Monday, March 9, 2020

Radial tire push/pull, My experience

This isnt a common issue but there wasn't a lot out there to help folks, So in case anyone comes up with this problem and searches on the interwebs, this can hopefully help someone!

Car in question is a Ford Flex AWD, new tires installed July 2019, Yokohama YK740 GTX (Discount Tire exclusive).

Car had new Struts, shocks and strut mounts installed in October.

In December, I was driving on a crappy Houston road and hit a pothole, which blew out my left front tire. I swapped the tire out for the donut, limped home, and went Discount Tire Monday morning. They warrantied it (I bought their certs) and had me on the way.

A Day later, I notice over 55, there's a rhythmic noise. The faster I go, the louder it is. Order a hub and bearing assembly from the dealer. Attempt to remove the hub the following weekend. Impossible. Slide hammers, heat, pullers etc. Nothing can be done to remove this thing. Decide to abandon that plan and bought a used bare knuckle from LKQ from a wrecked taurus for 29 bucks. Get knuckle in, remove all associated parts, install new knuckle and CV Halfshaft while I'm there, and hub assembly. Button car back together. Drive it, and its great.

In January, I got in to Discount for a Rotation and Balance. On walk around, the salesman notices the left rear tire has a little gash in the sidewall, probably from the same pothole. They order a tire from another store, and install it on the right front (I rotate cross pattern for AWD). Sent me on my way.

A week later, I notice when I'm accelerating hard to get on the freeway, I have to hold the wheel left a little to keep it straight. The steering wheel isn't cocked right when accelerating, but if I didn't hold the wheel it would veer hard. Letting off the pedal set it straight again. My first thought is that I had disturbed the alignment when I had replaced the knuckle/hub. So we go in for an alignment. Everything is within spec except toe, both front wheels are slightly toed in but not way out of spec. Get the car out, still does it but not as bad as before.

Today, I dropped by my local discount tire. Talked to the guy I know, and asked him if he had any suggestions. We both agreed that swapping the tires left to right on the front would be the first step. After we swapped the tires side to side, I could tell before I left the parking lot that the pull was now going towards the left. Turned around and went back inside, and he moved suspect left front tire to the rear on the left side. Pull is gone. So He advised me to call him before my next rotation and he would order a replacement tire and swap the defective tire out. What happens is one of the belts shifted during the manufacturing process and you get something called radial pull (or push), which causes the car to drive funny. The issue isnt as obvious on the rear, but in another 5000 when I go back for rotation, it will be an issue again.

See this diagram from that shows the layers of belts.  If one of those plies moves during manufacturing (its impossible see once the tire is manufactured) there is what is called a "Conicity problem"  Meaning the tire takes on a cone shape when inflated.  Acceleration forces make it worse which is exactly what I was experiencing. 

Fortunately, my local tire store has good guys working there and took the time to help diagnose my issue, before I went and spent too much time and money chasing ghosts, or handing the keys off to a dishonest repair shop!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

How to: Adding the OEM Keyless Entry Keypad to a 2015+ F150

For those of you guys that chose to buy a lower trim level truck, that also like to have the convenience of the keyless entry keypad, or as Ford likes to call it "Securicode", there is a way to add it to your F150 as long as it has keyless entry.

For the 2015+ generation of F150s, the stick on Ford Accessory keypad still works, but you have to turn it on with IDS.

What many have found, is that any F150 with remote keyless entry (any XL with 101A or STX, and XLT model truck), already has the wiring in it.  In fact, in your owners manual pouch, you'll probably see the little plastic card with the keyless code.

You'll need the following parts:
FL3Z-14A626-AB - Keypad
FL3Z-1520555-TA- Door Pillar trim with cutout, this is the matte finish to match the XL and STX panels.

Youll also need:
Various sockets (7mm)
Torx (T20 and T25)
Trim Pry tools to avoid damaging your panels.

Installation is super simple.  You'll need to remove the door panel.

This  requires removing the trim plate that covers the door pull. Pop the front facing side and then the rear, easing it towards the front as you pull.  You will expose two 7mm bolts.

