Saturday, November 18, 2017

Holy Crow! The van!

Heidi had a meet today.  Fortunately, it was at Heritage.  Scott called and asked us to bring up the RC toys.  We loaded them into the bike trailer and headed to the school.  There were multiple football games, plus the swim meet, so there were people everywhere.  Mister was drawing a lot of attention to himself riding his balance bike. 

Evan texted around lunchtime to see whether he could come over and work some more on the motorcycle.  The problem I was having with the CB350 was that on the left carb, if the float was set too high, the fuel would leak out the overflow.  If it was too low, the fuel level wasn't high enough to get into the jets.  I adjusted the float about twelve times, each time requiring removal and replacement of the carb.  When Evan came, I had him measure the distance and keep a log so we knew what was the target.  Even with 1.5 mm adjustments, we still couldn't get it to work right.  The right cylinder runs pretty good.  That is to say that the engine runs smoothly with just the right cylinder firing. 

After three failed attempts, we decided to abort and work on the van.  We jacked it up and I had him move the steering wheel back and forth because there's been a clicking sound that is easily reproduced.  Once the wheels were in the air, though, we couldn't hear it.  But when I banged on the tire with my hand, there was a clanging sound.  It was the stabilizer bar!  One of the mount screws had sheared off and the stabilizer bar was loose.  We went to the junkyard to get another screw and screwed the stabilizer bar back on.  I just love the junkyard.  Scott wanted to come but they say you have to be 18 to enter the yard. 

The other thing about the van is that upon inspection, the right CV joint boot is torn!  I replaced those with cheap Napa parts in 2012 or 2013.  Weak!  I am very displeased.  Almost every part I have purchased from Napa has failed.  It was an important lesson.  So now I am going to pay five times the after-market rate to buy Toyota quality parts.  Otherwise, I'll just be replacing this thing again in four years.  Lame.  Hopefully I can do it before our trip to Utah. 

Okay, bye. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

The importance of keeping a voltmeter at the office

Yesterday the electric handpiece quit working.  Crap!  Well, not so much.  I knew that I could troubleshoot.  Today I checked the motor on the other unit and it worked.  That means it's not the motor. 

Then I called Adec and said, "Hi, this is Danny, I'm here at a dentist's office and the handpiece doesn't work." 

She asks, "What's the name of your company?"

"Nitroblue Precision Repair." 

"Please hold," she says. 

Another guy answers and I said, "Can you just walk me through the troubleshooting process?  The motor is good since I checked it on the other unit." 

I locate the four wires on the board and check for continuity.  The white wire had no continuity.  I need a new hose.  Easy.  But wait!  It was $750!  Holy Crow!  I told Vee, "Watch, this part costs $16 but they'll charge me $150."  Man.  I bit the bullet and bought another hose.  At least I don't have to pay the $250 tech fee, and I can almost guarantee that the tech would have had to call Adec. 

Anyway, last night I got the CB350 to run on its own.  I hooked up the gas tank, filled it up, and it fired right up.  It still runs a little rough but the problem is that the float valve isn't closing, so the fuel leaks right out.  I took off the carb in less than a minute and will have to service it.  I'm hoping that tonight I'll get it all put back together.  I polished the engine side cover at the office.  It's laborious work and I could get it shinier but I was burned out. 

Tomorrow Britton comes home.  I'm pretty excited about that.  I doubt we'll be hanging out tomorrow because he'll be all jet lagged, but Heidi's working all day and in the evening she has CPR recertification.  Woof. 

Oh yeah, I got another iMac.  A 24" 2008 version.  A patient used it as partial payment for services I rendered.  I think it was a win-win because she wasn't using it anyway and now has a lower bill.  Plus now the kids can use it instead of destroying mine.  I spent a while trying to upgrade the operating system, but finally, I used an external hard drive and a guide online to go to OS X El Capitan.  I still need another keyboard since Mister broke the D key and Tyler broke the T key. 

