Sunday, January 29, 2017

Ebling Back Blade

 It started out innocent enough one day when I decided to mount the snow plow controller in my work truck in an unconventional location. I'm a "head hanger".  I like to crank the heat, roll down the window and watch the snow roll off the end of my blade. Ya, it doesn't take much to amuse me. My truck has a hand held electronic controller rather than a permanent mount like we had back in the day. In fact way back I had a jeep that just had a hydraulic hand pump mounted between the front seats. pump, pump pump on the handle till the blade raised. Turn a relief knob to lower it. "Hydro turn" used to mean you got a wet foot when you got out of the truck to manually pull a pin and turn the blade.
 The rest of the guys in the shop were giving me crap because I told them I leave the controller hanging on it's hook while I'm plowing. I hate fumbling with the controller and muscle memory allows me to always find the correct switch in an emergency situation. Trust me, when you plow for 8-12 hours or more in one sitting, you run into emergency situations whether real or self induced. So anyway, to get them to shut up I told them I've seen how slow they plow and if they ever advance to the next level they would know what I'm talking about. That started it and of course it didn't shut anyone up, but we now joke a lot about what level someone is plowing at. When I learned Greg had a break down during a sanding mission, I immediately sent him a text telling him losing a wheel drops you back a few levels from commercial snow fighter to mere plow jockey.

 The boss has decided to upgrade my plow truck. The old dodge I'm running has a power plow that extends from 8.5 feet to 11 feet. It also has a v-body salter/sander. The replacement Ford F550 will get those same type units installed plus an additional blade hanging off the back of the truck. We wanted something that would reach under the front of parked semi trailers and our choice was the Ebling back blade. This blade is 8 feet wide with a pair of 4 foot wings for a total width of 16 feet. Ya, thats a whole lotta blade!
 Of course when we decide to do something it never seems to come easy. Ebling doesn't make a quick attach mount for our model of truck so we had to order universal pockets that we welded to the truck.

This is the Ebling back blade in box configuration. We will pull loading docks with this.

A piece of C channel was bolted then welded to the side of the draw bar mount.

The other unpainted piece is the universal pocket that is the actual plow mount. It will be welded to the C channel.

Here is the blade mounted to the truck. It doesn't just drag behind, it also has down pressure.

Raised position

Fully extended to 16 feet.

 Worn steer tires on the back and we were still able to pull a full box of wet snow. I think I'm gonna like this truck.
 Back on the topic of controllers. This blade has its own, plus the one for the front plow and the one for the salter. We're also adding a rear facing camera. It's gonna be pretty busy in that cab and I'll show you how I dealt with it in a future post.
 Also, stay tuned for a post about how in the heck I'm gonna mount a salt spreader on this truck and not have the spinner jammed up in that box full of snow. We have to figure this out because failure to mount that salter is not an option and right now I only have a few unproven ideas.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Spiked Root Beer and Black Paint

 Progress continues on the BSA build. I say build. I dunno if that's accurate. It isn't a restoration but it has been stripped down to the bare frame. I really am not sure exactly what direction it will go but I don't want to push whatever it will become so I continue assembling the source of propulsion.
 To install the output bearing of the transmission I put it in the freezer to chill for awhile and then warmed the housing where it will spend the rest of its useful days.

 I like the above pic. Did I heat the aluminum to a red hot glow without any melting of the casting? Is that even possible? No, of course not. If the aluminum got that hot it would be a puddle on the work bench. The red glow is just a reflection from the heat gun. It didn't look like this on the phone screen when I took the pic. It's kinda neat when you scroll back in your picture gallery and find these "gems".

 Trans bearing installed. This session was fueled by root beer. Spiked root beer. Satisfy my sweet tooth and catch a buzz. Win-win.

 So here in the above pic we see the installed trans. The larger shaft is for the kick start and the smaller one is the shift shaft. The ratchet mechanism on that shaft that moves the shift plate is most likely the reason the bike only has three speeds. I cleaned it up but it really should be replaced. You'll also notice the idler gear between the crank and cam gears is missing. These gears are all marked so it was just a matter of lining everything up to achieve proper valve timing. No biggie.

