Blog Entries posted by Sledgstone
I took this video yesterday in the late afternoon. We have a family of wrens that like our bird seed and the babies are still too young to fear humans completely. I was about a foot away when I took this video.
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.
The brake pads put back on, with grease applied to the connecting points.
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.
Here it is greased up and ready to go back into the caliper/brake pad mounting piece.
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.
Ok, This took me most of my afternoons all last week and two weekends, including this past saturday and sunday. I took some pics, but I'm not posting them in this blog entry. I just wanted to get the work done and messing with a camera took too long so I didn't get many pics at all.
Parking brake/emergency brake/e-brake update!
After grinding the brake shoes down a bit so they'll fit inside the rotors smoother, I realized the adjustment pins were rusted to all hell and wouldn't function correctly anymore. Whenever I pushed on the e-brake inside the car, the shoes would only move a centimeter. $20 at advanced auto for the parking brake hardware kit and I got everything swapped out except for the metal pivot piece. The replacement piece for that was rediculously small and would no way in hell work in my opinion. So I got the old ones cleaned up, greased everything with a lithium grease instead of caliper grease so there would be lease junk in there to mess it up, and after a long while I got it all working good again by holding everything in place while smacking the shoe into place. And after that, I put in the new retaining clip and those shoes were held in place tight and when applied, they moved a half inch. Yay. All done with that.
After fixing the e-brake, the car still pulsated when braking. Everyone says its rotors. Seeing as the back rotors looked like shit since the back plates tore one up and the caliper pins caused the pads and rotors to wear uneven, I replaced the rotors and pads. I bought the parts from Napa this time. I had to file down my brake pad holding brackets to get some rust off. I also had to lightly file down the ends (not the nubs) of the brake pads so they'd have movement once they were in the bracket. And get this, the NAPA brand rotors and pads were a higher quality than what I got at advanced auto parts or autozone and where a little over $100 cheaper! I'll only buy parts from NAPA from now on. BTW, the NAPA back rotors were different on the inside than the wagner ones I originally got from autozone. Inside the NAPA rotors, it was a smooth tapered gradient inside the hat, compared to the hard edged line of the crap rotors that kept smacking my e-brakes. I may not have had to grinded my e-brakes at all if I would have had these rotors from the beginning! Fuck you autozone! Also, after doing the backs, I bled the entire brake system.
After the back rotors and pads were done, the e-brakes fully done, brakes bled... The car still pulsated while braking, but! All the noise in the back end is now completely gone and the braking was a slightly different pulsating now.
Now that all the rotors and pads are all brand new, I noticed scuff marks on my new front rotors from the pulsating bullshit. So I figured it must be the calipers. The front wheels were a bitch to move compared to the rears with the brakes off. So I picked up the front calipers with bracket for $54 a piece at NAPA, $90 a piece if I remember right at advanced auto and autozone. Fuck both of them.
I replaced the front calipers, just like I replaced the ones in my Saturn blog. Turns out the front calipers were not fully releasing. After getting the new calipers on, the tires moved much much easier when the brake was off.
Guess what tho! The brakes still pulsated.. But once again, it was a slightly different pulsation again and this time with all the noise from all the bad braking parts gone, I was able to hear a distinctive electric motor noise kicking in with the pulsation. Turns out I have an ABS problem on top of everything. I pulled the two ABS fuses, (the ABS light comes on on the dash now). With the ABS disabled, the damn thing brakes perfectly fine now. YATTA!
I've let the blazer sit the past couple days so I can check the brake fluid level to make sure theres absolutely no leaking going on at all. Other than that, I'll give it another test run this weekend to some local stores to see if all my vibration problems were fixed too. If not, then theres something else going on with that, but I'll get to that some other time if its a persistent problem.
As far as I can tell, the ABS problem is probably one, if not both of the front ABS sensors. Each costing about $70 piece. As far as I'm concerned it can wait until we're closer to winter because I don't want to fuck with this truck anymore.
