I Think I Sold A Jeep

I have been driving Jeeps since 1996.  Real Jeeps.  Jeep Wranglers.  None of that cushy living room sofa giant beast crap out there that you suburban types like so much.

Sure, they’re a bit on the simple side, even crude.  I can see the sheet metal that makes up the part that we call The Bucket when I sit down in it.  That is by design.  It doesn’t need extra frills like layers of plastic to muffle the noises and make things all “pretty”.

Plastic is optional, it will just break anyhow.

It is as simple as you can get for a car.  At least it was.  Mine is a 13 year old Jeep Wrangler TJ4 Liter Inline Six Motor designed by AMC.  That motor could be called the last gasp of AMC before it was bought by Chrysler.  Chrysler knew a good thing and kept it in production until 2006 when they went with a V6 that is slightly smaller.  It’s predecessors date back to the early 1960s, so you know it was a keeper.  Pushrods and all that sort of mechanical “stuff” made for a tough motor that really didn’t need a lot of electronics to keep it going.

I’ll keep my straight six, thank you very much.

I had a repair to do to it because, Jeep.  You see Jeeps have the reputation of being tough but they also have a problem with their electronic controls.  You get a check engine light that comes on around 40,000 miles and people scratch their heads and say “It’s a Jeep” and walk away.  Meanwhile that light stays on and you’re annoyed.
No.  I don’t.

Thanks to my buddy Craig who gave me his old code reader, I was able to find out that the throttle body sensor wore out.  I replaced it in my driveway.  The only grief was the mosquito bite I got while bent over the hood.

No codes, no lights.  Happy Jeep, Happy Jeeper.

We noticed that there was a Jeep sitting in a driveway a block or three from the house on our dog walk.  Someone was putting it out to pasture… or rather selling it.  Good price too, 8900 for a Wrangler that was newer than mine.  Of course mine is Cherry and in Good To Excellent Condition With Low Mileage (45K) but that’s a different story.
Or Brag…

I don’t think they’ll miss that Jeep.  There was a Black TJ sitting next to it all lifted and chromed and basically pimped out.  So there’s still a Jeep “In the family” for when they want to go ride.

I saw it, and wondered how long it would take to sell it.  One day it was gone.   I thought it was sold.

I walked past the property and up to the park when I saw that Jeep making a very tight turn.  Too tight, the wheels rubbed with a “VRRRRT!” sound.

If you put too tall a tire on a Jeep, they will rub.  You can fix that by loosening a bolt.

That was exactly what I told the woman who was going to buy it:

“Hey, you’re rubbin’!”
“Oh you heard that?  I don’t know…”
“It’s easy to fix!  Just a bolt!”

I went into my Jeep Guy Geekery full on at that point.  Showed the woman then and there which bolt and told her to look online for my blog.  “I did the same thing.  Put 31s on mine and took all sorts of pictures to show you what to do.  It’s a 15 minute fix if you rush, 5 minutes if you take your time!”

I told her to keep an eye out for the AC Controls since the resistor pack burns out.  You can fix those too, but they’re annoying to get to.

I’m on my third one.  They usually last about 20,000 miles if you keep it on 3 instead of 4 like I always did.  4 is just too damn loud but you don’t hear it once you’re over 55MPH anyway.   Soft tops are loud, no way around that.

She smiled and thanked me over and over and took off with a quick chirp of the back wheels.

New learner to a stick.  You need a stick, at least once in your life.  A stick shift gives you a healthy respect for what your car does.  Much more of a primal feel instead of the numb computer-room feel of an automatic transmission, especially one of those new Continuously Variable Transmission.   Those things turn your motor into a constant drone that gets wearing after a few minutes.  The motor runs at peak torque the entire time and never changes.  Monotonous.

I went on my way.  Never saw her or the Jeep again.  The motor sounded like silk so she got a good one.

I know I did.  You see, I went in for an overdue oil change the other day.  The man behind the counter hinted strongly that he wanted to buy my car.

Nope!  I don’t want a computer room on wheels.  I’ll stick with my car.

“You know, I understand I can get classic plates for it now.  How about THAT!”

I left with an oil change and a new air filter and a big ol’ smile on my face.  If that car doesn’t make you happy every time you get in it, why have it?


