Sunday, October 21, 2018
Uncle Tommy lives on my route home so I just dropped the blowers off at his house. I had to check out his new shed anyway so the stop had dual purpose. After some bullshittin around, the idea came up that maybe a guy could get double pay for doing twice the work?
Strap one on back and strap one on front. Start in the middle of the yard and spin around like a tornado till all the leaves are blown to the edges. Simple.
While on the topic of landscaping I want to congratulate my daughter Mackenzie and her friend Tyler for passing the Landscape Industry Certified Technician test. Certification consists of written and hands on testing in many different areas of landscaping. Some examples include laying sod, reading plans, irrigation, skid steer operation and plant id. I guess Kenzi struggled with planting and staking a tree in 20 minutes but passed, then aced the chainsaw hands on test. Does that mean shes like her dad and is better at taking stuff apart than putting it back together? No, I think it just means shes a smart kid as proven by her high score in the company. I know this certification isn't an Olympic medal but its nice to see young people taking pride in everything they do, in a world of people just trying to scam the system.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
People just think if it starts on old gas then everything is fine and they got away with it. Not true. Old fuel can get gummy. That gum can lead to stuck piston rings and engine failure among other things including plugged up carbs.
Old gas with ethanol in it can separate and leave you with a layer of water in your can or fuel tank.
For that reason I always dump the fuel out of the equipment I'm working on and inspect it. You'd be surprised at some of the squaw piss I find in tanks. This funnel is for filling radiators but works great for small engine repair because I can just pull the stopper and easily return it to the equipment if the fuel looks ok. At first glance the fuel in the above pic looks fine but one needs to take a closer look.
If I lower the flashlight into the mix I can see something else going on. It looks like red water.
If I pull the stopper and tap some of it out I can get a closer look. Whatever it is turned out to be water soluble but I'm not sure why its red. Either way it answers the customers question, "why won't my saw stay running?"
Speaking of things that are a weird color, what do you suppose this bird had for lunch? Creamed grasshopper? Mountain Dew and inch worms?
Whatever it was I'm bummed he had to relieve himself on my window.
And, speaking of bummed, I was working on a generator the other day and I was getting goofy trying to read tiny numbers on wires I had to trace.
Why do those bundles all have to be blue wires? Throw in a few different colors just to make things a bit easier. The troubleshooting flow chart I was following didn't seem to be in a good order to quickly trace down my problem. I spent a lot of time unsoldering wires and testing components and not finding anything wrong. Some of the stuff was either newer or older than the items labeled in the manual so not all the pin outs matched. Frustrating. As of this writing the thing ain't fixed yet. I think I know what the problem is but I don't want to influence a coworkers results when I ask him to test one component with his own meter and offer his conclusions. Until then the only thing this unit is generating is a headache.
Sunday, October 14, 2018
I remembered to take measurements before anything got torn apart. The front measured 36.5" to the fender. The rear was 38".
One thing that had to happen was removing the strut/coil and adding a spacer block on top of it. Simple stuff.
Another thing that had to be done was to remove the upper control arm with its ball joint. The new ball joint has more range of motion to allow for the lift. The control arm on the drivers side was like new but the passenger side was rusted in tight and required some cutting. At first I tried using an air powered sawzall but finally got the torch out and sped up the process.
Besides dealing with the lift components at the wheels, I also had to drop the front differential. This helps keep the cv shaft angle respectable. The bolts were kinda a pain to get out and equally as painful was having to grind some of the differential itself to let it clear the cross member section welded to the frame.
Then, the cross member itself had to be relieved to clear the diff. It all fits quite snug now that the grinding is done.
