Sunday, January 21, 2018

Just A Nudder Day

 I'm sitting here in my recliner wearing my slippers and tipping back a cool one. Its 4pm Saturday and the temperature is about 45 degrees. Yes, we're having a mini heat wave here in January. I just came in from my shop where I tinkered with that tool hutch, changed the oil on the BMW, checked the air pressure in Terrys van and did a once over on the old Dodge pickem up. Screw it. I've had enough for today and I'm just gonna chill out. I worked this morning and afterwards jacked up the wifes BMW to investigate a noise. I think its a wheel bearing and stopped at the local parts store on the way home to order one. I'll update you on how much it sucked to change that bearing some time next week.
 Our nut and bolt guy at work dropped off a special request bolt I need for the BSA. I'm counting that as having worked on a bike. Its really the only bike news I have except for today when I walked past the Ultra and refused to look at it for scratches from the fall it took. I'm still sick about that.
 I heard from Al that the guy doing the Subaru heads needed to order all new valves. All sixteen were bent when the timing belt broke. No word yet when they will come in and when he will have time to finish the job. In other Subaru news, when the car died we weren't sure what the plan would be for it. To be honest, I still don't know what the plan is except to get it running again but maybe it will become a trade in. Anyway, we paid off the loan. I guess I bought some type of insurance when we bought the car. That insurance would make car payments if I was out of work. I don't remember the details, hell I didn't even remember buying it until the other day when they sent us a reimbursement check because of the early payoff of the loan. It was a couple hundred bucks or so. Not life altering but a nice unexpected surprise.
 Diets come and go. I'm in a go phase right now, as in the diet is gone. Every time I go through one of these healthy eating kicks and eventually slack off on it, I retain at least one small part of it. Last spring I gave up a lot of stuff that I'm back to eating again except for soda. I haven't had any since maybe June. Thats gotta be a good thing. In related news, my beer consumption has gone up tenfold. Oh well. You win some you lose some.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Echo Service School

 Whats up? Business as usual here. Yesterday I attended Echo service school with coworker Trent. The class was pretty much as expected with some service updates, new model discussion and tear down of their new top handle chainsaw. Trent did the wrenching and I sat there and looked interested.

 Not that I was bored but except for the fact that it is the lightest gasoline powered chainsaw in North America, it isn't a revolutionary new design. That's probably a good thing as far as reliable saws go but not so exciting if you're sitting in a classroom.

 Winter is the time of year that I get to plow snow. I say that because I like plowing. As long as things go halfway as planned without too many breakdowns or pissed off customers, its decent work. I've told you about the Ebling Back Blade on my plow truck. They are real time savers and we now have three more Eblings on the crew. Having a back blade and knowing when and how to use it has been a learning curve. Do I take advantage of the 16 foot width all the time? Do I use it to collect spillage from the front blade. Whats the fastest way to move snow with it? How much abuse will it take?
 What I have found is that it works well for pulling docks. I can get snow out from under the trailers easily. I also know it will carry a lot of snow. I have one lot about five acres with a push over a thousand feet and the back blade in combination with the front blade will clear it in good time. But where this blade really shines is when we get under an inch of snow where the blade will carry all the snow from one pass without spillage. On long passes I pull the snow in both directions. In lots that are large and square, I find myself driving around in circles. This is faster than conventional methods of pushing forward then backing up and setting yourself up for another pass. We tried it side by side so I know this is true. Its also safer than backing up hundreds of feet and is easier on the trucks transmission. I was in the truck for about ten hours on Monday and much of it went like this video. Please excuse the raw unedited footage from my phone. I need to get that GoPro back into action.

  The wings with their rubber edges squeegee the asphalt better than the center steel cutting edge but it still does a fine job. Round and round I go. If the snow is deep then I drop the front blade as well to carry more snow. Where I lift the blade and let the snow spill off is where I'll stack it. So easy a monkey could do it.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Box Lock

 We went through a phase at work a while back where guys were coming into the shop on weekends to work on their vehicles and they would use the shop tools. Sometimes they couldn't find the tool they needed and started putting their grubby dick beaters on the tools from the regular techs boxes. None of us really cared as long as they put the shit back where they found it or told us if something broke so we could replace it. That seems like a simple enough request but tools would disappear only to be found days later in the wrong box. That's bullshit so we all started locking our boxes.
 Including the new hutch I'm building I'll have five locks to open in the morning. I failed on my attempt to buy keyed alike locks and decided to do something different for the hutch. All the box keys will be stored in the hutch and the hutch will opened with a key pad. This way I won't have to carry a bundle of keys or find a hiding place for five keys.

 This is one of those things I should have thought through before I started the project because the framework of the box would have been a little different here in the above pic. I can work around it easy enough by adding some levers and latches and stuff but it could have been as simple as a deadbolt type of latch.

