Saturday, March 18, 2023

Too much excitement

Mrs ERJ's minivan had an identity crisis. One of the CV joints on an axle-shaft suddenly identified as a hand-grenade. Un-tethered from one end, the axle-shaft swung around and appears to have sheared the shifter-cable from the side of the trans-axle aka, transmission.

This may be the end-of-the-road for Vinnie. He has 307k miles on him and if it were just the axle-shaft it would be worth replacing. But if it includes the tranny then cost-to-repair probably exceeds what we could get peddling it.


Fortunately my sister has a spare vehicle and she gladly let us use it. However, somewhere in all of the excitement my phone went AWOL.

The rear power door locks engage when the vehicle is put into drive but they don't actuate open. It took me a few minutes of searching on the internet to find the secondary body electrical center. It was in integrated into the carpet retainer on the passenger side. I removed the 25 A fuse and now the power door locks don't work in either direction. 

The concern was that we might have to remove Quicksilver quickly and it would be stressful to fight with a door that does not unlock.


We have lake effect snow blowing in. It is like summer showers. Start. Stop. Start. Stop. High temp for the day is 24. Roads are icy with the blowing snow being beaten into polished ice by passing tires.

Trail Life

I encountered a faith-based alternative to Boy Scouts called Trail Life.

More than ever, boys need a uniquely masculine program where their assertive, audacious, and adventurous nature is celebrated, not sequestered.

Let Boys Be Boys

Too many boys are turning to virtual worlds of television, video games, digital media, and the internet to find realms they can conquer and areas where they can excel. The result of this virtual conquest is often apathy, apparent rebellion, or outright resistance to real-world challenge.

Trail Life USA is where boys thrive! Adults are equipped to lead a program in a structured outdoor environment where boys are engaged in real-world challenge and experience camping, hiking, and fishing; they develop skills in riflery, archery, and canoeing;  and learn character and leadership in a practical hands-on manner that is naturally engaging.

The troop was helping a local charity by washing windows, vacuuming, painting, assembling dressers for baby clothing and so on.

Kids were 6-to-11(ish). All of the leaders were men which is very different from cub scouts. All of the dads seemed live very solid, patient guys and there was an impressive turn-out of men to ride-herd on their little bundles of energy.


  1. It is doubtful that the CV joint just "grenaded". IThey seldom do so without lots of warning. would bet lots of cold , hard cash that it has been making noise for a while....and either wasn't heard or was ignored.

    Possibly use this as a reason to educate her as to why noises should be investigated?
    "If something seems different, find out"

    1. I totally agree. It's a pretty sure bet that there was at least a clicking sound at low speed when turning to either side. I know several of the CV joint noises all too well. I had both front shafts replaced about 10 months ago on my car. The other thing is to periodically check the CV boots for damage. Any contamination entering causes failure fairly quickly most of the time.

    2. I am not going to take you up on that bet.

    3. Been with my current wife since '76, she's xlnt at noticing and diagnosing mechanical issues. Not allergic to turning a wrench either.

  2. I don't know about queen Bs or female ferrets, but after 30 some years with a woman, you just expect some things.
    Reeducation ain't one of them.
    Smile, enjoy life and fix things.

    1. Now that there is wisdom.

      Oh look! A fight!
      Immana choose to avoid that one...

      Replace Both axles, unless the remaining one seems very solid.

      Car payments suck.

    2. Heard a comedian tell of his wedding day and dad's advice. "Son, when it comes to fighting with your wife, you can either be right or you can be happy." He eventually became a happy, happy, happy man.

  3. I've read about several alternatives to Boy Scout; one of the oldest is Royal Rangers.

  4. Glad you have options, even if you might need to do a 'bit' of work on it!

  5. Save those snow tires on that van!

  6. ERJ, there is nothing more bitter than having a car die and thinking about car payments - and nothing better than having an option appear!

    Thanks for the information on Trail Life. They appear to have a promising website.

  7. RE: door locks - that's a software control at (one of) the car's computers, and, usually, a dealership will make the change for free. FYI, test thoroughly before thanking them and driving away because....the converse is UNLOCKING the doors when the trashmission is put into Park. Much many bad ju-ju if the doors unlock going into Park because (obvious) reasons.

    Recognizing that electric door locks sometimes fail, and fail hard, because in modern cars it's a software control function, while having push-button open/close is very convenient it's still an excellent idea to practice manual unlocking, especially on rear doors.

    RE: Dying van. If it's a scrap job, not just the tires, but look at everything on it that might be useful. If the bench seats stand by themselves they can be handy if repurposed elsewhere, and go through the car 3-4 times to make sure you aren't leaving anything behind - tools stashed under the spare, inside quick-remove interior panels, etc.

    A seatless van might make a cheap Work Truck to someone handy with wrenches, maybe even you. If the trasmission controls are repairable, a couple half-shafts from a junkyard and a weekend of wrenching might give you a firewood/hay hauler. Get the front end aligned after swapping the shafts, it'll be off, probably by a fair amount.

    My state has a "Farm Truck" provision in the DMV regs - no tag required, exempt from property taxes, just requires a "Farm Truck" label where the tag goes, check the regs in MI.

  8. Good to read of an alternative to Boy Scouts, given the less-than-ideal info I’ve read about them. Around here there is also the Troops of St George, a Catholic boys scouting program. Same idea I think. Camping, sports, serving and helping others, and religious instruction.

  9. There is a group for the girls, too. It's called American Heritage Girls, and it's affiliated with Trail Life. Having been involved with them for a few years, I can highly recommend them. My daughters really enjoyed the group, and they weren't brainwashed with the latest feminist craziness or transweirdness. A great group!


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