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Those are some nice cars.  Nice to see them. 


Life on the farm continues.  On a whim we decided that we needed two donkeys, a bonded pair.  So we contacted a rescue group in central Virginia  and adopted Eli and Jerry, both three years old.  Going to be delivered to the farm by the end of next week, their new forever home.


On the car side, going to attempt to put on the two of the Suburban exhaust manifold clamps today.  



eli and jerry.jpg




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It is Friday, December 15.  Put the Suburban in the garage and turned up the heat to 60 degrees from 45.  Perfect for working on the truck.  Outside it is 27 degrees.


I installed two exhaust manifold clamps.  It took about an hour each.  The passenger side rear and drivers side front.  The front was easiest, but broke the plastic tab for the water temp plug, old and brittle, but still fits in OK.  The passenger side rear was harder as there was less room.  I had to bend the oil dip stick out of the way and hammer down the heat shield  to get it to fit.  But they are in.  Iwill take it in for re-inspection on Monday.  I will do the driver's rear another day, which will be a much harder job as there is no room to work.
I also got new custom seat covers for the front, going to put them on tomorrow.The front seats are starting to look a bit ratty after fourteen years and 185,000 miles.











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It is Saturday, December 16th.  One seat done and one to go.  I am a bit under the weather with a good cold, but decided to warm up the garage and see how much I could get done on the Suburban's new camo seat covers by CalTrend.  They are made special order to you have to wait a few days before you get them.  The fit and finish are excellent and the price was right, $161 shipped.  It took me a bit over an hour to put the passenger side on.  I have to do some final adjustment, but very pleased with the results.  I hope that I feel better on Monday to put the other side in.  


And donkey news.  The boys will be here on Friday.  Cannot wait.  They are both three years old and live to 50.  Looks like the kids are going to have donkeys at some point.






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Keith, the boys are both 3 years old and a bonded pair, and joined at the hip so to speak.  Their current names are Eli and Jerry Bown.  I have asked our grandkids (Evan 6 and Caroline 7) to each name one.  So we will see what they come up with.  Will let you know. 


Alice has the idea that she would like to have a driving pair, so I guess I will be on the hunt for a carriage or wagon plus all the rigging/harnesses.  Our critter sitter drives large horses and ponies.  We are going to talk to her about training for the donkeys and us.  


It is Monday, December 18th, still fighting a cold, now more of a cough at night.  Slept 11 hours last night.  But I had enough energy to fix the donkey [pasture fence line and barn area for them.  I figure that I have to buy two new gates, a 12 and 10 footer, to make a secure area for them  in the barn.


On the car side I finished putting on the Suburban's new camo seat covers.  They look pretty good, and I hope they last a few years without falling apart.  I know that Trimacar (David Coco) would not approve, but the price was right and something I could do in a couple of hours.  



donkey car.jpg





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It is early Saturday morning, December 23rd.  Christmas is getting closer and I still have things to get.  Heading into town this morning to finish.  And yesterday we received our donkey rescues.  They are quite a pair.  Good looking critters and friendly.  They are a bonded pair and cannot be out of the others sight.  They got seperated by the garage, and what a commotion until they found each other.  Here they are at their arrival.  The llamas are not impressed.









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  • 3 weeks later...

January 8, 2018.  Hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year.  It has been bitter cold here for the past couple of weeks so we have been in a survival mode keeping the animals well fed and warm.  For many days we were in the teens during the day and near 0 degrees at night.  But it is warming up and tomorrow it will be above freezing.  


Today we jumped into the Suburban and headed out to pick up a couple of 2nd row buckets from a 2007 Yukon.  They are tan leather with some power options.  Paid $100 for the pair.  They are a bit dirty on the seat bottoms, but otherwise perfect.  The plan is to have them replace the front seats in the 1979 Chev van, which are falling apart.  I will either mount them on a wood platform to get them to the right height or will modify the factory base to get them to fit on the van seat pedestals.  I think they will look just great in Brownie the van.


And the new donkeys are doing just fine.  They are a hoot.  Always getting into stuff and exploring.  They love getting a paper feed bag and fighting over it.  It keeps them entertained for an hour or so.  They love carrots.  And they can figure out how to unlock gates if you are not careful.  









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It is Wednesday, January 10th.  Attempted to clean the grease and grime off the new van seats.  Even with some light scrubbing the grime did not come out of the bottom seat fronts.  I will try some more aggressive cleaner and a soft brush to see if I can get the dirt to give up.  The rest of the seats came out great.  


