Weekend Warrior

mostly about cars, driving them, fixing them, rating them and occasionally fixing computers, phones and things around the house

From pallet to beautiful kitchen lights

When I started this project I had no idea how to get from the pallet to what I had in my head but the end result is great for something without a plan. The biggest challenge of this whole project was taking the pallet apart. I had initially expected that to be the easiest part but as it turns out they are not so easy to take apart. After some youtubing I was able to find a way to take the pallet apart although it took much longer than I had expected.

I measured the gap in the kitchen where I wanted to put the lights and started building. It's not a complicated thing, two load bearing beams on the side, another two across those makes the basic structure. In the middle put the planks that will hold 3 small 12 volt lights. I glued all the pieces together and drove screws through them while the glue dries. I then sanded them down and vanished them with a vanish sealer. It looked quiet nice even if I say so myself. I will upload pictures of this project on Instagram @weekendwarriorsa.

The wiring was a bit of a mission because the power out of the socket is at 240 volts and my little 12 volts light bulbs would not be able to handle that. I had to find a way to get the right voltage to the bulbs. Why not just get 240 bulbs, you are probably wondering. It would remove all the unnecessary complication. The extraordinary answer to that question is someone gave me a bag full of 12 volt light bulbs. It would be cheaper in the long run, not to mention convenient to use them. So I had to use a 12 volt system. I bought a transformer that could take 240 volts and step it down to 12 volts. I wired the bulbs in parallel which complicated it a bid but if you have ever tried to find a blown light bulb in Christmas lights that are wired in series you will understand the need for this. In parallel if one blows they won't go dark, only the blown one which will make it very convenient to find the blown one and replace it.

I wired the switch incorrectly though and instate of completing the circuit I was causing a short. Each time I tried to put them on the mains would trip. I was tired and just wanted the satisfaction of seeing them come on. It took a while for me to figure out how stupid I had been, about two hours. At around 02:00 I figured out I had wired the switch incorrectly, I wasn't completing the circuit but pinching it on both sides. I remedied this by connecting the red cable in and out of the switch, the black cable to another black and earth to another earth, which is the correct way of doing it as opposed to what I was doing which is connecting red into switch and black into switch. 

A little after 02:00 I finally got the satisfaction of seeing the lights come on. It was a thing of beauty. The war had been won or so I thought. The worked flawlessly for a week. Then yesterday we had them on for a long cooking session and they just went off. I still have to diagnose why they went off. I hope it's not the transformer because I'm really not in the mood to return it. I will have to find some time and whip out my test light and try to figure out where is the power going.


Z5 woes

So yesterday my Sony xperia Z5 that I proudly fixed by replacing it's screen fell face down. No..No...no the screen didn't break again but it just came loose. The heartbreak this caused me one would be forgiven for thinking I lost a loved one. There is a certain intrinsic relationship between the maker and the makee or maybe it's just me. I wouldn't have been sad if a new phone broke, but this one I sort of build, it made me so much more sad that it fell and the screen came loose.

It started doing funny things after this fall. It would interrupt my typing of a whatsapp message by just registering tens of keystrokes that I didn't do. It would just start scrolling the screen continually from the left to the right. It would register completely different keys from the ones I'm tapping. The straw that broke the camel's back is it would randomly restart in the middle of an intricate process of trying to type a message despite all the challenges of typing on it. I say it would, actually it does, I guess I exist in the future state where all these is in the passed.

The iparts adhesives don't seem to be very good when it comes to holding the screens. They do well with the back covers but struggle with the screens. I'm gonna try to double the front adhesives to see if that will hold the screens better. Hopefully this time the screen stays on because phones fall. guaranteeing the phone's safety by hoping it doesn't fall is a hopeless case. I will handle it better the next time it falls I hope.

Battery not charging

Silvaki is today back on the road. It was quite a stressful moment when she decided to stop on the road. I packed tools as quickly as I could and put my heel in Ironbelly as the white dragon ate up the miles to the rescue. It was a nervous journey. I didn't know what I would find or if I would be able to fix the problem.