New Nut, New Skates – Fixing my K2 227G Skates For Another Couple Thousand Miles

I am the kind of person who can repair the inside of a switch.

No, I don’t mean go to the parts store and buy a new one, then solder it in.  Of course I can do that.

I mean actually disassemble the switch and most of the time I can actually remanufacture the switch.

I’ve always been creative at reusing things, my first repair was dad’s 8-Track player way back in the day.  He hated that I did it, but was shocked that I could.

I’ve got this massive box of parts for electronics, a cabinet of parts for my own odds and ends, and deep in the closet under my dress shirts and my running shoes is the Skate Box.

I think it is probably true that I have the most number of inline skate bearings in Wilton Manors under one roof.  It isn’t that I run a skate shop, although I easily could, it is that I have been refurbishing bearings for decades at this point.

Literally two decades.  I got into the sport in 1993.  I have skated every year since.  I have skated 21,100 miles total.

Yes, I count.

When I was competing, I skated as much as 2,500 miles a year and 200 miles a week.

Wanna come?

I didn’t think so.  Inline skating as a sport collapsed in the early 2000s.  It’s now That Kid Down The Block or the trick skaters.  The rest of us do it because we really enjoy the activity.

I mean really.

Given the parts, I am able to keep my sport going.  I can tear down a pair of skates down to the component parts and tighten them back again so that the wheels roll free with no binding and no crunching due to crap in the bearings.

I have also trained people in how to actually skate without breaking their fool necks on a number of occasions. 

After all, if you skate, you will fall.

But all that mechanical stuff sometimes goes awry.  I’ve thrown bearings and bolts in the past.  What I mean is that I’m skating along and all the sudden something feels a bit “wrong”.  Looking down, I notice I’ve lost a wheel or my brake is wobbly.

Slow to a crawl and retrace the last mile.  See if you can find that nut.  If you can’t you probably won’t find an exact replacement.

Why?  They stopped manufacturing that skate back in 2003 and you are stuck.  I contacted K2 and that was their answer.  Too bad.  Amazing skate.

That was what happened with my favorite pair of “Cruising Skates”.  They’re a pair of K2 227G Softboot skates.  I could strap those things on and do a 50 mile workout in comfort gliding from Philadelphia to Valley Forge and beyond not thinking twice other than how far is it to the next Water Stop.

Five Wheels Good, Four Wheels Meh. 
Bigger Wheels Fast, Smaller Wheels More Maneuverability.
I’d kill for a proper pair of cruising skates with five 100MM or greater wheels on it…

The problem with all skates, not K2 alone, is that those soft boots wear down due to your foot sliding against the fabric.  Eventually they get to the point where your heel has worn the fabric lining down and you’re against the padding.  My skates are all at that point, and I have lined them with, you guessed it, Duct Tape.

In this case, Olive Drab, Military Spec, Industrial Strength Duct Tape, but Duct Tape nonetheless.

But back to that bolt thing.

Every time you disassemble a skate, and this is also pretty good to remember for when you repair your car or the back gate, use some “Loctite” on the threads of the screws. 

Loctite is a sort of glue that you put a dot on the threads of the screw or bolt, then tighten up.  That glue will hold a screw in place instead of allowing it to work free under use.  For “light duty”, something you intend to remove later for service, use “Loctite Blue”.  You can remove it and replace it later.  The other strengths like Loctite Red may be too strong for duty, so you need to research that yourself.

For skates, Loctite Blue is perfect, and is even what my skates came with.

But in the case of my favorite skates, I forgot to use it on the nut on my push wheel.  That’s the back wheel on the right foot.  Most of the force from my skating was on the back wheel due to my not skating in racing form lately, but most people tend to push from the heel as a matter of course.   It is incorrect technique, but if you’re just out cruising around the park in loops, nobody will hold that against you.

Fitness Skating vs Racing. 

Somewhere around the Pompano Beach Airpark, near to the Goodyear Blimp base, I threw that nut.  It’s somewhere in the grass, I’ll never find it, and I’ll probably never stop looking for it.  It’s an aluminium nut that looks like a mushroom.  The stem part goes over the bolt that holds the push wheel in, the cap held the brake assembly tight to the skate “truck” where the wheels live.

