Monday, April 29, 2013

Poulsbo Invitational 4-27-2013

Saturday was the Poulsbo Invitational Race. This was the 4th race in the seven race West Sound Sailing Association(WSSA) series. This race starts just north of Battle Point and with a south wind it heads to a temporary buoy near University Point, then north to the #6 navigational mark near Pt Bolin and then follows the shoreline to a finish off of Poulsbo Yacht Club in Liberty Bay. This course was 9.6 miles. In case of a north wind, the race is run first to #6 mark, University Pt and then PYC for a distance of 11 miles.

On Saturday, as we motored to the starting area, the wind was from the SW at 12-16 knots with gusts in the low 20's. We waited until close to the starting time to see what the wind was going to do before deciding on a headsail. The wind dropped into the 8-12 knot range, so we set the No. 1 jib. The starting line was set such that a boat could cross the line on starboard, but it was skewed such that a starboard start took up about half the length of the line after clearing the committee boat end. Everyone was lining up for a starboard start and just as we got ready to make our last tack to the line, we lost a jib sheet and had to hold off our tack until we could rerig the sheet. The crew took care of the problem rapidly and we tacked to the line. We owned the boat end and had a slightly slow but on time start. We continued on starboard rather than tacking immediately to port to look for the header under Battle Pt. Sure enough we got a header, tacked to port and had a nice lift.
Our earlier reconnaissance showed us that the wind was blowing SW near Brownsville, so we continued on port tack toward the west shore until we got another header and then tacked to starboard. We were lifted on starboard in the gusts and worked the right side of the course to the mark. The mark was set well to the west of University Point where the wind is very fluckey. We managed to get around without too much trouble and jibe set the spinnaker for the run to the mark at Pt Bolin.
We had a nice reach until halfway to Battle Pt where we jibed to starboard and had a straightforward run to the mark. We rounded the mark and sailed close hauled high enough on one tack to clear the shallows off Pt Bolin. As we headed toward Keyport, the wind came aft enough to set the spinnaker. We tried something fancy on the spinnaker set, lost the guy and had the spinnaker flying off to leeward. I am sure that there are photos of our problem somewhere but I have not seen them yet. The crew recovered nicely and we were heading off to Lemolo.
Sailing past Lemolo into Liberty bay the wind became lighter and shifty and it became an exercise of trying to follow the shifts and keeping the boat moving. Races have been won and lost here. After finally sailing into Liberty Bay, the wind came aft, increased and it was a straightforward run to the finish.
We were first to finish and corrected to first in our class. But the entire Division II corrected in front of us. This is often the case with this race. With only about 1 1/2 NM of beating and 8 NM of reaching and running, this race favors the smaller and slower rated boats.
Results can be found here: Poulsbo Invitational Race 2013

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Pony Car Project-Hooray! The Light Is Out!

When I bought the Mustang a few weeks ago, I knew there were lots of issues that needed attention. The seller told me that the "Check Engine Light" (CEL) was on all the time. The CEL is the dreaded light in the instrument panel of most modern cars. The usual advice is to take your car to the shop if it lights up because SOMETHING IS WRONG!
My Mustang's V8 engine was modified by some previous owner. What he did was an economy performance upgrade where he installed cylinder heads from a newer Ford product, possibly an Explorer. Yes, an Explorer! The cylinder heads are referred to as GT40P heads. These are later model, higher performance heads that were used on the Explorer and Mountaineer SUV's. Along with the associated GT40 upper and lower intake manifolds, it is reported that 20-40 more horsepower can be obtained at a low cost.
The problem with changing the manifold is that some sensors from the 1990 Mustang V8 do not have a location on the GT40 manifolds. I knew this and one of the first things I did was to purchase a sensor that measures the intake air temperature. The new intake manifold could have been drilled and tapped to accept the sensor. For the time being, it is just laying on the manifold until I can get it installed in the air intake tube(another acceptable location). This helped the engine run better(or so I thought), but the CEL stayed lit.
The next thing I tried had to do with the Exhaust Gas Recirc (EGR) valve. This is a system that recirculates exhaust gas back through the engine at some engine loads. This system had been removed. So after some research on the place called the Internet, I found that the removal of the EGR valve can cause some confusion with the Electronic Engine Control(EEC) and a company in Michigan makes a resistor that plugs into the EGR valve position transducer connector and "fake" the EEC into thinking the valve is still there. This was suppose to turn the CEL off. The resistor arrived Saturday and I plugged it in. The Mustang ran much better, but the light was still on.
So today, I ran diagnostics on the EEC to see what error codes the computer had. My friend Jim loaned me a reader that connects to a test connector in the Mustang. The test included both KeyOnEngineOff(KOEO) and KeyOnEngineRunning (KOER) tests. The KOER test was surprising because the tester actually reved the engine up to 2000 RPM's!
A few error codes showed up during the tests. Most were for removed equipment that was not critical. But one code jumped out: Coolant Temperature Sensor. It was not there! When all the mods were done to the engine, the location for the Coolant Temperature Sensor interfered with the distributor. The newer engines that the heads and intake manifolds came off of probably did not have a distributor, so the sensor could easily fit. So, of to the autoparts store and I bought a sensor. I plugged it into it's empty connector, started the engine and the LIGHT IS OUT! For now it is just laying on the manifold. But eventually, I will install it with a tee with the temperature gage sender on the other side of the manifold.
This was a big accomplishment in the Pony Car Project. I feel more assured that the Mustang will be reliable and hopefully it will run more efficiently and possibly get better gas mileage even though the gas mileage is pretty good already. I will not say that that I am really good at doing this kind of work, I am persistent and study the problem until I can come up with a solution. So I will just remain quiet and Smug.
Now before someone accuses me of defeating controls on the engine that have an effect on pollution, this car passed the smog test in Pierce County when the previous owner licensed it.
 The tester for checking the computer's error codes. This was fun to use and took some of the mystique away from diagnosing a Electronic Engine Control system.
One of the first and very important purchases for the Mustang. A Electrical and Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual with the cars diagrams. When I bought the Bronco new in 1984 I bought a similar manual and it too was invaluable during the Great Bronco Engine Transplant.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Pony Car Project- Locks and Windows

