tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:/posts Don Don's Garage 2020-03-30T19:03:07Z tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/1103727 2016-10-30T23:11:17Z 2016-10-30T23:13:35Z Geemers the GMC DBI-7000 Has been sold.
I had a lot of fun with it, My dad and I took it to the 2016 ATHS Plymouth Show, and it's been to the Blackhawk Cars and Coffee meetup a couple of times.

I agreed to sell my GMC when I bought my new truck. I found a great guy via ATHS from Texas who was interested in it and we struck a deal.  He arranged for a transport to come pick it up, and I was able to drive it one last time up onto the trailer.

I'm glad I played a part in saving this truck, and I hope to be able to see it eventually all done at one of our shows.

Laters friend, and good luck to you.

tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/1097338 2016-10-09T15:44:55Z 2020-03-30T19:03:07Z Slide Conversion Project 2016 Version 2
I've added a 100mm Macro Lens instead of using a zoom and extension tubes as well as a stack loader which makes it a lot faster loading and unloading slides.

That was 40 slides in about a minute.

Of the couple things we've learned doing this: Keeping the slides in their carousels isn't a good way to store the slides for the long term. If they are in any kind of moist environment the slides can begin to warp and they will jam the feeders of even the carousels they are in. 

The stack loader isn't any more forgiving than the carousels for warped slides, those I have to feed in one at a time and they take a lot longer to process. 

Storing your slides in something like this can save you a lot of space and aggravation if you care about the slides you are storing.

Adorama 35mm Size Master Slide Storage Box with Divider Boxes, Holds 2,160 Slides, 18 1/2x16 5/8x2 7/8"

tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/1060079 2016-06-05T21:16:02Z 2016-10-04T18:02:20Z Blackhawk Cars and Coffee 6/5/2016
Testing my new 100mm f2.8L macro lens out at the  6/5/2016 Blackhawk Cars and Coffee with my friends Lisa Dalisa and Austin Batista.


Lisa brought her red formula hooded 71 "Sheila" out for the first time. Austin had his Macho TA out. I had the "bird" my 2001 WS-6. 

The 100mm lens is not a good walk-around lens, I knew that going in. I just wanted to see what it could do. I purchased this lens for close-up macro work, but I know it's got a good reputation for portraiture. 

I concentrated more than I normally do on people and small details.  I'm really pleased with the lens for the right kind of thing it will be fantastic. For a walk around lens at a car show I definitely prefer my 18-135 zoom, or my 28mm prime. 

With this 100mm fixed I find I need to be looking 40-60ft away for action to shoot which is kind of unnatural. Trying to shoot a car within standing distance and get it in frame is impossible and there are too many people milling about to get a clean shot of a car 40ft away.

I also got to use my new battery grip for the Rebel SL1, I haven't had a battery grip since my original Rebel.  The Rebel SL1 is an ever so slightly smaller camera body, and it takes different batteries than the old Rebel so the old battery grip wouldn't work with the new camera. I think this one is slightly more awkward especially considering it requires a small cable to hook from the base of the battery grip to the remote shooting port of the camera, unlike the original Rebel battery grip that used an internal connection. But it got the job done.
tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/1058414 2016-06-01T13:54:15Z 2016-06-01T13:54:15Z Slide Conversion Project 2016
I figured you all might be interested in my slide conversion project. 

We've started with Christina's family (since those are the ones we have). 

My photographer friend Mark Phelps turned me onto a method of using a projector without it's lens going right into my DSLR with a macro lens. I did some research found I had most of what I needed already. Just got some extra sundries and a good projector.

Christina and I did 1200-1500 slides over memorial day weekend.

I still have a stack loader so we don't have to load/unload the tray coming for the projector and I got an AC power adapter for the camera yesterday so I don't have to stop and swap batteries now.

The setup:

The results are of course highly dependent on the quality of slides but I can color correct some in post processing.


tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/906560 2015-09-18T05:27:05Z 2015-09-18T05:28:53Z 7th Annual Muscle Cars in the Park Sunday, September 13 2015
My friends Lisa and John, below and I went to Muscle Cars in the park, and they let me drive their 79 Bandit (far left). John drove his Rockford clone with side pipes, and Lisa took Roxanne their third gen dealer converted sportster which ended up winning a first place trophy.

Shaker hood shenanigans at a stop light

p.s. yes, Lisa knows her brake light is out...She will just blame John for not fixing it so don't mention it to her. It makes her cranky.


