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Sledgstone

In my previous blog post I showed my new smoker:

New Brinkmann Smoker (ECB) El Cheapo Brinkmann

But the smoker didn't work out all that good right out of the box. These are the following modifications I've made to it:

When I first got my smoker I put a grate at the bottom of the charcoal pan because I read that a grate will help in keeping ash buildup from blocking the air flow. This was not entirely correct. What I needed to do was have the grate about an inch off the bottom so that air flow can reach every piece of coal while allowing ash to sift down to the bottom. So my first modification was to use some pliers and bend the air fins open more to allow more airflow. Because I'll be able to control the airflow with another modification, I wanted to make sure the airflow would not get restricted by ash buildup. The second mod I did was to install three carriage bolts with nuts 1 inch from the bottom of the pan. This allows me to set the grate on the bolts and gets me the airflow I want. Before doing this, I attempted to use 3 equally sized rocks to lift the grate up.. Not a good idea. It worked but it didn't. The rocks change the flow of air and also absorb heat and break. Installing permanent bolts was the only real solution. Using a drill I made three holes 1 inch from the bottom and installed the bolts. I didn't want to use carriage bolts but they were the only ones I could find for the size and length I wanted to use at the local hardware store. These bolts worked out fine in the end because they didn't sit to far away from the pan's sides to affect how it sits in the base pan.

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The next modification was the most time consuming. I needed to control the airflow of this smoker. This smoker has two vents. The bottom vent which is a hole about 2 inches in diameter and the other is the gap where the lid sits on the body of the smoker. The lid does not go on with a solid seal and is designed that way so there is no need for an air vent on the top. I have seen other people modify their ECB lids by installing an oven gasket around the rim to make it have a solid seal and then installing an aftermarket weber charcoal damper on the lid. However, I did not do this.. I am more concerned about the airflow coming into the smoker at the bottom than restricting or increasing the airflow from the top.

Here is what I did.. I drilled three holes into my base pan. One of those drill holes was a mistake which I'll explain in a bit. I used one bolt along with a washer, lock washer and lock nut to connect a pickle jar lid to the base of the pan. I needed to drill 2 holes into the jar lid. One to keep it connected to the base pan and the other to act as a slot for the metal control rod. Using a washer, lock washer and lock nut, the lid will stay connected without unscrewing the bolt due to repeated opening and closing. I drilled another hole into the side of the base pan to allow the metal rod to protrude out the side. This is where I messed up. I drilled the hole too high up. Once I had everything in place, I put the charcoal pan into the base pan and realized it was weighing down on the metal rod preventing me from using it correctly. So I drilled another hole right at the bottom of the side and then the pan fit perfectly. Of course this left me with a hole I had to plug up. Thankfully I the smoker came with some extra bolts and nuts and I simply used one of those to seal off the hole.

The biggest problem with this was the metal rod I was using. I had an old metal sign holding post that I decided to use because it was tough and it already had one end of it bent into a crude loop from a previous project. This was some sturdy metal. After cutting it to the right shape, I was unable to bend it by hand. My bolt cutters have metal bending rods on it and I was able to use those to bend the metal into the angles I needed. This was a pain. I forgot to take a picture of the underneath of the base pan. Its basically a piece of metal bent in three places. Once at a 90 degree angle to fit through the jar lid hole, then another bend to keep the metal from scraping the ground, and then a third bend to keep the metal from scraping the bottom of the pan. In the end it worked out good because the piece of metal has just enough weight to it that it feels sturdy and it won't disconnect. With this done, I now an adjustable damper and I have full control over the airflow.

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A different angle:

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Now that I can open and close the damper to whatever amount of air flow I want to allow in, I need to be able to tell what the actual temperature of the smoker is. For this I needed to add a new thermometer. Adding a new thermometer was easier than I thought it would be. All I needed to do was drill one hole and then use a piece of simple lamp hardware found in my local hardware store's electricity aisle. Its a threaded feed-through with 2 nuts. I can't remember what the actual thing was called on the package in the store, but its basically a brass tube that is threaded for nuts to attach to it like a bolt. Its lamp hardware because electric cords usually go through the opening to the light bulb. But for me, the opening will be for my new thermometer. The hardware store only sold the things in a pack of 8 in varying sizes and the nuts were on the shelf just below them, also in a pack. I used either a 1 or 1 1/2 inch feed through with two nuts. Using a couple pliers I tightened the two nuts and kept the bulk of the feed through on the inside of the smoker to keep the thermometer level. I've seen some people recommend candy thermometers, but I chose instead to get a new Weber thermometer off amazon. Because the thermometer itself isn't installed, I can take it inside and clean it after every use.

Outside look. I installed it right above the charcoal door:

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Inside look. Two nuts holding it in place. Pretty simple. I also bent this slightly downward to make sure the thermometer sits a bit more tight.

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This new thermometer is significantly better than the one that came with the smoker. I can now get the smoker up to 250 and using the damper on the bottom, I can make small adjustments to the airflow and maintain a constant cooking temperature.

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And here it is all completed:

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Resources I used for this project:

http://home.comcast.net/~day_trippr/smoker_mods.htm

http://brinkmannsmokermod.blogspot.com/2011/01/simple-modification-to-brinkmann.html

Sledgstone

*blogging my VB vs. IPB crap for future reference*

________________________________

vBulletin = FAIL

[ame=http://forums.ancientclan.com/showthread.php?t=9752"]vBulletin = FAIL - Ancient Clan Forums[/ame]

Here is the email I received from vbulletin:

Quote

We hope your community is enjoying the flexibility and power of vBulletin™. As always, our goal is to offer a great product at a great price, and we are dedicated to helping you build and grow successful online communities.

Over the last 12 months, we have been building vBulletin 4.0 to be the most powerful forum and social publishing software. Today, we are proud to introduce the new vBulletin 4.0 Publishing Suite product that includes the power of the vBulletin 4.0 Forums with a seamlessly integrated content management system (CMS) and blogging platform.

As a preferred customer with an active license, we are excited to offer the vBulletin Publishing Suite at a pre-sale discount price of only $130 (over 50% off regular price). This is a truly limited one-time special offer giving you $120 off the upgrade price but will expire on Friday October 30, 2009.

Learn more about vBulletin Publishing Suite features and pricing on our new website: http://www.vbulletin.com/

Beginning today, we are introducing new a license structure. vBulletin is changing to a one-time owned license fee for each major point release. That means no more annual renewal fees. Once you purchase a major point version, you’ll receive maintenance, security and minor point releases for the life of 4.x.

You have the option to keep your current active license until it expires (according to the 12 month term and conditions). For the remainder of your active license, you will continue to receive support and have access to forum software updates, including vBulletin 4.0 Forums. Once your license expires you will only be able to access the 4 Series software updates by switching to the new one-time owned license. For more information, visit the vBulletin FAQ.

Over the last 10 years, our products have offered an exceptional value and we look forward to bringing you the best and keeping you as a loyal customer. Our team is expanding in number and expertise in order to develop more innovative features and to deliver them faster. We are investing in exciting development areas such as new products and services for 'Big Boards' and mobile applications and look forward to helping you grow your community.

Sincerely,

The vBulletin Team

The vbulletin team announced that vBulletin 4.0 would come out by the end of June 2009. It is October 14th today and with an announcement like this and a new website, you would think vbulletin 4.0 has finally been released! But no! It is still in alpha testing, there is no demo available and I have been given the opportunity to purchase the upgrade to the suite for the $130 discount for only 16-17 more days. And they still have not announced when the vb 4.0 version will even come out.

And even though I bought the blog add-on for $50 a year ago, I get the same discount price as someone who only owns just the forum license. wtf.

When my license support renewal is up, which last year would have costed me $40 for updates, will now cost me $195 for the new license if I haven't paid the $130 or more by then to download vbulletin 4.0 which may still not be out by then considering they are 4 months behind schedule with no product.