I did some measurements and the new seats will fit just fine.  They are the same height as the ones in the truck now.  The passenger side will just be bolted down with enough room to allow me to pull the dog house over the engine.  I will have to modify the factory mount on the driver's side to get it to be in the correct placement for a universal, non-adjust seat.  


I want to add three point seat belts.  Problem is that GM did not put in an attachment point on the B pillar.  I found a plate that you can put in, but it is not an easy process.  Will continue to explore options.


And never have seen this.  The battery on the van seems to be almost frozen due to the two weeks of teens temps.  I put a slow charge on it and gradually heated it up.  Worked great a couple of hours later. That is frost/ice on the sides.





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It is Thursday, January 11th.  I got a call from Camaro Steve a few days ago.  He said that our chief fabricator,  Dan, had a good commercial Millermatic welder for sale and did I want it.  Without doing any research or thinking, I said yes.  Well I picked it up from Steve this morning.  Had to use the llama trailer as this thing weighs a ton.  Over the next few weeks it looks like I will be getting to know it.  Dan said that it works, but will give me my money back if it doesn't.  It came without any wire or the gas bottle.  Even old people have to learn the hard way.


It is a Millermatic 35 S (S=spot weld), probably from 1976/75.  Paid $200.











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It is Sunday,  January 14th.  Oh gosh!  The 2002 Trailblazer was hit by a deer.  Thank goodness Alice was driving.  The deer gathered itself up and ran away, the Trailblazer, not so much.  This is the third time.  I fixed the first two, but this one is more extensive than replacing plastic.


Smashed in the driver's fender and pushed it back into the door, so the door will not open.  The plastic bits of the bumper attachment points and grill at all broken.  I am thinking that the insurance company may just total the little truck.  










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Greg sent me a note that he is really busy in the airplane shop and trying to stay warm.  No work on his old cars, but he is mastering a new skill for airplane work.  


A work project calls for engine turned cowlings.   Detailed to the job,  I've had to construct a throatless drill press and a method of indexing.

Today's first effort,  Test pattern 1 is flawed,  but I guess a good start.
At least it is indoor/shop work.



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Re the Trailblazer.  I can get all the parts to repair the truck myself.  The cost of the parts shipped to my door will be about $900 or a bit more.  We will take the truck in to the repair shop to see what they have to say.  Oh, and the cost includes the painting of the bumper cover and front fender.  So truly it will be plug and play.  


And I picked up a 10 lb spool of solid core welding wire via Amazon.  $30 and made in Italy.  I also ordered electrical connectors so I can switch between the 220 volt air compressor and the welder.  Would not use both at the same time anyway.  I have a small cylinder of gas, enough to see if the welder actually works.  

Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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It is Tuesday, January 16th.  Update on the Trailblazer.  Took it into the shop for an estimate to repair.  Well the estimate came in at $3,600, and no surprise that the insurance company totaled it.  I have to call tomorrow to see how much they are going to offer for it.  



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It is Wednesday, January 17th.  Well, we were suppose to get four inches of snow last night.  Woke up this morning with nothing.  We were all excited to push some snow.  Now it is just cold again for us, 23 degrees.


Just a quick couple of things.  Donkeys are smart, somehow they managed to get their heads into the hay stash and pulled out about six bales.  And I found two new seat belts that will fit the van's new seats.  Bought them in 2004 when our new dog, Shadow, ate the seat belts.  I had to buy a set of four and only used two.  Sure glad I saved them.  And finally I received the electrical connectors so I can use the new welder.  Now I will be able to change between the welder and air compressor with a quick plug pull.  Should work great.






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It is Thursday, January 18th.  This will be a very short report.  Just too cold to do much in the garage or outside.  But I did have a chance to install the new 220 volt connector to the wall and then to the big air compressor.  I now have a set-up where I can plug and unplug the welder and compressor.  Works great.







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Paul, the big snow storm was a bust.  We just got a dusting, but it was sure cold and windy.  It just took the heat right out of you.   The donkeys just stayed in their shed with lots of day.  When the sun comes out they run out and stand in the sun to get warm.  

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12 hours ago, unimogjohn said:

Paul, the big snow storm was a bust.  We just got a dusting, but it was sure cold and windy.  It just took the heat right out of you.   The donkeys just stayed in their shed with lots of day.  When the sun comes out they run out and stand in the sun to get warm.  