I soon arrived to find that Silvaki had a battery charging issue. I packed Yellowbone's battery but it wouldn't fit. It was too big, both height wise and length wise. I wanted to Jerry-rig the 2 batteries together using jumper cables. I could only get it running for a short while. 

After a quick chat with my mechanic friend the conclusion was it's the alternator's regulator. I had been fiddling with it for about 40 minutes now. I had slowly come to the very obvious conclusion that I would have to tow it. I called my insurance, Miway. They estimated 40 minutes which ended to actually be 3 hours. It was very infuriating sitting there in a steaming car in the cold of winter with nothing but 3 frustrated people for company. I tried to remain calm by immersing myself in my music. After what felt like a whole Game of Thrones winter of wait the tow truck arrived. We left Silvaki in their care and went home.

Today I took the alternator out. It's just a matter of undoing the top 14mm bolt and the bottom one and then fiddling with the alternator to come out. Space here is at a premium but likely I'm the small package that dynamite comes in.

The regulator is screwed to the back of the alternator. Looking at it, it became clear that the brushes of the regulator were completely done. I just wish there was a sign that something like this would happen. Things like the alternator have barely any signs that the brushes are about to go. Had I known, I would have changed them, it would have cost me an hour or so instead of the 3 to 4 hours I spent trying to fix the situation after it's already broke down.

Oh well, you live and you learn I guess. I hesitate to say it but maybe I can declare victory in this one, I think the war is won warriors.

Pallets a nightmare to dismantle

I recently acquired a couple of pallets to use as timber for a number of projects I will talking about later. I thought a claw hammer, knock a few times and I will have a stack of timber for my exciting projects. As it turns out, it is not so straight forward. Pallets are almost impossible to knock apart, not unless you want the planks to come out unbroken. After exploring Youtube it turns out this is a common problem and a few people have come up with different ways to solve this problem.

I unfortunately don't have the one tool that they all seem to rely on, a reciprocating saw. There are 2 primary solutions that I liked. One was to cut the nails with the saw and pry the middle with a crowbar. I used my hack saw but the effort was too much. My crinder worked for a bit but I wasn't prying a good gap for it to go through, it spent some time burning through the timber which was smokey, smelly and loud. I did not like that.

My current solution is cut of the bits that over the outside beams. However my wood crinding wheel seems to be more of an axe. I need a serrated blade. Hopefully this will be a more elegant solution. It happens a lot in DIY that you get start with something that is not the objective. I just want the pallet to be apart so I can use the timber for my projects. Hopefully I start soon.

Replacing the broken Sony Xperia Z5 screen

When the Sony Xperia Z5 fell and broke it's screen there was much sadness, tears and gnashing of teeth. Much effort when into trying to retrieve information from it. All this was unsuccessful. So like many before it, it went into the drawer of everything, you know that drawer, everybody has one. So I placed an order on Zasttra.com for the screen and other things I needed. I needed adhesives for both my Sony Xperia Z1 because i had recently replaced its battery and another adhesive for the Sony Xperia Z3 because its screen was coming loose probably from falling so much. The Z3 will always fall, I bet it would fall uphill if placed on an incline.

Zasttra took over 2 months to deliver my order. They told me their shipment was being held by SARS, the tax man. It made no sense for people who are in the business of importing things why this would be, why they wouldn't have a time frame on when I would get my things. The most annoying part is they told me, it's in their terms that imported items may take time. There is no way as a customer to identify which items are imported or not so one can make an informed choice on whether one doesn't the time or not. It was an incredibly annoying experience. Worst of all I had ordered for what to me was a lot of money, a R 1200.00. I was very nervous about what recourse I would have to get my money back if Zasttra didn't deliver my things. On the third month however Globalflight delivered my order from Zasttra.

I quickly closed the Z1's back which returned it to it's good old self minus a few scratches. The Z3 wasn't so lucky as I only found at this very instance that to remove the screen one needs to disassemble the entire phone. This was problematic considering I had only ordered the adhesive for the screen and not for the back panel. To add insult to injury not too long after while working on the car I cracked the back panel. So I need a new one anyway. Which means putting myself at the messy of Zasttra again. Strangely these parts have an iparts logo but when exploring the iparts site, all the items would cost more than their worth in shipping. So I ordered Z5 adhesives but forgot the panel for the Z3 and to my utter shock they arrived within just a couple of weeks.

