Sunday, December 9, 2018

Power Port

 A quick Saturday morning project took a little longer than expected due to the cold. I didn't look at the thermometer but it was cold enough for my Sorel Dominators but not cold enough to lace them up. I've had these boots for decades and usually only break em out for cold weather although I've been slipping them on lately for fetching the mail or chasing kids out of the yard.

 In order to get the big ass station wagon in the garage this winter I had to store the HD in the enclosed trailer. Getting into the trailer was no easy matter.

 The lock was froze and it took a bit of finagling to gain access to the riches inside. Because the Harley has a brand new battery in it I wanted to make sure the tender was on so it wouldn't die and freeze over the winter. Even at dealer cost they aren't giving those things away. I didn't want to try to squeeze an extension cord in the door seal because it seems the seal is pretty darn tight, as it should be. I decided it would be a good idea to add a power port.

I didn't put much thought into the plug location except to try to avoid any supports in the trailer wall.

The plug is designed with the cord coming out the back on an angle. I'm sure thats great for a thinner wall but makes a little extra work for a thick wall, or as in this case with two thin walls spaced apart.

  A simple project slowed down a bit by the cold but well worth it as I was getting nervous about the battery charge going down and my new battery freezing. I suppose if I wanted to put a light out there I could work on the bike in the trailer but really what that bike needs is a bath and nothing more.


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Workshop Wednesday-Making Salt Brine

 Last time I told you about the salt brine maker I built at work. One problem I discovered was my ability to lift the unit with a forklift was limited because there was a good chance of hitting the pump with a tine. Adding one more cross piece to my erector set frame work fixed that problem.

 I had whipped up a batch the other day and discovered the unit had a few leaks that needed to be fixed. Basically when I mocked up the pvc pipes, a few had threaded connectors going to valves. After the mock up they all came apart and got glued together. I forgot about the loosely threaded ends and a bunch of stuff had to be taken apart to fix this.
 This was also a chance to clean out the tanks which had some kind of scum in them . I was surprised to discover how much undissolved material was in the tank after being in water over a day. Later I would also discover that I need more agitation in this tank.

 Everything was cleaned out and I started a new batch using the "batch" I whipped up earlier. I had to do this because that first batch was light on salt. Earlier I didn't have a way to test the specific gravity or in other words the percentage of salt in the water, but amazon came through for me and delivered my new refractometer as promised. Basically the refractometer looks like a small telescope.

You put a few drops of the saltwater on a lens and then just look into it and read the scale. This unit has a scale in percentage of salt in the water. The goal is to be at 23.3% and it looks like I nailed it on this batch.

 The time it takes me to make one batch seems to be almost double what it takes others as they report online. I'm sure this is due to lack of agitation due to the weaker pool pump we're using. Like I said last week, the pump was free. I have a few ideas for boosting agitation so I think in the end things will be alright. Yesterday afternoon I filled three totes with 250 gallons each of finished product. Is that good or bad? Don't know for sure but this whole endeavor is just an experiment anyway.
 I made a short video of whats happening here. Pretty simple stuff.


Sunday, December 2, 2018

Brine Maker

 It snowed last night and I have to get rolling so this post is just a quick pictorial of building a cheap salt brine maker. I'll get into more detail about the process in a future post.

Two 275 gallon totes and a bunch of steel. All laying around the yard so even though they were bought at some point I'm counting their cost as zero.

Keep adding steel.

This reminded me of playing with an erector set when I was a kid.

A cheap pool pump was also hiding in a back shed.

The pvc and plumbing parts were purchased new.

All the plumbing is done.

The green hoses are overflow from that tank.
 There are a lot of examples of this brine maker online. Everyone tweaks this basic design. I did whip up one batch already and we'll talk about that next time.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Workshop Wednesday-Brine Sprayer

 After a number of years saying we were gonna experiment with salt brine for ice control, we are finally doing it. This means we need a way to apply brine and also we need a way to make brine. The making part will come in a future post because we can always buy a tote full of brine for experimenting. We need the means of application and our first goal is to make a machine that will do sidewalks, stairs and door entrances.
 We had this Raven lawn mower that we had to buy back from a customer. Its basically a generator on wheels with electric drive and electric motors on the cutting deck. The problem was getting replacement parts to satisfy the customer. If it breaks again for us we'll just cobble something together to nurse it along. Maybe if our experimenting goes good we can look at a different rig but for now this is it.

