Posts Tagged ‘cars’

Having the right Tool

Posted: 25/02/2014 by Toby in Informative
Tags: , ,

So hey, just a quick anecdote from me about having the right tool (and knowing what you’re doing).

On the minivan, the back brakes started getting squeaky, and so it was time to change the brake pads. I’d done similar jobs before, and I thought to myself, how hard can it be? So I pulled the wheel off, loosened up some nuts and tried to put it all back together with new pads. There was only one big problem, however, and that was, the piston simply would not budge!

I finally used internet university to find out what I was supposed to be doing. I found this very helpful: and in there it says I need to wind back the piston using a special tool. I went to the local car parts shop, and they had one! But it didn’t fit. I went to a bunch more shops, and all they carried was the little thingy that didn’t fit. I finally went to Chrysler and asked them what they use. The mechanic showed me a very professional looking kit, and I thought wow that must be quite expensive. I looked it up on eBay and it wasn’t too bad. Probably overkill to get a special tool for one job, but I figured I’ll probably use it again on the other brakes, so why not.

With that tool, the job was literally done in less than an hour, piece of cake. Looks like this:
(picture to come later..)


Sadly we had to bid the (1993) Camry goodbye after 4 years. She was a quick purchase so as to get around when we first arrived in Australia. It was just wide enough to fit the 3 car seats across the back seat. My dad said it was gray, it sure looked more purple to us though :) I was trying not to spend money in the car department for at least another year, however she cost us a good $1000 over the last year in repairs for a car only worth $2000 and so with this last issue we decided it was time to upgrade so Toby had a more reliable car to commute with daily.

Toby was firm on his only choice of car, a VW Polo (2010). Toby’s been after me for a good year and a half to get one, he did start with the Gulf but then changed his mind to a Polo towards the end of last year. Toby found 2 cars to look at, I went and looked and did the wheel and deal and voila, a car was purchased rather quickly, it’s amazing how helpful a dealership will be when you have 4 kids roaming around the store to make you happy and get you out. We were also lucky enough to sell our Camry within 4 days of advertising, so that was a relief.


We ended up having to wait 2 weeks for a new part to get installed on her, the dealership gave us a car to use whilst we waited, a jetta, we weren’t impressed with it, and finally picked her up on Saturday just gone. That was the first time Toby saw her. She is a lovely zippy car and has lots of pump for a 1.2 turbo. I admit I am enjoying driving her on my trips to the gym and such, it feels good to have a manual car in the family again. It’s like having our odessey and honda back.

We had another victim in this exchange and that was our fridge. That in itself is a long story but the end of it is, the seals went and were not able to be replaced, so at 15 years old, we said our goodbye’s to Whirlpool and welcomed in the Fisher and Paykel. The kids made comments like, this fridge is hard to open, I said yes because the seals work, and another one said, it’s so cold when I open the fridge, and I replied yes I know isn’t it great, the fridge works properly. So now our food should last longer, yay!

So this month has turned out to be a real expensive month for us. I then decided to look into some of our bills seeing how to reduce costs and managed to find a $1200 saving for our health insurance a year, I was proud of myself. Then to top it off our rent just went up :( $1200 a year. So as least I evened out the costs. Please no more bills or upgrades needed for ages……..

Now the question is, is Toby happy now?

Hit a Dog this morning

Posted: 12/07/2012 by Toby in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

So I’m on Mamre this morning driving into St Marys, and life is good. I’m at the front of the line, thinking about changing lanes cause I have to turn in two lights. Then, very clearly, as if in slow motion, there’s a dog crossing the street from the right. It’s already crossed the oncoming traffic (there was none) and it’s headed across my lane.

Looked a bit like this

It was so close, I figured it would either react, or something, but it didn’t. I didn’t swerve (I rarely do, since I’d rather not hit another car, or telephone pole, or anything else), but I pushed on the brake a little. BAM! There was a car-shuddering THWACK! The car was still rolling, and I looked behind me for the carcass, but there was none. I was still rolling, slowly, and the traffic behind me was pretty slow. After another few seconds, still looking in the rear view, I saw the dog, running down the sidewalk. It may have been limping a little, but otherwise still running around. Then it crossed the street again and ran up ahead. I couldn’t tell if it was even limping any more.

When I went over the dog, I didn’t really get any ‘speed bump’ effect, so I’m guessing it must have gone under right between the wheels and then just bounced back up!

