New website, new Riven Journals upgrade

New website, new Riven Journals upgrade

It’s been so long since I updated this thing, I decided to just start from scratch with a whole new website. Something that’s not, well, entirely coded by hand in Notepad so maybe I’ll be more likely to update it. I’ll re-add more old content whenever I get around to it.

This website isn’t the only thing that’s new though, I’ve just finished another round of modernising the Riven Journals – just in time for Riven’s 20th anniversary!

What’s new:
  • The background music now plays on more modern browsers (including on most smartphones)
  • There’s a new compatibility shim to display the mouse hover text, which replaces window.status which has been deprecated for quite some time
  • All Perl code has been modified to work with newer versions of the language, which means the cookie handling parts work properly again. This means all .cgi pages work, there’s no more script errors, and Journal 5 is actually completeable now
  • All PHP code has been modified to work with version 7 of the language
  • Personally checked that the Easter Eggs are actually accessible, since no one’s found them yet (they’re pretty hard to find!)
  • A couple logic errors have been corrected (which were present in the original Riven Journals… I have no idea how I missed them for so long)
  • The Prefetching code has been updated with more hints, which should make browsing around the Riven Journals super fast with very quick page load times

You should totally check them out!

And if that’s not tempting enough for you, in honour of Riven’s 20th anniversary I’m unveiling some exclusive, previously-unreleased, never-before-seen Riven concept art of the schoolroom Wahrk counting number game:

Riven Wahrk Schoolroom counting game concept art(click to embiggen)

 

“Twenty years, Atrus… Twenty. Long. Years.” – Saavedro, Myst III: Exile

Now to wait for Riven’s 25th anniversary…..

DeLorean Radiator Bleeder Kit

DeLorean Radiator Bleeder Kit

One of the many weird parts about a DeLorean is its cooling system. The engine may be in the rear, but the coolant radiator is in the front. This not only makes for a very long coolant loop that takes a lot of fluid, but also means the system has multiple high points – and you have to bleed the air bubbles out from multiple places. The system wasn’t really designed with ease of maintenance in mind, but thankfully there’s a few upgrades/modifications you can do to make this job easier! So today I’ll be installing one of DeLorean Parts NorthWest’s Wings-B-Cool modifications, a radiator bleeder kit. This procedure can theoretically be done on the car as-is if you’re small & flexible, but I highly recommend jacking up the front right corner & removing the front right wheel to give you plenty of space to work in.

DeLorean Radiator Bleeder Valve

The best hacks are the simplest ones. This mod consists of nothing more than a T-valve, hose clips, and some temporary clear hose only used when bleeding (not pictured)

The normal procedure for bleeding the DeLorean’s radiator involves disconnecting a hose, having boiling hot coolant spray all over you in sputtering bursts between the air bubbles, then reattaching the hose again when you think you’ve got rid of all the bubbles. Even worse, if you have the original radiator, the hose barb is plastic and after 35+ years this plastic is very brittle and likely to crack on you, which means you have to replace the entire radiator. Thankfully I have an upgraded metal radiator, but even still it’s not a pleasant procedure. I did it once and swore that I’d do this modification before I had to change my coolant again.

DeLorean Radiator Hoses

The radiator return connectors – the lower metal pipe is the main coolant return line, while the upper flexible hose is an attempt at a self-bleeding system. It doesn’t really work and you still have to remove this hose to manually bleed the system

The procedure for this mod is pretty simple – clamp off the hose (or drain your coolant system), cut out a segment of the hose, insert & replace that segment with the kit’s T-valve. I have some clamps specifically designed to close off coolant lines which made this job super simple. I recommend either investing in a pair or borrowing/renting them if you’re planning to do this job without draining the coolant system, because otherwise you’ll end up with coolant everywhere.

DeLorean Radiator Hoses Pinched

Coolant bleeding hose clamped off & ready to be cut

Cutting a segment of this hose is probably the most difficult part of this job – and that’s not hard to do at all, which says something about how easy this mod is.

To operate the new coolant radiator bleeder, simply attach a temporary hose to the barb on the T-valve that leads into a suitable container, turn on the car, bring the engine up to operating temperature when the cooling fans cycle, then open the valve. When you no longer see air bubbles in the clear tube, turn off the valve & remove the hose and you’re done – it’s that simple! You might want to do this in multiple goes, topping up the coolant reservoir when necessary to make sure it doesn’t run out – if it gets too low you’ll just introduce more air into the system and then you’ll have to bleed the engine too.

