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Car mechanic for a weekend

Writing here may help clear my head. Going back 3 weeks, Sue and I climbed at the City for 9 days. Marty, Ed and Clint met us there for a few days each. I climbed everyday with partners rotating in and out based on their available time.

Marty and I had an adenture up on the 5.8 on Steinfelds dome. I wore shorts, and forgot my windshirt. At the top of the first pitch it was windy and cold. Marty brought up his extra shell, but my fingers still took another entire pitch to thaw out.

My favorite route of the trip was Batwings on Parking Lot rock. That thing is absolutely awesome. It’s only 5.8 but the climbing is 4 star all the way. The runnout topout turns out to have a number of small hidden flakes for cams, plus it’s only 5.5 there. The crux is at the traverse where you have to leave one crack sytem and faceclimb over to the next one. The moves are not reversible, but they are reasonably secure with good footwork. It’s never runnout, though it looks bad from the ground.

Images from the City.

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We drove back, I worked 4 days and drove to Squish for a weekend with Karen, Julia, Chris, Merica and Ritchie, plus their significant others. I was happy with my climbing. My recent long trip helped me to climb confidently. Penny Lane was quite easy, even at the crux. It’s wonderful to get on stuff and feel good, rather than be burdened with fear of falling. I wasn’t able to send the 10a bolt line at burgers and fries until I took a short fall, and then a longer 15 foot practice fall. That was fun.

Leaky valve cover gaskets
Leaky valve cover gaskets have to be replaced

This last weekend I had to work on 3 cars. The Corolla is leaking oil into the spark plug access tubes. I wasn’t able to get to that one. Our Rav4 needed an oil change, and my truck had bad shuddering during hard breaking. My mechanic had told me it was warped rotors and to drive it until the pads wore out. But the shuddering was so bad I wasn’t able to wait that long.

When I repacked the bearings, I noticed they had linear wear patterns. The truck is at 175k, and whether that is normal wear, or caused by poor maintenance, I don’t know. I bought new bearings and races, plus a bearing press. The parts guy said to tap the bearings out with a punch. Those things were tight! I had to use a sledge hammer on blocks of wood on  a concrete floor. There has to be an easier way.

I was careless on the first one and scored the hub with my punch. This required resurfacing the hub with sandpaper…just on the score marks. Bottom line, on our Tacoma,  I have new front bearings and races, brake pads, rotors, shocks, and an oil change on the Rav4. Total cost $250 in parts, and one weekend. If I would have paid someone to do all that it would have been closer to 700.

If I put a value on my time, it would have been more cost effective to pay my mechanic. However, I enjoy working with my hands, the logic and trouble shooting of car repair is a nice break from my job working with computers.

Here is a nice video on setting your wheel bearing torque

This quarter I am teaching a class on shooting video with DSLR cameras, including double system sound. I’m including the whole gamet of skills from camera settings and lenses to lighting and sound recording…plus editing in Premiere. Our final goal is to record some professional 2 camera interviews for the college youtube channel. Our talent will be real student sucess stories. It’s a fun class!

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