Friday, October 30, 2015



We didn’t see Sue and Denis yesterday so we continued to work towards leaving for Arizona.

There isn’t much more to do but we did have to get the smog test done on Patti’s car as the registration is due in January. Once we get the paperwork I can register the car on line.

Other than that we have been just putting things in the RV as we think about them. I think we are down to just last minute stuff like our toiletries and meds.

Another few days and we will be on the road.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Jeep Temperature, Wash the RV.


Jeep temperature sensor.

The other day when we went to the cabin I noticed that on the way home the temperature gauge wasn’t working.
This morning I went out to hunt down a new temperature sensing unit. A had to go to three different auto parts stores before I found one. This time it was at the Napa store.
I had to look on line to find out where the sensor was located on the engine but after that it was an easy job to change it. Once I got the sensor changed I started the engine and after a little while the temp came up.
I have been suspecting for a while that the temperature sender was going bad. Maybe that is why the engine has been running so rich. Only time will tell.

Wash the RV.

The RV was looking kind of run down after sitting all summer. It was covered with grimy dust and moss was starting to grow in the gutters.
I have been a little reluctant to wash the RV since we are in a drought and people are watching to see who uses water inappropriately. I finally decided “Screw Them” and washed the RV.
It looks a lot better.

Well, that kicked my butt so I’m done for the day. I think I take a little nap and then write the blog for today.

Redwoods, The coast and Lunch


Armstrong Woods State Park.

We picked up Sue and Denis around 10:00 and headed for Guerneville and Bob’s place.
I was thinking that we could stop by and visit Bob and then take a walk in Armstrong Grove Redwood State Park which is right next door to Bob’s house.
After a short visit, Bob suggested that we do just that. The park entrance is about half mile from Bob’s so we all got in Patti’s car and drove to the park entrance.


We walked the trails checking out the big trees.


There were lots of interesting root balls of the fallen giants.



We came to a spot called the Magic Circle. Here are several large trees that have grown from the rim of an old stump that has since disappeared creating a large circle of trees.

Denis is taking a look at the view.


Here is what he sees.


A lot of the trees have interesting burls on them. Burls are a growth that forms on a tree from an injury.

Here is one that we decide should be called; the grumpy old man of the woods.


Here is another one called the Icicle tree.


We wandered around in the trees for an hour or so marveling at their size.

Here is a sign in front of one of the giants that will give you some idea of the size and age of these forest monarchs.


It is a bit amazing to think that if this tree was standing at the goal line of a football field and you cut it down the top would hit the goal post on the opposite end of the field.
Just picture that, Amazing eh?

Here is Sue and Denis on the trail.


The Pacific Coast Highway.

We left the park, dropped Bob off at his place and headed for the coast.
It is about a 30 minute drive from Guerneville to the Pacific Coast Highway US-1.

The ocean was fairly calm although a storm is supposed to get here tomorrow.


Lunch at Bodega Bay.

We drove to Bodega Bay and went down to the Spud Point Marina where we had lunch at the Spud Point Crab Company.


They have very good Clam Chowder.

Bodega Head

After lunch we drove to Bodega Head to check out the view.

This is looking north from the head.


A lot of Ice plant grow on the rocks along the coast. It can be very colorful at certain times of the year.

Here it is in it’s fall colors.



We watched the waves crashing against rocks for a while and then headed for home.


It was a really nice day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sue and Denis at the Cabin.


We leave for the cabin.

We stopped by Sue and Denis’s RV around 9:00. They were more or less ready to go so after a few minutes we were heading out. We made one stop to fill the gas tanks.
Eventually we were on the road.


We stopped at the Boonville Market and bought a couple of sandwiches for lunch then continued our drive to the cabin. We arrived around 12:00 and after showing Sue and Denis the cabin and other stuff around the camp we sat around outside and ate our lunch.

Sue and Denis at the cabin.


A little walk.

After lunch Sue, Denis and I took a walk up the road to the Bear Spring. On the way back we took the cabin loop trail  and followed it to the dirt bench. After a short break there, we headed back to the road and down the hill to the cabin.
I forgot to bring the camera again!

Trip to the grove.

After a short break at the cabin, we got in the jeeps and drove down to the Grove.

Here is Sue and Patti standing by the swimming hole. It’s a little low at this time of year.


We wandered around the grove for a while checking out the giant redwoods there.
After a while we headed back up the hill.

