Sunday, April 29, 2018

Home DIY: Bathtub Hot Water Leaking When in Off Position

Background: I took a shower around midnight last night. After turning off the water, I noticed that the hot water was still streaming. Something is wrong because a couple days ago I noticed that the hot water was dripping after I showered. However, I was able to get it to stop dripping by turning the shower on and off a few times. Yesterday, I was not successful getting the water to stop running no matter what I did. Since it was midnight and no home repair store was opened, my wife and I shut off the water coming into the house because we didn't want the hot water running the whole night. Plus, I don't like doing repairs at night, harder to see stuff.

Goal: To fix the hot water streaming when it's in the off position without spending too much.

Investigation: After much googling and youtubing, it seems like the shower cartridge needs to be replaced. This is rather interesting because my wife and I paid someone to replace this part for us when we first moved in two years ago. At the time the hot water wasn't working in the same tub that needs attention now.  We got the part for free from Moen because it has a lifetime warranty. It took about a week for it to arrive, after which we paid a labor cost for someone to install it for us.

This time we can't really wait a week because we have a stream of very hot water just flowing. After youtubing a bit, taking apart the shower handle, and unsuccessfully pulling the cartridge out, I gave up trying to take the part with me to Home Depot and just asked my wife if she had the email from 2 years ago with the part number, because that's all I really needed. But since I wasn't successful taking the cartridge out, I noted to myself that I may need to buy the Moen Cartridge Removal Tool, however another youtube video mentioned that the new cartridge will come with a small white plastic removal tool too. My wife forwarded me the email she saved from 2 years ago and I headed to Home Depot showing that I needed a Moen 1222b cartridge.

I went to the bath isle, but it was just all sinks and etc... not small parts. So I asked a rep and he pointed me to the plumbing isle. It took a little bit of time, but I located a Moen 1222 part (couldn't find 1222b) and the Removal Tool then did self checkout. I noticed in the 1222 packaging that there was the small white plastic removal part I saw in one of the YouTube videos, but I figured I would buy the Removal Tool now just in case I needed it.

I was able to just use the small white plastic removal tool that came with the new cartridge to move the old cartridge, but it did require more effort and force than seen in any of the videos I watched online. After confirming that everything worked, I reinstalled everything back and now need to head to Home Depot to return the separate Moen Cartridge Removal Tool. My wife and I talked about possibly returning the "defective" cartridge too since Moen has a lifetime warranty and it would save me another trip after Moen sent us another Moen 1222 cartridge. I told her, I don't know but I can ask.

After getting to Home Depot, I told the cashier that I wanted to return the Removal Tool and that I also wanted to return the "defective" Moen cartridge that I had already replaced. She asked her manager... so I had to re-explain that Moen has a lifttime warranty on this part and it was an emergency so I can't wait days for Moen to send me the part and that this part is defective and would make my life easier if Home Depot could RMA the part for me after refunding me. Manage initially suggested that I call Moen for the part and could return the part that they sent me. I said I could, but then what happens when the SKUs don't match? The manager finally agreed and said they could RMA the part and gave me a full refund. I told her, "Thank you for understanding my logic".

Conclusion: So after everything was said and done, I was able to fix my leaky hot water problem for no costs for parts... just labor, gas, and time.

This DIY video is from Moen.

This DIY video shows how to remove the cartridge with the small white plastic removal tool that comes with a new cartridge

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Automative DIY: Clear Coat Restoration

Background: I have a 2005 Acura TSX that is starting to look like a car with a 12 year old paint job. I have owned this car since December 2015 and want to continue driving it until I can't anymore. I love my car. I believe that if you take care of your car it will take care of you back.

Goal: To somehow get rid of the discoloration without costing an arm and leg. Not getting a new car anytime soon and not willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a 12 year old car.

Story: It has been raining a lot lately in San Diego. One day I was filling up gas while it was raining. As I saw water dripping on my car, I couldn't see the discoloration anymore. I thought to myself, "Wait! That means there color isn't gone and is still there! So something else is missing, not that the color is faded." Before this event happened, I thought there wasn't anything I could do to make the dull spots disappear without having to repaint.

So when I got home I started to Google and YouTube the symptom and it seems like it wasn't the color that was faded, but that clear coat has faded/gone. I watched 2 YouTube videos from "Ratchets and Wrenches" and this video really stood out to me. In both "Ratchets and Wrenches" videos he teaches to sand down the paint before applying clear coat, however in the video I linked, I think the none sanded side of the car looks better than the sanded side, which kind of looked blurry/contained marks from sanding. I think even "Mr. Ratches and Wrenches" (I don't know his name) admits that the none sanded side looks better.

