Wednesday, September 30, 2020


  Theres been a long run of nothing but oil changes on the big ass station wagon as far as maintenance is concerned. Thats a good thing. Oh sure I have a weepy rear tire that gets filled once a week and I need to feed its oil drinking problem every other week but otherwise its been holding together. When we needed to decide which vehicle to take for an hour and a half ride to our daughters wedding it really was a toss up. The Beemer gets better fuel mileage but the Jimmy is more comfy. Gas is cheap these days so the big ass station wagon got the nod.

 Twenty miles from home while sitting in the bank drive through my wife turns to me and asks what the heck was that? "That" was a misfire. It was followed by many more. In fact it was kinda always happening but not in rhythm like a polka beat. I guess it had more of a Ted Nugent or Jimmy Hendrix kind of randomness to it. BTW, mechanics love it when you describe a problem like this. So now what? Do we back track 20 miles and swap cars or head out for the hiway and let things sort themselves out? "When in doubt, throttle out" has worked well for me in the past so we continued on. 

 At cruising speed the misfire either isn't happening or can't be felt. Much of this trip was to be interstate travel so no big deal, right? A little while after my confidence was back up we got to a newly paved section of road that felt bumpy. Those aren't bumps and my wife knew it. Soon after, the check engine light came on. No biggy, we were still under power and the gauges were normal. I figured there must be an elf under the hood that counts misfires. When he ran out of fingers and toes to use he said screw it and hit the bullshit button. I was taking this much better than my wife was. To be stranded on the side of the road would have been a disaster and I'm pretty sure it would have ended up with her taking an uber to the wedding and me dealing with a broke ass station wagon.  While I was letting that last thought sink in the traction control light came on. 

 The traction control light came and went a few times and was finally put to rest by turning off traction control. Because traction control can cut power it has to be linked to the engine and when the engine misfires traction control may not work right. Right? Sounded good to me. All that shit is connected so it was safe to assume I still only had one problem-a misfire but was it a plug, coil, sensor or connection? 

 We made our destination and lived with the problem. By the next day when we were heading home the misfire was treated like an old friend. Hey, there you are. Haven't seen you in a few miles. 

 Would you like to meet our culprit? Here he is.

A little closer...

 These are AC Delco plugs. The big ass station wagon has 180,000 on the counter. Is it possible they are original? Maybe the second set but no newer than that I'd guess. The plug in the pic is on number one cylinder. Its the easiest to get to and was the first one I pulled. Based on the way the engine was jerking I was expecting to find more that looked this way. I didn't. In fact I'm sure this is the only one creating all the fuss. 

 A week before this all happened I was experiencing a slight loss in power. There was no misfire and the loss just felt like a dirty air filter. I was so confident the air filter was the problem that I just bought one without checking the existing one. I was bummed out to find it didn't need an air filter but changed it out anyway just because. A few days later my power was back and I forgot about the whole ordeal. I wonder now if the loss of power was maybe that piece or part of the piece of broken spark plug lodged under the exhaust valve. After it worked its way through I had normal power again. Thats my story and I'm stickin to it.

 You know what the funniest part of this story is? If I would have taken this to a shop then some technician would have pulled this plug and run over to a coworker saying something like "Look what I found. What an idiot, I bet this guy never looks under the hood". 

 Ya I'll go easier on dumbasses that bring me neglected equipment. At least for a while.



Sunday, September 27, 2020

Triple Rack 8 Month Review

  You've been force fed a lot of DIY videos on this blog lately and unfortunately its just been that kind of a year for me. Not that tidying things up at the homestead is a bad thing, its just that I'd rather be posting video from the bike or workshop. Come to think of it, the videos I think are ok aren't that great either. Oh well.

 Back in February I posted some pics of an idea and some recycled steel I was salvaging for this build. By the end of the month I was using the cabinet.

 This cabinet I call the Triple Rack has been great! For me this storage solution is something I wish I had a long time ago. I don't have a huge amount of tools but what I do have is now organized and easily accessible. Thats important because I stand next to and work directly out of this box. That means usually when I pick a tool and use it, the tool is returned back to the box. This is in contrast to the guy that puts a days worth of tools back at the end of his shift or the guy working out of a tool cart. Its all about efficiency and this system works for me.

Check it out:


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Congrats Kenzie and Tyler

  I mentioned that our middle daughter Mackenzie was getting married last weekend and sure enough she did. She and Tyler originally had plans for a large wedding up nort there hey dontcha know but the coof kinda screwed that all up. They struggled with the idea of moving forward with plans but would have felt terrible if their nuptials turned out to be the reason someone hocked up a lung. There was talk of just going to the courthouse and having judge Judy make it official but thats not what little girls dream of when they think about gettin hitched. There had to be some kind of compromise and it turns out a "micro wedding" was the answer. The total number in attendance would be them plus eight. Two more if you count the preacher and photographer. Parents and siblings, that was it.

 At first I felt sorry for them. They had been making plans and saving money for a long time only to be sucker punched by the plague. Luckily for them the place they booked for the celebration gave them a refund on their hard earned coin. As it turns out, Tyler and his family have friends that have a wedding barn venue and when they found out the big whoop de do  was in the crapper, offered to host their micro wedding.

