Sunday, February 26, 2017

GoPro Tough!

 I told you about the Ebling back blade we put on my plow truck at work. My goal was to get some footage of this blade in action and put it on our company web page. Sometimes things work out as planned and sometimes they go to crap. The first video recorded just fine. Here is the second video I took. There is nothing wrong with your video, there are a few blank pauses in the clip.

 I ended the video "gopro tough" but the fact of the matter is the camera is shot. I'm sure the designers didn't plan on their product being monster trucked numerous times by a Ford F550 with two blades and a couple tons of salt on board, but it actually held up better than it should have. The camera powers up but the display is half blank, half burnt. That means I can't change any settings. I thought maybe I could connect via the remote app on my phone but the camera no longer syncs with it or with the smart remote. And, the real killer, the camera gets suspiciously warm as soon as I put the battery in it. Yikes! Rest in peace (pieces) GoPro.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Big Gun

 I'm enjoying the sun and warmth we've been blessed with lately. It has brought me out of a slump and really lifted my spirits. So much so that I've found myself doing odd things. When I perused my phone for pics to write a blog about, I found a video I forgot taking. The other day the sun was so inviting that I was compelled to film it. Not much of an action film, just me feeling good about the day.

 I know winter isn't over and the forecast is for some real crap weather this weekend but these past warm days are in the books and you can't take them away from me. I'm writing this at 5:30 a.m. and it's 42 degrees and starry with a forecast set to break records in the 60's. I'll be taking the sporty to work. The few days of riding that I got in here in February will carry me through till spring.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Record High?

 It usually happens at least once each winter, a day when temps get warm enough to justify rolling the bike out of the living room and take it for a frigid ride. Yesterday was such a day but it was special. Temps have been above normal all week and the roads are clear of snow and ice. We were set to break a record 50 degree high and those of us that ride were excited!
 I slept in till dang near seven thirty. I knew there was no reason to rush things as there would still be over night refreeze of melted snow piles that wash across the roads. After going through my morning ritual, pushing the bike out the front door was no big deal and took only a few minutes. I cleaned up a small oil spot on the wooden floor and we rearranged the living room furniture to "summer" mode.

 The bike got the usual once over to include fluid levels, air pressure and such. The only issue was a sticky carb float that fixed itself with a little persuasion from a hammer. After the bike was warmed up I threw a leg and started rolling away. As I pulled out of my drive I noticed a realtor across the street giving me a dirty look as a family was getting out of their car to look at the house for sale. All eyes were on me for some reason and this would have been a good place for a smokey burnout or wheelie, but as I stated in January, I was gonna try to be less of a dick head this year and I thought about that as I gingerly accelerated away.
 The bike ran pretty good for a 28 year old machine and hauled me about ten miles before I remembered I only added a splash of fuel that morning. While at the gas station another patron commented about how unusual it was to see a bike out in February. I looked at the boat he was towing and told him the same could be said about his boat and asked where he thought he was gonna float that thing today. He chuckled and said it was going to the dealer to be traded in. I quickly suggested he trade it in on a bike because it was a beautiful day for a ride. That didn't go over well as he stated he'd seen way too many people die on bikes. I wasn't in the mood for his debbie downer bullshit so I just commented that I'd bet the cause of death to those bikers was probably never from drowning. I thumbed the starter and rode off, I mean wtf? Nobody ever died in a boating accident?

 A quick stop for a selfie and to check ice conditions.

 It was pretty obvious I wasn't getting across that heave on the sporty. Good thing because I needed an excuse not to go out and do something stupid.

 I guess the sporty gobbled up much of that tank of fuel as I wandered around three counties just enjoying the bright sunshine. I stopped a few times just to stretch and kick some mud around. It was nice to step on some soil that wasn't frozen.
 I had been sick all week and was just starting to feel better and didn't want to jeopardize that, so I found myself at home earlier than expected. While dinking around in my shop, my wife came in and announced that a wall hanging had fallen and we needed a new sticky-back hanger. The nearest hardware store is almost twenty miles away so...back on the bike!


