25 December 2016

Chief goes to the snow

You may have heard of the cold front
that hit the northwest area...
Perfect time to get Chief off the trailer!
Miles in rain, fog, heat and bitter cold,
but this was the first time in snow.
I finally found out what was eating the travel food.
Looks like a rabbit unless it's a squirrel?
The snow pack was low,
and much of the roads were icy.
There were city-wide shutdowns.
Earlier in the month we'd taken this driving class from "Pro-Drive"
using skid cars that simulate slippery conditions.
Just like driving in the sand...
No problem!
The big van was more sketchy in the ice,
as once it slides there's some good momentum.
The hot rod had the skinny bias plies,
very little traction!!
Still a lot of fun.
People were like wtf...
The belly pan keeps the cab toasty.
Dry snow is way better than wet rain!
The biggest issue was the 6-volt system,
the batteries didn't like to start the old flathead at first,
especially since it had sat for so long.
Once it was running daily there was no problem.
If you've heard,
Oregoners don't pump their own gas.
When I pulled up in the hot rod,
the guy just handed me the nozzle.
It was a rare comfort,
just like being back home.

22 December 2016

Toro 322D blower - rattlecan rebuild

Let's fast forward to the almost present.
Here's a little project from up here in PDX.
Without going into too much backstory,
much of the equipment here is castoffs from other departments,
older equipment patched up doing serious work.
Which is kinda freaky,
as it is exactly what I like doing,
reviving quality steel.
Who wants to fix new tuner junk!?
This Toro blower was an accident waiting to happen,
a serious liability.
The driveshaft was in a radical downward spiral,
a compilation of multiple worn parts.
Now it spins like a top.
The machine had taken a few hits,
probably from moving trees.
Also check out that spring hole,
almost worn through!
The bolt that this pivoted on was also worn half through.
That crack held up the guide,
so it wouldn't seat correctly,
sitting at a 45 degree angle. 
This had been repaired multiple times.
There's a point where it's not worth rewelding weak metal.
What better project for a jonesing welder!
Especially one used to using scrap steel.
The cutouts basically disintegrated when removed.
The patch panel work resembled 
a combination of years of boat and hot rod work.
The big difference was daylight
and multiple fluorescent bulbs.
Oh yea and 32-45 degree not-heat.
Strategically cut, fit, grind and tack,
then all double welded.
Yea I used cardboard templates...
The STD (chit to do) list was endless,
it wasn't a pre-made list,
it was more like an archaeological dig,
unearthing fixit after fixit.
These front wheels were radical,
the bearings resembled petrified corks.
A few hydraulic leaks and linkage adjustments,
steering box rebuild and this baby was good to go.
Well lets do a rattlecan rebuild while I'm at it.
The 10 color splatter patina was cool,
but it was hard to differentiate grease and dirt.
Seriously you'd get dirty just looking at it.
I'd already fixed up the 3-banger diesel,
so now it was ready to let go back in the herd.
The cool thing is each piece of machinery
has a worker that I associate with it.
This is Pat's blower,
he'd never seen it this nice...
So yea this was like my 7th project already.
Now I'm on a double Daihatsu kick.
More to come!!

20 December 2016


How's this for a tail?
It's a real beaut.
My first squirrel with a sad demise.
I had to move this trash can,
and noticed the bag was all ripped up.
I didn't think much of it,
and went to re-lip the bag,
noticing what were possible saw marks,
as the can is a cut up 55 gallon plastic drum.
Nope not saw marks!
This big effin squirrel had gotten trapped,
and spent it's last hours gnawing and clawing 
trying to get out.
Most likely freezing to death overnight.
Definitely one of the more brutal deaths,
even compared to an instantaneous car smack.
Hopefully a squirrel lover won't read this
as the trash can lid design may be banned at parks...

14 December 2016

How to - save for hot rod parts

Thanksgiving weekend was great.
Hanging out with the family finally...
Driving the 40 around...
If you see a 70 foot one-legger burnout 
in front of the house...
Love that t-5 transmission!
As I'm here trying to delete pictures
since my phone has about 65M of space,
I found this gem,
now googlized evidence to the cause 
of 100's of miles of limited turning,
requiring not 3 but 5-6 point turns,
not making simple maneuvers like u-turns 
and avoiding small parking lots.
Basically driving around on train tracks,
the whaler was more maneuverable.