Below the door pull is another recessed panel trapezoidal in shape, about 2" x 5", youll need to pop that out and expose two more bolts. 

On the bottom of the door panel will be two more bolts. They're exposed.  Remove those.

Now on the top of of the panel, remove the sail panel that meets the dash when the door is closed.  REmove the bolt there.

That should be 7 bolts. There are plenty of videos online to help you get to this place.

Using your trim tools, you can start popping the clips around the door panel.  Once you're done, the panel lifts off and you can move it out of the way.  I did not unplug anything as I had a little stool to support the panel while I did my work.

Next you'll want to roll the window down and pull the weatherstrip out of the window channel. This will expose the torx screws that hold the door pillar trim.

Remove these and move the trim inwards toward the center of the door and the trim should come off with a little effort.

You can install the keypad into the trim piece and install the trim piece on.  Reinstall the torx screws and the window trim.

Now is the tricky part.  You need to run the wiring to the plug.  This can be accomplished by a number of combinations of rolling the window up and down and routing the wires out of the way of the glass. There are actually some plastic retainers in the door for the wiring.

The plug for the keyless is located above the crash bar here.

Plug it in, and make sure the glass does not contact the wire going up and down, and you're done with the hard work.

Now you'll need Forscan or IDS to turn the keypad on.

I used Forscan.  Youll need to change the BCM values as follows:

Once you've done that, you're good to go!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Prices you're willing to pay for things living abroad

Realizing that I have not written in such a long time has motivated me to make another blog entry.  Hopefully I'm not blogging in a vacuum and someone out there is reading this!

Recently, I've been thinking about living overseas, and the kinds of crazy things that you tend to pay for just because you can't get them normally.

Living abroad for over two years, I've found that most of the things that I've wanted (maybe 90% of them) are available at some point, somewhere, either at a Brick and Mortar, or at an online seller.

The other 10%, I just bring with me when I go back home, and carry two suitcases.  The funny thing is, many of the things that I purchase are made overseas where I live, just not available here.

Socks, Towels, Windshield Wipers for the car, Bed sheets, shower curtains, are some of the things that I bring back with me!

Living in a smaller city doesn't help, but figuring out how to use the online auction/buying sure as heck does.

So lets look at the things that I DON'T buy local brands for and pay a lot more for....

The things in italics are actually imported Everything else is available locally but is still considered a foreign brand.

Toilet Paper (Kleenex Brand) - Korea
Tide Detergent
Shaving Cream
Cereal - Korea
Dog Food - Korea
Kraft Mac and Cheese - USA
Juices - USA/etc
Peanut Butter - USA

You really don't realize how much you love and miss that comfort of that Kraft Dinner Mac and Cheese till you click "Buy it now" online and pay 7 dollars American for that box of pasta and powdered cheese product....

What are some of the things that you can't find where you live, and do you still have to go get them from 'back home'?

Friday, June 27, 2014 how the time flies.....

I realize that it has been almost four months since I've sent an update!

First off, let me apologize to everyone for not being able to see everybody when I was back in April.  The good news is, I'm less than 60 days from my August trip home!
The other big news, is that I was promoted to the General Manager of the business unit.  The announcement was made internally in March and went public in April of this year.  I'm humbled and excited for the new opportunity!  We're incredibly busy here, and just booked an order that will keep us occupied till the end of 2015. 
I have had a lot of friends leaving China.  My friends Susan and WIll completed their stay and headed for Russia and then Europe. They were some of the first people I met here and I'm going to miss them a lot!  Fortunately, they have introduced me to some other expats that I'll get to know better as time goes on.  Their last day here, they bought me supper at the new Westin Hotel in QIngdao.  It was VERY nice inside!    My Yoga instructor and her husband will be leaving, and my other friends Jennifer and Conor will be headed back home too. 
Updates from me are fairly sparse, mainly because life is pretty 'normal' now here.  I went to a photography expo in late February of local photographers.  It was funny to see many people entering stuff that they took on an iphone, and once its blown up to 2'X3' how pixelated it becomes.  My friend Rita actually shot with a DSLR and won 2nd place! 