Patti thought she had left her camera at the cabin so we stopped by there to look for it. The camera turned out to be buried under some stuff in the jeep.

Heading home.

We left there and headed for home. We stopped at Old Town Windsor for dinner at Lupe’s. Everyone enjoyed their dinner (or “supper” for the Canadians).

It was a good day.

Today (Tuesday) we are going to take Sue and Denis to the coast.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Solenoid Valve Again. A visit from Felice And Friends From Canada Arrive.


Another try at the solenoid Valve:

I had a little free time this morning so I decided to take another look at the solenoid valve in the van. I pulled the valve out of the van and put it in the vice where I tried to blow air through it. It was closed and of course no air went through the valve. Next, I applied 12 volts to the coil and the valve clicked (it was a light click). I tried blowing through the valve and was able to do so but there was a lot of back pressure.
I decided that the valve was just barely opening.
What to do?
I thought; I have the old washer so I can double up on the washers, that should provide enough room for the valve to open fully.

So that’s what I did, I put the old washer on top of the new one and tightened the stem back down good and tight so it won’t leak.

I put the whole thing back together and installed it in the van. The van started right up and ran just fine. I didn’t see any leaks so after idling for about 10 minutes, I took a little ride. I drove about 5 miles out of town and back home. Just enough to get the engine up to operating temp. When I got home I just shut her down and went inside for a while. Later I came back out and checked to smell the van for raw gas. There was a very slight gas smell which I expected as the gas in the carburetor will still boil and some fumes will be released. I turned on the ignition and heard a good solid click from the solenoid. Then I could hear fuel pouring under pressure into the float bowl of the carburetor.
That means the float had sunk and much of the gas that was in the float bowl had drained into the manifold (possibly through the idle circuit I don’t really know for sure).
If the solenoid had not been there a lot of the fuel in the line would have been forced into the carb and even more fuel would be at the bottom of the intake manifold.
Hopefully this will stop most of that problem, even though the fuel will still boil and the float will still sink when that happens. Less fuel will get into the manifold with the solenoid in the line. Hopefully.

We will see.

Mr. Ed.

Since the van was running we decided to go to Lorraine’s to pick up “Mister Ed”.
Mister Ed is a 1-3/4 bore black powder cannon that my friend Jerry and I had co ownership in. Sadly Jerry has passed on and Lorraine said that I should take the cannon as she had no need for it.
Today we took the van over there and got Mr. Ed 


My daughter, Felice, came by for a visit today. It’s always nice to see her. She just returned from a trip to Europe and had tales of her experiences there. Patti and her had a nice time reminiscing and discussing travel in Spain.
We went out to lunch at a place that was new to us; Derk’s Midtown CafĂ©. It was okay. Felice left around 3:00. 

Friends Arrive from Canada

We have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of our friends Sue and Denis from Quebec, Canada.
Patti has been following their progress across the states on face book. Today after Felice left, Patti got on line to check on them and found out that they were at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds RV park so off we went to see them.

It was a happy reunion. We visited for about an hour and made plans to take them to the cabin tomorrow.
So that’s what we will be doing tomorrow. Hopefully we will remember to take some pictures.

Talk to you later.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Getting Ready to Migrate South for the Winter.


Fixing the jeep.

I received the power module for the braking system on the jeep Thursday afternoon. Friday morning I installed the power module and it works just fine. That was the last major project to get done before we leave for Arizona.

Yard and House Work.

Patti and I did a little yard cleanup trying to get things ready around the house. Today, we will go through the house. 

Other that that, we are pretty much ready to go south.

Okay that’s it for now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Slow Days.


We are still slowly putting things in the RV as we think about them.

Yesterday I ordered the Power Module for the aux brakes on the jeep. It should be here tomorrow or the next day.

I installed the XM radio in the RV.

In the past I tried using sticky back Velcro to hold the radio on the dash but the heat of the sun melts the glue and it lets go. This time I made a bracket and screwed the base to the dash. I also did a better job of running the wires. This time the installation is ~ permanent.

Not much more happening around here. Just getting ready to head south.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Getting the RV Home and a Trip to the City.


Bringing home the RV:

We got the motor home out of the shop on Friday afternoon and filled it up with gas on the way home. That way we don’t have to stop on our way out of town in a few weeks.

We started getting things together and slowly are putting stuff in the motor home.

A visit to San Francisco.

We forgot to bring the @^#$# camera!

