Thursday, September 19, 2013

Breaking into my trunk

I was walking to get some tacos during my lunch break when this guy biking towards me suddenly got off his bike and started inspecting the pedal. I stopped to take a look, and saw that the crank was loose. I offered to lend him some tools I have in my car.

We tightened up the crank. I put the tools back in the toolbox. Threw the toolbox in the trunk. Closed the trunk. As we walked away, I realized I didn't have my car key in my pocket anymore. I had dropped it into the toolbox as we were fixing the bike. I needed a taco.

After my snack, I researched my options online. The alarm disables all trunk release buttons. Even if I could get into the cabin, I was still locked out of the trunk. The solutions I saw online were:
  • Removing the rear deck speaker, putting your arm through the hole into the trunk, and pulling the latch to release the rear seat. Unfortunately, my car doesn't have folding rear seats.
  • Removing the rear license plate, drilling a hole near the latch, and inserting a screwdriver to pop the trunk manually. I'd rather to take the bus home to get my spare key than drill any holes in my trunk.
  • Removing the glove box and jumping some wires behind the fuse box to disable the alarm and power the trunk release motor. The directions were unclear on this, so I decided not to risk electrical damage if I were to jump the wrong pins.
Then I saw one post with a simple yet effective solution. Taking apart the driver side door handle, and turning the switch manually to make the car think you're inserting and turning a key. This disables the alarm and unlocks the trunk. 

I called AAA to get me into the cabin, then I was able to take apart the door handle.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dustbuster battery pack replacement

I have an old Black & Decker Dustbuster cordless vacuum that no longer holds a charge. I took the battery pack apart and found it runs on NiCd batteries, which typically don't last very many charge cycles anyways. I modified the vacuum to take lighter, more powerful lithium-ion batteries.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Oxygen sensor

I saved some money buy ordering a universal Bosch sensor instead of a plug-and-play sensor (also made by Bosch.) That just means I had to spend extra time cutting wires and reattaching the vehicle-specific connector.