Yesterday I started installing the components to make the power locks and the passenger side power window function.

The power lock installation went fairly easy. After removing the inside door panels and arm rests, the power lock motors fitted up well. I had one mounting rivet not compress far enough and had to drill it out and start over. But when I hooked up the electrical connections, they worked well!

The power window motor fit in easily, but one connector wire was not crimped well and it pulled out. So I had to take the connector apart and reattach the wire. After I hooked up the electrical connector, I gave it a try. From the passenger side switch, the window just wanted to go up, not up and down. I guess that is better than just going down! Furthermore, there was no response from the drivers side switch. I buttoned up the door panels and called it a night after working for several hours.

This morning, I studied the wiring diagram and gave it another go. I removed the arm rest to access the switches and performed continuity checks and jumpered from the various contacts without using the switch. I was successful in getting the motor to operate the window both up and down. But something was defiantly out of wack with the wires. I started checking the interconnecting wires from the drivers side switch. Through a process of elimination, I concluded that a ground wire that ran from a connector under the left side of the dash to the drivers side window switch was broken somewhere along its length. Sure enough, I jumpered around this wire and the window operated from both switches. I took the drivers side door panel off again and snaked a new wire to connect into the old wire.

Now I have fully functioning power locks and windows. This was a job that I was looking forward to finishing. Now if I have passengers during the summer, they can roll the window down and listen to the load pipes!

About half of these items are now installed.

Coastal Messenger In Port Angeles

Monday, I rode to Port Angeles with my parents to visit their friends on the "Coastal Messenger". The "Coastal Messenger" is a 52 foot steel vessel operated by
Coastal Missions, . This is a missionary organization based in Chemainus BC. They operate along the coast of British Columbia and South East Alaska. My parents met them in the late 1980's when they commercial fished in south east Alaska and have kept in touch since then. It was a blessing to be able to visit with them.

The "Coastal Messenger" is making their shakedown voyage following their yearly maintenance period. In late April, they will be underway on their first voyage of the season to the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The boat will be underway until November. There are three crews that rotate at various ports along the coast. During their voyages they will call on many isolated ports and villages in very remote areas. Some of their journeys will take them along the open ocean areas of the west coast of Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands. This port call at Port Angeles was a time for stateside friends and supporters to visit. In previous years(before the price of fuel and Homeland Security became issues) they would trek farther into Puget Sound. I have visited them in Gig Harbor and saw them last year in Olympia.

Roy was captain on this voyage and actually drew the plans for "Coastal Messenger" and was the construction boss along with a lot of volunteer help. My dad actually helped during a visit to Chemainus. The boat is a great example of a very tough, seaworthy, west coast style work boat. It is NOT a yacht. It is built of steel. The accommodations are limited as they only travel with a crew of four. Roy did a great job with the design. On a previous visit, I was given a thorough tour including the engine room. The engine room is spacious and well thought out with lots of room around the machinery for maintenance. The pilot house is large with great visibility all around. The main salon has plenty of seating and also includes a piano that folds down out of a locker! Large amounts of storage space is included through out the vessel. The boat was launched in 1998 and was in service in 1999.

