Seriously Toyota?

So, many of you have heard my awesome story about spending a week fighting with my Toyota Tacoma and pulling, testing, and replacing multiple parts (culminating in buying a brand new starter to replace a working one because there was no way I was risking ever having to get the starter out of a Tacoma again).  Eventually I realized the entire problem had been caused by a $4 battery terminal.

I have loved both of my Toyotas, but I'm starting to realize battery terminals are not their strong suit.

Last night, Beth and I tried to drive to Atlanta.   Halfway there, after stopping (first for a ticket for making an illegal left turn.  Hurray.  Then for gas.) my car refused to start.

We eventually got a jump, but then were worried the problem might be a bad alternator, so we drove it home and bailed on our evening plans (which we both feel pretty terrible about), keeping out fingers crossed that we would even make it back to my house.

We got back, and then the battery behaved, both that night and this morning.

So I drove up to O'Reilly (there's one about 500 yards from my house) and pulled the battery to have it tested.

It tested bad, and it was probably the original battery (an 84 month that has likely been in the car since sometime in 2005), so I replaced it.  The fellow at O'Reilly pointed out the green corrosion on the top of the old battery though, and said "it looks like your cable or connector is bad, that's copper corrosion." (duh.  I was too brainfried by being freezing cold and my hatred at having to ask anyone for help to think about corrosion colors last night).

So I also bought a spare terminal for the negative terminal (the positive terminal has a weird but rugged anti-theft-device replacing the original, and is in fine shape) and pulled the old one off.

The battery would have died soon anyway, but I'm sure it wasn't helped by the terminal I replaced, shown here with most of the corrosion scraped away.

Seriously Toyota?  This is a bullshit part.

Everything else in the engine still looks pretty pristine.   Except this piece of shit.


At least it's fixed now and I don't have to worry about it being the alternator.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Say Hello to Libby.

So about a week ago I asked r/guns to help me pick out a Ruger 10/22 variant that would best meet the basic needs of an Appleseed shoot happening in my area in December.

The thread is here.

In addition to saving me $120 on the gun by encouraging me not to bother with the Takedown version, Gunnit recommended a series of immediate enhancements and modifications I should plan to make right out of the gate.

They were:

1) Tech Sights.
2) A replacement hammer to help reduce the high factory trigger pull.
3) A sling.

So, I took Gunnit at its word.  Say Hello to Libby.

Here's a step-by-step walkthrough of what I did, case someone else wants similar instructions.

First: I bought the rifle at Academy Sports.  It cost me $210ish, with tax.  Any big-box with a gun counter is your best bet for a cheap, commonly available rifle like this.

I hit up the Tech Sights website and ordered the TSR100 ($65). I'm familiar with the back-and-forth leaf apertures of an AR 15, so I decided to keep that tradition on this gun.

Then, I went to Midway USA.   There I found:

A basic two-point sling ($7).

the Power Custom Hammer replacement ($31)

And the Blackhawk Sling swivel kit for the 10/22 ($14)

I also ordered a set of three 10rd Ruger magazines ($12ish a piece), but they were back ordered and shipped separately.


Rifle: $210
Tech Sights: $65
Midway parts: $56 (with shipping)
Midway Magazines: $42 (with shipping).

Total: Approximately $375
I ordered the parts on a Monday, and purchased the Rifle that evening.  On Thursday, the parts arrived, and I set out to do the mods.  I was tempted to race the daylight and try to get to the range that afternoon, but I decided to take my time and do the job as well as possible instead.

I started by by taking the rifle apart so I could put the stock in my vice easier, then set about installing the sling swivels.  Despite having the barrel band on my carbine, I decided to go ahead and install the front swivel, because I might make some changes to the front of the stock eventually, and I want to have some options.

I installed the front swivel just in front of the barrel band, since I wanted the sling mount point as far forward as possible.  This creates a bit of a hassle getting the barrel band on and off, but it's flexible enough to manage. 

I marked the locations where I would be drilling for the sling with a sharpie, first, and if I had been smart I would have done the smaller drilling first, then come back to countersink so the countersinks would be centered.  Really though, this isn't meant to be artwork, it's a workhorse, and she wound up looking just fine regardless.

While I had it available, I sanded down the inside of the stock a bit to prepare for potentially doing a thorough free-floating later on.

When I was done with the sling, I moved on to the hammer.  I don't have much of a head for mechanisms, so I'm always afraid I'll take apart anything with fiddly-bits in such a way as I don't know how to put them back together.  I hunted up a couple of youtube videos and watched guys take apart and re-assemble the mechanism before I attempted it myself.  I relied primarily on the Brownell's walkthrough of the install of the power custom part I had purchased, and this very similar Volquartsen install walkthrough.:

Note: the bushings don't quite work the same, and you might worry yourself if you start with the Volquartsen one but are using the Power Custom.   However, the Vol one does a better job of warning you to be ready for the spring that loads the ejector pin, so watch both before you get started if you're a newbie.

All in all, it was SUPER easy to do this mod.  It took me longer to watch both videos than it did to actually do the part-swap, and everything went back together just fine with no complaints.   All I replaced was the hammer, but I saved the reset and hammer springs from the kit in case I want to add them later.  Honestly I'm not sure I would want the trigger pull much lighter than it is now.

Everything dropped in fine, and operated just fine through the dry fire sequence. 

Last but definitely not least: I installed the Tech sights. That meant removing the factor sights first.  I had been warned that getting the factory sights off was a hassle, and those warnings were absolutely warranted.   The front sight was a beast, and was still actually easier for me to remove than the rear sight (removed simply because I don't like purposeless things).   I wound up completely destroying the flip-up portion of the rear sight before I got the base to budge.

But finally, that was done, and the tech sights were dropped in.  I didn't have any thread locker at the house at the time, so they're all screwed in place dry for now, I'll come back and remount things once I have some (probably next week) and put everything solidly in place.

Post Range Note: Make sure you have Loctite on hand before you install the tech sites, otherwise you'll just wind up reinstalling them anyway.   The rear sights freed themselves from the receiver no less than three times during my 200 rounds at the range.

All told, I spend about 2.5 hours on the sling, the sanding, the sights, and the hammer job.  That was largely due to going slow and double-checking my steps as I went.

So, that's it.  There's a walkthrough of the top recommended improvements to the rifle, the things I learned along the way, and the time investment it takes.

The next day I took it to the range and it did OK.  It didn't care for federal value pack 22 much (3 failures in 100 rounds) but it did just fine with the 60 rounds of CCI mini-mag I put through it.  I bought a 1600 round canister of that on the way home from the range (as well as some thread locker), and that should last me for a while.

Friday, November 02, 2012