Wednesday, April 29, 2020

I See The Problem

 If you clicked on this post thinking I had some interesting insight on the whole virus situation and how its affecting us then you give me way too much credit for being on the pulse of this nation. This blog doesn't dig that deep into politics or anything else thats not within my six foot circle.
 I was working on a power cutter the other day. This one was brought in without the blade attachment but this is the type of saw typically used to cut concrete. I've shown one on this blog where I was cutting metal. Anyway there was a complaint that it wasn't running right. Luckily for the owner they stopped using it soon after issues started or they may have completely wrecked the saw.
 When you work on this stuff all the time its amazing how quickly you can scan over a saw looking for problems. To me, this one stuck out like a Honda at a Hog rally.

 (above pic) Not much to see here. Its a power cutter sitting on a bench.

 (does it make more sense to put the caption above or below?) My eye caught it even at this distance. To me something was out of place and there appeared to be a big clue.

 You really need a keen eye to pick it up, even this close.

 A little closer...

 Come on, its right there. I'll give you a hint. Some of the dirt accumulation pattern is a clue to the problem.

 Bingo! A loose cylinder base bolt. Actually two of them were backed out like this. Its been sucking air and creating a lean condition but somehow the piston and cylinder still look good. This saw is old but would cost over a grand to replace so we're gonna chance putting a new gasket in and see how much longer it will run. Yes it may have subjected the crank bearings to some dirt but a base gasket is cheap and labor isn't bad on this one. Actually, cleaning it up takes more time than the repair.
 Chainsaws always have a brown oily mess under the clutch cover. Weed wackers have green grass stain messes. Blowers are usually pretty clean but these dang power cutters always come in all jacked up with a big powdery mess that destroys my clothes, tools and work area. I've decided I hate working on them, even when the problem jumps out at you the moment it hits the bench.


Sunday, April 26, 2020

435x Automower In Retention Pond

 No the title isn't click bait. The mower is in a retention pond, its just not below the water level of that pond. Eventually I'll want to create some type of automatic switching system that parks the machine when the water level rises but for now that will have to be done manually.
 I'm getting ahead of myself so let me back up a bit. Not long ago I showed you an unboxing of the new Husqvarna 435x Automower. This is an AWD articulated lawn mower that is capable of mowing steep, rough terrain. That mower I showed you is now installed at the shop and taking care of our mowing needs in the front yard and a retention pond. If you want the official specs of the machine you can find them on Husqvarnas website.
 The video shows some of the machines capabilities. Check it out:


Wednesday, April 22, 2020


 Ya go through life dealing with little problems and thinking "Some day I'll fix that." If you're job isn't essential and you're sitting at home playing Pong or Donkey Kong then you are missing an opportunity. Yes the whole covid19 situation sucks but if there is any silver lining its that we can catch up on those projects that seem to elude us. Stupid simple projects like the one I'm gonna show you will make things easier at home. Here is the problem.

 I wear uniforms at work and they obviously come on hangers. Two hangers per day times six days times 4 weeks...well you get the point. The uniform company takes them back but getting them there can be a hassle. They get tangled up, snag the fine upholstery in the big ass station wagon and then have to be unscrambled to get them on the rack at work. I've tried zip tying them, tape, even sliding them over a pizza box but its always a pain in the ass.

 Theres a hundred ways I could have made this thing, whether it be wood or metal but I finally decided on using up the scraps from one of my last projects. If you've been following this blog then you probably guessed correctly that the scraps were already laying in plain site on the ground where they landed when they came of Grandpas table saw.

 Grooves, glue and screws. Add some paint left over from the Triple Rack project and ta-da!

 Its amazing how the mind works. Its stupid simple but I already see areas that could use improvement. Its a hanger holder, it doesn't need bluetooth or custom paint, yet I wish I would have thought out the handle better before gluing it in. You know I'm not taking that thing in to work till its almost overfilled and that means if it tips over in the big ass station wagon I'll have a mess. That handle could have doubled as a stop or catch to lock the hangers in...and depending on how long we're stuck at home it might get modified.


