Thursday, July 28, 2016

Nurse... Scalpel. I mean, Dremel!

While we visit here in Pennsylvania, Nicole is taking advantage of the fact that she can take things apart.  Notice, we didn't say... and put them back together again. 

Whenever something goes wrong on the van, Nicole's mind wants to know... WHY?

So, despite our limited space, the one thing that there is always room for is old parts from the van.  If she has to get rid of clothes to be able to carry that old water pump until she can dissect it then so be it.  Priorities in order?  Check!

First up was the mechanical fuel pump. 

                   The original pump installed in 1988.  It lasted 28 years!

                                        This is it... a Carter original.

We're just going to say that this baby was not meant to be taken apart.  But, with the right tools and enough free time and 'desire', the task can certainly be achieved!

     It all started with sheer willpower and a few simple tools.  Pry open the roll crimp...

                                    and the pump will start talking to you!

We've heard varying reports that the intake gasket is supposed to be one way so that fuel does not drain back to the tank each time you turn the van off.  Both in and out looked pretty darn good though.  So, before taking them apart, Nicole filed the lid with water and watched.

Since water was coming out of both holes, it could then be assumed that fuel was draining back to the tank at shutoff which resulted in long cranks (to pump fuel back up to the front of the van) at each start-up.  Interesting but not the cause of the noise in the pump and even with this failure you can still drive so long as the pump is actually pumping and you're willing to crank a bit more now and then.

On to the rest of the pump...

That is a pretty darn good looking diaphragm considering the age.  Now it's time to break out the big guns and grind away at that rivet in the center and get into the meat of it.

Not too shabby.  Pretty sure that big spring there is the major contributor to our noise.
Still, things are in better condition than we expected considering the noise we were hearing.

The under-side of the diaphragm shows some age though the pump was still 'pump-able'.

This little gasket would keep fuel from sneaking out of the pump, past the pump arm and into the timing chain area.  Not sure it was doing a great job. 

Though, still not the cause of our noise, the wear on this part is understandable as it 'buffers' the up and down of the pump arm.

Forgot to take a 'before' photo but this is the pump arm almost free.  See that little piece of metal left from the pin.  The full size of the pin can be seen in the slot just above that.

Well, that's it.  Disassembly complete!  The diagnosis?  With nothing obvious presented, we were left with an assumption.  The only way to repeat the noise we had been hearing was to compress the larger spring to a point where the pump arm rode just a tiny bit loose.  So, it appears that the larger spring may have been the culprit in that it had grown very stiff and perhaps was binding a tad. 

Either way the noise immediately went away upon installation of the new pump.

Next to go under the scalpel (ahem, the dremel)...  Our battery isolator solenoid that we use to charge our house batteries from the alternator on gray days.

                                      What will this dissection reveal?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Been Slackin' - Visited Arisaig Provincial Park

It seems blogging duties have been neglected lately.  Been enjoying time with family in PA and doing little projects here and there.

Let's see... Newfoundland did not let go of us easily.  Mother nature produced 150km (90mph) wind gusts the entire evening prior to our departure.  Little sleep was attained as we spent our evening awaiting Annie's 'lift-off' - which thankfully did not happen. 

We were due to depart on the 11:45 a.m. ferry.  All checked in at 8:30 a.m. and sitting in line - still blowing in the wind - we figured it was only one more hour until boarding / wind-free time.

Boarding time came and went.  And, went.  And.... WENT.  Still no ferry.  Still no boarding.

At 10:30 p.m. - 15 hours after it was due to arrive - our ferry docked and prepared to take us to Nova Scotia.  So, our plans to spend our ferry time watching whales and birds and appreciating the open water turned into an overnight experience with earplugs and pillows.

In the end, we were just thankful that our trip was the usual six hours and not the 21 hours that the folks prior to us had to experience.

In Nova Scotia, we made the decision to head back to the states by driving a few different roads and making two overnights and one planned stop. 

That stop was Arisaig Provincial Park.

It was a drizzling day but we made the walk down to the shore and took a few minutes to look for fossils.

