Friday, April 30, 2010

tetris HD

last year i got into tetris HD.
it took me over a day to 'lose' just letting the blocks fall on their own.

it took me about a half hour to complete a full line!


link here

anyways, i screen captured my progress...

...2.5 hours:

...8.5 hours:

...19.5 hours:

24 hours!~!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

grannys gift

my grandmother gave me this nice hand towel for christmas!
she sewed the cat on it herself!

my mommy and my sister got one too.
how nice of grandma!

anyways, there were a few tattered edges.
grandma missed in a few places.

old people color out of the lines too!

i fixed up the tattered edges.
that way, this gift can last.
(i was worried about washing it)

and now its something we made together!

xoxo grandma caroline helenthal!

two birds tone

one of our first songs:
two birds tone

holly golightly

i bought two records at the show the other night.
the vinyl i got is amongst the most unique in my collection.
(color wise)

when i first played dirt dont hurt, it sounded awful.
i thought maybe my needle was on its way out..
rae says colored vinyl sounds bad,though.

i played records all day while i wrote letters.
they sounded okay, now that i think about it.
i just put 'medicine county' on now.

it sounds great.
so who knows!

pacific and howe 2010

i havent played this song in a very long time.

i wrote it when i first moved to canada.

tonight i recorded that song again.
i didn't listen to the original before recording tonight.
this recording is from memory.
in fact:
i haven't heard it since soon after it was first recorded.

you see,
i write new songs regularly.
i never really raise them into adulthood.

they are like sticky notes.

am i forgetting where i've come from?
(by not practicing promising songs)
perhaps - but not necessarily.
skills become instincts.

but - i had to read the lyrics while i played tonight.
i had forgotten how the song went!
clearly, my new version is ...different...

reading lyrics while keeping time on guitar:
a skill i've gained!

unfortunately, it seems my memory has faded.
this is mostly evident in my guitar's timing.

i really had a nice strum back then!
its interesting to see what time has turned it into.
I just haven't played that song much at all.

SO, HERE IS my new recording - without hearing my own song in years.
noW it seems my guitar playing is rigidly uninspired.
however, my vocal talent has improved..
..while losing purity.

most of the songs i write are like timestamps:
i only really play them for a few weeks or months.
perhaps this is true with all musicians?

however, a few carry on and become real.

this old recording gives me faith.
and new direction:
back in time, sideways, and into the future!

im glad that i constantly write new songs.
that way i don't get hung up trying to make things work.

I must remember:

potential gets lost in time without polish.

determination and persistence will pay off!

coming soon!


Thursday, April 22, 2010


what a great word to start a song with.


i love

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

axleshaft u-joint

while working on my transmission i verified a hunch i had.
my passenger side front axle shaft u-joint was noisy..
..i had heard it clicking while driving for a while.
further inspection confirmed that it was toast.
it was high time i replaced that u-joint!

recently, i got a parking place in the garage.
its always a pleasure working in a nice garage!
what a great contrast to working in the rocky and uneven street.
a lovely mountain breeze filled my lungs and cooled my skin.
the concrete is smooth and there are power outlets at hand!


STEP 1.)
break the lug nuts

this step must be done before you raise and support the jeep.
resistance from the vehicle weight is required to loosen the nuts.
there are five of them...


STEP 2.)
raise and support the vehicle

the jeep must be raised just enough to get the wheel off.
i always place jack stands under the axle tube at each control arm.
it is safe to use the differential or the axle tubes as lifting points.


STEP 3.)
remove the brake caliper

the caliper is controlled with hydraulics - aka brake fluid.
it exerts pressure on brake pads which grip the brake rotor.
2 bolts hold the caliper to the steering knuckle.


STEP 4.)
remove the brake rotor

the rotor rotates with the wheel through its alignment with the 5 wheel studs.
it is squeezed by the caliper's brake pads when braking to stop the wheel.
it is only restrained by the caliper, so it can simply be removed.


