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Blog Archives for October 2008

Cherokee Heater Valve

Sunday, October 26th, 2008 - Comments (4) in Cars, Life, Projects

Yesterday I had a nice opportunity to do some work on my car so I used it to replace my rusted heater valve. This valve simply redirects coolant through the heater core when the heat is on warming the air getting blown into the car. The old valve was very rusty and seized up. When the climate controls are set to cool air, vacuum is applied to this valve to close the valve shutting off the flow of coolant to the heater core. When you change to heat, the vacuum is released and a spring opens the valve. The old valve was rusted enough so that the vacuum and spring weren't strong enough to move the valve, but up until last winter I could manually move it with a pair of pliers. Recently it had gotten so bad I couldn't fully open the valve even with the pliers, so I wasn't getting as much heat as I should since the valve was half open. All the hoses involved were also looking rather nasty and probably needed to be replaced anyway.

heater valve 1

Hot coolant flows from the manifold into the valve through the red hose. The vacuum motor (the dome looking thing) moves the valve so that it either flows directly out (the bottom black hose) to the water pump or through the firewall into the heater core and back out to the water pump.

This valve is pretty pricey new so I looked around and I was able to find a used one on ebay for a late 80's Wagoneer for $10. The new one is made of plastic, so it'll never have the rusting problem the original one did, and the ports are more conveniently located on the new one, so I can have shorter hoses at less awkward angles. The seller said even though it was used it didn't leak and worked perfectly; I was pleased to find out when it arrived that this was exactly the case.

This just shows you how the new valve works. There is a vacuum line attached to the top and when you slide the temperature control from hot to cold, it opens and closes the valve.

heater valve 2

This is a shot of the lines in and out of the heater core.

heater valve 3

This is probably the nastiest hose in the system. Notice all the green crap at the end? I guess it was leaking a little already.

heater valve 4

It was really hard getting those heater core hoses off. Once I got them off though, I noticed that they weren't the same size. The top one (output) is 3/4" and the bottom one is 5/8". The new valve however only had 5/8" connections on it. Then I took a closer look and realized that the water pump also had a 3/4" hose on it. I guess that was the difference between the older Cherokee valve and the newer Wagoneer valve.

heater valve 5

Luckily I was able to find a couple of these adapters that went from the bigger to the smaller size hose. I would've been up in serious trouble if I couldn't lay hand on these things. I needed 2 of them (from water pump to valve and valve to heater core) and of the 3 local parts stores I called only one of them had these in stock and they only had 2.

heater valve 6

Having to use these toids put the new valve farther into the engine compartment, but I was able to position it so it wouldn't interfere with the distributor or the oil dipstick.

heater valve 7

It took quite a lot of hose pieces and clamps, but it they were all necessary.

heater valve 8

heater valve 9 heater valve 10

I didn't think to do some temperature tests before changing the valve, but now I get over 120° air, and I can actually adjust the temperature with the intended controls from within the car. When I went for a drive after getting this all together to test it, I started getting heat after just a couple minutes of driving when it used to take around 20 minutes to get any noticeable heat.

This job took a lot longer than it really should have, but at least there weren't any show-stopping problems. It took forever to get some of the hoses off because they and the clamps were probably 22 years old and I was trying to not damage things like the heater core connections. Then there was the whole hose size difference with an extra trip to the store.


A Long Island Wedding

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 - Comments (4) in Life, Wedding

So Kelly and Cliff got married this past weekend. It was wedding number three for us in the past three months, but what a wedding it was.

