Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Busy Week

 I mentioned there was a big sale going on at work and because of that I haven't had much time to think about todays post. Instead of a photo dump I offer you a small video dump of slower times at the shop.

One thing leads to another...

 Play time in the showroom...

And you've seen a pic of this one but now here's an action shot. Again, I have no idea whats going on with this...


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Popcorn and Urinal Cakes

 Spring is supposed to be here but the cold hearted bitch is having an identity crisis and thinks shes old man winter. This is really putting a cramp in my urge to get out and ride. I was waiting for some rain to wash the salt residue from the roads but pretty soon I'll just have to bite the bullet and put some layers on and go for it. Failure to do so soon feels like it could end up in a seizure, spaz attack or at the very least a hissy fit.
 Thursday evening we had an employee appreciation party for work. There was food and drink and I think everyone had a pretty good time. During dinner my wife and I sat with another couple and engaged in some nice conversation. For them it was a night out and a chance to have adult conversation away from their two young children. For us, watching James eat was a bit like going to the Ripleys believe-it-or-not museum. Of course I'm joking. Many of us ate as much but we did it in multiple trips. James had a mound of food on his plate that looked like a science fair project.
 Friday my wife and I went to a nice Italian restaurant just because we felt like it. Once inside I discovered I didn't have the key fob for the car. My wife thought I was joking because we've had these talks about what would happen if we locked the only key we have in the car. An earlier call to the BMW dealer suggested that a second key/fob would cost north of five hundred bucks so we are treating this one we have very carefully. At least I thought I was being careful. I traced my steps from our table, out the door and down the sidewalk. Then I noticed something dark resting in the street against the curb. Sure as shit it was our key fob. I don't know how I did it but somehow I dropped it after getting out of the car and hitting the lock button. That could have gone very wrong and I feel lucky to have found it before someone else stumbled across it, or worse, drove over and destroyed it.
 Saturday started out with a bright orange sunrise.

  It was pretty busy at work because we are trying to set up for a sale that runs all next week and because we have a tent set up in front of the building people think the sale is going on now. We sold a lot of stuff but still didn't have everything set up for the sale so that means Monday morning is gonna be hectic. Oh well, better than not being busy at all.
 On the way home I picked up some paint and sanding supplies for the sportster tank project.

 I should have sanded more of those layers off because my primer actually reacted with one of those colors and started bubbling it. Thats really weird because I never had that problem last time I painted it and I think I'm using the same paint.
 After I got to the quitting point for the day with the painting we decided to do some shopping and get dinner. I needed furnace filters for the paint booth and supplies for the end table near my recliner.

  It was also a good chance to swing into the car wash and get some of those layers of salt off the beemer. We got the deluxe wash with the smurf jizz again and my wife finally decided what it smells like. Cherry scented urinal cakes. I can't argue with that but it does beg the much time do you spend in the mens room, Dear?


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Randumb Foto Dump

 Another Wednesday is upon us and I don't have anything interesting to talk about so I scrolled through my phone and pulled some pics I don't think I've used here before. I guess this is a post for the guys that don't like to read. Why I even took some of these is a mystery.

Perfect example of "WHY?"

Git r done!

Some guys have barbed wire pin stripes. Some have real barbed wire. Just sayin.

Jack must have lost the flip!


A tote full of chainsaws and weed wackers.

This is the kind of crap I have to deal with at work.

Found on a piece of power equipment. I get what it means...just thought it was weird.

Thats a lot of scrapings and it all came from this one mower deck!

I don't even know whats going on here.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Black River Falls

Last week the postman delivered a couple of pieces of mail to me and my wife. They were coupons to the casino in Black River Falls for some kind of a grand opening gimic celebrating  their new hotel addition and remodeling project. I suppose we got on the mailing list because of a visit last year during a bike ride where we had joined the players club and got maybe ten or twenty dollars free play each. This time around it was $150 each and a free nights stay. I guess that's the magic number that will draw people in because the place was packed.
The room was really nice. Very modern, plenty big and almost completely clean. We elected to do the buffet right in the casino only because they didn't offer anything fancier than that. The food turned out to be ok and I suppose it ranked as being deserving of another visit.  Afterwards we headed to the gaming floor where managed to make a little of our own money by using theirs.
I'm writing this Saturday night in that hotel room during a break from the slot machines. I brought my own beer and we ran back here for a refill. Ya I know that sounds cheap but because the casino was putting us up we decided to see how much fun we could have without making any major contributions to the funding of their remodeling project. Besides,  I already had enough green beer for the night and it was time to get back to my usual swill and at their pricing I could buy a six pack for every two cans purchased at the bar.
We later returned to the gaming floor where we enjoyed some live music and were able to play on their dime for the rest of the night.
I'd say we had a pretty good time considering we didn't have any other plans for the night although it's unlikely we'd do it again if we were funding the adventure.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Winter Projects

