Sunday, November 22, 2020

It's Like Magic

 I love family.  Frankly, my greatest joys are family, and if not family there are some who would be close enough.  Sure, machines are awesome, but these people are a priority.  What's probably weird is that it is an antisocial guy who is making those statements.

When your niece asks you for a wand from the Harry Potter books, do you stop working on stuff and focus on that?  The answer is a resounding "yes".  My niece is a fanatic of "Luna Lovegood".  She asked me to make Luna's wand for her.  That silly niece knows that she can ask, smile, and I'd make something for her.  (The others do, too - which doesn't bode too well for me as they ALL have me wrapped around their little fingers.)

This was actually the most technically challenging thing I've ever done, and I've done some things to within five thousandths of an inch.  Turns out, this was a piece of wood done to within 5 thousandths of an inch.  Not knowing about the wand, I took to the Internet.  I found a picture of the wand and a brief write up about it (a Harry Potter fandom page), obtained the overall length from another Google search (34cm), and scaled and printed the wand.

Next I set out with calipers to get the dimensions (distance between features, diameters, etc).  That gave me a "machinists drawing" to work from.  I could not find any rosewood, all the wood shop stores had were maple blanks, so that's what I had to use - white, untainted, plain maple.

I broke out the wood lathe, and....

...promptly hosed the first one.  I learned that with that much flex, I needed to do the ends first, and work my way to the middle.  If I turned down the middle and then did the ends, there was too much flex in it and it would likely break.  I also found that you need to use a support with where you are cutting the wood - and since follower rests don't exist for wood lathe tools, you have to use your hand.

I do not recommend using gloves on a lathe.  I do NOT NOT NOT! But that's what I had to do.  Friction from the gloves and the wood got hot enough that my nerves were damaged (it still hurts typing this up and it's been a few days).  But, any sacrifice is worth it for me nieces and nephews.

I finally got a reasonable replica of the movie one (which looked like dark walnut, actually, not rosewood) in shape.

Next was indexing the grooves on it.  It was the first time I'd done indexing on the wood lathe.  It turned out okay, and I was excited to do it.

For the finishing, I used stains (I was starting with plain maple, right?).  First were two layers of "sedona red", followed by a couple of coats of dark walnut.

The final result still has yet to be done - I need to part the end off to length, and I need to cut the pommel side into the wand.  But the interim result looks fabulous!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Religion - The Art of Ministering

This post is going to be one long post, and it will be edited over time.  Today (inside the walls of our church), we were given the task of re-reading a book of scripture (3 Nephi) and researching all of the instances of "ministering".  Our greatest examples of ministering come from Jesus Christ, and with as much about Christ as is written in 3 Nephi, this could become a long post.  So here we go.

The first chapter starts out with a description of the then-current social norm - anything Christian was considered bad.  At this point, the descriptions of the civilization can be broken into two groups - those that followed the prophecies about Jesus Christ, and those that despised them for it.  Essentially, according to the backdrop, there was a targeted day on which the anti-Christian would kill the Christian if the prophecy of his birth had not occurred.  This alone strikes me as similar to current social norms - if you don't subscribe to the current ideology (we can call that a theology, it's the same thing in this case), you are likely to be "socially assassinated".  This is the backdrop for how this story begins.

After describing the scenario, the commentary immediately describes a prophet who "went out, bowed himself down", and "cried mightily" for his people (3 Nephi 10-11).  This simple act of prayer is the first directly reference of ministering.  Before any action happens, before any plans are made, it always begins with prayer.

This prayer then resulted in the second act of ministering - it was answered, "this night shall the sign be given".  The astonishment when that sign occurred was strong - the anti-Christian group even fell to the earth.  This was then met with fighting against what had been documented.  Arguments, lyings, and deception ran rampant in an attempt to discredit.  Despite this, there was a strong effort by the ministering angels of the time for peace (peace is a result of abiding by the moral teachings of Jesus Christ, so the entire list of repentance comes into play).  The big thing


It appears that there are some steps to ministering.  As this post is compiled, this summary will also be compiled.

First, ministering begins with prayer.  Before someone acts, there will be a prayer - even if no god was involved.  Our thoughts and hearts have to be in the right mood to do it.  Not always are these prayers answered at the time we think we need it, but they are answered.

