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September 27, 2011

SOL Tour – Day Two.

Filed under: 2011 SOL Tour,Cars — chuck goolsbee @ 8:28 pm
Tweety!
Tweety!

We leave Flagstaff (which reminds me a LOT of Bend, Oregon) early in the morning, with frost on the tonneau cover of the 65E, caravanning up to the Grand Canyon. I have a confession to make… While I can claim to have visited all of the Lower 48 States, plus Alaska (Hawaii is my last un-visted place in the USA); Arizona is the one state I have barely touched. I’ve clipped the northeast corner between New Mexico and Utah in my college climbing road trip days, and have changed planes once in the Phoenix airport. Until now that has been the total extent of my travels in Arizona. I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon from terra firma until today. Additionally, despite having visited Shiprock, Canyonlands, Arches, and the Moab area many times, I’ve yet to see Monument Valley. Today’s journey will address all these shortcomings of my travel experience and more.

Leakers Gather on the way to the Grand Canyon
Leakers Gather on the way to the Grand Canyon

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Southwest Oil Leak Tour, Day One

Filed under: 2011 SOL Tour,Cars — chuck goolsbee @ 7:07 am
The Assembled Leakers in Laughlin, NV
The Assembled Leakers in Laughlin, NV

L—R Back Row: Larry Wade, La Canada, California – Michael Goodwin, Phoenix, Arizona – (Larry’s Nephew Travis, USMC) – Jan & Lynn Gardner, Boise, Idaho – David Fey, Lakewood, Colorado – Mark Stephenson, Phoenix, Arizona – Paul Wigton, Prospect Valley, Colorado – Andrea Stephenson, Phoenix, Arizona – Mike King, Phoenix, Arizona – Steve & Gordon Bedell, Denver, Colorado – David Langley, Monterey, California – Lloyd Schmedley, Carmel Valley, California.
L—R Front Row: Dianne & Greg Meboe, Renton, WA – Darrell Grimes, Delavan, Wisconsin – Jerry Mouton, Austin, Texas – Steve Peterson & Kjell Nelin, Bishop, California – Chuck Goolsbee, Bend, Oregon.

The Assembled Leaking Cars
The Assembled Leaking Cars

Three years ago Paul Wigton of Colorado was neck-deep in the restoration of “Tweety”, an early E-type coupe that was his mother’s car. Needing a motivator to maintain momentum on his project, he dreamt of a tour to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the E-type Jaguar. He’d collect fellow “desert rats” as he called them, and drive a bunch of E-types around the Southwest. He wanted it to be a low-budget, relaxed affair, as Paul is a low-budget relaxed guy. He announced his dream on the Jag-lovers.org E-type Forum, and several of us signed up. A route and itinerary were formulated and plans laid.

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September 24, 2011

On my way to the Southwest Oil Leak Tour – Oregon & Nevada.

Filed under: 2011 SOL Tour — chuck goolsbee @ 6:54 pm

I’m weightless. Buoyed only by the air in my lungs… and one foot resting atop the edge of the pool. The water envelops and calms me. My thoughts focused solely on the air in my lungs, and the level of the water around my face. Like a whale, instinctively knowing when to close its blowhole when submerging – just as the water reaches its edge – I maintain my semi-floating state by short exhalations, which start me sinking, and rapid, deep inhalations, which rebound me from a submerged state and bob me back to the surface. I learned this from my Grandfather Goolsbee, who could magically stay afloat so well that he would nap while freely afloat in a pool. I can’t manage that, so have to rest a foot somewhere to keep me truly afloat. The process is remarkably calming, and provides my mind with a soft landing. From the harsh sunlight, and loud noises I’ve been enveloped in since daybreak.

I’m in a Super 8 motel in Battle Mountain, Nevada – soaking away the day’s road film off myself. I left Bend, Oregon this morning around 7, and drove south via La Pine, Paisley, and Lakeview, Oregon, where I had a pleasant, but early lunch with my traveling companions Greg & Dianne Meboe. Early because once we left Lakeview we were not going to see another town for many many hours. The direct route to the start of the SOL tour in Laughlin, NV goes right down through the middle of Nevada north to south – there’s a whole lot of NOTHING out there.