We got 7 to 8" here in Winston-Salem, so I'm surprised you didn't get much of any. It was an odd storm tho, in that the totals were higher in NC the further east you went. My son, who lives in Franklin NC up near Cherokee, only got a dusting also.

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It is Monday, January 22.  OMG.  We went to our financial advisor on Friday.  His parting comment, "you cannot take it with you".  So we decided to go out and get a new to us used car.  All of ours daily drivers are over 15 years old with almost 200K miles on each of them.  We settled on a 2013 Tesla Model S P85.  First electric for us.  Should be a grand experiment for sure.  We made the private party deal yesterday and pick it up today.  








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Wow, nice car!  I don't know much about them, so looked up Motor Trend review for 2013, 0-60 in 4 seconds! Quite a bold choice for a new-to-you car....


Their sub heading: 


"The P85 is a car with split personality: Usually, it’s an ultra-efficient energy-sipper, but periodically, it’s a rocket ship..."


Sounds like fun....


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Zipdang, well, I probably should consider dropping a couple.  I will have to think about that.  


Been playing with the Tesla and getting it all set up for us.  It is like setting up a new computer.  But all is done.  Charged it up on the 110v house power. I have ordered a couple of adapters so I can use 220v to charge.  At capacity at 257 miles.  Here are pics, just home.








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Joe, right now it is on a 15 amp, 110v circuit in the garage.  I am waiting on special adapters to the charging module to charge at higher rates.  If I just need it topped off so to speak I will charge it in the house garate with a 20 amp, 110v circuit.  If I need a faster charge I have a 30 amp, 220v connector in the new garage. I plan on putting a 50 amp, 220v circuit in the new garage at some point.


Here is a chart showing the various charge rates.





And if you are travelling then you can stop at a Tesla Supercharger station and fill up.  It is much faster than the at home rates.


Per the web, Tesla supercharging stations charge with up to 145 kW of power distributed between two cars with a maximum of 120 kW per car. They take about 20 minutes to charge to 50%, 40 minutes to charge to 80%, and 75 minutes to 100% on the original 85 kwh Model S.


Our car has a dual charging system and I think it can charge even faster.  

Edited by unimogjohn (see edit history)
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Per Tesla, yes and no.  If you only use a Supercharger the car itself will restrict voltage going to the batteries resulting in a slower than normal charge.  But you have to go thru over 200 capacity to do that.  The computers in the car attempt to protect the battery pack of over 7,000 individual cells.  Here is the article.




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Back to the old car world.  It is Sunday, January 28th.  Our neighbor, Geoff, is having his wife's grandfathers 1928 Ford Model A restored, frame off.  It is about done so asked him to send a couple of pictures.  He hopes to have it home before the summer driving season starts.  The restoration has been supervised by a AACA judge to ensure that everything is correct.  I am trying to convince him to show it at Hershey in October.  Here are the pics he sent me.






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Model A looks nice, and what a nice building.  An AACA judge will assure it does well in an AACA meet, but he really needs someone familiar with MARC (Model A Restorers Club) standards to have the car really correct.


Can't wait to come visit and see the Tesla, that's neat!

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David, re the Tesla.  It is really a nice car.  Fit and finish are excellent, and they had really only started producing them in June of 2012.  Mine is 19, 641 off the line.  I just need to add a better charging circuit to the new garage to use it every day.  A 50 amp outlet will take me from 4 miles per hour charging to 30.  I can live with that.  

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Do you have Hagerty insurance?  They put out a nice little magazine now, Jay Leno is a guest columnist. He seems to like the Tesla!


Also a great article in there about the Bullitt Mustang, that the same family has had hidden for 50 years.....img001.thumb.jpg.40b42e0f65074c7e7888ae8c011c0f5f.jpg

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David, a good article.  I am with JC Taylor, but I have never had a claim.


Speaking of insurance, my modern insurance company totaled the 2002 Trailblazer.  Today we settled on $3,400.  I am happy with that.  I doubt I could have gotten that price if I sold it retail and all fixed back up.  


The Trailblazer did right by us.  185,00 miles and fourteen years of ownership.  We had some great times.  It pulled the 1923 and 28 Buicks to Canada at least ten times as well as many other places.  Never a breakdown on the road.  I will miss the old girl.  


They are coming to pick it up sometime next week.  

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