Sunday, April 19, 2020

Stolen Bike Theatre

 Now that I'm posting videos once a week I thought it might be fun to retell some stories from the blog in those videos. Theres a good chance some of these are buried so deep that nobody would ever find them anyway so posting them on my youtube channel will give them new life. Todays episode was originally found on the blog under the name Is This Your Bag Of Weed?

 No I didn't bump my head and I'm not drunk. I'm just having a hard time adjusting to all this free time on my hands. To be honest, I too was getting sick of all the tool box posts and figured it was time to really mix things up. Thats not to say there won't be more toolbox posts because I have a few in mind but I think we all need some variety.


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Parts Cabinet Update

 A week or two ago I posted a video about a parts cabinet I was building to store harbor freight parts bins. The cabinet has been done for a while and has been working great. I painted it, added a handle and put a rubberized pad on top. This has been my go to work area in the heated portion of my shop and of course has been the one centralized location for most of my small hardware. Notice I said "most" and "small". A guy just collects so much stuff that isn't junk. Its stuff that you need to do DIY projects along with keeping the house functioning. I did throw a lot of goodies away and know I'll regret it because I can think of twice I was able to go back to the garbage can and recover something I decided I needed. I think my brain is like a rolodex card holder. Everything has a card assigned to it and every time something is handled, that cards gets moved to the front. How many times have you dug around in the garage, found something and thought "I could have used that on my last project". You could have but that index card was buried way back. Not further back than BB guns or measuring the length of a skid mark you just made with your bicycle, but pretty far back. Maybe some of the cards get stuck together and things just get forgotten.

 The reason I'm posting now is because I ordered a label maker and it just showed up.

 It seems decent enough and prints out some very important symbols along with the alphabet. The tray below might not even have anything in it but I just had to print out that label.

 At first I thought the labels would be nice but not necessary but I've spent a lot of time pulling out trays, groaning, pushing trays back in and pulling out another. Lather, rinse, repeat.

 In the video post I said I wasn't sure about the extra seven large trays on one side. I decided on shelves for those blue plastic trays that were scattered all over the garage.

 One of those "index cards" had 'kawasaki hiway pegs' written on it. I reached back into the scrap metal bucket and recovered a handle for my parts drawer.

 As you can see I still need to get a few more trays but maybe not as many as it appears. I've been giving some thought to how I want to store nuts and bolts and I just might make a few of my own trays. We'll see.


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Everyday Toolbox Carry

 For the past few months you've been seeing a lot of toolbox creations, tours and updates. You also know I've been trying to organize my home work space and that includes my home tool box. A few tools were missing and I started wondering where they could have gone. Can't blame anyone else for not returning them cuz I'm the only one using them. I then remembered about the tool box kept in the big ass station wagon and found the missing tools. They must have been missing for a long time because I don't remember the last time I was in there.
 In the video I also talk about a tote full of goodies. I'd like to hear ideas about how to haul a fire extinguisher in there without it getting damaged or accidentally going off. This video is on the longer side but many of us seem to have the extra time these days.
 Check it out:


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Torn Boots

 Part of being cooped up at home involves looking for things to do to keep busy. Like many, I spend more time online than usual but I have a lot of projects that can keep me away from turning into a computer vegetable. I am also lucky enough to be unlucky and that provides extra things to do as well. Take the big ass station wagon for example. Back in November I reported a low oil pressure condition that seemed to have gone away after an oil change and new filter install. In fact its been perfect for 7100 miles. Perfect that is until the other day when I lost oil pressure again. At least thats what the gauge was telling me. Neither time I "lost pressure" did I ever hear any lifter noise so I'm a bit suspicious. Now I had an excuse to do some online research and discovered that the sending units in these motors are notorious for shitting the bed. I also found out there is a little screen located under the pressure sensor. I think it is there to keep crap out of the system that drops engine cylinders under light load. Theres a name for that system but I don't give a crap what its called. I decided that a plugged screen from sludge or a bad sensor was the next logical thing to try. I now know my bad oil filter theory was wrong because I've changed the oil and filter a few times since then and still have a problem.

 The first thing I decided to do was buy some motor flush. If I have sludge buildup I'm gonna start an active program to try to clean it up. After reading the ingredients on the label I think I'll come up with my own cocktail before the next oil change.