Okay, bye.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

CB350 tank dent

My silly China Freight dent remover worked, even though I had to purchase more glue sticks since the ones that came with it were already melted. 

On Tuesday I installed the swing arm, fender, tool box, and rear wheel.  Then I removed the dent as pictured:


after using the China Freight dent removal jig

Now there's just a little dent remaining but I'm disinclined to pursue it at the moment.  Last night, before scouts, I bought the glue sticks from ACE and some black fuel tubing from Napa.  There are just a few more things I need to do before it's ready to ride on the road. 

At first, when I took on this project, I was stressed about my time frame.  Now I'm just enjoying the journey. 

I picked up Kira from gymnastics in the GS400.  There are some crazy psycho demon maniacs on highway 4.  Before I left, Blake said he wanted to come with me and that he wanted to get a game.  He spent a while looking, and I was like, "Blake, I gotta leave right now.  If you want to come with me, game or no game, then come now."

There was more traffic than usual and about one minute into the journey he figured out that we were just going to pick her up, not watch her compete.  He blames me for his lack of understanding or listening.  So then he says he wants to go home.  If there were more time and the traffic hadn't been so thick, I would have turned around and dropped him off.  But I kept going.  I counted the times he said, "I WANT TO GO HOME!" 


Finally I said that if he keeps kicking my seat that I'm going to crash.  He stopped.  Then he got so quiet that I had to check on him twice to make sure he hadn't somehow slipped out the window or something. 

Oh!  As I was pedaling back to work, I noticed the mail truck had a flat tire.  Ferdinand wasn't driving it and this lady must have been a sub for him.  I said, "Your tire is flat." 

She looks at it and it is obviously flat.  I asked, "Got a spare?"  There was probably one but I didn't have time to change it.  I said, "If you drive back to my house, I'll pump it up, but we have to do it right now." 

I rode home, she followed me, and I first checked the pressure.  3 psi.  Then I pumped it up to 35. 

But wait!  The steel belting was showing all along the inner tread.  I told her this tire needed to be replaced as it was a safety hazard.  She thanked me but drove on.  Now I wonder if I even did her a service.  Isn't there a fleet manager that looks over the vehicles before they go out?  It is unlikely that this tire went from serviceable to steel belting showing just from low pressure, but what would I know?  Actually I know a lot.  I write the book on how to make stuff last. 

Miguel came over yesterday to check out the CB350.  We were talking about Boy's Camry consuming oil and how most of Boy's cars have suffered catastrophic failures.  Miguel has three Camry's:  340k miles, 240k miles, and 120k miles.  His son drives the newest one.  About the one with 340k miles, he said, "It needs new struts and it's starting to burn oil.  I'm hoping to get another 60k miles out of it and then that's it." 

The van's gonna hit 200k in about April.  It's been a good van. 

I've been practicing the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody #2.  I have to perform it for some of my nieces and nephews next week at Thanksgiving.  My muscles are out of shape and there are some parts I'm rusty on.  I've noticed that the more I practice, the more the kids want to play the piano.  Even Blake did his practicing tonight.  I am real happy with my piano. 

Laurel got a 1922 7 foot grand piano which was restored or refurbished.  According to Gary, it's $30-60k to do that.  I asked Heidi why Laurel got that particular piano.  Apparently to get that piano new would have been $90k, but I don't know how they calculate it because you can't buy a hundred year old piano "new," so you get it restored.  Whatev.  Mine's a 1959 and according to Des, it's about halfway through its service limit.  I don't know how they calculate that either.  Usage?  Years?  I bet neglect wears it out the fastest, just like cars. 

Okay, that's all for now.  Keep your eye out for the "all done" photos of the CB350.  Fist pump!

Sunday, November 12, 2017


Friday was my birthday.  Mister got up way too early.  I needed to sleep more but couldn't, so I got up with him.  I made waffles, orange julius, bacon, and whipped cream.  The kids had off the day from school due to Veterans day, so they slept in.    