So here it was then at last, the opportunity to install a screen in the Z5. The screen was purple at the back. The broken one was silver. I didn't think much of it. I put the adhesive on with a bit of struggle, then the screen. The difference in colour always bothered me, it occurred to me that it might just be film covering the back. So I went on Youtube to see if I was right, turns out yes I was right it's a protective film. Since I was halfway through assembling the phone I wondered if it's worth the effort of taking it apart again to go remove it. It's just a thin protective film, I thought. I can't possibly cause any harm. But then again a phone, especially this high end or at least high end when they came out were designed with such precision I have no idea what the film will do, might even melt if the phone gets hot. So No choice I had, I had to pull it apart and start over.

I pulled everything apart and started over. I removed the film and fiddled again to put the screen back in. I then went ahead with the assembly. I put the motherboard back in, connected the vibration motor, connected the charging port, the mic and speaker, the front camera and back camera. At this stage it became clear I was gonna have 2 left over pieces. A nightmare for assembling things. If there are left over pieces you are doing it wrong. I could not identify this 2 bits went, namely a small silver bracket and a long plastic bracket. Trying to identify where this go took a while and Yes, yes I had to take the phone apart, AGAIN.

Start over number 3, they say 3 is a charm, whatever that means. As it turns out the thin silver metal bracket holds the camera into it's socket, the big back camera that is. I couldn't find any information online about the plastic bracket. I had to figure it out somehow. There are only so many combinations of how it fits, it's too long to be across so it must be along, it can't be on the on/off switch side because well there is already a bracket that side that holds the switch and the finger print reader. So there is only one way it can go, along the opposite side but how does it fit. 20 or so minutes of trying it out produced a result. It clips into the side and it presses the battery against the switch side. So third time was the charm after all.

The battery went in, the side bracket that holds the motherboard and the bracket that holds the front camera. The screws to hold the motherboard, then the back cover adhesive. The back cover then comes on. My trusty, hair drier works perfectly because I don't have a head gun. I bought so many years ago, the hair drier that is, I remember at the time thinking I was being wasteful and yet so many years later it comes in handy for opening smart phones.

The phone came on, the war was won unlike with silvaki where I never seem to win.


Yellowbone, Silvaki and Ironbelly - a status report


Yellowbone (Mazda FE) runs, however there are some issues. When I put together the engine I had the flywheel skimmed. The skimming place, A1 clutch and brakes made a mistake and broke one of the ears of the flywheel. I went there to fetch it, and they brought this terribly shameful, sorry for himself looking guy to come explain how it was his fault and would I please accept it. I had a feeling that he was liable for the damage. Now at the time I had a job as a Senior Website developer at this other hell hole (a story for another day). So I thought I will be kind to this sorry ass looking soul. Apparently what goes around doesn't come around. 

The flywheel went in and alas, at mid range RPM it courses a vibration in the drive train. If I speed up the vibration goes away but I would like to fix that. This would require the engine to come out which is not an easy or convenient job. I don't have an engine crane so this would cost some money. I would then need to remove it and have it rebalanced or get used or new one.

I have also realised that brake fluid is leaking on one of the back wheels. I have taken the wheel and the drum off and saw that the brake kids are broken. They aren't expensive but a nightmare to put in. While I was down there I realised that there is what looks a misalignment in the diff cover. It's not leaking or anything but it doesn't look quite right. The new headlight that I bought doesn't have a hole for the park light. I need to figure out how to make my own hole. I'm thinking of just drilling it but I don't know yet how I will make slipping in notch. The bushes of the suspension need replacing as well. I have some of them, I bought them a while back, maybe a couple years ago and naturally some are missing. The leaf springs look strangely misaligned sometimes, I haven't had a time yet to figure out if that's something to be concerned about.


The previous post says a lot about this car. Silvaki (Corolla 2E) needs me to solve the brakes issue ones and for all, depending on whether it's kept or not. I wanna replace the front discs, calipers and caliper brackets with the ones from a 1.6i model. This model has ventilated discs in front which would help mitigate warping issue. I would like change the shock bushings which look a bit worn, I probably should replace the struts if I do that. There is a dash cover that was broken ever since I met the car which I would like to fix. I would like to replace the boot release cable as well. It broke a long time ago and I just removed it.

