Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas to all. Winter has arrived in the Northwest with high winds, lots of rain and some cold days. Praise the Lord, we stay warm and dry. 

We get to watch our grandkids several times a week. Sonja is now 7 and in second grade, Freya is 6 and in kindergarten, Emma is 5 and in preschool, Hannah is 3 and in preschool, Parker is 1.75 years old. We really enjoy being part of their lives and watching them grow. What a blessing. 

Our property looks so different now that we logged almost every tree the government allowed. Today we sat on the porch bench in the late afternoon sunshine and felt warm even on this cold 30 degree day. Sunshine in the Northwest feels especially nice. Living without a barrier of trees on the road side changes the feeling of the land but we are grateful the big trees are down and the sun shines brighter. We now have 2 more acres of pasture which Jeremy used this year to raise 3 sheep. We learned that sheep are lots of fun to raise, however we did have one break-out artist. The pasture is still in the process of growing as we had such a drought in the Spring and the pasture grass struggled to germinate.  

We had 22 logging truck loads along with 5 split loads we shared with Al from our homestead. It is hard to believe we have been on this property for 46 years watching the trees grow a couple feet a year. We planted new trees but half of them died due to lack of rain. We have scheduled another round of tree planting next year. 

Our garden produced extremely well except for a rabbit family that ate most of the pea starts. I nailed 5 of the guys with a trusty pump pellet gun. We harvested 30 large squash along with corn and lots more. We were able to enjoy two camping trips this year, one to eastern Oregon on the Colombia River and also the extended family campout in Oregon at the Colombia River’s exit to the Pacific Ocean (Fort Stevens). 

Jim had carpal tunnel surgery on his right hand which allows him to use the computer mouse in the right hand for the first time in 5 years. Linda will be out of her walking boot and casts by Christmas after surgery on her big toe. Arthritis had taken quite a toll on one joint. 

Lord permitting Linda and I plan to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary on a 19 day cruise through the Panama Canal next April. On our 25th anniversary we cruised the Southern Caribbean so we thought another cruise would be appropriate. 

We pray all is well with you all! We are certainly grateful God has not forgotten either mankind or us as individuals. Blessings to you as we celebrate Jesus‘ birth, and enter 2016.

Jim & Linda

Thursday, July 9, 2015

2000 Doge Caravan interior blower motor stopped

Fortunately the heater/air conditioning blower motor stopped working after our Eastern Washington camping trip in the 2000 Doge Caravan. The blower did not work on any blower motor speed setting.

It took a while but I verified the fuse to the blower motor relay was good and also the fuse to the blower motor. I swapped the relays and still no help. I took out the passenger front seat to give me access to the blower motor and then removed the blower motor. A bench test of the motor verified it was working well. I did blow out a lot of fine dust.

 I removed the speed resistance selector device from the engine side of the firewall and found it extremely dirty at the connection. The wire (spring) coils were clean. Lots of fine dust came out as the ¼ inch spayed terminals were pulled loose.

Electrically all was still in place meaning no burnt spots and continuity everywhere. So I wire brushed the lugs until bright again and cleaned with alcohol. Then reinstalled everything and all works fine as designed. Bottom line I think there was enough dust and corrosion on the terminals to cause and open circuit.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

2000 Dodge Caravan overheating

The so faithful 2000 Dodge Caravan overheated climbing the last mile of Snoqualmie Pass. The temperature gauge faithfully remains at midrange consistently but in the last mile of the climb the needle climbed smoothly past the ¾ mark. With heat on and windows open we were able to reach the summit without boiling over. Whew. We were pulling our 1,200 pound RV (Aliner).

Then again in Eastern Washington the same overheating occurred at the top of another pass on this very hot day. However this time a mile before the summit the temperature gauge surprisingly dropped from the ¾ mark back to exactly midrange yet we were still climbing.

This indicated to me that likely the electric fans for the radiator did not turn on until late. We were able to get to Boardman Marina RV campground without further overheating. The next day I stopped at NAPA auto parts and picked up a temperature switch to use if needed. We planned to return down the Colombia River to Portland and then back home using I5 which has no passes to climb.

After studying the clumsy wiring diagram I determined the temperature switch they sold me was not a switch but an analog sensor which likely would not cause this fault. I tried to return the switch at the Poulsbo NAPA but they were not associated with the Boardman City NAPA and could not allow a return. I did purchase and installed a solid state relay which is located under the drivers side headlight for $65. I turned on the air conditioner and verified the fans kicked on after several minutes. Hopefully problem is solved.

The Caravan fan circuit measures the temperature from the temperature sender which goes to the gauge and the computer. Then the computer determines when the electric radiator fans trip on and energize the solid state relay which energize the fans. This was a common problem as revealed on you tube which showed how to replace the solid state relay.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Warrantee Toilet Repair

In 1996 we updated the first floor bathroom which included a new toilet. Unfortunately the toilet flushed very poorly causing way too much plunger type work. This issue was caused by the governments water saving requirement for new toilets and all the issues that created. 

In 1999 we purchased a fancy Flushmate toilet which uses less than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. It uses compressed air which creates a “turbo - charged flushing action“. (Manufactures words.) I must say it indeed does flush well although a little loud, I suppose.  ($300)

Moving on in time to 2015 and the plastic turbo generating pressure tank inside the porcelain tank developed a small leak at the seam. This leak was about the size of a pencil lead and did not cause an external leak fortunately as we caught the leak early. 

It turns out we saved some paperwork that mentioned there was a recall on this toilet. After checking out the details sure enough this toilet qualified even after 16 years of usage! The company sent out a replacement plastic air pressure tank for absolutely free. 

I had to remove the porcelain tank and remove the defective plastic pressure tank and install the replacement tank. Now all worked as good as new. This recall was part of a class action settlement which may yet also pay me $50 for the effort I went through to replace the tank. The $50 is still in the works so can’t say for sure that will happen. 

I am indeed grateful for the companies follow through and somewhat humbled as the original equipment did last 16 years.


New tank