DeLorean Radiator Hoses with T-valve

T-valve installed in place with my radiator freshly bled

You can also see another mod I recently did to the car on the right of this image – I taped up the gaps between the radiator & its shroud with metal ducting tape (which is a different product to duct tape that is designed to stay stuck at a wide temperature range and also when wet). This means more air goes through the radiator itself instead of going around it through the gaps. I’ve noticed it’s helped my engine stay a little bit cooler, but not by much – I would only recommend it if you have large gaps around your shroud and you also live in a hot climate, but don’t expect it to work any miracles for you. Properly bleeding the radiator will have a larger impact.

Once this radiator bleeder kit was all installed, I bled my radiator with the T-valve just to check it all worked. Interestingly enough, even though I had already bled my system before, I still got a few more air bubbles out of it this time. I guess that goes to show how much more effective this bleeder is vs removing & reattaching the entire hose! I would totally recommend this upgrade to other DeLorean owners, it’s well worth the small price to eliminate a messy job.

DeLorean Brake Fluid Change

DeLorean Brake Fluid Change

Not all the work I do on my car is fixing things or upgrading parts – sometimes I do regular maintenance too. For instance, flushing & changing my brake fluid – it’d been a few years since I last did this job and it needs to be done regularly, particularly on older cars that don’t have sealed brake systems. Plus, I also had some air bubbles in my brake lines that I needed to remove. Aside from the fact that all automotive fluids slowly degrade with time, brake fluid in particular is usually very hygroscopic (meaning it absorbs water very easily, even pulling moisture from humidity out of the air). Most brake fluid has additives that let it tolerate a certain amount of water, but it’s not very much. If it exceeds this limit, it’ll start rusting things in your brake system from the inside – which is even more concerning when you consider that brake fluid itself is highly corrosive if it touches the wrong things.

It’s also important to make sure you change the fluid in the brake lines themselves, not just the fluid in the main reservoir. Brake systems need to be bled of any air bubbles, too – if there’s air bubbles your brake pedal will feel spongy and won’t work as well as it should. There’s a procedure to follow for this that varies between cars, and the DeLorean uses a different order than the usual due to the car’s unique configuration, so be sure to find out the correct process before you start.

DeLorean Brake Bleeding 1

First set of fluid bled from my brake lines – super dark liquid in the bottle, tiny black flakes in the clear tube… This fluid change was definitely needed!

DeLorean Brake Bleeding 2

Part-way through the bleeding procedure. Remember to keep on topping up the reservoir as you bleed the system, you don’t want it to run low & pull air into the lines or else you have to start again

DeLorean Brake Bleeding 3

Bleeding finished, only clean fluid coming out now. You can see the liquid in the bottle is light coloured now. Time for the next wheel

After rinsing everywhere very thoroughly to make sure no corrosive brake fluid is left on anything, this job is done! This one’s not a very glamorous job, but ya gotta keep on top of the regular maintenance to keep a car running. 😉

DeLorean Brake Bleeding Finished

The brake fluid flush & change on my DeLorean is all finished!

DeLorean Horn Repairs

DeLorean Horn Repairs

Sometimes a problem can be caused by the tiniest thing. This was the case with my DeLorean’s horns – one of the two had stopped working so I was only hearing sound from the front left corner of my car.

Horns on a car are legally required to make a sound that resonates in two frequencies. Part of this is because some people have hearing difficulties in certain bands of the audio spectrum and it might just happen that they can’t hear your horn’s specific frequency, but also because if it was a single frequency there’s a chance that a car’s windows or body panels may attenuate that single specific frequency. But with two frequencies, the resonance between them creates harmonics that makes the alarm not only sound louder than it is, but because it’s now spread out over multiple frequencies there’s a much higher chance it will get through windows or body panels and it’s less likely someone will have hearing damage across all of its harmonics.

Some new cars have a single horn unit that operates on two frequencies, which is cheaper when made as a combined unit, but many older cars as well as large trucks just have two separate horns. Separate horns are simpler in their construction, they can usually be louder, and you can position them in different corners so the sound travels around your whole car better.

DeLorean Horn Outside

A DeLorean’s stock car horn, part number 100466 – this is the “high” frequency one. This part is shared by dozens of other 60s/70s/80s/90s cars, notably Jaguars

Sure I could just buy another one since it’s only $20 for a New Old Stock one, but I wanted to see if it was repairable. So I opened it up to see what was inside and wouldn’t you believe it… A single piece of grit was resting between the contacts, preventing them contacting & completing the circuit. That’s it – a single speck of the wrong kind of dust in the wrong position and it stopped working!

DeLorean Horn Internal Construction

Inside the horn – just some solenoids and a resonator attached to a metal diaphragm

I wiped down the horn’s internal components, reassembled it, and I also took the opportunity to clean the connectors of both of my horns – 35 years of corrosion does add a reasonable amount of electrical resistance, which makes for lower voltages & quieter horns. The end result – my horns now both work, they’re both louder than before, and I didn’t have to pay a cent to replace any parts. Score! 🙂