Thursday, December 13, 2012

How do you know you are doing the right thing?

So... how do you know you are doing the "right thing"?  Aside from feeling that it's the "right thing" (some people think of this as your "gut instinct"), there's not much.  In my families case, things start to go horribly wrong in an attempt to prevent follow-through.  It's usually specific to cars.

My lovely lady and I have decided to adopt (just in case you know of anyone with a child [or one on the way] that we might be able to provide a home for).  We're still in the process of registrations (long process, trust me), but we've committed to the process, no matter what.

And then we hit the "what" :

  • My 2000 Honda Civic refuses to start this week.  Turns out I have a blown head gasket, the crankshaft position sensor is, well, cranky, the engine mounts need to be replaced, and the wheel bearings are starting to wear).  All in all, $350 in parts.  I'm not sure I want to pay labor, so I might end up doing the work myself.
  • The Jeep refused to keep running.  Thought I had the pressure regulator issue worked out, didn't actually have it.  Plus, the headlights were rewired with a relay so that I don't overheat the wire and lose them in the middle of the night while driving, plus getting the door lock rods bent properly so that the window and the door handle works properly without breaking something again.
  • I broke a treadmill.  The plastic hood snapped.  It still runs, but the plastic around the belt wears on the belt.
  • Our furnace starts to show signs of going kaput.  Turns out the flue exhaust motor was starting to break down from overheating (even the fiberglass holding it to the chambers was melted).  It seems to be a recurring problem with Lennox furnaces, but at least I know.  The exhaust motor - $250 (plus labor - they won't sell the part to the public, and I don't blame them because of the liabilities associated with burned gas fumes getting into your heating vents rather then vented outside).
This is not all.  But it's enough for me to stop touching things (because they seem to break).  With some blessings from above, The civic has started (needs about $350 worth of parts, possibly more, waiting to get the Jeep registered), and the Jeep is now running (and should pass emissions when I finally get it over there).  We have the furnace guy coming over tonight....

... well, that was the furnace guy.  The furnace is now in good shape, as is the Heep, uh, Jeep.  The treadmill problem has been identified, and will be resolved later (I can get it to operate, but may just be too busy for that... after all, my soul delights in fatness).  That leaves a Jeep registration and then overhaul the Civic.

On the Corvette front, the wiring has been completed (but not checked).  I must finish cleaning the steering column and then reassemble it before I can test it (the ignition switch and all) to make sure connecting the battery doesn't spark and arc.  Then I can adjust the power windows and get the door panels and dash panels installed.  Probably be the first time in 20 to 25 years that car has had a complete interior in it, but hey, it should like it.

However, it's going to have to take a break and wait for the civic to be rebuilt so that I can have multiple cars again in case the Jeep fails (it's a Jeep - I have to have a full, locked tool box in the back because it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when).  At that point, I can get back and focus on the 'vette.

Monday, September 17, 2012

1/3rd of the car - complete

If I were to section the corvette into three pieces, and then work on each individual piece to completion, the back third would be complete.

Tonight, I finished connecting the fuel sending unit to the wiring harness (I couldn't find those connectors so used some weather, heat-shrink-tubing connectors after using an ohm meter to find which end was which), reconnected the anti-theft horn to the new wiring harness, and completed the power antenna installation (wonder what it will be like to have sound).

This past weekend, I completed the rear storage compartment doors (but not the latches), running wires for the power antenna and amplifier, and ran the wiring for the door lock actuators.

Earlier today, I was able to complete the inputs from the security system into the relays, grounded where neccessary, and ran hot lines where neccessary to complete those. I also finished connecting the neutral safety switch wiring and relay up (the TKO II can't take the amperage that the starter solenoid requires, so I had to use a relay), and finished wiring everything on the stereo connector except for the speakers themselves.

To complete the interior, I have the following tasks remaining :
  1. electrical - The only things remaining on the electrical in the cabin are the security system, and then individual lights. Once complete, the system will need to be verified as operational.
  2. adjust the door glass - Once the electrical has been verified, then I can adjust the window glass. I can't install the door panels until the window glass has been adjusted.
  3. steering column - this needs to be refreshed, and the ignition barrel (the thing the key goes into) needs to be replaced.
  4. dash panels assembled - to finish these, I need to pick up a few parts - a light switch bezel, new duct balls, new center console duct grills, and a speedometer shroud.
  5. install the duct work - (after figuring out where things go, this is going to be fairly simple to accomplish - about 10 minutes of work and it would be done) - unfortunately, this has to wait until the electrical has been completed.
  6. install the panels - This will be the most visually satisfying task. Up to this point, most tasks have been small, and have not had any "visual" progress. Things like soldering, cutting, adjusting, a lot of "behind the scenes" stuff. Installing the panels will be the final step in finishing the interior section of the car.
Once the above is complete, then it will be to the front end to finish that off. To finish the front end, I must do the following :
  1. Connect the fuel lines to the carb (need to feed the double barrel beast).
  2. Connect the dual fans to the wiring harness
  3. Construct/Procure a headlight actuator system, and paint the headlight assemblies to match the vehicle. This is the part that's gonna hurt - the paint is a three part paint, and the color coat is $300 a pint.