Saturday we went to San Francisco to visit with my daughter and her husband. They have a really nice place on a hillside with a great view of the East Bay and the Bay Bridge.

We always enjoy visiting with Gabriella and Morgan. They are fun and into a lot of cool stuff.

We had lunch at “The Old Clam House”; this is the oldest restaurant in San Francisco. It was built in 1861 and is still in business. As the name suggests they specialize in seafood.

Morgan and I shared a dozen raw oysters and we both had the steamed clams in a broth. The oysters were fresh and tasty as were the clams.

Patti had a Shrimp Louie and said that it was good.

Gabriella had a spinach salad and a Pasta dish that looked like couscous with snow peas and sun dried tomatoes. She loved it except for the tomatoes.

The food is good but be prepared to pay a good price for it. I suppose that goes for any place in the city.

The trip home.

Every time we go to visit with Gabriella and Morgan we get lost on the way home trying to get out of the city. This time we made sure to followed Morgan’s directions to the letter and eventually got to a part of town that I am familiar with. Soon we were crossing the bridge into Marin county. It feels like a race track coming north down the hill from the Rainbow Tunnel; everyone is in a hurry to get home. Everything moved along pretty good until we got north of Novato where there was a wreck.

The wreck was off the highway but the rubbernecker’s caused the traffic to be backed up for several miles. After about 45 minutes of stop and slow traffic we cleared the wreck and from there it was good sailing all the way home.


I have been working on enhanced security for my shed. Today I mounted the hardware.


Those bolts won’t come out without a lot of noise and serious destruction of the door and wall of the shed.
Nothing is perfect but maybe this will be a deterrent. Locks only keep out nosy people; a determined thief, not as much.

Auxiliary brake system:

I got the documentation for the system out of the motor home and from what I have been able to figure out, it looks like the power controller is fried. Today I tried to order a new controller on line but even though I found the web sight for the manufacturer I could not find anywhere to buy parts, only complete kits. I will try to call them tomorrow and find out what’s up.

Okay, That’s all for today

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Some Jeep Work and a Shot in the Hand.


There hasn’t been a lot going on the last couple of days.

We are still waiting for the the RV to be released from the shop. The guy promised it would be ready by Friday. The problem has been getting parts for the chassis AC.

Work on the Jeep.

The auxiliary braking system has been giving some trouble. When the brake-away switch is actuated the signal to the pump pulses and the pump runs and stops, runs and stops.
I thought that the problem was with the plunger switch so I took it apart and found that the switch was ok.


As you can see in the above picture, the switch is very simple. There is a plastic plunger that goes into the end of the switch which slides between the two points and keeps the circuit open. There is a cable connected to the plunger at one end and connected to the towing vehicle at the other. If there is an accidental separation the cable pulls out the plunger, the switch closes and the brakes are automatically applied.

I did find a problem with the switch. The wires are riveted to the blades of the switch and one side was not making a connection. I put tie blade on the anvil, rapped the connection with a hammer and that took care of that problem.

I put everything back together and hooked the switch back up. You can see the plunger in the front of the switch below.


When I pulled the plunger the pump started but it still pulsed. As I was checking for loose wiring the pump stopped. I noticed that the control module for the system was very warm. I checked the voltage at the pump and it was gone.
I have to wait until I get the the RV back before I can trouble shoot this problem further. All the documentation on the aux braking system is in the RV and the RV has to be connected to the jeep brake system to go much further. I am thinking that the controller for the system is fried but I won’t know for sure until I can look at the paperwork and do some more trouble shooting.

A Shot in the Hand.

Last year I was having trouble with a trigger finger.
A trigger finger is caused by inflammation of the tendons of the fingers where they pass through loop’s that hold them in place. It’s like a lump in a cable and it gets stuck on each side of the loop when you open and close the hand. It can be very painful. 
Last year I went to the doctor and had some cortisone shots in the hand. 
The shots fixed the problem until I came home and started doing a bunch of Blacksmithing.

Now the finger is messed up again. I went to see the hand doctor yesterday and convinced him to give me another shot so I can drive more comfortably. I promised the doctor that I would have the finger surgically repaired next May but there isn’t enough time to get it done now. 
The doctor acquiesced and gave me the shot. Unfortunately the shot didn’t make much difference. The finger still locks up and hurts when I unlock it.