Once we leave Lakeview the vegetation thins rapidly to just bunchgrass and sage. The valleys open up and dry lakes appear. The road uncoils itself into straightaways that fly like an arrow towards gaps in distant mountain ranges. This is Nevada in a Nutshell…

Nevada in a Nutshell.
Nevada in a Nutshell.

An entire afternoon of this, and we arrive in Winnemucca, in the Humboldt River valley, and join the superslab of Interstate 80 for the 60 miles or so to Battle Mountain, where I’m now washing away 27 layers of sunscreen and thinking about tomorrow…

September 23, 2011

My Automotive Adventure for 2011: The SOL Tour

Filed under: 2011 SOL Tour — chuck goolsbee @ 1:41 pm
How I'll spend my end-of-summer vacation.
How I'll spend my end-of-summer vacation.

I hinted at this earlier in the year, and the time has arrived to pack the car, the camera, and the laptop and head off towards the Vanishing Point on the Horizon.

My friend Paul Wigton dreamed up the goofy adventure three years ago to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the E-type Jaguar. A bunch of us “Loon-Es” are going to converge on Laughlin, NV this weekend from all over the USA. On Monday morning we’ll be off on Old Route 66, heading east, stopping at a few sights along the way such as the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, then proceed up to Cortez, CO to cool off in the mountains of SW Colorado, drive the Million Dollar Highway, and Mesa Verde.

I’ll be caravanning with the contingent from the Pacific Northwest, leaving tomorrow morning. Provided I can get online I’ll be posting daily summaries and photographs here on my site. I’ll also post a running stream of where I am and what we’re doing on my Facebook page, and maybe on Twitter if I can.

I’m prepping the 65E and packing as we speak. Stay tuned and follow along!

September 20, 2011

Update: Small victories, multiple defeats.

Filed under: Cars — chuck goolsbee @ 4:24 pm

This past weekend Christopher went back to school, with Sue being his chauffeur for the trip up to Olympia. This gave me some time to wrestle with the sensor installation on her Liberty CRD. The super-long t-handled ratchet saved my bacon again – allowing me to plumb the depths of the darkness and undo the bolts holding the heat shield in place that hid the Crank Position Sensor from my sight (and Allen key.) It took a few hours of laying on my back, flashlight in my mouth, and arms threaded around the exhaust downpipe, but in the end the crank position sensor was replaced.

Afterwards, I took Sue’s car for a test-drive. Before I replaced the CPS it would only drive for a few miles before it would shut down, and you would have to wait for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes for it to start again. I figured I’d drive it until it died, then once running turn and go back home. It ran for two hours without so much as a hiccup. Took a nice tour of some roads SE of Bend I had yet to drive, so it wasn’t all for naught.

September 15, 2011

Small victories, multiple defeats.

Filed under: Cars — chuck goolsbee @ 11:32 pm

I’ve been insanely busy at work for the past several months, involved in managing and executing a large-scale project. This project eventually will spread throughout all of our various regions, but the largest, most complex, and first implementation of it is happening at my facility. It is one of those “all eyes on you” scenarios, so I’ve had my head down and working for many weeks – neglecting you my dear reader! I apologize for that.

I’m happy to say that today marked the “finish line” of that project. I still have a few things to do in order to wrap it all up, but the vast majority of it is DONE – so I’m happy. I’d celebrate with a nice bender, but unfortunately I’m also “on call” this week, so I’m drinking only iced tea. Oh well.

While I’ve been so busy, the Goolsbee family automotive fleet has suffered some setbacks. My car, the VW TDI is out of commission completely… a story that will have to wait for another day. Sue’s car, the Jeep Liberty CRD, is also not well, though it remains semi-functional – provided you are ok with it “failing to proceed” at random times. My OBD-II reader burps forth many sensor-related errors from the Jeep’s computer system. I’ve discovered that some parts for this car are made of the purest, pharmaceutical-grade Unobtanium found in the universe. This is especially true of sensors. I suspect two sensors are faulty, and I KNOW one additional one is completely FSCKed. The first two are the cam and crank positions sensors. These are what seems to be randomly shutting the engine down while underway. I was able to find the cam sensor online. I replaced it tonight (now that I’m free from the weight of this big work project, it is time to start fixing things at home!)in what can only be described as a tactical victory…

These three parts together cost nearly $300! WTF?
These three parts together cost nearly $300! WTF?