 This is a new oil pump drive. On the right side of it is a slot for the tach cable. Look close and you can see the one that is still in the oil pump has the tangs broken off. I was delighted to find this new part among others that I don't even remember buying.

 One thing I do remember is being fifteen years old and trying to wrap my head around things like valve timing, ignition timing and other basic engine principals. This time around it was no sweat and I was half in the bag.
 There has been some talk (in my head) about converting to electronic ignition. One argument is that the bike may start easier which is a big bonus for a guy with a bad back and a kick only bike. The other argument is that this project is on a budget. If I'm gonna spend money it will only be on stuff I really need, like spiked root beer and black paint.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Case Of A Missing Transmission

So I've been thinking about how to move forward in assembling the BSA engine and what I've decided was that the trans should be the next step.
 It goes here but I can't put it there until I find the dang thing.

 Somewhere on this cart is where I thought I had all the parts from the first tear down about twenty years ago. There's a bunch of stuff mixed in there that just doesn't belong so ignore that. I found a seal that was purchased back then and also a bearing needed for the trans. Some missing hardware was also a pleasant find. But where was the actual transmission?

 I must have searched about an hour and started getting pretty torqued off that I couldn't find it. My memory sucks, I accept that, but WTF? The garage and shop space is only so big and I should be able to cover every square inch in little time. About the third lap around the shop I started digging under a few layers of parts.

 Then I spotted a huge clue that tripped the memory banks. Back there, against the wall, on the top shelf next to the mini fridge was a small gym bag. I now remember putting the trans in that bag and taking it to a bike show to discuss some issues with a brit bike nut that I knew would be there.  I think my concern was this bushing. 

Was it cracked or built this way? I don't remember his answer but because I also don't remember trying to order one I'm gonna guess he said it was good to go. Fast forward a few hours since I typed that and I'm trying to figure out where this bushing belongs. Although slow, I finally remembered what happened here. I ordered a bushing from somewhere and when it arrived it looked like this:

 So I can just leave the original bush in place and continue with the assembly. As I type this the main bearing for the trans is in the freezer shrinking, allowing for easier installation. Except for one snap ring it looks like I should be able to finish up this portion of the build and move on to cam timing so I can adjust the valves and cap off the top of the engine. Schwinnnnng.
 Despite my bungie cord efforts to keep everything in order, there are still a few loose pieces. An old service manual with schematics will aid me in getting all the pieces lined up, and in fact I found a spacer that goes on the front of those gears near the plate. At some point the whole row of gears must have fallen off. Part of the fun of this build is that old memories are slowly coming back about this bike. Even though I only put 200 miles on it in the last 37 years, I did spend a lot of time working on it as a kid and learning about bike engines.

  I'm taking this trans install slowly because it was the source of the original breakdown. I ran it low on oil because of a leak and a stupid means for checking the oil level. I'll get into that in a later post. I also seem to remember only having three speeds despite everyone telling me it's a four speed. 
 Will this finally be the year I hear the beast roar again?


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

BSA Engine

 You've been hearing about my '67 BSA project for a long time. I'll make a little progress then it will sit for months. This post is about a little progress.

 It started out just cleaning up some parts that have been sitting around.  I needed to put them together or put them away because they were taking up a lot of space in my little workshop. One thing led to another and the rings were on the pistons and the pistons were on the rods.

 With only one ring compressor I quickly realized I wasn't going to be able to slip the jugs over the pistons. I had to remove the pistons from the rods and install them into the cylinders first. Then I was able to just hold the cylinders in place over the rods and push the wrist pins in.

 I spent the better half of the afternoon looking for missing hardware. This stuff is all british standard so its not like I can just grab nuts out of the bin.
 This is as far as I got. I need to try to remember what issues I had with the transmission before I ripped this thing apart. I seem to remember something about an oil leak and a four speed with only three ranges. I don't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, how am I gonna remember what went wrong twenty years ago?
 I guess I'll just treat it like one of those minimal information repairs I get at work. The work order would read: The doohicky is all discombobulated.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bumpy Ride

 We had a few days of snow, rain, sleet and general crap this past week and that meant I spent time in a plow truck. At times the snow was coming down pretty heavy and many people claimed they haven't seen flakes that big in a long time. I'd say the largest were sized anywhere between a poker chip and a bar coaster. For those of you that don't drink or gamble, that would be about the size of a key fob and a sport bike drive sprocket. For those of you that don't drive or fix sport bikes, they were bigguns. Ya I stretched the truth but it's my blog, I can do that. Call it fake news if you want.

