Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I have been watching an interesting show on BBC America called James May's Toy Stories. (James is also a host on Top Gear, one of my favorite shows.) It is really interesting buy you need to discover it for yourself. Today it was about Meccano. At least that is the British name for it. Previous episodes have been about Lego, and electric slot cars.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Yet Another Evening Of Small Engine Repair

For fifteen weeks, Monday night has became small engine repair night. I feel like I have learned a lot but knowledge is sometimes difficult to quantify. When it comes to fixing a small engine, one thing I have learned is that knowledge will only take you so far. Experience has a lot to do with it as well. The teacher has a _lot_ of experience. He certainly knows this stuff.

Tonight's challenge was repairing my pressure washer. The thing has never run well, at least until now.

This evening I removed the carb and cleaned it - basically the carb needed the varnish removed from the bowl and the main jet cleaned out. After that I replaced the spark plug and then adjusted the idle. Vrooom! Better than new.

Previously the engine would 'hunt' while running and it would only run with the choke on and the throttle wide open. The hunting was caused by the clogged jet. Running it wide open with the throttle mostly closed (aka running rich) caused the plug to build up a lot of black sooty carbon.

During the carb cleaning, I determined the way to keep this particular engine running well will be to remove the carb bowl after each us and drain it completely. This would certainly be overkill for some engines but not this one. A pain for sure, but it only takes a couple of minutes and it will keep the carb from needing to be cleaned again.

What can I learn about next?

Friday, August 27, 2010

It's a Musical Journey Really

Yesterday Netflix released their app for the iPhone. This evening I watched 'This Might Get Loud' on my phone. Surprisingly the screen doesn't seem too small and the sound quality was really good using an old pair of Sennheiser head phones I have.

It is amazing what a phone is capable of today.

If you haven't seen '...Loud' it is definitely worth watching, especially if your a U2, White Stripes, or Led Zeppelin fan.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tonight's wood working session consisted of some time with the chisel insetting the hinges into the current box project. Working with a chisel and a hammer is very therapeutic. And of course there was a trip to Lowe's prior to the chisel time to purchase the hinges. David M. was absent tonight.

Next week we should finally begin finishing.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Small Engine Repair

Tonight was the second week of small engine repair. I have learned a lot so far but it has not gone as expected. What did I expect? I guess I expected a little bit of lecture time with a few pictures on a white board or overhead projector followed by some bench time. What it has turned out to be is pretty much all bench time.

The way it works is you show up with something you have that is not working and attempt to fix it. The instructor will answer any questions you have and guide you when your lost. This style of learning works well for some but it is not my optimal method. Regardless, I have learned a lot so far and even taken lots of notes in my spiral notepad. (I will type the notes up later so that I can re-read it later when my memory is failing me - next week.)

To get the most out of this class, I just need to arrive each week with a list of questions. The instructor does a great job of answering questions, but first someone has to ask them. Sign me up to ask the stupid questions and maybe even a couple of not so stupid ones.

While in the class this evening, I helped a man remove the carb from his edger, the type with a vertical bladed mounted to a motor with a horizontal axle. The engine on the edge was a Briggs and Stratton. It turns out this motor and its carb were identical or nearly identical to the roto-tiller I worked on this summer. That was an interesting surprise. And then later in the evening while looking at a tiller which happened to be an MTD, 5 HP, I noticed it also had the same Briggs and Stratton motor along with the same carb. What are the odds? Apparently pretty high which is a good thing because I have a pretty good understanding of how this carb works, including the funky little fuel pump.

Learning can be so much fun when it is something you are interested in knowing about.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ardmore Car Show

Yesterday's excursion was to Ardmore for their annual car show. I believe the show coincides with school starting back and is a fund raiser for the football team.

I had meant to attend this one at least twice in the past. I finally made it this year and was surprised at the size of the show. I don't know for sure how many cars were present, but I estimate it was north of 400. The show is held within a park and a good bit of the cars are actually parked in the shade. The shade didn't help much though because it was just so hot.

There was a high turnout of late 50's Chevrolets as well as a bunch of late 60's Camaros and Mustangs - the usual stuff. Also several interesting trucks. I got several great pictures including the one of the previous post of James and Lisa's Firebird.

The show included a parts swap. I took a quick walk through in search of a 27 spline yoke to put behind the TH350 on the '72 GMC. (I didn't realize I even needed one until last Monday - mine is pretty well worn because the needle bearings seized on the front u-joint. When the bearing stopped spinning, the entire bearing cap starting moving which wore down the yoke.)

It was a good show. I will definitely go back next year as it is less than 30 minutes from my driveway. I ran into several people I knew. Between the chatting and car gazing, I only stayed about 2.5 hours. It was just too hot for me. I hit the Sonic on the way out of town for a Cherry Limeaide. It sure hit the 'I need something cold to drink' spot.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monday Night: Small Engine Repair

Brian, Danny and I attended our first class Monday. I learned several things during the first class. They probably did as well.