I took the skate with me to the Home Depot on Sunrise Blvd in Ft Lauderdale.  Instead of going to the local small old line hardware store, I went there only because it is closer.  Standing by the parts bin full of weird fasteners, I was poking around.  The bolt tested to 8MM (Metric) and I knew I could find a standard hex nut, but I wanted a cap on the top. 

I’m looking at it all “cluessly and confused” until this little woman came up.  A former Skater herself, we had a great time talking about The Good Old Days of the 1990s and early 2000s when we could get up dozens of people for a long haul workout.  But she knew exactly what I needed.  A “T-Nut”.  We found one that fit.  All that I had to do was bend the prongs back.

That’s the thing with doing something out there that others have stopped doing.  It’s like keeping a classic car going.  Sometimes you have to machine the part, other times you can rebuild it with Loctite and Duct Tape, and other times you really need a friendly Skater Chick to find a T-Nut to get you back on the road.

Thanks Skater Chick!  You were the Best!  Lets hit the park sometime!

Replacing A Jeep Wrangler 2002 Fan Resistor Pack

Join me on a journey with my Jeep. 

You will see me scrape knuckles.  You will see me swat mosquitoes.  You will see me refashion tools.

But you will see the job completed.

Ok, enough of this Zen Crap.  If you found this article, you have a Jeep.  Probably a Wrangler, but it could be a Liberty, Patriot, Cherokee, or Grand Cherokee.  I am under the impression that this is common for these cars of the 1996-2002 era, plus or minus a few years, and maybe even to this day. 

This is informational only, you’re on your own, At Your Own Risk.  I take no responsibility for any mistakes you do or whether you damage yourself or your own vehicle.

Lawyer disclaimer crap aside, it took me an hour to get the part out, and an hour to get it finished.

However, if you had the right tool in the first place, you could have had it done in about a half hour total.  If you have a Liberty or a Grand Cherokee, I understand the resistor pack is in a similar location but much more accessible since they are a newer design or just larger.

My Wrangler still has some AMC Design Elements in it, and that means it’s a simple beast and you can still fix it in your carport while swatting mosquitoes, swearing, and sweating, but it could be somewhat improved.  That was what Chrysler did in later models by moving this part into a more accessible area.

I was able to diagnose this with a little logic.

My Jeep had either no air when I turned the selector to off, or it only had air when it was turned on full.  The middle speeds simply did not work.  This implied that the switch should be intact, and the resistor pack was fried.  I confirmed this with a multimeter inside the house when I had it removed on a cool down break.

The Resistor Pack is necessary to put a load on the power lines supplying the blower motor that moves all that precious AC and Heat around your car.  What it does when you select speed 1 is to put the highest electrical resistance in line.  Select speeds 2 or 3, and you get less resistance.  Speed 4 is no resistance, and the fan runs at its highest speed.

That was what I saw in my Jeep.  Darth Jeep by name, he’s black and tan just like a good beer.  DJ to his friends.  DJ the TJ.

You don’t name your Jeep?  How does it know how to get home? 


The Resistor pack has a large flat area in the back where the resistance is actually created by a number of lines of resisting wire.  The large flat area is stuffed inside your air flow boxes so that it acts like a heat sink and is kept cool while the fans are on.

In my case, my Jeep has 44,000 miles and 12 years on it.  That means, 6 years of use, and it went pop.  That fits with my memory since I needed replacement a couple years after I moved to Florida in 2006.  I almost never use the car since I generally don’t have to go anywhere here other than by foot.

The first picture shows the location of the resistor pack as installed in the dashboard of my Jeep.  It is in a cramped spot, and is held down by two 5/16 inch bolts.  You can see the first one in the picture, the other bolt is at the alternate corner.  If the first one is at the Northwest corner, the second bolt is at the Southeast corner. 

Both bolts must be removed, and doing so is a task that I completed with a 5/16 inch crescent wrench.  Since a wrench that small is typically not bent to have the circular end at an angle, and they are made of thin metal, I used a leatherman’s tool to bend a 30 degree angle in the wrench in order to be able to get the bolts out.  Once I did that, the bolts came out much easier.  There are tabs that are simply in the way of your being able to do this job. 

You will be removing that lower bolt blind unless you are small enough to wrench yourself under the dashboard.  Since I am 6’4″ tall there was simply no way I was going to get into that spot upside down and looking up at the part.

