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After two years of badgering from FCA (Fiat Chrysler) about the Takata airbag recall work that needed done, I finally let the dealer touch my baby this past weekend. I've been putting it off due to some reports of airbag warning lights coming on after having the work done, but finally gave in after the wife voiced some concern. Took the dealer all of about 3 hours to get both driver's and passenger side bags replaced. I suspect 90% of this time was spent replacing the passenger side. So far, everything looks good.

Before taking the car in, I spent the night before cleaning up the car and noticed a couple of paint bubbles starting to appear on the driver's side rear quarter panel, the largest of which is about the size of a quarter. It looks like I will be spending some time this summer perfecting the art of automotive body paint and repair. Not exactly keen about taking doing this on my car, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I keep telling myself if I royally screw up, I can fall back on a body shop.

A couple of other projects that I'll be working on the next couple of weeks: relocating the hydraulic pump on the lift so the driver's door will stop hitting it and extending the 1/2 galvanized air line to tie in the new air compressor.

Got back from a wonderful vacation in Iceland. This trip has been on my bucket list for several years now and had been delayed for the past four years due to the family trips to France and Ireland (not complaining). As usual, my wife handled the planning and itinerary and also as usual, managed a great vacation despite some weather related hiccups (which is to be expected in Iceland this time of year). We saw numerous waterfalls, glaciers, hot springs and geysers, and most of the touristy hot spots. Since this is my daughter's senior year in high school, this will probably be the last big vacation we take for until college is done with. Some obligatory pictures below.

I received the compressor parts on Friday and managed to get it back together. While waiting for parts, I managed to snag the manual and found another potential explanation for the oil leaks, wrong oil type. I seems that the previous user had put in compressor oil (makes total sense), but this unit actually uses 10W30 full synthetic automotive oil, which, is great, because this is what I put in the 300. The difference in viscosity didn't do the failing head gasket any favors to say the least.

By Sunday, I was able to fire it up and fix some air leaks from a couple of connections. I found that the regulator valve was busted and the tank pressure gauge was not reading the correct PSI. The state of the regulator gauge is unknown, since regulator broken. At this point, I was able to get the unit up to the 135 PSI that the new pressure switch is set for. Make note of the spill tray in the picture below in case things go south :)

This morning, I ordered a new regulator ($23.34) and two 160 PSI ($12.49) gauges from EBAY upping the total cost of the project to around $115. One note, this unit is considerably more quiet than my 10 gallon Kobalt oil-less compressor.

Got a little side-tracked from the MAME cabinet when I came across someone giving away a SpeedAire 20gal air compressor. The reason for the give-away was two fold, leaking oil and it only ran on 240v. At the time of the posting, I wasn't really interested, but after a couple of weeks of no interest, I gave in and decided to contact the "seller". The seller dropped off the unit a day later and it was pretty caked in oil. It sat in the garage for another week before I had a chance to break the unit down and clean it up.

After cleaning up the oil, it was pretty obvious where the problem was:

I pulled the compressor case after some grinding, the cracks were just in the sound reducing coating and not the case. I stripped down the compressor and decided that the cause of the oil leak was due to blown gaskets. I ordered a new set, along with a new pressure switch (missing cover, and better safe then sorry) and handle (that was missing) from AirCompressorPartsOnline.com. This set me back just under $80.00.

While waiting on the parts, I decided to hose down the outside of the tank. I plugged the open parts the best I could, but still managed to get some water in. I opened the drain cock and nothing came out despite the obvious "sloshing" that could be heard. I put some air in the tank and still nothing, drain cock is plugged up. Depressurized the tank and removed the drain cock. I set the tank down and the worst concoction of fluids came spilling out on the driveway (one of these days I l'll learn to use a pan). Oil, water, rust, and God knows what else in this viscous sludge. Spent the next 45 minutes flushing out the tank and then running air through the tank to dry things out. Stay tuned!

Been spending the past month working on various picture projects for the girl. Its a bit of work having a senior in high school. From yearbook ads, senior posters, and picking out pictures for the senior banquet, its a bit grueling. I've been using my trusty copy of Adobe Photoshop v6.0, which is starting to show it's age. I also keep a current version of GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) around, and try to force myself to use it, but I always find myself going back to PS which I have used since the early 90s. Now that newer versions of PS are subscription based (pay per month, as opposed to flat fee), I may have to just cut cold turkey. GIMP is more than capable, not too mention free, just getting used to the user interface requires a little patience.

I did the 5k oil change on the 300 over the weekend and noticed that something managed to cut a small hole in my brand new exhaust right at the flex pipe. Since the hole is not more than 1/4in, I may just leave it. That being said, I did get a welder for Christmas that hasn't seen much action lately. I also changed out my 20in wheels back to the OEM 18in wheels due to tire wear. The 20in set is also starting to get pretty bad shape, so this may be the end of them. Nevertheless, I'll be due for a new set of tires within the next 6 months, so I'm contemplating just getting tires for the 18s, or going all out on a new set of 20in rims+tires. First world problems, right?

Spent some time on New Year's eve fixing various issues with the MAME cabinet. On the list was pulling off the monitor surround since the new monitor was a little different than the dead one, the volume control that was attached to the surround was flaky as all heck and needed to be replaced, and the very dim marquee lighting.

Pulling the surround was pretty easy since it was just held in with brad nails. I think the next one will be either bolted or screwed in for even easier removal. The previous volume control and sound amplifier was just hacked up from a set of PC speakers and for that, I upgraded to a Dayton Audio amplifier kit from Parts Express (#300-385). This kit is nice because it has a remotely wired volume control that will be attached to the monitor surround.

I had switched from cold cathode to a hard PCB LED strip years ago and over time it was starting to dim down to just barely visible. I upgraded the single strip to two flex strips (Parts Express part# 073-108 )to bring things back to life.

Hoping to have some time in the next week or so to cut out a new monitor surround. I'm also thinking about having an overlay printed to put over the surround for some added bling.

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