So. We will probably continue running vb 3.8 until we find another alternative or vbulletin changes their pricing structure (which I'm sure they won't). I wouldn't mind paying for new forum software, we've spent plenty on vb over the years with renewal costs and one time purchases. But I can't justify staying with the company because of the part I have put in bold above.

If we use just the forums and pay the initial upgrade price of $195 or so in january and switch to a free blog system because the version we have won't be compatible with vb 4.0... we'll still be stuck with another issue. Once vb 5.0 comes out (which should be 12-18 months according to a staff member), we'll have to buy a brand new vbulletin license for version 5 at the full price of another $195. And assuming a new major release then comes out every 1 or 2 years, it'll be hundreds of dollars every year or two just to keep using this software that still doesn't do everything I want it to do.

I'm really starting to hate vbulletin. If I want to stay with this forum software, the only way I'll save money is by paying the cheaper upgrade cost of $130 which gives me the entire suite, but I only have 16 days to make my decision or pay $200 in January and only get the forum software.

WTF!

Anyone have any forum or blog recommendations? I was thinking about invision power board, but they're in the process of releasing a new cms like system and I don't know if that will be bundled in with their current suite. But even ipb is $250 for the suite with $60 renewal costs. But even that price is better than the new vbulletin price structure. Apparently, I have to make a decision within 16 days. *kicks vB in the balls*

Sledgstone

Back in May of this year I bought a new Smoker because I've been thinking about trying out smoking food for a couple years now. I've gotten pretty good with a standard grill, but I wanted to improve my slow cooking skills and try something new with different flavors. After watching numerous seasons of BBQ Pitmasters, I became inspired to finally try out charcoal smoking.

Instead of buying something expensive, I shopped around, looked at reviews, different makes and models and I decided to go with a vertical charcoal water smoker. A vertical water smoker works by having a heat source at the bottom, a water pan in the middle of the smoker that provides hot moisture, and two cooking grates. One directly over the water pan and the second at the top of the smoker. Because the water pan is almost as wide as the smoker itself, it causes all the food in the smoker to be cooked with indirect moist heat. Vertical water smokers are also cheap. Some offsets are cheap also, but many of the low end vertical water smokers are under $60.

After reading many reviews, I decided to get a Brinkmann Gourmet Charcoal Smoker. There is a large community of people that use this exact smoker and have shared numerous modifications they have done to improve it's performance. After reading about smoker modifications I was a bit concerned. Why would a new product need modifying? Well, I found out the answer.. If I wanted a smoker that would work amazing right out of the box, I'd have to pay $300 for a Weber Smokey Mountain. So, no.. I decided to go with something cheaper and modify it if needed, hence why these Brinkmann ones are nick named the ECB (El Cheapo Brinkmann). I'll only be using this smoker about 5 months out of the year and not even every week. For what I wanted to do, I figured $90 on amazon was good enough. For that price I also got the smoker cover, which turned out to be better material than I thought it would.

Unfortunately, amazon shipped this smoker horribly. The box looked like it was kicked a few times and I had to hug the metal of the body and the lid back into a fully circular shape. As well as bending the door into a shape that would close correctly.. I also needed to use a rubber mallet and hammer out one ding in the body. I was not please with the condition, but after full assembly the smoker looked great.

Here are some pictures of the Smoker new and in use for the first time:

I never used charcoal before so I had to buy a new charcoal chimney starter and some charcoal. I decided to get the weber chimney and go right for the royal oak lump charcoal. After reading all the safety information about charcoal lighter fluid and how you need to let the charcoal burn out for at least 20 minutes, etc. I had no interest in using it.. thats why I got the chimney starter. Along with some newspaper I'm able to get any charcoal started burning safely. That and I have a friend that uses the same style of chimney to start his charcoal grill. Very simple to use.

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The bottom of the smoker is a charcoal pan with air vents on the bottom. Charcoal is controlled completely by air flow. I added a grate at the bottom because I read that burned charcoal ash will build up and block the air flow which would smother the remaining coals.

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Now that the coals are ready, I put the body of the smoker on top of the pan, then add water to the water pan, put on the grates and add the food. Put the lid on and its done.

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As you can see, this style of smoker is noticeably smaller than an offset charcoal smoker that can usually be about the size of a normal grill.

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For my first use, I went big. I put a pork shoulder on the bottom grate and a rack of ribs on the top. I figured I'd get a good feel for the smoker with two different things cooking at once.

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I also put a couple aluminum foil packets of soaked hickory and apple wood chips onto the charcoal.. Here is where the smoke starts rolling pretty good:

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About 4+ hours later here are the results:

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The end results were not what I was expecting. Because this smoker has no airflow controls, I could not regulate the temperature. Also the thermometer is horrible. It doesn't even have temperatures.. only "warm, ideal and hot". The ribs turned out ok, but overly smoked. The smoke flavor was so pronounced that I couldn't eat the smaller ribs. And the pork shoulder was not even cooked all the way through. I ended up finishing the pork shoulder on my propane grill because I already used 2 chimneys full of charcoal and I didn't feel like setting another to burn. The pork shoulder was not cooked correctly but the smoke flavor was good for it. Because it was thicker, the smoke didn't permeate as much into the meat.

I'd say this smoker was a failure. But I didn't give up. I decided to make a few modifications, which I'll go over in another blog post. I can say that I would not recommend using this smoker without modifying it. Or if you do use this smoker without modifications do not use lump charcoal. It burns far hotter and faster than kingsford briquettes and with no airflow controls, the lump burned incredibly fast. Also, use almost boiling water in your water pan, and only fill it half way. The water I used was hot from the tap and because of the volume of water the pan holds, most of the heat that would have cooked the pork shoulder was absorbed by the water that was sitting directly under it.

And for anyone wondering, was the smoker worth it? The answer is yes. Once I had the proper modifications done, I have been making some of the best barbeque I've ever eaten. Definitely worth it. It was quite a learning experience too. Practice makes perfect.

Sledgstone

http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/showthread.php?363883-Internet-Brands-claims-against-Xenforo

http://xenforo.com/community/threads/internet-brands-claims-against-xenforo.4727/

Internet Brands, the parent company of vBulletin has filed a lawsuit against Xenforo because XF is developed by former vBulletin head developers and are directly competing with their product. Apparently there maybe contractual breaches from the developers former employment with IB. Of course, customers of vBulletin that were pissed off at vB/IB before are even more pissed off because of this lawsuit. The discussions in the private customer forum at vbulletin.com are only available to licensed owners so its pointless to post a link to it, but there are alot of aggravated customers complaining. Who will win the lawsuit? What software platform will become king in the future? And what about Invisionboard who is lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce on the weakened victor? The forum drama continues... :P

Sledgstone

Invision Power 4.0

Invision Power Services has launched their test site for their new 4.0 software that we'll be upgrading to sometime after they release it and a new skin is available (most likely the same skin / theme we are using now). Its interesting as I didn't know what exactly to expect. I knew they were recoding the entire platform so all their products can be used separately, but I was kind of expecting some new eye popping layout or something. When compared to their current forum, it actually looks very similar:

Current forum running IPB 3:

http://community.invisionpower.com/

Test forum running IPB 4:

http://zend.ipsdevserver.com/ips4/

Once a good skin is installed, I'm sure it'll look fine, just like how AC currently looks very different from the regular IPB3 skin.

It does look like some nice features have been added and the software works much better on mobile devices now, including mobile image uploads. According to their admins, they have spent a long time making the new core software to give them a solid platform to add many new features and functionality to for years to come. I look forward to seeing what this software is actually capable of. I've been holding off on doing any major renovations to this site because I've been waiting for this new version. As of this post, they have still not revealed the new content management system (CMS aka IP.Content), and that is the primary piece that I'm most interested in and how the new version of it will affect the way articles are handled on AC.

Sledgstone

I haven't liked vBulletin for some time now and mostly put that forum software behind me except for the occasional jab about how bad their software is. I came across this interesting update from PC Gamer the other day... with a part that I emphasized:

http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/07/26/why-forums-and-comments-are-still-offline/

Quote

Why forums and comments are still offline

You may have noticed that the forums and comments have been switched off for the past few days. On Friday 19th July one of our trusted moderators reported suspicious activity within the forums. They had discovered what appeared to be a script hidden in a forum announcement post. The script had been designed to steal users’ details (including password and date of birth) when clicked.

