Do you REALLY need an airbag?

Actually, I just wanted to post this here so I could find it again.

Driver wearing 5 point harness walks away (laughing) from a 55 mph head-on in a Miata. Racing steering wheel installed.

It's kinda funny to watch the passenger bag blow. Heh.

Edit: NOT wearing a helmet.


Throttle Body and IAC (ISCV) Cleaning

Yes, that really is my car with the throttle body out and lying on the ground. I have no idea why there's a pile of rusting bike parts littering my work area, I need to clean up. Box that shit up. Yeah.

For the record, although you do see the Haynes manual pictured, it was pretty useless. This article is vastly more useful. Remember, of course, this is for the 1.6 - I don't know if the 1.8 is different.

I attempted a non-invasive cleaning with no real results. Apparently, so had the previous owner, as the main mounting screw for the plastic air intake had been removed. Permanently. So I need another one. However, spraying the face of the throttle restrictor plate is not going to fix idle problems.

When cold, my ISCV (idle speed control valve) worked perfectly, compensating for extra load (like A/C) exactly as it should. Idle was right around 900 with the idle control screw pegged shut. As the engine warmed, the idle would rise to about 1200-1300 and the ISCV would stop working completely. Turning on the A/C would almost stall the car at idle.

This made me think I had a very dirty ISCV. I mean, had it even been cleaned in the 102k miles the car had been driven? I have absolutely no records for this car.

Well, how does it look to you? I think it looks pretty filthy. That's the back of the throttle, by the way, with ISCV still attached.

The Haynes manual refers to the ISCV as the IAV (Idle Air Valve). I think that ISCV makes more sense, as there is another valve that's also an 'air valve' but responds to coolant temperature, not the ECU. I haven't been able to find that valve referenced in my Haynes manual.

ISCV removed. I think the hardest part of all this was putting that stupid gasket back in. It was way distorted, probably from heat, and much too big. Ended up using a simple, latex based adhesive on the back side of the gasket, applying pressure, and praying. I'm pretty sure it got back in it's groove, finally, as it's a very thick gasket and the ISCV seated without a gap of any kind and not a great deal of effort. But that was awful, and if you can find a new gasket for this, do so and save yourself some serious frustration. Or share with me your secret for getting a swollen gasket to stay in place.

Look any better? That's about halfway through cleaning it... I eventually pulled the gasket from the groove which proved to be a silly thing to do. Silly me.

Oh yeah, and that's the inside of my intake manifold looked before cleaning. Nice.

That's about all there is to it, really. I'm happy it all went back together, the ECU isn't throwing open ISCV solenoid codes like it used to sometimes, and so far it seems the idle problems are cured. At least, the ISCV problems. I now get a nice steady idle at all engine temperatures and the ISCV works whenever I test it. Of course, it's not over - I am suspicious of the other air valve. But that one's a lot easier to get to.


Serious Surgery

If that looks like my workstation laid out on my couch and getting it's guts torn out, it's because it is.

I have suffered a most impressive list of hardware failures over the past week or so. First my notebook hard drive simply failed without warning (sounds like the head motor is toast, as it spins up but no seeking sounds and won't be recognized by any BIOS). Boo.

So I start using my desktop for primary use. I buy a monitor to make it usable (a 37 inch LCD TV is fun for about 5 minutes) and the power supply, coincidentally, decides to give up the ghost after 5 or 6 years of faithful, continuous service.

I guess that's part of my problem. Notebook hard drives aren't really designed to be left on for two years. I should never have been using a notebook as a primary workstation. Even my ancient desktop suddenly made me realize how bad the memory and disk I/O bottlenecks are in a laptop.

Oh and then the hard drives fail in the workstation, one after the other. I guess five years of continuous use is reasonable for a consumer hard drive... and they did travel 2500 miles across the country not that long ago.

But then I bricked my motherboard. That was really dumb of me. The old BIOS images ASUS supplies for its legacy boards are apparently incompatible with their newer Windoze based flashing software. So let that be a lesson to you!

Let that be a lesson to me, actually.

For about $130 I upgraded to another crap motherboard and bottom of the line processor, and it's just orgasmically fast. No, really. So, I think the only thing that's still left in my workstation is the DVD writer - everything else has been replaced in the past couple of days.

Hardware fails. Back your shit up. That's the lesson for last week.


I Hate VB (Don't You?)

I have no idea when I wrote this, but I was digging around in an older module, and found this ode to the most busted language ever written (apologies to COBOL):

' i hate vb
' -------------------
' a poem by henry j. mason
' i hate vb
' quite passionately
' i hate vb
' and it's clear to me
' that while there will be more to write
' (and write until my hair turns white)
' my love for programming has waned
' languished under basic's bane
' indeed, so fundamentally broken a language
' could do naught but cause in the most boring programmer deep, bitter anguish
' a twinge of pain
' as again, and again
' the sisyphus must recite
' the banal syntax, and despite
' obsolescence, this poor slave knows there will never be
' true death for such mediocrity
' unkillable, the vb zombie
' feeds, slowly, feeds... upon you, and me

Clearly I am somewhat passionate about this subject. The same could be said, I suppose, about any legacy language left in place to support some vital business function, and maintained in perpetuity...

VB (and don't talk to me about VB.Net, as that's a whole 'nother can of worms) irks me mostly as it was created to allow non-programmers to write code. WHAT?? Non-programmers should be kept as far away from a compiler as possible.

It's funny, though. Microsoft has long had a reputation as being user-unfriendly, beyond surface details, at least. It requires a very competent user to keep a Windows system running smoothly, even more so in the age of the Internet. It's a hackers OS, to a point, and that's why I like it.

Maybe that's why, when they try and make something for the non-hacker crowd, they fail so epically?