 I had planned on having this part done for todays blog but got side tracked. Basically a wedge will push a lever that will rock the catches open. Because I have zero trust in the chinese locking mechanism I'm adding a secondary keyed release for emergency use.
 I'll post some better pics when its done.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Project Subaru

 Hey Lady, I thinks I found yer problem. Its right 'ere.

 That's what I told my wife when she came out to the garage to see how project Subaru was coming along. You may recall last November that the timing belt broke and I needed to investigate how much damage occurred on this interference engine. It took the better part of an afternoon to remove the battery, drain the coolant and then remove the intake and front of the engine to get one of the heads off. The process was pretty straight forward and actually only involved a few tools. Ten, 12 and 14 mm sockets, a screw driver and a pliers were all that was needed.

 I threw all the removed parts in the back of the car not knowing if I would need them later or if I was just making it easier on the scrap man to haul it all away.

 So basically if you've ever removed a cylinder head from an Outback while the motor was still bolted in, well then you deserve a medal or something. I was able to unbolt and remove the heads without loosening the motor mounts and jacking the engine although I will have that extra step during reassembly because a torque wrench just won't fit between the frame and head. When I inspected the pistons I expected to see a few dings where the valves hit them and thats exactly what I found. Both pistons on that side appear to hit TDC at the same height, meaning I think that the rods weren't bent during the collision of the valves and pistons when the timing belt broke. What I didn't expect to see was a cross hatching pattern still present in the cylinder wall. At over 220,000 miles that doesn't seem right. This triggered some memories from when we bought the car and I seem to recall some discussion of a motor overhaul. Not really sure, my memory is all over the place on this one but I'm happy for now to think I can salvage the short block without that extra expense.
 The heads have all the exhaust valves visually bent. Not sure about the intakes but they did have what looked like signs of contact with the pistons. Not sure about any cracked valve guides but the heads are at the machine shop now. I'll report again when I know more.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Another Hutch Update

 I know it seems like I'm draggin this out but its the only project going right now and progress really is this slow. I had a couple hours to dink around in the shop and used them to work on the roll up door. Here I'm adding a piece of channel as a guide for the back of the door. Without it the individual slats of the door can slide sideways and jam it up.

 I was planning on using a key lock to secure the door but came up with another idea that will allow for a hidden internal mechanism. Part of the plan includes these catches that I made.

They are going to be welded to a rod secured under the door. Here is the 1/4 inch rod. This is blowing my mind because I have no idea how I did this and don't think I could do it again if I wanted to. The rod was clamped squarely in a vise and I thought I was cutting it 90 degrees to cut it to length. I used a hacksaw and as you can imagine it only took a few strokes before the scrap end hit the floor. When I looked at the rod, this is what I saw.

 How the hell did that happen? I'm not building an aircraft here so detail isn't critical and it makes no difference in the construction of the tool hutch but I can't figure out how it happened. It should at least be halfway straight then maybe an angle if I was forcing the blade and actually broke off the remaining material. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
 Here is a piece of square tube modified to act as a support for the catch rod and also a door stop. Self tapping sheet metal screws probably wouldn't stay tight with the door dropping on the stop every day so fine thread bolts were installed. One thing I like about these projects is using crap I know has been around my shop forever. I know for a fact the rusty bolts used here were put in a labeled organizer over twenty years ago, before we moved into this house.

 And one of the catches in place as seen from the inside of the cabinet.

 There's a lot of stuff mocked up and tacked in place. My gasless wire feed welder makes a big mess so I'll probably take it to work and weld it there then bring it back home and put my paint booth to use. More updates as time allows.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018


  Dang its been cold. I don't mind winter but I don't care for this below zero crap. There are a few exceptions I suppose. The other night I was driving the car down a nice winding country back road. The sky was clear and the stars were bright. I pulled back the valance on the sun roof and let the light from the full moon shine in the car. I remember thinking if it were just 90 degrees warmer it would be a great night for a bike ride. Its not gonna be 90 degrees warmer for a looooong time.

 So how about them new year resolutions? Got any? I have a couple. First, but not foremost, is that I'm gonna try to be neater. Not in appearance. I mean less of a hoarder. That should be easy enough. When in doubt, throw it out. The other thing I want to accomplish this year is to be nicer to others. I know last year I promised to less of a dickhead (and I was so suck it). I'm looking to expand on that. Its easy enough not to blow up at people or have fun at others expense but I'm talking about just general niceness.  Yesterday morning I tried to act like a normal member of society. I made it a point to be extra special nice and it didn't hurt a bit. A warm hello for everyone, holding the door for others (ok it was the beer guy at the gas station so does that even count? Ya gotta make sure the beer gets chilled), a smile for strangers (that was tough and out of character) and so on. I'm gonna be so sweet you'll get a cavity just being near me. I'll be so nice I'll make Mister Rogers look like Mister T. You get the point.
 I wonder if this will be one of those resolutions that doesn't make it till the end of the month.