As a precaution our IT security team took immediate steps to close the forum to block the attack and fully investigate the extent of the intrusion. At this point we became aware that a small group of admins and moderators had their accounts compromised, the first of which had been used to post the malicious script.

It’s important to note that at this point our IT security team’s investigation has revealed that no other user data has been compromised, but it’s taken a few days to precisely pinpoint the problem so we can start plugging it and get everything back up and running. Apologies for the down-time; we’re being super-careful to ensure that the issue’s totally squashed before bringing things back online. All other site functionality that required user login will also remain inaccessible for the time being including new sign-ups to Gamer Rank.

There’s good news for fans of heated debate and occasional cat jokes, though. An interim solution will go live shortly that’ll bring back comments on article posts, so discussion can return to PCGamer.com. Praise the sun. It’s been spookily quiet around here.

The forum will take a little longer to return – especially as we will be reviewing our choice of forum software – but rest assured, we have our finest site surgeons on the case. We’ll let you know as soon as everything’s clear. Thanks again for your patience. We hope to get everything ship-shape as soon as possible so that normal service can resume.

For the official corporate line read below:

On Friday July 19th we were alerted to suspicious activity on PC Gamer forums by one of our moderators. This involved the posting of a malicious script into a forum post which, if clicked, could have stolen a user’s username, password and date of birth.

We took immediate action by closing down the PC Gamer forums and disabling user login. As a preventive measure we also closed all other forums within the Future network which use the same forum software, vBulletin.

Subsequent investigations into the extent of the intrusion on PCGamer have revealed the following:

- A small number of admin and moderator level passwords have been compromised. These were immediately dealt with on Friday July 19th.

- There is no indication in our logs which suggest any other user’s data has been compromised.

In light of this we are now investigating whether any of our other forums have been compromised using a similar exploit although we must stress at this point there is nothing to suggest any of other forums beyond PCGamer were targeted.

We will also be using this investigation period to review our choice of forum software to ensure chances of future attacks are as low as is possible.

Please visit the host site of your forum for any further information on the resuming of forum service.

We apologise sincerely for any inconvenience this outage is causing.

http://mos.futurenet.com/forum/

Quote

Important security update about Future forums

PC Gamer

Last week on the 19th July 2013 we discovered that PC Gamer's vBulletin-powered forum had been the target of a malicious attack. Immediate action was taken to shut the forum which blocked the attack and we have since been thoroughly investigating the damage done and how this attack took place.

We have no evidence that any of the PC Gamer's users' details were stolen. However we feel it is safest to keep the forum closed until we are satisfied that the security vulnerability in the software is fixed. Information on the progress of this will be communicated via the PCGamer site.

Other Future Forums

If you are seeing this message it is because this vBulletin forum has been closed as a precautionary measure. We have no evidence this forum has been compromised, however we are investigating each forum in our network individually to be sure this is the case.

The website teams will be in touch with more information on the progress of this as soon as it becomes available.

We are truly sorry for any inconvenience caused, we take our user's security very seriously and we appreciate your patience.

I don't visit PC Gamer's website, so I'm not certain what version of vB they were using, but this is pretty huge. The took all of their entire network's vBulletin powered forums offline because it was exploited.

Well PC Gamer, I suggest you switch to Invision Power.

vBulletin has really gone downhill and I'm glad we stopped using their software when we did.

Sledgstone

I received this email today:

Quote

This is an important message about your account.

We take your security and privacy very seriously. Very recently, our security team discovered sophisticated attacks on our network, involving the illegal access of forum user information, possibly including your password. Our investigation currently indicates that the attackers accessed customer IDs and encrypted passwords on our systems. We have taken the precaution of resetting your account password. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused but felt that it was necessary to help protect you and your account.

To regain access to your account:

  1. Visit the vBulletin forums at http://www.vbulletin.com/settings/account
  2. Enter in your existing password followed by your new password, twice for confirmation.
  3. Save this page at the bottom.

Please choose a new password and do not use the same password you used with us previously. We also highly recommend that you chose a password that you are not using on any other sites.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our support team at http://www.vbulletin.com/go/techsupport or support@vbulletin.com.

Sincerely,

Wayne Luke,

vBulletin Lead Technical Support.

Helping You Build Better Communities,

After logging into vbulletin's site, I changed my password and checked out the client forums. vBulletin's software was compromised, again.

Earlier this year, PCGamers forum was hacked and then earlier in July, Ubuntu forums was hacked. And just the other day vbulletin.com, vbulletin.org and MacRumors were all hacked. All of the sites were running vbulletin software.

References:

http://blog.canonical.com/2013/07/30/ubuntu-forums-are-back-up-and-a-post-mortem/

http://www.macrumors.com/2013/11/12/macrumors-forums-security-leak/

https://www.facebook.com/inj3ct0rs/posts/611793255548704

http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/forum/vbulletin-announcements/vbulletin-announcements_aa/4007195-important-message-regarding-your-account

http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?t=304626

I'm glad we stopped using this software when we did. vbulletin.org runs vb 3 which is what we were running in the end before switching to Invision Power Board. If vb3 is now vulnerable, then all the numerous sites still using it are at risk. Anyone that has used the same password on all sites, should not use any password they have previously used on any vBulletin site.

The Ubuntu and MacRumors sites were hacked because a moderator account was broken into. The vBulletin.com and vBulletin.org sites have not stated how they were hacked into, nor do they have a fix for this exploit because it is "being looked into."

Sledgstone

A while ago, I had some serious engine rocking problems and misfires happening with my car. The end result was a $700 repair bill at a local mechanic. Part of the repair work about $150 of it, was for replacing the valve cover gasket. Well, a few months after it was done, it started leaking oil and over the past 6 months it started leaking really bad, causing oil to leak down onto the exhaust manifold and cause grey smoke to come out from under the hood on a daily basis. Seeing as the valve cover already had a new gasket and still leaked, I figure the valve cover itself needs to be replaced as it has become warped with heat and/or damaged somehow.

I went to the local pick n pull and found the only saturn that had the same valve cover as mine. I lucked out pretty good. I have pictures of the valve cover before and after cleaning and what the factory gasket (black gasket) looks like. Maybe I'll post those pictures in another blog entry. But why did I buy the valve cover at the scrap yard? Because it only costed $11 compared to the close to $400 the dealership wants.

This tutorial isn't completely in-depth on how to change a valve cover gasket but it does cover all the steps. All I can say is that for a saturn, it is easier to change your valve cover than to change your front brake calipers and bleed the brake lines.

1) First off, drive the car up onto car ramps (not those shitty plastic ones, unless you want a car to fall on your head), put an oil drain pan under the oil pan, drain the oil by removing the oil pan plug, then remove the oil filter and also let that drain. Then screw back on your oil pan plug and put on a new oil filter. I have no pictures of doing all that. X'D

2) Disconnect your battery at the negative terminal. Now you'll want to mark the number order of your spark plug boots with duct tape and pull them out and set them to the side. Then disconnect the hose and unplug the pcv valve from the valve cover.

saturn_valve_cover_job_01.jpg

3) Now you'll remove the bolts holding the valve cover on. I would take them off in the order as specified in the haynes/repair manual. Then take the valve cover off, be careful, its an oily mess. The old gasket should come off rather easy, but you might have scrape the gasket off the manifold or valve cover, if any rtv was used. This is a picture of the old valve cover and gasket (the gasket is blue).

saturn_valve_cover_job_02.jpg

4) Here is a picture of the engine head after I cleaned it. You have to have a clean oil free surface for your gasket or else it will leak. I used Brakekleen and a rag.

saturn_valve_cover_job_03.jpg

5) Here is another angle. I'm posting these next couple pictures because I didn't know where I was supposed to apply the rtv when replacing the gasket. All over the internet, people would say "where the timing chain cover meets the head." or "on the timing chain T-joints."