 Visibility was crap but that really didn't seem to keep people off the roads. I think for the most part people got caught in it. We had a few 10 minute bursts that would produce an inch of snow for a total of three or four inches on top of the rain we had for the previous eight hours. It was a huge problem that still exists in gravel lots that are built up with ice, but I think we'll be able to clean those up this week as the temps are supposed to get into the 40's. I wonder if that will be some kind of record?
 During all this snowfall excitement we have to keep trucks moving in the loading docks at a nearby manufacturer. Sometimes it can be like a carnival ride.

 The asphalt is rutted from the trucks moving in and out of the same spots for years. This makes a pretty bumpy ride for the first few passes. Still, I wouldn't trade it for a desk job. In fact, it could snow every day this winter and I'd be fine with that.


Go Pack Go!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Workshop Wednesday-Did You Lose This?

 I know its not mine. I looked all over for a key switch or starter rope but found nothing. Musta fallen off someone elses truck cuz I can't seem to make it work efficiently.

 I might be willing to run this if we can find a cab and heater for it. Actually this isn't a real thing. We just pushed this lawn mower attachment in front of the fertilizer spreader to see if this was feasible. It's not but we're always looking for ways to multi purpose our equipment from season to season.
 This last "storm" really sucked. We only got a couple inches of snow but it was followed by rain that lingered on all day. Ground temps were below freezing and the ice layer kept building. Gravel lots turned to ice skating rinks or more accurately, bumper car arenas. Trying to keep up was frustrating.

 In other shop news, this appeared on the wall in the rest room.

 It's sad that we need directions for ass wipe but we must be employing a bunch of neanderthals that either have no sense of decency or have someone else wiping their back side and never have to worry about where the paper comes from. Perhaps they can't figure out how that roll is magically fitted over the roller. Either way, upper management is on the case and I trust this problem is over.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Water, Lead and Good Fortune

 It was one of those rare January days where the temps soared into the upper thirties. We had light rain and snow was melting off the roof at work and forming a large puddle outside my shop door. We've given this puddle a few different names over the years because it really does become a pretty good sized body of water during a heavy rain. This "puddle" has given me a wet foot on a few occasions and today was no exception.
 So I squish, squish, squish my way through the workday trying to ignore the case of trench foot developing in my right boot. I did a few repairs including some work on one of those compact suitcase generators. You pretty much need to be an ambidextrous, double jointed contortionist to work on these things. If you're not, then you have to be willing to do a lot of tedious wrenching to do even the simplest tasks. In this case, a recoil repair. The once compact generator was now not so compact and spread out over the entire workbench. Eventually I completed the repair and reassembled the unit to damn near its original condition. No leftover hardware is always a good thing.
 Lunch came and went. I don't remember what I ate but I can tell you with no uncertainty that it wasn't a healthy meal. Afterwards I worked on our social media for a while. Yes, that's part of my job. I don't claim to be good at it but I enjoy it and nobody else wants to do it so it's kinda a locked in position. Nobody bucking for the job but no room for advancement. It's a wash.
 Five bells and I make like a banana and split. It's a twenty mile drive home in a heavy mist but my trusty (that should have said rusty) old dodge is up to the task despite some pretty seriously misaligned headlights and wiper blades. Come to think of it, that truck really wasn't up to the task. Anyway, everybody that commutes knows their route and becomes used to the particulars of that route including where the cops usually park and eat their donuts. For me there are two specific spots that could be considered speed traps. For whatever reason, I was day dreaming as I sped through one of those areas.
 I miss the soft glow of the old bubble gum machine globes on a squad car. These days we are subjected to the annoying glare of high intensity led lighting. I pulled over and waited for Johnny Law to catch up and make his case as the piercing lights filled the dark recesses of my cab. I didn't even need my dome light to search the glove box for my registration and proof of insurance. We had the standard conversation where he asks questions and I plead ignorance. I mean I wasn't even looking at the speedo and he was shooting radar. I should have asked him if he knew how fast I was going. As it turns out, he did know and it was a number I was a little surprised about. I chilled as he returned to his squad car to scrutinize my papers and investigate my driving record. As fate would have it, everybody I know passed by and saw me sitting like a rat with one leg caught in a trap. I could run but it would have required a lot of chewing and I wouldn't get far.  Instead I passed the time answering texts from those that drove past and saw me stuck there. Think about that for a minute.
 When our public servant returned we had a discussion about my driving habits and decided the best course of action was to provide me with a warning. I happily agreed and continued on my way.
 When I got home and took my boots off it occurred to me that I had somehow changed a wet foot to a lead foot that acted like a rabbits foot. Lucky me.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I Fix These

