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Stereo Wired

When I had the stereo head unit installed in my former 2008 Chevy HHR, I bought it from Best Buy and had Geek Squad install it.  They said that they had to dismount the entire dashboard to get to it and I can tell you that at the time, that was way over my head.  But the HHR had existing stock wiring for it.

My stripped down 1987 Chevy G20 Sportvan didn't.  It has an aftermarket fuse block and the radio fuse wasn't wired to it.  I ended up using a device that I inserted into my "Gauges" fuse slot.  It's kind of a like a SIM converter on a computer that back in the day, could turn a mother board with a 4MB total RAM slots and make it an 8MB.  This thing had two female fuse slots.  One was for the 20 amp fuse for the gauges and the other was for a postive wire extending out if it.  The second one could only hold a up to a 10 amp fuse, which was just enough for the stereo.

I got it wired like I mentioned before.  The gauges fuse port in the block was the only one that was wired to the ignition.  That became a problem later on.  But I got the stereo and rear speakers wired up.  I didn't do the fronts because taking apart the dashboard entailed dismounting the speedometer cable and I wasn't prepared to do that.  At this point, I believe that it has to be dismounted from the transmission.  Normally when it comes to doing something I don't know, I study the Haynes manual the night before I do something like this.  That way I get familiar with it in theory before application.

I wanted to move on to the aftermarket gauges.  But they too need a power source that is switched to the ignition.  Had that fuse been able to handle more than 10 amps, I could have done everything on the same positive wire.  But now, I have two choices.  I don't know the make and model of the aftermarket fuse block.  So, I can either unbolt it and go exploring, or I can attach a switch to it, which means that I would have had to bore another hole in the dashboard that I wasn't prepared to do. 

So, I stopped for the day.  I don't know when I'll get back to it?  The right rear speaker box has a short in its speaker wire inputs. 

The stereo wiring was a bunch to stuff in.  I had to make sure that it missed the seals for the interior engine hump cover, otherwise known as a "dog house."


Rear Speaker Wires Routed

I got the rear speaker wire routed in my 1987 Chevy G20 Sportvan.  My interior is stripped down to the metal, so I drilled holes in the upper sides and on one of the roof supports for zip ties.  I had to reroute my original plan so that the speaker wires didn't run parallel with the interior light and a custom 12V primary wire.  Those power wires run along the left side, while the speakers had to go right.  The trick now is to figure out how to route the wires in the passenger's side foot well to avoid the primary wire supplying power to my custom, dedicated front 12V power port?  Under the dash, I'll have to keep the wires somewhat slack to install the head unit and get it back out should I need to?

Tomorrow is a big day.  The primary 12V wire is already routed under the head unit, so that's where I'm going to get the head units "always on" power for it's clock since that wire goes directly to the battery.  I'm not sure if I'll have to fuse it?

Now, I have a fuse splitter for the block.  I don't have to go behind it and find out what's what?  I'm going to run primary power for 5 components off that one line.  I have a stereo head unit, tachometer, oil pressure, temperature gauges and a voltmeter.  All the components will need to be hooked to the light switch.  Then a few grounds will have to be run.

I'm looking forward to installing the water gauge and tachometer.  I have to drill quite a hole to get the temperature sensor out of the firewall. 


New Smartphone

I now have a new Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphone, model SM-G977U.  It has a 256GB internal storage capacity.  I also acquired 256GB microSD cards for it and my dedicated digital camera.  At 512GB's total, it will probably handle anything that I store on it when I Geo Photo Catalog the trail.  To put it another way, the capacities will probably outpace my abilities now?

I'm working on transferring about 40GB of data from my old external SD card to the new one.  And for the last 20 minutes, it's been taking it's time with coming up with a completed percentage.  I even went from the SD card adapter in the laptop's SD slot to a USB adapter and it's still chugging along.  At least, the laptop changed its message.


Van Work, Part II, or is it III?

The front and back auxiliary power ports were installed today.  The back one is has been attached to my four pin trailer wiring harness.  This thing is ready for driving and for some primitive parking in The Wayne now.  With both power ports, I can now reach all four wheels in case one of them needs to be inflated.  I can now also drop my tire pressure for gravel roads, but then pump back up for pavement and better gas mileage.

