My MacBook Pro


So, I use a 2015 MacBook Pro (15 inch, Retina) for pretty much everything. Graphic design, web development, software work, diagnosis… I’ve even used it as a hammer once. (long story.) I’m not exactly kind to it, (It has had quite a few close calls with death) But it just keeps on living. It’s probably the last Mac I will ever buy new, since it’s the last one to have USB ports and other stuff that I use all the time. I’ve done a few things to make it the ultimate computer for everything, and I’ll list them here in case anyone else needs to know.

  • Attached Meccano to the clamshell lid, so I can magnetically attach my external SSD.
  • Installed Windows and macOS as a dual-boot system.
  • Used a file to widen the MagSafe 2 port, allowing me to use either kind of charger with the computer
  • Pulled off the black hinge cover to improve ventilation
  • Reapplied the thermal paste to the processor(s) to lower the temperature under load. (the genuine apple stuff was crap)
  • Had the display replaced recently due to the de-lamination issue
  • Disabled SIP
  • Applied the many stickers to it that make it mine
  • Tightened the hinges.

With any luck, this one will last me even longer than my old MacBook Air did. (that’s a story for another day.)

3B Oil Change 7/08/2019


Oil Change – 270,375 KM

~ 7,100 KM since the last oil change

6.7 Litres Drain & Refill w/ new filter

Auto Value Country Hills NW

-WIX 51515MP Oil Filter – $6.23

-5L Rotella T4 10W-30 Oil – $24.47

-2x1qt “                             “ – $12.76

Net Total – $46.70

Grand Total – $49.16

Brake Breaker


Last weekend, I had to replace my rear brake shoes. Halfway through driving down Deerfoot Trail in what I can only describe as a monsoon, I noticed a significant absence of any stopping power from the rear of the truck.

I pulled over, and put on the parking brake, only to have the truck roll backwards on the 1° incline that I’d parked on. Using my front tires more as rudders than anything else, I made it home. Turns out, I had used up ALL of the rear brakes.

Upon taking off the rear right tire & brake drum, I saw a very shiny, metallic, thin brake shoe. Turns out I’d completely used up that side. Whoops. $60 later and I have a new set of rear brake drum shoes, though the parking brake lever thingy on the rear right is still acting quite sticky. Sigh. At least Thumper is back up and running once again.

Ghost PLUZ Google Map


I’ve spent the last few days turning the Government of Alberta PDF map of the Ghost Public Land Use Zone, into an actual functional map, that can be viewed on Google Maps, or downloaded as a KML/KMZ and then converted for use on another GPS system.

For reference, here is the link to the AB Government PDF map.  It can only be viewed with the georeferenced (GIS) context on the Avenza PDF Maps app for IOS or Android. As this is an incredible pain to use, I took it upon myself to recreate the map by making it an overlay in Google Earth, and then individually tracing out each line.

Here is the link to the version I’ve created, using Google’s My Maps feature. If you want me to make additions, or fix something I got wrong, contact me at my email and I will do my best to respond.

I take no responsibility for you staring at this map and driving off of a cliff; this is only provided as a navigational aid. Some lines may be slightly inaccurate. I created this using the May 2018 map, but as of the April 2019 map nothing has changed. I will take efforts to update this as each year passes.

There are individual layers for public highways, 4×4 trails, OHV trails, motorbike only trails, information kiosks, and various other things I don’t feel like listing.

If you are going to link to this map elsewhere, please leave credit to this page as I spent a long while recreating every single line.


BJ60 Clutch Saga pt.IV: Revenge of the Shift


So, I still haven’t replaced the master cylinder fully. I’m currently using the spare from another RMLCA member’s parts truck, and it’s serving me well. The slave cylinder, well thats a different story.

I got the rebuild kit in the mail, with an accompanied increase in anxiety – PartSouq shipped it in the box from a fan belt, for some reason. I was not ready to recieve the wrong part yet again. Thankfully, it was the correct rebuild kit inside.

I pulled the slave off the bell housing, and used the bench grinder to wire-wheel off the rust that encased it. Finally it was down to bare metal, somewhat, so after spraying on a bunch of rust protection, I painted it black, and then set forth honing the inside. I had to buy a new cylinder hone from CT, luckily it worked well.

It works! Finally, after nearly a month off the road, Thumper the BJ60 was back and better than ever.

Ok, still wasn’t perfect. I forgot to attach the clutch pedal return spring because I’m a dumbass, but eventually noticed.

Finally, that saga has been dealt with. Now, on to the next complaint.

I was driving home from school, and gradually, the brakes began to pull more and more to the right. Long story short, I pulled everything off in a parking lot and determined that the pads were stuck on one side, thus overheating and not working, meaning the other side was pulling more. I limped the truck home, and had to replace the caliper with one that my dad had stored away from his FJ40. It works now, and I don’t get serious burns on my hand now when I touch the hub on that side. Yay?

3B Oil Change – 13/04/2019


Oil Change – 263,241 KM

~ 7,100 KM since the last oil change

6.7 Litres Drain & Refill w/ new filter

Auto Value Country Hills NW

-WIX 51515MP Oil Filter – $6.23

-5L Rotella T4 10W-30 Oil – $24.47

-2x1qt “                             “ – $11.76

Net Total – $44.82

Grand Total – $47.06

BJ60 Clutch Saga Pt.3: Return Of The (many) Parts

Fuck, this is becoming a trilogy of trilogies at this point. Hence, I’ve renamed the past couple posts to fit with this unintended theme.

Okay, where to start?