One of the people at vBulletin posted a blog entry showing what we should expect the new default vb style to look like. Seeing as me n lady like to make new styles based off the vbulletin default one, it should change the overall look of the forums. Click this link for some pics of what it'll look like:
Instructions to make:
Serving size: 12+
- 1 package of Lasagna noodles
- 2 1/2 pounds of hamburger meat (browned)
- 2 cans of pasta sauce
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 1 jar of parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of mozzarella cheese
1) Gather your ingredients.
2) Brown your hamburger meat and strain it. I like to break the meat up pretty fine while it is browning. I don't like meat chunks too big in a lasagna.
3) Start boiling your lasanga noodles as per the instructions on the package.
4) Use a mixing bowl and combine the browned meat, 2 eggs, 1/4 to 1/2 of your parmesan cheese, and diced tomatoes (strain the liquid from the tomatoes first).
4) This sauce is thick and good for a single pan of lasagna, but I like it a but saucier so add another can of pasta sauce.
5) Don't overcook your lasagna noodles! If they are still slightly firm, good. Strain them and then place the noodles in layers on a plate in a criss cross pattern so they can maintain their shape while you are making your lasagna.
6) Lightly spray some pam or another non-stick spray on your bakeware so your lasagna does not stick to your pan. Also, start pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees.
7) Start off your lasagna with a layer of meat sauce
8) Then a layer of noodles. Then repeat with another layer of meat sauce and noodles.
9) Usually around the first or second layer of noodles I add a layer of mozzarella cheese. You can use pre-shredded cheese, but like all pre-shredded cheeses, the little pieces of cheese are covered in a layer of wax, and that creates a greasy lasagna. So get a brick and shred it yourself or cut pieces that will melt in the oven. Also, layer some parmesan in there too if you want the extra cheese.
10) Keep repeating your layers until you get close to the top of your pan. If you have extra ingredients, make a second lasagna in a smaller pan like in these pictures.
11) When you get to your top layer, finish off your lasagna with a light layer of sauce, generous amounts of parmesan and a generous amount of mozzarella.
12) Now cover your lasagna with aluminum foil (this prevents your top layer of cheese from burning during the cooking process), wait for your oven to finish pre-heating and put it in the oven on the center rack for about 35 minutes.
13) Take your lasagna out, take off the aluminum foil and it'll look something like this. Now put the lasagna back into your oven for another 10-15 minutes with the foil off to melt down the top layer.
14) And the lasagna is done! If you have a good brand of mozzarella, cutting pieces usually works fine, but the store brand that I was using didn't melt perfectly, but you get the idea... its still incredibly tasty.
15) Let the lasagna sit for about 5-10 minutes to cool and solidify, then cut into pieces and eat!
When I have leftovers, which I usually do because this is alot of lasanga... I put individual servings into ziplock sandwich bags and freeze them. To eat them from the freezer, put it on a plate, set it to auto-defrost for 1 pound, break it up with a fork and heat it again for another minute and it should be perfect.
This past weekend screwed us. While driving down the road the Blazer died. It completely stalled out 5 minutes from the house. We had to get it towed. There was a fuel leak that had to be fixed and the spark plugs, wires, distributor cap all had to be replaced.
The brakes have been pulsating pretty bad for about 2 weeks now. The pads looked good, so it must have been the rotors. I replaced the front rotors, brake pads and brake hardware clips yesterday and now it seems to be braking good again. I still have to give it a longer road test, but it is braking pretty solid now. BTW, rotors at NAPPA were $18 a piece while Autozone was $38 a piece. But for some reason the brake pads were actually cheaper at autozone than either NAPPA or advance auto parts. Surprised me.
I'm not surprised I had to replace the brakes tho, they were the same pads and rotors that sat for almost 2 winters with the car. The bolts that held the caliper bracket on were rusted to all hell. Freeze off, an 18mm wrench and a rubber mallet and bam. I'm lucky the damn bolts didn't break.
vBulletin Suite vs. vBulletin - vBulletin Community Forum
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.