 After being involved in this micro wedding I realized I didn't need to feel sorry for them. It was a wonderful event with close family members. No pressure, no drama, no coworkers getting smashed and creating a scene. No long lost cousins eating up your time. No fake friends showing up for food and drink only. Don't get me wrong, weddings can be a wonderful thing but they can be an exercise in micro drama as well. And guess what? They can still have a blowout one year anniversary party/reception if they want all that drama. Sounds like a win-win situation to me. Congratulations Kenzie and Tyler! 


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Three Things

   So heres the deal. I'm writing this on Thursday and uploaded the video tonight as well. The video is scheduled to go live on Saturday and then on Sunday morning I can just share this post to facebook. There really is a lot of bullcrap involved in this blogging effort but so far I'm still willing to invest the time. Why am I posting it early? Glad you asked. The main reason is because one of my daughters is getting married on Saturday and the last thing I want to do is dick around with uploading Greasy Shop Rag videos on her special day. A secondary reason for doing it this way is there may come a time that I want to use the youtube time machine and travel to the future. Or is it the past? If I make a video that isn't seen until days later then am I going back to the future? Time travel is complicated.

 When I titled this post I obviously had three things on my mind. Three reasons for scheduling the video in the future (here we go again) but I can't think of the third reason.  I don't think it was customer service but that should have been on the list anyway and this post should have been called "Four Things". When I remember that other thing I'll just go back from the future and change this whole post. Don't worry, you'll never know what happened.

 Customer service can make or break a business. Now its true some people will shop a certain store for low prices no matter how crappy the experience has been in the past. I'm thinking big box stores when I say that but what about small business? A small shop can't afford a bad reputation when it comes to customer service. Where I work we sell new outdoor power equipment and we also do warranty work for many major brands which means we service the cheap crap you bought at the big box store. Many times the equipment isn't actually covered under warranty because a customer did something stupid. The fact is that they buy it in a box, set it up and then foul it up. When you buy from us you get an assembled unit, a test run and as much training as you need. All that extra stuff is free and not billable time. That makes it hard for us to compete with a store that just pushes you out the door with an unassembled unit.

 To make up the difference we try to earn loyal customers that will come back and rent equipment or tents. Maybe they'll think of us for their snow plowing needs or lawn mowing, fertilizing or spraying. We also offer trucking and delivery services and also light fabrication work. Some free labor to earn a customer can go a long way towards a bigger sale down the road. And don't forget about word of mouth. 

 At the end of the video I say "bill 'em". We don't actually bill this customer. It literally took seconds to figure out the problem and later I learned he borrowed the saw and had no chainsaw experience at all. The fact that he borrowed the saw and was willing to take it to a repair shop and pay the bill without ever having had the chance to use it told me he was probably a good guy. We took the time to educate him and I hope we earned a customer. I don't normally babble on this long and then stuff a video in your face but the video is only 40 seconds and I needed it for my time machine experiment.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

This Tool

  If you follow my video posts then you know that I was thumbing through a 1962 Sears catalog a while back and enjoying the tools section of that big book. I went back later and took a closer look at some of the tools and spotted something I had never seen before. Its Item #4 in the pic and I showed it to you in the video but I'm not sure how well it was visible. I know Ed recognized it.

Heres a closer look:

 Its a "speeder ratchet". The description says its a 3/8" drive, locks and spins left or right. For those that are familiar, did it only come in 3/8ths or were other sizes offered in later years.

 It has caught my interest and I'm gonna start keeping an eye open for one. Maybe I'll check out the local antique mall or flea market.

 Hey squirrel, quit harshin my buzz. I'll find one. They are old but I doubt they are rare. Ya know, buying the latest and greatest tools available is wonderful and does make my job easier but sometimes its this old stuff that keeps ya interested or sends you down memory lane. I'm not a tool collector but collecting a few odd pieces is kinda fun. At least I can still use the tools to create other projects and thats a good thing, eh?

 In other news, I got a phone call last night from a gentleman that was looking for some repair work. Years (decades) ago I fixed an old yamaha two stroke motorcycle for him. This time its a pair of 1999 Polaris snowmobiles. I'm told they are in pristine condition except for the fact they were never drained of fuel years ago on their last use. I warned him of the amount of work involved and told him I'd probably stop by to at least look at what he has.

 I need to finish cleaning my garage before taking on any side jobs. I'll keep you posted.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sears Catalog 1962 Revisited

  Another trip down memory lane. This time in a little more detail with some of the items I found in the 1962 Sears catalog.


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Where Is Princeton?

  Let me start out this post with a big GRRRR! Don't you hate it when this happens? The weather has been warm and sunny until today when it turned cold and wet. You get home from work wondering if today is the day you see if the furnace is gonna run another season. You gather up your beer and Oreos, find a blanket and snuggle into your favorite chair to do some surfing on the net. You turn on the fake fire place for some extra heat and then two clicks and a swipe later the mouse batteries go dead! GRRRR! Commence de-snuggling operations and go find some batteries only to discover you're out. Double GRRRR! Lucky for me my wife had two stashed away and saved me a trip to the kwikky mart.