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Workshop Wednesday-Echo Service School

 Yesterday was a day of continuing education for three of us at work. In order for us to maintain our warranty repair status for Echo handheld products, every year we have to send people to service school. Sometimes these are a refresher course and sometimes I actually learn something new. This course was about carburetors. For me, yesterday was all about stuff I do every day so not much new there. For James who doesn't normally do carb rebuilds, it was a good day to learn some new stuff.

  Greg, who happens to be the lead lawn mower tech of the largest Husky dealer in the state, has been through this material as well. Sure there were some model specific details we picked up on and there was the discussion about new models coming out, but for the most part carb work hasn't changed in a long time. Some things that have changed are special coatings, processes and materials used these days to hold up to the effects of ethanol.

 All in all it was a well prepared school and attendance was worthwhile.

 That's really all I have for you today. It looks like temps may get up to fifty this weekend. Maybe I'll be able to get out for a ride!


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Random Boring Pic Day

 ...because I can't think of anything interesting to talk about today, and I don't want to talk about having to drive to Milwaukee yesterday to recover my wifes car that had a bad wheel bearing. No progress on the BSA. Nothing interesting happened at work. No social life to speak of. These pics were all in my phone and may or may not have been previously posted on this blog.

I know this was a warm sunset because I'm wearing my mesh jacket.
 I'm anxiously looking forward to getting back on the bike. 

Kudos to this guy spotted on his bike two days ago.
I really should push the sporty out of the living room and go for a ride.

Kinky links. A generous twist of the right wrist will straighten that right out!

I don't necessarily agree with this statement but I can appreciate the humor.

I like to be honest with my customers about their equipment. 

stupid cat

Same stupid cat trying to be cute.

I had to tear this saw down this far just to tell the customer it wasn't worth fixing.

It's been a long winter. I'd take a wet foot if it meant going on a warm ride.

Birthday dinner with Sweetums.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

No Bearing

 I got to workin on the BSA last weekend and thought I was making some progress.

 I found a bunch of parts that all looked like they belonged together and so I cleaned them up and started assembly. It soon became obvious I was missing something. A close inspection of the above pic will make it clear whats missing.
 I'll make it easier for you.

 I'm missing 20 bearings that should be supporting the clutch basket. I can't find them anywhere but I'll make one more lap around the shop just to be sure. I took this apart some time in the 1990's and I don't remember the disassembly in detail but I can see that it would be easy to pull this apart and have the bearings all hit the ground. What I may have done with them if I even found them all is uncertain.
 For now the plan is to take a look at what other parts I may need to finish assembly of the engine before I place an order for old Brit parts.
 I suppose I could move on to other parts of the bike assembly. I'll keep you posted.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Back Blade Update

 A few posts back I reported the addition of an Ebling Back Blade to my plow truck. I've really only had a few chances to play with it but I can see it will be a big time saver and a very useful weapon in the battle against accumulated snow.

 In true greasyshoprag fashion, I have provided you with a craptacular picture of the truck the way it sits today.

 The front blade is a SnowEx power plow that extends from 8'6" to 11 feet. I talked about how I hate handheld controllers and that I was gonna permanently mount the one that came with this blade.

 I had an old bracket from the car-phone days that worked perfectly for mounting the plow controller to the door panel. I can comfortably lay my arm on the arm rest and operate the snow plow. I'm liking it. In this pic you can also see the back blade controller in the front center of the seats. It is mounted to the bottom of the bench seat and moves with the seat. Above that is the salter controller mounted to the lower dash panel.
 When we told the manufacturer of the back blade that we wanted to mount a salter on the same truck as their blade, they basically just wished us luck. In very early custom designs they used a dual cylinder lift to raise the back blade. This made it possible to use whatever salter they were working with at the time. We didn't want to reinvent the wheel here and wanted each piece of this puzzle to work independently as they were intended. That is, if the blade comes off of this truck it can be mounted on another without any problems. Same for the salter. Everything has to be plug n play. This is what we came up with.

