We pulled the tent trailer over to neighbor Steve's place yesterday to pull the drums off and take a look at the conditions of the wheel bearings and pack them with fresh grease if needed.
Steve gets busy on the weekends, so I actually had to wait a while before pulling my rig into his driveway. But when we did, the trailer went up, jackstands went under, and the wheels and drums came off quickly.
My hesitation about doing this myself had to do with removing the castle nut that holds the drum on. Not really sure how torqued it is. Then removing the inner bearing usually means having to press it out, or pressing the grease seal out. So I wanted a bit of guidance to see how it is done for next time. Turns out that the main castle nut is not really torqued at all. Just a good sized set of channel locks is all that's needed.
The bearings were in good shape, but they were geting a bit dry, so it was a good thing we did this. Steve pressed out the grease seal but the small spring got damaged. On both sides. So I took the seal over to Kragens to get a new one.
It was getting late in the afternoon on a Sunday to start a parts trek like this, so I was nervous. Once I got to the parts store, the guys behind the counter had to hunt around, opening all the boxes of seals since a) there was no number printed on the seal to match against, and b) I was working on a trailer, not a car, which is not what they are used to,
After some hunting around, they finally came up with two different seals that were close in diameter, both inside and outside diameter. The only major difference was that the thickness of the seal was greater. But most of the extra thickness was in the form of a rubber sheild that surrounded one side of the seal, so it was a bit compressable. I took two, one for each side, and raced back to Steve's. He examined them and declared that we could use them as-is, in their entirety, rather than just stealing the springs from them.
Oh, BTW, the box those seals came in said something about a Japanese application, Mazda. But hey, they fit.
Steve also noticed a broken clip that retains the electromagnet for the brakes. He dug around his small parts bin and found a bicycle skewer spring to replace the small spring that was damaged, and he tweaked the clip so it held again.
It was fun playing around with this stuff, and I feel better we were able to get some grease on those bearings. if I am able tomorrow, I will start work on the charge line from the tow vehicle to the trailer battery. Wiring is always a lot of fun.
It's something that almost never gets done, something that seems to keep working so why fix it. But if you think about it, it's really, really important so that you don't plow through the cars ahead of you.
The truck now has new brake fluid in its hydraulic veins, thanks to neighbor-auto-technician Steve. He's a firm believer in swapping out the fluid on schedule as recommended by the manufacturer, which is a whole lot more often than one would think. The old fluid that came out wasn't too bad, wasn't too dark with a bunch of sediment, though there was a sprinkle here or there. We also removed all four tires and examined the brakes themselves, looking for potential signs of failure. There were none. Front pads have plenty of meat, and the rear shoes look like they have never seen a load.
I had noticed a while a ago the fluid level on the low side, which indicates a leak, but we didn't see any signs of one anywhere, even around the brake cylinders in the read, moving the boots out of the way to get a close look.
We also performed a leakdown test of the cooling system. Steve has a cool new set up to do this with, so we got to play with it. Connect it up to the system in the place of your radiator cap and pump it up to about 12 or 14 pounds and then look around for leaks and watch the gauge to see if the pressure decreases.
We left it on for 15 or 20 minutes but saw no signs of a leak, but the pressure did decrease slowly over time, more than we would have liked. Steve also noticed signs of a previous leak in the front of the engine, near a pulley, near where the water pump is. The evidence was in the form of dried up, reddish material which matches the color of the coolant in the system. Through the leakdown test, however, there area did not experience any moisture leaking out, so we believe that it's a really small leak that won't be any trouble.
And finally, since I had to dig around behind the back seat for the lug key, I took the opportunity to shed some sunlight on the spare tire, which has probably never left its perch since the truck was new. It was down to 20 psi from its recommend 35 psi, so I added air and checked the condition of the tire. It all looked good other than some scuffing at the mount points.
Friday night, I head out on my bike just after dark to check out a local park's lighting situation, for a request that the San Jose Astronomical Association received from the city of SJ.
I passed the local plaza, the one with a huge parking lot, on my way out and there was nothing going on, as expected.
On my way back, maybe ten or fifteen minutes later, there are a couple hundred people on bikes congregating in the parking lot. As it says at the beginning of this post, What the heck is that?!?
