18 November 2014

Rat Bauer - series finale

One thing that'll get me to typing is an exciting sequel,
in this case it's the series finale.
During one early morning blog entry,
I was visited by our old frenemy,
we had nicknamed him Rat Bauer.


As a baby he had escaped from a seemingly impossible situation.
I didn't have the cold heart to put him down,
and we've been paying the consequences ever since.
We've seen this a million times in movies,
instead of the quick kill,
characters would rather explain plans to their nemesis,
toying with their mind,
allowing time for escape.
He was cute...
Months later we'd wake up to a gnawing or scratching underneath the house.
After that he gained access inside the walls.
It was like clockwork before dawn,
as he expanded his real life habitrail.
I set up traps all over the place.
During a quiet couple weeks,
we figured he had been snagged by a cat,
or maybe a neighbors poison.
We all slept better.
Then one early evening the wife heard a rustling in the hot oven.
He scurried out from the back into an open zone.
We thought we had him cornered,
and like the great Jack Bauer of 24 fame,
he vanished.
I studied up,
and found that rats are very habitual,
using the same trails,
relying on a nest for security,
and living within a relatively small territory.
They don't like change.
Big traps were set up more strategically,
using junk to funnel him into the danger zone.
Well after a week of absence,
he came back in a weird place,
the boys room.
One night Jaxon thought he saw him,
and swore he ran into the closet.
Yeah right.
Way too many hiding spots in there to pursue.
A trap was set at the door.
A day passed...
Then 2am...snap!
A melancholy moment,
who is Batman without the Joker,
or the Coyote without the Roadrunner!?
A worthy opponent...
RIP Rat Bauer.

09 November 2014

Cowboys & Indians

What better way to perpetuate history to youngsters then with toys.
I usually pass on dolls,
but these guys made me double back.
Maybe it was the original box.
Super complete for a 1967-ish shoot-em-up.
So the story goes that Hasbro cornered the market with Barbie and GI Joe about 1964.
This company Marx decided to take a stand,
and came up with the cowboys and Indians,
Johnny West, Geronimo and friends.
This was the time when Indians were still the bad guys.
Try that now!

07 November 2014

Lite Brite

Last weeks jaunt in the little whaler 
made it obvious our lighting system needed refinement.
Coming in using our emergency cellphone flashlight was a bit ridiculous.
It seemed like the little closed cell battery
should have lasted much longer than a short couple hours.
Sure I should and could have charged it,
but that would have been too easy.
I was expecting this to be maintenance free.
There are a couple wires that could possibly be charging wires in the outboard,
but since it's a pull start only,
there's no rectifier,
which converts AC to DC.
I'll have to test this when running.
My solution for now were these trick LED bulbs.
Rather difficult to find,
they finally arrived in the mail last night.
This style was packages specific to a boat light,
although it's a typical auto style bulb.
Here's a before and after.
The top shot is the 12 watt incandescent,
a warm yellow burn.
The bottom shot is the new .85 watt LED,
a cold blueish tone about 3/4 the bright level.
Since amp=watt/volt,
than the original 2 bulbs at 12/3.3 watts took 1.275 amps,
and the new LED's at 1.7 watts total only take .14 amps to shine.
Theoretically it'll take 9 times longer to kill that little battery!
Updates soon.

05 November 2014

Hurtlocker Truck - part 239

While laying on my back,
I realized how close and how far 
the Hurtlocker is from road duty.
Little by little key pieces are taking shape.
Stainless brake lines are getting routed.
Patience is the key here.
It's like driving through traffic,
slow and steady,
rushing just causes accidents.
These brake parts are shipped like precious cargo.
Each fitting has it's own box and bag.
That's how they make a $2 part worth $12.
Thanks to tips and suggestions from
my Uncle Steve and Brandon,
no lines were done more than once!
We went through plenty of dish soap to get the windows in.
Success with the rope and soap method,
followed by the Sharpie bead install tool.
So glad this didn't crack.
The front windshield was a little easier.
Next up was covering all the metal work with insulation.
Trimmed glued and taped,
a lot of fitting for a precut kit.
These strips are sound dampeners,
absorbing the resonance on the sheetmetal.
Totally different then last year at this time.
I'll have to do a before and after post later on.
Can't believe I'm seeing carpet and upholstery swatches.
Ken's got some choices to make!

03 November 2014

Holdsworth Trap

The time change always signifies the real beginning of fall,
and with that the shift to winter hobbies.
Just cause it gets dark at 5:30 doesn't mean the fun stops!
Macey and I rallied up to the San Diego Veloswap,
unknowingly falling into the web.
Lucky to have a partner in crime.
The line was unusually long, 
and I figured this would help weed out the lucky finds.
It's easier to not know what deals are out there.
The velodrome seemed more packed then these picks show.
Maybe everyone was in line for the delicious kettle corn.
Business was brisk as there were some good deals.
We doubled back for a couple items only to find them gone.
I'm sure some will be seen on craigslist or eBay!
We went back to the van with barely $20 of goodies,
but an anchor was dragging me back.
I couldn't escape.
Exactly what I didn't need.
My intent was to get the guys number or email,
and all of a sudden the price lowered drastically,
and money was floating away,
in trade for a rusty pile of pipe.
You gotta admit for a moment it's kinda cool.
This is a 1948-1950 Holdsworth Cyclone,
made out of Reynolds 531 tubing,
and pre-nervex era lugs.
Handmade with a torch, file, and silver solder.
This is what got me interested in metalwork early on,
and may be recognized on Chief's windshield.
The kickers were the original numbered fork,
and basically dent free tubing.
I have been in this trap many times before.
The bare frame is the cheap part,
what adds up in time and money are all the components.
Really if I had enough dough,
we could have found all the parts to make a complete almost era bike.
Like these handlebars.
Such a trippy bend.
With a similar grinded lug pattern.
The trap...
See anything weird here?
No derailleur tab.
This was before the campagnolo-era standardization.
Yeah this'll be fun to find parts...
That back-stay tubing is a 1/2" to 5/16" taper!
In reality this shouldn't still exist.
So spindly.
Anyway maybe there'll be progress,
maybe there won't.
 Stay tuned...

02 November 2014

Dumbin' Down

The 700r4 is a common hot rod GM automatic transmission,
replacing the th350 cause of it's overdrive gearing.
The later '87+ models have more complicated electronic controls,
but without the stock computer module,
all of these  transmissions need a torque converter lockup modification.
Online there are plenty of options to follow,
from a simple rewire and toggle switch,
to the above universal kit.
My task was to install this universal kit
on the early style 1985 700r4 in the Hurtlocker Truck.
This Painless kit is used in all models up to the 90's.
What I realized,
is the later models that have more intricate computerized controls,
are dumbed down to use the early 80's pressure switch and torque converter solenoid/valve.
The parts I swapped were virtually identical,
and the directions were to remove all other internal wiring,
used on the later models additional switches.
Kinda sneaky way of squeezing $150 off a credit card!
The toggle switch is side-graded to this brake and vacuum switch,
making driving more idiot proof.
Possibly easier, possibly not.
If you're going with the mods,
make sure to either tap your original pan for a drain plug,
or get an aftermarket pan.
Draining the pan sucks without the plug.
There was no way I was gonna waste a gallon of basically new fluid! 
One step closer to gettin the old heap on the road.