There were a lot of little problems and what I just told you took all day. Except for helping at the store, I worked on that front end from 7am - 5pm. I then started the rear which consisted of a spacer on top of the coils, shock extensions, brake line bracket extension and longer sway bar connectors. I think that about covers it and that only took two hours. It would have been an hour and a half if I would have remembered to bring my coil spring clamps.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
First timers at the ordering counter are easy to pick out and I'm sure I looked like a new recruit stepping off the bus at army basic training. Do I order a samich, side and drink separately or do they have some kind of bundle deal? And what about sides? To me it looked like there were two choices. Curly fries or no side. Lucky for me the dude at the counter was willing to help. "I'm thinking French Dip". "Bro, like thats cool" he said and then walked me through the rest of the menu choices, which was basically just curly fries. I was handed a big ass cup and walked over to the fountain to tap myself a lemonade. After placing the cup under the discharge I pushed the button to start the flow of that sweet lemon flavored nectar.
I'm a gearhead. I look at everything from a viewpoint of wondering how it works. If I don't know then I get curious and start investigating, or at least speculating what makes it tick. When I pushed the button to start the flow of lemonade, it kept coming out after I lifted from the button. I knew something was wrong. There is no sensor to weigh the cup or scan the fluid level. I doubt there was a timer because it doesn't know the cup size. I was sure the button was stuck and pushed it a few more times to try to stop it but the juice just kept flowing. This cup was surely gonna runneth over. It was a big cup and I had a lot of time to work this out in my head. I didn't see a camera crew anywhere so I was pretty sure this wasn't a prank. Screw it. I'm new here and will probably never return.
Its not often I get a legitimate excuse to be a ham so when this opportunity arose, I took it. "Runaway lemonade!, Runaway lemonade!, We've got runaway lemonade here!" I spoke those words in a loud enough voice that I was sure everyone in the building heard it. The staff behind the counter was taken off guard and quite a bit of lemonade and ice cubes ran over the lip of the cup, filling the spill tray and beginning to overflow that, before anyone came out to investigate. Bro just shook his head in disgust and said "not cool dude, push the button". I explained that I had tried that already and when I pushed the button again to prove that it was stuck, it stopped the flow. Bro said "Duuuuude". Some kid came out with a mop to clean up the spill while I hung my head in shame. Not because I made a mess or was embarrassed but because I let that machine beat me.
I spent the next minutes wolfing down a french dip while the staff pointed and giggled at me, which by the way isn't unusual, its just that this time I knew why.
Sunday, October 7, 2018
|Mowby Dick photo bomb. What a dick.|
Part of my goal in this purchase was to have a vehicle that will get me to work in the worst of Wisconsin winter road conditions. You know, like when they pull the plow trucks off the road till a blizzard ends. It doesn't take much to meet that goal. Good heat to keep the glass clear, tires that eat big chunks of snow and make their own trail, and decent ground clearance to clear drifts and ruts.
The first part is easy and most vehicles will pass as long as they have heated mirrors. The second detail is a simple matter of purchasing different rubber. The tires on the truck now have a lot of tread left so we'll see how that plays out. The last point, ground clearance, will soon be addressed.
This was delivered damn near to my door the other day. I say near because they left it on the front step just outside of the porch overhang. The box was rained upon all day.
I researched lift kits before looking at any vehicles. I was looking for the best bang for the buck and didn't want to be stuck with a vehicle that needed a $1000+ investment to get it a few inches higher. This Rough Country kit is 3.5 inches at a cost of $580. The things I liked about this kit were the use of different upper ball joints that have more range of motion, and a differential drop that keeps the cv shafts at the proper angle. The big suv will ride the same, just a little higher.
This weekend is spoken for so maybe next weekend I can look at doing the install.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
1. Pajamas are for inside the house. Pants are for outside the house. Its ok to wear pants inside the house but its not ok to wear pajamas outside the house.
2. You can use any tools you find, just put them back where you found them. My memory is hazy but I know the last place I set any given tool and that's where I'm gonna look for it when needed.
3. Anyone that spends the night more than two days in a row is no longer a guest. Grab a rag or a mop and help out a little.
4. Open the fridge door, grab your shit and close the door. Don't stand there with the door open trying to decide if you want a snack.
