Friday, July 29, 2016

Breaking the Brakes on The Subaru Legacy....Part Two!

It was an easy day at College board today,  so with our new found time, we decided to do all of the things we have been wanting to do...but never had the time.   That makes sense.   At least it did in my mind.

With bills paid,  shopping finished, cat released....  It was time for me to do what I had been bothered by for the entire week....Subie's Brakes!

New Rotors, Slider pins, and Grease

Brake cleaner removes the oil
I received the new brake parts on Wednesday,  and they have been taunting me on my desk ever since.   Knowing I have limited resources to "fix" things,  I decided to just buy them all new.   New rotors, slide pins, and caliper brackets.   I also bought brake cleaner ( to remove the shipping oil off the rotors)  And synthetic slide grease for the pins and bolts.

Synthetic, rated for 3000 degrees!
Old brake rotor, caliper and bracket
I decided to spring for the stuff that is rated for 3000 degrees!   I guess the rotors heat up if you brake much...and that heat causes the slide pins to bleed out their grease and seize what is going on in my situation.   I do not want to have this happen again...AND,  more importantly,   I don't want to hear any bad criticism from my Brother-in-law.    IF he ever reads this blog,  He is probably betting that I forget the synthetic grease or the washing of the rotors in brake cleaner.
Rotor off!  Finally!

He would not be far off.  I am TERRIFIED that I may forget something and end up running into a tree because I handled the rotors with greasy hands.   Let's just say I'm aware of my short-comings when it comes to automobiles.

Comparing them to match. 
That being said,  I attempted the easy one first.   Passenger side brakes simply needed caliper pin replacement and some anti-seize on the bolts.   I also wanted to replace the rotors.

One Breaker-bar later,  The caliper bracket was off as well as the rotor.

Wiping off that packing grease!
I cleaned up the rotor and coated the back with anti-seize so I would be able to remove it at a later date if I had to.   Hopefully,  that day will not be for a while!

Looks like this bracket is bad as well.

Old next to new.  
It came with a small pouch of anti-seize
I thought I would be able to slide out the pins from the Bracket easily...but I discovered, much to my disappointment, that the lower pin in the passenger side was seized up as well.

But..I'll use the expensive stuff.
 I tried, with my limited resources, to free it up and remove it, but is stuck in there as solidly as the driver side.
Pretty purple!
Slider pin ready for assembly.
At this point, I made the decision to use the new bracket (which I had been saving form the drivers side) on the passenger side.   I can always attempt to remove that pin later.  But, the weather was threatening rain,  so best to patch this one up and see if every thing works as planned.

I reassembled it and BOOM!   Fixed!   Even looks good!   No squeaks.  No slips.  Amazing!   Well,  I'm amazed at least. One tire done!

Assembly complete!
Cheryl says that instead of trying to fix the old bracket, I should just order another one and fix it later.   We'll see about that.

New bolts included!
With new rubber seals and lubricant
  If I can fix the old bracket,  I will be able to take a stab at the other side and hopefully complete the driver's side as well.  But without a vice nor a blow torch,  I have my doubts it will ever come off for me.  Besides,  the bracket is only about $ shipping.   I'll get it Wednesday   if I order before the weekend is over.   I'll even throw in some new bolts in case the old ones break on me.   perhaps that is the better plan.
Passenger side complete...3 to go!

So....there it is.   Ethan manages a little more success each time I remove the wheel.   Perhaps I may almost be "dangerous" by the time I get to the fourth tire.

Speaking of tire...we finally replaced the the last of the "original" tires on Wednesday.   I noticed the belts were showing when I attempted the brakes last weekend.

 It was probably a good thing we changed it BEFORE it left us stranded along side the road.  And... Best of all.... I was able to pay for it with a last minute Pearson project add on.   The project is over now...but I managed to make enough to hopefully pay for all this junk I'm fixing Subie with.

This is what happens after a week of no blogging.   Perhaps I should schedule a mid week posting some time.   Then again,  college board does not leave much of my brain intact after a full day of scoring.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Happy Anniversary! With Pies, Cakes, Cats, and Inebriated Bumblebees.