Some answers to important licensing questions - vBulletin Community Forum
With so many vbulletin customers bitching about the possibility of vBulletin charging for an upgrade to the vb 4 code, vbulletin has finally announced that they will not charge for the upgrade... but they will be implementing new license terms.. with their current terms they were obligated to not charge for a new major version upgrade. But my guess is that the new terms will allow them to make as much money as possible by screwing people over on future upgrades.
The f*cking vbulletin suite upgrade better be reasonably priced. *shakes fist at vb*
I came across a website that was using vbulletin, but had a facebook chat bar.. I thought, wtf? But after looking around a bit, I stumbled across this site:
Interesting. I wouldn't mind having a feature like this on AC. It be like a built in instant messenger. Very spiffy.
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.
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).
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
13) Now put those boots back on your spark plugs and reconnect the hose, pcv valve and then your negative battery connection.
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
Well, I did the oil change for the Blazer for the first time last Sunday (09-20-2009). I had to buy an oil filter wrench because my grip wrench would not budge that f*cking oil filter no matter how hard I tried. What a pain in my ass that was. Everything went well, but then on monday I noticed a weird humming noise and a stiffness to the steering wheel. Afraid I f*cked something up, I checked all my fluids. But no, it wasn't the oil. My power steering fluid was out. WTF. So I hit the gas station down the road from work, put some power steering fluid in and got home with no problem. I had to to do this a couple of times. I ended up getting some power steering stop leak at NAPA. It seemed to have stopped the leak thursday night. But! I started driving to work friday and the steering gave out completely. I tried putting my fluid in, but the car vomited it all over the road.
As of today, I removed the air filter cabin and the front left headlight. It seems that the power steering fluid is leaking from a metal joint that connects to the ps cooler. I'm trying to put a hose over top of the broken section of pipe and clamp it down to fix the leak. I should be finished with it tomorrow, rain permitting. If it doesn't work, I might have to cut that section of pipe off and replace it with a high pressure hose... I'm just hoping that that is the only place it is leaking from. And I have to say this... what a horrible f*cking design flaw. With the way the headlight is positioned, the excess rain water or salty water during the winter that hits in that crack between the headlight and the hood would drip down the back of the headlight and rust the shit out of this metal joint. Why in the hell would someone design something to be rusted out like that? Its like it was made to break.
We come to the conclusion that we will sell the Blazer. We'll end up taking a loss on the loan, but the vehicle's constant maintenance is not worth it. At the current rate of random repairs, we'll actually loose more money keeping the truck than taking the initial loss from a trade in. We're going to look into getting a full or mid size 4 door 4 cylinder sedan. 4x4 is a damn nice feature, but the maintenance and cost is pure hell.
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.
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.
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.
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.
LMAO, holy shit! No wonder it got so loud! X'D
So I put on the throwaway blue rubber glove and smeared some sealer onto the hole.
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.
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.
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.
Instructions to make:
Sledge's Dry Rib Rub and how to cook some pork ribs with a dry rub, smoke and no sauce!
Serving size: 1 (or more if you cook more ribs)
Ingredients for dry rib rub (enough for probably 2 or 3 medium sized racks of ribs)
- 1/2 cup of paprika
- 1/4 cup fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup salt (or fresh ground salt)
- 2 tablespoons of onion powder
- 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
- 2/3 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
And of course to smoke cook your ribs on your grill you'll need:
- 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds of pork spare ribs
- A couple handfuls of flavored wood chips
- A cast iron smoke box for your wood chips
- A piece of aluminum foil
1) Gather your ingredients for the rub and add them put them all into a bowl.
2) Mix all the rub ingredients together. Its best to mix it with your hands, a fork, spoon or whisk just wont work as good.
3) Rinse off your ribs and then pat them dry with a bunch of paper towels.
4) Use one hand to grab rub and drop it liberally onto both sides of your ribs, and then use your other hand to rub it in. This way if you have extra rub left over you can save it in a baggie and refrigerate it without any contamination from touching the pork. If you don't plan on saving leftover rub, just dump it all over your ribs and put it on thick! You'll want to let it really permeate the ribs now. Cover it with plastic and refrigerate it, or if your ribs are still cold from the refrigerator, let them sit on the counter for a half hour or so while you warm up the grill and soak your wood chips.