 So I'm looking at this torpedo heater that came in for repair and appears to be covered in mud. I jokingly asked the guy if it was covered in cow shit. The reply I got back was "yes". Yuck.
 The new boss walks by and asks if I fix these too? Ya I fix em, cuz nobody else wants to. The truth is I like the variety.

 This one needs some fixin. The smoke rollin out of it was the first clue.

I fix these too.

 It's a concrete saw. Normally the engine is spring mounted to the handle assembly. When the anti-vibe springs broke I guess the job wasn't done yet so they used a ratchet strap to hold it together. Yikes.

 I fix ice augers too. These two are done and ready for fishing on the lake. Yeah!

 Here we are four days into the new year. How's it going? I've been better. We say it's a new year but really it's just a dot on the timeline of our lives. For now, a continuation of a cold winter. No riding has got me grumpy and I can see it in the way I've treated people close to me. If I followed tradition and made a resolution for the year, it would be to be a better person toward others. Not such a dickhead. It should be easy to do, easier than a diet. I'll give it a try.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

UTV Rack

 Every so often I am asked to build something at work. I like these light fabrication projects even though the other guys in the shop will give me shit about how long they take, even if they don't take long at all. I know this because I am just receiving some of what I dish out. If I do take a little extra time it's to over analyze every scenario and try to get it done right the first time and avoid down time in the future.
 This project is a simple rack that will allow us to haul a bigger load of wood in the back of this utility vehicle.

 Like most of these projects, the material used is based mostly on what is in the steel storage rack at the time of the build. We had most everything I wanted to use except for the expanded metal. That came the next day on a semi trailer along with an assload of other material to stock the storage rack.

 Some angle iron and 1" square tube welded together and we have a rack. I wanted the section above the tailgate to have no pins to get lost or hinges to rust or bend. It also needed to hold the sides from bowing out. What I came up with worked ok as seen in this top view.

 I cut a slot in a piece of tube that would be welded to the far rearward edge of the sides of the rack. A piece of flat stock was welded to a round rod. This assembly would be welded to a tailgate frame and then slide into the square tube.

 I said it worked ok. Ok wasn't good enough because it did bind a bit where the 3/4" rod was welded to the flat plate. Version two was a piece of flat stock with two pieces of 1/4" rod welded just to the side away from the groove in the tube. This fit a little sloppy in the tube and made it easier to move the gate up and down. I suppose if you zoomed in on this pic you'd see what I did. The tailgate also got a pair of handles to allow for easier removal.

 I know it looks simple but one thing you don't see is some of the thought that goes into one of these projects. When deciding what we wanted to accomplish, consideration was given to how much material would be used. I wanted to protect the back window but only use one sheet of expanded metal and that expanded metal does have a pattern to it. That accounts for the shape of the rack. Aaron helped me measure and cut that metal and even saved the day when I almost fouled up the project by welding one piece in the wrong spot.  This pic is the finished project except for paint. Troy was painting it Friday with some oil based flat black. I know this machine will be on an upcoming tree job and I suspect it may get scratched up. Maybe after that it will need a little camo touchup paint.