There is a battery issue now that's causing me untold sleepless nights literally. The plastic covers under the engine are completely done I would like to replace them as well. The engine is filthy oil and greasy. I had hoped to clean it but I couldn't because of the gearbox filler plug that coursed me all the maintenance days I had scheduled before it left for Joburg. 

I had always dreamed of putting RXI rims on it and a spoiler. I bet it would look great. Maybe a slide tint. But who has the money for aesthetics.


IronBelly (Civic R18), She is my material heart. Although her current state is heart breaking. The gear sticks a bit and requires double clutching sometimes. I give he a talk every time before driving not to break while I'm broke. I don't know yet what courses this and I'm not entirely sure I wanna know just yet. I know how to carefully nurse her around, it almost looks effortless but a stranger would probably break it within minutes. 

The bumper is not sitting properly on the left. This is because the sales man took me for a ride, knowing that I would miss it and only realise it too late. It pops out, I have used a cable tie to hold it in. I hope buy a new bracket to hold like it should be held. 

One day a long time ago I took a full load of people and luggage to Joburg and the rear suspension components got bent. The suspension places tell me they can fix them but I would like to replace them. In the mean time I just try to take full loads of people for short distances. It's also passed it's service interval by quite a bit, an embarrassing amount for me. I wouldn't want it to go on long trips before I serviced it. Today I got a couple of quotes about 3 main things I need, oil, oil filter and air filter.

The interior and exterior haven't been cleaned in a while but I suspect they are a good reflection of the state of my mind. I would like to some day install this contemporary entertainment systems, you know the android ones. I'm not really sure when I will ever do it or even where it ranks on my list of priorities at the moment. It's a luxury.

So this is the story of the beasts in my life. I hope to treat them as I see them treated in my mind. We all have dreams I guess. Check them out on instagram if you are curious how they all look.

CV Boots, vibrating brakes and all other sounds

Sounds seem to be the scariest things to a person who doesn't know what they are. They are an annoyance to me, at the least they are a notification of something not being quite right and at worst just annoying. However, they seem to cause extreme panic to other people. So this time I try to get rid of all the sounds Silvaki makes. Considering she is 18 years old, awwww she just became an adult, this is a tall order.

The first sound to tackle was the squeaking sound when she bounces on her suspension and when the steering wheel is turned, which is really the same thing because the change in the direction of the wheel produces some suspension travel. Since Silvaki had recently gone swimming (long story) mud and water would have dried out her suspension bushings. when they get a lot of heat from a long journey it's not entirely surprising that they would start squeaking. The sound seemed to come from the right side so I removed the wheel and sprayed a lubricant generously on the bushings of the lower A arm. The sound was gone.

The next sound was the left front door. Whenever the door opens or closes it scrapes against the fender. The fender was fixed a while back when Silvaki was hit by another car while parked. It seems the panel beater had not tightened and aligned the fender. So I aligned it, and tightened the bolt behind the door hinge that holds it. Noise number two was gone. I was on a roll, or so I thought.

Next was the brakes. The 2e has a solid non ventilated brake disc. I feel it doesn't radiate heat well and as a result whenever the brakes get too hot the disc warps a little. The warpage is actually tiny but it can produce some vibrating when brakes are applied, which would be felt through the paddle and the steering wheel. It also makes a sound. In an effort to get rid of this sound I had brake discs skimmed. Lets discuss the result of this later. It's worth pointing out that I have skimmed them before and had a perfect result.

While I was down there I realised that the CV boots were torn. I found this surprising since I had replaced the CV joints only a year or so ago. They should last longer than this. However maintaining a car you don't drive regularly you always have some questions about how things happen on it. I had driven it for about 2 years before and did a joburg trip twice I think, I usually drove it at it's top speed all the way back, it always seemed quite reliable to me. I love the car, so it's hard for me to face the potential of it having to go. Like any car that has been in my possession for any amount of time I remember the very first time I drove it. I enjoyed it so much I wrote a Facebook post about it. I guess I just have to accept that it can't be kept if the regular users aren't happy with it. If only I had Jay Leno money, I could just buy it but alas....

