Sunday, October 18, 2020

Remember when??

 I hate that Alan Jackson song, so you know I'm not talking about that....

Remember when you could just drop into a job, even a demanding one that would leave you a bit sore for a couple days, but you hardened up and did it for the rest of the year or more?  I used to start throwing bales of hay in summer with no work up to it.  They blisters on my hands would break and bleed, but after a couple days, they were just a slightly sore reminder of my soft handed start.

I'd start basketball practice for the reals and I'd blister on the balls of my feet.  They'd break and be bloody for a couple days, and in a week or two, I'd have callouses that carried me through to the end of the season.

Remember when you had manual dexterity?  Your hands would do exactly what you asked?  When you asked them to?

 I don't seem to have the thick skin I used to, or the manual dexterity I used to.  So, I found that out the hard way today.  Not all the way through the epidermis, but close.  And it just stings a bit, no real pain, and a bit of blood, but nothing unmanageable.  Weird.

 Bloodless massacre below the fold:

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Phil Junior?

Yesterday, I was all set to help out my welder buddy and then spend the rest of the day replacing the fuel injection spider on the 99 Sub.

I had just popped awake after 10 glorious hours of sleep, when I looked at my phone.

My sister's truck had sprung a leak at her farthest work spot and she was in a small town 50 miles south.  I slapped a quick tool kit together and headed out expecting a radiator hose, or those heater hoses again....

It was bleeding a bit on the parking lot, but when I popped the "radiator" cap (why did they move that to the fender on the overflow tank?) it started to hemorrhage.  Lots of digging to find the water pump blew.  (Leak was invisible under the pulley, the waterfall was pretty obvious.)

Didn't have enough of the right tools (note to self:  GET THAT STOOPID TOOL BOX SORTED NOW!!)  So had to purchase some, and did the swap in the parking lot.  THAT has been a while.  Last time I did that, it was a winter job, power steering pump on the 99 Yukon in sleet.  I didn't like that job atoll.

'04 Avalanche.  I did like the design of the water pump.  Tstat housing is integral, no goop needed, everything was o-ring.  I used some silicone spray to lube the front of the engine and the back of the pump to make the o-rings happy.  Some anti-seize on the bolts and it went back together easier than it came apart.  Last guy that was in it used all kinds of crap to seal it up.  I spent 45 minutes with my Old Timer scrapping off the front of the engine to remove the stuck stuff.  He even put goop and a gasket under the Tstat housing neck, it uses an o-ring.  I learned gaskets when that was normal, but times, they be a-changing...


We've been together since about 1985.

It's really not that bad of a swap if everything goes easy.

The worst water pump I've done was a '73 Olds 98 with a 455.  Those 2 short hoses on top of the pump, with the open back and Permatex and gasket..... That was difficult for young me to do.  Old me wouldn't do it alone.

Thank God the nut on the fan popped loose on the first smack.  And that the heat broke down here a few weeks back.  It was only 90 degrees, and mostly shady for the job.  Also, I got some sweet sleep and was ready for a challenge.

My sister has a deadbeat ex.  He's gone under the table to keep from paying his child support. She has built a business from the ground up and is doing fair.  Times like this we need to pull together.  She had too many big outlays to absorb this one.  

 Something I learned along the way was to accept responsibilities.  So, I regard her family part of mine.  She is a lady and she is quality, a real treasure.  That makes lending help real easy.

That truck gets her to her work.  She and two kids being homeless isn't an option as far as I concerned.  It ain't much in the overall scheme of things, but it makes a difference for three people that I know.  And I have an antique soul.  It's just not the average one folks have now.  It won't let me neglect my tribe.

I draw the line at diaper rash.  I don't want to follow ole Mobile Mechanic Phil down that path...

Thanks for stopping by the shop.  Come back anytime...

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Wait.... 4 October?

 Where are the weeks going??

my calendar


Last post almost a month ago, and it seemed like just last week.  What a ride this year has been so far.




