"Keep a Journal: How else are you going to get a good look at who you were?"

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Okay...time to clean house.

I'm at the folks place in Cardston, Alberta.  Been here a couple of weeks now.  Helping Mom get a few things done around the house and putting out some feelers in the area for a new job.  Still; I'm heading back to the Lower Drainland come the 26th of this month, which is next Friday.  I took a few weeks off (unpaid) to help the folks and look into a few new career possibilities, yes; but what I really came out for was for an unfinished project: Mom and Dad's 2002 Mazda sedan.

I just don't have the vinegar in me to finish this sucker.

It started out as a ring job.  Straightforward, no?  Just pop off the cylinder head, pull the oil pan, remove the pistons, hone, re-ring and re-install...simple, right?


The year previous to this model, a new 2.0 liter engine was offered to replace the standard 1.8 liter.  Slightly bigger engine in the same size engine bay has the same effect as the same size engine in a smaller engine bay: stuff gets moved around.  In this instance, the "stuff" was two of the bolts used to hold on the "engine baffle".
Part number 14 in the Diagram I pinched off the 'Net.

Okay, see the red circle up there?  That's where a couple of bolts that hold the "engine baffle" in place are.  Notice how the "engine baffle" is an actual solid bulkhead between the crankcase and the oil pan -- with some drip holes, sure, but it makes it impossible to access the crankshaft and pistons without removing the baffle first.

Now note that those two bolts circled in red are inside the casting!!!  Positioned immediately next to the transmission bell.

Which means...?


If there was an Academy Awards for automotive engine design, I would happily nominate this engine for Stupidest Design Flaw That Could Have Been Avoided.

I was game to try, I admit.  I tried last time I was here in March.  I tried again (and again) this week.  I've thus far come within a hairsbreadth of dropping the transmission onto the garage floor -- twice!  I've spent 200$ on tools and sundries to try to make further progress on this car and I just...can't.  Everything I've tried to do, I've had problems with.  I broke both front ball joints, I broke a new breaker bar.  I've gone through TWO sets of 1/2" extenders.  I've practically dis-assembled the entire front end of the car and even if I somehow manage to get that baffle off...I'm still going to end up screwing around with re-assembly and dis-assembly before I can get the rings swapped, the engine re-assembled, and the transmission re-mounted.

I really just want to chuck it all, you know?

It's not like I don't already have other projects waiting on me here.  Karen gave me a Dell laptop that needs to have its screen connector re-connected.  The Acer laptop I fixed for her lost its wireless.  In that instance; I'm going to recommend a mini-USB wireless adapter.  

I also have other projects waiting at home.  Colin and I have model rockets to build.  With the help Erik gave me with the Passat, I now know the car is in good shape and I ought to get it back on the road.  Baaska's laptop needs a new hard disk, Ramesh wants me to fix his kids' computer again...

Sometimes it's hard not to feel overwhelmed, you know?

I have been able to get a few things accomplished with my time here.  I spent a day at the LDS services center in Lethbridge, going over my work experience and getting my new resume' done.  I've now got an account with LDS services and with the Job Bank.  I'm checking daily, and sending out resumes' to anything that looks interesting.  Tomorrow I'm going to try to arrange for a few minutes with a company in Lethbridge that has definite career potential.  Just to be thorough, I'm also sending out resumes' to companies in the Lower Mainland.  It's nice to have a job to go back to...but only if I have to.

The only other major accomplishment was getting the garage cleaned up (apart from the dis-assembled car in it), and finally dealing with that unholy-travesty-bio-hazard-eldritch-terror that was my parents' (accidentally defrosted for three weeks) freezer.

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