Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The 3 B's.... Brakes, brakes, and breaks

While I was in Florida this past winter, as mentioned before, spent most of my time in the Wauchula area.  My time there allowed me to visit a great ape sanctuary, mix and mingle with many of the denizens, err, citizens, of the area, and just have a super great time!  It was a mixed relief to leave, both happy to get on the road (and escape Florida "summer") and wanting to stay 'cause people are so nice.

While here had to get some welding done for another project I'll unveil shortly, but found this place called Big Daddy Fabrication and Welding (WARNING: F*c*book link).  After he did the welding he helped me (did all the work while I watched) change the right side brakes, and the rotor.  So, with that knowledge, I did the left side when was in Colorado.

Safety First
The main thing which kept me from doing this work myself is absence of a functioning heavy duty jack.  I picked one up from Harbor Freight and it worked pretty well.  With all hydraulic jacks that I've used recently, they seem to slowly lower over time, hence the jackstand.  As always, SAFETY first, in everything you do.  Didn't want any unexpected surprises here.  The jackstand got at, umm, Northern Tools, which is similar to Harbor Freight with seemingly higher quality.  Granted, too much stuff is made in China so can't easily get away from that.

With lugnuts
Next step is the lugnuts, which is another story, and kinda tells how I don't really know what carry around (another long story there). My problem here was thinking didn't have the proper socket (1 1/4 inch).  Without this my only alternative would've been using an adjustable wrench, assuming had one that big.  It would be equally hard to find an adjustable wrench both strong enough and safe enough to get it done properly.  SAFETY first, hence impact socket.

Lugnut FREE
Another trip to Harbor Freight and it turns out that they didn't have just a plain old 1 1/4 inch impact socket laying around.  So had to buy a set of sockets which wasn't in my plans (and have yet to still return).  Also picked up adaptors and such.  NOW, it turns out after got back and started digging through storage areas, I already had these (DOH).  Chalk another one up to cluelessness...  I have too many stories about cluelessness.

Dust shield?
Onto removal of the dust shield (only thing can think it's for).  This part was stupidly easy and any one, or two, year old could do it.  I like these easy parts of the job.

Now, at least for me, we're starting to get the tricky parts.  Not shown, but in album, is removal of nut holding these two little metal pieces in place.  There is one big I (eye) shaped thing and then a smaller piece to put pressure on it.to help prevent sloppiness.  At least in brakes sloppiness is an unwanted factor, though beneficial sometimes.

Removing pressure wedge
Hammer and chisel (kidding on chisel) to the rescue.  Chisel is actually the 1 1/4 inch socket I referred to earlier.  For lack of a better name, am entitling this piece a pressure wedge.  Used the socket, the wrench type thing (more like a breaker bar but not exactly), and a trusty 16 ounce (1 pound) hammer.  Tap back of the socket/breaker bar with front edge of socket hooked onto top part of the pressure wedge.  It's not truly a wedge but kinda acts like it.

Another view of wedge
This action popped out the two pieces.  Once safely out set aside for later insertion.

It makes me shudder every time I think about this, but if look closely at the pads in this other view can kinda tell how far worn down the pads were...  Like really worn down, I mean really really really.  But now they're doing great!  So great that I made it over all the hills in Colorado..  Did I mention there were hills there?  I also mention how much I "like" them thar hills?  Really, hills in Colorado, not just one, more than one, many many many more than one, all hills...  Pure pure unadulterted hills...  I mention the hills in Colorado?  It was really like they would never ever end, them thar hills in Colorado.

Moving on..

Two is not the magic number
This is what took me so long to replace the brake pads.  If it wasn't for this one piece would've been done in an hour..  A lot longer than that and I was finally done.  Next step of replacing brake pads is compressing the cylinder (for smaller brake pads) or cylinders as in this case.  I've done the same with my scooter, and cars, before without an issue, It's easy enough to use a screwdriver, clamps, or anything else that you want to use.. NOT in this case..I made two trips to the store to pick up C-clamps.  First trip was to Ace Hardware where got their best clamp (after my Harbor Freight one gave up the ghost).

Tap Tap Tap
As can see in picture, tried two and both clamps bent.  The one in the foreground is the new one, background is Harbor Freight one (didn't bend as bad surprisingly).  Again, nothing I could do to coerce these to squish back the cylinders would work.

Enter stage center, the third C-clamp (from Home Depot), and VIOLA, they compressed..  Naturally it wasn't as easy as just using this clamp, had to have an "enforcer".  After some frustrating, and obscene, thoughts, it came to me that the ultimate enforcer, and persuador, in diesel mechanics is a hammer.  Typically think they use ball peen, but didn't have one, so used my trusty 16 ounce claw hammer.  Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap (give or take) and they compressed without issue..  Quite happy now!

That is the old brake pad which used, and again, can see how long I went..  A little longer than I should have.

Next step was to slide the two brake pads back in (along with something on the back edge that helps them stay in place, and reverse the above process to put everything back together.

I had to use my 1 1/4 inch socket, as well as some brute force (and a cheater bar) to both remove the lugnuts and put them back on.  Took some effort but the cheater bar made it much easier.

The second Brake

This had to do with scooter brakes and think yesterday I finally figured it out, but doesn't make sense as never encountered it before, but makes sense in that it can happen.

I forget exactly when they went soft, but had problem in that the rear brakes would always reduce their effectiveness to zero, in that they would not work at all.  This made me rely on the front brakes exclusively, which generally isn't good, nor recommended.  Always good to have a backup, and firm things.

No matter what I did couldn't find a leak, the reservoir generally had enough fluid, bled the brakes quite a few times.  With every bleeding (little difficult with one person) the brakes would firm up and be like they're supposed to be, but after driving down the road they would get soft and useless again after a few tugs.  Rinse and repeat and that's just how it was, until my seeming aha moment yesterday.

Turns out I had been snugging all the bolts down very tight, and recently replaced a bolt (come to think of it that's when they started getting soft).  I replaced a bolt with a longer version when I was in Longmont, CO that picked up from Home Depot.  Same thread pitch, same head, just little longer.

So far so good, have taken it out several times so far and the firmness remains unchanged.  No leaks, no nothing still, just a nice firm handle, which is how it should be.

What I think caused the problem is was torquing down all the bolts quite well and pretty sure they created a vacuum of sorts in the reservoir cylinder and this didn't fully allow complete movement of the fluid.  This is only my guess as to what happened.

The third Break

Coming out + messy bed
Is the refrigerator...  I arrived in Colorado Springs, CO, parked in the RV campground and went exploring.  The next morning went into refrigerator and things seemed a little warm.  Monitored it and it never got colder and the freezer was warming up.  After some additional troubleshooting I determined the refrigerator died a sudden and unexpected death.

The backend
Will have a full write-up later but enjoy these two pictures of the refrigerator.  Thought it was because RV was off level, but turns out that there was an ammonia leak presumeably due to rust in the piping behind the refrigerator.

BONUS:  Cat picture, King of the hill

Scatter, posing as King

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