#1 Ninety percent of problems with small engines is simply bad gas.
#2 Of the other 10% of problems, 90% percent of those can be fixed by rebuilding the carburetor.

I also now know what is wrong with my pressure washer. Based on the instructors experience, its pilot jet is clogged. A carb rebuild should resolve the problem.

Tuesday Night: Wood Working

Tuesday evening's WW session consisted mostly of sanding. The boxes are nearing completion. The hinges need to be installed, a little touch up sanding, and then applying the finish. Total hours to complete: maybe 3. Total weeks until completion: maybe 12.
The Horrible Squeaking Dryer

After several months of the dryer producing a horrible squeaking sound which could be heard at the far end of the house through 3 closed door, it has finally been mended. Total labor cost $4. The parts cost was slightly more.

On Monday, I hired Bri to help me take it apart so that we could determine the part numbers we needed to order. Brianna did all the dis-assembly and reassembly. Dad supervised. Total labor cost: $2.

Two days later, I hired Jordan to help me take it apart again and replace the worn out parts. Jordan disassembled and reassembled the dryer. Dad swapped out the worn drum glides. Total labor cost: $2.

Pretty good deal - I suspect the repair man would have gotten at least $80.

And the best part - no more squeaking.

Monday, August 09, 2010

The kids went back to school today.  I don't think either was really ready for Summer (or their vacation) to be over.

Universal Joints

I wasn't ready either.  Fortunately I had already planned to be off today.  I spent spent a little time working on the truck.  Not much was achieved.  The plan was to blast and paint the drive shaft.  Unfortunately it got hot before I was ready to start the blasting.  Too hot.

First I had to remove the old u-joints.  This turned out to be not as difficult as it first seemed.  After viewing a couple of videos online and calling in reinforcements (Capt. Dan), I finally realized that my u-joints had their clips on the inner edge, not the exterior.

So I learned a little something about my truck today also.  It turns out not only is the engine out of a later model ('82), the transmission and drive shaft are as well.  Because the drive shaft is from a latter model truck, it has also been modified to connect to the differential on the '72.  This made obtaining the correct u-joints a considerable challenge.  Fortunately my reinforcement had in a previous life worked in a auto parts house and managed to manipulate the folks at the local parts store into handing him the parts catalogs so he could find the correct part numbers.  The parts numbers from the computer were all wrong.  We eventually prevailed.

I never did get around to the blasting or painting, but there is always next weekend.

I really enjoyed my day off.  Back to work tomorrow.  The 'Small Engine Repair' class starts tonight.

On the Water

The water was amazingly clear.  Didn't spot any sea life though.  Just a little sea weed.

J - Waiting Our Turn

G and B Para Sailing

J Surfing

Back Home - The Garden Needs Some Attention

Krispy Kreme - Yum

J & B on the Bumper Cars -Blury!

Vacation Pics: J on the Go Carts

Vacation Pics: B on the Bumper Boats

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Destin, Florida

OK, so if the picture from a couple of days ago did not give it away, let me just tell you straight out - We are at the beach.

The kids start back to school on Monday so it was time we made our annual pilgrimage to the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.

Despite all the noise from the media, I have not seen any oil, tar, etc. Too bad because I was hoping for a free tank full for the ride home. The media has done a great job of scaring people away from the beaches. Unfortunately, the local businesses are suffering for it.

As usual, we are between Destin and Fort Walton Beach, Florida. We are even staying in the same condo as last year. We arrived Wednesday and will be heading back home tomorrow. We have hit most of our standard haunts: The Back Porch, Graffiti's, and The Track. Today we are going para sailing.

While it has been hot here, every time I have looked at the weather fore case, I have noticed the temperatures back home have been hotter. Perhaps we should stay a few more days.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Small Engine Repair

You can never know to much so tomorrow I am heading down to the Technology Center to sign up for an evening class: Small Engine Repair.

When it is over I will know that an engine needs three things. 1) Fuel 2) Fire and 3) Air.

I might even learn some more stuff. Maybe.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Look what I saw on the side of the road today. Behind that red thing is a '72 GMC pickup.

The First of Very Few

So a couple of weeks ago the call came in. My iPhone was ready for me to pick it at the Apple Store. I had been wanting (but not really needing) a smart phone for many many years and I finally decided it was time.

[I started this post from my iPhone, but I am finishing it on the PC. I apparently don't have the patient to type several paragraphs on the phone.]

So far I am loving the phone. The coverage leaves a lot to be desired around here but there is not much one can do about that, other than perhaps getting a micro-cell. Yeah, I did. We now have five bars in the house, even with the death grip.

Hopefully Verizon/Sprint/T-Mobile will get the iPhone next year and I can make another carrier swap in two years. Until then I will enjoy my new toy and complain about the coverage.

What does the title mean? While I can post to the blog from the phone, I don't expect to do it too often. My typing skills are not quite up to par on the touch screen as they are on a real keyboard and I am rarely very far from a computer.
New Apple fan-boy signing out.