I had a single boot in stock, so rather than just replace one I thought replace both. So I removed the CV axles. This involves removing the lower ball joint from the A arm, the upper one that controls the steering from the top and then pulling the axle from the differential which in front wheel drive cars is part of the gearbox housing. I put the axles on the table in front of my garage and when through the process of replacing the boots. Check it out on instagram at weekendwarriorsa. So what you do is, you remove the cups, clean the grease which is an extremely messy job that leaves you smelling for days. Then you remove the snap rings, slide the bearings out and then slide out the inner boot and then slide in the new boot and repeat the process in reverse. The old torn boots you can just tear off. Everything was easy, I was quite impressed with my mechanical prowess. I didn't even need to watch a tutorial once.

Well the joy of it all was short lived when I had to remove the gearbox filler plug. You see when you remove the drive axles the oil in the gearbox runs out and so you have to refill it. It looked quite dirty so I thought drain what's left and just replace it all together. I spent 4 days trying to remove this filler plug. it was seized so badly that I completely destroyed it trying to remove it. I have to admit it was one of the most depressing times I have had doing a DIY job of any kind. There was fights and misery of all kinds. To add to my misery my neighbor decided to come give me unnecessary shit about working in front of her garage that she hasn't used in 2 years. Woooosah, but that's a story for another day. A professional mechanic friend came over and helped me remove the plug. I poured some new gearbox oil and all was fine with the world or so I thought.

I assembled the front put the tires back on but i used the old brake pads instead of buying new ones after skimming. This was a monumental mistake. The pads ruined the skimming job and we were halfway to square one. I got new pads which made it a quarter way to square one but I would have preferred to be at square two. I was kind of devastated. I haven't been this emotionally drained since I rebuild Yellowbone's engine. I can be a bit sensitive I guess but don't we all have loved ones that when they complain you feel pain in your soul? you spent much time trying to make their world perfect but fail and know they won't be happy and just sad that you couldn't make their problems completely go away? maybe it's just me.

Anyway the car left and before it reached it's destination a battery light came on. The only thing I can think of is that the alternator is not charging the battery. I don't know why that would be. It left here fine. A petrol engine needs the battery to make sparks for the engine so it's essential that the battery is charged. There is a few things I would want to try but I would have to ask people who won't feel like the effort and feel like a problem is the worst it can be and it's the end of the world. This makes it so hard to diagnose from 400 km away. This also means that a week and a half I spent making sure it would be perfect were really for nothing because when the loved one isn't happy it feels to me like it's completely and utterly the end of the world. I don't mind having problems, I wish they could all be mine...

Sony Xperia Z1, Z3 and Z5

When I first got my Sony Xperia Z1 I was very impressed. I put it in a basin and filled with water. I watched with awe as the phone remained on. It seemed so counter intuitive as we have always known that where phones are concerned, water baaad! I used it with relative satisfaction for many years. One of the things to first go was the little flap that protect the charging port. I eventually just decided I will down grade the phone from waterproof to water resistant.

It fell many times. It always amazed me how it would just bounce off the ground. Eventually I guess it had fallen way too many times. The back glass cover opened a bit. This was a blessing in a way because right around that time it started having battery problems. It would take very long to charge and get very hot. It would then discharge within minutes under normal use. I got it a new battery and putting it in wasn't that difficult because the glass had already lifted. I'm still using it as a secondary phone and it's good.

My Z3, I loved as well although it was more fragile. When it falls the damage becomes evident pretty easily. After many years of use as well the screen now falls out. I don't know if the falls or the glue that holds the panels to chassis eventually just looses it's adhesiveness. I bought the adhesive ready to fix it but as it turns out, to remove the screen you need to disassemble the whole phone. we come back to that. So now I have to wait for the back adhesive before starting on this. 