There will always be opposition from people that do not take time to understand, or who desire to find the negative in an attempt to discredit efforts.  This happens even today (a former church member trying to identify missed taxes, etc).

CentOS and choqok

Trying to get a twitter client on my desktop, they all seem to be python.  I'd rather have a real package, and set out looking for choqok (I'd used it before under Fedora).  Unfortunately, CentOS doesn't release an RPM for choqok.  Here's how I got it installed.

First, install a few dependencies :

yum install cmake kdelibs-devel qjson-devel qca2-devel qca-ossl qtwebkit

Then, we have to install qoauth.  Since CentOS doesn't have a native package, we need to install both qoauth and qoauth-devel from something else, along with a few other dependencies that didn't exist in CentOS 6.  I grabbed them from the fedora 15 (anything more recent and you'll have a KDE version problem since later fedora's work with more bleeding-edge.  Here are the packages you'll need :

rpm -ivh /home/jlewis/Downloads/qoauth-1.0.1-2.fc15.x86_64.rpm /home/jlewis/Downloads/choqok-1.1-1.fc15.x86_64.rpm /home/jlewis/Downloads/choqok-libs-1.1-4.fc15.x86_64.rpm /home/jlewis/Downloads/attica-0.2.0-1.fc15.x86_64.rpm

9 distribution (e.g. and  Then, I ran :

rpm -ivh qoauth-1.0.1-5.fc19.x86_64.rpm qoauth-devel-1.0.1-5.fc19.x86_64.rpm

Once complete, you can then install the client.

Auto Parts Lathe

I wanted to start building my own machine shop.  Again, I'm cheap, so I don't like to spend money on things I'd only use once in a great while, and I still wanted the full capability.  I looked at Harbor Freight lathes (seriously, don't even bother with them - they are tiny, and not as accurate - if you need accuracy, buy a big one).  My father had a book series by David Gingery about building your shop from scrap.  I could easily start that, but I had a need for a lathe in pretty short order.  I didn't need one I could put stock through the headstock for cutting things off (I could easily use a saw to cut and then surface if needed).  That gave me more options, and, since I had access to a few left over auto parts, I thought I'd put something together.

First, I grabbed the two rear hubs that had been sitting around waiting for my father to build a trailer.  (He donated them to the cause.)  Additionally, I had some pulleys left over from a small block rebuild I had finished up a few years earlier.  This gave way to the auto parts lathe.  I threw down some ideas on paper :

I toyed with the lay out a few times until I had something I thought worked, then started over when I realized the rear hubs I had were not driven (they were from a rear wheel drive), so I couldn't be turning the hubs on top of the spindle.  I needed to anchor the hubs down because they can take some serious lash (this is why I went with them - the bearings are perfect for a headstock).  I revisited until I had the above design (there were three different designs before I settled).

Next up, was to dismantle the assemblies.  It took a blow torch and a hammer to break the drums from the hubs, but once freed, I could remove the spindle nuts and bearings and separate the hubs from the spindles.  This is IMPORTANT, because the bolt holes on the back of the spindles are NOT SYMMETRICAL!  (To illustrate why that's important, think about the vibrations in a washing machine that is unbalanced - it is NOISY, and that is also after the vibration cushions have removed the bulk of the unbalanced load - imagine spinning it even faster with some serious weight - it gets dangerous).

So, once I had the parts apart, I could mark where the symmetrical holes needed to be bored.  I put the two spindles back-to-back, and by identifying the larger-spaced holes on opposite sides and getting as close to centered as possible, I sprayed some spray paint into the holes and let it sit for a minute.  When I pulled the spindles apart, I had BOTH sets of holes marked.  If you only get one spindles holes marked, then you have some amazingly tight spindles.  Odds are not in that favor (which is good for lazy people like me), because of rust, time, and the fact that the spindles didn't need a perfect balance because they weren't the parts spinning while you drove down the road.

Once the holes were identified, I had to transfer those marks to the OTHER side of the spindle flange, because my drill press wouldn't work from the back side using a caliper and a scratch awl (it's a cheap, harbor freight, 8", bench top drill press).  With the marks on the upside, I could then drill them out.  I found the drill bit that matched the already-existing holes, clamped the parts down, and began to drill them out.

