23 May 2016

Tractor Time - Sears GT16

I shoulda wrote this when it was fresh,
now it's become an epic...
It all started after the big 3 swap meet.
We had offed a 4-banger engine,
and instead of a quick pick up,
had to drag it back to the shop.
It lingered through many past posts,
sitting in the dirt while we bricked around it,
built the boat windshield...
The long overdue pick up was a month+ later.
The new owner Ed was a diehard Model A fanatic.
He and his wife drove all the way from Pleasanton,
pulling a heavy duty trailer with this giant RV.
No way was this rig gonna back into the shop yard.
We ended up dropping the engine in the van,
then taking it to his RV parked outside.
The kicker was dragging the cherry picker,
two blocks away on soft asphalt on a scorcher day.
Holey Chit...
The steel wheels actualy left a trail!
Fortunately Ed and his wife were nice enough
to make the over work enjoyable.

After that a new obsession emerged.
I hunted craigslist for tractors and forklifts
missing out on a few cheap unrealistically large projects,
anything useable was a bit pricey,
until this one popped up.
A couple hundred for a runner,
and it could fit inside the van!
We buzzed it around the yard a few laps,
and stripped it down.
These old Sears/Murray/Roper garden tractors
have a cult following.
Some guys restore them,
and other guys build race-karts,
using the original hood/grille to mower them out.
Easy way for us to get an almost free tractor!
Like another project was needed!
Well... no time to waste!
By the end of the day,
we had a general idea.
Unbeknownst that it'd take possession
of what would become the after 530 slot.
That selfish bit of time after responsibilities,
and before rushing home for family dinner .
I'd have to call this scrap engineering,
using anything lying around the house or shop yard.
Every evening any progression resulted in
another reason to bust butt the next night.
Funny how previous projects that took forever
gave the experience to do this quickly.
With the tractor re-skinned,
it was time to give it a purpose.
A beater cherry picker was dug out of the yard debris...
Thanks Jason!
A bolt-on mount torched and welded,
so it'll go back in the van...
...and the crane whittled down to fit.
This part shoulda been easy...
Instead this picker was the reject non-folding design.
The lever arm wouldn't lower down tight.
The pivot part was all tweaked out,
the jack points were totally wrong,
and it was over a foot too long.
Thanks Jason!
How many thousands of these
were returned back to China as scrap!
No problem,
I know a welder...
A little rattlecan magic 
helped it resemble a goldfish.
The patina was practice for a concurrent project.
Everyone questions the paint application,
the unsanded paint looks funky.
It's all about the strategic sanding.
The little picker had no problem 
moving light stuff that was easy enough to carry.
There was an obvious limit with a heavy load!
Wheelie machine...
The common tractor fix is wheel weights,
cast iron or concrete plugs bolted in the rim.
We needed some serious heft not 40 lbs...
The battery was relocated to it's original position,
and a basket whipped up from more scrap.
The perfect spot to stash wasted anchor chain.
This was at least 150+ lbs of leverage.
Now here's a picker!
Finally we had a useable machine.
It was time to hot rod it out.
The next mod was only partially for performance.
The old hood had a cut-out for the exhaust,
It blew out the side.
The new hood forced the burnt gases
into the drivers lap.
Straight pipes were too loud.
No need for another tinnitis special.
I kept adding tubes til the tone was bearable.
This downpipe was like a dirt fountain!
I added a 2nd 90 degree bend quickly...
The new exhaust woke up the 16hp Briggs & Stratton.
The low gearing kept it tame,
but it could buck ya around!
Jake tested it out moving junk around.
A natural!
Even Macey couldn't resist.
Probably a good idea to fix the brakes next time.
She was hesitant at first,
now she asks to go to the shop!
One more tool for the quiver...

20 May 2016

Chief gets brakes...

About a month ago 
I got invited to this roadster run.
Not me really the old hot rod...
I'll admit it's not up to mechanical par,
the brakes were a bit suspect,
especially for a mountainous trek.
So the night before I get to fixing it...
Break out the little bulb!
I'd actually started fixing it in the daytime,
and spent way too long 
searching for my special hub puller.
A fruitless search,
plan B was to scrap up a custom job.
I've never used this puller as it was,
and now that it's customized,
I'm sure I'll soon need it in it's original configuration.
The puller worked perfectly,
on the drivers side...POP!
The slave cylinder was definitely crusty,
probably hadn't worked properly in a couple years...
The passenger side was a no go,
and that was the actual problem area...
I tried mapp gas heat, 
driving around with a loose axle nut...
Well I ended up missing the reliability run...
The sticky rear brake was a carry over problem
even before the great teardown of 2012.
I'll blame it on a salty drive at Pismo Beach,
waaay back in 2007 actually.
Salt tears up a car...TROGers will see!
So this weekend was a car show up in LA.
Figured I'd not procrastinate this time.
Took it to the shop,
and POP! all it needed was some real heat,
even if only for 15 seconds.
All this time I thought '40 juice brakes
were a little weak,
when it was running basically on fronts only!
I ended up missing the LA show,
but now ole Chief is a solid runner,
and every day is a car show in a daily driver.
Finally found the old puller too...
An example of 20 year old fab skills.

13 May 2016

Gas Monkey meets the Barrio

Wow this happened in March!
So Jason had been trying to flip 
his green '23 t bucket for months.
eBay, craigslist etc.
No bites...
Out of the blue comes an offer,
from the guys at Gas Monkey Garage!
Weeks later instead of a quick pick up,
they agreed on shooting a tv episode.
3 months after they barraged the barrio...
We had tried to clean up the yard,
and positioned all the hot rods in a maze,
before the crew showed up.
They ate it up.
I may get lucky and have an intro part,
but ya never know with editing.
Ole Chief will get some face time though!
For a reality show,
the skit is unscripted,
and there is some on the fly repetition,
which Jason handled perfectly.
The director and crew know their formula,
and know they're not dealing with actors.
After 5+ years,
the host Richard Rawlings 
can BS for the camera,
and smoothly led Jason's dialogue.
Near the end he actually pulled a fast one,
and bought a second car on the fly,
bringing Jason's dad Mickey into the mix.
The crew was as surprised as anyone.
So yeah it was a trippy experience.
They said 6-9 months which is after September,
we'll have to find someone with cable!