Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Productive Day

I wasn't sure what to do yesterday. After we got back from the Food Bank, I wasn't sure what to do. So I decided to tackle a few nagging chores around the house. First up was the Prius.

We'd had a bulb loose in the rear taillight. It had come out, and was floating around. So I grabbed a hanger and opened up the connections. Unfortunately it's a sealed container, and I couldn't get in there. About a finger's worth of space and I moved the bulb around with the hanger, but couldn't get ahold of it. With my iPhone playing next to me, I moved the bulb back and forth. Tried to get it close to the hole, and a combination of the wire hanger, needle nose pliers, a screwdriver, nothing could get it out. I'd even pulled off some of the trim work to make more space and get better angles. I think I spent 45 minutes on it before giving up. I have the bulb out from the other side and just need to buy another one.

Next up I needed to clean out the bottom trays that cover the underside of the car. They've been getting full of gravel and the ones on the driver side actually bent down a litle.

These are thin plastic coverings that smooth out the bottom of the car. I guess they are there for better airflow and lower wind resistance. On our car they get full of gravel and then the car doesn't run well. There are holes in the bottom of them, but they don't drain out unless we rinse them well and I didn't realize that until recently.

So I unscrewed the two outer ones which were full of gravel. It had dried to a concrete-like consistency, and so I had to get them off and rinse them out with the hose. Once they were clean and dry, I put them back up. I'd used Tia's wheel lifts to get the car off the ground, and found a few other places that needed to be cleaned out as well. Now I know what to do after each rainstorm, and where to clean out gravel. I started to pull off the inner two panels (the center of the car), but they didn't seem to have much inside.

Another hour gone, and now it was on to the gate. I took my new battery out there, along with the nylon bushings for the arm connectors. All that was replaced in minutes, and the gate should now survive a few cloudy days with a new battery.

Now the riding mower. I'd replaced the starter last week, but it wouldn't start. My plan was to take it in this week, but as I was walking to talk to the guy near our gas station that fixes go karts and stuff, I decided that maybe I should charge the battery.

But first I wanted to see if things were lined up well. I took apart the covers on the engine so I could see the started. It engaged, but wouldn't turn things. With the covers off, I could turn the flywheel with my hand, and the battery was looking like the culprit. I found the charger, lugged it in and a few minutes later the mower started.

Since it was apart, I turned it off and started putting things back together. Fussing with bolts and fitting them back in worked, but then the mower wouldn't start. A little cursing under my breath didn't help, but it did make me feel better. I was about to give up, but decided to check the connections from the charger. They slip under the seat and I thought maybe I getting on and off had loosened one. It hadn't, but as I looked at the charger, I noticed the line was at the bottom. The battery was only a year old, so I checked the connection to the extension cord.

It was loose. I tightened it up, gave it 5 minutes, and things started. I drove to the back door, called for Delaney, and he came out. He's been wanting money, so he grabbed shoes and a hat, and mowed for 30 minutes.

A good day. I got:

  • Prius cleaned out
  • 3 screws and a bulb I need to buy
  • mower working
  • gate fixed

Felt like a nice day.

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