Monday, August 20, 2012

Pro Tip for the Truckers, Kickers and the Cowboy Angels

Wherever you happen to be working, set down a rag as a temporary workbench. Rather than tools kicking around the floorboards or underfoot, it is so much more sensible to have a defined space. Also, from the Department of Always Be Knolling, point all the tools in the same direction. It is easier to see what you have and what you need.

This tip gets better...

When you are done working, you just roll up the rag as a pseudo tool roll to get the items back their respective homes. Use the same rag to wipe the tools as you put them away. Wipe hands.

This is a hundred dollar tip. Believe it, brother.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Backside of the Mercedes Grill

I am doing a 0000 steel wool and rattlecan refurb of the Mercedes grill. In the process, I am removing those tacky grill badges that tend to appear on 1970's Benz. The fastening system was even worse than something that I would do. Ultimately, it feels like it was more work than doing it right.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

New Rubber

Doesn't take a lot of Googling to find people saying lots of bad things about Uro windshield and rear window seals. It is true, they sure don't look like a OE component, but the price is solid and they are functional. If you are going to Pebble Beach, I guess you have to call Tom at the Classics Center, but for the rest of us, I think the Uro seals are fine.

My favorite glass place in the Valley installed for $100 for front and rear (I supplied parts.) It was a LOT of work. Two guys working for an hour and a half.

Another notable upgrade, period correct freeway flyer KMA-367 metal license plate frames. Google that!

My 90,000 mile, European delivery, $1500, rust free Mercedes 220 is the least disappointing old car purchase that I have ever made. Plenty wrong, but plenty right and nothing really evil lurking.

When you have a total piece of crap, you are dumping time and money and it always still sorta sucks. But, if the car is solid and together, little upgrades and fixes really make a material impact that you can feel. I replaced the rubber donuts holding up the muffler and I felt like I won the lottery.

My favorite glass place: across the street from the orange octopus on Pendleton. Not in the Pick a Part parking lot, but on Pendleton.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Hooptyrides HQ and Coco's Variety Have Standardized on 1/4" Industrial/Milton Air Fittings

The best free money that I spent today, Selection Guide to Couplers and Plugs

The best thing I read today, from the aforementioned Selection Guide to Couplers and Plugs, "... there is no advantage to one type shape over another..."

Talk about empowering decision making. No wrong choice! Beautiful. Should all standards decisions be without consequence. 

We have standardized on industrial/Milton. That is why they are neatly lined up in the above photo. 

That means that we will never allow an automotive, ARO or Lincoln across the transom. If tool appears, with an equal but different plug or coupler, we will convert said tool to industrial before it enters the building. 

Also, as the selection guide demolishes the merits of universal couplers and condemns them to the "consumer" ghetto, we will not be seduced the universal coupler's catholic universality.

That means the above mixed couplers and plugs are available at Coco's Variety for no charge. Come and get 'em. No harm in choosing a different standard. The only damning path is to run an organization that is coupler agnostic. We will not go back!

RIP - Pininfarina


Nothing like a warm summer night in a welding jacket. The concrete footing was an efficient heat sink making it take longer than you would ever dream when starting out.

End of the Dyno

When I bought my shop, there was a Clayton water brake dyno in the floor. Though it did not provide add financial justification for purchase, it certainly added a lot of the romanticism. The previous owner said that it was working 6 months ago. The old 6 months ago...

The operation is simple and quite crude. There are two bellhousings, one for each roller. Inside there is a stator and rotor with blades that look like turbo fans. To load the dyno, water is filled in the bellhousing and the resistance of the opposing fan blades provides the load. Though it sounds simple, it never worked.

I went through heroic efforts to save it despite Clayton no longer supporting them. Bought a second dyno in San Pedro for parts, had the roller brake shoes re-lined at Valley Friction, bought a fire hose to use as a replacement bladder for the roller brakes, used a donor bellhousing for the supposedly bad unit, married the best of the two dynos, upgraded the water input to 1" as the flow/pressure were way below spec and hired the last existing old-like-rumplestiltskin Clayton mechanic. He drove from Apple Valley and we spent 14 $150 labor hours replacing bearings and such. Still never worked.

I probably had $3000 and 100 hours into the project.

Things I learned:
  • "worked six months ago" is like saying it just needs freon
  • Don't let the old Clayton mechanic start fixing things without proving that the bellhousings are going to work
  • Stuff that works on water, that sits for years (not 6 months), is likely to have issues 
  • It is cheaper to get your car dyno'd many times for the efforts required to revive a water brake dyno
  • Water brake dynos are not great. Having a really solid understanding of how they work, I would be suspicious of any horsepower rating that was not on a calibrated system.
Finally, I had enough of tripping over the rollers. I knew I wasn't going to spend another 10 hours or $100 bucks.

4 hours with a cutting torch and it was out. The supposedly good bellhousing - that they previous owner and Clayton repair man said was good - was total junk. Once I had it out, I can see it was leaking for years. I am certain that the little orifices and passageways inside were packed with the sort of rust you find under the carpet of a leaky convertible Cadillac.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Still Life with Ball Chain Jar

Ball chain is the best. Such an efficient and customizable technology. I had a daydream of attending a hardware convention and finding out what was new with ball chain. Hard to imagine how it could be better, but I would like to see the latest and greatest in ball chain!

Roseville Tourist

More often than a blue moon but less often than a full moon, a piece of Roseville Tourist is listed on eBay. There is never a chance to scoop one up for a mere $100 with a big chip in the rim, as even the imperfect sell for big money. Only Martha Stewart could afford a service for 12.

Always humorous, the Tourist pattern makes fun of rich guys racing around the roads when cars were the folly of auto-tourism and not transportation.

Roseville Tourist on eBay