Saturday, September 12, 2009

Just an update on projects

I'm still working on a number of projects in and around the house and motorhome. The motorhome is finished as far as the air conditioning and damage due to the backing incident are concerned. A few dabs of touch-up paint is all that's left there. Next week it's going to Caterpillar in Brooksville to have some minor work done that is beyond my capability.

A couple of days a go Helen was mowing the lawn when it suddenly would not stay running. The following is probably too technical for many of you, but my sons and some friends may find it interesting. When I looked at the mower, the bracket holding the carburetor was very loose and as I took it apart, I found that the intake tube going from the carburetor to the engine was broken. Easy Wheels in Hernando had the part and I took it home to put the mower back together. Nothing is as easy as it seems. The carb bracket is held on by two bolts and I thought that one had loosened up and was lost. Trying to put the bracket back, I found that the bolt hadn't backed out, it had sheared off. The repair would require drilling a hole on the bolt and using a special tool to remove the broken piece. I have the tool but I have NEVER had any luck drilling and removing a bolt stub.

The first thing is to drill the hole. No drills that I had were up to the job, so I drove up to Lowe's to see what I could find. At the same time I had some welding that needed to be done to the front mower axles, but that is another job. At any rate, at Lowe's there was a chart advising which drills to use for specific applications. The chart listed the cobalt drills as being the preferred drill for cast iron, which is pretty hard stuff. I bought two drills, knowing that I would quickly break one. When I got home and tried to drill the bolt stub, I was amazed that the cobalt drill bored into the stub quickly and easily. How nice! Then I used the extractor and the stub came right out. I put the mower back together and started it up to make sure it worked.

It ran, but the vibration was very extreme. Thinking the blade was out of balance, I removed it and found that it balanced perfectly. This is a new blade the is the kind that fits a number of different applications and has a different insert for each application. The insert for our mower didn't fit well and it allowed the blade to slide off-center a little. I added another washer and put the blade back on and the mower ran very smoothly. I now feel confident that the extreme vibration caused the bolt to break, allowing the bracket to move, breaking the plastic intake tube.

While I was into the mower repair, I replaced the front wheel which were badly worn. As ai mentioned earlier, welding was required because nothing I do is easy. The wheels were worn, but so were the axles, so I had to replace them, too. Because of the way the axles were put on, my only recourse was to weld new studs in place. All worked and now I'm done, at least with the push mower.

The next project on my list is to evict the tenant we have living in the gable eaves over the garage. Last year a gray squirrel made his home in the left side of the eave. I tried moth balls, but he didn't like them and threw them out. I found them on the driveway a few days later. Eventually I cut a piece of sheet metal and closed up the area. When we came back from vacation, we found that he had made a new home on the right side. I have more sheet metal, but I've been too lazy to get up there. I have some concern because we have gables also on the north and west sides of the house, so he will have four more chances to invade. I may have to resort to my Have-a-heart trap and relocate him well out in the forest.

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