saturn_valve_cover_job_04.jpg

6) Which are right here. I felt stupid. I've never messed with engines before and I didn't realize that the timing chain had its own cover that covered a large chunk of the engine on the passenger side.

saturn_valve_cover_job_05.jpg

7) Here is another angle. If you can make it out from my blurry picture, there is a slight recess in this joint. That is what you want to definitely be filled in with rtv. When I applied rtv, I smeared it on with my thumb and made sure air didn't get trapped in it. Now remember, do not apply rtv until you are ready to put the valve cover on and tighten all the bolts! rtv sets very fast and you don't want to have it harden up before you put everything back together.

saturn_valve_cover_job_06.jpg

saturn_valve_cover_job_07.jpg

8) This is the new slightly used valve cover from the scrap yard. I cleaned it quite a bit with engine degreaser and then with brakekleen the day before and then let it thoroughly dry. The gasket easily fits snug into the valve cover's grooves.

saturn_valve_cover_job_08.jpg

9) These are the locations where I put a small amount of rtv to make sure I got a good seal. I also applied rtv to the engine head at the same spots so the rtv will grab itself when I put the valve cover on.

saturn_valve_cover_job_09.jpg

10) And here is a picture of the valve cover bolts with their little gaskets on them. Remember to keep all the gaskets oil free!

saturn_valve_cover_job_10.jpg

11) Now apply your rtv on those spots I pointed out, (I used the blue rtv), and then very carefully place the valve cover back on, without smudging your rtv! and then put the bolts back on by hand at first and then follow the tightening sequence as shown in your repair manual.

saturn_valve_cover_job_11.jpg

12) Here is another angle of what it will look like properly tightened. My old valve cover was flush with the head which shows how warped it must have been, considering this one is a more uniformly even spacing all around.

saturn_valve_cover_job_12.jpg

13) Now put those boots back on your spark plugs and reconnect the hose, pcv valve and then your negative battery connection.

saturn_valve_cover_job_13.jpg

saturn_valve_cover_job_14.jpg

14) Then let your car sit for 24 hours so your rtv will fully cure. Once thats done, put in 4 quarts of oil and test the car for leaks.

I just did this job yesterday and put oil in around 6 tonight. It looks like everything is holding up well. But I'm still keeping my eyes open for leaks. Hopefully I won't come across another problem related to this. x_x

Sledgstone

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57526994-94/android-users-outraged-over-motorolas-broken-promise/

Quote

Doran Else bought his Photon 4G last October, lured by the fast dual-core processor and by the close relationship between Motorola and its new owner, Google. Motorola had recently joined the Android Upgrade Alliance, promising to release operating system updates to all its phones for 18 months following their release.

But for Else and thousands of others, those operating system updates turned out to be a mirage. Last Friday, buried in a Motorola forum, the company quietly abandoned its update pledge, killing off plans to ever update the Photon 4G. The Electrify, a re-branded Photon available on the US Cellular network, and the Atrix 4G, a flagship phone that debuted on AT&T in the United States, got the axe as well.

"Just seems they were happy to join the alliance when it helped them sell handsets," Else said in an e-mail. "Now that it's time to do the work, they're all dropping devices. This latest announcement from Moto is just ridiculous."

The result is that Else and thousands of people in the middle of two-year carrier contracts will have to use Android 2.3, known as Gingerbread, for the foreseeable future. Motorola had promised owners of the Photon, Electrify, and Atrix an upgrade to to Android 4.0, known as Ice Cream Sandwich, which would bring a host of new features and security updates. Instead they are stuck on Gingerbread, an operating system that was already a year old when Else bought his phone.

There was no word on why the company had twice said upgrades were coming -- first in the third quarter of this year, then the fourth quarter -- or why it had bothered joining the Android Upgrade Alliance, if it couldn't meet its requirements.

Next phone I buy will be an HTC or a Samsung. I will never buy a Motorola phone again. I specifically bought this phone because it was on sale, it had basically the same specs as the samsung galaxy at the time and it was guaranteed to be upgraded to the latest android operating system.

I never got that upgraded operating system. Android 2.3 is so outdated, that numerous apps are not even available for it. I cannot even run Google Chrome.. wtf. No Vine, no Time Warner app, etc. Numerous basic features on all phones are not available to me because I bought this phone with the belief that I'd only use the old operating system for another month or so. I remember when my brother's Nexus got upgraded to android 4.1, he was talking about how it was like a brand new phone again.. I was looking forward to this upgrade for so long.. and then my hopes were crushed.

Say no to Motorola. Don't even bother buying their crap, because its completely unsupported.

Sledgstone

vBulletin has updated their vBulletin 5 Connect demo.. Heres a prime example of the horrible crap of vbulletin's sofware and one of the obvious reasons we stopped using their product.

vBulletin custom page example:

http://www.vbulletin.com/vb5demo/custom_page

Yay, I could have put text on a page.

Here is an example of a random test page that I made on ipb:

http://www.ancientclan.com/test.html

I have the ability to put anything from the database onto any page I want and in whatever format I want it to appear in. Huge difference. Sure vb allows custom blocks and html, but if it was anything as advanced as IPB, you would think they would have made a better example.

Sledgstone

So I noticed my muffler was sounding louder than usual and I knew there was a small hole right on the end of it. So I bought a tube of muffler/exhaust patch goop and took pictures of my patch job. Make sure your car has been off for quite a while before doing this yourself. Your exhaust pipe and muffler should be cold when using this stuff because heat will only harden the goop too fast and you risk burning yourself. So yeah, to do this job yourself, all you need is the following:

1 tube of Exhaust system joint & crack sealer

(purchased at NAPA for $2.95 or so)

1 throwaway latex glove

(purchased at NAPA or walmart, an entire package for a few dollars, usually near the toilet scrubbers at walmart or auto chemical section)

1 can of brakekleen or any brand of spray on brake parts cleaner (all you need is a couple sprays out of it for this). ($3)

Here is the hole in my muffler.

muffler01.jpg

Here is a pic of the Exhaust system joint & crack sealer that I used. Autozone or Advance Auto Parts probably have the same brand or something similar.

muffler02.jpg

Here is the hole in my muffler after I sprayed it with some brakekleen to get the harmful chemicals off it. Then I let it air dry and then sandpapered it lightly to remove excessive rust or grime. Then I sprayed it again with more brakleen and let it dry once again so the goop will stick good.

muffler03.jpg

And just as I was about to put the goop on, I noticed this hole, and yes those are metal coat hangers holding up my muffler, the strap rusted away about six months ago.

muffler04.jpg

LMAO, holy shit! No wonder it got so loud! X'D

muffler05.jpg

So I put on the throwaway blue rubber glove and smeared some sealer onto the hole.

muffler06.jpg

I also cleaned, sanded (And wow, after rubbing it lightly with the sandpaper it became an even bigger hole) and then cleaned the huge hole and smeared almost the entire tube all over the hole. Since the sealer goop starts stiffening rather quickly, it was easy to just keep applying blobs to the edges of the hole, let it harden slightly and then just keep building on that edge until it covered the entire hole.

muffler07.jpg

Because it kept wanting to cling to my finger and reopen the hole when I touched it, I had to let it dry for an hour and apply another layer over top of it to finish the patch.

muffler08.jpg

I then let it sit over night and it was noticeably quieter the next day. Not normal of course. If all I had was just that little hole, once it was patched, you would think the muffler was new. But that huge gaping hole affects the noise the muffler makes now. I'll have to get a new muffler soon, but at least until I do it doesn't sound like I'm driving some old diesel truck down the road. X'D

Btw, if you have a small hole like the one on the end of my muffler on any part of your exhaust pipe, do this quick easy fix yourself and it'll cut back on alot of noise.