You will note that, once the holes are drilled, you will end up with four sets of close holes.  Before starting to assemble anything, grab a spare, used, Chevrolet small block pulley.  I had some aluminum pulleys left over from a previous engine build, so I had something light to work with.  Mine had a lip on them, and before I thought about it, I had started to grind off the lip on it.  You don't need to do this, because that lip will be machined and well balanced.  What you really need to do is center one spindle on the pulley (on a side that is flush, preferably), and mark four symmetrical holes from the spindle to the pulley.  Separate them, and drill the holes out.

Once drilled, you can assemble the bulk of your headstock.  First, obtain some bolts that are just long enough to go through both spindle flanges, the pulley, and have just enough room for the nut.  Any longer, and you can run into interference from the hubs that are going to be put back on.

Lock those bolts down solidly - your life depends on it.  Then, reinstall the hubs onto the spindles:

Once complete, you have the basics of a headstock.  The pulley should turn independently of each hub.      The only things left to do on the head stock are :

  • Build an assembly that will attach to the spindle and allow a faceplate with clamps.
  • Build braces for the hubs to bolt to the "bed".  These can use standard angle iron, or you can use a length of a cars frame.
  • On that note, don't forget to build the bed.
  • And you will need a tail stock.
The braces can be built from angle iron welded together.  I have yet to do this part, and likely never will (I bought a lathe).  Sure, the theories are good, and I'm leaving this post here because someone could use this in an emergency.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Craftsman 534.0601 Replacement Tailstock Clamp

I was turning a new tool handle a while back, and in the middle of turning, my tailstock clamp broke.  I suppose I had tightened it a little too much, and cast iron isn't "strong".  It is brittle.  I looked eBay over for a few months and found very little, and last Saturday, I thought I should go through my scrap bin and find some steel to mill a new clamp.  Luckily, I had a spare to finish (a second lathe) the tool turning, and I used that to measure for the new part.

I grabbed a chunk of steel, and virtually squared it up (technically, I left the large surfaces alone because they'd be close enough).  I did this one slightly wider than the original (more meat equals stronger part, right?).  With the stock squared, I milled the mating surfaces to match bottom of the bed (just like the old clamp, about 0.08" down from the top surface).

I then flipped the part, and milled the slot for the through-bolt and it's head.  Here's the broken clamp (right), the spare I used as the measurement in the back, and the new one in the front :

Now I have the spare headstock put away (with it's clamp), and I have the solid steel one in place on the bed.  I dare not tighten it too much because I don't want to snap the lathe bed.  Since the part was a cast iron part, I made the choice to stamp it with the original part number (L2-7).  This I did in case someone needs to replace it in the future - they can look up the part number along with the model and know what they need.

I installed it, and it works as it should!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Problems With Your Kernel Boot in VirtualBox?

I had a boot problem with my SilverHawk Linux build.  It runs under VirtualBox, and the "init" for the boot did not load.  It actually resulted in a Python stack trace that had so much information, it scrolled past what was needed, and you can't scroll back.  There was instantaneously a need to log all kernel boot information.  Here's what you need to do in VirtualBox.

  1. Open the settings for your virtual machine.
  2. Click on "Serial Ports"
  3. Place a check mark in "Enable Serial Port".
  4. Select "COM1" for the port number (unless you have another one, obviously).
  5. Select "Raw File" for the Port Mode.
  6. In the "Path/Address", you can then specify the file you want it logged to.

Once that is done, you can then add a kernel command to redirect output to your boot kernel command line in your Grub/Grun2/ISOLinux boot program.

serial --speed=115200

Now when you boot your system, you should get a new file (overwritten) that contains the boot sequence that can be used to debug your boot problem!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Carburetor - Adding Ported Vacuum

On my carburetor, there is no ported vacuum for the vacuum advance on the distributor.  Many hot rod folks say to just use manifold, but manifold and ported are actually inverted.  Using manifold vacuum for your vacuum advance would mean that you get MORE vacuum advance on idle than you would on open throttle.  So, I decided to remedy that by installing a nipple on my Holley carburetor fuel metering panel.

You have to make sure that the fuel metering panel supports it, and that the carburetor has the input, too.  Ported vacuum is truthfully the vacuum produced by the venturi effect, which comes from the carburetors venturi (not all carbs have them, but mine as a venturi carburetor does [surprise, surprise]).  It also had the vacuum channels required to support venturi vacuum, so I know I'm good.