I changed my mind with using the provided gauge mounts that I got in their packages.  I saw somebody cut their holes in the dashboard and that's what I did.  The tachometer is on the upper right and I can see it very good.  One of the spots wasn't so advantageous, so I saved it for the gauge that I wouldn't need so often.

Listening to a couple Loreena McKennit albums went well today. 

I need to get a task list for a certain sequence of events.  But I have to drill holes in the roof support structures to slip zip ties through.  I made an error when routing the right rear stereo speaker wire.  I routed the wires parallel to the overhead light's power wire.  I had to get them out of the channel because sound wires next to parallel power wires causes interference in the speakers.  Right now, the driver's side is the electrical one and the passengers is the sound.  So those holes need to be drilled and wire ran.  My strategy is to mark the right channels with a piece of Gorilla tape at the bottom.  Then the left channels will use electrical tape so I know what's what when I get to the stereo in the dash.

Power wise, the the wires that run to front auxiliary port is always on because it was ran directly to the positive cable on the battery.  My plan is to hook the stereo's "always on" wire to it.  That's what keeps the clock running when the engine is off.  The speaker wires from the rear are coming.  But I'll have to take the entire dashboard out to get to the front speakers.  And with the van being stripped down, it's a mystery as to whether any necessary hardware is present.  But I'll probably have to take it down anyways to drill a hole for my new, aftermarket AM/ FM antenna?

For all power items to the gauges and stereo, I'm thinking that one 16 gauge wire ought to do it?  Then there's the power leads that are for when the headlights are on.  One 16 gauge wire ought to do that, too.


Work on Van Today

I ran the rear right positive speaker wire, but not the left yet.  I'm waiting to take off the dog house (interior engine hump cover) on my 1987 Chevy G20 Sportvan.  I have four gauges, three of which  and possibly two 12 gauge positive wires have to get through the firewall.  At present, I'm not sure how to disassemble the steering column to get to the ignition positive wire?  The dog house has to come off because there's access to the bottom of the stereo when it's off.

When I opened the lid of one of my bins in the cargo hold, a couple of sharp pointed screws fell to the floor.  The floor is rusting and has holes.  So, now I'm thinking of pulling them back out and vacuuming the floor after all?

I've been reading through a forum regarding stereo speaker wire.  That positive 12 gauge positive that I want to run to the tailgate for the tire inflator to reach the rear wheels will have to run along a different channel, or they risk creating noise on the speakers due to cross talk.

I was working with the new passenger's side seat belt today.  Turns out that I'm going to have to use the stock Chevy seat belt holder and mount.  It's just a bar that extents from the corner of the roof and left side body.  The problem is that I was able to cut the replacement's upper loop to get the new belt out.  But modifying the stock holder is going to require some serious sawzall time because it's thick and automotive grade.  My plan is to cut a slit right down the middle of the stock holder's loop to try and squeeze the new seat belt through it.

I have no idea what the back of a fuse box looks like?  Guess I'll find out tomorrow?  I'm running a custom 12V power port to my 3 way splitter so that it definitely has enough power to handle multiple 3.1A devices.  I did this on my former Chevy HHR and on my motorhome and I like it a lot.  Now that rear port is going to get everything that tire inflator can handle.

I definitely like working on cars in the evenings.  Here in Far SE Ohio, it gets sweaty hot during the day in the summer.  I'm thinking about changing it's oil soon because what's in there is new, but it's full of Seafoam.  I didn't change the oil when the engine was still warm.  That could have more easily removed any engine shavings.  But in guessing the engine temp, it could be somewhat risky.  It's a gloves on and long sleeve shirt procedure.  What needs to go back in it is 4 quarts of 10W-30 (I think???) and some Lucas Oil additive.



Sometimes, I get caught at an impasse over what has priority around here.  Today, I could have completed the van's interior refit tasks.  Should I have completed them today, I would have the next two days to geo photo catalog certain segments of the trail.  But I went with something that's more like a "personnel matter" today.  It's also a bit of a person matter.

A few of Adventurer's Project's supporters don't drive.  And one of them that doesn't isn't always in this area very long.  So, I did a little shopping for the van as indicated in the previous log and stopped by afterwards to see them.  Which one is best?  I decided to essentially flip a coin.  I saw them and now I have to take a day that is atmospherically right for GPS'ing to work on the van.

