Saturday, May 12, 2012

Decisions, decisions

When we were in Idaho, we were the recipients of a real gully-washer of a rain storm. It proved to be a good leak tester for the Westy.. Water started dripping from around the skylight. A close inspection showed a small crack in one corner, so when we got back I called North Westy to order a new skylight.
At the same time there were a couple of things I wanted to talk about.
I would like to see about installing an on-board compressor. Since I want to go camping off the pavement, flat tires become a little more critical when you are fifty miles from a service station. Prices are all over the place depending on exactly what you want. From $20 for a little compressor that you plug into the cigarette lighter to $350 for a good on-board compressor.
Also, I would like to change to final drive gear ration for the differential. Usually not a daunting task, but the Westie is an automatic, making it a much more difficult task. The Westie guy told me he had recently seen someone offering a different ring gear conversion, and said he would chase down the info. The problem is that with the automatic, the engine runs at over 4000 rpm at freeway (75mph) speeds. The motor doesn't seem to mind, but I would like to bring the RPMs down to around 3500 at speed, Better gas mileage and less wear on the engine.
But all that may be moot. One of the things North Westy does is Combi refits. That is, turns a rear wheel drive Westy into a four wheel drive Westy. I want to do this. It is expensive, around ten grand, but it would create the ultimate Westie. The problem has always been getting the lovely Mrs A to agree to the expense.
I think I have come up with the argument that will tip the scales.
While we were in Emmet, she kept bringing me real estate brochures. She has this plan that when I retire, we will move to Emmett. She is deathly afraid of driving in the snow. So the argument is that if we are going to move to Emmett, we will need a four wheel drive vehicle. Rather than buy a separate vehicle, we can update the Westie and further the utility of what we already have. I proposed this the other night and she didn't object too loudly. So, Kyle will be putting together a quote for me.
Maybe after we get back from our camping trip in August, I will give them the OK to go ahead with the conversion.

Monday, May 07, 2012

A Short Vacation

Lisa and Dan have been giving us the neener-neener-neener crap about how great their weather has been for the last month or so. So we took a week and drove over to Emmett Idaho to visit them. They told us to bring warm weather gear. I told Mrs A to pack jeans and sweatshirts.
It's a good thing I did. We were there six days, and we had ONE decent day. It rained just about every day. On the other hand we did manage to get a couple of drives in.. Headed up into the Boise National Forrest. Got up high enough that the road was covered in snow here and there. Went up to the Sage Hen Reservoir. Nice drive, about half off of the pavement. I really like the way the Westie handles on the gravel.
The trip in both directions was just fine. I did occasionally do the speed limit.
Dan got hired on as a plumber while we were there. I know Dan was excited and relieved to go back to work. He had been out of work for a quite a while with a hernia. He has been on L & I, but it is always good to go back to work. He had done a couple of jobs for a local independent plumber, and the word got around that he worked quickly and did top quality work, so next thing you know this company he never even applied to was calling him up and offering him a job.
I got the other top ball joint replaced on the truck.. once again it took about three hours, mostly with a air hammer and chisel.
Also replaced the three outside access boxes on the Westy.(curb water, electrical,and potable water).
Since today is my last day of vacation, we went ad took in a movie and then dinner at a Thai joint. We went and saw The Hunger Games. Good movie, lots of action and several plot twists. I didn't care for the way it ended. It just kinda.....ended. Oh well, I know it is the first of three books, so I figure the next movie will pick up where this one left off.
Back to the grind tomorrow, and since I have had the last two weekends off, I will have to work both days this coming weekend.