I was playing with my new 55-200 Zoom Lens for all the shots, it really was the wrong tool for most of the job but it took some good pictures, just a little too narrow field of view for walking down isles of parked cars.

tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/906547 2015-09-18T04:17:13Z 2015-09-18T04:25:13Z ATHS CCC Annual Presidents Picnic 2015
I spent some time with friends from Central California Chapter of the ATHS met a new member Joe White and his family. 

This is a picture of his 4 million mile 1960 Kenworth

I found out he was at the same ATHS National Show that I took my Blazer to in Yakima 2013.

Also shown here in a video with some of the history

tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/904349 2015-09-12T15:17:16Z 2015-09-12T15:21:07Z Some rare seat time for me in the Jimmy
Moving Jimmy out for some work

I'm still learning how to drive this beast, and making plenty of mistakes.

In the video you'll hear me bog and choke the engine, and grind some gears, and generally be confused about what gear I'm really in.

This manual transmission is known as a 5-over. With a two-speed electronically switched diff, for 10 forward and two reverse speeds. It has Air Brakes, and Manual Steering.

Shift pattern is as follows.

R 2 5
1 3 4

There is a diff gear selector on the stick. Out is High, In is Low. I think I got that wrong in the video.

1 is a granny, so generally starting in 2-lo. 

When unloaded the shift sequence to get to highway speed is 2-lo, 3-lo, 4-lo, 4-hi, 5-hi. In 5-hi at 2100 rpm it's topping out just under 65mph.

Fourth and Fifth are interleaved so when splitting gears the pattern once you reach 4-lo is: 4-lo, 5-lo, 4-hi, 5-hi.

In this video most of the problems I experienced are from not running the engine at high enough revs before shifting. These two strokes like to be at about 1800+, which makes them sound like they are doing 4000rpm, and it would like to be there at all times.

Another thing I've learned since is while launching from stopped to hover on the clutch a little bit longer before letting it fully engage while building revs and accelerate briskly to avoid the bucking.
tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/682843 2014-04-27T15:23:53Z 2014-04-28T19:47:26Z ATHS CCC Truck Show and BBQ at Kirkland Ranch Saturday April 26 2014
2014 Howard Kirkland and all the members of the Central Valley ATHS Chapter Celebrated 28 glorious years in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. 

Great trucks, great food and great Friends what more could you ask for.

The Wrecker and GMC weren't ready to go yet, so I took my 30yr Old 220K mile Detroit Diesel Bazer.

Despite the threat of rain, the weather held out and it was a great show.  Smaller than last year but great show none-the-less.

Arial View (Taken by another member)
tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/682800 2014-04-27T13:11:57Z 2014-04-27T15:13:41Z Trans Ams at A&W in Lodi on Saturday April 19th 2014
Trans Am Club of America GSC and the East Bay Firebirds participated in a Cruise in to the A&W in Lodi on Saturday April 19th 2014.

I met up with Bear and Darren in their first gens at Black Bear Diner just off Hwy 205/Grant Line, in Tracy and we drove to Lodi together.

tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/639260 2014-01-08T10:08:28Z 2014-01-08T10:59:05Z The 57 Wrecker gets some airtime I found a video of the tail end of the inaugural April 2013, Blackhawk Museum Cars and Coffee event, and the wrecker makes an appearance at the end.

Entering the following May 2013

Entering the August 2013 show

tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/638189 2014-01-06T00:59:02Z 2014-01-06T01:05:49Z January 2014, Blackhawk Museum Cars and Coffee
I didn't get to take anything as I'm not driving yet after my spine surgery, but I met up with some firebird friends and went through the show. 

The highlights to me was an 80's BMW M1 that looked like it was a rip-off of a Ferrari 308, and they were sitting next to each other to compare.  The owner said they were made by BMW to compete in a racing series that ultimately never happened. There were 400 cars made none sold in the US. This car was one of 60 that he believe came to the US out of Italy.

A very cool modern Corvette modded to look very convincingly like a 65 Split Window.

 A 1947 La France Fire Engine replete with most of its tools and accessories.

My first look at a 2014 Stingray. The lambo doors are not standard. 32 MPG econobox.

A Blue Angels Anniversary Car complete with in show traffic chatter between pilots playing on the radio.

tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/638165 2014-01-05T23:31:19Z 2014-01-05T23:44:13Z Telecommunications Closet
When we purchased our home in 2010 we decided to start with AT&T's U-verse for phone, video and data. That allowed us to go ethernet across the board and no longer rely on coax cable for cable tv signal delivery.

