Spring has Sprung, the Snow has Stopped, for now

Well, it has been a strange winter here in northern Wisconsin, very mild until mid Feb and then we got hammered.  After the first significant snowfall I spent as much time fixing my snowblower as I did using it, thank goodness it’s spring.  I averaged 2 main shear pins breaking during each snowfall, and at least 1 auger section shear pin, so I took a closer look, the impeller blade had sheared from its welds, since only 1 of the 3 welds was actually good enough to hold it, the other 2 weren’t even touching the blade just sitting close to it so it looked like it was welded.  All in all 12 years of service with that crappy welding, I’m actually impressed, so was my friend Galen, he owns a metalfab shop, Minnesota Implements, he re-welded the impeller for me.  Since it was apart I decided to check the stuff I can’t normally get to, the plastic parts that normally wear are fine, the stuff that should last forever was shot, the roller bearing sounded like someone walking on fortune cookies, the Lovejoy coupling needed a new spider and to be moved back into position, the grease in the 90° gear box is so stiff that I can barely move the shaft by hand.  Now the small auger gear box just needed a quick shot of grease, I grease that gear box at the end of every season, but with general purpose grease, I was able to find some low temp grease for the grease gun, but this year it felt like the old grease was stiffer than usual,  I gave it a couple extra squirts of the thin grease and it didn’t push passed the seals so either the old grease baked off or lost so much moisture that it shrunk inside the case, I’m betting on the latter. 

I guess I’ll pull apart the 90° gear box, clean out the old grease and refill it with the low temp grease and see how it works next season, unless we get another April snowstorm, then I’ll just slap it back together and abuse it again.


It’s Been a Busy Fall

 Well, it’s been busy, which is good and bad.  I’ve been busy since late June, but that means I haven’t had much time off either.  Honestly, I’d rather be busy than have to find things to do, but my diet and exercise routines go to hell when I’m on the road since I typically work 12 hr. days, so I usually stay awake just long enough to throw some food down my neck before I toddle off to bed.  Even so, I haven’t gained any weight, but I may have added to my girth, by about 1/2″, it could be worse, and no Universe, that wasn’t a challenge.

Now that I have a few weeks off, I guess I need to fix the tractor, the carb was so full of gunk I’m surprised it flowed fuel at all, and all of the packing around the throttle shaft and the choke shaft were nonexistent, so one big vacuum leak.  After 3 days in my ultrasonic cleaner with 4 gallons of Carburetor and Parts cleaner, the good stuff, you know the stuff that gives you a contact high and water eyes just from the fumes, the cleaner is disgustingly dirty, and the carb is disgustingly clean. It only took 4 orders from online companies that specialize in carbs, and a couple of returns, to get all of the correct parts for the rebuild.  It was so fun examining, confirming proper fit, and returning these parts during the one or two days I had between assignments.

Yes, after years of complaining that I didn’t have anything big enough to properly clean  my carbs and other bigger car parts, I broke down and bought an ultrasonic cleaner that’s 16″ X 11″ x 5″,  not big enough for a cylinder head or an intake manifold, but plenty big enough for any carb I can fit on a car or truck or a throttle body.  Watching these people on youtubes struggle with these tiny little jewelry cleaners, hey, moron, look a little closer at Amazon, where you bought that tiny ultrasonic cleaner, they have a lot more than just those, I picked up my 22L cleaner for $146, the tiny little 1-3L jewelry cleaners go for about $90, and will only heat and clean for 999 sec which is 16 min, the units that are 10L or larger usually have a 9999 sec timer that’s just over 2 hrs and 45 minutes, for an extra $30-60.  That’s enough of a rant.

TTFN everyone.

It’s been awhile.

Well, not much to talk about, I’ve just been working and vegetating, and pretty much avoiding the stuff I really should be doing. 

I’m not sure why I have an easier time fixing other people’s  cars than I do fixing my own.  It took me almost 2 years to fix the front wheel bearing on my truck, but in my defense I had already fixed it 2 1/2 years ago, but it turns out it was the wrong side.  Fortunately I had decided to change the brakes on both sides, so I bought the parts for both sides, the brake rotor setup on the 4wd Chevy Colorado is a masterpiece of engineering for the wrong reasons, you have to remove the hub and bearing assembly in order to remove the rotor, it’s bolted to the back side of the hub, oh what a joy to remove.

