Monday, October 5, 2015

70 minutes to Complete a Normal Wash Cycle?

This is a part 2 of my efforts to fix my Whirlpool Washer and the dreaded F21 error code This code means there is a slow drain issue with the unit and that it could easily be fixed by emptying the contents of the lint trap or replace the motor. I have already removed all the contents of the lint trap (which had a lot of gunk buildup) but the F21 error continued to persist so I thought that the next logical thing to do is to replace the drain pump motor. Maybe the lint trap buildup just caused the motor to malfuntion.

The water pump part number 8540024 was replaced by part# W10130913 and I was able to source it cheaply from Walmart US for US$70. I could have purchased it from ReliableParts and have it shipped to the store which is close to my house but that would have set me back $173. I ordered thru Walmart US and had it shipped to my mailbox at Blaine via 5dPackages (they only charge $2 for packages under 30lbs). After picking up the package, I followed the instructions here to replace my old water pump. It was super easy.

The moment of truth came. We had enough dirty laundry to test the washer, to see if the F21 error had been resolved. Success! I no longer see this dreaded error but the clothes were still wet. It didn't spin at the end of the normal cycle (ran for 55 minutes) which is why I think the clothes are still wet. I set the dial to Drain/Spin cycle to see if I would have to replace the belt that makes the drum spin. This cycle takes 15 minutes to complete and it does spin quite fast. It even successfully drains the water and results in drier clothes.  Total wash time is 55+15=70 minutes.

Have you seen this before? I think there is sensor that is not calculating the load correctly and therefore not going into the final spin cycle. Haven't been able to find anything else about it on the interweb however. I think I'll let this one ride until it breaks again at which point I'll head over to The Brick for another front-load washer.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Engine Break Cable Replacement for my Lawn Mower

It's been more than 3 years since I had any issues with my 11A-410A552 MTD Yard Machine lawn mower (see previous history here so it must be time for it to give me some anti-love. The engine break cable broke this past week so I couldn't mow the lawn. It also broke a while back but I was able to jerry-rig a replacement by re-connecting the cut cables with some wires and super glue. Can't believe that it lasted for 3 years. Instead of doing the same fix this time, I gave in and bought a replacement engine break cable. I searched around the web for the correct part number to order from MTD's website or from Ebay but my lawn mower must have been made before 1996 because I can't find any manuals for it.  The closest I could find was from Sears with part#746-0551 but said it was a throttle cable. It didn't look right so I just went to CanadianTire and was lucky that MTD sold this part #746-0552 for $20 including tax. It was the exact cable I was looking for. Problem solved.

I can now get back to not mowing my lawn.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Rugged Maniac 5K Obstacle Race

I finally completed my first obstacle race called Rugged Maniac. It was a very easy race for me, at 5k in total and 25 obstacles. Perhaps it was because I was expecting it to be difficult like Tough Mudder or the Spartan race so I over trained for it. Or maybe it was just tailored to be an easy race with so that there is a repeat next year. Whatever it is, I had fun. 

I went with my friend Greg, Amy, Colin, and their friends this year. They live very close to the Cloverdale Fairgrounds so I just biked it to his house for an easy 6k ride just so I can get warmed up. After checking in, we immediately climbed a chest-high wall to get to the start of the race and this was great teaser. 

When our wave time started at 1pm, I immediately regretted wearing white socks as we start out with "shoe catcher" obstacle where you cross a mud pool and immediately find yourself knee-high in mud. One of my favorites was "the ringer" because I didn't think I could do it. I have a bad shoulder and didn't know I could swing across like a monkey over a puddle of brown water. I think it was thanks to losing so much weight that I was able to carry my body easily. 

Near the end, there was "the warped wall" which was a half-pipe and required a running start to get to the top of the wall. There were helping hands at the top to hoist you over the wall but I didn't need any help getting over. The key is to make sure your shoes aren't muddy or wet so that you have enough grip to propel yourself over the top. 

I didn't get the timing chip this year but the clock at the finish line said it took me 1 hour to complete the race. I don't think I'll time myself in future Rugged Maniac races because this was all just for fun just like the Color Me Rad 5k race earlier this year. I would definitely do it again and just wished more of my family and friends would join in. It was probably the $100 price tag at the gate or the prospect of getting injured that deterred many. I say stop whining, get over that obstacle, and let's get rugged!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Love-Hate Relationship with my Bike

I purchased the SC 700C Solaris Hybrid bicycle over 3 months ago at a discount and was super excited to start getting fit. It helped with my daily dose of exercise, clocking in at 22 km per day on my bike commute. I have been riding to/from skytrain station from Monday to Friday for the past 3 months and love it.

