Sunday, October 12, 2008

Glow plug relay disintegrates

After replacing my glow plugs this August, life got better: my 100% biodiesel-running 7.3L PowerStroke actually started up in the morning!

But then, all of a sudden last week it began having trouble starting again in the morning.

My instincts said: glow plug relay. Everything I've read on this subject, just screamed "glow plug relay". So I got a deal on a new glow plug relay, and bought it. But then I got scared. Fear is what has stopped me from doing just about anything good and necessary I've needed to do in my life. And here it was again-- I was paralyzed all weekend.

Finally on Sunday, a friend kind of shamed me into at least TESTING the thing to see what was wrong. It's a very easy test; all I need is a multimeter and not very much time.

Sure enough, I applied the multimeter, turned the key, and... nothing coming out of the glow plug relay. Zero volts. I tested the other posts, and they all had the voltages they were supposed to have, at the time they were supposed to have it. OK, time to R/R this thing!

So I located all the wrenches I'd need (8mm, 3/8", deep-socket 1/2", and deep-socket 10mm, in case you care), disconnected the batteries, and removed the relay.

It was cracked. The old glow plug relay casing had actually split in two. The relay contact inside was clearly visible, deeply rusted, and useless. No wonder the thing didn't work!

The new glow plug relay went in easily, and I tested it-- sure enough, voltage with the key on!

The thing now starts like a Honda. Beautiful. I feel so much better.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ooooh that smell!

One of the more disgusting things about vandwelling San Francisco is how the streets smell towards the end of summer. This is California, so for 6 months there's no rain at all. At that time, the streets build up a truly vile odor. A friend and I were walking around last month, and all of a sudden he spits, "Dog piss!". It does indeed smell like dog piss, and human piss, and spoiled food (Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Starbuck's, restaurant food garbage, etc.). And, in the areas where there are a lot of people living on the street, human feces. By August, on hot days, it is nauseating.

But then we get the first rains in October, as we did recently, and the streets all get cleaned off. The city smells lovely for a season, mixed with the cool fall air. It's a wonderful time to be alive.

Monday, October 6, 2008

U-bolt redux

With the help of a local vandweller who is extremely experienced with anything mechanical, and who has access to a well-stocked tool shed, we jacked the box up high enough to move the wood shims into their right places. I then torqued the u-bolts back down and all is now as close to original factory condition as I think I can get it without spending a lot of unnecessary money and time. Took a couple hours total.

It rained a bit over the weekend-- first rain since May, IIRC--, which reminds me that winter is now here. So this week I have to Parr-Bond the cab to the box, and maybe try to Kool Seal the crunched box corner too. And fix the window. Then, I am weatherproof and ready for winter.