th 2008

This little file keeps track of how much mail (in kilobytes) is in a users mailbox.

On hosted sites, this file seems to only be added to, not subtracted. So even if you log in and get your e-mail, leaving the box empty, the file still says the mail is in there. Then you receive more mail, and the size of that mail is added to the file too. This, of course, leads to a mailbox being "full" after a while.

This has been going on for a while now on one of the hosted domains that I administer. doesn't seem to think this is a big problem, nor do they seem to have a solution other than manually logging in every once in a while to delete that file. In the mean time you'll just loose e-mails when they bounce due to your "full" mailbox.

Their advice to me is to "greatly increase" the mailbox quota for the most active e-mail accounts. Great solution. Not. This would leave the box wide open for people to send HUGE e-mail messages, which in turn would cripple the local mail server for the domain. You see, a lot of people don't think that sending 10 attachments in BMP format is a bad idea. what, 200MB size e-mails is a problem?!? Uh, yeah.

So come on,, stop "sitting on your thumbs". At the very least you could easily come up with a cron script that runs occasionally automatically deleting the mailboxsize file as a bandaid.

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Tuesday October 14th 2008

A fun little flash game. My best so far is a 3.26 on my second attempt. I've only tried 3 times so far. Last time was 4.76. Best single item precision was 0.0 on a circle midpoint!

Give it a try: The Eyeballing Game.

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Monday October 13th 2008

Last ride of the '08 season

Took the jetskis out for their last ride of the season this weekend. Mostly just to get the Stabil circulated throughout the fuel system. Riding on the lake is a lot more fun than idling in the driveway!

Red and the SPX. Aren't they cute?

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Wednesday October 8th 2008 (Entry was updated on Wednesday October 8th 2008)

Intrepid Musings

So I've been driving my Dodge Intrepid a bit lately. Gotta put some miles on it before winter sets in. I'd rather have something break now than later. Much more fun to work on cars when you're not freezing your ass off and having snow and slush fall in your eyes.

Anyway, today I finally grabbed a pen to stick in the center console for when the need arises to use one. That's when I noticed a clip on the underside of the center console lid. Turns out a pen fits perfectly in there. And there's even a slot for a small pack of tissues or something else of similar size, like business cards.

I found this to be pretty clever. It's probably stock equipment on a lot of new cars, but since I haven't owned a car newer than a 1990 model (at least not that I drove. The ex-wife drove newer cars, but I always drove the older ones), this was news to me.

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Monday September 29th 2008

Batman - The Dark Knight (2008)
Red and I saw this movie this weekend. She liked it a lot. Me, I wasn't impressed. In fact, I was disappointed. From what I'd been reading about this movie it's "the best Batman yet!" and such. That may be, but certainly not by a big margin.

Too many dumb things, The Joker was too annoying etc.

I watched the original TV series back in the day and found it to be a lot more entertaining than this movie.

I give it:

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Thursday September 25th 2008

All quiet on the Western Front
Been quiet lately. Been on vacation, and before that I was busy rebuilding and installing the engine in my '99 Dodge Intrepid ES. Bought it with a blown up 2.7l engine. Turns out the worst work was already done by someone else, though, so it already had bent valves fixed, new rod/piston in one bore, new timing chain and new water pump.

I guess when they fixed it the first time they didn't clean the oil passages, so the engine developed rod knock on at least 3 cylinders due to some foreign objects blocking the oil feed holes in the rod bearings.

I bored the block .5mm over, new pistons/rings (duh!), new timing chain tensioner, new crank/bearings, new oil pump and all new gaskets/seals. I also replaced some of the rods (due to out-of-roundness brought on by the rod knocking). All rods also got new pin bushings.

Engine now has about 300 miles on it and is running well.

Meanwhile, I also have an '01 Intrepid R/T that chucked a rod through the block. A new block has already been acquired thanks to my friend M. A bore/hone will be done to this block too, along with a bunch of new parts.

Some misc pics of the rebuild process:

Empty block on the stand.

Bottom end all together, one head in place.

Both heads in place, lash adjusters, rockers, cams and secondary timing chains installed.

Installing oil pickup and oil pan.

Some accessories and such installed.

Almost complete..

The complete engine, including wiring harness.

It goes in there..

..just like that.

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Tuesday September 9th 2008 (Entry was updated on Tuesday September 9th 2008)

Learning to spell is too hard?

Give me a break! I learned to spell 3 languages in school!

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Wednesday September 3rd 2008 (Entry was updated on Thursday November 13th 2008)

Flying squirrel!
While I feel a bit bad for the squirrel, I still found this pretty damn funny!

Apparently the video was removed and replaced with some cats running on a treadmill.

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Friday August 29th 2008 (Entry was updated on Friday August 29th 2008)

Romeo & Juliet
My favorite song these days...

The Killers - Romeo & Juliet (originally by Dire Straits).

I remember when Brothers in Arms came out too.. I would sit in my room with all the lights off and listen to it.

A lovestruck Romeo sings the streets a serenade
Laying everybody low with a love song that he made
Finds a streetlight steps out of the shade
Says something like "you and me babe, how about it?"

Juliet says "hey, it's Romeo, you nearly gave me a heart attack"
He's underneath the window she's singing "hey la my boyfriend's back
You shouldn't come around here singing up at people like that"
Anyway what you gonna do about it?

Juliet, the dice was loaded from the start
And I bet that you exploded in my heart
And I forget I forget the movie song
When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong?

Come up on different streets, they both were streets of shame
Both dirty, both mean, yes and the dream was just the same
And I dreamed your dream for you and now your dream is real
How can you look at me as if I was just another one of your deals?

You can fall for chains of silver
You can fall for chains of gold
You can fall for pretty strangers
And the promises they hold
You promised me everything, you promised me thick and thin, yeah
Now you just say "oh Romeo, yeah, you know I used to have a scene with him"

Juliet, when we made love you used to cry
I said "I love you like the stars above, I'll love you 'til I die"
There's a place for us you know the movie song
When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong?

I can't do the talk, like the talk on the TV
And I can't do a love song, like the way it's meant to be
I can't do everything, but I'll do anything for you
I can't do anything except be in love with you

And all I do is miss you and the way we used to be
All I do is keep the beat and the bad company
Now all I do is kiss you through the bars of a rhyme
Juliet, I'd do the stars with you any time

Juliet, when we made love you used to cry
I said I love you like the stars above, I'll love you till I die
There's a place for us you know the movie song
When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong?

A lovestruck Romeo sings the streets a serenade
Laying everybody low with a lovesong that he made
Finds a convenient streetlight, steps out of the shade
Says something like "you and me babe, how about it?"

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