One by one, the kids came down.  I got ready and left for work on my bike.  I was trying to be in a good mood for my birthday but I was a little sad that no one in my immediate family wished me a happy birthday.  

At work, the girls had decorated the office and brought cinnamon rolls, chocolates, and a Star Wars shirt.  Yay!  My birthday.  

Heidi made a post on facebook about how the kids washed the cars for my birthday.  Phew, they figured it out.  I wanted to see how long we could go without them realizing.  Somehow, it's my fault for not telling them even though it comes up on the computer several times a day.  I just figure if I set my expectations low and they're not met, the fall is less severe.  

At lunch, when I got home, the garage door was up but no one was home.  Heidi had taken the kids to Six Flags.  I sat down on my little stool to work on the ignition of the CB350.  I'm not a man of tears but I was crying on the inside.  Then I thought, "This is lame.  I'm going to get my motorcycle to work."

I set up the test lamp according to the youtube video and got both sides statically timed.  I checked the spark plugs and both fired.  Cool!  Then I put them in, sprayed some brake parts cleaner into the intake, and ran the starter motor a couple of rounds.  It would fire and sputter a few revolutions.  That's good enough for now as the gas tank isn't hooked up.  Cool!  Primary ignition.

Cramped conditions in which I work.  It's easier to just leave the corresponding sockets on the floor.  At least I've labeled the pieces in ziploc bags. 

Evan texted to see whether I had any car or motorcycle projects I was working on because he wanted to learn more about that.  I invited him over on Saturday morning and had him run the wire wheel on several pieces.  Then he painted them.  He did a lot of work.  Looking back, he probably needed to log some service hours for scouts or something. 

I also helped Dom remove and replace a piece of failing trim on Christine's car.  

The girls and I had lunch at BJ's.  It took forever for our food to arrive and mine was prepared incorrectly.  I took home my fish tacos and pizookie in a to go box but the ice cream and tacos mixed.  I still ate them the next day, though. 

The kids have destroyed the keyboard on my 24" iMac.  I'm going to get another computer.  I just don't know whether to get a real nice new one for just myself or a cheap old iMac for them.  I'll probably do the latter since this 24" machine meets my needs.  It's a 2009.  The only thing it can't do is handle the movies from the gopro but the gopro is too hard to use.  Looking back, I shouldn't have bought it.  But we got it for half off, it's got a nice wide lens, and it's waterproof.  But powering it up, syncing it to the phone, and extracting the images, is a huge chore. 

Okay, I gotta get breakfast going.  Hopefully my back doesn't wig out.  Yesterday it got out of alignment and I was in pain the whole day.  It was awful.  Okay, bye.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Things that make me happy

I didn't have a very good day today.  My work situation is stressing me.  I was upset on the way to school because of the kids being uncooperative.  Then I thought about the time Tyler was having a tantrum and threw his shoe against the stairwell.  It ricocheted and hit him in the face.  He started to cry.  I started to laugh.  It was mighty funny.  When I thought about it, I chuckled again. 

I drove the GS400 to work for the afternoon.  I was at the light next to a VW bug.  They're not fast, but the girl stomped on it when the light turned green.  I stomped on it too and smoked her.  At the next light, she craned her neck to look over to see who's driving the car that is so fast.  I felt great.

The bank that was going to refinance my student loans denied me because we have a short sale on our credit.  I said to the representative, "You know who's going to lose?  You.  Your company.  That's okay, who's your biggest competitor?"  She told me.  So then I filled out their application.  It's dumb because I could pay my loan in full several times over and still have money in the bank.  I just don't want to because my money makes more in the stock market. 

I decided to take Marsh Creek road to Walnut Creek.  As I passed Mountain View, I saw Heidi pull onto Balfour in the IS300.  She didn't see me.  We were stopped at the light together and it merges into one lane.  When it turned green, I stomped on it. 

I just love my car.  I smoked her too and was way ahead when I stopped accelerating at 65.  Then I realized something must be wrong because otherwise she'd be in the van.  I tried calling her but the cell service was bad.  We pulled over right by Deer Valley and she said that the kids were tired and not going to swim practice.  I turned around and went home. 