Friday, May 18, 2012

For the First Time, A Full Set of Seat Belts

Wow! Last night was a huge milestone in my project! I have both sets of seat belts in the project for the first time since the previous owner had the car!

If you want a little background, I found and procured my 1977 fifteen years ago (about a year or two after I joined the VetteNet). I was ecstatic at the time it showed up. The car barely ran (had to let it warm up for 5 minutes before you could shift into drive or it would die). There was no interior in the car (lots of the original , broken panels), and sometimes, it wouldn't even crank when trying to start it. The body had stress fractures, and the previous owner (who had it for two years) had painted primer over the top of the original lacquer paint. He said he got the car out of a field in Ohio. From my experiences with this car, I believe it sat in that field for 10 years (a literal rat nest in the air cleaner, weeds growing IN the frame, and the frame itself collapsing under its own weight from when I tried to jack it up because of corrosion). It had the original block and TH350 (I still have those) , and the infamous "lazy eye" headlights because of a leak in the reservoir.

It has been a long, hard, educational experience. In the spring of 1995, I saw a gorgeous, victory red '74-'77, and knew I wanted one. I was not a car guy - at the time, I knew they had engines, and wheels, and when you pushed the throttle, a car went. Being in college, the only one I could afford (and I could find) was a "project" that someone was getting rid of. I bought it over the Internet, sight unseen (it supposedly "ran"). I received the car in Dec 1997, and started trying to get it road worthy. For two years, it was the only car I had.

I know many don't appreciate the "Haynes" manuals - I found the manual invaluable with my lack of knowledge. I later picked up an AIM (which I still use). I dismantled the engine twice trying to figure out problems, and realized I had to get this car back into a full, beautiful state if I wanted to drive it. That was in '00 - and the start of a complete rebuild (including removing the frame, rebuilding chunks of the frame and shipping it off to a local company who could spray finishes inside the frame, and putting in a stroker with a Tremec TKO II). Basically, after getting the frame back, I spent the time building a brand new car right beside the pile of parts formerly known as the old one. If I couldn't find a part that I wanted, I rebuilt what I had. Sent it off to the painter in '06 and got it back in '09 (expensive learning experience there - we can leave that out of this conversation though) in non-perfect state, and began to finish putting the thing together. Married in '09, my wife has never seen it run. Prior to me having the car, it's never had both seats in it at the same time.

It is definitely not going to be a top-flighter - I've installed rack and pinion, and a series of other aftermarket parts that make this just the way I like it. It's taken me such a long time, but I am getting closer and closer. There is still a lot of work to do (I want to put in electric, pop-up headlights, and some other goodies for the engine [18*, super, etc]), but I also want to get it on the road. It seems that (once a month) I get an hour to turn a wrench on it, and I make just a little bit of progress. Carpets have been installed for the first time I've had the car, and with the seat belts, I can install quarter panels (still figuring out how they fit into the car - I don't know since I didn't remove them).

But, I'll get it figured out. I'm not even sure I have all of the interior panels - but I'll find out. Has it been a good experience? You bet - I wouldn't trade what I learned for anything. The real problem is that my wife now has things in the queue - the original 1973 Dodge Power Wagon her parents bought new (and she drove to high school), and later she wants me to help her build her own Co*ra kit car. The bug even transferred to my father who purchased a 1959 Pontiac Star Chief to rebuild. Now that I am getting close, I can taste victory, and it is tasting sweet!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Introducting Project Homebrew Security

The arduino project just merged with the video capture portal project, creating a new one.  You can check out the details and the parts at the project link :