Sledgstone

I was looking through my old blog posts and I see this:

http://www.ancientclan.com/blog/1/entry-33-worst-case-scenario-for-us-by-end-of-2008/

I was watching way too much MSNBC in 2008. Back in the day I used to watch Fox News. I thought Bill O'Reilly was great with how he interviewed politicians. The no spin zone was a concept that I liked. My dad would listen to Rush Limbaugh and I'd hear many of his broadcasts. Years later I moved to NY. Democrats are more popular in this state. I ended up eventually watching some MSNBC instead of Fox News or CNN. After a few years and a presidential election I realized that all media is biased. Looking back on my days of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh I used to vote party line all republican. I didn't even know who any one was.. just the fact that it was republican was good enough for me. When I finally started voting in NY I eventually voted the same way. Party line democrat.

Looking back on it all, I was controlled. Based upon the biased news I'd hear, I was manipulated into thinking a certain way without being out right told to do so.

I no longer watch these channels when I can avoid them. Instead I'll look at twitter, see some headlines, then google search those words and read the news from a couple of random sources. I get a much better view on whats real this way. And if I see an article that is highly motivated towards a specific party then I disregard that website or channel and try to avoid them.

I was easily manipulated for years by a one sided argument against the other political party. They are like religious leaders. Preaching their story and telling you how to think and behave but never telling you about the good things the other party actually does. Like religion, everyone is expected to pick a side and all other views and opinions are blasphemous and should not be considered or even listened to. I believe, because of my religious christian upbringing, I was, in essence pre-programmed as a child to accept things that are presented to me and keep coming back for me of the same speech. As well as stay true to the person or in this case, channel, giving me my information.

I can honestly say that most of the reliable news I get comes from NPR. I can fact check a variety of stories or search for different views on some subjects they cover and they are not biased or necessarily pro government. Any other website or news source that says other wise is the equivalent of a pastor reprimanding you for looking into or asking about another religion. If you don't get your news fix from only them, then NPR and all other news is corrupt. What a load of shit.

What also kills me is the ridiculous unchecked comments. Everyone has comments, but no moderators. I've seen sites where pro democrats say they'll move to canada if a republican is ever elected president again. I've seen fear mongering from democrats basically stating that many right wing nuts are about to push the boundaries for starting a civil war.

I've also seen comments from pro republican sites where people talk about the day the south will eventually rise again and reclaim america, "but not in a racially motivated slave way".. I've also seen where people want to force god back into the country but refuse to admit that the founding fathers were secualrists.

All of it is dumbfounding. US citizens are basically sheep following a flock. I'm just glad the flat earth society was never main stream. Imagine if I fell into that way of thinking.. lol. People alive today still believe the earth is flat. wtf.

Sledgstone

I've been having some problems with vibration, noise and pulsating brakes with my blazer for a while. Since I replaced the front brakes, the problem hasn't improved much. Its mostly because the back e-brakes need to be grinded down more and the brake lines need to be bled. Hopefully once I finish those things, my brake problems will be over with. If not, it'll be time to take it into a shop. x_x

Anyway, I did some more front brake work on the blazer last week. I cleaned off the rest of the leftover grease from the calipers, sprayed disc quiet on the brake pads to stop the annoying squeaking noise (which it did take care of) and I cleaned and liberally re-greased the caliper pins and rubber boots they fit into.

Disc quiet works by acting as a sticky adhesive on the back plate of the brake pad. It causes the brake pads to stick to the caliper so that when the brake pressure is released, the caliper pulls the brake pads away from the rotor and holds them in place so they don't bang around or continue to slightly rub against the rotor while you are driving.

Heres a pic of the sprayed on disc brake quiet on the brake pads. Always remember to spray brakleen on the sides of the pads or the metal nub ends if you spray them by accident.

brakepads1.jpg

The brake pads put back on, with grease applied to the connecting points.

brakepads2.jpg

This is the caliper bolt pin I mentioned in my other blog post for the front brake job. I wiped it down and mostly cleaned it up.

brakecaliperpins1.jpg

Here it is greased up and ready to go back into the caliper/brake pad mounting piece.

brakecaliperpins2.jpg

And if anyone is interested, here is a pic of the hand goop that I use to clean the grease, dirt, oil and grime off my hands. This crap works amazingly well.

handgoop.jpg

Sledgstone

Doctor Who has always been one of my favorite shows, but this last series with Peter Capaldi has hit a new low for me. I loved Matt Smith and David Tennant as their own respective doctors, but Peter Capaldi's doctor is so bland. He might be a better doctor if the show actually had decent writers though. In all of time and space to travel to, the doctor has spent about 90% of that season in the school where Clara works.. Surrounded by children, Peter Capaldi's age is even more pronounced and he is often seen as an old cranky man that only listens to his grand daughter's (Clara's) opinion. After talking with my parents, they seem to enjoy him as the doctor, and if anything, that was the goal of this last season.. to appeal to the older, original audience base of the show. But in the long term that won't work out good for the show seeing as the older audience base eventually lost interest and it lead to the inevitable cancellation of the show.

Also.. Clara.. so much focus on Clara. They should have made the doctor a woman for this series considering how much they have focused on her over the actual doctor. I knew the show was going downhill when, in one scene on the moon, the doctor jumped into a cavern to investigate some giant bacteria.. and just when I thought the episode was going to get interesting, the camera doesn't follow the doctor, instead it goes right back to Clara again.. who is just walking somewhere. Who cares what the doctor is doing.. they should just rename the show "Clara Who?". I was hoping they'd kill off her character so the show could focus on the Doctor again.. but that doesn't seem likely any time soon. Maybe the show will get better, but unless they actually explore space and time again, I'm going to eventually lose all interest.

Sledgstone

If anyone can remember the old bulletin board software wars from years ago, you would remember an old major player called ikonboard. This software was a phpBB, UBB and vBulletin rival back in the day. But after they got purchased by a bigger company they lost alot of their users when the old developers of ikonboard broke away and created invision power board. Shortly after ikonboard became pretty obsolete.

Now the same thing is happening with vBulletin. vBulletin was purchased by Internet Brands and became more commercial and money hungry. The main developers of vB left the company and just recently announced that they are making a new forum software called xenforo. Which can be found at http://xenforo.com/

Could this possibly be history repeating itself? Will xenforo replace vbulletin in the near future just like invision power board replaced ikonboard? Only time will tell.

Sledgstone

Instructions to make:

Sledge's Sweet and Spicy Rib Rub

This dry rub can be used on pork or beef ribs, chicken, chicken wings, beef, pork, steaks, etc!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (firmly packed in measuring cup)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup + a little over.. half seasoned salt, half bucks seasoning
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions:

1) Mix all the ingredients together. If you don't have a food processor to mix it with, then use your hands and really work the mix in a larger bowl to break apart the brown sugar so everything is equally mixed in.

sledgeribrubmix01.jpg

sledgeribrubmix02.jpg

sledgeribrubmix03.jpg

sledgeribrubmix04.jpg

2) This recipe will yield a good sized batch of rub that should last you all summer! Just remember to separate the amount of rub you plan on using ahead of working with raw meats or other foods so you don't cross-contaminate your main batch! So when you are ready to start cooking, set a small bowl of your rub aside and store the rest of your rub in an airtight container. Or do what I do and put your rub mix in a freezer bag and store it out of the way on a refrigerator door shelf. It does not need to be refrigerated, but it will stay fresh longer in the fridge! But keep in mind, regardless of how you store the rub mix, the brown sugar in this rub will cause the rub mix to re-clump after it has sat for a few days/weeks. This is normal, just simply break the clumps apart and its ready to be used again!

sledgeribrubmix05.jpg

Sledgstone

The improvements they are making to IPB look really great. Some of the highlights for me:

http://community.invisionpower.com/blog/1174/entry-9537-ips-40-editor-part-1-content/

Quote

Currently URLs which gets picked up for media embedding and the output they produce are managed in the Admin CP. The idea was that this would allow admins to add support for additional services, however, it has caused some problems when for example, YouTube has added new URL formats or changed their embed code and they don't work on most communities until we release an update to change the default record for YouTube.

oEmbed is an API which allows you to make a call to the provider giving them the URL and they respond with the best embed code to use, if that URL can be embedded. In 4.0, if a URL for YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo, College Humor or Hulu is inserted, we make a call to their oEmbed provider to obtain the embed code, so it's always up to date.