The worst thing about my a SONY XPERIA Z3, the one thing I hate the most is this feature that pops when you have music at full volume. It cuts the volume level back to half and warns you about the damage to your ears. It's especially annoying when you are driving and your phone is connected via Aux to the car and you can't conveniently put volume back, and it seems it always happens in the middle of my favourite songs. It can't be disabled, it comes out randomly, it's the bane of my musical existence. I hate it. I'm an adult human being if I decide to listen to music at full volume I should be able to do so. I do not need a nanny phone. If they felt the need to have this feature it should have come with don't show up anymore checkbox. This and notifications that can't be dismissed like battery low notification are just programmers bullying users. I know my battery is low, I can see it. I don't need a notification that I can't dismiss till I plug the charger in.

The Z5 isn't mine. However, I have been able to witness it's use for a number of years as well. It is even more fragile than the Z3, It has this corner pieces that just started falling off. The Z3 has the corner pieces but those have never fallen off on it. It's like Sony started with the Z1 made very well and then proceeded to make it worse and worse.

One day it fell face down and cracked it's screen. I ordered the screen online but I didn't order the adhesives which was a costly mistake because now the screen has arrived after 2 months of waiting and I still have to wait for the adhesives. As it turns out, and I was talking about this earlier, to replace the screen you have to disassemble the phone. I found this out after having detached the screen but it was hanging by a ribbon and not coming off. After some research it turns out the ribbon is connected to the mother behind the phone under the battery.

So now I had to remove the back cover, which was still perfectly on. To do this I saw people use a heat gun but I don't have one of those but I have a hair drier, which worked perfectly. Then the battery, while the battery in the Z1 is screwed in, on the Z5 it's glued in and pealing it off is a mission. Then you have to remove all the little things that are connected to the motherboard like the back camera, front camera and power button. only when the board is off can the screen come off.

I can't wait for the adhesives to arrive so I can put it back together and see it work. I will shout as only Richard Hammond does and say I did a thing...

The horn woes...

Just when I think I am out, they pull me back in. I was feeling pretty good this weekend. Silva-ki had had a service e.g oil change, air filter change, petrol filter change, oil filter change. I had replaced the whistling old fan belts. I was feeling calm and relaxed. As it turns out that wasn't to last long because the hooter was dead. Press, press....nothing.

What could it be? The most vulnerable thing that circuit is the fuse. I immediately went to check on it. The fuse is fine. Could it have lost continuity, to test I replaced it with a space but nothing. Relay maybe? I got a relay which being the weekend was almost impossible to find. Luckily I found one and replaced it. You guessed it, nothing. I pictured myself as the twins from the matrix, "we are getting aggravated, Yes we are". I am both twins.

Does the hooter itself work? Silva-ki had recently drove through a flooded road where by the water came to the top of the bonnet. Since the hooter is behind the grill in front of the car maybe something happened there. How do I test if the hooter works? I don't have a tester. Ping goes the light bulb, bring yellow bone out, put the hooter in yellow bone if it works then there is nothing wrong with. To my utter disappointment and I'm willing to guess yours Silva-ki's hooter works when put in yellow bone. This was disheartening because unlike silva-ki, to get to Yellow bone's hooter you have to remove the grill and indicators, more effort than I wanted. So a hail marry, put yellow bone's hooter in Silva-ki and hope for the best? Nope, no luck.

The only other place problems could be coming from is inside. The first and usual suspect, the hooter pin. I remove the steering column bottom cover and have a look, the pin is connected and it doesn't seem to be loosing contact. The hooter switch is also fine and it seems to have good contact, what the hell? At this point, as it often happens with DIY projects I am questioning the meaning of life, why do I do this, why don't I just let someone else get annoyed like this, I should just get new cars for everybody. The delusions of frustration, you somehow think you have all the resources and have a possibility of getting new cars for everybody.

I decide to just go buy a test light, nothing fancy just a cheap terminal on one end and pointy bit on the other and a tiny bulb in the middle. The one side of the fuse has power and the other doesn't, same for the relay. This is fine until the hooter is pressed and the circuit is closed. With the hooter switch pressed the cable going to the hooter itself has no power. It's now getting late. I have been doing this for 3 hours, I'm beyond aggravated. I have to access the area behind the steering wheel. the wheel is not coming out. My puller isn't fitting proper to pull it and getting help also hasn't helped.

