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Friday, September 22, 2023

Doug's Domain

Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI

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Saturday, January 19, 2012

I Haz A Bucket

(Image: Probably the first meme relevant to this blog)While growing up I always used a large (20 quart) stainless steel bucket to wash the family's cars. This bucket looked nothing like what you'd typically see in the car-care section back then (or today, for that matter) so when I asked my parents about it I learned that my father acquired it back in the 50's when he worked at the local college farm. Apparently, the story went, the farm stopped processing cow's milk for whatever reason and this bucket was part of the processing equipment they discarded.

The bucket wouldn't be particularly noteworthy at this point if it were not for the fact that it's now 60-some-odd years old and my brother and I still use it to wash our cars. The bucket has remained in remarkably good shape, sporting only a bit of light surface rust on the interior (storing moist sponges in it will do that, even if it is “stainless” steel), and a couple dings some might politely refer to as patina. That is until a few weeks ago when it jumped out in front of one of my brother's trucks and got wedged under the bumper. I heard the bucket screaming but I couldn't lend any aid until my brother put the transmission in reverse. We took the bucket to the hospital and it recovered nicely, fully waterproof and with only a scar in the form of a large dent. Please...no flowers or get-well cards are necessary. :)

With the knowledge that I might soon move into my own digs and likely lose any custody battle over the bucket with my elder brother I decided to search for a replacement (bucket, not brother). I was initially skeptical that I'd be able to find anything even remotely close to the quality of that old bucket but amazingly enough I found it here. The new bucket came in this week and it's damn near identical to the old bucket. The steel is at least as thick, the handle just as sturdy, and the bottom reinforcement just as nicely manufactured. And best of all, it's US made out of 304 (18/8) stainless. While a bit pricey at $120, I think it's fair to say that the bucket will outlive me just as the old bucket outlived my father.

Silicone Paste Lubricant

As I mentioned briefly during my recent front suspension overhaul, one of the techs at my dealer enlightened me to the fact that the brake caliper guide pins are supposed to be lubed with silicone paste. I tried looking for it in a local automotive supply store but failed to find the same stuff the tech showed me. A quick search on Amazon, however, revealed a source for a 3M product and I picked up a couple cans. Those arrived today and will go on the shelf in prep for the next brake job. Reminder: if you click on the link and buy a small amount of your purchase will go to my site support fund.

Headlight Switch Bulb Replacement

I've been overwhelmed lately with various projects so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I've been driving around for months with the headlight switch lamp blown out. I think I've only replaced the lamp once, back when the dealer was still doing all the work on my car. For this reason I did not how exactly how to remove the switch to replace it so I had to do some research on the subject.

I discovered the part number I required (61138360844) and dropped by the dealer to pick one up. The receptionist took one look at the $5 invoice, gave me a look of incredulity and laughed at the small amount -- clear evidence I spend too much money in that place. Before leaving, I recalled that my A/M switch light was burnt out as well so I ordered another one. That should be in later in the week.

To replace the bulb I removed the single screw underneath the switch/vent assembly, carefully pulled the assembly out of the dash (taking note that the upper right corner latches into the dash and should *NOT* be pulled or pried out), disconnected the two electrical connectors and then brought the assembly back to the bench for the repair. I then used a small screwdriver to pry the bulb holder out of the assembly, swapped the bulb and reinstalled everything. A turn of the key confirmed the bulb worked. Gee whiz...maybe now I'll be able to find my headlight switch in the dark. :)

Mileage: 230925, Parts: $5, Materials: $40, Tools: $120