So Happy Anniversary...  To us!   That is correct!  This last week marks the official 20th anniversary of Cheryl and Myself getting hitched.   It does not seem like it has been that long.   Had I stayed in the Government Agency that I had pledge 3 years allegiance to. (um,  think: ARMY)  I could have retired and be receiving half pay with benefits!   ( Yeah right!  I would probably be somewhere in a dessert fighting Taliban or ISIS.)  I'll stick with 20 years of Marriage to Cheryl instead.

So how do we celebrate such a momentous day?   Short answer:  Work .  Long, boring, thankless work.   I managed to qualify for the Tennessee project and worked both that project  and college board on our anniversary day.   We were basically too tired to do much else anyway.  The plan was to have a small treat exchange at the scoring center and then celebrate on the weekend.

Let's visit the Amish!

Amish people shop here...and SAVE!
It's the weekend!   Now what?   Given the tremendous heat level, with a side of unbearable humidity, we have decided to try to keep things cool and simple. Just the two of a cat.   With cake, and some pie we purchased at Springtown.   Small side note:  the Amish here in Iowa are much better at baking pies than in Michigan. Thanks for adding some sugar to your pies Iowa Amish people!
 The heat made it a challenge to get them home without melting; however,  Cheryl had a plan to put them in an insulated bag.   Good thinking Honey!
Pies in the cooler

Small Anniversary cake..pretty!
We also got a small cake,  which the cat was more than happy to sample for us.   Cheryl ate most of it and ended up tossing the rest since it was overly sweet and kind of old. ( note: It was from Hyvee,  Not the Amish) But it sure looked pretty!    And the cat seemed to enjoy some of the frosting, at least.

Back for seconds
Hiro Likes it!
After running ( and biking) 10 miles in this sauna,  we felt we earned the usual ice cream and fish diner we usually have on Saturdays.  Culver's may not be very healthy, but does make a pretty good cod dinner.   We end up sharing it and still waddle away stuffed.  Time to relax in the cool of the air conditioning and watch the birds from our front window.   The part without condensation on it, that is.
So humid, it rains on the windows!

Bulk seed at Springtown
I also bought some birdseed at Springtown.   They have huge bulk seed selections, so it seemed natural.   A couple of things I noted after filling the feeders; the humming bird feeder has been surprisingly quite lately.   The hummers seem to love this hot weather more than most other birds,  and the feeder was still almost half full.   My thoughts were that the sugar water in the feeder had "turned" and was not to the usual taste.    Sometimes it gets this fungus in it that makes it taste fruity and "off".   I tasted it and it  still tasted sweet, but I figured I would refresh and exchange it anyway.   However, before emptying it out and wasting the remaining sugar water,  I decided to pour it on the flowers in the front yard.  The bees would at least enjoy a little of the "good stuff" rather than the ants.   I meticulously poured several drops on each flower ( there are LOTS of cone flowers and daisies.)  I ran inside, cleaned out the feeder and filled it back up with new sugar water.
Slurred speech...Better not drive!
Can't fly or walk

While watching it for signs of bird activity, I noticed a couple of the bumble bees acting "strange"  it was almost as if they were having a difficult time trying to fly and walk.   Now I know bumble bees are not the swiftest nor the most graceful flyers in the insect kingdom;   but this sight still struck me as odd.  Then I wondered if it was possible that the nectar I had "Sweetened the flowers with" had become fermented somehow.

I guess it IS possible.   Fruit flies eat fermented fruit all the time and become too drunk to fly.  I'm not sure if that is the cause,   or the high levels of heat and humidity.   But for entertainment value, I thought it would be funny to mention how I celebrated my anniversary by getting the "local honey producers" intoxicated!   
If the bees were affected this way, no wonder the hummingbirds stopped coming to the feeder.   Good thing I replace the brew with new stuff.  Hopefully this will last a bit longer and not become tainted as the last batch.
And lastly,   a song I have had in my head for a couple of days now.  Not sure why but I think they often play this song at Cheryls races.  I guess there is a line in there about running.   Anyway.  Enjoy the song by the New Radicals.  Have a good one!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Breaking the Brakes on the Subaru.