1999 Suburban: 5.7 Vortec, 100K miles, base unit, factory options: no carpet, crank windows, dual a/c.  Simple and rugged.  Right after I paid for it and got it home, it quit starting.  It would try, then quit.  Original owner could start it right up.  I figured it was in love with him.

busted ear on cap let in moisture

rotor didn't like the atmosphere either

Every plug had the same gap,  0.125"!!

It started and ran for a bit, but the next morning it was back to it's tricks.  After replacing the coil, it ran good... Next morning, it was acting up.  Couldn't find my fuel pressure gauge, so now I have a missing one and a new one.  Pressure is good.  New spider is going in soon, as is a new ignition controller.

The real McCoy

So I'm still using the 94 Toyota pickup with the 22RE.  Crank windows, 5 speed standard, no a/c, Armstrong steering.  It's been a Godsend this summer.  And I don't even need a sweat lodge for purification!!

Kenmore 253.22042410: Freezer started moaning the other day.  It's too new to do that, and too old to be in warranty.  Only one fan in it, so "one day" a new fan motor.  Found the bottom of the partition in the back frozen solid, so no air could get in.  The fan was moving the rotor around in the near vacuum, and I guess rubbing on the bearing.  Clean, deice, and reinstall / reload the freezer and it's quiet like it should be.  New fan motor in the box for when it fails for the reals.

I've been a house mouse for a while now, getting the honey do's did.  No honey though, just chores.  

Oh, and spent some quality time on the wire wheel with the die wrench!  The knurling is still sharp enough to grab back, like a good handshake.


looks like a browned black powder rifle

I just managed to get the handle off, still need to brush the threads down, and do inside the ring where the die goes.  But man, that is pretty isn't it?  Still have a ways to go.  Phil, this rust just goes so far... Then it works like a cocoon.  It protects the part rather than just eating it up like salt spray rust does.

Tomorrow is a doctor appointment to see the MRI, EEG, CAT, EIEIO shows any issues with the pudding in my head.  It seems it's never ending.  I hope his kids don't ruin all that dental work I'm helping with.

It's looking like I may NEED to have a second job.  And I may have a line on one.  I will know more this week.  I'm afraid November 2020 through 2021 is gonna be uglier than the first 10 months of 2020.  I hope I'm wrong....

Happy New Year, 3 months early!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Life Comes At You Fast

Remember this commercial?

That has been this year.  If I could find out who is running that switch, there would be sweet..... justice!  ha.


 Made friends with a welder here in town.  And I have spent some therapy time over there helping him getting underfoot.  He's patient, and hasn't thrown anything at me yet.  I'm hoping to trade some help for some TIG instruction. 

And I'd rather work till I sweat through my jeans and shirt helping someone than spend a 100 bucks to lay on a couch and talk to a stranger.  Hard work therapy seems to help my mood and outlook.  I don't have the head weirdness as much now as before.  Pressure waves still come when I have a conversation about 'that'.  And so far, the coming front has not caused my brain to go foggy all at once.

Decades ago, driving from Longview to Houston on 59, I passed through a cold front into warm moist air.  The windshield turned opaque gray in an instant.  It took wipers to clean it off until the defroster could bring the window temp up where it quit condensing water.  When the weather has changed in the last few months, my noggin has done similar things.  But it hasn't so far this week.  fingers crossed.

I hope to have more for you soon.  I started working on the Mr. Pete drill press vise...  Pics to follow.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Quality Assurance

 I'd thought about that plate and collar for a few days and nights...  Made sense to me.

Dropped the bundle off to the friend, and he said, "What is this stuff."

So, I drew a picture...  

"um.... you need to stop by, bud."

So, I essplained meself, and he liked what he saw.


Finished product.  

I love it when a plan comes together.  And most especially when the customer is happy.

Thanks for stopping by the shop.

Sunday, August 23, 2020


Wednesday, 19 Aug - Nice thunderboomer is rolling past, good cool outflow.  Friend needed some work done, and it's not too hot to do it!!  WOW.  It's still August, and I didn't drown in sweat out in the shop!  Win.