 If the plow comes off it will not change anything with the salter. Right now the salt drops between the rear hitch of the truck and the power unit mount for the back blade. We replaced the short spinner shaft with the optional longer one and it now just clears below the mount and back blade. We're gonna make a new shaft about two inches longer to get things "just right". You can see the spread pattern is decent but we don't have the spinner mounted correctly. There are two holes in the bottom of the spinner shaft. The top hole is where the spinner bolts through the shaft. The bottom hole is for a cotter pin and catches the spinner if the top bolt shears. We have the spinner bolted in the bottom hole right now and need to lengthen the shaft to fix this. It's just one of those things you have to deal with when trying to make your own rules. The salter can only mount so low before resting on the plow mount and changing the length of that shaft was the easiest answer.
 About the electric salt spreader. This unit is a dual electric motor setup. One motor spins the auger and one runs the spinner. Back in the day we ran gasoline powered spreaders and thought we had the world by the balls. Never mind that remote controls for gas engines always had issues or were froze if cable operated, or that you had to roll down the window and try to listen if the engine was cranking or that batteries went dead or the problem of running out of fuel. I don't miss any of that shit. Sure, my first reaction to the idea of an electric spreader was that they would be weak and not stand up to the abuse a commercial snow relocation technician would throw at them. I was wrong. These units are simple, reliable and plenty strong. The squeaking sound in the video is coming from the spreader but it's because I added a thick piece of rubber to the spinner shaft above a pillow block bearing. This was to protect the bearing from salt. I need to open the hole in that rubber as it's too dang tight right now.
 I plan to take some video footage of the blade in action. I have the camera, mounts and such. I just need mother nature to provide some decent snow.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Workshop Wednesday-Logging Winch

 Sometimes a difficult job comes along that has special needs, and requires special equipment. A tree removal project on a steep hill has provided the need for a winch.
 We want to pull logs up a hill at a fairly quick speed and we want to do this for the better part of a day. An electric winch would never handle our needs so the boss found a used hydraulic winch that he wanted mounted on the front of a skid loader. Our plan was to use a blank skid loader attachment plate and just make this thing a universal attachment that runs off of the implement hydraulics.
 The start point of this build was an I beam that was just standing there in the corner begging to be used for a project. Because the winch fit in the beam and the beam didn't need to be cut to length, I decided to use it.

  This is one of those projects that was based on a loose idea and the details were worked out as it progressed.

 A few of the things to be worked out included the matter of hydraulic flow. The first issue is that this winch isn't rated for the kind of flow and pressure our equipment produces. Also, the in and out function is electrically controlled to switch oil flow and reverse the winch. That won't work with a skid loader that can also reverse the flow between its hydraulic lines. The simplest way out of this mess was to bastardize the cartridge valve in the winch manifold and let the machine functions control hydraulic flow. The electric handheld control that came with the winch is then eliminated.
 Another issue was safety. If the winch cable were to break under load it could cause a lot of damage or maybe hurt someone. For this reason an expanded metal screen was built to protect the machine operator.

 Another area of concern was winching against the parking brake. Different machines use different types of parking brakes. Some are locking pins and some are just applied brakes. Still other machines disconnect certain hydraulic, motion control or auxiliary functions when the p brake is applied. To aid in keeping the machine from moving, it was decided to make a small blade with spikes that could dig into the ground.

 This is where the project stands today. We were gonna send it out for blasting and paint but decided instead to assemble it and do a few test runs, tweak whatever is needed and then send it out for paint. That's gonna happen here as soon as I get caught up. I was trying to get my new plow truck tooled up first but then a snow event set me back some. While all that was going on the incoming chainsaw repairs were backing up. I'll post more pics soon.