16 May 2017

Portland Tranny

Portland Tranny.
The not so perfect nickname for a spring car show. 
Months ago I'd met a guy named Carl
at the local flea market,
who was eyeballing the old hot rod.
He happened to have just bought
that blue roadster pickup model,
said "here take it".
Come to find out,
He's had dozens of old hot rods, drag cars etc.

Fast forward to last week,
and he hinted of a local car show,
down at Portland Tranny.
"Get there early it's over by 11,
hundreds of cool cars!!"
I researched it online,
which was about as surprising as you'd expect
if you were going to research "Portland Tranny".
WTF people these days...
Refined to Portland Transmission...car show.
Much better for my interests...
Saturday arrives.
I woke up "get to work" early,
but peering outside...
Rain, rain go away!
I'd rather play my tank game.
Yea this is my crutch,
or my weakness.
Hey I don't have a TV up here!!
No movies or tv shows in 6 months!
To me it's a super fun and challenging game,
driving a realistic slowish tank around,
shooting other real-time players doing the same thing.
Look it up,
it's a free game for iPads!
"World of Tanks Blitz"
The huge positive,
is it keeps me from drinking late at night.
I kinda suck at winning with a buzz,
and it's very statistic based.
By 930,
the rain wasn't letting up.
Gotta make or break here.
Driving in the rain is a blast,
with the proper gear.
That could be a nice jacket,
or a garbage bag with poncho holes in it.
You pick...
I passed a few hot rods that had left.
Uh oh...
Driving by the address,
the show wasn't as big as Carl had predicted,
and I passed right by the building.
It was close to 10 and raining steadily,
what'd I expect.
5 blocks away I thought F-it gotta double back.
The second run i spied the closed off side street,
and snuck up to an open spot,
on the edge of the main parking lot.

"Sneaking" late into a car show parking lot,
full of hot rodders quietly standing in the rain..
with an uncorked flathead exhaust...

Well that's like a dog squeezing out
a majestic steamy poop on a hot windless summer day.
Like flies...
A quick back story.
Remember the Portland Roadster Show article?
Well I had concurrently posted an Instagram shot,
of one of the coolest cars there,
along with a not so glowing caption,
about a 3rd brake light.

If the caption was a 34 watt light bulb.
it would have a sharp stream of water shooting at it,
and I'd be standing in the puddle underneath barefoot...

The problem with writing online chit,
is that puddle continues to grow.
The chances for doom increase.
Months later I had gotten caught,
and the owner gave up an explanation.
What was I to say.
At the show,
I had the chance to say something in person,
as the owner,  his son and car club (slo-poks)
were all there for my roasting.
But guess what?
We all ended up having a great time!
When I finally whipped out the camera-phone,
we were the last cars there!
Great meeting you Neil, Neil Jr, Mark, Mitch and others!

11 May 2017

Toro 580d - meadow killer - v2

After months of wrenching and welding,
mowing season has begun.
I'd been warned that this was part of the job.
Of the 300 or so acres,
about 100 are basically civilized,
and a lot of that needs mowing.
The main mowers are the Toro 580d's.
There are two.
One is 4wd,
the other is 2wd,
used mainly for the flatter areas.
As the main mech I get first pick.
The wet weather has brewed some soggy ground.
This heavy beast loves eatin mud.
Fortunately we have flip phones to call in the cavalry.
I can understand why they need fixin!
This fuel tank vent was plugged up,
creating a vapor lock situation.
It was tricky to figure out but an easy fix.
I cut the new hose on an angle.
We'll see how that works.
Sometimes the grass is too thick to cut,
especially in soft ground.
It helped following John in the tractor mower.
I got stuck trying to get that last little part,
which is typically the trap to avoid.
Fortunately he had a chain.
Much of the surrounding area is not flat.
There are berms and banks.
Most are outlined by fences,
bogs or ponds.
Fences like to catch the mower guide.
It'll snag and swing ya in.
Tough to get out once it slides down.
Fortunately we've got the winch truck.
Now I know why these ball joints get so worn.
They are the stabilizers for the wing decks.
I had to cut this one out.
It seems like every time I took a picture,
I'd get stuck right after.
This was a too thick-too soft situation.
Now I scout it and make sure its cuttable beforehand.
The other mistake here was starting low,
and not doing half cuts,
basically chippin away slowly.
This was some tall bog grass I shoulda known better.
So far I've gotten stuck 5 times.
Every situation I've learned what not to do,
and why not to do it.
There's a learned reaction controlling the hydraulics,
letting the deck weights counterbalance on berms.
The sloped parts are like driving a boat in rough water,
kinda like rock crawling-fun!
The flat sections aren't too exciting,
although a spiral pattern,
or repetitive S's are funner than long straight lines.
People looking at satellite pics are gonna wonder 
what the heck was that mower guy doing...
Also gotta watch out for electric cables.
Fortunately this wasn't used any more!
Here's one of my last fence traps.
I couldn't resist trying to get that tuft of grass.
I've gotten better at unhooking out of the chain link,
not over-reacting helps.
The past two days were stuck free.
There were some creek or slough side sections,
good drop offs.
I felt kinda bad cutting down ecosystems.
There's pretty meadows I've buzzed down.
The crows and swallows swoop in
and nab the newly uncovered bugs.
Right when things were going smoothly,
a bypass hose blew.
Conveniently located behind all this muck.
It was nice to have a shop day.