Embeds will always work. Now that is a huge difference.

http://community.invisionpower.com/blog/1174/entry-9538-ips-40-editor-part-2-uploads/

Quote

The upload panel here is based on HTML5 which supports drag and drop uploading, if your browser doesn't support this, it will use Flash, Silverlight or Google Gears if you have any of those installed, and if not it will fallback to a HTML4 & JavaScript implementation (none of these support drag and drop, but instead you click the "Choose Files" button just as you do now - the label in the box will change to reflect this).

Drag and drop images right into the editor. I've been waiting for this feature. No more having to click attach and then navigate to the right folder where your image is.. just drag it right into the editor. :tup:

http://community.invisionpower.com/blog/1174/entry-9539-ips-40-editor-part-3-customisation-and-bbcode/

Quote

BBCode

Though no features in IPS4 insert BBCode-style tags into the editor (like is currently done for attachments, etc.) users can still type BBCode into the editor and it will work fine.

We've rewritten how BBCode is parsed to be much more secure and reliable and produce more standards-compliant HTML (for those who are interested, it parses the post content into a DOM Document and examines only the text nodes for BBCode tags, then either splits the nodes surrounding it and inserts one for block-level elements, or wraps all subsequent text nodes in the appropriate formatting element until the end BBCode is found).

The benefit to this is that there now no longer needs to be a "BBCode mode" - you can type BBCode straight into the editor, even complicated stuff like lists spanning multiple lines, and it comes out looking great.

The downside to this approach is that custom BBCodes can no longer be added through the Admin CP. However, as mentioned above, we now have the ability to add custom buttons to the editor which work in a much more intuitive way, and can do everything that custom BBCodes could and more. For those who really want to be able to add the ability for custom BBCode, we've isolated the method that returns the supported BBCode (and information needed to parse them) into a specific method so that custom BBCode can be added with a very simple hook specific to that purpose.

This is a big change and I hope they pull it off correctly. All our custom bbcodes will be negated. But the only custom bbcode we actually use is the spoiler tag, which will now be a default feature. All other custom bbcodes will now have to be created as CKEditor plugins.. but there are already a lot of ckeditor plugins available. So I could technically add a variety of new editor features.

http://community.invisionpower.com/topic/388306-ips-40-editor-part-4-special-features/

Quote

@mentions

@mentions are a common feature on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. If you type an @ symbol and then start typing the name of a friend, an autocomplete menu shows so you can quickly then click on the user and they'll receive a notification that they've been mentioned. In 4.0 you can do exactly this to mention any user.

Very very nice. I like this.

Quote

Automatic Saving

Currently, when you're typing a post, every 2 minutes the content of the post is saved, so that if you accidentally navigate away from the page, your post content can be recovered. The content is saved by making an AJAX request.

In 4.0, we've rewritten this to use HTML5 web storage. This unloads this work to the browser, meaning no call needs to be made to the server. Because this is much more efficient, the save can be done much more frequently (every few seconds). This makes the autosave feature much more useful.

In addition, we've expanded the feature to support attachments. So if you've uploaded files, these too will be automatically recovered. Essentially if you're in the middle of typing a post and you refresh the page, everything will reappear exactly as you left it.

Good! No more having to click the load saved content option. Simplifying this will make the auto save much better.

Oh! and the editor will now be fully skin-able! The editor won't have to be glaring white on a dark theme anymore.

Also, the current skins that we use are going to be upgraded for IPB 4.0. We won't have to change the entire look of the site. :D

Sledgstone

I've been playing Prince of Persia since way back in the Broderbund days. And just as those classic games broke the barriers of cutting edge gaming back then, the new Prince of Persia does the same. Throwing aside the old side scrolling action and breaking new ground with such entirely unique gameplay, the Prince of Persia series is redifined with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

The game is played in 3rd person perspective with camera controls so excellent, you will never miss out on any of the action. If you were to watch someone playing this, you would think the controls would be intimidating. But in fact, the controls are simple to learn thanks to the basic tutorial that assists you through the beginning scenes.

The plot is great because of its simplicity.

To quote a description from the publisher:

Quote

Ubi Soft's Prince of Persia website:

A Prince's quest for redemption.

In medieval Persia, Earth's mightiest and most mysterious kingdom, a king and his son defeat the powerful Maharajah, looting his palace of priceless treasure, including an extravagant hourglass and a mysterious dagger. What the Prince does not realize is that these two objects can turn their possessor into an immortal god, and give him control over time itself. Tricked by a dying Vizier bent on harnessing this terrible magic for himself, the Prince releases the Sands of Time, destroying a kingdom and turning its populace into ferocious demons.

Now, it is up to the young Prince of Persia to call upon every resource and ounce of courage he possesses to save his kingdom and redeem his fatal mistake.

Basically, everyone is turned into a sand demon, but as you play, you soon realize there are 2 others not affected by the Sands.. a young woman of the Maharajah kingdom named Farah and the evil Vizier. They both possess objects that protect them from the affects of the Sand, such as the Dagger has kept the Prince safe.

After the Sands of Time are released, you quickly discover that the only way to destroy the sand demons is to absorb their sand into the Dagger of Time. The Dagger also has other abilities, such as if you were to die abruptly by a missed jump, the Dagger can rewind time at your discretion so you can make another attempt.

The Dagger can do this as long as it has sand reserves. To refill the Dagger, simply kill another sand demon and absorb its sand. As you progress through the game, the Dagger will become stronger with every kill enabling you to do other feats than just rewinding time.

The game is tied together with action and puzzle solving. For example: Kill all the enemies in the room, then get from point A to point B to progress to the next area. And this is were the Prince's abilities really shine. By doing combinations of wall running, jumping, swinging, climbing, pulling switches, hitting levers and wall jumping.. this game is sure to keep you entertained.

With no major stage boundaries or level completion notices, Prince of Persia is a constant, fluid, adrenaline rush adventure.

Quote
  • Graphics: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Control: 10
  • Camera: 8
  • Plot: 9
  • Gameplay: 10
  • Overall: 10
  • Platform: PlayStation 2
  • Genre: Action Adventure
  • Publisher: UBI SOFT
  • Developer: UBI SOFT
  • Released: 11/06/2003
Sledgstone

This is a brief walk through of how to do a front brake job on a 2001 Blazer. If you are using this as a reference to do your own brake job, please keep in mind that all cars are different and not everything will look the same or be the same socket or wrench sizes. Also, if you have never done a brake job before, I highly recommend you have someone help you who has done them before so you don't mess something up. If you mess up your brakes, your brakes could fail and you could die or kill others accidentally.

Anyway, with that little disclaimer out the way, get everything you'll need together.

Unlike some of my other blog entries, the following pictures precede the instructions that go with that picture. I'm sure you'll figure it out.

blazer_brakejob_01.jpg

Everything from left to right:

1) Impact driver that plugs into cigarette lighter.

2) Wheel chocks

3) Tools on the bottom include and pry bar, 1/2 socket wrench, brake caliper clamp (I can't remember the actual name of it), rubber mallet.

4) A can of Brakleen and a bottle of brake/caliper greese.

5) Mechanics tool set.

6) Paper towels.

7) 2-1/2 ton Jack stand

8) 2 new rotors and ceramic brake pads. Ceramics are better and don't have nearly as much brake dust, which means they keep your tires looking much cleaner and free of alot of grime.