Ok that’s all I have for now. Talk to you later.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Fuel Valve Revisited, a Couple Days at the Cabin and Some Work on the Jeep.


The fuel cutoff valve:

I haven’t been able to get the fuel cut off valve out of my head. Some times when things don’t work it will bug me until I get to the bottom of it. This fuel valve is one of those things.

I decided to give the valve a good test and if I had to, take it apart to see why it failed.
While I was thinking about the problem I went over everything that happened to the valve.
One of the things that I remembered is; when I removed the valve after the first test drive I found that the stem was loose so I tightened it.

Another thing that stood out was, the last time I was taking the valve out I forgot to disconnect the power and when I went to remove the coil the wrench stuck to the nut on top of the coil. The coil was energized and working.

I put the valve in the vice and removed the coil. The stem is the steel part that is screwed into the Brass body of valve. The solenoid coil is the black thing sitting on the vice behind the valve.


Here is the valve taken apart. You can see the valve body with the orifice, the stem and the plunger, its spring and the plastic washer.


The valve is so simple that it is hard to see what is wrong. I put the valve together and made sure everything was tight. Then I put the coil on the valve and energized it.
Nothing happened, no click of the plunger! what is going on here?

I had an idea! I removed the coil and loosened the stem a little. I put the coil back on the valve and energized it. “CLICK”. The solenoid seemed to work. I tightened down the stem and tried it again . No Click.
I tried it several times and decided that the washer must have been crushed when it got so hot.
That is why it was loose when I removed the valve. With the washer shrunken and the stem tightened the plunger is pressed down on the orifice and there is no room for the plunger to move. The amount of movement is apparently controlled by the thickness of the washer.
I decided that what I needed to do was make a new thicker washer.
Fortunately I still had that piece of Delran plastic. That seems to be the perfect material for this project. It is tough, machinable and impervious to almost any chemicals.

I put the Delran rod in the lathe and turned down the end to the outside dimensions of the washer.


After getting the inside diameter bored I cut off the new thicker washer. The new washer is on the left in the picture below.


As you may be able to tell, the in side diameter is a little smaller than the original.
I had to use a half round file to finish it to size. That stuff is really hard to file.

I put the solenoid back together with the new washer and checked it out. I energized the coil and heard the plunger click. I blew through the tube and it worked, the valve was open.
After several cycles to make sure it would work I installed the valve on the van and started it up. The valve seems to be working. I took a short ride around town and it still worked. I stopped at a store for about ten minutes. When I came back to the van I didn’t smell any gas fumes and the engine started without any loading up or belching black smoke from the exhaust.
Hopefully this will be the answer to the carburetor loading up problem.

A short trip to the cabin:

I needed a couple days at the cabin. I figured that I might not get another chance before we leave for Arizona. We are still waiting to get the RV out of the shop so I can’t do anything about getting ready to leave. I wanted to get my weed eater from where I left it under  the picnic table down at the shotgun range and I wanted to finish the work I started on the spring tanks.

Saturday morning I headed for Boonville; It was very fogy around Santa Rosa when I left but that cleared as usual, around Cloverdale. As the jeep climbed the hills on 128 heading west the fog came back and was with us all the way to Boonville. The windshield wipers were on the whole way.
It was a cold gray morning in Anderson Valley when I stopped at the Market to get a sandwich for my lunch. I was counting on the sandwich to be large enough to serve as lunch for today and tomorrow. I planned on a nice big french roll with lots of turkey and some pepper-jack cheese.

I walked to the back of the store where the deli counter is and struck up a conversation with the deli ladies as I filled out my sandwich request.

The lady behind the counter took the slip of paper and looked at it, then looked up at me.

“I’m afraid we have a problem” she said.

“Oh? What might that be”. I asked

“My bread delivery hasn’t occurred yet”…

“And you have no rolls” I finished for her.

“Right”, she replied. “You have a choice between sliced rye or sliced whole wheat”.

“Gosh, I was really counting on this sandwich to feed me for lunch today and tomorrow. I was kind of hoping for a roll but I guess whole wheat will work”, I replied.

The lady took pity on me and made a really large sandwich with lots of meat. Nice folks in that store.

By the time I got to the cabin the fog had lifted.
The first thing I noticed when I got out of the jeep was that the cow skull was missing from the stump and the overflow pipe was on the ground.

