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Tag / DIY

This is Part 2 of our Garden Revamp project, part 1 can be found here, which I’ve forgotten to include the original design done by Haze on Sketch Up, it is now included in this post.

Garden Revamp Plan
Garden Revamp Plan

We followed the design quite accurately, with the only difference being omission of the climber fence on the right bottom corner. We ended up planting kantan flower, lengkuas, and lemongrass on that particular plot, which does not warrant a climber fence.

building the water planter, aggregates, sand, cement
building the water planter, aggregates, sand, cement

By far, the most difficult part of the project involved building the water planter, which serves three purposes:

  • filtration system for the koi pond
  • planter for water plants such as lily, lotus, kangkung etc.
  • pond for edible fish (tilapia, soon hock)

We made some rough measurements on the red bricks, aggregate, cement, sand, wood, and BRC needed for the planter and went to the nearby hardware store to get the goods.

the second layer is a bit trickier
the second layer is a bit trickier

Concrete work started on the 8/5/2016 in the evening. It turned out to be quite an unfortunate timing as you must complete concrete pouring in one go, it started raining heavily half way through and gotten dark, we ended up working till past 10pm to get it done. Thankfully that was possible partly due to the lights we had bought for Mount Kinabalu hiking trip.

After the foundation is done, we built up the perimeter with red bricks and cement (1 part cement, 3 part sand mix). We’ve also added some pipings for water inlet (1.5″) & outlets (2 x 2″).

waterproofing turns out to be quite a challenge, we used Sika
waterproofing turns out to be quite a challenge, we used Sika

To make the upper level of the planter, I laid out bricks to support the wooden mould and did the same concrete pour. Then it was another round of red bricks and cement.

The inside of the pond was done plastered with cement and then painted over with Sika waterproofing agent. Waterproofing took quite a number of iteration as our plastering job was quite corse and uneven, thanks to the lack of experience. Oh well.

Building the water planter took a month, but water proofing was another couple months since we took some time off in between.

holes for posts in preperation for climber plots
holes for posts in preparation for climber plots

While building the water planter, we also built some fencing for climbers.

The poles were actually 1″ water pipes sourced from local hardware store. We dug 1 feet deep holes and cemented the poles in with concrete. They turned out to be quite sturdy.

we procured galvanized fencing and repainted them black
we procured galvanized fencing and repainted them black

We then affixed galvanized fencing (with anti climb fence fixtures) by drilling some holes on the poles. The lesson learned here was on drill bits, always buy quality bits, I ended up spending so much effort drilling a couple holes with cheap bits while the more expensive Bosch bits did the job with ease.

We then painted the whole thing black to suit our color theme.

At this point the garden is some 80% done, awaiting piping & planting. Will update part 3 with a rough total material cost soon.

After successfully experimented with planting our own herbs and vegetable at home, we decided to actually have a garden that looks worthy of a house an artist live in. So earlier this year, Haze spent some time in coming up with a proper garden design, and we started our (eventually) 4 month long project on April this year.

While I showcased the new garden a little bit on this post, I thought having a series to properly document our journey would be nice.

grass removed, and design chalked on the ground
grass removed, and design chalked on the ground

Haze wanted the garden to look beautiful, while I wanted a design that include a big water planter to replace the current plastic koi pond filtration system, plus something that isn’t overly too complex to DIY. That took quite a few weeks.

After finally landed on a design that satisfied both of our requirements, we started ground work in early April.

Rich was kind enough to lend us a rotavator that made removing the grass and turning the soil over a much easier job.

After clearing the land, we used some chalk to draw up the plan on site and went upstairs to take the first look on how it’ll look like.

using red bricks to confirm our design
using red bricks to confirm our design

Next, we bought some red bricks and lay them on the ground according to the design, then we started by preparing a couple planting beds ahead of time since we had some plants in pots that needs a permanent home while the garden revamp is in progress.

laying irrigation piping
laying irrigation piping

Next was a crucial part which many gardeners fail to do – having proper irrigation system.

We buried the PVC pipes underground and made sure each planting bed has an outlet. This proved to be a great time saver and especially important if you’re not someone who’s going to be able to water the garden manually every single day.

Our watering system utilizes a timer so everything is done automatically once installed. I’ll end up channeling the water from fish pond to irrigate the garden.

stone pathway and planting beds
stone pathway and planting beds

Next up was laying pathways on the plot. For this we actually put down some landscape fabric to prevent possible erosion of soil and to attempt to slow down potential growth of weed on the pathway. We used gravel on the semi-circle side and later topped up with smaller yellow pebbles for aesthetics.

old railway sleepers as pathway
old railway sleepers as pathway

For the pathway leading to the deck, we procured some abandoned railway sleepers and cut them to size. This was done using a circular saw and had to be cut from bottom and top. We actually used some mahjong paper to make samples shapes and make sure everything lined up too.

This step was quite a laborious task considering how heavy these woods were, but at the end we were very happy with the results.

Upcoming part two I’ll share the concrete work on water planter as well as the climber’s structure of our garden.

fixing the noisy side mirror

A common problem that plagues the Toyota MR2 (SW20) is the leaky side mirror mounting that results in a lot of wind noise when cruising at high speed. This is rather annoying, especially when you try to have a decent conversation with your passenger, not to mention it dampens the sweet turbo spooling sound that we all love to hear.