I was actually surprised to find that the vent hole where the vacuum nipple attached was not sealed.  Venturi vacuum would pull air directly from the outside.  That was more shocking.  Most folks drill out the metering panel a little bit more and install a 1/8"NPT nipple.  I wanted a more "stock" look, so I measured a few things.

I used some brass hex rod that I had laying around, and drilled it out, then shaped it on the lathe for the nipple that I had on my old carb.

Parting it off, I had a functional vacuum tube.  The fuel-metering-panel end had a taper so that it would be a press fit into the existing hole.

It was then only a matter of pressing it into the fuel metering block and ensuring that it did not cover the hole into the venturi vacuum chamber.

Now to get the carburetor installed.

Custom Elbow Spacer for Car

 As I'm nearing getting the Corvette fully operational, I found with this new engine block that I needed a customized elbow for the oil pressure sensor.  On this new (old) block, the oil pressure port is sitting on the back, top edge right by the intake manifold.  With having the Holley Contender put onto the block as the manifold, I suddenly had the need to redirect the oil sensor in a different direction and away from the HEI distributor.  So, I made two of them (the first one turned into a goof).

The first one I made from a block of aluminum.  I ensured I had a flat and parallel surface or two to use as a marking surface.

I got them marked up.

I drilled the through-holes for the elbow first using a 7/64" drill bit, broke that off, and re-did it using a #18 drill bit.  This is sufficient because the sensor only has a 0.020" hole for the pressure to make it through, so a #18 is plenty of surface area without going too large on the hole. I also used a 3/8" end mill and bandsaw to remove extra stock so I didn't have such an interrupted cut on the lathe.

Once I had the two drilled holes connected and cleaned, I chucked it up into the lathe.  I centered it using the #18 drill bit to make sure I was axially in line (not a rotating part, so even if I'm off 0.005" there isn't a problem as long as I don't puncture the side or have weakness there).  Then I could cut a flange and thread.

I went to install it (I never even cut the upper, female thread before this point).  Turns out, it wouldn't fit.  It was about a half inch too short to clear the intake manifold.  [sigh].  Round two - ding! ding!

This time, I took a chunk of aluminum round bar.  This was the easier way to do it, anyway.  I used the lathe to drill the first hole (much longer than the first time, because I can cut stock off if needed).  Then I turned it down for the shoulder, and subsequently turned down the threaded portion and installed the thread.  After that, I put it in the mill and put three flat faces on there (two so I can use a wrench to get it tight enough, and one for the face that will have the intersecting hole).  I did the parallel faces first, followed by the intersection next.  With the last face done (and while it was still in the mill), I used a 5/16" end mill to put a hole in it, then a 3/8" part way in, followed by a short stint on a 7/16" end mill.  See, this one has to be a 3/8" pipe thread, which has a taper, and the different sizes will get me close enough to use a pipe tap.  I then started the pipe tap using a straight-shank center in the same 3/8" collet, and put the tap in place and began cutting.

I think this iteration is going to work just fine.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Mad Scientist

 I have my old PC I built in 2004.  It still runs awesome (it has a copy of Windows Vista that I don't boot into).  Recently, the memory crashed, so I ordered some new RAM for it.  While it was out, another project I've been procrastinating started.  I wanted to quiet it down a bit so I started working on my liquid cooling setup.  First, I got all the parts together and started assembling :

My first implementation had the liquid split before each CPU.  I'll tell you in hindsight that this is a bad idea.  I was lucky enough to not have the system fully installed before I realized that.  If the liquid splits, one of those tubes could have an air pocket that prevents liquid from flowing there.  That means you'd have one CPU not getting cooled.  Again, bad idea.  Here it is, replete with a ton of air pockets that I could not clear out because of the arrangement :

My second iteration cycles just fine.  I pipe one quad-core CPU output as an input to the other CPU.  Yes, that second CPU will run hotter.  But with the speed of the liquid, it should be minimal.

Once I validated that I have a functioning closed-loop on the liquid, I started looking at the wiring.  I need to power all three fans on the radiator, and I need to power the pump.  That means I need a molex splitter and a molex-to-3-fan adapter.  Those have been ordered, and should arrive some time this week.  Once those arrive, it will be time to actually bolt it all together.  I need to bolt the radiator and the pump to the chassis, and then I can find a way to anchor my ugly, cheap reservoir (yes, that reservoir is a pickle jar with one tube extended all the way down to pick up the water/additives).