 Heres another thing I hate when it happens. You post an item on marketplace or whatever format you're in to and someone replies and wants to come pick it up. Arrangements are made but the dickhead never shows up. Here was the item:

 Its a fine looking fender and it ought to be because its never been installed. I was asking $40 just because I felt I shouldn't just give it away but I wanted it gone. At some point during these transactions I told a guy I would rather throw it in the dumpster than dick around waiting for someone to show up. That guy ending up with the fender but the guy before him just disappeared. We made the arrangements after two days going back and forth. He was working this day, I was working the next. On the day we finally agreed upon I shot him a message that I was home and he could head over. He said he was on his way. After three hours I shot him another message. Nothing, not a peep. Just crickets. 

 I spent a couple hours working on diy projects and thinking about why a person would want to mess around with someone like that. I mean its not like I was in need of the $40. I just figured it was a fair deal. Someone would get a deal on a new fender and I'd have less crap to deal with. I finally looked up his profile on facebook and discovered he is from Minneapolis. WTF? He must have been messin with me. Oh well, nothing lost. Shortly later someone else responded to my ad and this time I looked at the profile first. He was from a few miles away from where I work. I told him about the last dickhead and if he hurried over right now it was his. Sure enough he was here right when he should have been. We talked about dickhead dude for a bit and when he got to the point where he would try to shave a few bucks off the price I stopped him. I said if you're looking for a deal then I've got a sweet deal for you. It was dark but with the trusty glow of my pen light I always carry we headed out around the garage and I showed him this:

 Yes its my old garage doors. They were stripped of all steel parts and were just the wooden panels with two panes of glass. I told him I was hoping to find someone with a burn pile or other means to get rid of these doors. If he took the door panels I would give him the fender. I even sweetened the deal with two cans of color matched paint for the fender. He thought about it long enough that I figured he was gonna tell me to shove them door panels where the sun don't shine but eventually agreed. I helped him load the panels and fender and he drove off into the darkness. I was and am happy with that deal and thats what deals are all about. I tell the story about getting my area clean and he probably tells a story about a free fender just for throwing some crap away. Its not always about cash and I think most of my best deals didn't involve any coin. I can't think of any of those deals right now but the bottom line is that we each had something the other wanted.

 Yesterday at work I was telling the story and it occurred to me that when that first dickhead asked me where I was located I just told him Princeton. I had to wonder if there is a Princeton Minnesota and sure as shit there is and its only 30 miles north of Minneapolis where his profile says hes from. I live in Princeton Wisconsin. I'm curious how much time he spent looking for my house and if he asked himself why someone would mess around with him like that.

Maybe I'm the real dickhead in this story?


Sunday, September 6, 2020

Three Days Off...

 ...minus one day off makes it just another two day weekend. I'm grumpy about that and it might just show in this weeks video.


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

More Home DIY

  I know it seems like all I've been doing is DIY around the house and its kinda true. Don't you think by now I should be done? If you're a home owner then you know better. Just the projects that represent an iron in the fire include finishing painting the garage...except I need to replace some of the lap board siding that has become soft over the years. I recovered that siding from inside the parts room but of coarse first I had to clean the parts room. Do you see a pattern here? Its all connected. I started edging the drive for sealer and started a landscaping project on the north side of the house that will include a new pad for our garbage cans. Couldn't replace a door till I removed a ramp that I used to push motorcycles into the shop. Can't make the garbage can pad till I finish the 'scaping on the other end and decide what material I will use. Gotta pressure wash about 50' of private sidewalk but need to edge that walk first. Oh, I still need to prime and paint a couple of lower level windows too. If I get all this done before the weather turns cold I'll have met my DIY goals for the year...and then some. 

 Ya I know this is just a dumb pic of a piece of siding I'm about to paint. The siding isn't really the subject of this pic. The real story here is where I'm painting it. This is the inside of the 10 x 10 parts room that I would never show you on video. It really did look like a scene from that show about hoarders.

 I know it looks messy and it still is. I'm in the process of cleaning it but this siding project needed to be bumped up due to some other work that is being done between mine and the neighbors garage. 

 Looking back toward the garage you can see a large 2' deep metal shelf. I'm thinking this will partially be for power tool storage like sawzall, circular saw and drills. Behind that shelf is where I salvaged the lap board from.

 If you followed along this far then you are probably a true follower of this blog. It was pointed out to me that some people don't see my video post links in the Sunday editions. I'm not sure if its a facebook thing or smart phone thing but I've posted a video every Sunday for months now without missing a beat but for some reason the links don't always come up. So if you're one of the peeps that think I was slacking off and not making videos then you can just go to my you tube channel and see them there. They're all pure gold. In fact why not just subscribe to my youtube channel then you'll never miss out. I'm not on some kind of subscriber hunt but because I waste so much time making those stupid videos I just want to make sure that if you're willing to watch them that you know how to find them. If you are already catching the vids every week then, thanks for watching...