I checked the car when I got to work. On the front bumper, I could see where the dog hit, just to the side of the license plate, the paint is cracked. The impact also knocked the left side loose. I’ll need to take out the nut and re-seat but otherwise not too bad.

In January we swapped out our Volvo XC90

for a Chrysler Grand Voyager.

I was really sad to see her go. She was nice to drive and comfortable with good views for all in the family, however she became a bit small inside for our growing family. So after Toby’s research and seeking out a better fit for our family, this is what he came up with. A Yank mobile.

I do love our new car. It’s perfect for our needs :) Thanks Tobes for keeping on top of that. A little slice of America at our doorstep.

Volvo – Side Rails

Posted: 20/09/2010 by Toby in News, Pictures
Tags: ,

My dear husband this weekend installed side rails onto our car. We finally decided on black ones and then a deal came along for some silver aluminum ones at a great price (and in Australia instead of the US). So we decided to snatch them up. We had to wait for the transmission to get fixed and finished and then, we got great weather this weekend which allowed the result you’ll see below.

It serves 2 purposes.

1. To help the kids get in and out of the car.

2. Prevent damage from other people’s car doors onto our doors.

Overall a great outcome. So glad I have a handy husband that saves us money here and there.

Are spiders making webs across your side mirrors? Have you done just about everything you can to gas them out, smoke them out, and spray them out and they still somehow survive and spin ugly webs across your side rear view? Sick of cleaning the webs away? Well we have just the solution! Just follow these easy steps.

Step 1: If you see the spider, try to hit it as hard as you can. Depending on your accuracy, your mirror may end up looking like this:

At this point it may be difficult to determine whether the spider corpse is among the wreckage, but that’s alright, because now you have an opportunity: The mirror is no longer acceptable for use and will need to be removed, and, need I add, its tenant will go with it! Sneaky I know. If only certain neighbours could be removed as easily.

Step 2: You’ll still need a side mirror by law, so you’ll have to set about getting a suitable replacement. One of these would be quite easy to get hold of, dirt cheap and super easy to bolt on, but you need to bear in mind the word suitable.

You might want to check your local car dealer and see how much the one-for-one replacement will cost new. It could potentially be reasonable. In our case, it was anything but. A quick call to the Volvo dealer revealed the following replacement cost:
New housing $1,200
New motor $800 (we could actually salvage the motor it was still working)
New mirror $600
Installation $250

We didn’t really think the spider was worth quite that much, so I got on the phone to every wrecker in town I could find and asked whether they had a nice side mirror off an XC90 that had wrecked more along the left side, or more to the rear, you know, leaving the right side mirror intact and in good nick. Despite my best efforts the story was the same everywhere and I mean everywhere. I even called to Melbourne and Canberra, thinking I might be able to swing a trip out that way. Sadly, I couldn’t and wouldn’t get one for love or money. Even the dealerships had standing orders for ‘em (which I thought was quite interesting, they must have a buffing machine out back – just a quick brush up and it looks and costs like new!).

I looked online as well. Truth be told the online distribution here is nothing compared to what I was used to in the States. There simply aren’t that many websites, and I’m guessing there just aren’t enough people who would use ’em and make ’em a profitable venture.

Thankfully I wasn’t limited to the local market. Thankfully, UPS, FedEx, and all those little postal companies send stuff globally. Thankfully, there is an online marketplace with enough critical mass to be a true go-to website for all things buying and selling and you know what that website is: eBay!! A quick gander at eBay revealed a RH side mirror complete for $300. It was about another $100 to get it here, but the math wasn’t that difficult. Even a 2nd grader, maybe a 1st grader could tell you that $400 is a LOT less than $2,850.

Check it out!

Now that the gear is in your hot little hands, it’s time to make the swap. Spider’s abode for a non-abode. To be covered in my next post: Spider Part 2.

Faith Demoting Story

Posted: 24/12/2008 by Toby in Other
Tags: ,

You’re probably familiar with stories of goodness and kindness, people doing things for each other in the spirit of Christmas, spreading smile after smile. This is one of those stories that probably won’t be reapeated much, in fact, you probably shouldn’t read it, because it’s a perfect example of what not to do on a chilly Christmas Eve.

The stores were going to close at 6 pm, and we were low on potatoes. We were also low on chocolate. The potatoes I could get across the street, but the chocolate was a little further, in the next town. (more…)