           Arisaig is known for its wonderful fossil samples.  These are not fossils.

                         This is.  It is also the only fossil we saw on this day.

                                               A Trilobite, perhaps.

This area is one of North America’s most continuously exposed sections of Silurian rock, representing 4 million years of earth history.

                      The rain came and went as did the views along with it.

                               The last lighthouse we'll see for a while.

    Bet there are some great fossils being exposed as this waterfall erodes the rock.

       We were not the only ones braving the rain to enjoy a little outdoor time.

Sedges have edges.  Rushes are round.  Grasses are hollow.
What have we found?  No idea.  Still learning.

But, isn't it amazing when you get down to the macro level
how you can see the tiniest flower-like look of the fruit.

It was nice that the weather had begun to warm and we were seeing more critters.
                  We had been a tad too early to see them in Newfoundland.

                            This appears to be a Red-cross Shield Bug.

                        Still as a statue, we almost didn't see this cutie.


                                          Sweetfern Geometer Moth


                       This awesome trilobite-ish insect is a Woodlouse.


A day after our visit to Arisaig we re-entered the United States and made tracks for a visit with relatives in Pennsylvania.  Since then, we've been engaging in a well balanced mix of chillin', visitin' and getting lots of little projects done.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Returning To Maine For One Post

We've finally settled our pace and while going through all of our photos realized that we slighted Maine a bit.   By the time we arrived there, Annie was acting the fool and we just lost track of where we were and what we were doing.

So.... here's the remainder of our shots and stories from Maine way back in May'ish.

                   We enjoyed a pleasant afternoon at a city park in Belfast.

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  The Surf Scoters (in black) and Herring Gulls were enjoying the nice weather, too.

New bird alert!  Had thought this was a Common Loon but turns out it is a Red-throated.

                                                  Lovin' the Lifers!

                          You'll never guess what these two were up to.

                                              They were crabbin'.

                  At some point along the way we crossed the Penobscot Narrows Bridge.

          The tower on the left side is the tallest bridge observatory in the world.
                                      We observed it from the ground.

One day we headed out toward Acadia but Annie implied (with quite a noise) that she wasn't in the mood.  So, we returned to Walmart. 

After much investigation with her Listening Stick, Nicole discovered the fuel pump was the culprit.  It had begun to sound like a can of rocks being shaken which is not a typical fuel pump failure sound.  But it was also not the sound you wanted coming from your fuel pump!

We do not like to take advantage of Walmart's hospitality by being too 'comfortable and obvious' in their parking lots.  So, instead of doing this simple job ourselves in Wally's parking lot, we hired out the job to a local mechanic.

It was a terrible mistake and the hack job that was done to our poor girl brought on a six hour repair and redo job (yes, in the parking lot!) for us the following day.

As a result, we were wiped both mentally and physically.  We were also more than ready to move on.  With an afternoon to spare before leaving, we made a quick run through Acadia National Park.

       Some time at the beach was our primary goal.

                                             It was a beautiful day.




The scenery did much to soothe our aching minds but our bodies had not yet recovered.  Though we attempted a short trail, about fifty feet later we both realized it just wasn't going to happen.  Instead, we opted to just continue the loop drive and leave it at that.

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Once we felt all was o.k. with Annie, we eventually continued northward.

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                 We took a break at this small waterfall in one of the towns.

                                  And, got lost for a bit in the scene.

                                                        Waterfall Art

Upon entering Calais, we walked along the St. Croix.  The weather had turned to shorts and t-shirts temps and we reveled in it.

                     The Buffleheads were out splashing around in great numbers.

        The Double Crested Cormorants demonstrated their synchronized swimming skills.

                                     Song Sparrows were singing their songs.

Having reached this, our northern-most stateside destination for this trip, we considered it quite a milestone.  What we didn't realize (having begun our journey in south FLA) was that we had paralleled a different sort of achievement.

2016-05-12a Maine, Calais - Greenway Marker (2)

And there we teetered on the edge of a new adventure.  Soon, we would be entering Canada and spending a time exploring the Maritimes.