Monday, May 31, 2010

Cottonwood Campground and More Rattlesnakes

Cottonwood Campground Entrance
The Cottonwood campground is located out in McCain Valley and is a nice place to camp when you want to get away from the more popular (and crowded) campgrounds. My son and I went camping over the Memorial Day weekend and enjoyed a nice quiet couple of days with all of the spring time bugs, flies and rattlesnakes.

For some reason this year I have been seeing lots of rattlesnakes on my trips out to the desert and mountain areas. This trip out I saw 2 baby ratller's, once on each trip out to walk the dog around and one larger snake when we were leaving. We also saw a greenish looking snake slither away as we we were driving but it was gone before we could take a picture of it.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Remember, safety 3rd..and lose your vision!

My stubbornness to see a doctor cost me a piece of my vision
Lessoned learned, wearing safety equipment is not all there is to being safe while working, you must also be smart. While I was wearing safety goggles when I was grinding some metal, a small piece of debris somehow got into my eye. I did not notice it until later and thought I had flushed it out of my eye. The discomfort I had I associated to the usual "something in my eye" feeling and brushed it off. After a week of eye drops and the pain doing an off/on thing it became clear there was a problem and I needed to see a doctor. This is where my "being smart" failed me in being safe, my stubbornness in seeing a doctor cost me a piece of my vision.

Nine days after the incident I went to an eye specialist and he removed a flea sized piece of metal from my eye. It had started to rust around the pupil by that time and I probably went to the doctor just in time before some serious damage occurred. I guess you can define "serious" for yourself, for me I still have vision in my left eye but it will be scarred for life and my vision will look like that bug splat on the windshield for a long time...if not forever.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Lake Cuyamaca Report

East Lake
Went up to Lake Cuyamaca Sunday to pick up my son's cell phone we lost almost 2 years ago up there in the snow.

2 years prior when we were having snow ball fights
I guess ranger Becky has been holding on to it for us for some time now. I was really surprised to see how much water there was in the lake. Both sides of the dike were full. Ranger Becky said it was almost all the way up to the highway on the east lake side but they started pumping it over to the west side.

We explored a bit while we were there and found a deer skeleton (parts of it)

Deer Skeleton we found
We gave the skeleton to ranger Becky
We also saw a small grey snake, a small grey frog and a cat carcass. Always a good time at the lake. I f you have never been to Lake Cuyamaca you should go take the family and spend the day, it is a nice place to go.

Small grey frog
Cool looking flower grass thingy

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Maytag Washing Machine Plastic Tub Repair

Don't leave stuff in your pockets before you wash your clothes!

Plastic tub washing machines may have benefits but if you leave objects in your pockets before you wash them this is what will happen and then your washing machine will leak all over the garage or laundry room. I am not entirely sure what was left in it this time but I did find a Sharpie marker and some buttons and some loose change in the bottom of the washer. 

Symptoms were increasingly loud wash cycles during the week and then water leaking with medium to large loads. What happens is the main mettalic tub spins inside of the outer plastic tub and when something gets caught between them it will rub and wear a hole in the outer plastic tub. I am not sure what a new plastic tub would cost but for me that was besides the point because it would have required special tools to replace. I opted for the quick handyman fix...follow along to see how you can repair a hole in your plastic tub for just a few dollars and a few hours of your time.

My washing machine is a Maytag Centennial model, I am sure any Maytag will be similar. Start by unplugging the electrical plug, removing any clothes still in it and draining any water in the machine. You may need to tip it over for this. Next remove the (2) screws holding the control upper knob control panel in place.

Next, use a putty knife to compress the spring that holds the top to the main shell, you will need to do this on both sides

Push straight in and gently lift the top up

After popping up the knob control panel, you ill need to pry up and pop out the retaining clips that hold the back panel to the front main enclosure.

Pop out the retaining clips and then remove the entire enclosure
Removing the entire enclosure away from the back panel. This provides access to work on the washing machine.

Move the entire enclosure away from back cover
The damage to the front of the tub is now obvious once we remove the enclosure
You will need to pry up the tabs holding the top ring around the tub. This will allow you to get access to the inside of the tub and remove and other items still loose in there and also to clean up the mess of repairing the hole afterwards.

Be gentle when prying these up
After prying up the tabs , lift out the ring assembly
You can see the ring assembly suffered some damage as well
You will need to remove the drain tubes from the pump and inspect everything to make sure nothing is still inside them, this would cause a problem once you put it all back together again.

Use pliars to pinch together the hose clamps and slide them back to remove the hoses
Pop off the 2 retaining clips and remove the pump assembly. Make sure to clean and inspect the inside for an loose items
Now comes the fun part. You are going to need to clean and prep the plastic tub for repair. Start by scraping and peeling off all of the material that has built up from rubbing on the plastic tub and outer ring. It took me probably a good 30-40 minutes to do this, it is important you do a good job of this, if you leave old built up material on the tub or ring there is a good chance it will start rubbing and cause the same problem all over again. Use a putty knife, screwdriver and your careful not to make any holes!

Peeling off some the old rubbed on plastic material
After all of the rubbed material is cleaned off we get to actually do the repair. You will need a hot glue gun and some fiberglass repair materials and an old plastic bottle, I used an empty laundry detergent bottle. The idea is to clean up the hole, sand with sand paper to prep and then fiberglass a patch over the hole.

You can see I cleaned up the hole and sanded it with 60 grit so the fiberglass will stick to it
Cut out a patch piece from some old plastic container
Hot glue the patch in place first so it is all ready for fiberglass
This is what the patch looks like from the inside of the tub
Now you need to do the actual fiberglass work. I will not go into fiberglass repair techniques and will assume you can figure out how to cut a couple pieces of fiberglass cloth to cover the patch and mix up the resin. If not, just read the instructions on the resin container. BTW, you can buy a fiberglass repair kit at any hardware store for probably less than $10. I had some in the garage from the last surfboard repair job.

The patch with fiberglass applied
The fiberglass will dry enough in about an hour so you can start putting everything back together again.


You will need to clean out the tub and hoses before you assemble everything. There will be lots of small plastic pieces and material left over from sanding inside the tub. I just got the garden hose and flushed everything out letting the tub drain from the hoses we disconnected earlier. Once everything is flushed out and clean you just need to reassemble it back together.

Last important notes on reassembly
I hope this post will be helpful to others out there who have suffered the same fate as I with these new plastic tubs. This repair has worked out well for me so far, we probably have 100 washes in it after I did this repair. One other kinda funny thing, I did the repair on a Saturday afternoon and in the mail that same day I got a letter from Maytag stating my warranty had expired and I could buy an extension..yeah..ok...