I made this ulu knife about 10 years ago and it still gets used pretty often. It is solidly built and works great. Today I was looking through some old photos and found this sequence. I though it would be nice to share.
Cami took her ’97 Civic in to get the safety and emissions done last week. Bad news. The mechanic pulled the on-board diagnostic codes (OBDII) and found several things wrong:
P0500 – Vehicle Speed Sensor Malfunction
P1298 – Electrical Load Detector Circuit High Input
P0135 – Oxygen O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1, Sensor 1)
P0141 – Oxygen O2 Sensor Heater Circuit Malfunction (Bank 1, Sensor 2)
It was looking like we would need to replace both 0xygen sensors, as well as the ELD (Electronic Load Detector) unit. It’s not a new car, but it seemed odd that so many parts would be bad at one time. We have taken our cars to this garage before, and we like their service. But, the total would have been around $450 for parts and labor. I wanted to avoid that if possible, especially knowing the 0xygen sensors would be a piece of cake to replace myself.
As I did some research on the ELD. I ran across a couple of sites that described a similar problem, with the very same trouble codes. One interesting symptom they described was with the Vehicle Speed Sensor. Cami’s speedometer sometimes jumps around like the needle on a polygraph machine. This seemed like the exact same problem. The best part was, it could be fixed without replacing all those parts.
The root cause was a short-circuit between a wiring harness and a metal bracket. The wires are in contact with the bracket, and over time the insulation wears through and causes a short circuit. This causes a fuse to blow, which leads to the trouble codes and erratic behavior in the speedometer. There are some nice pictures on the site. I also found this service bulletin very informative.
This sparked my interest and I wanted to know if Cami’s car looked the same underneath. Night was falling, but the weather was perfect and I was itching to know if this was the cause of the problem. Here are the tools I ended up using:
- Set of car ramps to raise the front of the car
- 12mm socket to remove the two bolts from the metal bracket
- Extensions for my socket wrench. My 10″ extension wasn’t long enough so I either added a 6″ or a 3″ extension to get the length I needed. I can’t remember which one it was, and it was dark at the time.
- Flashlights. I should have used a headlamp, but didn’t think about it. It would have helped a lot!
- Safety goggles to protect from falling debris
- Electrical tape and scissors
- A piece of cardboard to lay on. It makes sliding out from under the car much easier
- Autel MS300 OBDII scanner – $20.44 at Amazon
I shined my flashlight up where I expected to find the blue connector, and sure enough, it was there. The bolts were oxidized, but not as difficult to remove as I thought, especially when I decided to use an extension on the socket wrench.
If I had to do it again, I would use a headlamp and try to find an angle that would allow me the use of both hands. The safety glasses were a big help. Once the bracket was out of the way I could see the wires. They really didn’t seem in bad shape at all, but where the wires had been touching the bracket I could see a rusty mark. I also found an area of damaged insulation on one wire, and possibly another. Using one hand (the other was holding the flashlight) I was able to put electrical tape over the two wires – not easy. I also put electrical tape around the bracket as added protection.
Once I replaced the metal bracket I checked the OBD codes on the new Autel MS300 that was delivered that same day from Amazon. I had ordered it thinking I might need it to check the codes if I replaced the parts myself. As a side note, this little gizmo is awesome! The OBD II plug is just up from the hood latch, under the dash – very easy to access.
The codes were there, just as the mechanic had said. I erased them, which caused the CEL (check engine light) to go off for the first time in many months. But, almost as quickly, it came back on. I had forgotten to check for the blown fuse.
In the driver’s side dash there is a fuse panel and fuse #15 is the fourth from the left, in the middle row.
Sure enough, it was blown.
There was a spare fuse in the panel and when I replaced the fuse and cleared the codes, the CEL stayed off!! Very cool. Now the only thing remaining is to wait for the I/M status to say “Ready”. From my reading it can take several days of driving. I hate waiting. There is plenty of time left to re-do the emissions inspection, but I won’t be totally happy until the whole mess is behind us.
It took about 6 weeks, but we finally got the “Evap” into a Ready state! That left us with “Cat” and “O2S” remaining in Not Ready. We had enough to pass emissions. Woohoo!
It was a long wait, but at least we didn’t spend the $440 we were quoted to fix parts that didn’t really need replacing. Fixing the short and replacing the fuse was the answer to the Check Engine light. Time took care of the rest.
Yesterday Cami’s brother replaced my worn out catalytic converter. It runs quietly now, and I won’t be getting as many strange looks. That’s a good thing.
I’ve been worried about the brakes. They haven’t been squealing constantly, but I wanted to make sure the car is ready for whatever cross-country jaunts I might have to take. Three days to North Carolina will be challenging enough. I don’t want car trouble.
Replacing brake pads is something I’ve done before. I had the new brake pads ready to go. I got my tools ready. The first problem I encountered was getting the right wheel off. I removed the six lug nuts, but the wheel was frozen in place. Five minute into it and the car already has me in a submission hold! Fifteen good whacks later, from a stout piece of wood, and the wheel breaks free. The next challenge was removing the two bolts that anchor the brake caliper (the thing that holds the brake pads). They wouldn’t budge. I used a heavy wrench to beat on the handle of the socket wrench. No joy. I found my little sledge hammer. BANG BANG BANG! Nope. I found my WD-40 and shot a few short bursts onto the head of one of the bolts and then it stopped spraying. I wasn’t able to spray the second bolt. LAME!
So, I kept working on the first bolt until finally it started to move. Little by little I was able to make it turn. It started moving freely, and I removed it. I kept messing with the can of WD-40 until I got it to spray again – this time on the second bolt. A few minutes later, with a lot of muscle applied and a hammer, I was able to get the second bolt free.
From that point it was easy. I removed the old pads. Then I used a clamp to compress the piston on the caliper. The new pads fit nicely, and I soon had the caliper bolted on and the lug nuts retightened.
The second wheel was even harder to remove. I probably hit the tire 50 times with the big piece of wood before it finally came loose. But, the caliper was much easier to get loose. I had sprayed both heads with WD-40 and waited several minutes. They came off fairly quickly.
So, I’ve got my sweet ride ready to roll. Now I just need to make an appointment for the inspection.
The DeWalt scroll saw is an excellent, and fun, tool. The only thing that isn’t fun about it is keeping the arm up while trying to feed a blade through a hole in a piece of wood. The easiest way to accomplish it is with a block of wood, but then you have to keep track of the block.
I had heard about a product called the Jim Dandy EZ-Lift Arm. It wasn’t easy to find one for sale, so I made my own. It took some time to get the spring adjusted properly. The arm doesn’t lift by itself, but it stays in place once you lift it up.
I also found a good online discussion about the use of the EZ Lift. The link to buy one is also there.
The Jim Dandy EZ-Lift Arm is only $20 (plus shipping I’m sure), but I didn’t know about the website and once I had the idea I didn’t want to wait around. It was easy enough to make. Then again, I have a lot of tools. For many people it would be easier and cheaper to buy it from Jim Dandy Products
I have a mobile base for my bandsaw that isn’t very mobile. Only two of the wheels swivel so it’s sometimes hard to steer it into the right location.
The bandsaw has little brackets in the base that can accomodate castors, but they are a little too close together for stability. The bandsaw is top-heavy, so I needed a wider base. Here is what I came up with.
The bandsaw base has brackets which make it easy to attach a plywood base.
I made the plywood base two inches wider than the bandsaw base on each side.
The screws in the middle are too long, but they still work.
Each of the castors can be locked for additional stability.
The finished mobile base rolls around the shop easily. Awesome!