In March, I took the guys picking strawberries.  The cost was high and the strawberries have no flavor in China.  The weather has been 95 some days, and then we'll get a rain and it will be 60 degrees the next.  Its cherry season right now so Cherries are everywhere.  Last week on the hottest day, I bought 20 watermelons and took them back to the office and let everyone have some watermelon to cool down and enjoy a nice piece of cold watermelon to cool off from working in the factory.  I made a trip to Yantai about 2 weeks ago, and took half a dozen young folks from the office to show them the shipyard and let them see up close the products we build and what a drilling rig looks like.  Many of these guys never get the chance to go out and see for themselves, they are told what to do/draw/design and sit behind a desk all day.  Next weekend, I'm taking the guys to go paintballing.  In March, we organized a factory wide tug of war between different departments.  That was a lot of fun!
More updates later!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Back in the saddle!

Howdy All,
Thought I'd share with you guys my updates for 2014!

It sure has been a while! 

Since my last update, I was homeward bound, but I had to stop in Beijing and have the year end meeting and finalize our company budget for 2014 (very late I know!)
I ended up being in Beijing for almost 10 days and having to go to the office and wait on everyone else, as the officers wouldnt let anyone go till the budget was completed.
Back across the pond, it was great to land, go see my mom and stepdad and have some Taco Bell.  I'm glad I got to see many of you when I was home, but some others, I apologize for not getting to tag up.  It was a perfect storm of the holidays, seeing people, and trying to get the house back in order after the flooding from the summer!  I'll be back more in 2014, so let's make plans!
I arrived back in China in early January, and it was kind of sad getting back here, away from home and my friends, but after a few days of seeing Kody again and hanging out with my friends here in Qingdao, I've started to feel more normal again.  January was spent playing 'catch up' and visiting places in town, as well as taking my department out for Chinese new year activities.  We chose bowling and dinner.  Now, we all know how to act at the bowling alley right?  Everyone enter your name in the computer, take turns and bowl, consdering the person next to you before you throw your ball.  Not so much here.  We pulled up and as soon as i paid, all of my guys went up and started grabbing bowling balls and everyone was just going.  Doesnt matter whos turn it was, just throw the ball.  I had to explain to people that they needed shoes and put their name in the computer for scoring.  They ignored it and just went as they pleased.  Later at dinner, I found out for 80% of the people, it was the first time they've ever bowled.

I'm really happy that I have been learning the streets and now can go into the city and get around to places I normally go to, without the help of a GPS.  My friend Susan and I found a restaurant close to the ocean called "The Diner" that has excellent burgers and Pizza, as well as their own beer they brew in house.  We've gone a few times and it's been nice to have some decent western food.
Many of you know, that Chinese New Year (aka Spring Festival) has just finished here.  This was a 10 day holiday and I was able to do some exploring, as well as 'get out in the crowd' to see what the hustle and bustle is like.  Its very much like the holiday season at home.  Stores full, roads quiet, and people everywhere.  I enjoyed it, but it was also nice to stay home and sleep in late, take naps and stuff.  I did go venture out and do some road trips over the holiday,  we went to Jimo, a small town close to where I live, and went to the Hot Spring resort.  There are tons in the area, and they're mostly hotels with the resort side attached.  The resort consists of a series of rooms each with a large pool and smaller hot tub sized pools, and all the water is from the hot springs, so it was nice and warm.  We went early in the day, and while it was nice, it was very crowded by lunch time.  We were able to find a hot tub outside, where the water was 110 degrees (very warm!) and it was 30F outside.  By the time we left, the water didn't look so clean, but that was to be expected with the number of people that were there.  So travelers tip:
Go really early in the morning and shower well when you leave.
Kody and I also were able to climb the FuShan mountains with my friends Rita and her husband Franz.  IT was an awesome climb and nice to get some physical activity!
On Chinese New Years eve, my Korean neighbors invited me over for a traditional Korean dinner. We had chicken soup, and assorted Korean meats and other noodles. It was very nice!  Then the fireworks went on, pretty much for 4 days.  It got to the point where I was used to hearing them when I went to bed!