 The new sending unit, screen, oil filter, engine oil, motor flush and fuel line disconnect tool came to about a nert. Not bad if it works. The sucky part is that I had just changed the oil last week.
 Getting to the oil pressure sending unit is about equivalent to building a ship in a bottle, tying your shoe with one hand or using chopsticks for the first time. Its hidden behind the intake manifold and in the case of a Yukon, also under the dash cowl. I did it but it wasn't fun.

 The sending unit I pulled out of there was not the original so I hope I'm on to something. I really wanted to see that screen but when I snaked a pick back there and hooked it, it came flying out and I couldn't find it. I looked a long time knowing that if it was dirty I had found my problem and I could have some closure. Now I just have to hope that I've solved the problem, at least temporarily.

 Another project keeping me busy at least for an afternoon was to install two new cv shafts in the big ass station wagon. The boot on one was torn and on the other completely separated.

 Cussing was kept to a minimum. Everything came apart easily. I disconnected the upper A arm to allow clearance for the old shaft to come out. Those A arms have only been in there since the lift kit was installed so nothing was seized. One thing I did notice was a bit of tire rubbing during full lock. Thats something to think about if I replace these tires with some decent meats.

 We'll see how things go. The truck could use a tune up but do I wait to see if it needs the oil pump looked at? With this many miles do I replace an oil pump or rebuild the engine? The guy that traded it in did so just before the rust was beginning to show so I've got that to consider as well. Oh well, right now I've got plenty of time to think about it.


Sunday, April 5, 2020

Puncha Buncha Buttons

 For those that have been following this blog, you are aware that I have a robotic lawn mower cutting the grass in my yard. You may also know that I sell, install and maintain these units at work. When Husqvarna announced a new all wheel drive model I was pretty excited and after a long wait I finally have one to scrutinize.
 The video doesn't cover many of the basics like the three small razor blades that do the actual cutting or the wires that are buried around the yard. If the covid-19 threat keeps me at home long enough I may get into that in more detail but for now this is just a first look at the new Husqvarna 435x Automower and a bit of a comparison to my 450x model named Mowby Dick.


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Are Emergency Room Visits Up?

 Right now there are a lot of people laid off from work and I'm sure DIY home improvement is happening more so than usual. It is here. That got me thinking, I wonder how the emergency rooms are holding up when there has to be a bunch of knuckleheads showing up needing stitches, crap removed from eyes and even casts.

 I know all of you out there run all the proper guards on your equipment. Some of my old equipment was built before anyone thought about guards or Grandpa removed them decades ago. Actually they were built before everyone got sue-happy.

 Then you have other things like ladders where it just takes one wrong step to screw up your day.  I'm happy to report I didn't have any issues with my ladder yesterday.
 Today I have a plumbing project but really whats the worst plumbing accident I could have? I touch something icky or have to deal with foul odors from a rogue turd? I'm replacing a garbage disposal so the turd thing is unlikely. If I do see a turd then an intervention with the cats is probably in order. The most likely problem that would land me in the ER is if my project leaks and I slip and fall in the puddle, cracking my head open.
 The other day I wired a new light in my garage. I've had the light here for so long that I have to guesstimate its been 5-8 years waiting to be installed. I don't like to rush into things I guess. Anyway, the install went fine but I just want to say make sure you shut the power off on the circuit you're working on. Yes the power was off and yes I tested it at the light. Turns out I didn't know what circuit I was on but again, the power was off at the light. It just shows that you can't be too careful. Getting a shock, falling off a ladder then slipping in a puddle of your own piss does not sound like a good time.
 And finally you just have screwballs putting their fingers where they don't belong.

 Despite all the efforts to stay out of the E-room, I did manage to get an owie. It was not while I was performing any type of task except walking. I ran my elbow across a sharp edge on my shop furnace and got a pretty good cut. Maybe only a half inch long but kinda deep. The good news is that it created another small project to keep busy with...fixing the sharp edge on the shop furnace. Can't blame the furnace. Its claimed a few shirts over the years but never flesh. It should have been fixed long ago.

 No visit to the E-room for a scratch like that but its what got me thinking that I need to be careful so I don't have to make a visit to the germ factory.
 So if you've found yourself with time on your hands for DIY projects then please be careful.