5. When taking off your shoes, don't just leave them in your wake. Put them away. My wife could trip over them and break a hip.
6. I'm willing to sit down and discuss any problems you may have but not during Packer games and episodes of Columbo.
7. C's for grades are acceptable but not desirable. F's are just a sign of being too lazy to do the work.
8. The snooze button is evil and doesn't help you get any quality sleep. It also pisses off everyone else in the house. Set the alarm for the time you want to get up and when it goes off, get your ass out of bed.
9. Don't forget to feed the cats. If Pasha is loitering in the kitchen then its probably dinner time. If Oliver is in the kitchen giving you the stink eye then its probably past their dinner time.
10. Don't be a dick.
Pretty simple guidelines I think. I see we've been testing the waters with rule #1 already. I'm gonna let that one slide this time because your aunt may have had some involvement in that. She has her own rules for me. They aren't written down anywhere or even been verbalized but I've hung around her long enough to know what they are. I'm pretty sure my own rule #10 applies to me in this situation.
Sunday, September 30, 2018
I pushed the machine from the shed to the garage where I could better work on it.
Nothing has been fixed in this garage in a long time. I was looking forward to some quiet wrenching.
Initially I was prepared to yank the engine and all of the associated bull that went along with that. After taking a closer look I discovered this was gonna be an easier job than I thought. I pulled the mower deck, one rear wheel and the crank pulley.
What I found was a huge mess except where the seal was leaking, That area was washed clean from all the oil flow.
Of all the gaskets, seals and o-rings I bought for this repair, I only used this crank seal. The old one came out too easily and the new one pressed in just about right. In a couple days I'll know if the repair was a success.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
This first one was on the way to the Ripon bike show. The plan was to ride off with the phone in my hand and get footage of the rain flapper at WOT. I thought better of it and decided the GoPro might be better suited for the task. I'll try to capture that before the bike goes up for the winter.
So far there have been no problems with the automower running out by the city sidewalk in the dark but I was thinking a set of tail lights might be a good idea.
I was working on a piece of equipment and a little disgusted with the way the new parts fit together.
We run an automower at the shop in a steep ditch. During the drought the unit struggled with the hard, dry conditions.
Speaking of automower performance, sometimes "testing" looks a little like screwing around.
More testing I think. Which stapler will win?
And for the big finale, some more motorcycle content.
I'm not even sure what I was thinking when I filmed most of these but now that they're out there I can safely delete them from my phone.
Sunday, September 23, 2018
I showed up at the dealer and had to pull into one of their reception bays to drop the rig off. The bays are marked "trucks" and "cars". Hmmm. Nothing marked "big ass station wagon" or "oversized suv". While it would mean nothing to anyone else which bay I picked, in my mind it would forever solidify the way I feel about this rig. I was early and had time to give it some thought, then I eased on into the truck bay. Really, when you crawl underneath this thing its not much different than a 1/2 ton pickup...or is it? It turns out the loaner would be a good comparison rig. They gave me a 2018 GMC Sierra 1/2 ton with the same motor as my Yukon. The difference would be a six speed tranny rather than the four speed in the Yuke.
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Every so often I'll hear a yell from the other side of the shop. Its usually someone freaking out, unable to comprehend how we can be so swarmed in these little biters. I've done that dance myself. They are relentless. I've made 55 laps around the sun and as far as skeeters go, this one bites the hardest. I've heard a lot of old timers make the same claim. When people bump into each other on the street, the small talk isn't about the weather. Its about mosquitoes.
Sunday, September 16, 2018
I guess the most interesting part of a show like this is to talk with the "builders". To me that term includes everyone that did their own work on their own bike. Everyone has a story that you can't read just from eyeballing the bike. You need to hear about the broken head bolts or use of Flex Seal from the guy that did the work. The factory customs that were just purchased and ridden don't do it for me.
This bike was pretty nice.