I walked up to the stump to check things out. At first I thought that some human had absconded with the skull but I noticed that the skull had not been lifted up but dragged from the stump; I could see the drag marks. Then I noticed a few tufts of white hair scattered around below.  I assume that the skull was carried off by a coyote, to use as a chew toy. In my wanderings round the place for the next to days I never stumbled on it.

Once I got moved in I drove down to the shotgun range to get my weed eater.
When I got to the crossing where you enter the meadow there was a tree down and hanging over the road. I realized at that time that I came up here without a chain saw. Not a smart thing to do in these wood where a tree could block you in at any time even in good weather.

I left the jeep at the tree and walked down to the shotgun range and retrieved the weed eater. When I got back I realized that it would be hard to turn around where I was and to go forward I would have to do something about the tree. I took the ax out of the back of the jeep and cut off a low hanging branch from the tree that gave just enough room to drive the jeep under. I turned around in the meadow and went back to the cabin to hang out for a while.

After eating the first half of my sandwich I got in the jeep and headed up to the spring tanks to finish up the plumbing.


Once that was done I drove up to the Bear Spring and sat there for a while listening to the squirrels barking in the trees. I noticed that this year was pretty sparse as far as squirrel food is concerned; there aren’t many acorns and the Madrone berries are nonexistent. I wonder what the squirrels are eating.

A Walk in the Woods:

I decided to take a walk out the cabin loop trail and enjoy spending some time in the woods. I stopped at all the benches and spent some time just sitting and listening to the forest.


When I was walking back to the jeep I stopped at this one spot and noticed these green things laying on a log.


Upon closer inspection I realized that this might be what the squirrels are eating. These are the husk of the fruit of the California Nutmeg.
This particular area has more mature nutmeg trees than anywhere else I have seen. This is not the aromatic nutmeg used in eggnog.

After a few of hours wandering around in the forest I headed back to the jeep and drove down the hill to the cabin.

For dinner, I opened a can of Nally’s Chicken and Dumplings.
Boy, the crap I will eat when I am alone. The problem is I really like Chicken and Dumplings and was really disappointed with this stuff. Think; a few chunks of canned chicken in canned gravy with squares of dough lying at the bottom of the gravy.

After a little reading and a couple of classic radio shows on the XM it was time for bed.


It was cold in the cabin this morning so I slept in until around 9:00. I didn’t want to start a fire in the wood stove as I knew that it would warm up as the day progressed. While I was fixing breakfast I lit all three burners on the stove to help take the chill of the cabin.
I spent the morning enjoying several cups of mocha and trying to see out the dirty windows in the cabin. Finally I decided that I had to do something about the windows. These windows are made from heavy duty clear plastic film. When you try to wash them the film flexes so you can’t put any pressure on the windows. What I tried is just spraying the windows to get the accumulated dust off.
Of course the water just beaded up on window. I had one of those micro fiber towels and used it on the window on the porch and it worked ok. The window came out kind of clean. As I worked my way around to the side windows I found that once the towel got wet it no longer work to remove the droplets and just spreads the water and dirt around. It will take at least one of these towels for each window to do a good job.

Later I began the chore of getting ready to go home. As I was walking in and out of the cabin I noticed a white garbage bag on the porch that had some tubers in it for what I think are Dahlias.

Below you can see the tubers.


I had planted some by the stump earlier in the year and noticed that a couple of the plants had taken root and were doing well.


Eventually I got all the flowers planted and the jeep loaded and headed for home.


A doctor’s appointment and work on the jeep:

After breakfast I started on this blog but around 9:30 I had to go to Sebastopol to see the cardiologist to get the results of the latest echocardiogram. Everything looks good so I guess you will have to put up with me for a while longer.

Patti and I went to Hank’s for breakfast, always good.

After breakfast I started working on the jeep. I wanted to re-mount the vacuum pump for the aux. braking system.

This is the original (temporary) mounting system that has been this way for 5 or 6 years.


Hanging by some zip ties is not really acceptable.

This is the new mounting situation. Screwed to the fender well is better.


What the @#%*.

There is of course a small problem; I have to buy a piece of vacuum hose to complete the installation. 

I can’t drive the jeep to the parts store because the power brake system is temporarily disabled.
Patti is out shopping so I can’t use her car so I’ll just take the van to the store.

I got in the van and tried to start it. No go! I cranked the engine over and pumped the gas but nothing happened. It wasn’t getting any gas.
The temperature outside at this time was about 90°. I decided that this was a good time to quit for the day

I have no idea what is going on with the van but I’m going to try not to think about it until next summer.