Introducing Project Homebrew Security

Updates for the project will be on that blog.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Okay, it's been a while, and I thought I'd better post another update.  It's been slow work.  The carpet was a massive step toward completion, but now there are a few hang ups.  The hold ups I have :
Need thread repairs
  1. Thread repairs for drivers side quarter panel
  2. Sheet metal to cover the gaping hole where the transmission shift comes into the car
  3. Seat belts rebuilt (I am not rebuilding them myself, as some parts were broken and I cannot get a hold of them)
  4. Spring and retainer cup for the sunvisors.
  5. Design headlight actuators
  6. Paint headlight lids and bezels
  7. Get the stereo head unit, speakers/subs, and amps.
However, just to give you an idea of what else has been done, the window glass is in position (not in place as I need to connect the electrical to the window switches to move and adjust), the panels are painted and ready to install (except the drivers quarter panel), the battery has been purchased, the starter connected.  Once the battery is connected, I'll align and install the window glass, and then try to get the door panels in place.

The panels have NEVER been in the car since I have owned it.  They were in boxes when I got the car, so this is THE most the car has been assembled for 15 years.  Thank goodness for the CAD drawings of the assembly - they identify what things I can install and how to do it, since I've never worked on some of these parts.

And, despite the dust on the car, the windows being in position gives me a sense of having it almost ready.

I'm getting a little antsy for this to be done!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Google Chrome, Linux (selinux), and Google Docs "Aw, Snap!"

For people getting an "Aw, Snap!" when opening Google docs in Google's Chrome browser (OS is Linux, with selinux enabled, can be determined by running "getenforce"), you should be able to fix this by running the following :

grep chrome /var/log/audit/audit.log|audit2allow -M chromepolicy

This will greate a chromepolicy.pp file in the current directory.  It is a binary file, so don't panic if you less or vi the file and can't read it.  It basically spits what was being denied by selinux through audit2allow to create the policy.

Once done, it prints this nice little line :

[root@cyanide var]# grep chrome /var/log/audit/audit.log|audit2allow -M chromepolicy******************** IMPORTANT ***********************
To make this policy package active, execute:

semodule -i chromepolicy.pp

[root@cyanide var]

That "semodule -i chromepolicy.pp" line is the new key to making it work.  If you then run that, it will allow Chrome to do the things it's been denied.  This is a better option for those that want to keep selinux enabled.  (Disabling it is bad if you don't trust people around you.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Okay, carpeting is finally installed.  Woohooo!  New car smell is back!  This is the most the car has been put together in 14 years!  Carpeting is installed.  Now I need some panels, and some speakers.  Some photos of the installed carpet :

Note that the center console still hasn't been finished.  I have the wiring in position, but still need to cover the shifter (after converting from the TH350 automatic to a new Tremec TKO II standard).  I dropped a sheet over the passengers foot pan to protect the carpets for a little bit.

And another photo of the rear compartment area, without the panels :

Next up, is to pick up panels, finish the shifter console, get the rest of the wiring installed, install speakers, install a battery and then the door glass (and then the door panels), and the dash board.

Then, headlights, plumb and lube the engine, and the suspension and steering joints and bearings, and then put the hood on.  Might get a little expensive (the only thing holding it back right now).  But, it's coming along!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Update on the car

Wow.  A little time and it's amazing what you can accomplish.  So far, I have installed Dynamat Superlite in the seat and floor pan areas of both sides, along the sides of the drive train tunnel, and along the dash board.  I have installed Reflectix on top of that (using some 3M 8090 Super Trim Adhesive stuff), and tacked that down, plus, tacked down the carpet on top of that stuff (with the same 8090 adhesive - it's a contact adhesive, spraying both sides, let it set for 5 minutes, and then tack them together, give them an hour to cure, and viola!).  So, I now have two pieces of carpeting installed.  I'll still need to trim it up once I have the panel components, but seriously, there is carpet where each of the seats go!  Woohoo!

The next step is to procure four speakers so that I can install the dashboard.  Two under the dash pad, and two at the kick panels.  I also need to pick up the kick panels, and the windshield trim, plus the t-top center trim and rear quarter panels.  With that stuff installed, it's the rear compartment area, the storage boxes, and the rear speakers (might go with 10" subs, or 6"x9" mids - in that small of an area, the subs might be useless).  Plus, install the door glass (after the battery goes in so I can adjust it), install the door panels, and some various trim pieces.  Given a week, and all of the parts, I could have the interior complete.  Wow.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Updated arduino code

Okay, I have now figured out how to do the interrupt-driven arduino alarm system, using a series of diodes for each input. I also found out that the resistors were pointless, as the inputs on the arduino typically contain a pull-up or pull-down resistor already embeded on the device. It makes it quite nice to set up an input. I'll furnish the schematics and the code for anyone that wants it.