So because of this, I decided that I was going to wash my car, then clay it (no sanding), and apply the clear coat. Another thing I had to figure out was what clear coat to use. People are recommend a 2K clear coat, however I couldn't find one at Walmart or O'Reilly Auto Parts and didn't want to order the clear coat online because I wanted to do this project this Saturday. The automotive clear coat selection at my local Walmart was pretty slim, almost none existent expect for a can of a brand that when I read about online people were complaining about a yellow haze so I didn't buy it. I called up the nearest O'Reilly before leaving Walmart. They had the next best option I researched, "Dupli-Color Perfert Match Protective Clear Coat Finish". It's not 2K, but for $8.99 + tax and I get it today, I didn't care. So I purchased it so I can continue with my project.

Before tape:

You can't really see the "dull spots" in the 2 pictures above because of the lighting in the garage... Sorry.

After tape: Taping and preparing to paint is such a pain in the butt. It's like you spend hours taping and preparing to paint... and the actual painting part is only a few minutes (minus all the wait time between each coat).

Once again, you can't see the damage due to the lighting in the garage.

This is my painting outfit:

After; with tape removed.

Lessons Learned:
  1. Consider only using 2 coats of clear coats because the 3rd coat was maybe too much because it's kind of hazy now. It's still better than before though.
  2. Shop at another Walmart because the one I go to keeps putting similar brand items of different types in the wrong places. The last 2 times I was at Walmart I thought I was being overcharged. First for $28 Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil that I thought was suppposed to be $25. Then this last time for $5 painter's tape that I thought was only $3.
  3. Now they have a clay cloth, which seems bigger, faster, and more efficient than the clay bar.  Not sure about the effectiveness.
  4. Steps for detailing: compound --> polish (usually compound and polish go together) --> sealant --> wax.
Conclusion: The results are OK. Better than before with the "dull spots", but the paint isn't glossy and smooth like I expected. It's hazy and matte. I think it's because it was my first time doing this and I didn't really know what I was doing and put on too much clear coat too fast?? I don't know. I'm thinking about giving it a week or so and then wash my car, clay, and then compound or polish... or both? Might need a follow up after I do whatever it is that I decide to do.

Automotive DIY: Headlight Restoration

Background: My driver side HID headlight was getting really yellow and hazy. It really annoys me because my passenger side HID headlight is brand new. I recently had my passenger side headlight replace due to an automotive accident. Because of this, the new crystal clear passenger side headlight doesn't match to the old yellow hazy driver side headlight. The repair shop said that my insurance didn't pay for both HID headlights to be replaced because only one of them was damaged. I would have paid out of my own pocket to have the repair shop replace both if I had known they were going to replace one of them.

Goal: To make the driver side headlight clear like the passenger side headlight. Didn't want to purchase new driver side HID for ~$130 and deal with uninstalling the old HID and installing the new one.

This not my first time restoring my headlights. The first time I tried a "As Seen On TV" product. "Auto Headlight Restorer Kit - No Buffing or Sanding! Up to 5x brighter!"... That shit does not work. Toothpaste might have been better. Avoid any headlights restoration kit that say, "No buffing or sanding", because it won't work well. I'm starting to think these "As Seen On TV" products are just junk.

After spending $12.99 + tax and failing to get the results I wanted, I had someone else do it. I have done 2 headlights restoration Groupons with 2 different vendors. The first was at an auto body shop in La Mesa. They used their own sanding and buffing recipe. It was good, but not super clear, the guys at the body shop said that there must be hazing on the inside of the headlights too. I didn't know any better and didn't want to argue with him. He also said that you can only restoration your headlights twice before you degrade the integrity of the plastic for your headlights. It lasted a couple years, then the yellow hazy came back. So I did another Groupon. This time it was a company that did mobile headlight restorations. A high school/college student showed up at my house and restored my headlights in my driver. I think he was using a well known restoration kit.

However... eventually the hazy yellow came back. This time, I thought to myself, if some high school/college kid can do it, why can't I do it?? So I searched for a headlight restoration kit online and read the reviews. It seems like most people were satisfied with "3M Headlight Restoration Systm". Now this kit is legit. The system provides you with 3 different grade of sandpaper, buffing head, and polish compound for a power drill.

The first time I used it without ever having done a headlight restoration before in my life, the results were better than the results of the 2 Groupons. I did note to myself, that if I ever do this restoration again, that I need to either do an extra pass of sanding or just double what 3M tells you to do. So today was my chance to do just that.

Before: straight on shot.

Before: side angled shot.

Before: prepping with tape (straight on shot).

Before: prepping with tape (angled shot).

During: sanding (straight on shot).

During: sanding (angled shot).

After polishing (straight on shot).

After polishing (angeled shot).

After: without the tape (straight on shot).

After: without the tape (angled shot).

NOTE: The photos above are after polishing but before I sprayed clear coat.

Lessons Learned: I read on the internet that some people were spraying their headlights with clear coats to prevent from getting hazy. I thought it was a good idea and wanted to prevent myself from restoring the headlights again a few years from now. However, after the 2nd layer for clear coat, it kind of made the headlights hazy.