Adventurer's Project's chapterside supporters are hopefuls to attend a "planning meeting" in this area, is a which is a BTA event.  This event will help the BTA determine our strength as we apply for chapterhood.  Chapterhood will make this region stronger.  But one of the purposes of the geo photo catalog is that it could be used to advertise this region's vacant trail adoption (maintenance) segments.  My count says that we're closer to chapterhood than filling the vacant segments.  And as for the chapterside supporters, they're rigged up in such a way to be this area's "Maintenance Reserve," who'd be called up for large projects, but they could fill in on the more primary tasks in the short term?

Seat Belts, Bluetooth Head Unit and CABL

I have two new aftermarket seat belts that came in the mail today.  One is for the front passenger's side and the other might be for the mid-row driver's side?  And I stopped by the auto parts store and talked to one of the employees about how stripped down the van's interior is.  I'm going to have to wire the stereo in from the fuse box and there are no pig tails for the front speakers.  He suggested that I use 16 gauge electrical wire instead of speaker wire to connect the four speakers to the Bluetooth head unit.  I purchased a roll of 100ft each for red and black coated wires.  That should do the connections for all four speakers and any electrical connections that I need to make.

I just stopped by the Washington-Morgan Community Action website and saw that there's a new brochure for the New Matamoras/ Macksburg Route.  It details the route in New Matamoras of Washington County.  Transit hikers will likely not board and disembark there because the closest the Road Fork Section - Buckeye Trail (North Country National Scenic concurrent) comes is about 4.6 miles from it.  But the Whipple Section comes to about 2.3 miles near the unincorporated community of Wade in said county.

This line runs on Thursdays only, so it's only good for hikers who come in from out of town (I really have to confirm that), or for resupply, particularly in Marietta.  Both Avenza Maps cut off New Mat, but it appears on the Guthooks Guides.  Unfortunately, I'm having difficulties finding a way to import custom digital mapping data into it.


Solved Another Problem

I have an application on my computers that is like a automated system back-up.  It saves what is called an "image" that I can restore my system from.  The problem is that the image files are huge and the computer just creates additional ones every time it's scheduled.  Here on my laptop, those were saved on it's hard disk.  When they save and add up, they take up a lot of hard disk space easily and slow the computer's performance down.

But more recently, I acquired a 2 terabyte external hard disk, which has twice the capacity that the laptops drive has.  And it really doesn't matter how full I get it.  So, I redirect the image save location to the external now.  This is one thing that I don't have to worry about for a while when doing things for Adventurer's Project.


Items to Install and Storage

I have a big day later with my 1987 Chevrolet G20 Sportvan.  There's a whole list of things to do and the only thing that concerns the engine is hooking up my voltmeter, engine temperature, oil pressure gauges and the tachometer.  I have a 90° angler attachment for my drill and I already have a spot to slip the hose and electrical through the firewall. 

My bright lights aren't working right now.  And I have to test every fuse and check every relay.  I can install my 6in x 9in rear speakers and run their wires, but as for the 4in x 5in front speakers and the head unit, I might wait for that?  This van has been stripped down and the previous owner offered to help with the head unit.

It's an "absolute must" that I get my cigarette lighters working.  This is because if I get a puncture in a tire on some gravel road, I have the patch kit, but without 12V power, I can't use the inflation.  So, these power ports must get done.  And I might have to wire a port in the tailgate to make sure that

With my big bins in the back of the van, one of those is my gear bay.  One of the things that it holds is surplus items that I buy in bulk, such as shampoo, laundry detergent and cotton swabs.  The motorhome doesn't store these as well.  So the gear bay is my resupply point.

I've got all the items in the motorhome that I can think of that need to be transferred there in a pile.  This week, I'm expecting my Haynes Small Engine Repair Manual and the passengers side seat belt and buckle in the mail. 

People now and then use to take notice of my keys.  I have two sets.  One for the motorhome and the other for the van, trailer and all the locks that go with it.  Well, I put them on a diet and committed everything that no longer has anything to go with it, or my keys for up north on to one ring and put them into my safe.  They're much slimmer now.  I had some carabiners on the van's set that I moved to my surplus set.  As a hiker and maintainer, there's always a need for carabiners.

It's good to get this stuff out of the way.  This winter I had the overhead bunk stuffed with just about everything I could think of so that my electric heaters wouldn't have to heat that area.  Now, I just got the chance to get them out of the way. 