Again, I don't care how this one looks - I'm not going for "style" points here.  If I did, I'd have used a red-dye instead of a blue one.  It is simply a proof of concept before I do the other liquid-cooling setup.  That one is also an older machine (again, a 2003 dual CPU [each being a quad-core Xeon]).  That one is specifically intended to be a work of art.  Reservoirs will be glass jars with custom lids and fittings turned on the lathe, copper and brass manifolds all out in the open (no chassis other than a carbon fiber back plane to hold it all together, think "exposed steampunk").  I am getting close to crossing that one off my list since I'm now taking my first steps.

Good News and Bad News 2020

 I have good news and bad news.

That's not true.  I have great news and okally-dokally news.

Before I could get it to run on it's own, I had to drop the 18 PSI fuel pressure down to 8.  I installed a fuel pressure regulator for that, and then it only took an hour to get it "running".  The Corvette has now been started on it's own (no more pouring fuel down the carburetor throat).  The timing was 4 degrees after top-dead center.  It makes a difference when you advance it enough.  Right now it's at 8 degrees before top dead center - I need an additional 4 degrees advance, but it still runs.

Now for the okay-dokally news.  There are a number of issues I need to work through before I run it again.

First, the radiator hose is 1.510" on the inside diameter.  The radiator is 1.131" on the outside diameter.  Yes, it didn't just "leak", it flooded my garage.  That's okay.  I just need a Gates 26390 hose reducer.  It should go from a 1.5" size to a 1.25" size.  That problem is "solved", but is waiting on parts.

Next, I need to work on the fuel delivery.  The engine runs best with the idle mixture screws in all the way (barely seated).  That's not right (hear me out - it's really not).  It means I have fuel coming from somewhere.  The main jets don't engage until you have a little more pressure (your power circuit for fuel).  So, it's not my jet sizes.  The throttle plates are probably going to need adjusting,  to get the transfer slot mostly covered.  I know the secondary throttle plates are good.  The primaries I cannot see, so I'm going to have to take off my carburetor again.  If I am going in there, I probably need to do some work on my metering panels.

I want to (while I have it off) check that I have the power valve blowout protection, and get some new power valves in there to make sure that isn't my problem.  The symptoms align with the power valve being blown.

I need a ported vacuum for the distributor vacuum advance.  I need to install that to my fuel metering panel.  It looks like it has everything there (channels, etc).  I think it will be just drilling the fuel metering panel out and installing a hose flange for the distributor.

A little more information.  The intake manifold, 14057053 GM CFM 43, is for some 350 CUI blocks.  It's a spread bore intake.  I have a spread bore adapter for a square-bore carburetor.  Note, I still have my "Holley Contender" intake manifold from my old 350 CUI engine.  It is a dual-plane 300-38 (701R-38) "dominator" intake manifold.  If I remove my carburetor to handle the power value blowout protection, I'll probably swap that in.  Here's the "Contender" information :

The carburetor is a LIST-7010 carburetor (4160-style).  It has a secondary metering panel installed to it, center-hung floats (fully adjusted now), and should flow 780 CFM on it.

This thing should be able to idle smoothly.  Let's get started tuning it!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Corvette Fuel Line Connected

 I've been struggling with the fuel line for the 'vette.  With the carburetor sitting on it, I either needed to replace the carb, or custom build a fuel line.  I did not want one of those "adjustable" pieces of garbage, and no one made a dual-inlet fuel feed line for a carburetor that was modified with another fuel metering block (you know, because I changed from a vacuum secondary to a full fuel secondary).

I started out with one of those $30 dual inlet adapters that claimed it would fit (9.375" between inlet centers).  It was 0.250" off, so I tried to bend it to fit, and ended up with a fuel leak in some pin holes.  It was very thin wall, cheap, and had poor results.  That went into the trash fairly quickly.

Next, I bent some solid 3/8" stainless fuel rod, and milled a "y" trunnion.  Unfortunately, it never set right.