 Another goal for this project is to do it on the cheap. We'll be using as much stuff as possible thats just laying around the shop. Lucky for us there's crap everywhere so sourcing parts is easy. The hose reel is from a pressure washer that was scrapped out. 

 Salt brine and electronics don't go well together. After the rear fender section was removed, I used rubber bed mat to enclose as much as possible to keep the brine off. The rest will get oiled down.

 This tank and pump had issues and wasn't being used. I made enough repairs to suit our needs here. The tank and framework its mounted on fold back to gain access to the engine/generator.

 The plan is to be driving down the sidewalk and spraying brine. When we get to a door entrance we can pull the hose from the reel and spray those areas. The reel is obvious here and the single spray "boom" nozzle for the walks is below it.

 There is a switch to power on the pump and this valve to switch between wand and boom. Some of these valves, nozzles and such are all spares from our regular turf sprayers. This week we'll be meeting with an "expert" from our salt and chemical supplier. I think we already have a pretty good idea about how to put the brine down and just need some details on adding other chlorides to our mix and at what rates. The brine maker is about half done at this point and we should be making a batch next week.


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sweetness-Day Seven

 Flashback: My last post was all about my resolution to be nicer to others. Its not like I run around being a jerk, I just want to make a special effort to be friendlier. This is one of those things that I should have just kept to myself. It seems if I sway off the path a bit that someone will remind me. No matter, I'll kill em with kindness.
 Being nice isn't hard but why do I feel built up frustration every so often. The other day some jag off passed me with his hemi half ton. He dang near clipped the back of the beemer when he pulled out then wedges himself in my safe following distance of the car I was behind. When he pulled out and passed that car, I followed and blew his doors off. I immediately felt better. He can't pick me out in a lineup so I wasn't really a dickhead, it was just some guy in a bmw.

 I wrote that a little better than ten months ago. Its been sitting as a draft here on Blogger and is a one week follow up to this post, a new year resolution to be nicer. Have I been nicer? A little maybe for some of the year but lately I've tried to be a better example for our niece Stefany that has been staying with us for a couple months now. It seems easier to be less of a dickhead when the goal is being a good role model rather then just not pissing off some stranger.
 I know Stefany thinks she is a burden but nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that trying to set a good example has put me back in a better place mentally and emotionally like when we had our daughters in the house. I think a better part of me left when they did. The last couple years were a free for all as far as my behavior is concerned.

Thanksgiving 2018 is in the books.

 Now before a bunch of coworkers jump on here and tell me my dickheadedness hasn't tapered off one bit, I ask you to look at the gaps between my outbursts and not the outbursts themselves. I lost it the other day when a coworker gave me shit for a big mess of water on the shop floor that came from the ride-on sprayer I'm building. I know it looked like I made the mess but the fact is that is that the boss ran the unit to check out the spray pattern. I could have calmly pointed that out but instead spewed some verbal diarrhea at him and I regret that. Hey, there's no halo and wings here, just some guy trying to get through one day at a time.
 If you're reading this then know that I probably spent a lot of time with my finger on the post button deciding if I should let my guard down. Also know that next time you see a lame post with just a bunch of pics that mean nothing, I'm probably holding back some great poem or prayer that I'm not willing to share with anyone else.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Workshop Wednesday-Pressure Testing

 One of the tools that not all two cycle engine mechanics have in their box is a pressure/vacuum tester. I don't know why because it is vital to diagnosing problems with these little machines. Because the incoming fuel and air charge passes through the crankcase of a two stroke, that crankcase must be sealed and not have any air leaks. These leaks are checked under pressure and vacuum with a tool like this one made by Mityvac.