Pro pic at the reception

This one was in on Long Island and we decided to drive there. Sure it was 400 miles and 8 hours away, but it was cheaper and less stressful to drive than to fly. The ceremony was in a neat little church about an hour drive away from the reception which was close to the hotel they got a block of rooms in. They had a shuttle between the reception and the hotel which was awesome, once they got their acts together. The shuttle to the reception was supposed to leave at 6pm and there were about 7 of us waiting for it. There were two wedding blocks at the hotel both with shuttles to their receptions at different times. Their shuttle was at 5:30 while ours was at 6. Apparently people from the other reception got on our shuttle without bothering to find out where it was going and it left early probably because it was full. So once the hotel manager figured out what happened, they put us on one of the other buses to drop us off at our reception and pick up all the losers who ended up at the wrong reception and take them to the right place.

self shot

bride, groom and us

When I think about that reception, only one word comes to mind: food. The food was absolutely amazing. For cocktail hour there was this huge room packed with hors d'oeuvres. They had all the usual finger food and just about everything else. They had a carving station with different meats, they had a seafood table, I had a couple lamb popsicles, some caviar and a few pieces of star-fruit. Everyone was stuffed before dinner was even served. For dinner I picked at a fantastic fillet mignion. They also offered stuffed shrimp, some portobello thing and some pasta dish. When it was time for dessert, we went back into the cocktail hour room and it was stuffed with desserts. They had a coffee station with different coffees, liquors and toppings (including chocolate covered spoons). They had cookies, stuffed things, fruit, flaming fruit (served on ice cream), a bunch of mousses, a chocolate fountain, wedding cake and tons of other stuff. It was like entering that room at the beginning of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


Missing Some Oil

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008 - Comments (2) in Cars, Life

I changed my oil today when I got home from work. I'm usually pretty good about keeping on top of stuff like this, but as you can see from the pic below, I'm missing about 2 quarts! I knew I was a little low, it was below the 'add' line on the dipstick, but this kind of scares me after the fact. I didn't see any metal while I was pouring the old oil into the milk container, so I don't think any damage was done.

oil ins and outs

Advance Auto Parts is currently having a special on oil: you get 5 quarts of Mobil 1 synthetic oil (any weight) and a Mobil 1 filter for $29. AND if you have an entertainment book there is a $5 off coupon for any purchase over $25!

I'm Old!

Saturday, October 4th, 2008 - Comments (2) in Life

Ugh, today is my birthday, I'm 29!!! I'm not usually someone who agonizes over things like birthdays, but I currently have a cold and have some stomach issues, so I feel like I'm falling apart.


I really had no idea what I wanted for a present, but since we're driving to Long Island for our friend Kelly's wedding soon Rachelle got me a little GPS unit. I've wanted one of these things for a while now, but not enough to actually buy one for myself. My blackberry has integrated GPS, but it won't do the spoken turn-by-turn directions to get somewhere.

I had a pretty low-key day, just hanging around the house (being sick), watching tv and playing some Wii. Rachelle went out with her posse to try on wedding dresses for her friend's wedding next year and then she got her hair done. When she got back we wrapped up the day by going out to dinner and eating some cake.

Barracuda Luncheon

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008 - Comments (11) in Computers, Life, Work

Today I went to a lunch seminar put on by Barracuda Networks and Layer 8 at Mario's, a very nice italian restaurant. I love these things; you get a free lunch, maybe learning something (assuming it just isn't a sales pitch) and you get out of work for a couple hours.

my l33t shirtI have a Barracuda web filter at school ruining all the kid's fun, which is why I got the invite. They probably want me to buy the spam filter, the IM filter and who could live without their email archiver? Not only was it at a very nice local italian place, it was about 1 mile from work. When I got there the car that pulled in behind me contained Brad, an old friend from RIT, and a co-worker of his. This was awesome because I got to see him again and I had someone to talk to. Usually when I go to these things alone I don't talk to anyone (I'm shy).

The food was fantastic (as expected) and the presentation was very good. I felt bad for Tim, Barracuda's regional sales manager who was doing the presentation. He's a sales guy, and all these ornery nerds were asking questions and getting into debates (sometimes with each other) over stupid things like HIPAA compliance and something he might have misspoken. When he was talking about their email archiver he said something about being able to remove quota's from users' mailboxes and these guys jumped all over him for that. I knew what Tim meant even though he said something contradictory. I'd like to think these guys could just chill while they enjoy their free lunch, but no.

It wouldn't have been an IT seminar without some freebies and sure enough at the end of the presentation Tim was giving away hats and shirts to people who could answer questions correctly. Brad got a hat and I got the "email retentive" shirt!