Sunday, December 28, 2008

Las Cruces to LA

I made the trip back to LA solo as Anja had flown off to Vermont to see her family and would fly back to LA after. The van drove great on this trip and I slept at a freeway exit about 60 miles from the CA border.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More work in Las Cruces

Front Speakers: I upgraded the front speakers to a component set from Best buy. Normally, I would order online but these were on sale and seemed excellent. Infinity speakers with a 6.5" woofer and 0.75" tweeter with custom crossover. The dodge B3500 van stock speaker connection was a little weird as it connected to the stock speakers it had four wires. I was guessing the new Sony was in the dash was only connected to two so I clipped the connecter from the stock unit and tested in on the new speaker terminals. The middle wires were live so I connected them on up. I got the 6.5 woofer bolted in and installed the lower door although it was not really a good fit for the 6x9 space. The tweeters installed beautifully high on the door with the mounting kit supplied. I drilled a hole through the SMB trim and door and shoved the speaker wire through to connect it all up.

Lessons learned: AWESOME SOUND! What a difference. The treble was so muffled previously but now comes through clean. The base is nothing amazing, not like if we put in a sub, but it is enough for us. A 6x9 woofer would have been better for install and maybe bass since 6.5 is not that great of a fit. Rear speakers now seem a little lacking.

Front Hitch:
I found a $20 front hitch at Harbor Freight. Seemed like a good idea and right price so I made an attempt at putting it on but no idea how to do it. Not sure about that one?

Gearing up the van:
Harbor Freight. I got a tool box/tool set for about $30, which includes tons of stuff and fits next to the furnace under the middle driver side seat. My dad got me a soldering iron, a little dc air compressor, and an engine code tester to read any error lights. I also got a hydraulic bottle jack.
REI/Campmor: We got a Gerber folding shovel and a Gerber hatchet. We got a folding 21" wood saw; pretty cool how it folds up.
Home: put a corded drill from home in the van

Sunday, December 21, 2008

First Problem

Heading up a steep grade of I-8 we had a problem and started sputtering and lost power. I was able to exit and took a quick look around the van and under the hood. Not seeing anything abnormal and being late I declared we should take a nap and try in half an hour. Anja wanted to find the problem and looked around more but was soon lying on the bed with me. In half an hour we hit the road again but didn't make it more than 10 miles before the problem returned. We exited at the next town filled the gas tank (it had been ¼ full) and looked around the engine more, but again found nothing. After refueling we had no more problems. Since it was only about 40 degrees out it seems unlikely it was an over heating problem, and since the tank had been shaken like crazy exiting Cochise, we thought that maybe the fuel filter was clogged. A little research indicated that the fuel filter only is in use when the tank is below ½ so filling the tank would have taken care of the problem. This was our best guess.

Problem Solution:
We are still not sure if it was the fuel filter.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

To Las Cruces again with a stop at Cochise Stronghold

We headed to Las Cruces again and were again reminded that we could use better stereo speakers. We stopped this time at Cochise Stronghold southeast of Tuscon for two days of climbing. In route to Cochise we stopped at a gas station near Gila Bend with tons of cool Mexican lawn ornaments and got some great Christmas presents at a very reasonable price. We also got the van weighed with no water but somewhat loaded with gear, and it weighed 8,000 lbs. Heading up the 15 miles of dirt washboard road to Cochise near Tombstone, AZ we shook the van like crazy but it did great on the dirt roads and the clearance was awesome. I guess I had not realized just how big the tires were. I hope to measure the clearance one of these days with sand and find out. The mountain bikes were on the back this trip and were swung to the side when we setup for the night at camp. It was a little hassle removing the bungee cords and unlocking them from the spare tire. After two days of climbing we headed off to Las Cruces.

Cochise campsite

Ken leading

Anja leading


Friday, December 12, 2008

Mtbing Las Cruces Part 2

Again while in town we went for a mountain bike ride this time the trail was on the west slope of the Organ Mountains and we set it up as a car shuttle which would have made for a nice fast ride if we had not gotten flat tires and broken chairs. We rode the trail twice and the second time didn't finish til after dark.

Jill biking

Anja biking