 To test, we pump up 7 pounds of pressure and see if it holds without losing more than one pound in a minute. A well sealed engine will still be holding that pressure after returning from a lunch break. It will also hold 10 inHg or .33 bar of vacuum. You may think that if it passes one test it will automatically pass the other but that's not always the case. The design of crankshaft seals, with a lip on one side of them, means pressure from the inside of the case with just make them seal tighter and pulling vacuum from inside will allow the lip to give way and let air pass. This was the case the other day when I was working on a saw that was all jacked up with an engine failure in the form of a scored cylinder and piston.
 The first step is to seal all the external holes and ports. The muffler is removed and blocked off with a plate, or a piece of rubber sandwiched between the muffler and cylinder.

 The carb is removed and the intake is blocked off, in this case with special tools.

 The spark plug is removed and our adapter is screwed in place. The mityvac is then connected to the adapter.

 Yes its a lot of dickin around to do these tests but its the only way to do it right. If you're working for a dealer then it has to be done this way for filing warranty claims. It adds a lot of labor time to the repair so it usually only gets done when the repair can't be remedied by other means. This saw came in with a complaint that it wouldn't start. An engine needs fuel, compression and timed ignition so I always look at fuel quality first. Its easy to see if there is fresh mixed fuel without water in the tank. Next I pull the spark plug and take a looksee at the cylinder for signs of scoring. In this case the cylinder and piston were pretty bad.

  This engine wouldn't start because of low compression. The ring was stuck due to metal transfer between the piston and cylinder, causing that low compression. We determined the fuel supply was fresh and had oil in it and we knew the saw was still under warranty so the next step was a pressure test which it passed. When I tried the vacuum test it failed. As mentioned above that points to the crank seals. Pressure tests are checked with soapy water. If there is a leak then you'll see bubbles.

 To confirm a crank seal leak I like to use two cycle oil. I turn the saw on its side and coat the seal with oil before applying vacuum. You'll see the oil disappear as the vacuum gets stronger...

 The problem has been discovered and the repair can begin. Oh I know this is a big yawn fest to most of you but I enjoy it. Teams of engineers designed these engines to run decent and there's no reason an old one can't be repaired to run like new. It's like a puzzle and you just need to figure out which pieces are out of whack. I like puzzles.


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Rat Up Close

 I've been thinking the Rat isn't done yet, like it needs some sort of weird front suspension. I suppose I should get back to scribbling ideas and scavenging parts for it so when next years bike shows roll around I'm ready. I guess the rest of the bike could be pretty much done, but as I scroll through these pics I see some areas that may benefit from a torch, welder and grinder.

 I think one of the neatest ideas on this bike is in the above pic but most people never notice it. The handlebars exit the triple tree from the wrong sides. I should clean up all the garbage to show that off better. Actually it was an experiment that worked. I should just redo them with heavier tube and hide the wires.

 I suppose this rat face would look a lot different if I had my airbrush setup going at the time. I'm not saying better, just different.

 I wanted a 4 into one header so I built one. I'm a cheap bastard.

 I like this pic. Those fins need some attention, maybe from a grinder.

 There was a short run one year when I just threw anything laying around onto the bike. That big chain and the copper tubing fall into that category.

 The crest was fun to make. Tied down wrenches represent big ideas and little funds. Bike versus deer is all about a week I earned in the hospital. Damn forest rats. The whole crest with its shape and red/blue color represent the us interstate symbol from a time when I was into iron Butt rides.

 Someone once gave me shit about how that barbed wire was gonna tear me open if I went over the bars. If I go over the bars theres a good chance I'll already be visiting a doctor. I'm sure he'd be happy to put a few band aids on my scratches after he's set my broken bones.

 This expanded metal front fender/spider web was a challenge. Trying to bend it round in two different directions and keep it symmetrical wasn't easy. 
 I've also been thinking any effort into this could be better spent on the sportster or BSA. I guess we'll see where things go this winter.