The previous "Coastal Messenger" was a similar sized wooden boat that was a retired BC fisheries patrol boat. I was on board once many years ago. It was in immaculate condition too, but the thing I found interesting was the Rolls Royce diesel engine. It was a showpiece. It was an antique and had been rebuilt. Coastal Missions actually had a spare Rolls Royce diesel that was initially installed in the new "Coastal Messenger" but has since been changed to a John Deere diesel.

It was a great day for a road trip. It was sunny and warm in  Port Angeles. On the way up, we stopped at the Oak Table restaurant in Sequim for breakfast. There were many yummy items on their menu, but I only wanted one thing; their famous Apple Pancake! As always, it was huge and delicious. But I completed the whole thing!

Coastal Messenger(picture from the website)
The Coastal Messenger was looking really sharp following their maintenance period.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Rich Passage Ramble Race 4-13-2013

Saturday was the annual Rich Passage Ramble Race sponsored by West Sound Corinthian Yacht Club and is Race #3 of the seven race West Sound Sailing Association Series. This race is a race from the Port Orchard Marinas through Rich Passage, around Blake Island and Bainbridge Reef Buoy #4, leaving both to port. From buoy #4, the race continues again through Rich Passage to the finish at Port Orchard Marina. Along the race, competitors experience strong currents, protruding land masses and speeding ferries. This year the weather forecast was for strong SW winds and thundershowers. As it was, the forecasters got part of the forecast right.

As we lined up for our 1015 start, the wind was about 15-20knots from the SW. We got a fair start and had some issues getting the spinnaker all the way up. We set the heavy, 1-1/2 oz spinnaker and after clearing our rigging issue, we took off toward Rich Passage under great control and good speed. Gusts would roll through accelerating us. Some boats reported broaching in the gusts, but we did not have any issues. Our maximum speed through the water was 10.6 knots and we maintained speeds in the mid to high "nines" for much of the run.

As we entered Rich Passage, we headed toward the left side of the pass and had to head more left when a ferry appeared ahead. We dropped the spinnaker near Pt Glover and went close hauled with a full main and the #3 jib. The wind was about 20knots and far enough to the west that one tack took us between Orchard Rocks and Bainbridge Island and to Blake Island. We stayed in the shallows close to the south shore of Blake Island for current relief and rounded the island in the lead.

The reach from Blake Island to buoy #4 was a parade with one boat slipping past us and another closing on our stern. As we entered Rich Passage the current was against us causing our pack of boats to compress. After Pt Glover, we headed to the right side of Rich Passage and short tacked in the shallow water along Bainbridge Island and Pt White. We passed the boat that was ahead and sailed to the East Bremerton shore. Again, we short tacked in the shallows along the shore. We gained on the boats behind. We finished at 13:12:39. One Division I boat finished close enough to correct on us and one Division II boat also corrected on us to give us 2nd in class and 3rd overall. With all the reaching on this course, our results are good. Complete results can be found here: Rich Passage Ramble Results

This race was very fast. We went around the course in slightly less then 3 hours. The wind stayed in the high teens to mid 20's for the entire day. The part of the forecast that was not correct was the rain. It did not rain at all during the race and was actually sunny and warm.

Thanks to my crew of Jim, Walter and Ranier. They did an awesome job and helped me concentrate on steering the boat.

Postscript: Last years Rich Passage Ramble was run in opposite conditions from this year. Last years race was sailed in moderate but steady north winds and it was a fast race. Last year the historian announced that I had finished last years race in the fastest time ever, finishing at 13:28:02. This year our finishing time of 13:12:39 is faster than last years, so it must mean another new record. Maybe someone will confirm it.

Our track for the day. We went counterclockwise around Blake Island and crossed our track at Bainbridge Reef. 

Here is a video I made during the race. I was using my "Redneck Engineering" homemade self leveling mount for the GoPro. I am using a different movie editor and was frustrated trying to shorten the audio, so there is a couple of minutes of music with no video at the end.
Boats behind us are broaching at about 6:48 in the video. It got our attention.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Pony Car Project-Current And Future Projects


So where am, I at in the Pony Car Project? I have been chipping away a many items, some with great success and some with not so good of success.

First, sometimes the Mustang does just not want to fire up, at all. This has always happened in my yard and usually in the morning. And strangely it is on Sunday mornings. Like this morning, I was going to drive it to church. It would not fire, so I drove the Bronco. After I came home, the Mustang started up. Maybe it just wants a day of rest! Since it has spark, my suspicion is leaning toward low fuel pressure. I bought a fuel pressure tester from Harbor Freight. Before the tester failed, I did get an indication that the pressure while the engine was running was at the minimum pressure. Another issue of the non-start could be with the Electronic Engine Control(EEC). After a previous owner modified the motor with more modern components, some of the EEC controls were left off. I know of two in particular that were common issues for the type of mods the Mustang has. One transmitter measures intake temperature. This was easily found locally. Another item "fakes" a signal to the computer for a valve position transmitter that is not there and not really needed. After it arrives and I get the car to run, a friend loaned me a "reader" to test the computer and read the error codes. I am not too worried.

