Archive for September, 2011

The blue dragon was misbehaving once again. To repeat, it’s a 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera with the Tech-4 variant of the 2.5L Iron Duke engine. She was idling really rough, had a lot of vapor coming from the exhaust, and was drinking coolant at an alarming rate. After replacing the faulty radiator, the coolant leakage got better, but didn’t stop. Sounded like a head gasket issue. Someone told me to check the oil, if it’s a milky color, that means there’s coolant in it, which signals a blown head gasket. So, when I popped the valve cover off, I saw this:

I think that qualifies as a “milky color”. Yikes. Ok, so time to start pulling the engine apart to get to the head gasket. After about 4 more hours of labor and a few smashed arm incidents (those head bolts are tight!), I finally got the head off, and saw this:

Now, a lot of this coolant got in there while I was taking the head off, so it’s really not as bad as it seems. But, notice that cylinder #1 (leftmost) is slightly more full than the others. After drying the water out, the problem became much more apparent:

Yikes again! And so was it really the gasket? I inspected the head and didn’t find any cracks. Then, taking a closer look at the gasket, I found the problem:

So long story short, it was another 5 hours of labor to get everything back together into good working order. I think the total job ran me about $285, which isn’t bad considering I did pretty much an entire upper engine rebuild. That price includes new head bolts (which you should always do – if you reuse, they can snap. If they snap, you’re done), two oil changes, new exhaust manifold, more coolant, and all the associated gaskets.

Photos from my phone from Sunday, 8/28, the day after the storm went through.

Photo of the lake behind my apartment, the water is supposed to stop a few feet short of that fence you see sticking up.

The crushed stone is supposed to be a dam all the way across the end of the lake, with probably a good 10-foot drop-off. As you can see, the water does no dropping. Houses past this dam had at least two feet of water against their walls.

River, errr, Route 1. This is the view from the Route 95 overpass. Looking north, there were a few cars that had gotten stuck. The water was halfway up their windshields.

Rooting the Droid 3

I do have a droid 3, and have been waiting anxiously for a rooting mechanism. Yesterday, when someone on a mailing list I frequent posted a link to a forum announcing a droid 3 root, I had to get in on it. But the mechanism was in the form of a Windows binary-only application. Below the link were several people complaining that the file was tripping up their antivirus software. Running strings on the file, I was able to see that it was creating outgoing TCP connections to port 6667 (IRC). You do the math on that one. I was also able to extract the rooting method, though, and I’ll reproduce what I did for others:

Run “adb shell” on a computer connected to the droid to enter these commands.

mv /data/local/12m /data/local/12m.bak
ln -s /data /data/local/12m

Now, reboot the phone. When it comes back up, adb shell into it again and run:

rm /data/local/12m
mv /data/local/12m.bak /data/local/12m
mv /data/local.prop /data/local.prop.bak
echo ro.sys.atvc_allow_netmon_usb=0 > /data/local.prop
echo ro.sys.atvc_allow_netmon_ih=0 >> /data/local.prop
echo ro.sys.atvc_allow_res_core=0 >> /data/local.prop
echo ro.sys.atvc_allow_res_panic=0 >> /data/local.prop
echo ro.sys.atvc_allow_all_adb=1 >> /data/local.prop
echo ro.sys.atvc_allow_all_core=0 >> /data/local.prop
echo ro.sys.atvc_allow_efem=0 >> /data/local.prop
echo ro.sys.atvc_allow_bp_log=0 >> /data/local.prop
echo ro.sys.atvc_allow_ap_mot_log=0 >> /data/local.prop
echo ro.sys.atvc_allow_gki_log=0 >> /data/local.prop

Reboot the phone again. When it comes back up, adb to it a third time, but this time notice that you have a root prompt! Setting atvc_allow_all_adb to 1 disallows adb from dropping its root privileges. Now, to make this accessible to the device, run:

mount -o remount,rw /dev/block/system /system
cat /system/bin/sh > /system/xbin/su
chmod 4755 /system/xbin/su

Now, go into the market and search for the “superuser” application. Install the one with the jolly-rogerish logo, then run it and have it install its su binary. Once that’s done, we need to remove the su application we created, so in the adb shell you still have open, run:

rm /system/xbin/su
mount -o remount,ro /dev/block/system /system

That’s it! You’re all set. Enjoy having root on the droid 3!