After 10 hours of YouTube videos, I finally felt I had enough understanding to attempt changing out the brake shoes on the Subie without outside help.   They had been squeaking for a few weeks now and I was very happy to discover it was not something worse.    So...Let us begin. 
Remove/lift caliper
You may be "surprised" to discover how easy it actually is.( I know I was!)    I have heard that even an idiot can do them...and being one of those myself,  I guess I can now believe it.

14 mm works nicely

Pry off old shoes and hardware
We ordered the shoes on  Along with a brake tool and a small tube of silicone grease.  

Hmm,  A little rusty.
The old shoes practically fell apart in my hands.   As you might be able to see,  there was not much left on one of the sides.  

Old shoes.   Note:  Uneven wear.
The passenger side job went so easy,  I decided to do the drivers side next.   Mostly because I heard that they should be done in pairs and the shoes I purchased happened to have them included.  

Practically falling apart.  Lets get the new ones!
It simply would not be a blog post if things went completely perfect.   That is right....  after all of those YouTube videos  walking me though the process....I hit a snag.
Shiny and new!

Replace hardware
Replace shoes
The slider guides on the drivers side were ( and still ARE!)  completely totally frozen in place.   Just to clarify:  they SHOULD slide back and forth whenever you step on the brakes; allowing your shoes to press against the rotor evenly.   This one does not.  Instead, it presses against the inside shoe and grinds it to dust. 

Fold and tighten caliper..DONE!  Easy!
I debated whether I should grab my biggest hammer and, with my best and loudest Hulk voice, "BASH IT!"

 but cooler heads prevailed and I was able to finally assemble it back together.  At least I have brakes,  Although I had to reuse the outside old one because it was the only one that fit. 

So looks like I will be limping along until I replace the caliper holding bracket  with new sliding rods.  I'll probably have to replace the rotors on the passenger side as well.  Luckily,  they are not too expensive.   ( under $30.) But there is always the risk that I could encounter another frozen bolt somewhere.

I was so proud that I completed the passenger side too.   Bummer that the driver side had to throw a wrench into the job.  ( pun intended)

Tomorrow is the last day I have to train and qualify for the Tennessee Pearson project.   It is proving to be a challenge and I'm not sure if I will be able to qualify for this one.   My goal is to at least make it long enough to earn enough money to replace that caliper bracket.  ( $30!)  Luckily there is free shipping on Amazon Prime.

I guess it is possible that I could actually qualify despite my reservations, but even if I did,  the project is only meant to last a week or so.  Not to mention I may not feel much like scoring after a full 8 hours at Collegeboard.   We shall see how things go

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday Fourth Fireworks For the Weekend.

After staying up beyond my limits to capture the fireworks on the 4th of July....I was simply too exhausted to post them the next day.   However,   Having suffered the lack of sleep in the effort to capture them,  I decided to post them today instead.

What can I say....  This week has
been longer than I had anticipated.  With Friday safely behind us,  we can begin to focus a bit more on rest and recovery.   I sould also point out that Cheryl and I both must have brushed up against something in our quest for those berries.   Not sure if it is poison oak,  Ivy,  or stinging nettle.   Throw in a few bug bites and our exposed skin has been under a constant assault of the "itchies".   We picked up some itch relief at the store today, and I should probably put some on before we head out tomorrow.  The funny thing about that is that it has been several days since we hiked out there into the poisonous foliage.   I  wonder how it is that this delayed reaction  or torment has befallen upon us now!

To be fair,  I guess I have been itching for a couple of days now....but still.   you would thing that the effect of brushing up against stinging nettle or whatever it was...would be immediate!

Since I'm still a little out of it after work...I'll try to keep this brief.    So enjoy the fireworks!  And

have a great weekend!


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