Thursday, September 1, 2011

After ordering a set of piston rings and some other parts, the main chore of the day was removing the pistons from the car. The first three sets of rod nuts were fairly easy to reach, but #4 was mighty slow going. By the time I got that fourth piston out it was after four and I was done for the day. While all this was going on I had the water passages in the head and block filled with Evaporust. I'll let that sit at least overnight, then drain and flush it tomorrow. If the car still overheats, it will be time to bite the financial bullet and buy a new radiator.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Today's work on the roadster was draining out the Evaporust, removing some corrosion from water passages with a small grinder, and cleaning out the head bolt holes. I'll finish that tomorrow, then move on to other chores while I wait for new piston rings to arrive next week.

Tomorrow is supposed to be our last triple digit day. The forecast is for Sunday to begin a string of days with highs in the eighties and lows in the fifties. I'm ready!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

On the last triple-digit day of the year, I hope, I spent most of the morning scanning slides of the recent Colorado trip. In the middle of the day I took a break from scanning and spent an hour or so on the roadster, cleaning out more head bolt holes, then went back to scanning and spent the rest of the day on that. The mail brought a pleasant surprise in the form of car parts I wasn't expecting until Tuesday, so I can get more done on the car this weekend than I thought I would.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Today I painted bolts and put them in the oven to bake so they'll be ready when I need them. I have the old rings out of the pistons and the cylinders honed, so I'm ready to start installing the new rings tomorrow. It was very pleasant working in the new cooler temperatures. I don't think it ever got over 80º today.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day didn't produce much labor. By the time I ran three miles, had breakfast, had a shower, got dressed, checked email, finished the paper, burned trash, and made a shopping run to town, it was noon. I started to install new piston rings in the roadster, but found they had more than the recomended end gap, though it was a lot less than the old rings. Posting pictures and questions online used up the rest of the afternoon. The concensus of more experienced Model T guys is that I can go ahead and install these rings and they should be OK, so I guess that's what I'll do.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I never went off the place today. I started out to reinstall the pistons with the new rings on them, but a strong north wind had moved the pad where some of the parts were laid out, and the shims for the rod caps were all scrambled. I have no clue where they all belong. So I've decided to pull the engine out of the car and do the job right side up. While I'm at it I suppose I should check out the transmission and get the magneto fully working. After finding the shim problem I spent the rest of the day taking off parts, getting ready to pull the engine.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A week into September already, I'd better knock off the hobbies and get some real work done before the good weather goes south for the winter. Job one this morning was to take the chain saw and clippers and clear away some of the branches and small trees that have encroached on the road to my yard waste dump pile. That took a couple of hours, and then I was going to dump the load of branches that's been sitting in the truck since July. Unfortunately I found the ignition switch on and the battery dead, so I put a charger on it and changed plans. I got out the sprayer and spent the afternoon attacking Johnson grass along the road by the west field. After three hours of charging the battery didn't have enough juice to do any more than move the ammeter needle a little, so I put the charger back on and will let it charge overnight. If the thing didn't charge in three hours, the overnight charge isn't likely to do much more. I think I'm looking at a new battery.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just as I suspected, that battery was toast. Even after charging overnight it didn't have enough gumption to do its job. The sorry piece of junk lasted only nine years. It was slow work getting the old battery out of the truck, due to nuts being stuck by rust and corrosion. It was no trouble buying a new battery, but when I went looking for a new hold-down to replace the old rust-eaten one, that was another story. None of the parts stores had anything that would fit, so tomorrow's first project is to make a new one myself.


Friday, September 9, 2011

With a break for grocery shopping, I spent the morning finishing the battery holder and installing the new battery. With the starter able to run now, I've found that no fuel is getting to the carburetor because the pump has quit pumping. So now I have the fuel pump off the truck, and I have to see if I can get a pump repair kit. As the old saying says, if it's not one thing it's another.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

After doing laundry, I drove off to Okieland for an auction in Deer Creek. It was one of those rhapsodies in junk where a few desirable items are scattered amidst a sea of stuff you couldn't pay me to haul away. What attracted me was an advertised electric chain saw. My idea for such a device is to put it on a long pole with a long power cord and use it for trimming high branches. As it turned out, there were other people willing to pay considerably more than I was. That's OK. Sooner or later I'll find one at a price I'm willing to pay. I did buy a few other items: a film-to-video converter (maybe it will work) for $1, an old pail and a steel oil change pan for 50¢, a 1920's truck jack for 50¢, and a pair of antique electric fans for $5 each. I've learned that when I go to auctions it's good to take something to read while waiting for them to get to something I want. The auctioneers earned their keep today, getting rid of a lot of sorry rubbish.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

The only work I did today was cleaning up the fuel pump off the truck and taking it apart to find out why it quit. As I susected, the diaphragm is toast. I went to O'Reilly's to see if I could get a repair kit. Apparently that's a thing of the past. Nobody repairs anything any more. So I ordered a new pump, which is supposed to arrive Tuesday morning. The rest of the day all I did was web browsing and reading. Finding myself fighting to stay awake, I went out to the front porch and took a nap. One of life's little pleasures.


