Saturday, December 31, 2011

Clean it up!

It's been a good weekend for cleaning.  I've restored and perhaps saved several hundred dollars with some simple, if caustic, cleaning over the past week.

Intake Manifold

The 2002 Dodge Caravan Sport we drive as the family APC has been giving a "Bank 1 Too Lean" trouble code.  The 2002 does not use a Mass Air Flow sensor, but the older style fuel injection mixing which is acceleration based.  It's commonly used for trucks and isn't as good emission wise as mass-air flow but works well in that it is responsive in producing power.  This form of fuel air mixing is subject to air flow through the exhaust system, temperature and humidity.  The cheapest fix is possible the Idle Air Control valve is a bit sticky, allowing too much bleed-through of air at idle which can produce a rough idle (check) or the "lean" error (check).  So, today, one heavily cautioned bottle of intake cleaner was sprayed into the butterfly valve.  If you do so, follow the instructions on the can to the letter.  Wow.  A lot of brownish wash came out of the intake into the waiting wad of paper towels.

Starting was a bit tricky as you're instructed to spray with engine off.  It was very chuggy for the first several minutes but cleaned up it's operation with time and within 10 minutes I was able to idle up without it wanting to stall.  I took it for a drive as instructed and... amazingly, the throttle is in fact much more responsive and the idle is smoother, but we still have an engine check light.  Next guess is the injectors and I'm on treatment one of three for that.  We'll see if that handles it.  If not, most expensive saved for last, the catalytic converter could be getting plugged up.  At 95,000 miles, it shouldn't be all that bad but could be.

Savage 220D Sticking Firing Pin
A friend was sent home from a Christmas visit with a nice piece of hardware.  It's a 55 year old single barrel shot gun which was having some misfires.  Rem Oil is my favorite gun maintenance product, hands down.  After rods and swabs for cleaning barrels, Rem Oil is an essential in my book.  Spraying it into the firing pin hole in the breech face and into the trigger from below produced a little black wash and a now freely floating firing pin.  Previously, all coaxing could not get the pin to slide forward with the breech open.  Now a smack on the butt of the gun produces the head of the pin, shiny and clean, into sight.  And, no misfires today.  Getting this gun "fixed" could have wasted $90 or so bucks at a gunsmith who charges by the hour.

Canon MP 730 Wrong Cartridge Error
My neighbor made up his mind to toss his printer on the heap and asked if I wanted it for parts.  I thought I could get some bits for a Rep Rap from it so took it off his hands.  Then later, I thought, hmm... maybe this thing is just dirty?  Hooking it up and running through diagnostics found it was quite dirty.  I got nice and inked up cleaning the printer head inside and out with alcohol.  It also had some after market cartridges which I purchased brand replacements for.  The cleaning was probably the larger portion of the problems but the error does in fact seem to stem from the wrong cartridges.  Hopefully I can get it working with those I bought tonight, and thankfully, they can be returned if I don't use them to print (e.g. they don't clear the error).

With new cartridges installed, the printer still gave the error.  I tracked down a service center via Canon's website (which helpfully suggested I could order a print head from them) and contacted the service provider.  I was cheerfully informed that, per Canon's new policy, I could not be sold a print head without service provided by them.  Meaning, I would have to pack up the printer, drive 50 miles, deposit it, wait for a tech to check it out and discover what I already know, email me an estimate and me agree to pay and so on.  Nice policy.  Looks like I've got some new ink and nothing to print with.  Maybe I can use the ink for some hand painted items?  The MF device will surely yield up some interesting parts for the bin.

The basement
With the new year upon us, I figured it was time to get more organized.  Can never have too much of that I suppose.  So for my big new year's bash, I'm cleaning, sorting, stacking, organizing... all to make life a little nicer in the man-cave.

Happy New Year!