You will also need to temporarily remove the green Connector Block from its tab on the air box/plenum/dashboard.  There is a little red tab that snaps to lock the whole thing in place.  Unlock the red tab by snapping it forward, then slide the connector block out of your way. 

I disconnected the connector block, then pulled the resistor pack out.  It wasn’t easy, it required a lot of maneuvering around to get it out of the little hole.  I was able to do so by removing the connector from the back of the block.  That itself was difficult since there was a red plastic lock holding it all together.  I removed that lock by pulling it apart and removing it permanently.  It may cause problems later, but at least I know where it is!

The detail shows the block in close up as assembled.

Two final things:

To get the part?  You can find it at your local auto parts store.  I got mine at Autozone for 1/2 the price of the dealer.  You can also find it on Amazon.  I wanted it TODAY, not in 3 days.

To see someone else do the work?  Search Youtube.  There are videos and none of them showed the detail that I am showing here – where the blasted thing actually is. 

Before you even try, remove the glove box, get your flashlight and look to see if you can find it.  If you can find it, it’s an easy fix even if you’re going to get your knuckles scraped or maybe mosquito bit.

After all it’s March and its in the 80s, and mosquitoes are everywhere.


Painting is Over My Head

I’m handy to have around the house.  I’ll admit it.  But there are some things that maybe I should step back and procrastinate a bit longer with before I actually DO them.

I earned my home repair chops before I was a teen.

I used to have Dad “upgrade” my little toy cars by polishing the roofs shiny with his sander.  I’d then watch Dad cut into the furniture with an electric jig saw.

Measure twice and cut once, Dad.

I haven’t removed any body parts doing strange things with electric tools, but I have come close. I just don’t tell people when I do.  Plus, reading glasses work for safety goggles, right?

My first real repair really ticked Dad off.   He had an 8-track player that stopped working.  That should tell you how far back this was.  He told me outright not to touch the player, he was going to take it back to the dealer and have them fix it.

(Sound of hands brushing themselves on pants with a job well done)

That lingered.  In fact that became a real point of discussion with my parents back then.  Since some of their discussions were pretty loud, I left the room and hid.

I also got my screwdriver.  Opened that sucker up, replaced the belt, and handed it to him.  Told him it was fixed and it was just the belt.   Mom told him to take it and try it before he yelled any more at me.

It worked.  I was hooked.  Dad didn’t realize that showing me how to grind the paint off of little cars and cut into Mom’s Old Bureau in the garage was teaching me how to do the same thing.  So I’d practice and get better at these sorts of repairs.

My house here has a bit of bubbling plaster.  I kept patching it with better and better spackling compound until this time it seemed to hold.

At least it hasn’t fallen off yet.

Now I can spackle a wall better than most.  I have patched walls in apartments and was called on the phone by the  maintenance crew to pick up my deposit check since they never saw such a good job.  Oh, and can you show us how you do it?

The trick is to use an old sock with some water and sand it with the cloth before the spackle completely sets.  You can get a mirror finish if you work with it.   Wet sanding is what you are doing.  It really does work and work well.

But all of this is time consuming so I didn’t really want to return to the job.

It became a Point Of Discussion with Kevin and I.  Now, Kevin’s way of discussing things is much more gentle than Mom and Dad.  He merely mentioned it.  We bounced it back and forth for a while and I finally decided to finish Just That Part and see where it went.  I still thought it needed professional care, but We Shall See and I Will Try.

My Try is better than some people’s Do and worse than others.

The spackle held.

I got out that electric sander of mine and sanded it as close to flat as I could get a bed pillow sized area to get.

Then Kevin discussed it with me again.

“When are you going to prime it?”

He didn’t know just how much I hate painting.   Plus the spot is at about 7 feet off the ground.

“You can use the foot stool in the tub.  Really, you CAN.”

Did I mention I hate painting?  The whole cleaning of brushes? Cleaning of surfaces?  Cleaning of drips?

We had the primer.  We bought it about 2 years ago.  It’s been waiting.  Just like Kevin, it has been waiting.

Finally I got the wild hair to try it.  Walked that primer out to the kitchen and used the big screwdriver to open up the can.  May as well use that screwdriver to stir it up.