07 May 2017

Sloppy's Revenge - stingray chopper

Our good friend Sloppy has a knack for making
cool stuff out of junk remnants.
One of his master pieces is this little stingray chopper.
It's been to Bonneville,
el Mirage and the Big 3 swap meet numerous times.
Well after this swap meet he was so packed,
it seemed safe to leave it at the house for a bit.
We've been lucky the past few years,
only a couple things have been snagged,
that we know of anyway.
Well days turned into weeks,
which turned into months,
and of all things,
someone opened the garage door and ganked it!!
Holey chit...
Hard to say exactly how much time had passed,
but Jaxon quickly posted the loss on "snapchat",
and guess what?
One of his friends spied it on the way to the skatepark!!
Holey double chit!!
They rounded up a posse,
and were able to collect it from the thieves,
most importantly without getting into a scuffle.
Someone had ridden it hard enough to crash,
and wrecked the front springer a little,
while also replacing the front wheel.
The bright green,
most likely why DJ happened to see it.
Good job guys!!
The fiasco spurred Sloppy to head down,
and retrieve the rest of his mechanalia,
before our luck ran out.
I don't think he realized how much stuff he had stashed!
A relief the story had a good ending...

06 May 2017

toro 580d battle scars

Get ready for a whopper!!
One thing about having a steady gig,
is the serious case of deja vu.
And I've barely cracked the 5 month mark.
This was the second batch of mower and golf cart.
There were major differences since last time.
This golf cart was gas powered.
No stacks of batteries,
just a little quad like motor.
This one steered on its own,
the axle and spindles were super worn,
and none of the suspension had seen grease in a while.
Easy fix.
The mower was the same ole same ole.
Half the cutter hubs were loose,
so new bearings and seals were hammered in.
I kinda got rebuilding these things wired.
There was also a problem with the 4wd unit,
and the issue was possibly electrical.
This panel hadn't seen fresh air in a while.
The fuses were ok,
but one of the hydraulic solenoids was bad.
I found a good one in the junk pile,
and swapped it in.
I love having a junk pile.
Ultimately another problem kept this issue solved.
Chasing wires found a busted kickdown switch,
with a worn or broken tang.
A couple hundred clicks had it working again,
but it was replaced with a new one that probably cost $100.
Toro stuff is notoriously one-off and over-priced,
which makes having the junk pile that much better.
After that fix I uncovered a great project.
Someone had battered the side wing real good.
A little snip,
cut and grind...
I'm surprised how cheesy these mowers are.
They're basically a special use rat rod,
made using relatively basic engineering principles.
I found a scrap piece of diamond plate,
the perfect size for the repair.
Cut template,
fit steel,
weld and hammer...
And top it off with a nice rattlecan red.
Just enough battle scars to prove a well used machine.
The previous guy had covered up the crack
with these skids.
Check how worn out they are lotsa skidding!
These bumpers were also out of wack.
They keep the front cutting deck from bouncing around.
Everyone figured they were sposta be bent like that.
The bumpers basically keep the deck
from slamming into the frame area,
where those two marks are.
Now it's all banged out and flat again.
I thought lastly was this little gouge.
Before cleaning,
it was caked with grease exiting the hole,
which was the size of that little "puma" shaped template.
After a through cleaning,
the tig came out for some operation-like welding.
If it was too messy or deep,
the hinge pin wouldn't fit back in the tube.
No problem...
Even with a pretty thorough cleaning,
there was shop had some serious smoke.
Now to fix the cause,
this pin had worn out.
It was surprising how cheesy these were built.
New bases were cut,
and a local shop machines new pins.
Glad I brought up the TIG welder! 
Bushings were pressed in,
and had to be honed to fit.
That took a while.
Now there was no slop.
These should last another 29 years...
With everything wiped down,
another wear spot was found.
This bracket holds the outer wing up,
as it rests on that skinny ledge in the background.
It's tough to see,
but it was cracked over 3/4 through,
besides being very worn.
A backing plate and gusset beefed it up.
Here it is all buttoned up.
Lotsa chit goin on here!
And here's the full front cutter deck.
It's a monkey motion mechanism.
Interestingly enough,
there's a newer style replacement deck in the junk pile.
They updated all the issues I fixed with a 1" pin vs 3/4",
and a different belt and tensioner layout.
By this time you'd expect things to be good to go.
The hydraulic mechanism that lifts the outer left arm was glitchy.
I was hoping it wasn't a blown o-ring,
as this valve assembly would need rebuilding.
Luckily it was worn out levers.
There was just enough play in the holes,
the linkages couldn't push down far enough.
More junkyard fixes,
but the levers were only a little better.
I welded and redrillled the holes,
and swapped the cheesy pushrod things.
Crude but effective!
It was a perfect chance to clean under the covers,
limiting problems during the season.
Yes this is a long one!!
Meanwhile there was an ongoing hydraulic leak.
Not a pressurized leak just a small drip
Usin some baby powder,
the leak was in this intricate pump.
After studying the junkpile one,
the job would be very intensive.
Maybe later.
However while I was inspecting the underbelly,
what the heck is this?
At first I thought it was a grease spray,
but it was a crack.
Holey chit this is never ending.
This machine had taken a beating,
and had been half ass repaired before,
but the crack had been there a long time.
I had to prep myself for this one.
It's tough lying on your back working overhead,
showering grinding sparks and weld spatter.
Fish plates were definitely needed.
The cross member holds the hydraulic cylinder
as well as supports the side deck mechanism.
The metal was so fractured,
I'd would have replaced the whole square tube
if I had time.
The welds looked much prettier with some rattlecan red.
Just when things were all fixed up,
the 4wd mower came back with a busted hydraulic fitting.
Rocks will usually win.
Here's a quick tip that works wonders in not losing tools.
A piece of tape keeps things easy to find when on the ground,
or in the dark.
I started doing this to mark my own tools at boat jobs,
and realized how quickly cleanup was.
Now we were ready to cut some grass!
Next up I'll show why and how this stuff could happen!