My storage unit is about an hour south of here.  I got it when I was living out that way.  And the reason why I kept it was that it can be difficult to get one of these and the south of the trail that I cover is much closer to it.  So, I would just have to stop by there when I was in the neighborhood.  But this past year, with my former Chevy HHR needing so much work and being virtually undriveable, it delayed this until now.

But since the HHR has a new owner and he has big plans for it, when I empty out the storage items out of the van at the storage unit, I can get him the HHR's back seats and one head rest that I took out of it.  He's got another set of 4 rims for the van that he said he'll give me and I'll have winter tires mounted on them.  I plan to pretty much hibernate then anyways, but I still have medical appointments that I might have to attend to about an hour away?


Passing Up Tomorrow

I work with the weather forecast day by day when it comes to geo photo cataloging the Road Fork and Whipple Sections of the Buckeye Trail (North Country concurrent). For those of you just tuning in, those sections are in SE Ohio, generally east of I-77 and south of I-70 in Ohio. That's one reason why I like to call this region "Far SE Ohio." 

I lead Adventurer's Project, which is an effort to try and create a new chapter of the Buckeye Trail Association. It supports these sections and this project is a part of our data collection, which could help in multiple ways.

But getting back to the weather, my camera devices can embed the coordinates of where the pictures are taken. But because these aren't being done with stronger, professional grade equipment, the conditions in the sky have to be good for a more accurate position.

I watch Weatherbug for skies predicted to be "partly sunny" or better.  Tomorrow, we're expected to get lightning on the Road Fork Section, but the forecast for the Whipple Section reads sunny and hot. Unfortunately, my van is fuel inefficient, old and the Whipple Section is about a hour away. I'll have to overnight, but my tent needs repairs.  I'm afraid I'll have to pass tomorrow up.


Oil Change

Oil changed in my 1987 Chevrolet G20 Sportvan at 141,231 miles on the odometer.

Cracked Camera Glass and Starter

I cracked the glass cover on my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 camera.

I went down to the dollar store to get a measuring cup and some washable paints. There may be a leak at the oil pan gasket on my 1987 Chevrolet G20 Sportvan? I have to pour 5 fluid ounces of Seafoam into the motor oil spout today.

And I don't believe that I'll be able to insert a 1/8th inch drill bit, or Allen key to check the new starter's gear and fly wheel gap? So I saw a online video about using children's washable paint on the gears to determine the gap.


Geo Photo Catalog, A Rough Year, Whole Circuit Challenge

The Geo Photo Catalog is a project for the Road Fork and Whipple Sections that I have already underway.  It involves taking pictures with my smartphone and camera app's locators turned on.  What does is it embeds the coordinates of where the picture was taken.  The idea, is to take them at every blaze, or where they're supposed to be according to the BTA's maintenance guide lines.  Because of the weakness of a smartphone's GPS antenna, they have to be taken when the sky is partly sunny or better.  And on Weatherbug, there's a difference between "party cloudy" and "partly sunny."

It's multifaceted program as it's purposes are:

1) provide the Buckeye Trail Association with a visual record of the trail

2) provide pictures for a Vacant Segment Showcase

3) to provide Adventurer's Project and the chapter it may become photos to use on it's website and social media, particularly in the winter.

Adventurer's Project covers the Road Fork and Whipple Sections of the Buckeye Trail (North Country concurrent) in Far SE Ohio, or generally east of I-77 and south of I-70.  Those sections are off-road at Caldwell Lake and in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest.

It's been a rough year.  Where to start???  The project had about 5 presentations and the public only showed up at one of them.  We have two volunteers ready to go, but with both there's some scheduling difficulties.  We might have another? 

I live in my motorhome in Woodsfield.  In December, I started getting physical therapy on my back.  That concluded in February, but my abdominals still need tensioned.  What I've learned is that I'm not in as good of condition as I once thought and now I'm unable to make the 13 mile one way trip to the nearest off-road portion by way of bicycle because the hills in this county are too much to handle at this time.

The electric warming hose that I was using for water to my motorhome failed and my hot water tank ruptured in a cold snap in February.  I had to get a motel for a couple nights, but this is when my car started acting up,  The RPM's were jumping.

In April, I finally saved up to get my car's clutch replaced.  I then added two bottles of "Guaranteed to Pass" in two tanks of gasoline to try and get the catalytic converters clean..  After the first one, it started to jump less.  But part way through the second, I wasn't satisfied it was doing enough.