That should have told me that something was up.  This was the mutant paint from hell.   It refused to come off the screwdriver with the 130F water we have in the kitchen.   I may have to use sandpaper to make it shine again.

I walked into the bathroom with the little pot of paint and climbed the two steps on the ladder with the Cheap Nylon Brush.  Dip the Cheap Nylon Brush into the paint and start to apply it to the wall.

If you ever saw the old TV show Green Acres, their shack of a house wouldn’t hold paint because you
needed a key to close the pores on the wood.  If you didn’t, it would suck all the paint into the wood and it would be back to grey again.

That was my wall.

The paint hit the wall, and it was immediately gone.  Not dry, just … Gone.

Put another coat on that spot.

This wasn’t completely gone, but the paint brush was now glued to the wall.  The paint dries in an eye blink.

Now What?

I’m painting away with this mutant paint from hell, and it’s getting sucked into the spackling compound that I didn’t want to apply anyway.  It seems that the spackling compound was made out of sponge and vacuum.  Yes, the vacuum of space has sucked away about a cup of weird almost white primer paint in an area smaller than my laptop.

A Cup Of Paint.

Having finished that particular spot, I realized that I had to get the upside down portion of the window well and coat that just as thick.

Cue the paint dripping onto the ceramic tiles.   That will come up right?

I had better check the clean up instructions.

Alcohol, water, and Ammonia?  What is this Merlin the Magician’s Alchemy Class?  Clean before it dries?  Oh holy crap, this stuff dries before it hits the wall.

I grab the Kitchen Scrubby and remove the offending splats from the window well.  The tub now has a new “Eggshell White” spot of primer in the deep end.  That will have to wear off.

What about my Cheap Nylon Brush?

I start cleaning the blasted thing with 130F water and some rubbing alcohol that was under the sink.

Cue a 6’4″ fully grown man screaming like a little girl when the alcohol hits some cuts on the right hand.

The alcohol reacted with the cuts and created pain.  Searing pain.  Luckily the fumes distracted me from that and I was able to get the brush somewhat clean.   I’m just glad I used the Cheap Nylon Brush.

What happens is that the Primer Paint now forms weird coagulated globs that stick everywhere.   The sink is running full tilt to wash the globs down to where ever weird coagulated globs go here in South Florida.

I hope the alligators that live in the sewers enjoy that.

The brush?  Most of it came off, but only a little more than half.  That brush will be fun to use later when I try to put another coat of Eggshell White Primer on it and not on myself.

Or my shoes.   Never my shoes.  I rather like them.  Nothing better than an old pair of sneakers to be comfy when you’re out walking around town … oh DAMN, there’s a splat the dried on the right sneaker.  I guess I’ll just tell people it’s an art statement and see if I get a reaction.

Meanwhile, does anyone have any ammonia handy?  I want to try cleaning that Cheap Nylon Brush again.  When the brush dried and I batted it against my hands, thin clouds of dried paint dust flew into the air so very gently.

And by the way, can you tell how much I like painting?

Dad’s 8-Track, My First Big Fix

Being That Kid, the one who gets into things, can cause problems. 

Some kids were destructive.  They grew up to do things like be demolition experts or construction engineers.  You know the kind, they’d love to break things just to see how it worked.

In my case, I used to break things to fix them.  Sure, I loved to see how they worked, but I’d get things people would stop using because there was a minor problem and then repair them and say “There, better than new because it has a history”.

Ok, maybe I wasn’t THAT well thought out as a wee brat, but you get the picture.

I would fix my things, things around the house, and neighbors stuff.   Kept me busy and kept me from being bored.  I was the kid who rebuilt a switch on a radio that popped open once when I went to New York City to visit my Aunt Betty and Uncle Sal.  Those old “Double Pole, Double Throw slide switches” didn’t always hold together as well as they should.

My sister has a strong memory of my bedroom being crammed full of electronic “projects” in various states of repair and disrepair stacked chock-a-block in every cranny I could make.   Add to it the potted plants in the windows and the big fish tank, and that bedroom was a very full room over the garage.  If I had the storage for the stuff, it would have made this hobby a lot more manageable, but it wasn’t to be.