We were able to get the superbowl here, and I made a big pot of chili and some 'no knead' bread from a recipe my mom gave me from a few years ago.  It was nice to sit around and watch the lopsided game and have chili and bread.  It felt so 'normal'!

We were going to take a trip to Yantai to see the city and visit the wine museum, but guess what? We got SNOW!  QIngdao usually gets snow but very light.  We did not get ANY snow this season, but we were hit with two very nice snow showers that was just enough to coat everything with white powder and make everything look pretty.
The only new and exciting thing I have to report, is that I joined a crossfit group in China, as well as Yoga classes!   I love both, and it feels good to get back into the physical activity, especially with the cold weather and the early sunsets!  I'm starting to cycle again, so I can be ready for the MS150 when I'm back in April.
Take care and gig'em!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Homeward Bound!

Howdy everyone!

Well, we're HOMEWARD BOUND (in about 2 weeks).  I head home in two
weeks for my Christmas leave!

I can't believe that its been over a month since my last update!  That means two things...1. I'm really busy, or 2. I'm finally getting acclimated to things here.  Its more the 1 than the 2.

Since my last update, we've had thanksgiving and lots of visitors. My sister and her family came for a visit.  We celebrated thanksgiving at my home with them, along with my expat friends.  I made most of my own food, with the exception of the Turkey, which had to come from the Holiday Inn (restricted oven space in my home). My friends brought a great salad and a nice apple crumble for dessert!  On Friday, I took  Jennifer and her family out to visit the Qingdao Beer factory, Jimo Lu (the equivalent of Silk Street in Beijing, or Harwin for you Houstonians), and then to the Oceanside Olympic Sailing Center.  I was so excited and happy to have them here! The girls are certainly growing up very fast!  The left on Saturday and went back to Beijing for a few days before heading home today.  I'm attaching pics of the good eats we had!

As far as everything else, its all status quo.  I purchased a dining room table and chairs, so thats been nice to have, and we had a wonderfully decorated thanksgiving table!  The house in China is still
the same, its starting to feel comfortable now.  I have added a few paintings and its starting to feel settled in.  I am meeting more people and have my normal Saturday night routine with my friends down, kind of like back home.  We go try new restaurants, eat western food mostly, and go have a nice time. I've attached some pictures of the things we have eaten. Theres also a photo of a Lamb KaBob vendor in Qingdao, from Western China, on the border of Kazakhstan.  You can
see, he doesn't even look Asian!

The weather here has gotten quite cold.  We are now getting around 28  at night, and 40-50 in the daytime.  With the cold weather, comes extreme dryness right now.  I have two humidifiers going non stop, to cut down on nosebleeds and static shock.  The heat, which cost me around 600 USD to turn on ( will last from nov 15- mar15) comes from the floor of the apartment.  So its nice and warm.  The bad part is, theres not really a good way to regulate it, so I have to open the door to the patio, otherwise I wake up to 80 degrees in the house in the mornings!

Work is good, right now, I'm headed to beijing to attend our 4th quarter meetings and finalize the budgets for 2014. The meeting originally was planned for Dec 4-7 and is now 4-11!  We like meetings here.  WIthin my department, my guys are all doing well.    Everyone now follows our dress code, and we have our daily meetings in english.  I realized that people were getting online and translating their days activities. So in order to get them to speak more, I have added a
question of the day to the board.  Every day, they have to answer a short question.  It has proven effective, not only to encourage people to talk, but to better know everyone.

The house in the US is pretty much back to normal.  I'm going to work with Sharon, my professional organizer friend to go through the tons of boxes that the restoration company boxed everything up when the house was flooded.  I'm very grateful to have my mom and step dad, and my neighbors and contractor get the house back together in one piece being so far away!

