Digging In

So the Metro was overheating a bit on the way back from Dallas and from Flipside to Austin.  I assumed the 600+ lbs of cargo had something to do with it.  I tried changing the thermostat, back-flushing the radiator, and verifying the engine cooling fan were all working.  Today I did a test drive afterwards with the car still loaded down with most of my gear, and the problem happened again.  In town, I’m able to drive normally, and even use the AC, and only very rarely does the temperature start to creep up.  On the highway, however, after about 15-20 minutes of driving, it starts creeping upward.  Turning on the heater takes it back down about 15%, and revving the engine can bring it almost all the way down.  I tried again after bringing my load down to 300 lbs, which is about as much as two people, and although it took longer, the problem happened again.  What could it be?

I checked the fan for the AC condenser, and, sure enough, it gets 13.4 V when the AC is on, but the fan doesn’t run.  The condenser overlaps with the radiator, so if it isn’t getting cooled properly, then it heats the air before it hits the radiator, which would definitely explain part of the problem.  It doesn’t explain why the engine will still overheat without ever turning the AC on, but it’s *definitely* contributing to the rest of the problem, so I ordered a new one.  It should be here early next week.

My Check Engine light keeps coming on for code 420, which is “catalyst system below threshold”, which means there’s something wrong with the mix of the exhaust gases.  It goes off by itself, then comes on again a few days later.  I’m wondering if the timing might be slightly off.  I changed the timing belt a few months ago, and while I’m 100% certain I didn’t move anything during the switch, it’s possible that the amount of tension on the new belt might require me to re-set the timing, which I haven’t done before.  Incorrect timing could also be contributing to an overheat problem, so that’s worth investigating too.

I also attended a great Pro Webinar from GameSalad on the new Writeable Tables, Enhanced PlayHaven, and Retina Support for iPad features.  The first two in particular excite me, and I was going to spend the evening digging in, but then the washing machine stopped draining.


I was able to find the service manual online for $5, and after an admission from my roommate that she had washed feathers in the machine (to her credit, she *did* put them inside two different laundry bags), I was able to locate the feather-jammed pump, disassemble it, unjam it, and put it back.  To my vast relief, the machine is now happy again and neither her nor me has to pay $200 for a new pump.

I used to get angry at situations like this because I saw it (correctly) as distracting from my gaming career, but actually, having roommate’s greatly facilitates that career, because without them sharing my bills my life would be *way* more expensive.  I choose to be the handyman because it saves me money, and although the timing is often bad, I do like to fix things.

Tomorrow I’ll take the yurt pieces to the car wash to try to get any residual poison ivy off of them (it was fucking terrible at Flipside this year) before assembling them in the back yard to dry.  Then I’ll start looking at the best way to cut the vinyl for the covering and floor.  I’m very excited!

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