One day a new project appeared.   Dad brought in his 8-track player.  He had it in his big Buick Limited that eventually became my car once he passed on.   The player was his pride and joy, and when we’d go down to Glassboro for a Saturday Night Out with Ann-Ann and Uncle Frank, he would slap in some of His Music and we’d go down The 295 to Delsea Drive in style. 

This was where I got my love of Glenn Miller, The Dorseys, and The Andrews Sisters to this day.

We stopped listening to His Music after a while and I never really put it together why.  We’d find something else, Middle of the Road music, most likely and glide down on our visits.

That 8-track player appeared in the house with a warning to me:  Don’t Touch That Player!

Being the curious pre-teen that I was, we all knew that wouldn’t work.

The player sat there in its yellow/beige plastic housing with Buick on the faceplate staring at me.  For a while it taunted me until I took the time to find the dreaded Phillips Screwdriver.   It was going to be looked at.  Time to take it apart.

I got the plastic housing apart, then the metal case came off in short order.  Metal Case?  Remember those?

Looking inside of the unit it was very obvious what was wrong.  The unit had thrown its belt and it was no longer attached to the motor.  That belt would move the tape around inside the cartridge and make everything work.  I tightened the screws on the motor so that things sat where they should, then stretched the belt taught.  Sealing things up I put it all back together.

Dad came in shortly thereafter.

“Bill… what.. are you doing?”
“It’s your 8-track, I fixed it!  It was simple!”
“I told you not to!  Umm…”

The conversation went back and forth and eventually he calmed down and we took it out to the beast of a car sitting in the driveway.  Plugging it back into the weird connectors that the car had for this purpose, the 8-Track was now plugged in.

Success.  The Time-Life Swing Era Collection for 1936 came to life with the Toy Trumpet song joyfully playing on the South Jersey Prairies. 

I got a strange look that I now know as “Kid, back off, this is my toy, you could have broken it once and for all”. 

“Thanks, Bill, we’ll have music now!”

Feeling proud, I handed him the little piles of sheet metal screws and the #2 Phillips screwdriver and we replaced the unit in the car.

To the day that we finally got rid of the car, that 8-track sat there with Pride of Place.  Every time I would get in the car and knock my right shin on it, I’d remember the day we put it back in the car.

Replacing the Heatsink Fan in a Thinkpad T60

I have an old workhorse of a laptop that had a fan go bad on the heatsink.  It sounded like someone was rolling a plastic jar down a table with a marble in it.  We replaced the machine, but I didn’t want to throw this one out.  I kept it for “parts” but kept it running.

Finally one day I decided to try one last time to find a cheap heatsink or fan for the old machine.  Instead of throwing out a machine that worked, I was able to replace the fan for $7 from a vendor on Amazon.  It took three weeks to get here from Shenzhen in China, but after about 15 minutes of work, I now have a perfectly good computer. 

The fan works like a champ, and now the computer breathes instead of rattles.

Remember, this is more than a basic repair to your computer.  Your mileage may vary – it is completely possible to have an accident that will render your computer unable to be used.  In otherwords, you can break your computer if you aren’t careful so you are following these instructions at your own risk.  There are guides online at the website at Lenovo that will also help you.   A search for “T60 Repair Manual” found me this guide that I distilled to make these notes.  Please be careful, this is something that pretty much anyone can do it they take their time, but I have seen people kill their computer because they weren’t careful.

To replace the fan, you have to remove the keyboard and loosen the back.  I have had this machine apart a number of times, so I may have misplaced a few screws.  Yes, go ahead, I do have a screw loose.  Why else would I write a blog for four years?

Make certain you have a clean work area and have discharged your static electricity since that could kill your computer.  Remove the laptop battery and power cord from the back of your T60.

The picture below shows the location of the screws circled in Yellow. 
Well, strictly speaking, they are “O”ed since Photoshop wasn’t behaving.  18 point Transport font of a Capital Letter O worked fine.

Look for the icon on the back of your machine that looks like a Keyboard.   There are five screws to remove.   Set them aside for the eventual reassembly of your machine.

This will allow you to flip over the machine and remove the Trackpad mount.   Remember to be gentle since the trackpad is connected to the motherboard with a thin ribbon cable.  The cable will pop off the motherboard with a snap.

Second, remove the keyboard.   It should lift right up, however, there is a thin ribbon cable underneath it connecting it to the motherboard.  As you can see in the next pictures, I simply set it back on top of the computer.  Depending on how brave you are, you can do either.