An old tractor needs a new plate for water temp guage.

Friend got the plate made, and wondered if I could help with the threaded part.  Oh boy.

Drilled a scrap to 9/16, next is bore to .588, then try and thread it to 5/8x18...  Only need 3/8 of an inch of threads....  Fingers crossed...  First try was toast.  Not gonna work.  I couldn't be sure if I was using leaded steel or not, and that don't weld so good.

I can still hear the music and the announcer...

I remembered watching a "How It's Made", manufacturing air tanks for truck brake systems.  They had this little part, with pipe threads in it...  Hmmmm....  Found out it's name is thread-o-let. 

I was down in the oil patch, so I stopped by a valve supply house, and they had some.  Manger GAVE me one that is a 1/4 NPT and caked with dust.  So, I'm a customer for life.... 

Okay, let's go.

Saturday 22 Aug - Outside is tapered, can't grip that. It took 90 minutes to make the mandrel to hold this thing.  No tooling I needed was close to the lathe, and I'm rusty as a neglected tap wrench.  Finally got this thing done, threaded 10-32  on the end, and starting turning the bevel-o-let into a cylinder.  Missed my size by 2 thou, and that came back to haunt me.

Howie Man-drel

I have some 5C collets (not a complete set) and a collet block because of a gracious benefactor and mentor.  I missed sizing this for the one collet I had that was close, so it would be a booger to thread, but not a major problem.  

Temp sensor has a 5/8-18 thread, and, amazingly, I have a tap that size from the same benefactor / mentor.  Blew a 9/16 hole-o-let, cleaning out the old threads, and the proper size for where I'm going is 37/64"  Now, really....  What are the odds of having that....

I shoulda bought a lottery ticket too...

Thanks again to Mr. S.  I owe that man a lot.  He has invested a lot in me and in my shop.  Thank you.  I wouldn't be near where I am today without you.

Got the threaded collar done, and was thinking about it last night as I'm drifting off...  There is a bevel seal on the sending unit, and the collar needs to be centered over it.  Hmmmmm.....  Ordering up a centering plug.  

Got that turned down today, and ready.  Just need to grind the screws to length, and it's done.

Plug dimensions follow.  And I did get pretty close to hitting them all.  The plug needed a bit of polish to slide into the hole and collar.  

Went with a 10-24 screw instead of the 8-32...  Spec change in the field, no change order needed...  heh.

Man, is it ever good to be in the shop.  And with a cool front moving south and bringing rain twice in a week lowering the temps into the mid 90's....  Feels like Christmas in August. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

What a pain in the .... shoulder

 So, somehow, my old right should took it on the chin.  From Mike Tyson.  For a few weeks it's been hurting like a sum!@#%^&*....  Started radiating down my arm past my elbow.  So I thought, what is the worst I can do, make it hurt more?

Ask YT for senior stretching, and this vision of loveliness popped up and said, I'm here to help.


My arm feels so much better, I can sleep at night after just the second time. Yes, I am standing up and following along with what she is doing. I'm telling you, it made all the difference.  And she's easy on the eyes, too when I'm not hanging upside down and swaying like a "pendulum".   You are most welcome.

2nd Shift work

The Rusty Wrench Depot is actually a young man that started up a welding shop.  I've been getting under foot after hours.  He's got a lot of cutting to do, and I got to help him with his second hand band saw.  It cuts a lot straighter now, and I have a friend.  A friend who has a ton of rusty crap to paw through at some point.  Gotta help Phil out doncha know.

So, not much time to blog.  But I'm sleeping better.  Working basically IT from 0800 to 1700 and welder's irritant from 1730 to 2000...  I'll post more as I can. 

I have a new project.  Learned a new word, too.  Thread-o-let.  More to follow.

 And I got my scissor lift certification renewed for another three years.  yay me.

 Even small victories are sweet.  I'll take what I can get.

Thanks for stopping by the shop.  

Thanks Phil, and Irish for all the traffic.  You may not know how much I appreciate it this side of heaven.  But someday you will.