5) Put a handful or two into a bowl of water and let them soak for about a half hour. You can also turn on your grill and let it start heating up.
6) Now that the grill has heated up, put your smoker box on the far right side. Grab a handful of wet wood chips, let the wood chips drain for a minute in your hand and then put the wood chips in the smoker. Not too many tho! Those wood chips need air to burn once you put the lid on. Also, turn off the left burner. You do not want to cook your ribs over direct flame. And turn the right burner down to about a medium flame.
7) Before you put your ribs on the grill, lightly tap the ribs on its sides to get any excess rub off. Excess rub will look like dry patches of rub if as long as you let it soak into the ribs like I said. Now put the lid on your smoke box and put your ribs on the grill.
8) Look at those ribs one more time because you won't be looking at them again for a while Close that grill and walk away for an hour. Within a half hour you'll probably see a light smoke coming out of the grill, you shouldn't have any flare ups because the ribs are not over direct heat. And by leaving the grill down for a full hour the grill will be cooking more like an oven and the smoke from the smoke box will circulate inside the grill filling the ribs with more flavor.
9) An hour later, I flipped the ribs and added another small handful of fresh chips to the now fully burnt looking chips inside the smoke box. And now close that grill and let it cook for 1 more hour.
10) After two hours of total cooking time, your ribs should be fully done. You can check with a meat thermometer, pork is well done at 170 degrees. When you take the ribs off the grill, immediately wrap them in aluminum foil and let them sit on a plate for a good 15 minutes. This lets the ribs reabsorb their moisture and allows more flavor to fully saturate the meat. If you don't wrap it in foil, the moisture will evaporate and collect on the plate. So wrap it!
11) After 15 minutes, look at those ribs!
12) Cut them into portions and look at the juicy results!
13) Feel free to use a sauce on the side, but these ribs have all the flavor and tender flavor you need!
This rub is a good sweet and spicy mix, but next time I cook ribs like this, I think I'll use a full cup of brown sugar to sweeten the rub a bit more. These ribs turned out quite good, but I think I still prefer my other rib recipe over this one... probably because its less time consuming and easier.
Heres a link to my other rib recipe:
St. Louis style ribs
*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:
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.
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*
Poor Ditto didn't get a fresh bag of catnip for Christmas. So he got pissed off. x_x
I got a mini burger grill kit for my birthday and I figured I'd celebrate the new years with some white castle style burgers. Except they turned out nothing like white castle burgers. X'D
I didn't do anything special with the meat so there is no fancy recipe, its just basic burgers made small.
1) Heres the mini burger press.
2) I put a couple small meatballs size balls of meat and made some mini patties:
3) Heres what the mini burgers look like compared to regular size:
4) To try and get some white castle flavor, I sprinkled some season salt on the burgers and loaded them with chopped onion:
5) I put the top on the mini burgers and put them on the grill over a medium heat:
6) I had to put it on the grill so the handle sticks out the side. Turns out that the front of my grill has a bit of an over bite to it and pushed the mini burgers up in the air when it closed. With the handle sticking out the side tho, it wasn't nearly as bad.
7) After about 7 minutes the burgers were almost done, so I flipped them over and covered them again for another 5 minutes.
8) Here they are done, you can see how much they shrunk. Next time I'll use 90% instead of 80% meat. They shrunk way too much.
9) While the burgers were still hot, I put some thinly sliced pieces of cheese on them and the cheese melted a bit which turned out great.
10) Heres where they don't taste like white castle anymore. I decided to use potato dinner rolls instead of regular rolls or buns. If I knew they'd turn out this small I would have bought the party size mini rolls. Oh well, I doubled up the burgers and put half a stackers pickle and some ketchup and mustard on it.
11) Instead of french fries, I decided a good side dish would be some ribs and a baked potato. So I tried some dinosaur bbq sauce for the first time on ribs. It turned out really good.