The Camshaft Position Sensor is found way at the back of the passenger side of the engine bay, sitting atop the cam cover, inconveniently tucked between the firewall, and the transmission fluid dipstick assembly. I accessed it by standing atop a spare wheel, and lying on top of the engine itself. It is held by a single 5mm Allen head bolt. I tried using a standard Allen key, but even a ball-headed one could not get enough purchase on the bolt to turn it. Thankfully I acquired a new tool a while back (I picked it up at HF when I was seeking a breaker bar and sufficiently large socket for my Jaguar’s rear axle nut last month. I saw it and thought “Damn, that looks handy!” I was proven prescient tonight in that regard.) It is a long T-handle, articulated ratchet:

The tool in question. (sorry for the crappy cell-cam shot.)
The tool in question. (sorry for the crappy cell-cam shot.)

With a 5mm Allen socket attached, I could articulate it into just the right position to have it firmly sink into the bolt, then wiggle the handle back and forth enough to unscrew it.

crappy cell cam shot of me using said tool.
crappy cell cam shot of me using said tool.
bad photo showing the flashlight illuminated dark hole where the cam sensor (outlined in green) lives on the 2006 Jeep Liberty CRD.
bad photo showing the flashlight illuminated dark hole where the cam sensor (outlined in green) lives on the 2006 Jeep Liberty CRD.

The greatest victory tonight came when I realized a very important thing in the sensor replacement process. As soon as I unplugged the old one, I thought of plugging the NEW one onto the sensor wire harness. This way, once I had the old one out, the new one would be right there, and at no risk whatsoever of falling down into the abyss below this rather inaccessible spot. As I sit here patting myself on the back before you all, I recall something said on the E-type mailing list I’m on:

The most significant skill in car repair is NOT never making a
mistake, but much more recognising when you are about to make a
mistake, and knowing how to recover from said mistake.

— Andrew Waugh, on jag-lovers.org E-type list, 4/2/2009

I think I’m *finally* getting pretty good at this stuff. 😉

But before I can get too smug, let me fill you in on where I came up short:

1. The boost sensor came to my attention when I was searching the Internet for the answer to question #2 below. I was aware of the Jeep’s long-time MAF sensor issues (I just gave up and unplugged the damn thing in 2007 or so and just live with the CEL) but just tonight learned of this other sensor in the intake system. Like the MAF it measures air, but on the intake cam in a position akin to the Cam sensor above. It can get gummed up and cease working. Sue’s was beyond gummed up – it was melted off! It is a Bosch part, with a clear part number on it (0 281 002 437) but just try finding one online. Most of the places are in eastern Europe! I finally found a MOPAR part number for it via a Jeep forum, and after searching on that, only found two places in the US with it listed in stock. The price with shipping is close just over $100(!) I swear, it is cheaper and easier to find parts for my 50 year old European car than this 2006 domestic SUV!

I bit the bullet and bought two. Even though they can be cleaned, I figured it will be safe to have a couple of them, just in case they become even MORE rare in the future.

2. I can’t even FIND where the crank position sensor goes! I spent easily 30 minutes over and under this engine (2.8L VM Motori CRD) looking for it – tracing every wire, looking in every dark corner and hole. No luck. Like the cam sensor, it looks like it will be a simple (though of course not easy) job to replace, as it is held by a single bolt and one wire.

I just have to find it. Then REACH it.

One step forward, three steps back.

September 4, 2011

Fun new “lens” that has no glass.

Filed under: Photography — chuck goolsbee @ 10:44 am
My first shot with the Pinwide lens.
My first shot with the Pinwide lens.

One of the great things about the Micro Four Thirds format is the ultimate flexibility with regard to lenses. You can use all manner of legacy lenses with adapters. Plus there is now a growing market of native mount lenses. There is also the option (programmatically) of shooting without a lens at all, which is how these photos were taken. These are pinhole images, shot with a relatively cheap device called a “Pinwide”. It is a precision machined pinhole with an equivalent of 22mm, ƒ/96-ƒ/128. So it is a wide-angle lens with near infinite depth of field.

It requires a LOT of light, or very long exposures. These are just some test shots I fired off yesterday.

This is a 1 second exposure.
This is a 1 second exposure.
This is a 60 second exposure.
This is a 60 second exposure.

What do you think?

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