It was a lot nicer after I talked with the guy that built it. He deservedly beat me in our class. Hes an older gent with an eye for detail and the bike is no trailer queen. He found interest and creativity in the Rat Turd and tried out the cast iron seat. I think it took about 2 nanoseconds for him to decide that wasn't for him. So much for my offer to trade even-up.
When it was time to leave I went to thumb the starter button on the rat but got bupkis. I'm not sure what happened to the cranking circuit but my handy dandy pocket knife easily jumped the solenoid and the little four banger came to life. I looked up and noticed there was a crowd watching me. I had forgotten how much interest there is in seeing that rain flapper bounce on top of my muffler so I gave em a few blips. Hey, its a show, might as well show off.
I found an older video I once posted. Pre-barbed wire, the bike doesn't even look the same.
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Such an honest face. Wouldn't you buy a mower from me? I almost had one sold to an Amish dude till we got to the part about plugging in the charging station. Details, details. We did sell a few of them at the store this week and I have to wonder if this show had any influence on those sales.
In other news, the Yukon has been running good. I should clarify.
Power steering fluid is running out of the Yukon. The drips in the middle are normal straight line steering. The big arc of oil is when the wheel is pinned to one side. The dealer will take a look at it next Wednesday. They did right by me with the BMW when it needed a front differential. Lets see how they handle this problem. Otherwise I'm diggin the big station wagon. Adequate power, smooth ride, plenty of storage and I feel comfortable in it. The first tank of fuel revealed a 17 mpg average. Thats up 5 mpg from my last ride. I'm good with that.
Sunday, September 9, 2018
The flyer basically says the bike show is next weekend and my dumb ass isn't ready. Because my reason for attending these shows is more about support and fun than winning something, I could just wash the Ultra and attend. That seems kinda lame. People want to see cool shit at these shows and the Rat Turd is about as stupid a bike as you'll see on the streets around here.
That means I have to clean the garage so I have room to work on and store the Rat. The last time that bike ran was a year ago. It has a faulty charging system and I have just been putting a lawn mower battery in a saddlebag to run it. It also has a running issue possibly in the fuel delivery system and its in my living rook. Just getting it outside is an adventure. I better get started.
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Ok enough of the silliness. This post was gonna be about a project at work. The boss wants a display area for these Automowers that we can take to trade shows or whatever. He bought some fake grass-like carpet and the plan was to attach the wiring underneath. We then could just roll the whole thing up and carry it away.
The mower needs a boundary wire that sends a signal telling it to stop. I laid the wire where I wanted it...
Then used some heavy duty tape to secure it to the bottom of the "grass". The wire runs on the grass side of the carpet in one area so people can see there is a wire boundary that the mower stays in. For whatever reason, I stopped taking pics of the project at this point so you'll have to use your imagination for the rest of this post. I'll help with some pics I found in my phone.
Picture if you will, an automower and charging pad perched proudly on top of simulated grass. Maybe grass like this:
And now imagine a short video of this mower moving around inside its boundaries on the fake grass carpet and returning to its charging station every four minutes. This is a program built into the mowers software just for these types of demos. Maybe you can visualize a post or log standing in the middle of the carpet. Something that the mower can bounce off of and maybe doubles as a brochure stand. Good job. Now get on your scooter and take a nice long ride, you've earned it.
Sunday, September 2, 2018
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
My needs are to be able to get to work when the roads are crap and also to be able to tow an enclosed trailer. I was thinking a gasser v8, auto tranny and 3.73 gears at minimum. What I found was an '08 Yukon XL with exactly that combo plus a locking differential all rolling on 20's. Once I yank the third row seating out I'll basically have a crew cab half ton with a permanent topper. Works for me.
This Yukon has selectable four wheel drive, not awd and it does have low range. Its kinda cushy too with a smooth ride suspension and I felt comfortable sitting in it. There are a few other options I wasn't looking for but will enjoy like remote start, sun roof and a halfway decent sound system. Oh, I came in under budget too!