Tools and items not shown include my 3-ton floor jack, a bottle of "freeze off" for rusted bolts and an inside shot of my tool set.

blazer_brakejob_02.jpg

1) Look in your car manual and locate the correct points underneath your car where you can safely jack your car up. You do not want to jack your car on a part of the frame that you think will be ok, only to have your jack put all the weight of the front end of the car on a part of metal that can't take it and thus it'll fuck up your car. BTW, this is my 3-ton floor jack. Before you start jacking up your car, place your wheel chocks around your rear tires so your car does not move on you while jacking. (I forgot to take that pic.)

blazer_brakejob_03.jpg

2) If you are using the jack that came with your car, jack up your car high enough to place a jack stand underneath it and lower it down onto it for safety. The jacks that come with cars are pieces of shit and you should not trust them with your head or limb under a vehicle. Only jack your car up high enough for the tire to freely rotate, about a half inch off the ground. I have faith in my jack, so I generally keep it up constantly, but I'll place a jackstand underneath in case some emergency happens and my jack brakes.

blazer_brakejob_04.jpg

3) BTW, you should probably check your new rotors and brake pads at the store to make sure they are free of nicks or brakes.

blazer_brakejob_05.jpg

4) Using an impact driver, most are powered by air compressors and are very expensive but this little one was really cheap and only costed me $30. I bought a better impact driver for it tho ($10ish), because the ones it comes with looked like shit to me.

blazer_brakejob_06.jpg

blazer_brakejob_07.jpg

5) If your tire has plastic covers covering the lug nuts, take them off by using a socket on them and taking them off easily by hand. No wrench needed for that. Then use your impact driver to take the lug nuts off. Always loosen the lug nuts first before removing them. Loosen them one after another by loosing the next lug nut opposite the one you just loosened. Never loosen them clockwise or counterclock wise. The lug nuts are on extremely tight, if you take them off one by one or loosen them incorrectly you run a big chance of fucking up your lug nuts and breaking some bolts.

blazer_brakejob_08.jpg

6) Now that the tire is off, you can place it on the ground and use it as a seat to take care of the rest of the job.

blazer_brakejob_09.jpg

7) Your caliper is the outer part of the brake system. It is connected to the car with a brake line. The caliper is only held on two bolt pins. I call them bolt pins because they are connected like bolts, but once you remove them, the length of the bolt is actually a greesed long metal pin. Its made like that so the bolt pin holds the caliper to the brake pad holder but also gives it the slight movement it needs for brake operation. I forgot to take a picture of the bolt pins. Also, if the bolts do not want to come off, you may have to spray them with some freeze off. If you use freeze off, try not to spray the rotor or brake pads with it. It acts like a lubricant and will cause your brakes to fail. Because I'm replacing the rotors, its not as big an issue. Also, remember which direction actually loosens and tightens the bolts. Because the bolts are facing you, you have to figure out which direction to turn them. If you over tighten them, you will probably shread the bolt head off and that will lead to a costly repair job. Once those pins are off, the caliper may not want to come off because of the brake pressure in the caliper. You will most like have to use a small pry bar to slowly work it off.

blazer_brakejob_10.jpg

8) Once you have taken the caliper off, place it on something so it does not hang from the brake line. A brake line job is extremely expensive and you do not want to damage that brake line by having something that weighs about 5-10 pounds dropping and damaging it. Next, you have to take off the brake pad holder. It has an actual name, but I can't remember it. Its only two bolts like the caliper, but these are actual bolts. And the top one of mine is in a tight spot. I had to carefully turn my steering wheel to rotate it into a position where I could get it all the way out. And even then my socket wouldn't fit on it. I had to go to the hardware store and pick up a 18mm wrench just for this job. These bolts haven't been off in a long time either, so I had to use some freeze off on them and even wack it a couple times with the rubber mallet to loosen it up.

blazer_brakejob_11.jpg

blazer_brakejob_12.jpg

9) Now that that is off, heres what everything looks like separated. You can take off the old brake pads at this point. You may have to use a rubber mallet to wack them off the brake pad holder if they are stubborn.

blazer_brakejob_13.jpg

blazer_brakejob_14.jpg

10) Here are some pics of the old rotor compared to the new one. The thickness isn't bad on the old one, but it has some bad groves in it. Rotors are supposed to be smooth. Also, if you wanted to, you could take your old rotors to a mechanic and have them machined. As long as they still have a good thickness to them, having them machined back to smoothness will make them re-useable. It generally costs about half as much as buying new rotors. It depends tho.

blazer_brakejob_15.jpg

11) Before you put your new rotor on, heavily spray that bastard down with brakleen to clean it. It may look clean, but you must make sure it is free from all oils usually leftover from manufacturing. Brakleen dissolves oil and greese away and drys very quickly.

blazer_brakejob_16.jpg

12) If your brake pads came with clips, follow the directions that came with them and apply the clips. Also, spray the side of the brake pads that will come in contact with the rotor with brakleen.

blazer_brakejob_17.jpg

13) Now prepare your caliper for the new hardware. Your caliper pistons are probably still out a bit. I like to put some caliper/brake greese on them at this point. Next put one of your old brake pads on the caliper and use the brake caliper clamp to push the caliper flush. If your car has two pistons like this one, alternate back and forth between the two until they are both flush around the same time. A C-Clamp can also be used for this if you have one. Once thats done, wipe off some of the excess greese with paper towels.

blazer_brakejob_18.jpg

14) Now reassemble the entire thing. The rotor goes right on. I recommend reattaching the brake pad holder first before putting the new brake pads on. Also, if you accidentally get any greese or grime from your hands on the rotor or the part of the brake pads that touch the rotor, respray them with brakleen. You do not want greese or oil on those parts. Also, make sure you do not get any greese or oil on the lug nut bolts. If you do, spray those with brakleen too.

blazer_brakejob_19.jpg

15) Heres a side view shot. You'll notice I put some brake greese on the two metal nubs where the brake pads are connected to the brake pad holder. The brake pads should have a little movement to them when sitting on there and the greese helps with that small amount of movement.

blazer_brakejob_20.jpg

16) Now put the caliper back on. It should fit on pretty easy now that the caliper pistons are pushed back. When putting the bolt pins back in, I would rub some brake/caliper greese on them first and slide them back into place and then tighten them on. Also, becareful not to over tighten any of the bolts. Tighten them to the point where you can't move them anymore, then give them one last strong tug to make sure they are tight. Other than that, don't over do it. Once the caliper is back on, test your brakes by having someone turn the car on and press on the brakes slowly all the way down. Then release slowly. Do that a couple times and try moving the rotor while the brake is down. If it doesn't move then you did good. Once the brakes are released, make sure the rotor moves again freely. It may be a little harder to move it now, but as long as it moves, then good. Doing this a couple times gets the calipers back into position for correct braking on the road.

blazer_brakejob_21.jpg

17) Now put your tire back on and, by hand, thread your lug nuts on and tighten them. Once they are on, bust out your impact driver and tighten them up in an opposite motion. Once they are all tight, tighten them even more. At least 5-10 clicks on your driver. Then remove your jack stand and slowly lower your jack down. Do not do it too fast. Let the weight distribute itself. Once the tire is down, remove your jack and then tighten your lug nuts again with a socket wrench to make sure they are on really friggin tight.

18) Now repeat all this on the other front wheel, because you must always do a brake and/or rotor job in pairs. Also, whenever you replace your rotors, you must replace your brake pads. Never put old brake pads on new rotors. New brake pads on old rotors are ok as long as the old rotors are smooth on both sides.

Sledgstone

vBulletin Suite vs. vBulletin - vBulletin Community Forum

Quote
Quote

Originally Posted by Ohiosweetheart

Wait, just to be clear, members will not be able to purchase the blog and project tools separately, as they have been doing?

This is correct. Blog, Project Tools and CMS will not be distributed as separate products, but will be bundled with the vBulletin Suite.

In answer to some of the questions about this...

Why will these components only be available as part of the Suite?

There are two reasons for this change. The first is that with so many separate components, keeping them synchronized was unnecessarily inefficient from a coding standpoint. There's just too much engineering overhead to maintain them all on separate development tracks. And since we want to be able to develop quickly and get releases out to you more frequently, we made the decision to keep all components in sync as part of a single code base.

The second reason is that it provides much greater opportunities for tighter integration between the products, such as the ability to convert blog posts (or forum posts) to articles, to have forum discussions attached to CMS content, etc.

