Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Past Due

First thing I guess is my employee Pete has moved on. He found a new job that can provide him with the things I couldn't. While I'm sad at loosing him I can do nothing but support him with his choice. We've had a lot of good times working together and I would like to think I taught him a few things just like he did me. I must say I am going to miss working with him. Best of luck my friend!

I've also been struggling with a repair on this one motor. This has been a pain since it rolled in the door. I'm fixing this car after another shop (for lack of a better term) just did a hack job on it in every sense of the word. Every time I turned around there was something else they had screwed up on this engine. I've drilled out 7 cross threaded broken bolts. Broken bolts are bad enough but when they are cross threaded too it is a major pain in the ass. That is just the start of what they wrecked. Harmonic balancer hammered on 45 degrees off smashing the woodruff key, broken head gaskets, missing/loose bolts and oil leaks from every possible spot that it can leak. After removing the engine and taking it down to the short block to fix all of these problems I can see the end in sight. The engine is back in and 90 percent bolted up. All I am waiting for now is a special tool so I can time the camshafts. The bad part about that is the tool has to come from Germany. It's been a week now and the tool still isn't here. It will be a very happy day when this thing is done and out the door.

I did get the Harley out last week and have been riding almost everyday since. Oh that feels so good! Now if it would just warm up in the mornings so I don't freeze on the way to work I would be as happy as can be. I have got to figure out why when riding in a heavy rain it drops a cylinder. I've tried every secondary ignition part there is on it with either the good parts I took off when I hopped up the engine or new. It will run fine in the shop with a garden hose soaking everything. But as soon as it either rains real hard or I power wash it it drops the cylinder and nothing will bring it back other then getting it dried out. The only thing I haven't tried is a new crank sensor. While I find it hard to believe that the crank sensor will drop just one cylinder I've not ruled it out. I've seen it on Mercedes before where the crank sensor gets wet and causes all kinds of weird running problems. To top it off the local HD dealer has them on stock and they don't stock anything. At about 60 or 70 bucks I guess it is worth a gamble.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

New Mercedes-Benz

Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon stopped by the shop Monday to show off their Sheldon new carnew car. This is their sixth Mercedes-Benz but their first brand new one. It is a 2008 E320CDI BlueTec diesel.

Since they brought it out I just had to drive it, of course Mrs. Sheldon insist I drive it. Who am I to say no? This engine is amazing. If the first thing that comes to mind if you think of diesel is tons of black smoke, a loud knocking engine and poor acceleration then you are in for a surprise.

The first thing you notice is nothing. No knocking noise, no black smoke and no sluggishness. The only way to tell the engine is running is to look at the instrument cluster to see the gauges are showing activity, it is that quite and smooth. Once put in drive it moves away from a stop like it was a gas engine. No turbo lag or laziness and in fact when the turbo does spool up it is so linear you never feel the "bang" of the turbo coming on. Simply just steps up and gets with the show. Having driven many late model gas Mercedes-Benz I think their claim of this engine being able to out run a gas motor of the same size to be true. I couldn't really romp on this car since it only had 350 miles and not even close to being broken. I kept the engine speed below 3000RPM but that was still plenty and zoomed the car to almost 80MPH before I got to the end of the on ramp and that was up hill! Mrs. Sheldon reports it does 100MPH with no effort. Impressive to say the least.

There was a time in my shop that almost every car I worked on was a diesel. During the mid 90s' that turned to mostly gas engines as Mercedes-Benz enter the horse power wars with BMW and other German car companies. While I don't really miss those old oil burners it will be nice to see if this engine puts Mercedes-Benz diesels back on the map. I think they have a hit on their hands. If the sales this dealership says they have are true with this diesel then I know they have a hit on their hands.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Odds and Ends

I'm sick and tired of winter. The good news... Here is it March 2nd it's a nice 54 degrees at 11:30AM. The bad news.... They are calling for two to four inches of snow again tonight starting at 6PM...WTF?!?! If it wasn't for all of the crud on the streets from the melting snow I would be out riding. Lord knows I want to bad enough but not bad enough to ride in all of the salt and sand that is on the roads. Not to mention my bike would be a mess and I don't really feel like spending hours cleaning for only an hour or two of riding. This is the first winter in a long time that I haven't got to go for a ride at least once a month during the winter. Sad part is we've had a "normal" winter this year as far as snow fall an cold temps. I must be getting old.

Yesterday was a "lets fix PCs' today" day. I woke up to a desktop that wouldn't even finish the POST. This is the second time in three months I've woken up and had this happen. Last time like this time it is the mother board that is kaka. Now I'm not sure why but I'm guessing the power supply has something to do with it. I got out the trusty volt meter and checked all the voltages and while nothing is way out of spec I do see that the 3.3 volt outputs are in the 3.45 range. So it is getting replaced just because it is really about the only thing I can see causing these problems. So out the door to the shop to pick up my good old backup Sony laptop. Maybe not the fastest thing on the planet it does always run so there is something to be said about that! Plus I'm a smart guy and always have my stuff backed up so I'm not missing a bunch of stuff I just have to have. It didn't take twice for me to learn that lesson :-)

Back home my friend Chirp shows up with a Dell laptop her sister had given her saying HELP! I knew as soon as I booted and seen A: Windows ME for the OS and B: Always Off Line icons all over the desktop I knew there wasn't much that was going to help this little laptop other then a fresh load of XP. So some four plus hours later and 130+ patches via Microsoft Update she had a spanky new OS and a laptop that is now usable. She's thrilled and I'm tired of PC repair... until it happens again.