The seven screws holding down the upper bezel, the heat sink clamp, and the heat sink itself can be removed now.  Set them aside.  Remove the clamp for the heat sink, flip the grey wire out of the clamp that holds down the bezel at the top center of the laptop, and finally you can remove the heat sink itself from its place on the motherboard.

Remember that there will be a wire for the old fan that needs to be removed from the motherboard.  Make a note of where it goes and how the plug goes back onto the motherboard for later.

When all the pieces have been gently removed, your laptop will look like this picture.

At this point, your machine has been disassembled.  You now need to bend vertical the copper clips holding the fan to the heat sink so that the old fan may be removed.  Do so gently, but firmly.  You need the copper clips to be intact to attach the new fan, so don’t break the things! 

The fan will be held in place with a piece of tape, in the case of my machine, Aluminium tape.  It will also have the wire held in place with a clip.  Gently remove the wire from the clip on the heat sink.   Bend the fan out of the way so that the tape is holding the fan.  If the fan does not lift up from the heat sink easily, check to make sure the clips are all bent away from the old fan.  I removed the fan from the tape – you will need that tape so that air flow will be maintained.

To mount your new fan, place it in the same spot as the old fan.  Attach the tape to the fan to hold it in place, then bend the copper clips in place as the picture above shows.

The replacement of the heat sink goes as follows:

I cleaned off the three contact points on the motherboard – The CPU, Video Chip, and the third contact point (what ever the thing was!). 

Then, I reshaped the grey heat sink putty to be more square for when I replace the heat sink.  I placed one drop of heat sink grease on each of the heat sink putty blobs since I had it, but I doubt it is strictly necessary.

I lifted the bezel and connected the wires for the fan to the motherboard.

I slid the heat sink assembly back in place.

Screwed down the heatsink, then the silver clip, then the bezel with the screws that I removed before.

Placing the keyboard ribbon cable in its connector, then the keyboard in place, followed by the Trackpad ribbon connector and the Trackpad mount were next.

Then I flipped the machine over and replaced all the five screws that I removed at the beginning of this exercise.

At this point you may replace the power cord and battery to the computer.

I was able to power on the machine and it came back up.  Allow the machine to come to operating temperature and you will hear the fan the entire time if you place your ear next to the heat sink vents.

If you forgot to connect your fan to the motherboard, the T60 will beep at you and display “FAN ERROR” on the screen, then immediately shut off.

In my case, I was able to use the machine immediately and allow the machine to out and update the operating system while playing a few games and surfing pages.  My old machine was fully functional again!

A Freshly Tarpapered Roof

It took the roofers a day to completely remove the old roof and place down a new layer of tar-paper.  A roof is more accurately called a “system” since it’s a collection of parts that act as a whole.   Its job is to keep the weather out of the interior of the house and to keep the wood below it dry.   That’s not really a big problem in the Desert areas of the Southwest, but here in South Florida, we get 50 inches of rain a year, 40 of them in the six months from June to December, the wet season.

After about 30 years the old one failed and we needed to act since some of those timbers were getting wet.

They ripped the old roof off in a morning, and in the afternoon they put up the tar-paper.  Yes, That Quickly. It literally was a frenzy of activity at one point.  Seated in the living room I heard in front of me one set of nails go right to left, and behind me on the other slope of the roof, they went left to right.

At The Same Time.  In Quadrophonic Stereo Sound.

The dog didn’t calm down until Sunday when with all the stored up energy of a day of roofing and a day of panicking, he became a frenetic ball of black and white tightly coiled furred energy. 

For inspection they had bolted a ladder to the house, I waited for the right time to climb.

I had never been on the old roof and not exactly a climbing kind of person, I gingerly went up onto the new tar-paper to grab this picture and a few others.  Interesting view up there, you can see the neighborhood from a new angle.  Everything was in neat rows on the roof, as well as the neighborhood.  You couldn’t see as far as you would expect since it had been more than 7 years since Wilma and most of the trees have grown back.

But at least the work was done – for a few days.   They will come back as soon as the inspection takes place to put down a layer of tar, then another layer of tar paper.  I’m told it won’t be as noisy.   Rack will appreciate that as will I.