Monday, September 12, 2011

This was the day. Last winter, in February, I bought new rubber for the wipers on the truck. I got the rubber installed on the driver's side, but somehow managed to mislay the passenger side blade. So I improvised and made a temporary blade with a stirring stick, duct tape, and a little wire. I knew that eventually I'd stumble across the missing blade. Today while looking for a valve stem wrench I found the missing blade in the Suburban where it had fallen down beside the seat. So now I have both good wiper blades on the truck, ready for winter. Next I need to find the valve stem wrench so I can put a new valve in one of the mower tires that won't stay up. I fired up the Allis mowing tractor this morning and did the major mowing, and now I need the Dixon usable to mow around the edges. If I don't find that wrench soon I'll buy a couple of spares tomorrow. With a cheap little item like that, I think I'll keep one in each vehicle so I won't have to launch a major search every time I need one.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday brought visitors. Alonzo Davis went to Pepperdine with me. The last time we saw each other was in 1964. Today he and his wife Kay stopped for a visit on their way to Colorado. We did a lot of catching up on the last forty-seven years, and had a great visit. I hope we can get together again without waiting another forty-seven years.

This afternoon I stopped at the auto parts store and picked up the new fuel pump for the pickup. Installing it in the truck will be one of tomorrow's chores.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I was going to run this morning, but it was raining. So I spent a big part of the morning internetting. After the sun came out, I graduated to the yard and installed the new fuel pump in the truck. I had a little trouble getting one of the fittings to stop leaking, but after awhile I solved that and all was well. I drove the truck to the dump pile and unloaded it, then took it over in front of the shop to install a new brake line hose. This left hose looks like it's going to be even harder to get out than the one on the right side was. That's likely to take up a lot of my time tomorrow.


Thursday September 15, 2011

Back to work. Today I spent five hours at the sign factory. The folks who bought the business asked me to come in and show their crew how to make signs, so that's what I did this morning. It was a good day for working inside. Gee whiz, what a change! A couple of weeks ago we were having highs over 100º and lows in the seventies. Today's high was 59º, and I'm putting an electric blanket on my bed for tonight. In February 59º will feel warm, but coming out of a scorching summer I'm not used to it. This evening I was shivering, and put on a sweat shirt and a wool cap.


Friday, September 16, 2011

On another cloudy, chilly, occasionally wet day I stayed inside. After a trip to town for grocery shopping, I got caught up on some paperwork. I recorded and filed a stack of receipts that have piled up for the last couple of weeks, and caught up on a little reading. Last night I was barely warm enough under a sheet, an electric blanket that works a little bit, and another blanket, so this afternoon I went upstairs and added a couple of army blankets. The sweat shirt and shop coat I was wearing weren't quite enough, so I got out some winter overalls. This being Kansas, the weather will soon change. The forecast shows several days in the eighties coming up.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

This morning I drove up to Udall for an auction and spent most of the day there. There were a lot of tools for sale, so people ready to spend were there, but I did manage to come away with a few things I went for. The important things I got were a heavy duty floor jack, a twenty ton press, and three dial indicators. I also picked up a few minor items, but a lot of things I placed bids on went to people willing to spend a lot more that I was. I don't worry about that because those things will turn up at other auctions, and if they're farm auctions those things are likely to go a lot cheaper than they did today.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Last night brought a good soaking rain of the kind that's been too scarce this year. The softened ground and the cooler weather inspried me to pull weeds. I attacked the weed patch in the back yard that's been waiting for months because of the scorching summer and the hard ground. I cleared the whole thing in less than three hours. Then, just because I felt like it, I took a nap on the front porch swing. It was a good day.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Today I went back to the nineteenth century. I went to see the cattle drive that's being held to celebrate the Kansas sesquicentennial. I found the herd bedded down just east of Bushton. If I had one running, I
might have driven a Model T, as some of the original cowboys eventually did. Of course, I would have spent over twelve hours driving, instead of six.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I went back to work today. I spent the morning showing the crew at the sign factory how to screeen the big 42-inch signs. This afternoon I did the first part of replacing a brake hose on my truck. That was spraying on a penetrant in hopes that it will loosen nuts that have been in place for decades, and make removing them less of a nightmare. I'll let it soak overnight and try the removal tomorrow if weather permits.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The penetrant helped a little, I think. I got the old hose out after destroying the steel line attached to it and extemporizing a stream of blue commentary to express my disapproval. Fortunately a new steel line was only $5.71. Tomorrow I should get the new lines installed. With any luck I won't have to deal with that job again for another twenty years or so.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Done. Fortunately, installing new brake lines is a lot easier than removing the old ones. It was a simple thing to cut and bend the new steel line to fit, and to install it and the new hose. With that done, I did some cleaning up in the shop and set up the twenty ton press I bought at last Saturday's auction. We had another nice rain during the night, so even with the truck usable I'm not going to haul away the weed piles in the yard until they have a few days to dry out. In fact, I think I'll add to them. With the ground nice and soft, I'll pull more weeds tomorrow.