I hung around to see if I could get a clue as to what's going on, and all I could see were swarms of more bikes flooding into the area. It was a sight to see! Thought it was a Critical Mass happening, like they have occasionally up in SF. Since I was on my bike, and thinking there are too many people to notice me, a possible interloper, I got into the bike traffic and head into the mass.
There was a van selling Bike Party t-shirts for ten bucks. And people on bikes just hanging out, chillin. Lots of people were in their early twenties, and some were hitting the liquor store across the street, and enjoying tall boys in brown paper bags. Some of them were shouting Bike Party! So, it must have been a bike party!
Here's the best picture of it that I was able to take, given the lighting and other considerations:
They started taking off down the road, so I decided to join for a little while. It was amazingly cool to be riding on the heavily car centric streets of San Jose in the midst of so many bikes. On a fairly major street, with three lanes dedicated to one direction, the bikes were occupying the two right lanes, and cars were forced to slowly pass the mass in the one remaining lane. Cool!
This morning, I did a search for a bike party in San Jose and came up with the SJBikeParty.org website. Sounds cool! They do this every third Friday of the month.
Now I just need to get me head and tail lights for my bike, and I'll try my hardest to be out there next month!
Again this year, our neighborhood organized its fifteenth annual Fourth of July Parade. This tradition consists of closed off streets through the neighborhood with residents walking, biking or driving in decked out rigs, patriotic to the hilt.
Penny decorated her bike in the morning before the parade, I put on a shirt with a US flag on it, and saddled up the boy dog to participate.
As in years past, the local fire department showed up in their truck to cruise the route.
Glad we were able to do this again this year. Looking forward to this tradition continuing on for a long, long time!
It has been hot down here in the south bay area, but once we crossed the city limits into SF, the weather became overcast, we could see the fog/clouds rolling quickly across the highway, and it was definitely chilly. A nice respite from the heat, indeed!
We got to the Zoo in time for the grizzly feeding, which was really cool to see. The enclosure featured a large glass wall that bumped up against a small pond where the zoo keepers tossed food such as carrots, apples and chicken carcasses. We had front row viewing of the bears as they searched around for and munched on their breakfast.
Trouble with getting there in time to see the feeding was that we had to hurry from the entrance to the other end of the park, quickly passing by lots of other cool looking exhibits, such as the Outback and other bear species. Once we were done with the bears, it was nearing lunchtime for us, and there was no good way to find an efficient path through the park to the cafe, without once again missing cool exhibits along the way. Once lunch was out of the way (expensive but a decent selection, including veggie burgers, which is what we ordered out of respect), again it was difficult to find a good path through the park to see everything without crisscrossing the park or going through areas we had already been through.
Probably the best area was the African Savannah. It seemed to be fairly new and well maintained, and we saw giraffes fairly up close, a zebra butt, and other African animals.
My least favorite area was the Lion House. This building looked like a zoo structure that you see in old cartoons. You go inside to find a large open space with cages all around the perimeter. The only live animal in there was a tiger, not to mention a zoo keeper cleaning out an adjacent cage. The bright side of this was that the cages open up on the other side to an open area that more resembled what you would expect to see in a modern zoo, a habitat.
Penny was complaining a bit that she wanted to go home, she seemed bored. Surprising, since she usually likes animals. We later found a playground, and she perked right up.
We stayed at the playground for a good long time while Harold napped. Then afterward, we made our way to the children's zoo area. We really should have started in this area. By the time we found it, it was closing time for some of the exhibits there (4PM), and so we sped through the nature trail (without seeing the small animals that would have been there with keepers) and we also were able to get into the insect zoo/museum just before they closed.
The zoo itself closes at 5PM, and we were back at the car soon after 5. Using our GPS, we looked up some places where we could have dinner. We decided on Italian and easily found Pirro's Pizzeria on Taraval Street. Since it was a Monday, and still somewhat early, the place was near empty. I'd recommend it.
After a small pizza and ravioli, we hit the road back home.
Overall, I wish I had read the reviews of the San Francisco Zoo on Yelp, at least to know what we were getting ourselves into. Overall, the descriptions in the reviews are pretty accurate. It's an older zoo, it shows its age, but they do the best they can. For fifteen bucks for an adult to get in, it's not overpriced, in my opinion. We will go back, probably not before a few years go by.