I bought a kit from Summit Racing that supposedly fit.  I mean, it had to work, right?  It had the 9.375" center-to-center, and listed a 5/8-18" inverted flare fuel inlet.  Turns out that's what fed from the fuel line.  When Summit Racing says "fuel inlet", that's not necessarily the fuel inlet.  Yeah, it's all wrong.

My final attempt was steel rod and a T block.  It took some effort flaring and bending the setup.  However, when I was done, it all fits, and I don't have a weighted system hanging on some rubber hose that will crack faster than a password in War Games.

And, with it all connected up :

Yes, I used some heat wrap on the fuel line.  I should have used it all the way to the carburetor, but I just didn't.  Now I gotta get the battery charged, and I can give it a shot and see if she runs on her own so I can tune the carburetor, then get the engine timed, and then ensure I have the transmission set up properly.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Buffalo Bill - William Cody Museum's Simulated Shop

 I had a chance to visit the Buffalo Bill museum in Cody, Wyoming.  The best wings of the museum were the Native American wing and the Art wings - primarily because fewer people were there.  The saddle shop was good, the natural history wing was excellent, and the Buffalo Bill wing had some good stuff in it, too, such as Annie Oakley's guns, trunk, and an outfit.

They also picked up the Winchester collection of guns (from the gun manufacturer) in 1976 as a loan, but ended up with it changing ownership to the Museum in the late 80's.  Although the guns (all 4,000-displayed of the 7,000 gun collection) were cool, too, there WAS a gem in there.  Right in the middle of the wing was a simulated machine shop.  That's where we're going with this post today.

First up was a "double spindle lathe barrel driller" by Baush Machine Tool Company out of Springfield, MA (serial #5975, made around 1931).  Having "spindle lathe" between "double" and "barrel" is good because a lot of people probably thought it would make a double barrel - but it won't.  It was a production machine intended to allow two barrels to be drilled at once.  Those are long reamers on the machine - there wasn't a gun drill on it.  A drill bit for a barrel would have been a nice effect, really, but they just had reamers.

Sitting next to that was a lathe made by the Pratt & Whitney Company from Hartford, CT in 1930 (serial # 2953).  It's the one in the front.  For some odd reason, they labeled the one in the back as a turret lathe while it was the one in front.

In the back, manufactured by Builder's Iron Foundry out of Providence, Rhode Island, was what they called a turret lathe (serial # 2758 made in 1930).  Yes, those really are barrels sitting next to it on the floor.

On the other side of the simulated shop was this little gem.  It's a "multi spindle" drill press. It's missing a few quill handles (and other things).  Manufactured by the Henry & Wright Manufacturing Company out of Hartford, CT, it was serial number 15426 made around 1911).  You can potentially set it up with different drill bits in each spindle, and a single person could quickly drill out all of the necessary holes in a receiver without having to change bits until the drill bits were dull.  You guessed it, those are receivers sitting on the table.

The final piece of equipment in the "shop" was a Screw Cutting Milling Machine by Brown and Sharpe Manufacturing Company in Providence, Rhode Island.  It was made in 1905.  This was one of the quickest ways to build the screws required to assemble everything.  Sure, you can cut a screw on a threading lathe, but the reality is this should be both faster and more accurate.

This was a great museum, simply for the machine shop.

Friday, July 31, 2020

2014 Dodge Ram Integrated Trailer Brake Controller

I like factory looks on things.  I love adding accessories, but only if they have that original feel.  Case in point, all of my lathes.  The anomaly is the corvette.  Anyway, I needed to be able to haul my in-laws trailer after their truck experienced issues, and wanted a trailer brake controller.  One (factory look) plus one (wanted brake controller) equates to pay-a-way-over-priced-dealer-or-partially-overpriced-parts-and-do-it-yourself.  Add in the third variable - I'm cheap - and it just happened.  $400 later, and I saved $200.  Can I tell my wife that it was on sale, so it should be okay?

