I've been a hands on type of person from my very early Lego days. It was always way more fun to make your own toys, break them, and make new ones.
This progressed in to my interest in technology. As a kid, when I wasn't playing with Lego's, I was using my parent's amber screen sporting, 5 and 1/2" floppy reading, dot-matrix printing workhorse computer to play math and reading games. It didn't take too long before I worked my way up to building my first computer, with the help of a "Dummies" guide, not much in to my teenage years. A Pentium II powerhouse at the time, I was hooked and have never purchased an off the shelf PC since. And I make sure my friend's and family don't either!
It was only natural for this hands-on predilection to spill over in to other aspects of my life. As soon as I could drive, I was working on my own cars. I've never payed anyone for an oil change, and over the years I've taken on bigger and bigger repairs on my own.
After getting married to my lovely wife, I've also become very enthusiastic about completing our own home repairs and projects, from hanging doors, to replacing shingles, to building a chicken coop and putting in a 400 sq foot garden.
While all of these interests and hobbies take up much of my free time, I wouldn't rather be doing anything else. A weekend spent doing a four wheel brake job and cooling system overhaul on one of our cars wins out over vegging on the couch, shopping at the mall, etc. every time.
In the last year or so I've come to realize that these interests were more than just simple hobbies, however. In reality, this bend towards self-repair and self-building of the items used in our daily life has a number of impacts beyond mere enjoyment:
- Increased Independence
- Financial Savings
- Mental Fulfillment
- Reduction of Environmental Impact
- Increased ability to help friends, family, and others
So it is really exciting to be a part of something like iFixIt. It's wonderful to have such a resource when approaching a new project, and it's very rewarding to be able to contribute to help others reach their self-repair goals.
Enjoy the fix!
I attended the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a major in Computer Science.
While attending I took on employment at the County of Santa Cruz, California as a student employee. I was tasked with building a database of information gleaned from old paper and Mylar survey maps to be linked with a Geographic Information System for the public to access survey records. After completing this ahead of schedule, I was then tasked with scanning all of the maps, and then split my time in the field collecting GPS points of all of the storm water infrastructure in the county and in the office doing differential correction on the data and adding tabular information and metadata to it.
I then moved to Tucson, Arizona where I began working for Pima County, Arizona with the Office of Emergency Management. At first, it was with AmeriCorps as a VISTA member but it morphed in to a nearly five year, full time stint there doing GIS and IT project management and systems administration.
After seven years there, I then went to work for a sovereign tribal government just outside of the Tucson area, again for their Office of Emergency Management, with a focus on deploying and administering a GIS system for the Department of Public Safety.
After three years with the tribe, I went on to become the City of Tucson's Emergency Management Coordinator. My focus is now on bigger picture planning and preparedness efforts within the City.
During my time with all of these offices, I've had the experience of responding to floods, wind storms, large scale utility outages, mass vaccination efforts during disease outbreaks, and more.
Storm's a comin'. Looks to be a busy day.
As an extra-curricular job duty, for the five years I spent the summer time, which is fire season here in Arizona, working with Type 2 and 3 wildland fire Incident Management Teams as a Geographic Information Systems Specialist. Working 16 hour shifts, sleeping in the desert in a tent, eating breakfast with the firefighters before they go up the mountain side where they use the maps I create to help protect lives and property, it was a very rewarding experience.
Never a Dull Moment When Working a Wildfire
I then spent three years as the Emergency Management Coordinator for the Tucson Fire Department.
In May of 2018, I left my career in government to operate my own business, eWheels of Arizona. We subcontract for eWheels LLC, providing their warranty service, support, and parts fulfillment. I am excited to be a part of this new venture - eWheels is a company with the repair ethos at its heart.
My interest in computers is predominantly that of the hardware. As mentioned, I've been building them for the better part of 15 years for my own personal use, for friends, for family, and more recently a few on the side for pay. I have always been fascinated by the ability to assemble just the right machine for the need. I've built all types of computers, including:
- Windows and Linux desktop computers
- Windows and Linux home theater computers
- Windows and Linux servers, for file sharing, media streaming, etc.
- Dedicated Linux routers
- Advanced Linux firewalls
A picture of my very first full fledged home theater overhaul, back when I moved out of my parent's house in to my first apartment. Transformation from a CRT TV, DVD player, and PS2 to a 42" 1080P TV, Playstation 3, HTPC and speaker setup.
