Archive for October, 2010

High tech TV on a low tech budget

October 4th, 2010

We’ve mentioned our USB HDTV dongle a few times. One of my big annoyances with the loss of analog stations is the new complication in trying to point the directional antenna in our camper without an analog station to home in on.

Now, we don’t watch all that much TV, so it took me a while to figure this out and even longer to get around to posting it. Antennaweb.org has a great interface for telling you which direction and distance the nearby television stations are. Simply plug in your location and it gives you a listing of channels that might be strong enough to receive and what compass direction they are.

The next bit is just as easy. Get a permanent marker and draw a line on your antenna crank that lines up with the direction your antenna is pointing when raised so that you can tell where you’re pointing while you swivel it. Finally, get a cheapo compass and learn to use it. You can then easily point your antenna whatever direction is required.

If you have satellite TV, please move along. Nothing to see here.

The Truck Is In Pieces – Part II

October 3rd, 2010

Well the passenger side is done. We knew there was something wrong with it but really had no idea exactly what it was until we pulled it all apart. It appears that the axle seal failed. Dirt was then able to get inside of the bearing assembly. Once things in there were no longer smooth and flush, the axle had some play. That play caused the metal part of the busted axle seal to eat into the steering knuckle. So, after a new steering knuckle, a new Timken 515025 hub bearing assembly, a new vacuum hose, and some new ball joints (we had already bought them), the passenger side noises are all gone.

Rain and our new 515025 Timken hub assembly

We would have the driver’s side done as well, but instead of paying $60 for a tool, we are relying on a local mechanic to install our axle seals and not a single auto repair place is open on the weekends in this town. We hope to be done with the front end work tomorrow. All that we could find wrong with the driver’s side was a bad upper ball joint, a disintegrating vacuum hose, and a “drier than I would like” auto locking hub. Thankfully, unlike the passenger’s side, we only need buy one more part, an o-ring.

Lots more work to do. Come Monday, I imagine that we will get the front end back together, drain and refill both differentials, and do some triage on the turbo.

Enclosed is a picture of Rain next to our new hub bearing assembly. =)

The Truck Is In Pieces

October 1st, 2010

Front end work on our truck
Repairing our truck