 One of the worst parts of my job is having to tell someone their equipment is shot. I know its not like I'm a doctor telling you that your days are numbered but it just kinda sucks having to tell good people that they need to spend more money especially when its not their fault. The exception would be dick heads that won't listen, argue or worse yet they lie and try to blame someone else for the mistake that ruined the equipment. I have no problem telling those fools where they went wrong.
 We have a minimum labor charge for diagnosing equipment and the customer has the option of paying that charge or abandoning the piece in exchange for that bill. We try to recover our expenses by parting out the unit. Once in a while a decent piece comes along and I save those for winter projects. As a dealer we can use parts at our cost and obviously supply our own labor. Usually the best we can expect is to come out even and hope to rent the equipment out after its fixed and make a small profit.
 One such piece is this hedge trimmer. It was one of our rental units that wouldn't start. I remember pressure testing it and it failed. I must have been busy at the time because I just marked the tag "crankcase leak". If I would have spent more time on it I would have discovered the leak wasn't a hard one to repair.
 I removed the flywheel in preparation of pressure testing the unit again and immediately noticed something out of the ordinary.

Do you see it? At first glance this looks like a normal crank seal but look closer.

 Its actually a damaged seal due to grass and debris getting wound up around the crankshaft. Enough of it got wedged under the flywheel that it started working its way against the lip of the crank seal.

 That shiny spring below the seal and around the shaft should actually be hidden under the lip of the seal which is worn away. Thats a huge air leak and a two stroke engine won't run with a leak that big. A simple seal replacement fixed this trimmer and its back in service, or at least its sitting around waiting for spring just like the rest of us.
 So, was it lack of proper maintenance, sloppy operating practices or poor engine design? Blowing debris out of the cooling fins is regular maintenance but removing the flywheel isn't so we can't blame it on lack of care. This trimmer sucks cooling air from the bottom so the design may be poor but I think this was used to cut flowers back in the fall. The unit was probably sucking in dead grass and debris from a bed and that debris got wrapped around the crankshaft. Maybe it was just set down in a messy area and idled for a while, all the time sucking crap into the cooling system.
 I don't think anyone is to blame. Sometimes things just happen. Yes this could have been avoided by using a stick hedger rather than a hand held and a lot can be said about using the right tool for the job but sometimes you just run what ya brung to git er done. As a rental unit theres nothing that can be done to prevent this. For an individual owner there is a lesson to be learned here that can be best summed up with the old Chinese proverb, He who work in messy bed end up with dirty crank!


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Saturday In The Shop

 Saturday morning I didn't have to work and my wife had plans to leave town. This meant I would have time to dink around in the shop. The first thing that had to be done was a little bit of cleaning. I found a tote full of tools and realized they were from a past remodeling project. No, not the bedroom painting project from a few months ago, these were from the November 2016 bathroom remodel. Oh well, those and the ones in a tote from the latest remodel are now put away. I also found a box with the old valves from the Subaru project.

 Not a straight one in the lineup. This was the first time I had looked at them out of the heads. Pretty impressive the amount of damage that can be done from not changing your timing belt often enough.

 My wife had mentioned how cloudy the headlights were on that car so Friday after work I picked up a restoration kit from the local parts store. I chose the Mothers brand product because I really like some of their products like Back to Black. I've used this for a long time and really like the way it restores sun faded plastic on bikes. I see it now comes in an aerosol and I may have to pick up a can and try it. The headlights weren't bad enough to need wet sanding in multiple steps and the polish and bonnet supplied did a nice job. As you can see, the light on the left still looks like ass before the polishing.

 The outside temps were rising into the high thirties so I decided it was a good day to sand the sporty tank so I can paint it.

 I got some 60 grit paper on the orbital sander and started chewing away at layers of paint. 

 You may remember how this paint job got on the tank and the gold glitter I sprayed on in frustration. Well I'm paying for it now. It took two packs of 60 grit to remove that glitter paint. It gummed up something terrible but its all gone now. I was surprised to see evidence of at least three other paint schemes under the mess I created. 

 The purple with white lightning bolts is what the bike had on it when we bought it. I'm not sure what the green is about but I could tell it was taped off into a few stripes so thats two different paint jobs.

 I'm not sure how well this pic shows it but there is a blue flame paint scheme under here as well. I stopped sanding at this point and spent a lot of time trying to decide if I just wanted to squirt clear coat over the tank in this condition. I think it looks cool and probably better than whatever I'll come up with.

