The error code was DC Error, indicating a potential short in the wiring. Since it worked great for 5+ years, my intuition told me that the wiring was just fine. However, the curse of the engineer forces me to rule out problems, so the first thing I did once I had time today was to remove the wiring harness and check it out. Since I hooked it up so long ago, I used butt connectors (this is what they are called, I'm not making this up) which are crimped onto the wire to connect the harness to the factory plugs. I've since changed my tune, now when I wire up a new car stereo I solder the connections and use heat shrink tubing over the solder. In fact, when I sold my old truck (the white one, below) to my friend, Bruce Hanley, I took the time to redo the wiring harness for him by soldering all the connections and heat shrinking it all nice and pretty. He'll never know, because nobody ever looks at the wiring harness other than the geeky dude who installed the thing. Most people don't care about wires as long as everything works. When it comes to me, however, I sleep better knowing it's all done the way I want it done. I couldn't just put it back as-is, I had to bring it up to my "current standard" now that I had it out in the open.
|Most people don't care how well this part is done|
This is how life is when you're a geek, especially a type A geek, you want to fix problems that aren't even problems. Soldered connections are more reliable than crimped connections because the copper strands are protected from oxidation by the solder and the connection between the strands is a chemical bond instead of the mechanical pressure from a bent piece of tubular aluminum surrounded by a plastic insulator. In the photo above you can see a few crimps on the green and purple wires, some wrapped in electrical tape. That represents my old standard. Then you can also see the soldered connections with the heat shrink tubing ready to be moved into place and heated to shrink it down. That represents my current standard.
|Most people just care that this part works|
Anyway, this whole afternoon episode got me thinking about "all the cars I've owned before" (sing it Julio Iglesias!). There have been a few. You see, I was a member of the prestigious 3CCC (three car crash club) in high school.
|The members of the three car crash club|
I kid you not, Jon Everest did all of the leg work necessary to create an official club. We had hats made and we even hosted a few assemblies, showing videos that promoted trafic safety awareness. It was all an obvious ploy to get one of these photos into the yearbook. Left to right in the top photo is Kaleo, Craig, Jon, Byro, Matt, Rob, me, Aaron, and John. I still own those shorts, by the way.
|We did our best to ensure all of the Honolulu body shops stayed in business.|
|Lisa, me, Nina, Mie at the party house on HLR.|
|My first truck, it fit in well in New Jersey|
Off I went to college, and in college I didn't need a vehicle. My senior year, in preparation for my departure into the workforce, I bought what every Hawaii boy dreams of, my first pickup truck. And, no, I did not go out and buy a nice, gently used family truck, I had to go find the most beat up, POS pickup I could. See the lettering on the side? This truck had a snowplow, 4WD, huge tires that rubbed when you turned the steering wheel too far, and heavy duty springs which caused it to buck like a bull if it smelled a pothole. It was absolutely undriveable and I loved it dearly.
|Alex Dyer and I, moving all the junk out of his childhood home.|
|Flanel shirt, check. Briefcase, check. Velcro shoes, check.|
|The last in the series of 2 wheelers, Honda CL360, VFR 750, and this 599.|
|The one truck I actually used for the truck part.|
|This lucky guy now lives in Goleta at the Hanleys|
It's probably time to buy a new car soon. Maybe a wagon this time? I've got a full set of roof racks waiting for a new vehicle purchase. It's really hard to go back to having a car payment after not having had one since 2003. So, I just keep my crappy, dirty, POS car (sing it Adam Sandler) because it works. And I haven't really ever bothered to go all out with the stereo because I figure it'll just get stolen if I do. Or maybe I grew up and stopped caring about vehicles? Unlikely. It's strange that something which was so important to me as a kid is now such a total afterthought. It is liberating to simply not care about the dings and dents in your car.
Here's the short list of potentials if I do decide to have a mid-life crisis and buy a new car:
1. Prius (I would have bought one in 2006 but the supply was tight and it was difficult to get one)
2. Tacoma (they are bigger now, more tundra-like, and it might have been the perfect truck if I hadn't sold it to the Pelly's lady. I don't really need a truck for any reason.)
3. Mazda 3 wagon (great compromise, not much more inspiring than the corolla though)
4. Jetta tdi wagon (I think you can finally buy these new in Cali, but I am not sure I trust a Jetta as far as maintenance goes)
5. Fiesta hatchback (the assistant master in college had an original Fiesta back in 1992 and I still remember that ugly blue car. The new Fiesta's look pretty cool and can get 40MPG but they aren't cheap or very spacious)
6. Honda Fit (good compromise but perhaps a bit cheapy, although I think that's my style)
7. Honda Element (fits the dork quotient, but not the most fuel efficient on this list.)
8. Nissan Leaf (my dad bought one. It has some appeal, but I'm not sure I'd love plugging it in all the time.)
9. Corolla (it's an unbeatable value if you abandon all hope of caring about what you drive.)
10. Subaru outback wagon (if it's good enough for Lae Charles, it's good enough for me. Just not the most fuel efficient either and not cheap)
Any other suggestions? Hmm...