Sunday, December 1, 2013

Light and Dark projects

The water heater in the rental house failed on Thanksgiving. After 22 years of service it rusted through at the seams at the burners. Probably would have lasted longer if regular maintenance had been done to it. I spent saturday removing the old unit, adding some new plumbing valves, and installing the new one. Hope the new one lasts as long as the old one.

More Van projects this past weekend.

While at work I was able to bleed the front brakes, replace the front wiper blades, figure out why the rear window washer wasn't working, adjust the parking brake cable, and inspected the underside of the van.

The brake fluid that has been coming out of the brakes has been quite dark. Brake fluid should be clear to honey colored but mine has been coming out coffee colored which means that it is absorbing bits of rubber from the brake lines, moisture, and other bits of debris. I ended up re-bleeding the system again on sunday just to get all the old fluid out. Since doing all this bleeding, the brake peddle pressure has been nice and firm but I know that it could be better. No more double pumping the brakes for quick stops. Probably needs a new master cylinder to make it perfect but I wont be doing that any time soon.

After thoroughly cleaning the windshield and applying some RainX to help repel water a few weeks ago I noticed that the wiper blades were in poor shape. I purchased a set of Bosch blades through work to get a discount. After installing them, I ran the van through the car wash and was amazed at how well the new blades were working. I still need a new windshield but that can wait till spring.

The rear window washer has internally failed. I've ordered a new one.

While the van was in the air to do the brake bleeding I had a chance to adjust the parking brake cable since it was rather stiff after installing the new rear brakes. I also got a good look at all the suspension bits and noticed that I need to replace the driver side ball joint and both outer rear CV boots. I didn't see anything else of critical importance, most of the rubber bits are old but not trashed out. I've ordered a pair of ball joints and CV boots which I will do when I get time to switch the shocks and springs in the front.

The last project was installing a relay into both headlight circuits. The van's headlights are terrible and no amount of adjusting can compensate for the lack of light that they put onto the road. One problem is that headlight switch is a major resistive point for the headlight circuit and I was measuring a 1 volt drop from the battery to the headlights. The other is that the stock headlight bulbs are only 55w each. The relays now handle the power draw eliminating the resistance of the switch and the switch just activates the relays. Full battery voltage is now at the headlights and, from what I have seen, they are a bit brighter too. I have some higher power bulbs to install in the headlights but want to wait a few days to see just how much brighter the stock bulbs seem. Maybe I will do a photo comparison with the higher output bulbs. There are some risks when installing the high power bulbs, mainly that they put out more heat and could damage the reflective coating.

Oh and one more minor thing, I've also ordered some high power backup LED bulbs from the UK to help me see stuff when backing up. The window tint makes backing up a terrifying experience. They should arrive late December.


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