Disaster Averted

I was replacing the timing components on my 1998 Volvo S90’s engine this afternoon. While this is a somewhat technical repair, it’s not terribly time consuming.  I only had to remove about 10 bolts to expose this area of the engine and another 10-15 bolts had to be removed to replace the necessary parts (water pump, tensioner, and two idler pulleys).  It took about 2 hours from start to finish….including cleaning the tools and putting them away.

This picture was taken after I was already putting things getting back together.


The reason the post is entitled “Disaster Averted” is because this engine is what is called an Interference Engine.  As the link points out, anything that causes the timing system to fail will cause nearly irreparable engine damage.

My wife and I are very aware of the normal noises our cars make and on Monday she noticed a new noise.  I quickly discovered that the noise was coming from the timing system, so we quit driving the car until I could get the parts to fix the problem.  It turns out the problem was the pulley pointed to by the green line.  But, since this system is so important to have working correctly, I also replaced the rest of the stuff that makes up the timing system.


Haven’t Done Much Lately

I noticed it’s been a few weeks since I wrote anything.    The school bus has turned into a petri dish and I’ve become the growth medium.  Normally I can sail through a season without getting sick, but not this time.  I can’t say I feel bad–just low energy.

One of the things I’ve been wanting to do is to put on my engineering hat and figure out how to check my canner pressure gauges.  The local Cooperative Extension Service office used to do this, then stopped, then started…and now I can’t tell.

But my last few weeks of low energy–fighting whatever is causing me a very sore throat–has put me behind. I”m starting to feel almost alive again, but now I have to catch up.

As I pulled into the driveway last night, I noticed the “squeakers” start up on the disc breaks on the car.  The parts for this will arrive in about 45 minutes.  So that will be my project today.  Fortunately a disc brake job isn’t that terribly time consuming nor energy intensive.  In an effort to further save my energy, I may fire up the compressor and go with the air tools.  They are noisy, but save time.


In amusing thought.  My wife is a nuclear engineer that took up teaching high school physics the day after the last radiation treatment for her stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis.  This year she added high school chemistry to her “bag of tricks”.    A few days ago, she proudly showed me her latest purchase….the entire series, on DVD, of the TV show “Breaking Bad”.  So far there has been no old motor home….

Fortunately both of us share the attitude that meth is 100% EVIL. 


Crash Repair


I managed to get a picture of our daughter pop-riveting the replacement panels in place (she hates having her picture taken).

Basically it’s clamp everything lightly together, move it around until it’s aligned, clamp it tightly and then pop-rivet it all together.  The pop-rivets allow us to remove the clamps and have everything stay in place during the welding.   It’s more work doing it this way, but I figured she would have an easier time with the wire welder if the clamps were not in the way.

I’m not doing this to be a mean dad.  It’s actually quite the opposite.  The most important thing I can do is to impart knowledge to her so she can be a confident and capable young woman.

She is smaller and less strong than I, so we had to find some new ways of doing things, but that’s part of life……Her answering the question, “How can *I* do it?” is an awesome thing.