You absolutely HAVE to have the two connectors in the wiring harness for this to work.  For a picture of those, scroll down to the bracket photograph - they are the ones covered in a foam protector.  Anyway, here are the parts :
  • Three screws to attach the bracket to the dashboard frame - DO NOT USE PHILLIPS, SLOTTED, OR TORQX screws - you won't get a screwdriver on them (or a ratchet)
  • Switch itself (part # 68105206AC for a 2014 ram 1500)[the big switch bank [with the tow-haul button] is part # P56054468AA, in case you break that - don't ask me how I know.
  • Control module (part # 68092738AD)
  • Bracket (not sure of a part number, but a tag with a handwritten note had 68160146 if I read that right, see below)
Tools :
  • 7mm combination wrench (if you h]ave one that ratchets, use that)
  • 10mm socket and wrench (for the battery cable)
  • Phillips screwdriver (for the switch bank removal)
  • Small slotted screwdriver (to disconnect tabs)
  • #20 torqx bit (either screwdriver or ratchet wrench/socket, for the small tray at the top)
  • Tiny hands
  • A good vocabulary (see previous tool)
Here are pictures of the parts to the kit :

It's a 2014 Ram 5.7l (everyone says "Hemi", but I don't think it is) 1500.  I ordered the parts, and set to work.  There are a number of videos out there on the installation.  I liked the briansmobile1 video up to the point he used electrical tape instead of the third screw - and he had a dealer make the configuration change.  Another video seemed great, including the configuration change using AlphaOBD ( - that's what I chose (because I didn't want to spend $200 and wait for 2 hours).

Briansmobile1 indeed skipped that top forward screw - and with good reason.  It is painful. I don't want to show my hands after that.  Brian shows running the screws in before any installation to get the bracket threaded.  This is a MUST!  It will allow you to get the screws started using fingers.

After the preparations (threading and disconnecting the negative battery cable using the 10mm), I began.  I pulled the dashboard apart.  Yes, that's my stereo - I had a short and wanted to see if I could solve that problem while I was in there.  Turns out, you find a lot of stuff.  My radio connector on the back wasn't completely connected.  It snapped in.  I found a Camel cigarette wrapper buried in the dash.  I was missing two screws.  I found three wires just hanging out (those were under the steering column).  It looks like this had been in an accident, and had a new wiring harness that had some unused wires.  Oh, well.

With the dash taken apart, I swapped out the switch.  It's an easy change, just four screws, pull the whole switch bank panel, and then pop out the old and pop in the new.  Then re-insert the panel and screw it back in.  Don't re-install the whole center dash panel yet, though, as you will need to put the bracket in.

Next, the bracket.  This shows that I have those two connectors for this to even work, and where that bracket goes.  It's in the drivers foot well (under the steering column, yes, you need to remove that, too).

I started the bracket using that forward/top screw.  It's the painful one that everyone seems to skip.  I had to use the open end 7mm wrench to make it work, and it was very much a contortionist experience.  My hand came out raw and scraped, but once that screw is in, I did the others with less stress.  Expect that bracket to take the longest time.

After getting the module bracket installed, peel off the foam from the connectors, and install the controller module and the two connectors.  Re-install the lower dash panel.  And then plug those center console connectors in.  Make sure they clip all the way in.

With that, you can snap the center console back together, and re-install the top "coin tray" screws.  I was missing those, so i had to go to my hardware bin.  You can take a moment to step back and gaze in amazement that you didn't shoot the truck and leave it for dead with that painful bracket screw from earlier.

Yes, that looks dark.  When doing this on a black truck when the outside temperature is 102.8 degrees Fahrenheit, you start going indoors to cool back off.  It takes longer.

Next is the AlfaOBD install. I used an OBDLink MX+ bluetooth (don't do the wifi version).  Also, thinking I could use the demo version as it claimed to have all the functionality, I ended up paying the $50 for the app because it will not do a car configuration change in demo mode.  There are four changes to make, and when you are done, it should be fully functional.
  • CustSetMenu 2-Trailer selected CSM
  • CustSetMenu 2-Trailer name CSM
  • CustSetMenu 2-Trailer type CSM
  • P/T Chassis Net-ITBM/HWM Integrated Trailer Brake Module
So, after all of that, I kept seeing the check engine light (I hadn't started the truck yet), and grabbed the codes.  I was getting a U113B (lost connection to switch bank module), and I have a random yellow wire hanging out :

It turned out the switch bank (next to the brake switch) had a broken connector lock, so it came loose.  That's what the U113B was telling me.  I made a quick repair (I didn't want to spend another $60 on that module, so I used a soldering iron to melt the clip back together and then used electrical tape to ensure a solid connection).  That part number (for my own future reference if the "fix" doesn't hold up) is listed in the following picture :

Looks good, and it triggers properly!