I went to look at and buy it alone. That means its still at the dealership but they said they would deliver it. Sweet. I'll post again when I know if I picked a winner or a lemon.
Saturday, August 25, 2018
I'm shacked up in central Illinoiz after a 600 plus mile day. I took a longer route than the GPS suggested to try to avoid some rain. I'm gonna go ahead and say that plan worked perfectly as I only got hit by a few drops today and that might have even been a bird. Temps hit 90 but the humidity was decent so I had a pretty good ride. The bike ran flawlessly and got better mileage than the trip down despite a headwind much of the day. I was running a tad faster today so my fuel mapping program must have a rich spot around 3000 rpm. I don't know how else to explain. It's certainly not because I'm lighter. I spent the whole week eating.
The vacation was good. I enjoyed time with friends I only get to see once a year and ride my bike on some great, scenic roads. I still have half a day riding to get home and then it's back to business as usual. There won't be a Sunday morning post this week. I'll catch up with you on Wednesday. Right now I have to go find dinner.
Friday, August 24, 2018
The decision was made to ride to Hot Springs for lunch at the Iron Horse Station. As usual the food and service were good. We followed up with a little adventure through town before getting back on the bikes. Our next destination was a few hours away to visit a ranger station we know had a certain t-shirt one of the group was looking for. That ride included some of the parkway and the views were great. Traffic was light so we were able to keep a decent pace and not be bothered. An hour or so later we were back at the motel.
My wife sent me a text telling me my truck found money has been deposited so the search is now official. Thanks Honey! I won't have time to look down here anymore but I'll be keeping my eyes open. I'm gonna wrap this up cuz there's talk of dinner so my next post should be from somewhere in illinoiz.
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Today's weather could well be described as gorgeous. I don't know what the actual numbers were but it was the kind of weather that was comfortable at speed while wearing all the gear. After a cup of doughnut holes and some orange juice I set out with the gang for a ride. We started with a visit to a local bike shop then made our way to the BRP and stopped at the Pisgah Inn. The plan wasn't to eat there but the view was so nice that by the time we had enough, it was time to eat, and so we did. Where to ride to for food has kinda been the theme this year and we were even talking about dinner while chewing lunch. After chow we rode north on the parkway and stopped at all the ranger stations, visitor centers and a folk art center. We even took the time to watch a movie at one stop. It was nice and relaxing with no pressure or many idiot drivers unless you count one guy that tried and failed to back over BillT.
That's really all I have to report today.
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
I'd be all over a rig like this if it were a clean runner. I've always thought these looked cool.
Today was a lazy day. A vacation day. Others like my wife would have preferred to dip their toes in the ocean or poke around for sea shells. For us it was three friends just catching up and bullshitting. Same idea, just no ocean although the first half of the day had water in the form of rain. In the afternoon when the sun came out we wandered into town to do some exploring. We took a tour of a distillery which turned out to be quite educational.
We await the arrival of Ed and then we'll forage for some grub. It's a pretty relaxed pace right now and that feels good.
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Today Dan, BillT and myself spent the day on the bikes exploring the beauty of the area. The first thing we had to do was figure out how much of the Blue Ridge Parkway was under construction being chip sealed. It looks like the section from Cherokee to 276 is messed up but we could still make it to the Piscah Inn which we'll probably do for lunch later in the week.
The day was a mixture of sun and light rain with a lot of wet roads in the tree shaded sections through the mountains. Normally the trees are just hanging there providing shade and blocking your view but we had some wind today. Some sections provided a new perspective with trees just swaying hard and freaking out. It was pretty neat to ride through. I know that sounds kinda lame but sometimes natures simplest acts are the most interesting.
BillT led the ride and spotted a little Mexican joint for lunch. We knew the food would be good because the parking lot was packed. That theory held true and Dan even cleared his plate!
We made a few other stops including a ranger station and a store called Mantiques. All in all it was a good day. Bill did a great job leading and navigating as usual and we arrived back at the motel dry.