I still have that same "Fat" 60GB PS3 by the way! Yes the one with a million USB ports, integrated backwards compatibility hardware, etc. Just recently I tore it down and installed a new Blu-Ray laser and put Arctic Silver on the CPU and GPU thanks to the great guides here. It should be good until I'm ready to get the PS4...
I'm also very enthusiastic about upgrading old computers to get the most life out of them as possible. It's very rewarding to help a client, or a friend or family member, get another few years out of an already five year old computer by adding some RAM, a solid state drive, etc. It's great to help them save money and reduce e-waste.
Phones and Tablets
I cut my teeth on smart phones with the iPhone 3G. It was out assigned work phone at a previous employer. I quickly became the go-to person for fixing them, especially when the screens were broken. That was my first introduction to iFixIt; their screwdriver kit and screen replacement parts were put to use often!
Later, we picked up iPad 2's and I learned to fix those as well thanks to iFixIt.
These days I carry all Android devices, currently a Moto Z2 Force. I've been fortunate that none of mine have needed to be fixed! But I've fixed a few for friends.
Next to computers, fixing and upgrading cars is no doubt my biggest hobby.
I learned a lot on my first few vehicles, including a 1989 Chevrolet Suburban, and then a 1971 Ford F100, and after that a 1990 Volkswagen Corrado.
Currently I own two cars:
- 2001 BMW 540i M-Sport
- 2003 Acura 3.2CL Type S
The BMW has been mine for over ten years. It's a fun car, fast, with a six-speed transmission and lots of torque from its V8. It's been rather reliable, mostly just needing new sensors from time to time, such as the crankshaft position sensor and front O2 sensors.
I have loved taking pictures ever since taking some photography classes in high school. I try and keep it cheap. I recently acquired an older Nikon DSLR in trade for car parts from a friend. That's as fancy as it's gotten so far! All the pictures here were taken with a 2.3mp point and shoot Canon. I look forward to taking more pictures with the DSLR soon.
Cooking, Canning, Gardening
I spend much of the remainder of my free time, when not doing projects and fixing stuff, on cooking, canning, and gardening. It's so rewarding and shares many of the virtues noted earlier, such as financial savings and increased independence!
My Favorite Guides
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Answer to "Climate Sensor on Dash not "clicking"/AC blows HOT"All heat, all the time, is usually a sign that there is an electrical problem. The monovalve is opened (to allow hot coolant to flow to the heater core) by the ground side of the circuit. If you are getting very hot air all the time then the monovalve is seeing a ground at all times. Before anything else, check the connector on top of the monovalve. It is a small black plastic plug that could have been knocked off while you were changing the front shocks or air filter mounts. If the plug is still attached, the problem MAY be in your climate control push button panel or it MAY be in your temperature regulator (silver box behind the glove box). Both can be replaced for units that have been rebuilt. One quick thing to try that may give you some relief in the meantime - if you have not already, try turning the temperature wheel on your dash until it clicks in to the MIN setting. By design, this cuts the ground to the monovalve entirely. One of my cars has the all heat issue, except when in the MIN setting, so...
Answer to "1981 Mercedes 280e: Wants to stall out at about 90 deg"Your lack of heat, and the issue of the car stalling, are likely unrelated. Your new monovalve could have been defective from the factory. New ones are not made like they used to be. Another potential issue is that the electromagnet in the monovalve is going bad. In either case that would lead to a failure for the monovalve to close properly allowing hot coolant to bypass the heater core. The stalling issue is likely something else entirely and likely related to your electronic fuel injection. I unfortunately do not know about those systems. Hopefully you'll find an answer for that somewhere else!
Answer to "Replacing turn signal/wiper/cruise control combination switch"Simply pull off the rubber cover, using a flat screw driver to help if needed. You will then see a bolt that holds the assembly in place, and a few screws that hold on wires. Remove those, and then unplug the wire harness plug. With all that done you should be able to pull out the old switch. Installing the new switch is just the reverse of this.
Answer to "How to replace Steering damper"The W123 has a single steering damper. It is simply held in place by a single bolt on either end. Jack up the front of the car and place it safely on jack stands. Unbolt the old steering damper, remove it, put the new one in its place and bolt it down.
