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Blog Archives for April 2009

Accord Sway Bar Links

Thursday, April 16th, 2009 - Comments (2) in Cars, Life

Rachelle's Accord has recently been making an irritating popping noise while in motion. It happened when she hit bumps, accelerated, decelerated, turned, or basically anything that shifted the weight of the car around. My dad looked at it with me when we were in NJ this past week and he thought it was sway bar related. I changed the sway bar bushings hoping that was the problem because they were only a few dollars each and very easy to change. It didn't fix it.

While I was at the parts counter at the Honda dealer picking up the bushings (dealer only part), I chatted up one of the service guys who basically told me the problem was with the sway bar links, these little 6" pieces that connect the ends of the sway bar to the axles.

old noisy sway bar links

They look like a piece of cake to replace; I was grossly misinformed about that. Each end of the link is basically like a ball with a stud coming out so it can move in all directions. The problem is, since this ball can spin in the socket, it makes getting the rusted nut off very difficult. The actual Honda parts have holes in the end of the studs for a 5mm Allen wrench to keep the stud from turning as you turn the bolt.

allen wrench hole

swaybar link

I'm sure this system works well on shiny new parts, but it sucks on 5 year old rusty parts. Not only did I have to fight the rust, but the used elliptical offset locknuts, which are basically nuts that are squashed at one end so the threads aren't round but oval. This mean you have to fight to turn the nut every set of the way. It also means the nut isn't just going to loosen from vibration and fall off. The Allen keyhole stripped out after a few turns of the nut. Luckily the nut came off enough to get a hacksaw blade in behind it to cut it off.

cutting the stud

stripped allen

Oddly enough, the top of the links of each side stripped out and caused me serious grief while the bottom ones came off with no trouble at all. The driver's side I cut with a hacksaw blade because I got the top nut off a few turns. The passenger side stripped instantly, so I had to cut it off with a Dremel tool. It was a major pain in the ass trying to not cut the mounting bracket or the brake hose. Because of the orientation I ended up having all the sparks shoot at my face while cutting it off; I'm pretty sure I burned off a few eyebrows hairs. At least I didn't set my shirt on fire.

I think it's interesting that the Honda replacement links ($49 each) are much less beefy than the Moog aftermarket ones I got for half the price. The Moog ones are also grease-able, so maybe these will last longer than the originals.

old and new sway bar links

new sway bar link

This was the answer to the noise, we went for a drive after I was done and there was no noise at all. Sweet success! This was a major pain in the ass and took a long time. If I had a dealer or a shop do this job it would have cost a fortune in labor alone. It only cost me $50 in parts to do it myself.

Screw Time Warner!!!!

Monday, April 6th, 2009 - Comments (15) in Computers, Life, Rants

I'm so mad... I just found out that Time Warner Cable is going to impliment bandwidth caps for Roadrunner (RR) customers in Rochester starting in September! I knew they were testing this out in select markets, but I'm rather annoyed that Rochester is now one of them. The funny thing is they seem to only being trying this garbage in markets where there is little to no competition. The only other option for internet access here is Frontier DSL which is pathetic at best. The best speed you can get out of DSL here is around 3Mbps, and that's if you live like right next to the CO in your area. I can get 10Mbps easily with RR now, even at peak times at night. I was extremely satisifed with the performance, but what good is having superfast download speeds if you can only download up to a certain amount per month? Because you can go over your cap, you just get charged $1/GB even though the going rate on bandwidth is a fraction of that cost.

Personally I think they're doing this to try to save their pathetic Video On Demand (VOD) service and their in-show ad revenue. The way people view media is evolving, many don't just sit there watching crap on the tv, they download their shows commercial free using bittorrent, they stream shows from hulu with limited commercials or use services like Netflix. Why would you pay $4 for a movie via VOD when you can rent it from a Redbox or Blockbuster for $1? Since probably nobody is using their services, now they're going to force you to because it'll cost you to download the media over the internet. A full length DVD is about 4GB of data, at $1/GB (when over your cap) is $4 for a movie, the same price for a VOD movie.

Of course there are no details on TWC's website as far as pricing, but rumor has it, there will be 4 tiers to choose from, depending on the usage. How much do you want to bet that the lowest tier (with the smallest cap) will cost the same as their basic unmetered service currently? They already increased the cost of their service by about 12% this year (AND last year too) without notifying customers first of course. We called to complain when we noticed this, and of course they said they mailed a notification home, but we never saw it either time.

Friday morning I came across the contact info for TWC's Vice President of Public Relations and I wrote him a email expressing my disappointment in their decisions. Surprisingly he replied about 10 minutes later confirming that it's basically all about the money saying they're a for-profit company who has to pay their bills and employees and that this was the decided as the best means for generating the revenue they need. I replied saying I hope this doesn't drive all their customers away having the opposite effect on their income; he replied a few minutes later saying he does too. I also found his Twitter page and there are a bunch of people who are giving him shit about this whole situation, I think that's pretty funny.

What's next, capping the amount of TV you can watch? You get 20 hours of TV in a month and after that they start charging you per minute?