12) And heres my new years eve dinner:
Last weekend I heard a noise and I knew the end was coming for the car. The timing chain is going. It started making a slight noise months ago which is why I stopped driving it on the freeway... but now its so loud just idling I was able to take a video of it.
I haven't gotten a quote to replace the $35 part, but I know it will be huge because to replace the timing chain, you have to remove the engine and take apart half the engine. That would cost more than what the car is worth. As it is, I'm pretty certain the chain will break the next time its driven somewhere. And when that thing breaks it'll seize up most of the engine. The car is in it's death throws now. But I can't complain too much, seeing as its been totaled previously, been resurrected, and driven for almost an additional 2 years.
A single setting on my test vbulletin 4 (which uses a copy of this forum's databse) screwed up all my blog attachment images. And they've probably been screwed up for about a week. I just found out and it really annoys the hell out of me because if I remember correctly, the damn setting on vb4 wouldn't let me change the directory, it only said "Click here to import your blog attachments into the new attachments structure." So I clicked it thinking nothing of it. The images loaded, except here it is a week later I finally realize that it moved the images from the directory on the live forum instead of from the directory from the test forum. Damn! POS! At least I still have copies of everything and I should be able to fix everything by putting the copies back into the right folder. I hate it when a program makes me waste time.
A couple weeks ago the Blazer's service engine soon light came on. I went to Advance Auto Parts and used one of their scanners to find out I had a 'Coolant below thermostat threshold' error code. Basically, my coolant needed to be replaced and also my thermostat, then possibly the coolant temperature sensor. A couple days later I went to Valvoline instant oil change and had them do a coolant flush and also replace the serpentine belt. The serp belt I could have done myself, but the guy told me it was a lifetime warranty and they'll replace it free of charge whenever it starts showing alot of wear, so I figured it would be a good deal because I'll probably need at least one more belt in the next 3-4 years and it saved me the hassle of doing it myself in 30 degree temperatures.
The service engine soon light did not go off. I figured it wouldn't, because I would need to replace the thermostat too. Then I got snowed in at my house after a 2 foot snow storm. The car didn't drive anywhere for a couple days. Then on last Sunday, when I was about to go to the local grocery store, I noticed a gas smell. I went to the store and when I came back I noticed the smell still. Turns out the fuel line near the tank started leaking a steady drip of gas. wtf. I didn't have much daylight left so I got under the car, eventually found the pinhole leak, and I proceeded to patch it by placing a piece of cut hose over the hole and then use hose clamps to tighten it down. I must have over tightened it and it started leaking again which pissed me the hell off because at that point I was soaking wet from melting snow/ice (2 feet of melting snow) and pooling gas. After my hands went numb from the cold gas and my arm was killing me because I was awkwardly positioned under the rear differential, I decided to do a really cheap ass move and cut the finger off a nitrile throwaway glove, wrapped it around the pin hole leak, and clamped it down with four zip ties. Its held for a week now with no additional leaking. I was going to take it off and hose clamp it correctly with my piece of hose, but another issue came up.
About 3 days ago, the car started making a weird ticking sound after I initially turned the car on. It only lasted for a couple seconds, but I thought it was a bad sign. Turns out it would only do it when the car was sitting for more than a couple hours and the length of time the ticking would last for depended on how cold it was outside. I went back to Advance Auto parts and had them test the alternator and battery because alternators, batteries and starters are all connected to a ticking sound during ignition. The battery and alternator were fine. He couldn't test the started because it would have to be off the engine, and on top of that he said that test would only check to see if the starter can start a car, which is not the problem because the noise only happens after the car is turned on. The guy was pretty knowledgeable and he suggested I do an oil change and use a oil filter with a drain back valve. I guess he meant anti-drain back valve because he told me I probably had oil sludge starting to build up and after the car was sitting for a while, the oil would accumulate in the oil pan and that ticking sound was the thick oil slowly making its way back up to the top of the engine. And that a good oil filter would prevent the oil from draining down completely to the oil pan, which is what an anti-drain back oil filter does. While I was there, I went ahead and bought the thermostat.