This lasted well over a year - almost two!!
I was so perplexed I'd studied hours online,
believing the cause was the steering box,
as the lock to lock turns resembled the short ratio.
525 steering boxes aren't cheap,
and not available at the local parts store anymore,
so the Oreilly's trade in warranty is over.
I'd finally saved up the duckets,
when I decided to have one last look.
It was like realizing I'd been walking around with my underwear outside of my pants for 2 years.
It was like realizing at 47 I could take a leak standing up.
It was like realizing that dream when my nuts were too big wasn't actually a dream...
This whole time it was frickin big nuts.
Holey chit...
I'd put on the disc (cough) brake kit,
left the long stock ford kingpin jammer nut on,
and it was hitting the effin bracket.

How could I miss this for so long?
Basically cause it's hidden in a dark crevice behind the wheel on both sides,
even though the bracket is gold with a big dimple on the edge from the nut hitting it.
The positive... 
A quick freebie fix - two fine thread nuts.
Wow it's like driving a normal car!!
The real positive...
With the money I had slowly saved,
I got a bitchin used edelbrock tri-power (5412) intake for the 302!!
Ah well things happened for a reason...

10 December 2016

How to blow $500

There are 2 ways to blow $500...
The first way is the easiest,
rent a car hauler from u-haul.
A 5-day one way was $472 pretax and insurance.
Yea right...
The second path takes a little more work.
First search craigslist and look for car haulers.
Not much in the sub-$500 category,
however this gem was the perfect start for $300...
Time was fleeting,
so a family gathering doubled as project day.
Which also spread child labor to anyone under 16.
Hey they teach everything you need to know 
in nursery school!
Jaxon was my right hand man,
a two day job took 6 hours.
While I knocked out the metal frame,
he cut and treated the cheap lumber.
I used my dad's welder back in 1991,
making a rear shock mount on my '53 chevy,
and also filling holes in the engine bay.
Probably the first welding project.
If I'd only known...
I ended up running out of wire as the light faded,
leaving about 1" of unfinished weld.
No single bulb for this project,
but we did have two iphone lights!
In a way that worked out for the better,
as this winch would have been welded on,
an unnecessary extravagance.
Sure looks purty with the red stain huh!?
That lasted about a day!
The best christening is a 2750 lb scrap load.
That's how it works,
build something to pay for itself!
The baby 13" tires were screaming for mercy,
hundreds of pounds past their weight capacity.
After overloading the trailer,
I realized there was no way 
this could haul Chief 1000 miles.
Back at the shop,
I torched off the fenders and found some 15" rims.
Used trailer tires were $50 at the local llantería.
That decision led to this pic...
I'd also fabbed up some ramps,
but ran out of daylight to make proper hooks.
I had time to paint the wood red though!
Fortunately the kids were there to help,
and fortunately Chief is made damn strong.
The trailer made it up no problem.
The LA 5 was a brutal potholed mess,
there were times I bumped down to 40mph!
The rest of the way the van 
forgot the trailer was back there.
The first 2 weeks the investment paid off.
I'd have dumped the load if using uhaul.
the bike was there the whole way too!
Later on the package was stashed 
among other trailers.
The car cover repeatedly blew off,
but a local guy kept covering it up.
I didn't realize til weeks later,
just figured it was a dang good design!
Finally a real windstorm hit,
and the cover was blown a 100 yards away.
I was lucky it snagged on a tree,
as it woulda flown into the river.
It took about 3 minutes to tie it down,
using scrap line from the van.
All buttoned up for the once a year snow...
It was time to finally finish this project.
Two hours and ramp hooks were welded up,
using scrap angle iron.
The keys to the castle...
The grand total was about $485 -
less $240 from the scrap aluminum and steel,
and absorbing the dozen work hours,
this was a way better deal.
Now to get chief off that trailer!