Saturday, November 23, 2013

And then there was one

Today marks a bittersweet day for me.  My 1977 Jeep Wagoneer -- which has been in our family longer than any of my children -- left my driveway for a new home in Chicago, 500 miles away.  Selling her was voluntary, of course, but I still feel like I've just given one of my children up for adoption.  (That would be the child that has a great personality, but eats non-stop, has frequent medical bills, and never helps out around the house.)  I'm feeling the pain of losing a loved one right now, so I'm going to take this opportunity to share our story with you all.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lubing a stubborn car door

The rear side doors--especially the driver side--in our 2001 Chevy Tahoe had gotten rather stiff, to the point where our 5-year-old son had trouble opening his car door. It turned out that there's a spring-loaded arm called the "door check link" that rides on two bars to provide the half- and full-open detents. That bar was scraping against its two mating bars rather than riding smoothly, and that resistance made the door hard to open and close. Fixing it was as simple as greasing the edges of that bar.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Replacing the cabin air filter in a Chevy truck

We've noticed recently that the interior of our 2001 Chevy Tahoe has been smelling pretty musty.  We cleaned all the carpets, but to no avail.  I was then reminded that the last time this smell appeared, it was time to change the air filter that protects the HVAC system in the cabin.  It's a pretty simple job, and one that should be identical on all 1999-2006 GMC/Chevy Sierra pickups and all 2000-2006 Tahoes, Suburbans, Yukons, and Denalies.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Biking through the brier patch

Fourteen of us--four adults and ten kids--recently cycled ten miles from Lincoln to Eagle, Nebraska, along the MoPac Trail for the weekly Nacho Ride.  It sounded like a fun ride.  It turned out to be quite memorable, though perhaps not quite as fun as we expected.  Aside from the younger kids getting worn out biking 20 miles in one evening, we also picked up lots of sand burrs along the way, resulting in eight tire punctures.  I was pretty well equipped for the hassle, but still not quite as much as I ought to have been.  This resulted in some upgrades to our cycling setups in the week that followed.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Smartphone input to an Alpine stereo

More than 10 years ago, I bought an Alpine CDA-7894 stereo for the 1977 Jeep Wagoneer I was rebuilding.  That rebuild stagnated, so when the factory stereo in our 2001 Chevy Tahoe died, I moved the Alpine head unit over to the Tahoe.  The CDA-7894 will read data CD's full of MP3 files (a very progressive feature in 2002), but standalone MP3 players were not yet common devices, and smartphones didn't yet exist.  Fast forward to 2013, when I really wanted to be able to plug my smartphone into the truck's stereo so I could enjoy Pandora or my MP3 collection on long road trips rather than lugging along boxes of CD's.  The default configuration for that stereo didn't have a convenient audio input jack, but that can be remedied with just a couple aftermarket parts.