The whole idea is to make vBulletin better, faster, and these changes will help us develop new features more quickly. They will also help as we dive into the deeper round of rearchitecture with 4.1 and 4.2.

Does that mean I'll be running lots of extra code?

No. vBulletin runs only the code it needs for any given page load, so if you're not using a component, its code won't run and it won't impact the performance of the application.

Can I turn off components I don't want to use?

Yep, just turn them off from the Admin CP, and they'll be disabled.

Once again vb is pissing me off. We spent the extra one time fee of $50 for the blog addon. But since they are changing their packages and price structures around, they are going to dick people over. They still have not announced their price structures or upgrade fees, but now we definitely know that upgrading to vb4 suite will cost us money.

They will no longer sell their add-on products individually anymore, which means that we'll have to upgrade to the vBulletin suite to continue getting updates for the blog add-on we already have. This is retarded. I wouldn't mind getting the vbulletin cms, I was planning on it actually. But unless it was worth another $50 (or whatever the price they're changing it to now) I wouldn't buy it. But, now we'll have to buy the suite upgrade which includes the CMS, Blog and Project Tools just to continue getting updates for the blog! WTF!? We have absolutely no need for the Project Tools add-on. If we were still a hosting company we could have used it for a support desk, but we no longer have a need for anything like that now.

So thanks alot vb. I hope to god the cost to upgrade to the suite is low because if the price is to high, I'll be willing to spend the little extra cash to switch over the IPB just to spite your fucking money hungry, non-supportive, no major scheduled updates company. And their CMS better be something fucking amazing and have a gallery built into it, because if its just a page maker or a rip-off of vb advanced (free) like the blog is a slightly better rip-off of wordpress (free), then I am going to be even more seriously pissed off.

Sledgstone

Instructions to make:

Sledge's Grilled Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

Ingredients:

- Chicken Wings

- Sledge's Sweet and Spicy Rib Rub

Stuff you will need:

- A good knife

- Aluminum foil

- Ziploc gallon storage or freezer bag

- Grill

- Tongs

Instructions:

1) Prepare your chicken wings! I consider one batch of wings to be about 2 or 2 1/2 pounds. This package is enough for two batches of wings.

chickenwings01.jpg

2) If you have never cut chicken wings before, start by grabbing the tip and stretching out the wing.. the muscle structure of the wing will stay stretched out while you hold it allowing for an easy cut.

chickenwings02.jpg

chickenwings03.jpg

3) If you do not have a sharp knife that will easily cut through bone, then grab the wing and snap the drumette away from the wingette in the opposite direction you were cutting, like in this pic.. the bone will pop out of the cartilage thus separating the two pieces.

chickenwings04.jpg

4) Now just cut the skin/meat that is still connecting the two pieces.

chickenwings05.jpg

5) Now cut the wing tip off and discard it.

chickenwings06.jpg

chickenwings07.jpg

6) Cut the rest of your batch of wings the same way and place all the pieces on a paper towel covered plate.

chickenwings08.jpg

7) Get a small bowl of Sledge's Sweet and Spicy Rib Rub ready and get a gallon size ziploc bag for shaking your wings in. Now use paper towels and dry each wing individually and place them in the ziploc bag in rows. Drying the wings can take a while, so go ahead and start your grill and get it heated up and cleaned.

chickenwings09.jpg

8) Sprinkle one side of the wings with the rub so they are coated, flip the bag over and coat the other side too.

chickenwings10.jpg

9) Close the bag with a bit of air in it, and shake that bag to make sure the wings are fully coated.

chickenwings11.jpg

10) You will want to cook your wings on the grill with indirect heat. Line up your wings on the grill on one side, then set the burners on your grill to high, except for the burner your wings are sitting on, turn that one off.

chickenwings12.jpg

chickenwings13.jpg

11) After letting them cook for about 20 minutes, you will want to flip them over and let them cook another 20 minutes.

chickenwings14.jpg

12) Use a meat thermometer if you unsure if the wings are done or not. Chicken is done at 170 degrees. Depending on your grill and the temperature it is maintaining, you may have to cook them longer or shorter. Once they are done, put them on an aluminum foil lined plate and then cover them with another layer of aluminum foil and let the wings sit for a good 5-10 minutes. This way the wings will rest and retain their moisture.

And here they are done!

chickenwings15.jpg

Additional tips:

1) You can cook them faster by cooking them over direct heat, but you will have to flip them very often and the more you flip them, more of the seasoning will be burned off onto the grill surface. That is why I cook them slower to retain the most flavor.

2) You can get the wings crispier by turning the burner underneath them on in the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. Just keep flipping them. But because this rub has sugar in it, the wings will want to burn quickly! So keep an eye on them and if they start charring up, lower the heat or take them off the grill!

Sledgstone

vBulletin went straight from beta 28 to Gold release with no release candidate versions and they even upgraded their official forums to it. WTF. There is no member list, no users online list. Notifications are horrible, its buggy as hell and looks like crap.

http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/

The only thing it has going for it IMO is that the mobile version looks decent on a cell phone screen.. but even then I came across some 503 errors and pages that failed to load. So buggy. They say "Enjoy a clean, up-to-date design that supports easier forum navigation for members and visitors alike." I don't care for their idea of 'clean, up-to-date' it doesn't look up-to-date to me at all. In fact the page navigation floats at the top of the screen in large forums with multiple pages of topics. It took me a minute to even realize it was there. For a basic default skin, this looks horrible.

It has less than half the features of vB 3.8 and searching doesn't work. All the search results are "unexpected_error"

Sledgstone

Instructions to make:

St. Louis style ribs

Ingredients:

- Package of St. Louis style ribs - 2 to 3 lbs

- 1/2 to 1 bottle of KC Masterpiece Original BBQ Sauce

- 1/2 shot of Maker's Mark whiskey

- Tablespoon of honey

Instructions:

1) Boil your ribs in water, they'll boil faster if you keep it covered. Once the water starts boiling, boil the ribs about 15 minutes to a 1/2 hour until they are mostly cooked. Or all the way cooked if you want. For these ribs, I boiled them about a 1/2 hour until their internal temperature was 175 degrees. Pork is fully cooked at 170 degrees, so these ribs were already fully cooked before I put them on the grill. (I use my little meat thermometer all the time now. :P)

ribs1.jpg

2) While the ribs are boiling, turn your grill on to start heating up and also, get your sauce ready. Usually I use just plain KC Masterpiece because when that sauce is cooked on the grill, alot of the moisture cooks out of the sauce and it thickens up perfectly for ribs. For this recipe, I used half a bottle of the sauce, squeezed in about a tablespoon of honey, and added half a shot glass of whiskey for a little kick. The alcohol will cook right out of the sauce, so it just adds flavor, like I said, a little kick.

ribs2.jpg

3) Once the ribs are finished boiling, remove them from the pot and let them cool off a little. You can refrigerate them for 15 minutes if you want, but I just let them sit out at room temperature about 5 minutes.

ribs3.jpg

4) Now that the grill is nice and hot, turn off the burner you'll be putting your ribs over (left burner is off in this pic) and keep the other burner on high. This will let the ribs cook with indirect heat. Put your ribs on the top rack of your grill, coat one side, flip it and then coat the other side. Close the lid and let the grill heat up those ribs for a good 10 minutes.

ribs4.jpg

5) Flip the ribs over and this time, heavily coat the top with sauce, let it pool up on it so it'll be really thick. Close it up and let it cook another 10 minutes. Flip the ribs again and repeat another thick layer, this time turn on the left burner on low to add more heat. Keep repeating this process one or two more times if you have enough sauce.

ribs5.jpg

6) Take the ribs off the grill, the sauce should be really thick now. Let the ribs cool down a couple minutes before you cut them.

ribs6.jpg

7) Look at those ribs. Enjoy! :drool:

ribs7.jpg

After eating these, the sauce does need a bit more sweetness to it. Add another tablespoon of honey or dissolve about a 1/4 cup of sugar into the sauce before putting them on the ribs.



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