Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mazda 6 : Replacing spark plugs

First of all, disclaimer:

I’m not responsible for any damage you may cause to your car or, even worse, to yourself using instructions provided bellow. I’m not a professional mechanic and whatnot, so use these instructions at your own risk. Read entire post first and be sure you understand everything before you start it. If you’re in doubt – seek professional help.

Stuff you’ll need:

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Let’s begin.

  • Disconnect battery’s negative terminal
  • Remove plastic cover from engine

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  • Cleanup the area around ignition coils thoroughly, use whatever necessary (vacuum, toothbrush, etc) to make it clean, you don’t want any debris around when you remove your spark plugs.

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  • Use 15 mm key to remove those little plastic thing that holds engine cover.

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  • Disconnect coils wires.
  • Unscrew bolts that hold ignition coils
  • Remove coils

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  • Now, take spark plug socket and remove a spark plug (I’d recommend doing one spark plug at a time)

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  • Take new spark plug, put it in the socket
  • Apply small amount of anti-seize lube
  • And screw it back in place

Use torque wrench and tighten up spark plug to 8-17 ft-lb

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last one….

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  • Its time to reinstall ignition coils, but before you do, put small amount of dielectric grease in it.

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  • All coils are in place

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  • Put engine cover back in place and reconnect battery.
  • And, you’re done!

Before you throw away your old spark plugs inspect them for any signs of oil or white residue.

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Don’t forget to setup your clock, radio, and power windows as those were reset when you disconnected the battery.

Mazda 6: Changing power steering fluid – the “turkey baster” way

First of all, disclaimer:

I’m not responsible for any damage you may cause to your car or, even worse, to yourself using instructions provided bellow. I’m not a professional mechanic and whatnot, so use these instructions at your own risk. Read entire post first and be sure you understand everything before you start it. If you’re in doubt – seek professional help.

Here is an easy way to do it without draining your power steering system completely. The idea is not mine, some guy from mazda6club.com came up with it, and all credits go to him.

For this task you’ll need:

  • turkey baster:

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Royal Purple Max ATF

Steps:

  • Put your car on jack stands;

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  • Put your key in ignition and turn it to the first or second position;
  • Pop up the hood and remove power steering fluid reservoir cap;

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  • Take a turkey baster and remove 2 full basters of fluid from reservoir (when you do this first time, inspect the fluid, if its not nice and “pink-ish”, replace with 2 bottles, otherwise 1 is enough IMO);

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  • Put new ATF in reservoir (exactly as many as you removed);
  • Turn steering wheel from lock to lock couple times;
  • Repeat #4-6 until all fluid is replaced;

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  • Put the power steering reservoir cap back and lower the car;
  • Take used ATF to the recycling center

ATF, if spilled on paint, will damage it, so be careful, and wipe of any spills immediately.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Yet another MS interview…

Well, it didn’t go well, in fact I wasn’t prepared at all.. Anyways, here are the questions I was asked, and if you think about them, they’re actually “easy-peasy”.. oh, well:

1st guy (SDE II):

  • Implement singleton, discuss threading issues, performance, usage, etc.;
  • Design a cache (ask lots of question!).

2nd guy (Senior SDE):

  • Chatting about experience and stuff (for about an hour)..
  • Implement an algorithm converting roman numbers to integers

3rd guy (hiring manager, Senior Developer Lead):

  • I had another meeting with him the day before this interview loop, it was more screening interview, and he asked me to implement an algorithm which finds whether two linked lists are merged and find a point of merge.
  • At another interview with him (in the interview loop day) he asked me following:
    • Serialize/deserialize tree – given a tree (random binary tree, not BST), you need to serialize it, transfer it to another place (lets say, another computer in the network), and restore it to its original state.
    • Design an autosuggest service (similar to the autocomplete on Google’s search page)

4th guy (Senior SDE):

  • WPF questions: difference between Windows Forms and WPF, MVVM-related questions, Commands, binding;
  • Task: I had to implement single writer multiple reader object (where readers can’t read if writing is in progress, and writer can’t write if there are readers reading); Solve writer starvation problem (when writer can’t write because there all lot of reader and they’re keep coming).

5th guy (Principal Program Manager):

  • BST tree traversal (easy one, but he asked to write down the solution on paper, weird..);
  • Memory manager: design and implement.

That’s it, 6+ hours total.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Little update on a “footwell lights” installation post

Originally I installed a cathode under the driver’s seat by attaching it to the seat sprint underneath. Well, after some time went off, and when I took it off, it was broken. Turns out, if you install it this way, it will break eventually because you’ll be pushing on a fragile cathode with your weight Smile. Anyway, install in on a rod, that goes under the seat. I reinstalled mine, and it works fine since then.