I loosened the top cover, with the steering wheel not out I don't want to remove it because putting it back in is nearly impossible. I am laying with my back on the seat bottom, legs over the back of the seat, head with a head lamp on under steering, it's mad desperate times. Another hour is gone. Something catches my eye. there is a tiny cable from the hooter pin. it disappears somewhere near the indicator/head light stalk. I undo the 2 screws holding the stalk and slide it a bit out. It can't completely be removed because the top cover isn't completely removed as well. 

I plug the terminal of the tester on the steering wheel contact point and I start poking the contact points on the stalk's cable bundle and wow the sweet sweet sound of a hooter. So for the first time we know the hooter works and the whole circuit works. So why isn't it working normally when not being probed? As it turns out the new indicator stalk has on contact point that protrudes on the side and it had been bend. This means it was not going into the female connector from the hooter pin cable. I straightened it, inserted it into the female connector, reassembled all the covers and Peeeep...peeeeep....peeeep. The war was won warriors...

The unmistakable whistle of a fan belt

For a while now Silva-ki has been whistling in the mornings. You know the tell tail unmistakable whistle of a fan belt. You never know how long you can put it of which I had been doing mostly because the actual job of doing it not so much the parts because fan belts for this car are a price of a meal. So this weekend I took the plunge late in the day, around 3 pm which was awfully optimistic since it's almost winter and the sun is starting to set early.

I hadn't dealt with this specific car's belts before. It wasn't the first belt had dealt with though, Yellow bone has had a new belt a couple of times. If you don't know, Silva-ki is a 2E corolla and Yellow bone is an FE Mazda. Yellow bone being older by about 10 years is easy to work on, it has a lot of space and in relation to belts it only has one.

I started by looking through how I would do this. Being front wheel drive, Silva-ki has transverse mounted engine. That means the engine is sitting sideways on top of the front suspension. The fan belts therefore don't actually drive any fans. The fans are in front and electrically powered. The engine pulleys like the crank, the alternator, the air con compressor, the water pump and the steering wheel pump are connected with 2 fan belts. When this belts are old they whistle. They are situated in very narrow gap between shock tower and the engine.

There was no access to loosen the bolts that hold the power steering pump because of the windscreen washer reservoir. So it had to come out. it's held by one 8 mm bolt so it's easy to remove, although unplugging it's electric pump requires some cat grabbing sized hands, which I fortunately have, though I should point out I never use them to do actual cat grabbing lol unless invited to do so. Once the reservoir is out, I could loosen the bolt attaching the power steering pump to the engine block, then loosen the adjustment bolt below the pulley, the pump then drops down and I could simply slip the belt off. The belt was in terrible shape, it looked like it would break at any point if it had been left in place.

This main belt is thicker and longer than the other. I don't actually know if it's main but I have decided it is just based it being bigger and longer. It connects the crack, the power steering pump and the aircon compressor. Now I could tackle the small belt. it connects the crank, the alternator and the water pump. I marked the alternator bracket just ensure I would put it back where it was, then loosen it on both sides so it can move and be disconnected from the alternator. The lower bolt was harder to remove, after a whole lot of struggle I managed to remove it. Strangely the alternator is already as close as it can be to the water pump. So removing the belt, even with the alternator loosened, it's quite a challenge to remove the belt.

Now putting the new belts on was interesting. I quickly realised that it wasn't gonna work the way the taking out of the old ones had worked. In general it's much easier to take things apart than to put them together. So installing the new belts, required jacking the car up, removing the wheel cover inside the wheel well so I could access the pulleys from below and from the wheel well.

I put the belts on lowered the car ran it fast while watching the belts to make sure they are working correctly. I also put the aircon on but the air con was on auto and this was a very funny episode. The air con ran and stopped over and over and I thought the belt wasn't tight enough. I jacked the car back up and removed the covers and tightened the belts only to remember not to watch the middle of the air con pulley which is controlled by the air con compressor clutch and instead watch the outside of the pulley which is always being pulled by the belt and therefore always spins.

Anyway in the end, the belts have been replaced, the car is silent again. The war is won warriors.