STEP 5.)
unbolt the hub assembly from the steering knuckle

the hub assembly connects the axle shaft to the wheel.
it is bolted to the steering knuckle with 3 12-point bolts.


STEP 6.)
separate the hub and shaft assembly from the steering knuckle

my hub was surface rusted to the steering knuckle.
i used a piece of wood to knock it loose from the inside out.

when the hub is freed, the axle shaft slides out of the axle tube.

note the engagement splines opposite the hub - near my hand.
this is how power is transferred from the differential through the shaft.

with the shaft removed, the empty axle tube is visible through the knuckle.

at this point, its a good idea to wrap the axle splines to prevent damage.
i used a cloth and some duck tape.


STEP 7.)
remove c-clips from u-joint


each of the 4 u-joint bearing caps are retained with c-clips.
they tend to get rusted in the grooves of the u-joint caps.
mine were no exception.
i hit the joint and the thick part of the shaft ears with a hammer.
that process tends to loosen things up a bit and make for easier removal.
then i used a small punch to remove the c-clips from the caps.

here you can see that i have started to work one c-clip out of its groove.

look closely at the stub-shaft (outer) side of the u-joint.
the tone ring - a square toothed gear - is pressed on the stub shaft.
its a component of the automatic braking system used to indicate locked brakes.
it also makes the angles for removing the c-clips almost impossible...
removing these little bastards took most of my time during this project!


my harbor freight u-joint press

i have always wanted this thing to work like magic.
but it has always just made things harder for me.
i seem to struggle with the alignment shifting as i apply more pressure.

using it is like working upside down or something...
: )


STEP 8.)
remove u-joint from axle shaft

hammering is the easiest way to start to remove the u-joint.
* place the stub shaft on a block of wood
* ensure that the long shaft's ears are facing up and down
* the long shaft's u-joint cap must have clearance overhanging the wood
* hit the long shaft repeatedly on the thick part of the shaft's ear
the goal is to force the bottom cap out of the ear.
once the first cap is out, a socket can be used to remove the other side.
* use a socket slightly smaller than the cap diameter
* insert the socket where the removed bearing cap was
* with the socket against the wood block, hammer away on the ear

here, the u-joint cap is starting to come out of the shaft ear.
the vice is misleading - i didn't use it at all because its jaws were too small

the needle bearings in this joint have been ground to dust.
this 'ground to dust phenomenon' is pretty common for an overly worn u-joint.

repeat the process on the opposite side to separate the shafts.

here you can see the old u-joint and the new.
also note the separated axle shafts, inner and outer.
the outer shaft is 'shrouded' by the tone ring and the hub assembly.
the hub can be removed from the shaft, but it is unnecessary for this procedure.


STEP 9.)
install the new u-joint

installation is the inverse of removal.

be careful not to knock over any needle bearings when installing the new caps.
you don't want one to lie flat and interfere with the u-joint installation..
..or you'll have to do it all over again (luckily i caught this before hammering)
i removed the cap and straitened the needle bearings with a screwdriver.
always install new c-clips in the cap grooves.

the final product - a new u-joint is installed and ready for 4wd action!

don't forget to add gear lube to the splines and seal surface.
this is the last step before reinstalling the shaft in the jeep!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

aw4 filter change



the other day, i got under my jeep to check the steering.
while i was under there, i noticed my transmission pan was leaking.
i took the jeep to the car wash and sprayed the pan clean.
lots of road grime and dirt had accumulated from the leaking fluid.

the trans pan is the rectangle with ribbing in the photo below.
you can see where the leaking fluid has 'cleaned' the pan:

fixing the leak meant installing a new trans pan gasket.
this was the perfect opportunity to put in a new filter, too.
with the pan off to change the gasket, i had easy access to the filter.

below i describe this process.
it was well worth the effort!

STEP 1.)
drain the fluid

the aw4 transmission pan holds 4 liters of ATF - dextron III.
(the entire transmission holds closer to 9 liters, i only changed the pan volume)

the drain plug is on the back of the pan:

the transmission cross member is right in the way of the drain flow.
i used this small funnel to redirect the flow away from the x-member:

after draining the fluid, i re-installed the drain plug.
not all fluid drains from the pan due to recesses and ribbing.

this container holds my used fluids, in this case trans fluid:
i go to my local auto parts store to dispose of used fluids properly.