Well, I have literally the most inconvenient year of BJ60 that was produced. “sure, yeah right,” you may be thinking – Allow me to elaborate.

Remember how I had an issue with my master cylinder not fitting due to the time it was made? Yeah no, that’s nothing compared to this. The reason my slave cylinder wouldn’t fit on soon became a source of confusion for me.

“surely they wouldn’t have had multiple bell-housings made for one model year, right?”

Guess what.

Yep. One year of BJ60 – 1985 – Toyota used a different mounting point on the bell-housing; not even slightly compatible with other years. I came to this discovery upon finding no record anywhere of a part like mine existing. The only source that even listed it was PartSouq and even then it was out of stock. Nothing else showed any sign of it; the only part anyone had anywhere that could fix my problem, is a genuine rebuild kit.

Out of curiosity, I called Stampede Toyota to see if they at least had a slave cylinder. My conversation with the Toyota Parts Guy ($TPG) went somewhat like this:

$TPG: okay, yours is… ’85 you said?

$Me: Yes, the 4 cylinder diesel.

$TPG: hmmm…

He does that about 6 more times. Over the 4 minute span of searching his catalogue.

$TPG: So as it turns out, your truck is the only year that Toyota used this part. Ever.

$Me: okay….?

$TPG: And that part is now completely discontinued.

$Me: …huh. What about cylinder rebuild kits? Any chance there are any sitting around anywhere still?

$TPG: Well, the catalogue shows one left in all our inventory. All the way in California, for $88. Once it’s gone, that will be discontinued.

$Me: welp. Thanks for searching around, I appreciate the effort

So that was that. There’s one rebuild kit left in Toyota Motor Corp.’s stock, and it costs twice as much as PartSouq’s rebuild kit. Fun. I’ve ordered the part, FedEx claims it’ll arrive at my house by this Friday the 22nd. I can’t goddamned wait.

Lesson learned, I suppose. If you have an old import vehicle, check before you order parts that they’ll be the right ones. I’ll update this when if the parts are installed this weekend. Sigh.

BJ60 Clutch Saga Pt.2: The Clutch Strikes Back


Jeez this is endless. I’ll give a timeline of my past few days:

  1. Last week, no truck because no master cylinder.
  2. Thursday night, I ordered a proper master cylinder from RockAuto.
  3. Friday, drove to Chestermere for a temporary master cylinder from a fellow RMLCA member’s parts truck. (Thanks Peter and Kevin!)
  4. Saturday morning, installed the master cylinder. Went for a test drive. Truck drove, but required the clutch to be pushed many times before anything happened.
  5. Saturday afternoon, looked at the slave cylinder on the bell housing. Drenched in brake fluid. Thank goodness I have a new slave cylinder already, I’ll install that tomorrow.

“Thank goodness I can drive it after I install this new slave cylinder, it’s been two weeks”

… I thought foolishly.

Turns out, the stupid fucking bullshit catalogue, that my Unnamed Local Auto Parts Store™ uses, doesn’t understand a single fucking thing about BJ60 land cruisers.

Once I got over the fact that the slave cylinder was completely the wrong one, I tried to fix the current one temporarily. Nope to that as well. After I thought I’d at least slightly fixed it, I went for another drive; as I pulled off to check the clutch fluid level, I promptly got stuck in a snowbank. Up to the top of my RF&RR tires. In a parking lot. A flat parking lot. Where 5ft away there was visible ground.

After standing in a snowbank for half an hour freezing my feet off hoping for help, I eventually got out with the help of a nice man in his new GMC. Sadly as a result of my earlier attempts to free myself, what was left of the clutch was even worse. It still kinda, barely, slightly worked, but not very well. I got home, and it completely lost all functionality as I got to my house. Upon stepping out, something smelled like burning. I still don’t know if that was my clutch. I don’t think I want to know if that was my clutch.

Come on, world. Gimme a fucking break, will ya?


BJ60 Clutch Saga Pt.1: A Lost Hope


Holy shit it’s difficult to find parts you’d think would be very common.

Last week, it was -35° Celsius here in good old YYC. Naturally, I set the Webasto (my 12v diesel coolant preheater) to warm up the engine before I got outside that morning. Stupid me, however, forgot that the other fluids would still have the viscosity of molasses, and upon pushing the clutch in to start the engine, I triggered a set of events that have caused me irritation and pain for the past week now.

I went to select first gear, but the clutch went all the way to the floor with no hesitation. Okay, annoying. Maybe it’s just cold. I drove all the way to school that morning, and all the way back, with no clutch. That evening, I called my local auto parts store and ordered in a new clutch master cylinder. It would be here the next day.

Indeed it was. But it was the wrong one; in April of 1985 Toyota added a vacuum booster to the BJ60, thus requiring an entirely different sort of reservoir. Guess what exact month my particular 60 was made.

The nearest supposedly compatible proper cylinder was in Coquitlam BC, and would take a week to arrive. Today, it came in, and was also the wrong one. Granted, it was closer to correct this time, but still completely wrong; that one was meant for the non-boosted LC. After the (very helpful) folks at Bowness Auto looked through every supplier they could, they suggested I find the stock part number. I called Stampede Toyota, to be met with news that a new part from them would be…. $350. And Bowness still didn’t have any luck finding anything. Either I get one from FJParts or I call Steve at EBI and see if he’s got something. Fingers crossed. Or, maybe I try to rebuild the old one…?

More to come when I figure more out, but for now – if you have a vacuum boosted Canadian BJ60 built after April of 1985, you need this part number: