Sunday, June 24, 2012

Update from Frankfort

It's been too long since I updated this. It used to be a regular item on the schedule but I have many projects now tugging at my sleeve, using up nearly all my computer and non-computer time. But here I am with an update.

  • We moved! After two long years of waiting the house finally sold and we have moved into town. Frankfort is a great town, is affluent for its size, not big like Lexington or Louisville but within a close drive of both. A half hour drive used to put us into Campbellsville, a town of 9,000 with mostly just a Walmart. Now that same drive puts us in Lexington - 436,000 people. The house is in a nice older neighborhood, solid construction that you never see any more. We did have to update all the original 1949 wiring to modern specs. There's a small detached garage with a room over, both have become my domain. In return I have taken on several vehicle maintenance projects (more on that in a bit).
  • The truck is running great! I have about 2000 miles on it so far, and a big chunk of that was a trip to the gasifier meetup in Indiana. Read all about that on the Mother Earth blog and on the Drive On Wood forum. I have lots of things planned for it, it's really not even finished yet. Really a testament to Wayne's wonderful design that I can take a 90% finished truck and drive it thousands of miles with no trouble.
  • Speaking of Drive On Wood, we are seeing a great deal of interest in the site and in Wayne's plans. Folks have been steadily signing up and many have started projects - even before the book is ready! This is possible due to the extensive video tutorials we have posted. As soon as the book goes out we should see a flood of new projects started.
  • We may have a small garden this year. Matthew has taken an interest in tilling up a plot behind the house and planting some tomatoes. There's several community gardens established in Frankfort. The concepts of local food and organic produce are well understood. 
Vehicle projects:
  • My poor old Metro is out of service, I took it on a trip to NC and neglected to fill the oil. I didn't know until I heard a clacking coming down a mountain pass. Oil starvation. The oil light was apparently not working. I had done some dashboard wiring which probably messed it up. So that engine is shot and I will be rebuilding a junkyard engine to go into it.
  • The Honda Odyssey is due for a timing belt change. I have never done it on this vehicle since it is a very infrequent repair and in "the old days" we always had it serviced at the shop. Given the expense and that I have gained some skills and experience since then, I am pretty sure I can handle it myself. So wish me luck.
  • The truck itself needs an overhaul. There's a slight rattle evident which is not pinging. I am leery of the timing chain going out or wearing a hole in the cover, so I will be changing that and the water pump together. Plus new plugs and wires etc. At the same time I need to reroute some woodgas plumbing under the hood.
  • The Suburban has outlived its usefulness to us. We have found it quite useful in many unexpected situations, but at this point it's just an extra vehicle - right now a much needed one with the Metro is out of service. But soon enough I will be fixing all the little problems and getting it ready for sale. On the list: it leaks power steering fluid pretty bad, the brakes need changing and bleeding, and the drivers seat mount is broken, giving a rocking chair effect which will not impress buyers.
Next month I will be returning to the KSU research farm for a demonstration of the woodgas truck. They are having their Third Thursday event, this one will be their 15th anniversary. It'll be more impressive to show people now that it actually powers the engine and not just a flare in the parking lot. I have an entier presentation showing how woodgas works and documenting my trip to see Wayne.

Oh, and if you're curious to see all the details of this gasification stuff, please check out all the free info available on the Drive On Wood website. It's all there. You could spend six months absorbing all that material - I know because I did.  And if you're really interested in building a system, we have all the info you need to get started building. Alright, enough of the shameless plug. Just go check it out!