That about sums it up.  I'm excited to get home and spend time with everyone, please feel free to email, call, or text and let me know if you're available for dinner or coffee or anything.  I'm really looking forward to some good mexican and italian food!

Peace and love to all!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Texas on my mind....

Howdy Everyone!
Well, its been almost a MONTH since my last update. 

I keep thinking that there's not much to write about, but actually there is!
I've been on quite a few adventures. For the National Holiday, XB, one of my guys that works for me got married, and I was invited to his wedding (also had to give a speech about his work ethic and what a great job he does), my aunt came in from Taiwan, and we had a nice visit, I took her to the grape festival, out to eat at a nice sushi place, and met some friends that I made here. Overall a very nice time!  She's my first foreign visitor! She left on Saturday, and I had Sunday and Monday to recover.

The first weekend in October, XB my right hand guy,  Took me to Huangdao, which is across the water from Qingdao.  We drove the longest bridge in the world to get there.  In fact, we had such a good time driving and talking that we ended up overshooting the exit for huangdao, which was ok, because we ended up in a very rural area of China, all farmland.  It was beautiful, and I'm bummed that I didn't get a chance to take pictures, but I was driving.    XB and his wife and I explored Huangdao in the afternoon, and had a nice time.  XBs wife teaches college english there but since she lives on campus, has not had a chance to explore the town, as her weekends are usually in qingdao with XB

The second weekend, I took it easy, saw friends, and Sunday went to Church and ran errands.  This past weekend, I was recovering from a cold, which was no match for Nyquil and Dayquil and Mucinex, so I got some CHinese medicine, which worked slow, but yielded results!

This past weekend, another one of my guys got married, and again, I had to do the wedding speech as the boss and talk about work ethic and marriage.  Its interesting how much weight they put on your job and how much of a part of your life it becomes, so much that the bosses have their own table at the wedding!  Sunday, I met with my friends that are in China from Washington state.  We went to Jimo Lu, which is the equivalent of silk street in Beijing (if you're from Houston, think of Harwin Shopping district).  There, they had street vendors with food, produce, clothes etc, and that was just on the OUTSIDE of the shopping center.  We enjoyed a giant Fritter (Yiu Tiao), as well as some Stinky Tofu (Will, the guy in the picture didn't like it, but his mother, who lived in Taiwan for a few years, enjoyed it).  Bought some fresh fruits, and then ended the evening at Burger King at Marina City, along the water.  Burger King was actually really terrible, as they just opened, and everyone and their dog was there, so instead of making your order when you pay for it, there's tons of Hamburgers premade.  The result is a cold, nasty, soggy burger.  I'll come back when they're not so busy and see if the food is better.
Work is going good, if not just constantly frantic.  I've learned quite a bit since taking over the role as operations manager, and one of the biggest things that I've discovered since becoming a manager, is that your productivity level generally decreases, because you're being pulled in 100 different directions in a day.  Some of the biggest headaches are HR issues.  Employees that dont pull their weight, employees that fight, slack off, etc.  Now I really understand why its hard to get a response from managers, because they're too busy putting out little fires every day.    On the good side, you do get to work with people and the people that are on my team are all eager to learn.  I just need to find the fine line between being friendly while still trying to be the boss.
The weather here has cooled signifcantly, and the days are getting shorter.  IT runs in the mid 50s at night and mid 70s in the daytime.  Kody is doing well, the cooler weather has him shedding his summer coat and growing in the winter fur!  Kody has also made a new friend, Yiu Yiu is a Collie that lives in the first building in my strip of apartment buildings.  Shes a beautiful dog, and we run into her a few times a week when we go out for walks.  Her owners are nice people, and we have a great visit every time we run into eachother. 

Dining has been an adventure, as I've been eating local fare, and I've attached some pictures of the goodness for your drooling pleasure.
The House in Katy is
Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and I'm excited that Jennifer and John and the girls are coming.  Then after that, I'll be home on the 17th for about 3 weeks!  Looking forward to catching up with everyone if our schedules allow for it.

Miss you all and would love to hear from you!
Peace and love,