Just like wearing my Fitbit Flex consistently, I have gotten used to this routine and love my bike that way. I hate my bike when it affects my routine and takes me off-kilter. I have already had numerous issues with the front and rear derailers so I had tons of practice adjusting it so that it's perfect. The bike also does not go as fast as other bikes because I see riders easily pass me on similar routes using other hybrids. It just seems to lack efficiency which is actually better for me because I end up exerting more effort on a 40 minute bike route. Using Endmondo on my phone, I average around 17 km/hr using this bike and that's on a good day when all my muscles are at peak performance.

The other day, the rear tires were deflated so I had to miss 2 days of bike commute until I was able to get to patching the hole. It was the same hole as before so I knew exactly where to look but still it was a nuisance. Last week, the right pedals wore out because they were made of plastic but I didn't expect 3 months. So I went back to the store and requested for a warranty replacement of the right pedal which I easily got. A few days later however, the left pedal also started to break apart so I again went back to claim another parts replacement which was a little more difficult. I had to explain to the sales person that I could put on the pedal myself without having to wait on Thursdays for the technician to do it for me. Regardless, I now have replacement pedals which should last me until end of September.

It is a love-hate relationship I have with my bike. I hope this bike holds for at least a year until I buy a more efficient road bike.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Daily Bike Route Errday Errday

Here is my new daily bike route to and from work (marked in blue). The distance is approximately 11 km and it takes me about 45 minutes to complete one way. That's a solid 22 km with the return trip daily, if the weather plays nice. The terrain is not quite flat and has some slight inclines (shown in the pop out) so it takes some getting used to. I plan to cut down the time to 30 minutes hopefully in 3 months time, but for now I'm just happy to be able to complete a day of cycling.

Monday, April 20, 2015

How I Improved on my 10K Race Results

We just finished running the Vancouver Sun Run this past weekend and am happy to see that I improved significantly from last year's Sun Run race results by 9 minutes. It took me 52 minutes to complete a 10K run!

I ran the Granville Island 10K Turkey Trot last November and finished that in 55 minutes but I also don't think a 10km route for one event equals a different event in terms of time it takes to complete. So looking strictly at the stats for the Sun Run, I also dropped to being in the top 22 percentile for my age category instead of being in the 50 percentile from last year and the years before that. It must have been 4 years since I was able to run the Sun Run in under an hour so I begin to think what it was that let me break out of the cycle.

Lose Weight 
I weighed close to about 170lbs every year that I ran the Sun Run, except this 2015. I lost about 12lbs to prepare for the race through a combination of daily exercise and diet. I would say it's the diet that actually helped me get over losing the last 5lbs. I looked at the Whole30 program which focused on reducing carb intake, and this helped a lot I'm currently trying to understand how to decipher the ingredients in the food I eat, specifically which powerbars are good to have when the hunger-cravings kick in.

Improve Endurance 
Reducing weight helped build my endurance by being able to easily carry my body through 8km runs around the Stanley Park Lagoon every other day. I find that I am able to get back to my normal at rest heart beat much quicker now and I attribute to having more endurance through constant training. I insert swimming and cardiovascular workout at the YMCA gym in between to help reduce wear-and-tear on my knees.

Get Home to Son's Birthday Party 
My son had a 12:30pm birthday party the same day as the Sun Run so I had to make sure I finished in record time so that I can get home to help out with the preparations. It would have been in very poor taste if I missed it.

Regardless, you should find your own motivation for beating your previous year's Sun Run time. To find out about your race results in 2015, go to

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Name That Saint or Hero Challenge

Last week, I helped my kid with his homework to name as many saints or heroes from a poster of cartoon characters. It was difficult and we could only name a few like Pope John Paul II, Mother Theresa, or Joan of Arc. These characters always wore the same clothes so it was easy. It was especially difficult naming the other characters  because I had just come back home from a week long trip by bus from Seattle. I wasn't really into it and could hardly see the image that my wife took of the poster. At one point, I named rapper Tupac Shakur as one of the characters on the poster (I'm a big fan). Under different circumstances, we would have named more but apparently our efforts were good enough because my kid received a medal for it. That's awesome.