The procedure described below is for Toyota MR2, but I assume the same should be able to applied to other make and models facing with the same problem.

To determine if the noise is from a leaky side window mounting, place your finger near the tweater when travelling over 80 km/h. If you can feel a tiny stream of air coming out of the tweater, you’ve got an air leak that needs fixing, unless you have a very loud stereo.

I first read about this procedure from the Japanese MR2 FAQ site, and decided to do it myself. This is what I did:

fixing the noisy side mirror

First, take off the tweater mounting by prying it off with a flat screw driver. It is mounted much like cell phone covers, should come off with relative ease. Proceed with unscrewing the 3 screws that are holding both the tweater and the side mirror together. If the screws are too tight, use a hair dryer to melt the thread locking glue that are covering the screws. I did not face with this problem.

fixing the noisy side mirror

After the screws are undone, the side mirror should be left dangling on the power cord that powers the motor for adjusting the mirror.

fixing the noisy side mirror

Other than screw drivers (both philip and flat), all you need is some thick double sided tapes, and a pair of scissors.

fixing the noisy side mirror

Apply generous layers of double sided tape around the mounting of the side mirror. Make sure you do not leave any holes for any chance of air seepage. I applied about 3 layers of double sided tape.

fixing the noisy side mirror

Put everything back together, the screws might be a little tougher to get in this time since the 3 layers of double sided tape are rather thick. Just push the mirror closer to the door and give it a good squeeze.

After putting everyting together, give it a test run. The wind noise should be gone, you’ll be able to enjoy the turbo spooling sound even at relative high speed now.

DIY
   
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Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter

This step by step illustrated air filter cleaning instructions is for open pod air filters that are of oiled cotton fabric type. Brands offering such after market air filter includes K&N, Apexi, and HKS Powerflo (the one I use). Comparing to the stock air intake and filter that rather restrictive, these open pod air filter system provides easier breathing for your engine, thus increasing amount of fuel that it can burn, which translate to slightly higher horsepower and potential for modding. Another benefit you get is that the filter element is reusability, you don’t have to buy new ones whenever it gets dirty, you simply clean it.

The stuff you need:

  • Screw driver
  • Air filter cleaning agent

I had chosen the KW Filter Care Service Kit that I bought for less than RM 20. It came with a spray bottle of cleaning agent, and a bottle of air filter oil. There are several other brands of cleaning kit available on the market, they should do the job equally well.

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter

The Steps:

  • Remove the air filter from the car
  • Brush off any dirts you can
  • Spray the air filter cleaner generously on all the filter element surface, let it soak for 10-15 minutes
  • Rinse with low pressure water from reverse direction of air flow till clean
  • Let dry, this might take an hour or so depending on the weather
  • Oil the filter with the provided air filter oil. Just one pass over the area, spaced by a centimeter or so
  • Let oil wick into the cotton fabric, add a drop or two to the area you missed, do not over oil
  • Reinstall, then start your engine for a few minutes before driving as you let the ECU get used to the air flow

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter

My filter was over oiled priviously, as evident from the picture. This resulted in unstable timing after driving the car hard. The problem should go away after this cleaning and reoiling process.

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter
Spraying air filter cleaner on the filter element

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter
Rinse from reverse air flow direction to avoid driving dirt into the filter element

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter
Let dry

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter
Re-oil the air filter

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter
A closer look, letting the oil wick into the fabric

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter
Reinstalling the open pod air filter

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter
Finished!

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DIY Spray Paint Sports Rims

These photos are sent by a fellow forum reader Joe on his DIY spray paint job for sports rims in white color. It was done over a weekend with the cost of around RM 20.

The items needed for this project:

  • Old newspaper
  • Two cans of white paint (Ace white glossy finish)
  • One can of clear paint (for glossy finish)
  • Sand paper
  • Masking Tape

You also need the tools for removing your wheels, which includes a jack and the wrench that came in your car. Use a few red bricks to support your car at the jacking points while the wheels are removed.

DIY Spray Paint Sports Rims
The material

DIY Spray Paint Sports Rims

First, wash the wheels thoroughly and sand it to remove any greese and dirt. Rinse and let dry to provide a fresh surface for the paint to stick on.

DIY Spray Paint Sports Rims

Next, mask all the area you do not wish to paint with the tape and newspaper.

DIY Spray Paint Sports Rims

The wheels are ready to be painted. Spray thin and even layer on the surface of the wheel, let dry. Repeat at least 3 times. It is always better to put on more layers instead of spraying one thick layer, this will prevent the paint to be uneven or develop “tear drops” due to gravitational pull. Once done with the white paint, spray a thin layer of clear coat for the glossy finish.

DIY Spray Paint Sports Rims

That’s it, wheels are ready to roll! Avoid spraying the lug nuts as the paints can go off easily when force is applied during refitting the wheels. However, you can consider some “designer” new lug nuts easily found at accessory stores.

DIY Spray Paint Sports Rims

Finished product fitted on a Satria, now looks a little sexier. Thanks Joe for the photos.