I built a communications cubby in our hallway, and I had our electrician that we were having do some renovation work to the house rough-in all of my Cat6 drops, run the cable, remove all of the jumbled coax and old telephone cables and add an electrical outlet on its own circuit to my telecommunications cubby.

I've had a friend ask for some advice and what I used so I detailed here on listmania which is part of Amazon.


We have a drop of 4 Cat6 cables in every room including a kitchen cabinet for an under-cabinet tv. The cubby is a little busy now, but it was worth every penny.  My only regret is I didn't have the foresight to have the electrician do a drop in the garage at my workbench.  But at least wireless reaches.

tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/607581 2013-10-10T05:44:36Z 2013-10-10T05:45:52Z 2013 ATHS (American Truck Historical Society) National Convention in Yakima, WA
This year I took two weeks of vacation and went to the ATHS National Convention Show in Yakima, WA. that ended up having over 800 Trucks and Trailers.

I entered the Chevrolet 1984 Diesel K5 Blazer, because it's the truck I have that I could trust to make the 1500 mile round trip and It is in fact a historic truck at 29 years old. Thanks Blade for keeping it in such good repair for 28 of those years.  Without Blade's meticulous maintenance it wouldn't be the special truck that it is.

With 320k miles on it; its a survivor and still my daily driver.

At the show the tools I carry in the Blazer came in handy helping out a GMC owner who arrived with some water pump problems, he did a field replacement shadetree mechanic style with buddies bringing a replacement pump to the show, buying the necessary gaskets from a vendor in the hall and what couldn't be gotten at the show a short trip to the parts store took care of.  Props to the guys at http://www.oldgmctrucks.com/

There was so much at the show I didn't even get to photograph most of it. What I have in the slideshow is just a sampling.  Nothing compares to being there, hearing the engines, and smelling the exhaust.

tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/607570 2013-10-10T04:42:39Z 2017-10-10T02:22:34Z Blackhawk Cars and Coffee April 7, 2013

I was fortunate enough to find out about the inaugural Blackhawk Cars and Coffee event http://www.blackhawkmuseum.org/carsncoffee.html a few days before it happened. 

I took the 57 Wrecker. It was a huge hit with the museum staff and the kids.  I try to take the wrecker to as many of the Cars and Coffee's as I can, people are always excited to see it.

The wrecker even made it into an article (and the slideshow) written for the examiner about the event: http://www.examiner.com/article/cars-and-coffee-debuts-blackhawk-with-great-success?no_cache=1365490026

Even Ferrari's aren't immune to a little birdy bombing.

A gratuitous shot with some classics at the end.

tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/553417 2013-04-30T06:01:10Z 2013-10-08T17:19:55Z 2013 ATHS Kirkland Ranch Truck Show
I attended the 2013 ATHS Kirkland Ranch Truck Show in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

Unfortunately just as a spectator, I wasn't confident the wrecker could make it.


Here's two of my favorites:

tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/354899 2013-03-13T16:35:48Z 2013-10-08T16:37:39Z Test drive from hell, for the salesman. ]]> tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/354900 2013-02-06T04:33:53Z 2013-10-10T05:50:34Z You can't keep a good truck down! The K5 Blazer was in good company this afternoon when I got word it was done and ready to be picked up from the transmission shop.

Cobra in the far bay

Checking out the handiwork.

The transfer case for the most part survived but it was rebuilt with new bushing and seals, and 312k miles of road grime removed.

The driveshaft couldn't be saved, this is my spiffy new one.  The shiny pipes are the recent Magnaflows.

The transmission got a new-to-me used 'K' case cover and completely rebuilt, we were able to keep the original shift-kit in it though. You can't see it in the photo but it got a new HD Diesel torque converter as well.

The truck is driving awesome, shifts smoothly. All the slop in the column shifter is gone, it's actually aligned with what gear position it is in now.  It goes back to the shop after a couple hundred miles so they can re-check everything.  Lets see if I can get another 300k out of it.

tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/354901 2013-02-04T06:11:00Z 2013-10-08T16:37:39Z The 57 Wrecker at McDonalds and bad things happening to the K5 Blazer

With the K5 Blazer down for a few days I used the Wrecker to go get some breakfast, passed the Norm's Towing guy on the way in.

On 580 going home, huge BLAM, bang bang bang bang....  AAA and Save-Tow to the rescue.

The Ujoint had a catastrophic failure, used the transfer case as a lever and broke a rear transmission mount with it's flailing, the transmission case cracked and broke as well as bent the driveline butt good.