Answer to "How do I change it?"While there is not a guide on here, the process for replacing the compressor itself is fairly simply. However, replacing it alone is not advised. You also MUST replace the receiver/drier (black canister behind the front right headlight). You should also consider replacing the expansion valve (silver rectangle behind the glove box). I would also suggest a full replacement of all o-rings in the system (since there may be leaks) and then a full flush of the system (since when your old compressor failed it may have sent metal shavings in to the system). You will also NEED to do a full flush if you're switching from R12 to R134a anyway. That said, the compressor is held in place by three LONG bolts. You start by loosening them all so you can move the compressor in towards the engine block to give slack to the belt so it can be taken off. Then you can take the three bolts out. As you remove them, make careful not (or take pictures) of the placement of spacers for each bolt as they must be put back in the same...
Answer to "What is the replacement procedure for water pump?"These pumps are made of solid cast metal and are rather durable. The most common failure for these water pumps is that the internal seal begins to leak. Water will then drip out of the weep hole in the side of the pump. As long as your pump is not leaking and your are not having any overheating issues you do not need to replace it. The procedure is: Start by draining the coolant from the radiator and block. The W123 page on this site has instructions for this under the coolant change guide. Remove the belt(s) for the alternator/water pump. To take it off you will need to adjust the alternator so it moves closer to the engine block. You can find instructions for adjusting the alternator to remove/add belt tension online. Once the belt is off, you then need to remove the fan and clutch. The fan clutch is attached to the water pump with four 10mm bolts. Removing them is tricky but can be done with patience. I always advise ordering several new bolts from Mercedes before doing this job in case one rounds off....
Answer to "Front seat belt relay switch"Hi Ken, If you mean the relay that turns on/off the seatbelt warning light, and also the buzzer, it is located up under the kick panel beneath the steering wheel aka on the driver's side. Use this guide to remove the kick panel on that side: Disassembling Mercedes W123 Kick Panel Then look for a silver box about the size of a pack of cigarettes, mounted almost all the way to the left near the driver's side door. This is the seatbelt relay. Note that there is another silver box, that is thinner but taller/wider, which is tucked up a bit further back in the dash. This is the cruise control box. Once you've located the seatbelt relay, it's just a matter of unscrewing it and unplugging it and the reversing that to install the replacement part.
Answer to "How to replace broken door stop check"Hello Harrison, Once you remove the door panel, removing and replacing the door check strap is fairly easy. I am assuming that the strap portion, as it is called, broke in half? This is the most common way it fails. If so, follow along: The first step is to use a pair of needle nose pliers and/or a screw driver to remove the C-clip that holds the pin in place where the strap connects to the body of the car. With the c-clip out, you can then use a small punch tool to tap the pin out towards the top of the door. This will let you remove the throw away the broken piece of the strap. The next step is to remove the door panel, using the guide you referenced. With the door panel off you can now remove the three bolts that hold the rest of the door check part. There should be one bolt at the end of the door check, furthest from the strap, on the part of the door usually covered by the panel. Then there will be two more bolts on the inside edge of the door, near where the strap protrudes out. Once you've removed...
Answer to "Where engine num comes"I am not sure if I understand your question, but my best guess is that you are asking why it is called a "300". That number relates to the displacement of the engine. The "300" is a 3000cc engine. The "240" is a 2400cc engine. The D at the end is for Diesel. Please reply if I did not answer your questions correctly, and if so please try and clarify and expand on your question. Thank you.
Answer to "need part name by gas door"Hello, are you referring to the hole shown to the left of the gas fill opening in this picture? With the red box around it. If so that is there on purpose. It is a drain hole. Mainly, it is to let water drain out since the gas door is not sealed. But the other purpose is to let any fuel spilled or leaking from the gas cap/fill opening to run out of the drain instead of pooling up and running down the side of the car. This hole should not be plugged up. If there is fuel leaking on the ground, going through this hole and down the drain hose, then the hole is not the problem. The problem is the fuel getting to the hole! One very likely cause is that you may have a leaky gas cap. Consider replacing the gas cap seal as shown here: Mercedes W123 Fuel Cap and Oil Cap Seal Replacement
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