  Sometime afterwards, I started to replace the entire exhaust because in the year prior, a mechanic told me that I was leaking oil and as it was dripping down the back side of the engine, that it could probably clog one of the catalytic converters?  Since the header pipe at the engine was bad and it was all practically welded together by this point anyways, I felt it necessitated a full replacement from "stem to stern."

It didn't alleviate the RPM's jumping.  I changed the oil valve gasket along with the exhaust, but that didn't do anything.  There's got to be something else?  Because then it wouldn't start.

I had it hauled to Hilltop Auto Services just outside of Woodsfield to perform a diagnostic.  They came back and said that the timing chain had gone and as a result, the valves were warped and the pistons were probably gone as well?

At that point, there was somebody in town who wanted to make my HHR into a jacked up, four wheel drive "Baby Grave Digger."  I paid for the tow truck from Hilltop to his house because it was a heck of a lot better than sending it 30 miles north to a junk yard.  But on the other hand, he had a old Chevy conversion van that I bought for $800.  It use to be a passenger van, but it's interior is stripped down.  I only have two seats in it.  And the passenger's side needs a seat belt, which is on order.

So, we're back up and running, but there's a few experiments to run with a rear wheel drive only, top heavy vehicle in The Wayne.  Most of its parking opportunities occur in a grass strip on the side of narrow, gravel roads.  But there's another reason to run these experiments...

The Buckeye Trail Association's board voted in the affirmative to have a "challenge" over the whole circuit in one weekend.  Basically, the BTA needs to be able to park cars every 3 miles or less in order to have hikers cover such distances over the 1,454 mile circuit almost virtually simultaneously at once.  Some of those vehicles could be RWD only's?  I have to come up with the contingency procedures in case it rains and their wheels sink?

Right now, I have 600 - 800lbs over my rear axle.  But I'll also be experimenting with a new arrangement of parking boards and a come-a-long, or hand winch.  With FWD, I would just place a board under each tire when I park in these places.  When I leave, I have about 2 seconds of thrust, the rest is momentum and that better get me out.

But with a rear wheel drive, the drive wheels are further back.  So the experiment is to see if four boards placed perpendicular in front of the boards being parked on would be enough traction to make it out?  My conversion van has one disadvantage that the HHR didn't and that's it's wheelbase.  The HHR could come out of a road side parking place forward, or back, depending on what was more advantageous?  The conversion van's wheel base is likely to be not as generous?  It probably has to come out in the forward direction only because of how tight the treeline is to the edge of these grass strips?  Without knowing more, that's merely speculation at this point. 

We have different grass strips.  Some are up hill, down hill and some are on flats.  We have to anticipate that these vehicles could be parked over night?  If so, will front reflectors be needed?  And if so, what color?

Oil Filter and Plug

Yesterday, I drained the oil in my 1987 Chevy G20 Sportvan.  Because I had the wrong oil filter and the auto parts store was going to open until the next day, I kept the oil plug and filter off and let it drain overnight.  It hit the dew point last night, so I kept them off throughout the day to try and evaporate anything that may have condensed inside the engine block.

Today, I got the right filter.  I installed that and put the plug back in it's hole.  I'm going to wait until I mount the new starter tomorrow before I replace the motor oil.

I normally do my work in a gravel driveway.  Either my 3 ton jack stands were digging into the soil hard core, or those black struts on it were about to snap?  When I was working on it the day before, I had my 3-1/2 ton shop jack up against the bottom of the conversion van just in case.

When I did the oil, I got under the van from the front, which there's a platform under the engine that extends to the front wheels.  I jacked it up to get past that.  But what I didn't realize is that if I approached it from the sides, I don't have any running foot boards under the doors, so just like my motorhome, I can just get under the van without jacking it up.


Work on the Conversion Van

As of now, my 1987 Chevy G20 Sportvan has 141,134 miles on the odometer.

- Windshield wipers replaced

- new tires from Walmart mounted about 50 miles ago. They are Dextero DH2 P225/75R15's on the front two wheels only

- Fuel cap replaced

- drivers side mirror replaced

- pivoting blindspot mirrors mounted

- reverse and rear marker light bulbs replaced. Right rear marker light still does not respond.

- cargo hold was loaded to about 800lbs. Its either over the rear axle, or immediately in front of it.