Conclusion: I think this is the best headlight restoration for the driver side headlights to date! I did extra sanding and polishing therefore it took almost 2 hours just to do 1 headlight, but it was well worth it. Almost looks brand new.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Home DIY: Replacing Bathroom Vent Fan

Background: The vent fan in my wife's bathroom is not working when she turns it on. She got a quote from our handyman and he wanted $50 for just labor and we provide the material/parts. I was not ok paying someone $50 on top of the costs of the parts so I decided to do it myself.

Goal: To fix the fan in my wife's bathroom without spending too much.

Investigation: After talking a look at our vent fan to if it was "plug-n-play" (easy to replace without having to mess around with electrical and cutting the ceiling), I watched some YouTube videos. I figured I could change it because the motor is using a regular AC plug so to me that was "plug-n-play".

Time to buy the parts: I headed to Home Depot initially to buy the whole vent kit. My wife and I tried to get help but the expert was very busy and we had to wait a very long time. So we took a look around at what they currently had in stocked. None of the vent kits in stocked matched our dimensions, which would mean I would have to cut a different size into the ceiling, which I did not want to do.

I also saw that that they sold a sub-kit where there was a fan motor with a metal base for ~$20. However, the metal base didn't match our 2 power connector layout.

Once the Home Depot expert got around to us, he gave us bad news... he no longer carries the vent kit in stores. He said, he literally, stopped carrying about a month ago. 😢 He did say we could order it online and looked it up. The vent kit was ~$88. I took a picture just in case we couldn't find it at Lowes.

Next we headed to Lowes. An expert helped us fairly quickly at Lowes. The guy said, he doesn't have our vent model in stocked, however they sold just the fan/motor for $17. I brought as much of the disassembled vent fan as possible in a cardboard box when I went to these home improvement stores. I compared the 2 screw locations of the Lowes motor to our not operational unit and they were at the same location. Awesome! They match! I bought just the fan/motor from Lowes and started heading home.

From the photo above, I believe we had the Nutone 40D17N.

Fan with base... as you can see it's really dirty. Must have been in since the house was built.

Old vent fan vs. new vent fan.

New vent fan installed into old base. I realized when we were at Lowes that we could have just bought the Home Depot base + fan they were selling and just moved the new fan from the new base and put it on our old base, however it was too late. I was a little disappointed that the Home Depot expert wasn't smart enough to suggest that instead of just telling us to order the whole kit from the Home Depot website.

Vent fan installed and hooked up. The other AC outlet is for the light bulb.

Lessons Learned:
  1. Could have just bought the base with motor from Home Depot then just move the fan from the base over to my bathroom's base.
  2. Don't screw everything in too tight because the fan will make contact with the top of the base causing fraction which will lead to the fan burning out. The fan burnt out had to be replaced 2018.02.17.
Conclusion: The goal was met because I was able to fix my wife's bathroom vent fan for  $17.45 + tax. The disassembly and installation was simple and fast. Buying the part took longer than the disassembly and installation, especially since we had to visit both Home Depot and Lowes. If we had gone to Lowes first, the job would have gotten done sooner.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Videogame Review: Metal Gear Solid 5

My thoughts on MGSV is very similar to MGS:PW. I couldn't really get into the Mother Base aspect of the game. The gameplay was very similar to MGS:PW... fulton recovery everyone, upgrade your people so that you can upgrade your weapons, and too many cassette tapes to listen too. I actually didn't really enjoy the game until after I "beat" it. Then I had upgraded weapons, better sneaking suits, and better understanding of my goals. Story-wise, I thought the game did great with the twist and turns, but a big flaw of the game is the side missions. It's almost the same thing over and over. It's almost sad for me to say, but I'm glad that MGSV is the last MGS.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Videogame Review: Resident Evil 7 (PC)

Resident Evil 7 (PC) is AMAZING!! I have replayed the game 5 times or so. I do not think I have ever replayed a game 5 times before. I have a PC hooked up to a 32 inch 1080p TV so my full vision is taken up by the TV. I also have 2.1 speakers hooked up to my computer. The graphics, sounds, and gameplay just keeps me hooked. Basically the game is one big escape room. You pick up keys to unlock doors to make your way into a new area of the map to try to get out. The boss battles were fantastic too. If you're into being scared, this game is for you.

Videogame Review: Metal Gear Soild Peace Walker

So I brought MGSV and wanted to play it but I read on the internet to play MGS: Peace Walker and MGS: Ground Zero first. So I emulated MGS:PW on my MacBook Air. The game is aight. Can't say that I liked it, but at the same time I can't say that I hate it. The boss fights were fun, but I didn't get into the whole Mother Base part. I absolutely love MGS, it's my favorite game of all time, but I was glad when I finished MGS:PW so that I can play MGS:GZ then MGSV.

Home DIY: Bathtub Hot Water Leaking When in Off Position

Background: I took a shower around midnight last night. After turning off the water, I noticed that the hot water was still streaming. Some...