Monday, September 26, 2011

How to Save $272

Like many older cars my dashboard instruments lights on my 1999 Subaru Forester are going out. A couple of the lights have been out for years. When I noticed that I couldn't see my speedometer one night, I figured it was time to fix.

I called the dealer to figure out how much it would cost for service to fix. They quoted a price of $272 plus the cost of parts. Now, I knew that it would be expensive, but I really didn't think that it was going to be that high. After my recent expenditures on drain pipes (see previous entry), I really wanted to save a little money. And, I thought that $272 was a little high for changing lights blubs.

The Internet is your friend. I did a quick Google search and found out it was really no problem to replace the lights blubs yourself. 5 screws, 3 connections, and a little time you can do this for the cost of the parts. I called the dealer back to get a blubs I needed. They quoted me a kit for $37 dollars. More blubs than I needed, but hey that will be fine with me. I have some extras that I can replace too. Why get into the instrument cluster more than I have too? The parts were ordered. I picked them up a couple days later.

I estimated about 45 minutes for me to pull, change blubs and replace the instrument cluster back into the correct location. I followed instruction that I found here. It was easy. I would say that it took me 10 minutes to pull the part, a few minutes to replace the blubs, and then about 10 minutes to replace. So, I will say that it was only about a 30 minute job. It does take some patience to get the instrument cluster back into the location. I found going in at an angle helped as well as pulling the cable harness out a little to attach the connectors. Another recommendation would be to use the small shaft screwdriver vs. the standard shaft screwdriver. This helps for the 2 screws to remove the bezel and the top screw holding the instrument cluster in place.

So that was it. 30 minutes of my time and $37 parts kit I saved $272. I bet you could even call around and get parts cheaper at a Kragen Auto, Radio Shack or a similar place.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First Real Plumbing Problem

When does owning a home suck? When you have a drainage leak that you didn't know how long it had been happening. I assumed that it was just a rain water drainage problem. It was a wet year for us. But, after having a friend of a friend contractor take a look and a smell starting, I was told that I have more than just a rain water drainage problem. There was about 3 to 4 inches of grey water in the crawl space of our house. So that was the smell! It is time to get the water cleaned up, find the leak, repair the pipe and to do this quickly.

To clean up the water, soil, and the smell, I had placed a call to Emergency Services Restoration. They have been great so far. They do free estimates and if needed can start the process right away. After clean up and making it safe we found the leak on the old drainage pipe that services both the kitchen and the washer. Bummer.

Now it is time to repair that pipe. I have been using Olivero Plumbing Co. for a while and always have been happy with their work. They did not disappoint this time either. Looking at the pipe they found that there was about a 4 inch crack in the pipe. Bummer again. So, rather than just do a quick patch, I choose to replace the entire length of the pipe from the kitchen/washer drainage to the 4 inch junction. As he was removing the old pipe I was glad that I choose the replacement verse the patch. I don't want to have the pipe that looked ready to crack in many other areas to do so and I would have to call out the clean up crew again. Pay more now to save more later.

So, what did I learn? Check your pipes regularly. If have you have a smell it is too late.

Now, how to pay for all this work??? Well, need some computer work? I am your man. Check out my Linkedin profile. I will do top notch work at a great price.