 I had this small can of 3M bondo laying around and once the sporty tank was sanded I wanted to fill a dent and also one or two on the BSA tank. Thats right, progress was made on the BSA. A lot more progress could have been made if the working time of this body filler would have been longer than 14 seconds. Seriously, you can see I'm holding the can up just by the stir stick that now won't move. I put a dab on the sporty tank, wiped it with a squeegee, did the same in two spots on the BSA tank and by then the stuff was hard. There was some other stuff to do on the sporty but I couldn't because my bondo was now a rock. I'll have to pick up some more and finish the job.
 While I was messing around in the garage I remembered there was one more piece of business that needed to be taken care of now that I'll be commuting in the Subaru for a while.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

On The Road Again

 Sorry if you thought I was referring to getting back on a motorcycle because I'm not. In fact we just got a few inches of snow the other day. I'm talking about the Subaru Outback that blew a timing belt back in November. Let me get you up to speed. After the belt broke the car sat in the garage for a while before a couple day stretch that was warm enough for me to tear the engine down and remove the heads. Turns out all sixteen valves were bent but everything else looked ok. A local machine shop went through the heads while I bought a complete gasket set, head bolts, timing belt, idle pulleys and water pump. Last week I had in my possession all the pieces and mother nature provided a few days above freezing.
 Bolting the heads on was easier than taking them off because I unbolted the motor mounts and slid the engine to one side and installed the opposite head. It was tight getting a torque wrench in there but it was doable. Actually, the worse part was that the torque sequence had me doing one bolt from the top then the next bolt from underneath, then back on top and so on. That sucked because its a seven step process per bolt.
 I think it was a Sunday afternoon and two nights after work for a few hours to get it all buttoned back up. I was working in the dark with the front of the car pointing out of the garage and just used a pen light to light my way. After making one last lap around the engine compartment I decided it was time to fire it up. Crank, crank, crank...nothing. Not a single pop. I had a check engine light flashing at me and the "cruise" light flashing too. Last time that light flashed it cost the dealer a new $800 catalytic converter. The car was still under warranty then. Anyway, I cranked a bit more hoping to hear something that sounded like an attempt to start but still nothing. It seemed to crank normal, meaning compression sounded good and no interference between valves and pistons. I whipped out my handy dandy pen light and made one more sweep of the engine compartment. Sure enough, hidden under the intake runner on the passenger side is the ignition module and I could see it wasn't plugged in. The wire harness for it got bunched up under the manifold and kinda hid there. I plugged it in, jumped in the car and tried starting it again. Vroom! It started right up!
 I was standing just outside the garage lookin in and the garage was filling with smoke. My Ultra is a big bike yet I couldn't even see it back there through the cloud. I quickly pulled the car outside. The car ran for maybe fifteen minutes and began overheating. Remember its dark outside and from the glow of the tail lights it looked like the car was still smoking. I thought it was blowing antifreeze out the exhaust like maybe I screwed up the head gasket install or maybe I had a cracked head. All those negative thoughts clouded my rational thinking so I backed the car in the garage and gave up for the night. I spent all night going through the repair and couldn't come up with a good reason for the problem. I'm not saying I'm too good to screw up cuz I make mistakes all the time but I didn't rush this job and it should have gone right.
 A few days later I borrowed a cooling system pressure tester from Al. Thanks Al. That test told me there were no leaks in the system. I fired the car up and to my surprise it didn't blow smoke but it did overheat. I started thinking logically and realized I just had an air pocket in the system. Once I got that bled out the car stopped overheating and the heater worked fine. I'm thinking all that smoke was raw fuel in the exhaust from when I initially cranked the piss out of it. I suppose anything left in there evaporated after sitting a few days. Oh, and to my surprise, all the flashing lights and check engine light just went away. Schwiiiiing!

 So this will be my ride until we're ready to upgrade the truck. I'll need the old Dodge for towing and hauling but thats about it. The only other thing the Dodge can do better is deep snow and off roading. I don't do much off roading and the chances for deep snow yet this year are slim.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Hutch Wrap Up

 So I finally finished the hutch project and have been using it a couple weeks now. I was worried that losing the flat surface of the bottom chest would be a problem but I added a rubber mat to the top of the hutch for stacking "stuff" and cleared off the other workbench in my work area to create more flat surfaces for junk.

 So far it has been working out quite well. Having a clean safe place for a computer in my work area is nice and a big time saver. It seems whenever I go up front to use the parts computer I end up getting side tracked. That has led to problems in the past and I think this setup will help a lot in my efficiency. Also, I no longer have to go get a laptop and clear an area for it when I need to hook up to a new style autotune chainsaw.

 The electronic lock is working perfectly and after lubricating the roll up door it now slides like butter. I may add a shelf or special mount above the keypad for my phone to sit on while charging. I may also add a clock. Other than that I don't think I'd do much differently.
 No, I'm not gonna build and sell these so stop asking. I had an idea trapped in my head and now its out. Done. My head is clear and I'm ready to move on to the next project.