The kids and I went to ACE to buy paint for the motorcycle and picked up a pizza on the way back.  I worked a little more on the CB350 and now I'm going to watch some TV. 

So my car makes me happy.  It sounds good, it smells good, the sub makes me happy, and it's fun to race and beat people.  Oh yeah, on the way back from getting pizza with the kids in the van, there was a Jaguar coupe that was driving aggressively.  I sped up and met it at the light.  When it turned green, I stomped on it.  I peeled out.  I was ahead.  I stopped accelerating at 60 and was still ahead.  He finally overtook me.  I honked the train horn.  I turned left into my subdivision.  He ran a red light at American.  Bottom line:  Don't try to race me in my Sienna or my GS400.  You'll never know how fast the Sienna is until you own one.  The GS400 is even faster. 

Okay, bye.   

We have spark! Wait...

While I waited for the new coils to arrive, I used a China Freight wire wheel on the die grinder to remove the paint and rust from some components.  It made for easy work compared to sanding it by hand. 

Angela and Will picked up the CM400 last night.  Yay! 

Kira said she was sad that I sold the CM400, as it was her "favorite" one.  I told her she's gonna love the CB350. 

Last night I got one side to spark, and if I switched the leads to the contact breaker, the other side would spark.  At one point I had both sparking at the same time even though they were reversed.  Now I can't get the spark to work predictably.  I don't know enough about ignition systems to adequately troubleshoot, and I'm discouraged about it.  At least the coils and spark plugs are good.

This morning, Mister was up at 4:30.  He stayed quiet until 5:05.  At that point, he was ready to go.  I couldn't go back to sleep, so I went to the garage with Mister.  I removed the contact breaker, cleaned the shaft, and put it back on.  Somehow that seemed to work, but now it's back to just sparking on one side.  I'm going to have to study the manual on ignition timing and do that before I buy another contact breaker.

I'm also stressed about my work sitiation (That's how Ove says it).  Ken says there's a position for me at UOP, but if I commit to that, then I'm pretty much limiting myself to my Brentwood gig and UOP.  If I don't take on UOP, then what?  Right now none of the endeavors I've checked on seem to be working out.  Maybe that's a good thing, but the stressful is the unknown. 

Then Heidi's gig gave her a 20% pay cut so she's evaluating her options. 

Know what's great?  The IS300 is working well.  I think Britton is going to have to borrow it back for  the next few months while he waits for the Tesla.  But then maybe I can have him do the alignment at Firestone.  Ha! 

Okay, bye.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Pillion and swingarm

I did 2000 yards at the gym today.  I still wake up at 5:30.  I wish I were seeing patients on Monday and Tuesday, though.  It's all going to work out, so I'm trying to do things that I might not do if I were working all day. 

Like work on the motorcycle.  Stinking ontrac didn't find my package, but I did log a win with Comcast!  It's hard to avoid getting angry with them because they don't care that my rate suddenly went up 40%.  Aaaaand, when I called, she did try to sell me a TV/internet bundle for "the same price."  I said, "I don't even watch those channels and I'll have to go through this rigmarole again in a year."  In the end we agreed on $10 less than I was previously paying. 

I also called a place to refinance my dental school loans.  It seems too good to be true, so I'm not holding my breath, but we'll see.  Either way I'll have them paid off in five years, but if I can refinance, I'll save $9k. 

I bought NVDA stock and it's up 5%.  Yeah. 

Okay, here's the swingarm with lots of rust.  Originally I wanted to make sure the bike ran before undertaking these kinds of endeavors.  But since I got "time comin' out my ears (Bishop Dover used to say that about when he retires)," I'm going to do a more extensive restore. 

Already it looks better but you'll be pleased with the final product.  Or, with the product once I decide to stop working on it.

Okay, I gotta get a wire brush from China Freight but Mister's crying now.  Bye.