STEP 2.)
remove the bolts holding the pan to the transmission

they should be torqued to 60 ft/lbs, but mine came off very easily.
(perhaps tightening these would have stopped my leak!)

i removed the bolts along the sides of the transmission pan:

the ends of the pan are impeded by the exhaust and the x-member.
my wrench and extension wouldn't align strait on some of the bolts.

i used a swivel to redirect my extension to clear the exhaust:

the swivel was handy in the rear, too, where the x-member is in the way:

a single bolt was blocked in a way even my swivel wouldn't fix.
the exhaust hanger is directly impeding this bolt:

i used a ratchet strap to pull the exhaust aside temporarily.
this allowed me enough clearance to remove the bolt using the swivel:

reinforcements for step 3 - chisels, rubber mallet, glass of water:


STEP 3.)
break trans pan seal

the factory uses red RTV sealant as a gasket.
this sealant gets hot and bakes on as it adheres to the trans and pan.
i used a rubber mallet to tap around the pan to loosen the sealant.

a sharp flat chisel helped to carefully pry the pan off at the corner:

my first look inside my jeep's aw4 transmission:

now, the dipstick tube (at bottom right) is all that holds the pan up:


STEP 4.)
drain remaining fluid

as you can see, my transmission fluid was quite dark.
transmission fluid is supposed to be a translucent reddish pink.
good thing i will be cycling in some fresh fluid!

quite a bit of fluid stays in the pan after the initial drain:

i unscrewed the drain plug once again.
tilting the pan allowed me to drain the remaining fluid:


STEP 5.)
remove transmission pan from the jeep

i worked the dipstick tube and trans pan out from under the jeep.

the tube will remain connected to the pan for the entire procedure:

the dipstick tube connects the trans pan to the engine compartment.
this is how you check the transmission fluid level and add lubricant.
i unbolted the dipstick tube from the engine compartment.

the dipstick is accessed in the engine compartment and ends in the pan:

there are 2 small magnets in the bottom of the transmission pan.
these are used to accumulate small metallic particles.
as transmissions break in, metallic bits naturally wear off.
i was pleased to see that i had a normal amount of wear.

pan magnets in pan removed from the jeep

left is clean, magnet on right illustrates accumulated metal particles:


STEP 6.)
prep pan for new gasket

i scraped all of the red RTV sealant from the pan.
i used a bit of parts cleaner and emery cloth on seal surfaces.
(being VERY careful, as parts cleaner should not be in a transmission!)

here you can see the long dipstick tube still attached to the pan:

trans pan all prepped for the new gasket:


STEP 7.)
out with the old, in with the new

the filter is held in place with 4 13mm bolts.

the transmission filter is the dark gray rectangle:

trans filter removed:

old filter is dark gray, new filter is light gray:


STEP 8.)
re-install transmission pan

its easy from here out

test-fitting the new gasket i got from NAPA

the cleaned magnets are put back in the pan for re-installation.
note the dipstick tube going to the engine compartment:

feeding the dipstick tube back up to the engine compartment

the gasket held the pan bolts in place for me.
i put one bolt on each side to get it held in place at first.
i used a punch to align the holes in the gasket for the remaining bolts.

one 'prep' bolt on the far left, one near the right side:

i torqued the bolts to 60 INCH/lbs

final touch - add 4 liters of ATF - dextron III


Appendix A.)
tools used:

* shop light
* pocket knife
* ratchet strap
* chisel - wide
* chisel - narrow
* emery cloth
* rubber mallet
* shop gloves
* torque wrench
* 3/8 ratchet
* 3/8 extension
* 13 mm socket
* swivel
* 1/4 ratchet
* 1/4 extension
* small funnel
* long funnel
* flashlight
* keys
* parts cleaner
* punch