Tomorrow I will take Patti’s car and go get the hose for the jeep.

I just goofed off for the rest of the day and have been working on this blog since dinner time; now its time for bed.

Good night.  

Friday, October 9, 2015

Try These Recipe’s.


“Cutie Meringue Surprise”

Patti and I have been eating these little mandarin oranges called “cutie pie’s” for years.

I have always thought that there should be some kind of a dessert one could make out of these sweet little oranges.

Yesterday I wasn’t doing much so I looked in the cupboards and came up with a box of Kingsford Corn Starch. On the back of the box is a recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie.

I followed this recipe and whenever it called for “lemon” I substituted “orange”.
The only changes I made to the recipe was that when it called for 1-1/2 cups of sugar I only added 1 cup as I figure that the oranges were sweet enough. I also added slices of orange to the filling after I poured it into the baking dish.
I don’t make pie shells and didn’t have any frozen ones so I just built the pie in a baking dish. After the pie came out of the oven I added slices of orange and a little orange zest on top.

Here it is cooling on the stove.


We ate about half of this for dessert and it was bloody awesome. “Try it, you’ll like it.”

If you are diabetic I’m sure “Splenda” would work just fine in place of sugar.

Great Sprouts:

Oh! By the way;
There was one more recipe that we tried yesterday. Patti got this off FaceBook.
Patti loves Brussels Sprouts and I have never liked them. Patti found this recipe for baked Brussels Sprouts with Honey and Balsamic Vinegar so I figured it was worth a try.

Here is how it goes.

Cut sprouts in half, put them in a bowl, drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the sprouts and toss with a little salt and pepper. Put the sprouts on a baking sheet and bake in a 425 oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, return to the bowl and drizzle on more e.v.o.o. and a little balsamic vinegar, toss to cover all and serve.
These were undoubtedly the best Brussels Sprouts I have ever tasted. I am now a fan of sprouts.

Okay that’s all I have for today.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

RIP. Fuel Cutoff Solenoid.


Yesterday I went to the auto parts store and purchased the clamps that I needed to finish the solenoid job.
When I got home I clamped the hoses where they needed them, then I started the engine.
The engine started and ran for a couple of minutes and died. I tried several times to restart the engine without success.

As it turned out the solenoid is literally fried. I checked the name tag on the solenoid and found that the operating temperature is from 40° to 170°. The engine in the van’s normal operating temperature is from 200° to 230°. Way outside the max temp for the solenoid;  since the solenoid was mounted directly on the manifold. I wouldn’t be surprised if the temp got to around 300°.

I have been researching solenoids and found some that have an operating range to 250°. I think that will work if I mount it properly. These solenoids are an inline style and will probably require a different mounting system.
In other words I’ll be starting from scratch. I’m not sure if I’m going to pursue this any more this year as it is getting close to the time we leave for Arizona and things are going to get very busy soon.
I think I will put the van back to the original configuration and continue this experiment next year.

Stay tuned.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Successful Test Drive + Smog Test + New Solenoid Mount.



A successful Test Drive.

Patti and I took the van for a test drive to see if the solenoid solved the gas smell and hard hot starting problem.

We drove up the freeway to Geyserville where we got on Litton Springs Road and drove to Dry Creek Road where we turned west on Dry Creek and followed it to Lambert Bridge Rd where we turned left and followed that to West Dry Creek where we turned right and followed that road to Yocum Bridge Road and followed that back to Dry Creek Road where we headed back to Healdsburg. We stopped for lunch at the Bear Republic Pub.
By the time we got there the engine in the van was nice and hot.
I shut it off and we went in to the Pub for lunch. After about 45 minutes we came back out to the van. When we got there the first thing I noticed was there was no gas smell.
The van started ok but stumbled a couple times as we left the parking lot.
We got on 101 without any problem but as we drove along I found that the van had a hard time accelerating; it would stumble and run real rough. It would even back fire.
We took the first Santa Rosa exit off 101 and made it all the way to Mendocino Ave when the van started really acting up. I took the first right off of Mendocino Ave. and as I made the turn the engine died all together.

I opened the engine compartment and could see that the solenoid had come loose from the mount. I touched the solenoid and it was so hot I had to rapidly pull my finger away.