This is NOT how you would like to see your transmission.
tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/354902 2012-10-14T01:47:00Z 2013-10-08T16:37:39Z Adding one to the family

1984 K5 Blazer 6.2L Diesel

Impeccably maintained by the original owner for 28 years. He special ordered this truck very well optioned in 1984. He's documented almost every fuel stop, oil changes and unscheduled maintenance. Which I'm continuing to do. It recently passed 310k miles and still gets 20mpg.
tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/354904 2012-09-22T13:35:49Z 2013-10-08T16:37:39Z Baby, headin' for the highway, we ain't comin back. ]]> tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/354905 2012-09-21T04:26:31Z 2013-10-08T16:37:39Z The BlueBird has left the nest.

With all of my resources going into the wrecker the BlueBird was being neglected, I finally decided it was time to let it go.

It left tonight with it's new owner and regretfully it sounded especially good as it drove away.

I hope the new owner and his family enjoy it as much as I did. Farewell ol' friend.

tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/354907 2012-07-15T02:22:20Z 2013-10-08T16:37:39Z Redwood Chapel 14th Annual Car Show featuring Firebirds

Biggest turnout of Firebirds I've seen in the SF Bay area, by my count we had 23.

Official photos will be released by the show you can check this link.

More groups are pasting their photos on facebook.
tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/354908 2012-07-09T19:24:03Z 2013-10-08T16:37:39Z A Ford Fiesta that I wouldn't mind driving through SF. ]]> tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/354910 2012-06-23T14:41:00Z 2013-10-08T16:37:39Z The 57wrekr has finally got new shoes
After a long consultation, saving up for resources, and checking with several local tire shops I settled on Les Schwab. http://www.lesschwab.com/  in Livermore. My tireman was Jim McKee and he knew his stuff. He identified 3 of my original six wheels as widow-makers and he pointed out the features that he was looking for. I knew I already had 3 different styles of rims amongst the set and had it on good authority that at least two were widow-makers.
I really wanted to upgrade to single piece wheels with modern tubeless radials so what I settled on were the 22 5.x6.75 Accuride #28157 wheels that came stock in grey.  I had Les Schwab powder coat them in black.  The tires are 255/70R-22.5/16 Gladiator QR55-ST Highway and they are a perfect match for the old 7.5x20 tube-typed tires that used to be on the truck.  The are a tiny bit wider but almost the same outside diameter. There's no rubbing at full steering lock, I couldn't have asked for a better match. Thanks go out to Stu McMillan from the stovebolt.com forums for the original recommendation.
After getting the tires done it was time to go get some lunch on the way there I had to cut through the safeway parking lot and I noticed I had a stalker.
This guy was halarious.  He was soo excited he was fit to be tied. 
He pulled up next to me as I parked at Burger King and he said he threw his wife out of the car at Safeway and chased me down.  He had just watched one of the Cars movies that morning with his kids and he was just tickled with the truck.
So I popped the hood, and we talked for a good 30 minutes, he gave me his camera to take pictures of him with the truck, and I took a  snapshot from my phone as well.  It was a fun experience.
tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/354912 2012-04-11T15:40:27Z 2013-10-08T16:37:39Z SIZE MATTERS - Semi Truck Drift Gymkhana Feature ]]> tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/354913 2012-02-07T20:02:19Z 2015-06-05T18:10:25Z The Derelicts a short film by eGarage ]]> tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/354915 2011-11-29T18:24:23Z 2013-10-08T16:37:39Z Dead Battery on Top of BART Parking Structure

Not thoroughly impressed with SaveTow, but they managed to get the job done.

This morning after being charged overnight the truck is running fine and idling normally.
tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/354916 2011-11-24T20:43:26Z 2013-10-08T16:37:39Z New mirror and vent window for mater \

Finally got the vent window replaced as well to keep the rain, critters and yellow-jackets out of the cab.

The new one (left) came with a bent bottom support, I bent it back with my benchtop vise, all in all worked beautifully.

I also replaced the horn plate contacts and cleaned up the rust inside the center of the steering wheel to solve my horn-short issue.
tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/354918 2011-11-19T18:27:36Z 2013-10-08T16:37:39Z Pulling the tow truck out, another destroyed mirror.

Time to look for some modern replacements that I can fold in.

tag:www.donovanbray.com,2013:Post/354920 2011-10-04T16:38:23Z 2013-10-08T16:37:39Z Awesome commercial, If you don't immediately recognize the voice you need to turn in your drivers license. ]]>