Friday, September 23, 2011

I noticed yesterday that one of the clips that hold the wires to the truck's brake light switch was missing, so today I made one from a paper clip. With the wires hooked up, I discovered that the left brake, tail, and turn signal lights don't work. So fixing that goes on my list of jobs to do.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

The day started with laundry. Then I checked out an auction in Winfield. Absolutely nothing interested me there, so I drove over to Oxford and checked out another auction. That one looked the same, at first - just a lot of modern junk I didn't want. But then I spotted something that kept me there. The spading fork, called a potato fork by some, comes in two types. The most common type has sort of flat teeth which, after a little use, are bent in several directions. Much more rare is the type with squarish spring steel teeth that keeps its shape. At this auction I spied one of the second type among the garden tools. This was the third one I've seen in sixty years. So I stayed. I ended up getting the spading fork for $5, a garden rake for $2, and a bag of ice melt for $3. That will come in handy when ice and snow arrive, and will probably be enough to last all winter.

After the auction I took the laundry home, then went to town for the Last Run car show. This is held every year on the last weekend of September. It's mostly hot rods and custom cars, but there are always a few real antiques too. This year that included a few Model A Fords, a few Model T's, a beautiful 1928 Chevrolet truck, and a gorgeous 1937 Cord. It was worth the $2 admission.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

I went back to the car show today to see the Tom Mix Cord. It's a gorgeous museum piece to admire, not a car to drive. Not one I'd want to own, but I'm glad Bob White has restored the thing so beautifully. Here are more pictures of the Cord and some of the other cars at the show:

Last Run Car Show

I want to get the new gas line to the shop installed before winter, so this afternoon I pulled all the weeds that have come up in and around the part of the ditch I've already dug, and cleaned out the leaves and some of the dirt that the rain has washed into the ditch. Soon I'll rent a backhoe and finish the ditch and have the guys from the gas company lay the new line.


Monday, September 26, 2011

With the truck back in working condition, today's first job was picking up all the little piles of yard waste and hauling them down to the big dump pile. With those out of the way, finishing the mowing was next. I did the major mowing with the tractor a couple of weeks ago, but needed to get out the ZTR and mow along edges, around trees, and so on. Next was going to be moving some things in the yard to clear the way for gas line ditch digging, but the tractor's battery was down. So I put a charger on it and started the chore of changing my email address. Setting up the new inbox was fairly easy, but changing all my online accounts and notifying everybody except the spammers will take some time. I spent the rest of the day on that.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Today's first chore was to fire up the WD and use the loader to move the yard swing out of the way of ditch digging. Then I got out the pick and shovel and did some hand digging around the electric line to the barn so I won't wreck it with the backhoe. After a run to town to pay a bill and get some celery, I spent the afternoon wreaking havoc on the vegetation. I got the sprayer out and attacked more of the Johnson grass that's been taking over the place. That job will continue, beccause there's plenty more to do.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The first task on the agenda this morning was marking firewood. I used a can of white spray paint to mark dead trees and branches so I'll know which ones to cut up when all the leaves are off the trees. Next I called the gas company to arrange installation of the new line. Somebody is supposed to contact me in about four weeks! Next was a trip to town for another can of paint and embroidery shopping. I want an embroidered patch for a shop coat, so I visited all four embroidery shops listed in the local yellow pages. One didn't have the equipment for the job, one said about $20, one said at least $75, and I'm waiting to hear from the fourth. Back at home I went online and researched gas heaters. I found once again that some websites are designed well but many aren't. That research is going to take more time.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

The paint I bought yesterday for marking dead trees proved totally unsatisfactory. As soon as I sprayed it on, it would soak in and disappear. If I sprayed on another coat, that would soak in and disappear too. So it was back to town for some different paint. This time I got a can of day-glo orange Krylon. That works much better. I spent a big chunk of the afternoon prowling through the trees and marking dead wood. I think there's more than enough to keep me busy and keep me warm until spring.


Friday, September 30, 2011

I'm off to Nebraska for a big estate sale near Lincoln this weekend.