My ’78 Scirocco needs a new head, and all of the motor mounts, rear motor mount failed to the point that then engine is rocking back causing the header to ride against the axle shaft and every time I accelerate it pulls the header away from the head, and now it’s ripped out 3 of the lower exhaust studs, so I’m basically running an open exhaust.  I was pulled over because the cop couldn’t hear his radio over my exhaust, a block away, so I put the car away until I can get around to swapping heads and installing the motor mounts.

Pretty much it for what I’ve been up to, exciting huh.

Well, That Was A…Thing

Well, it has been an eventful winter, without much actually happening.  By that I mean, I’ve done a lot of running around, but didn’t end up doing much.  

I spent a month and a half in Houston, TX, the first week was spent going to safety classes for a specific job site, after completing these classes I spent a day at the site and was told that I was no longer needed, the next day, so I kind of worked for 2 days on a project that was supposed to last a month.  So, after being hi-jacked from another project, doing the yearly PMs for 3 sites in the Houston area, I was quickly cast adrift with no warning, I found out by having the manager that originally requested help calling me at about noon after having just finished a 6 pm to 6 am shift, the manager that I was working for at that time hadn’t even sent an email.  

So now I have to get the contact information for the PMs I was supposed to do, then not do, and now supposed to do again, that took a week and a half, for 3 names and phone numbers, one guy had the info to me within hours the other guy sent several whiny screeds filled with righteous indignation, how dare they take his jobs and customers, what will he do now.  After it was pointed out that he was already booked for the next several months to do upgrades and repairs to systems damaged by the hurricane, he finally gave me the information I needed.  Now to contact the customers and schedule the PMs, well everyone wants to start on Tuesday or Wednesday, with each PM lasting 2 days, that means I can only do 1 a week, for some reason no one with any authority works on Fridays, in the Houston area. It took 3 weeks to get everyone scheduled, so as soon as the last customer was done I scheduled my departure.

 I spent a lot of time watching bad TV in the hotel room, the internet connections sucked, no one cooks an evening meal either.  I have never had an hour wait to get into a restaurant on a non-holiday weeknight before, an ordinary Wednesday, and at 8 pm it’s an hour wait for a table, they closed at 9.  So I ate a lot of Whataburger and take out Thai, with some tacos and subs thrown in to keep it interesting, but the chipotle mongolian BBQ was something I could have done without. 

Well, enough of my rambling and venting, but it felt good to get it out.

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays everyone.

So far it’s looking like it’s going to be a rather unexciting holiday season, and I’m more than O.K. with that.  I’m not spending a lot on presents, my family is already in their 40s or older with their own families so they don’t need my paltry contribution.

After Christmas I think I’ll just come home and hibernate until after New Years, no plans, no pressure, no drama.

Stuck in Canadia

Well, it looks like I finally get out of here on Saturday, my 7 days has turned into 18, and as soon as I touch down I get to hop in my car and drive 11 hours to get to another customer, yay me. 

At least I’m being payed decently for this much running around, but being stuck in a mancamp like this makes me appreciate the ease of mobility I have, thanks to that wonderful invention, the automobile.  Nothing is within walking distance, and driving my personal vehicle up here is out of the question, and the prices at the onsite commissary remind me of the folk song “Sixteen Tons” ” St. Peter don’t ya’ call me ’cause I can’t go, I owe my soul to the company store”  $22 for a cheap bath towel.

End rant.

Ta Ta For Now.

Off to see the … Great State of Canadia

Well, it looks like I’m being pimped out again, this time to the Canadians. I’ve spent two weeks digging up documentation from stuff I did over 30 years ago, and the office ends up filling out the forms wrong, so now I have to wait for people to get back to the office after the Great Long Weekend, apparently it lasts over a week.

According to the Canadian office I’m a Mexican citizen, well with the US passport, which I sent them a scan of, I pretty sure that won’t fly.  So either these people are very bad at doing their jobs, or, like most Canadian Border agents, they are looking for an excuse to get an US citizen banned from Canada.

Don’t know which it is, but until it’s straightened out, I ain’t going. Not real thrilled about spending 2-3 months in Fort McMurray anyway, but the money’s good.