Fixing Some Things

A photo of my Harley and I taken by my friend Katie.
Recently I had a couple of important things break on me. The problems started with my 2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport when the rear windshield wiper and the front/rear windshield washer pumps all stopped working.

One of the many perks of living in California is that you don't usually need to worry about the weather. This is absolutely not the case in some of my previous places of residence (Seattle, WA, Buffalo, NY, Portsmouth, NH, etc). What you do have to worry about in California however is the dust and grime that will accumulate on your car primarily due to the lack of rain.

In my case this meant I wasn't all that concerned when my rear windshield wiper stopped functioning. However, I was concerned about my front windshield being pretty nasty in terms of visibility and appearances due to the lack of a working washer pump. Because I love my Jeep and because I actually enjoy getting my hands dirty, I figured it was time to stop dragging my feet and actually take the initiative to get these repairs started.

I picked up a pair of cheap washer motors for about 20 dollars a piece online. I also purchased a used rear wiper motor off of a wreck from a salvage yard in Pennsylvania for an additional 40 dollars. The great thing about driving an older Jeep is that they are wicked easy to repair. My Cherokee doesn't even have cruise control for pete sakes so it's about as bare bones as you can get in terms of extra features. That's just the way I like it.

The parts for my truck arrived in about a week and installing them wasn't all that bad. The pump for the front and rear washer motors are located directly above the left wheel well. I found a great youtube video that detailed the steps for swapping in a new motor for an old one. After ripping out the protective plastic cover than encased the wheel well, it became apparent really quickly why my washers had stopped working.

The old pumps (the rear one is pictured on the left) had almost entirely corroded. Another one of the many California perks that I have come to love is that vehicles out here last forever. Because there's no real winter in the bay area, there's no salt on the roads which in turn means your vehicle doesn't corrode.

Once I had pulled both old pumps and swapped in the new ones, I fired up my Cherokee and they both worked like a charm. Next came swapping in the actual wiper motor. I figured the old one had burned out due to overuse but in actuality once I ripped it out out of the rear hatch of the Jeep I found the motor's internal mechanisms were pretty thoroughly rusted.

The culprit lay in a broken seal on the motor casing. The original Chrysler adhesive had long since worn off which allowed moisture inside of the motor which in turn caused it to seize up. After mounting the new motor and ensuring it worked properly, I sealed it up with a liberal amount of 3M automotive sealant to ensure no additional moisture could prevent the new one from working properly.

With my Jeep fixed, I moved onto fixing my phone. My Galaxy Nexus had stopped charging without warning which left me without a phone. After some experimenting  I figured out that if I swapped in a fully charged battery for my depleted one, the phone itself still functioned normally. That unfortunately didn't do me a lot of good since I had no way of recharging the depleted battery.

Once again, I turned to the internet and found a terrific breakdown tutorial for my phone specifically. Banking on the fact that the broken component was the motherboard to which the micro-usb slot was embedded, I purchased a replacement board off eBay for $10 dollars. After swapping in the new board and putting my phone back together, I plugged it in and was elated when I saw the charging led indicator turn on!

I fix problems and bugs in software all of the time at Google. Fixing things like that generally feels good and I enjoy it. Having said that, it's an altogether different feeling when I take some broken that's physical and tangible and fix it. When fixing my Jeep or even my phone, I can see and touch the results of my efforts. That honestly feels good in a way that fixing code does not. Although I don't relish the fact that expensive things I own do on occasion break, I can't help but enjoy the chance to use that opportunity as a chance to learn and do a bit of physical hacking.

Labels: , , ,

A photo of my Harley and I taken by my friend Katie.