Last week, I spent nearly a day working under the Mustang trying to cure a vibration problem. I found the differential pinion loose and the nut that holds the flange onto the pinion was finger tight. I torqued the nut and set the preload on the pinion bearings. That did not cure the vibration problem. More time under the car is necessary.

I did have one great success. When I bought the Mustang, I noticed immediately that the heater temperature control was stuck and I could not turn the temperature down. Since the weather has been getting warmer I decided I needed to fix that! Also, someone someday may actually want to ride in the Mustang and I would not want to cook them! So I took apart the heater control and after lubing the cable, it now works smoothly. What a joy to now have cool air come out of the dash vents!

Along the same idea that someone might want to ride in the Mustang, I am in process of fixing the power window in the passenger door. I was told that the right window and the power locks on both sides did not work. But when I took the door apart, I found that the window motor and the power lock solenoid were GONE! That explains why they don't work. So I ordered and received the parts I need along with a heavy duty rivet tool from Harbor Freight. The rivet tool is needed to pull the large blind rivets that holds the power lock solenoids. It should not take long to install them. Then if I have a passenger some day, they could open the window on a warm, sunny day and have the wind blow into the car!

A small success was to fix the engine temperature gage. The previous owner had installed a mechanical gage that set loose on top of the dash. He said the electrical gage did not work. I did an electrical check of the in dash temperature gage and it seemed to respond, so I bought a new sending unit and installed it. And success! The gage works! I pulled out the capillary tubing of the mechanical gage through the firewall and remove the gage. It has a lot cleaner look and I can still monitor engine temperature.

I also found some good buys on Ebay. Some of the ground effect fairings on the Mustang are not the correct ones for a Mustang GT. These are the fairings that run from just ahead, behind and under the doors. I found the correct ones on Ebay and am looking forward to receiving them next week. I think it will enhance the appearance when I get them installed. I already have a replacement bumper strip for the drivers door and sixty feet of double back tape for installation of all the replacement parts and the ones already installed that are loose.

I am still happy with the Mustang and it is fun to drive. So, much has been accomplished and there is much more to do. I just need to proceed a a steady pace. This is a marathon, not a sprint!

Many parts waiting for installation: Double back tape, pinion seal, paint, gear oil, drivers side molding, window motor, power lock solenoids and tools.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Stand Up Straight!

A few weeks ago, the Pastor of my church wrote the following in the church bulletin:

"According to research done by Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy, your mothers message to "Stand up straight!" and "Put your shoulders back!" provides benefit that reaches far beyond the issue of correct posture. Her study has revealed that a person's bearing has the ability to radically change their job performance and career. At one level, researchers have known for a long time that our nonverbal communication affect the way that others perceive us. When we observe a person standing tall we sense that they are filled with confidence. But Cuddy's study deals with the issue from a different perspective. It is her belief that when an individual assumes a 'power position' or 'pose' it makes changes to their biochemistry. As we stand or sit in a way where we 'open up' and 'take up space' we supposedly experience an increase in testosterone (the 'dominance' hormone) and a decrease in cortisol )a hormone identified with 'stress'). This combination results in a significant gain in our personal feeling of 'presence' as our bodies tell our minds that we have reason to be 'self-assured'. So while Cuddy believes that a 'power suit' may be of some help, the 'power pose' is what will really make a difference."

This lead me to do some research on Cuddy's study(Amy Cuddy Wiki Bio). One thing that I perceived was that I have seen this in action and in personal experience. During my working career, I noticed that some managers exuded confidence by how there body language was presented and others did not seem to have the body language to earn respect.

In my personal life, I discovered this "power pose" a number of years ago. During a time in my life where I lost a lot of weight and became more physically fit, I started standing straighter, taller and larger. The first thing I would notice was the looks of strangers that I would pass on the street and in stores. I would often get eye contact and a smile from strangers that I did not get before. I also started walking in public like I "owned the place". This worked very well when I would travel overseas in unfamiliar territory where a lack of confidence could is result in catastrophe.

Several years ago, before I heard about this study I remember reading an article about one of the actors in the last Superman movie. Most of us can relate to the character Superman as someone that shows great confidence and strength. The actor who played Superman(Brandon Routh) reportedly spent many hours working on his posture and perfecting his "Laser Straight" back. At the time, I could compare this to my personal experience.

So there may be a lot of truth to what your mother said: Stand Up Straight!".

 Brandon Routh from "Superman Returns".
Brandon Routh from "Superman Returns".

Amy Cuddy. She talks about more than just standing tall. Her examples of "power pose" has to do with the concept of "taking up space" and being large.
Amy Cuddy. "Wonder Woman".