So, today, I did the oil change on the blazer. I spent the extra money and bought a penzoil full synthetic oil with cleaning additives ($28 for 5 quarts, costly), and I bought a Fram Tough Guard oil filter ($8, $5 more than other filters) which has a 'anti-drain back valve built into it'. I just finished the oil change, my coat is soaked because the tarp I put down over the melting snow/ice was a piece of crap and soaked straight through. Anyway, I started the car up after the oil change and no ticking sound. I'll find out tomorrow morning if the ticking sound is completely gone. I still need to do the thermostat, but my coat is soaked, I need a new tarp and I think I'm going to wait until next weekend when its 40+ degrees again. From what I read, a bad thermostat only causes a little worse fuel efficiency, so I figure if its not damaging the car, it can wait another week.
I replaced the thermostat today after work. Now that I had the right deep socket to get those threaded nut head bolts off the thermostat casing, I had no problem replacing it. The temperature seems to be reading correct now on the in dash gauge.
But I still have an annoying ticking that happens when I start the car after its been sitting for a while. I have a feeling its an oil lifter, so I put some seafoam in the crankcase. I figure I'll drive it back and forth from work tomorrow and do another oil change to get the crap out. I used 'pennzoil synthetic oil/with cleaning additives' in my last oil change a week ago. I figure the engine will be pretty cleaned out with the cleaning additives in the oil along with seafoam, but the oil probably looks like crap already and will need to be changed again (especially since I put seafoam in it).
If the engine still ticks after I change the oil again, then I'll have to take it to a mechanic to check it over. I hate cars.
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...
Today I put a small piece of cut fuel line over my existing fuel line with a hose clamp, I had it set just up from the leak so when I took off the old patch I would be able to quickly slide it down the fuel line and tighten it over the leak. Unlike when I first found the leak and quickly patched it up while sliding on top of snow and ice, I was able to put the truck up on my car ramps to get plenty of room to work with. Those ramps have paid for themselves already.
So after I had the new patch ready to tighten up, I cut off the small zip ties and unwrapped the nitrile disposable glove finger that was keeping the fuel line from leaking initially. Once it was off, instead of a small leak, the gas started pouring out like a small piss stream. guh! But! I was able to get the new patch over it and tighten it down quick enough that I did not get a huge gas mess. I didn't even get any on my clothes. And since I had some disposable gloves on, everything worked out great. Before I finished up, I moved the gas line around a bit and secured it to other hoses with zip ties to make sure it was clear from hanging around the frame. Its no longer leaking and I'm quit certain this patch will be quit permanent.
Now I just have to get a new long neck funnel so I can put some seafoam in the tank to finish my clean up job.
The only other maintenance I have planned is to get the transmission fluid replaced at some point in the near future as it is seriously past due. The only fluid I actually forgot to change over the past couple years. Oh, and the fuel filter should be replaced soon too. Its recommended change is every 30,000 miles, the car is at 100,000 so I'd say its past due too.
So after all the work I put into our blazer, and all the money we had to spend on it for random fixes left and right, enough is enough. The transmission starting going over the past couple weeks. From what I saw online, getting a flush would cause more harm than good, but just replacing the filter and a couple quarts of fluid shouldn't cause any problems. So I went to midas and paid them to replace the tranny filter and the fuel filter. They screwed up something by either hitting something too hard when they took the pan off, or they somehow dislodged something, or the transmission was just so bad, that even touching it caused it to screw up even more. After the tranny filter was replaced, it lost the first and second gears and the service engine soon light came on for 2 shift solenoids. Midas offered no help at all afterwords and only told me to take it to a transmission shop. The only way I could drive it was to physically shift it to first, then second, third and then drive... every single time the car came to a stop.
So fuck it, we decided to trade it in. We were holding off for a while because we know we owed more than it was worth.. sure as hell the trade in value was pure shit. We did get a good deal at a toyota dealer with zero percent financing for 5 years tho. Yay. We got a new 2010 Toyota Corolla.