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Title: Best premium gasoline
Author: Robert House Jr
 
The unofficial results have been tallied, and the winner is confirmed by 
another independent driver.  Shell V-Power is the premium gasoline to buy, 
with more power and better mileage than the competitors who offer the same 
supposed octane but not the same zip.  Shell says it has more detergents to 
keep everything cleaner, too.  I can't verify that, but it sounds like a great 
idea to keep everything running smoother.  I'm planning to also use the V-
Power in my smaller engines that aren't used all the time, such as seasonal 
yard work type machines, to reduce fuel thickening/clogging resulting from 
storage.
   
Title: Knock sensor - Maxima
Author: Rob House
 
Don't you wish that yellow check engine light would just rest at peace, unlit? 
Tough to envision constant peace around the world, and also a car requiring no
maintenance.

I was ready to install a new oxygen sensor in my car, which is a 1998 Maxima, in
response to the yellow light.  Actually, I had already bought the part and
rented the install tool when I found that Autozone would read the codes for free
(parts bought at Autozone).  Since the dealer or test station was going to
charge more than the cost of an O2 sensor for a diagnosis, I figured why not
just change at 70,000 miles and see if that fixed the problem. 

As it turns out, code said the problem was knock sensor.  Perhaps due to running
regular instead of premium gas for a few tanks. Research on the net revealed
some info, but incomplete.  For example, someone wanted to know if an inactive
knock sensor retards engine timing. I believe the answer is yes, because after
new knock sensor installed the car instantly ran much stronger, with less
hesitation up steep hills, and also shifts better (mine is automatic).  Don't
hold off putting in a new knock sensor if you need one, it's worth the $150 part
to have the car run so much better!! Can be purchased from Courtesy Nissan in
Texas, find it on the internet. (Not necessary to buy wiring harness, just the
new knock sensor part.)

The other question regards installation.  It's possible to do it yourself if
you're somewhat skilled and have decent tools.  Sensor is located on top of
engine but under the intake manifold tubes.  Can't be reached with normal size
male hands unless take off electrical connection on right side of engine (when
at front of car looking down). Unscrew small nut that is underneath the metal
flange that holds the assembly.  Be careful not to drop parts into deep
recesses!!  I had to explore to find the bolt I dropped when old knock sensor
was being pulled out.  Also, to reinstall bolt, it's helpful to place a piece of
tape into socket so that bolt will not come out of socket when moving into
position to install.  

Good luck and happy running!
   
Title: Rollin' Reception: better TV
Author: Rob House
 
We had so-so cable TV reception, especially in an upstairs TV, which I had 
assumed was a weak signal coming in from the cable at the street.  However, 
the cable guy came and tested and said signal was good from the source.  Then, 
my brother-in-law suggested an experiment: Take the cable at the basement and 
connect directly to the farthest TV to see if any difference.  There was! 

Moral of the story, and solution:
If you have one or more TV connections in the house, there are one or more 
splitters in between the source signal and the TV you're watching.  Each 
split, and each re-connection of extension cables (e.g., to a VCR), even if 
the TV connection is not being used, represents signal dilution.  The solution 
is to buy a Motorola Signal Booster ($43 from Amazon) and install at the 
source of the cable signal.  This high quality amplifier strenthens the signal 
so that it can go past the splitter(s) and through long cables in the house 
while still retaining enough juice to fully power the TV tuner.  It made a 
very noticeable difference for us!  

NOTE:  THERE ARE OTHER AMPLIFIERS TO CHOOSE FROM. BUT, BASED ON RESEARCH FROM 
THE WEB, AVOID THE CHEAP ONES!!!
   
Title: Higher performance A/C
Author: Rob House
 
Have a smaller window unit air conditioner that cools the air but somehow 
doesn't seem to provide the comfort that is expected?  Perhaps it is not 
draining excess water from the inside air to the outside.  

We purchased a new A/C window unit and cool air came out but the room felt 
damp and uncomfortable.  It was making gurgling and water dripping noises 
while running.  Turns out there was no drain for the water designed into our 
unit, even though the owner's manual pictured a small tube out the back (which 
was not manufactured into our unit).  

One day last summer, I took a ladder outside and drilled a small hole in the 
outer side of the bottom panel (be very careful not to allow your drill to 
poke up into unit and pierce a coil!!).  A small stream of water immediately 
started exiting the unit and didn't stop for literally minutes.  Now, on humid 
days the A/C drips steadily from the back, taking humidity out of the inside 
air.

When taking out your A/C in the fall, have you ever had a pool of water splash 
out?  Maybe you have the same issue.  Also, be sure when A/C is installed in 
window that it tilts very slightly down toward the outside, so that any water 
condensing off the coils flows down toward the outside.

Enjoy better comfort this summer! 
   
Title: Performance Air Filter
Author: Rob House
 
Want extra horsepower?  Well, some of the performance air intakes that you may
see on the internet may not be a very good long term deal. I'm sticking with 
paper even though it may be a bit more restrictive. Check this out (and a large
 thank you to the author!):

Air Filters 
I found this on the web regarding K&N filters: 
John: I was responsible for evaluating re-usable air filters for a major 
construction/mining company that had hundreds of vehicles ranging from large 
earth movers to pick-up trucks and salesmen's cars. This study was embarked upon
due to the fact that we were spending upwards of $30,000 a MONTH on paper air 
filters. Using them one time then throwing them away.. I initiated the study in
that I was convinced that a K&N type filter or oiled foam would save us many
dollars per year in filter savings, man hour savings, and of course engines as
these would filter dirt better than paper. (yes, I had read the K&N ads and was
a believer) 


Representative test units were chosen to give us a broad spectrum from cars 
right through large front end loaders. With each unit we had a long history of 
oil analysis records so that changes would be trackable. 

Unfortunately, for me, every single unit having alternative re-usable air 
cleaners showed an immediate large jump in silicon (dirt) levels with 
corresponding major increases in wear metals. In one extreme case, a unit with a
primary and secondary air cleaner, the secondary (small paper element) clogged
before even one day's test run could be completed. This particular unit had a
Cummins V-12 engine that had paper/paper one bank and K&N/paper on the other 
bank; two completely independent induction systems. The conditions were EXACTLY 
duplicated for each bank yet the K&N allowed so much dirt to pass through that 
the small filter became clogged before lunch. The same outcome occurred with 
oiled foams on this unit. 

We discontinued the tests on the large pieces almost immediately but continued 
with service trucks, foremen's vehicles, and my own company car. Analysis 
results continued showing markedly increased wear rates for all the vehicles,
mine included. Test concluded, switched back to paper/glass and all vehicles 
showed reduction back to near original levels of both wear metals and dirt. I 
continued with the K&N on my company car out of stubbornness and at 85,000 miles
the Chevy 305 V-8 wheezed its last breath. The top end was sanded badly; bottom
end was just fine. End of test. 

I must stress that EVERYONE involved in this test was hoping that alternative 
filters would work as everyone was sick about pulling out a perfectly good $85 
air cleaner and throwing 4 of them away each week per machine... 

So, I strongly suggest that depending upon an individual's long term plan for 
their vehicles they simply run an oil analysis at least once to see that the K&N
or whatever alternative air filter is indeed working IN THAT APPLICATION... It 
depends on a person's priorities. If you want performance then indeed the K&N is
the way to go but at what cost??? 

And no, I do not work for a paper or glass air filter manufacturing company nor 
do I have any affiliation with anything directly or indirectly that could 
benefit George Morrison as a result..