Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Latest Member Of "The Dodge Gang"

It seems like all I've been talking about lately is Dodge vans, and this post will be no exception to the rule. Meet the latest member of the "The Dodge Gang". This is "Snail", a 2003 model, and the newest of the vans here at the Green Acres Garage. I don't think that Gary is too thrilled with my choice of names for it. I call him "Snail" because he is a cargo van, as in escargot (cooked snails). Get it? I thought it was pretty clever, but Gary just rolled his eyes and walked away when he heard me say it. Anyway, Gary didn't break his vow to not bring home another vehicle that needs a lot of work or doesn't run this time. "Snail" runs good, has ice cold air conditioning, and seems to be mechanically sound. This van will be an EXCELLENT back-up tow vehicle to my best friend "Dodge", our loyal and trustworthy 1992 Dodge conversion van that has towed me all over the United States. I'm sure that there will be some cleaning and tweaking to be done to "Snail", but unlike the 1995 Dodge conversion van that Gary brought home a few weeks ago, this one needs nothing major done to it at all. It has it's share of dings and dents, but overall it looks very nice. As far as my old buddy "Dodge" goes, here's an update since the last time I posted. He went to the local tire shop yesterday, and got a brand new set of Cooper HT3 tires, and a front end alignment. I LOVE the aroma of fresh rubber, and "Dodge's" new tires make the garage smell WONDERFUL! Next up for him will be a complete rear brake job, and then he will be ready for our upcoming camping season. Even though he's almost 23 years old and has 230,000 miles on him, Gary and I feel totally confident that he will take us anywhere we want to go, and will get us back home without any issues. He's never let us down. He's an AWESOME van!!! As we near the end of another incredibly hot August, I'm looking forward to the work that Gary plans to do to me in September. I'm still a mess at the moment, but I know I'll be looking better than ever when we hit the road in October. For now, I'll let Gary play with his collection of vans, and I'll be content to be my lazy, TV-watching self. That's something I am VERY good at!

Monday, August 25, 2014

"Dodge" Is In The Garage

I got my wish for lots of rain. We are currently in that typical summer pattern, where it rains almost every day. As you know, I was hoping the rain would bring Gary into the garage to work on me. Well, he's been working in the garage a lot, but "Dodge" is the one who's been getting all the attention. I have no problem with that. After all, "Dodge" is my tow vehicle. Without him, we wouldn't be going camping anywhere but here at home. Gary and I REALLY depend on him, so I'm happy to see him get some much needed repairs done before our camping season begins this fall. On the agenda for this round of repairs, was front suspension work. "Dodge's" upper ball joints were worn out, and his upper control arm bushings were looking pretty terrible as well. Instead of replacing the individual parts, "Dodge" got completely new upper control arms. These new arms contain all the parts that needed to be replaced. From what Gary tells me, it's much easier to simply bolt these in, compared to removing and replacing all of the individual worn out parts. I'm all for simplicity, so that sounds logical to me. Things went smoothly with this project, and I'm glad for Gary's sake. The temperatures have been hovering between the low and mid 90's in the garage, and his temper tends to get shorter as the temperatures rise. I didn't have to listen to even a single swear word, and that's unusual for this time of year. There was one additional piece to replace on the passenger side of "Dodge", and that was his shock absorber. Gary had replaced the other three shock absorbers last year, but whoever it was that replaced the shock absorber previously, mangled the top of the mounting stud. That made it impossible to remove without removing the upper control arm. Since the arm was being replaced, it was the perfect time to take the Saws-All to that mangled stud, remove the old shock absorber, and replace it with a new one. New tires have been ordered for "Dodge", and he will get a front end alignment too. Once all of that is done, he will get a complete rear brake job, and then he will be ready to haul Gary and I and all of our camping supplies to any place we want to go. I am SOOOOOOO anxious to hit the road!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Biscuits Of A Different Kind

It was a fun day here at the Green Acres Garage. Gary ditched his plans to work on the "new" van, and spent a couple of hours working on me instead. COOL!!! I got to watch him use a tool that I have never seen or heard of before, something called a biscuit joiner. I've heard of biscuits and gravy before, but I quickly learned that a biscuit joiner has nothing at all to do with food. I don't know the specifics, but somehow, the tool makes rounded cuts into wood, and then little wooden biscuits and wood glue is used to attach two or more pieces of wood together. The biscuits look like flat little wooden footballs, not at all like the tasty breakfast treat that Gary often eats on camping trips. The whole process is far more complicated than I can understand, but Gary seemed to know how the tool worked and how to use the biscuits, even though this was the first time he has used it. He made all of the cuts in the ends of the pieces for my kitchen cabinets, then dry fitted (no wood glue) the pieces together to make sure the cuts were correct. I didn't hear him complaining, so I guess all the pieces fit together like they were supposed to. He could have glued everything together today and been done with it, but the new end pieces he made recently for my upper kitchen cabinet need to be sanded and re-painted. There's always something to do. So, I'll pray for rain in the days ahead, as that is the only thing that will get Gary away from the van work on the driveway, and back into the garage to work on me. I think I hear thunder right now!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

There's A New Dodge In Town

Once again, the work being done on me has been set aside in favor of other projects. There's no use in me complaining. I know my time will come. I'll practice the art of being patient, and will fill my days watching People's Court and Judge Judy. Speaking of projects, Gary SWORE that he wouldn't bring home any other things that needed to be fixed, but now there's another one sitting on our driveway. UGH!!! Sharing the driveway with my older sisters Jackie and Caroline, is a massively large looking 1995 Dodge Conversion Van that unfortunately doesn't currently run. Gary says that it obviously needs a new timing chain, so that's where the repairs to it will begin. Gary bought it from a guy on Craigslist. He got a GREAT deal on it, and I'll have to admit that it's growing on me. It will never replace my best friend "Dodge", our trusty 1992 van that has towed me all over the country. But, if and when it's in running shape, it will be the perfect back-up tow vehicle. It is a wheelchair lift van, and it has extra seats in the back of it. All of that will be removed, and it will be transformed into a hauling van like "Dodge" is. I have no idea how long it's going to take Gary to get the van running. If he gets sidetracked as often as he has while working on me, it may take a LONG time. That's the latest news. Just thought I'd check in and say "Hi" since I have all this free time on my hands. I'll catch you later!