I wasn’t very well prepared for this test as I had forgotten to bring any tools (dumb).
I decided that the best thing to do was to just by pass the solenoid so we could get home.
But how to do this without tools or parts? I looked around in the van and came up with a ball point pen. I took the pen apart so I could use the body of the pen for a tube to connect the gas lines together. Now I needed some tools. I looked in the kitchen box and found a butter knife and a steak knife. Everything was too hot to touch so I used the steak knife to cut the tubing. I inserted the pen body into the tubing and used the butter knife to tighten the clamps.
That got us home.

You may think it a bit od that I call this a successful test drive since the van crapped out and we had to fix it to get home but a test drive is supposed to bring to light any deficiencies in the design of the modification. It worked out that the mounting system that I originally used was in insufficient to hold the solenoid and since I used the screw that was holding down the solenoid as the grounding screw for coil on the solenoid.  When it came loose, it intermittently lost the coil circuit and the solenoid would open and close as it bounced around on the loose screw. That’s why the engine was cutting out.


A smog test.

This was a typical Monday, it seemed that everything I tried to do went sideways. I decided that I wasn’t going to work on anything important today.

I took the jeep to get a smog test and remarkably it passed!


A New Mount.

I tackled the solenoid mount today.

The original mount was just one screw that held a plate the solenoid was mounted on to the intake manifold.


In the above photo you can see the screw that held down the solenoid and you can see the ground connection also.

Another of the problems with this approach is that the solenoid gets extremely hot sitting directly on the manifold. 
Also, where the solenoid is sitting necessitates using a fairly long piece of tubing to run between the solenoid and the carburetor. This could possibly cause excess fuel to be forced into the carb due to heat and pressure in the tubing.
You can see the tubing in the above photo also.

A new design.

The answer is a completely new design . This time I built a mount that clamps to the Manifold and holds the solenoid away from the manifold’s heat.

Here it is.


This design also allows the output of the solenoid to be right next to the input to the carburetor and can be connected with just a short piece of tubing more or less a flex connection.

Here is the solenoid installed. I will need to pick up a few hose clamps to finish the job. I’ll do that today.



Okay that’s it for now.

We are still waiting for our RV to get out of the shop so we can start getting ready to leave for Arizona.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A couple of lazy days and a small project.


The last couple of days have been a bit slow.


I had an appointment to have a echo cardiogram in the morning.

When I got home from that I started unloading the van from the last trip. It took me most of the rest of the day to get it all done.


Dave came by for a visit and while he was here the solenoid for the van arrived. It turned out to be a bit larger than I had visualized but I think I can get it to work.


One of the constant problems with the van has been, after driving for a while there is so much heat in the engine compartment and engine that when it is shut off, the fuel in the carburetor boils. The float sinks and allows excess fuel to be forced into the manifold by the pressure in the line and the last pump of the fuel pump. Bob solved this problem in his van by changing from a carburetor system to a throttle body injection system, an approximately $1500 fix. Hopefully the solenoid will help stop the fuel from flooding the carburetor. If so, it’s a $26 fix, only time will tell.
I suppose that some day I will have to change to a TBI system if I can’t get carburetors for this engine.

Installed the solenoid. The solenoid is the blue thing in the middle of the picture.


Bob came by for a visit about half way through the solenoid project..
He stopped by help me with a couple of computer problems I was having. One thing we did was to try and figure out how to post video’s on the blog. There are a number of steps to get set up.
Had to get a Google + acct. then had to get a channel on youtube and after a long time screwing around I did get a video on youtube but I couldn’t get the video to show up on my blog. Don’t know what that is all about but hopefully eventually I’ll get it to work.

That’s about all for now, talk to you in a couple of days.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Day Off


I didn’t do a lot yesterday

It was my Birthday so I figured that I could get away with goofing off. Of course being retired, I can goof off whenever I want anyway.
I received a lot of good wishes from friends around the country. Thanks guys!

My brother, Sonny, stopped by for a visit and brought me a life time supply of glass fuses.


Sonny used to be in the auto repair business and has some old school auto stuff left.
He said that he didn’t know anyone else who still had a vehicle so old that it used glass fuses. I’ll have to find a good spot for that in my shop. 

Later in the day we went to our friend Lorraine’s for cake and ice-cream.
That was a nice touch Lorraine, thanks.

Other than working on the blog, that was pretty much my day yesterday.

Now, I will have to get back to work. We are leaving around the 3rd of November for Arizona so the preparations begin today.