The Pony Lives!

So, when I left you last it was with a plea for a solution to the Pony’s starting difficulty.  I thank all who took a shot at solving my perplexing problem.  You’ll recall that in my lame effort to fix the problem I removed the carb, took it all apart, cleaned it, checked the float, reassembled it and then reinstalled it.  All this went for nothing, however, as the Pony continued to sputter at best, and then finally I was left with the starter motor grinding away and no ignition at all.

Well, I designated Saturday as Pony day, went down to the garage and brought the Idiotic Brother up on the “horn.”  “All right,” I said, “What do I do first?”  He said that I should start at the spark plugs, checking for spark and if there is spark there, to keep working my way back from there to a point where there is no spark.  “Ok,” I said, “Now, you understand you are working with a total idiot here, right?”  He laughed, and explained that I needed to remove a spark plug wire from one of the plugs and touch it to ground, like one of the head bolts or to the manifold.  I tried this and I saw maybe one spark, but not much activity at all.  He then said to remove all the plugs and do the test again, explaining that this would remove compression, allow the engine to turnover faster and, if there was spark, I’d see a lot of it.  I’m telling you, when we were kids, there was no way I would have taken orders from my brother like this.  But in this case I had to recognize his vastly superior knowledge, but most of all I was just plain desperate.

Anyway, I followed orders, touched the plug wire to ground and I saw absolutely nothing.  “Alright,” he said, “The next step back from the plugs is the distributor.  If the points don’t visibly look damaged, remove the condenser and replace it.”  I can’t tell you how skeptical about this I was, because the the condenser I had in there had maybe a total of 25 hours of operation on it.  But as luck would have it, because Maggie Simpson (Parts Detective) had sent me a replacement distributor kit a while back, I had right there in the garage a condenser to slip in.  So, without too much trouble I was able to make the change.  I then did the spark test again holding the plug wire to a head bolt, and Holy Crap!  There was spark!  I hastily put everything back together, turned on the ignition, pulled out the choke and hit the starter.  I mean just bang, on the first try, the old Pony fired right up.  Hallelujah!  I called Jim back, let him hear the Pony’s little engine putt, putt, putting away, thanked him and then immediately went out for a spin around the block.

Alright,  there was one person, my friend Joe Strain, who mentioned the word “condenser” in his email to me following the last post.  But I don’t know, Joe, you mentioned so much stuff that I felt like you were just kind of throwing mud up against the wall and hoping something would stick.  I’m afraid I’m going to have to (grudgingly) admit that my brother “nailed it,” and in light of that I am hereby declaring him “HORSE WHISPERER TO THE BLOG.”  Regrettably, family members are not eligible for the jam, so Joe, you get the jam.  There may be a supply issue on that jam, Joe, so if I can’t scrounge some up, you’ll get a jar from next spring’s batch.

There’s more good news too.  In extended operation on Saturday, neither the radiator, nor any of it’s fittings leaked a drop, so the Pony now has another of its issues behind it.

When I explained to both The Princess and then Andy how replacement of the condenser had solved the Pony’s problem, both those idiots had the nerve to ask me what a condenser does.  Its always kind of fun to go to the tractor guys discussion board for an answer, and this condenser explanation was no exception.  Here’s a “condensed” version of the various answers:

What does a Condenser do?

1. They debounce the points.

2. A condenser or capacitor is used to promote a faster collapse of the magnetic field. Neither component will allow direct current to pass through it to ground; however, alternating current is able to pass through. A direct current that pulses very fast becomes alternating current and can pass through the condenser or capacitor. This allows the current in the primary coil circuit to pass through either of these components to ground.

3. The condenser is connected to the primary winding . Once the current stops, the magnetic field falls back into the primary winding to stabilize the current within the winding. The faster the current in the primary winding dissipates through the condenser, the faster the magnetic field will collapse. The rapid movement of the magnetic field increases the induction within the secondary winding and the current, being pushed by a high voltage of up to 50kV, will look for a pathway or circuit.  I think Dell has the best answer at least its simple enoufh fer me to understand

4. Condensers “absorb” the inductive coil magnetic field induced flow of electrons when the points OPEN. This is a normal natural coil phenomon and is actually what causes “sparkies” that make yer sparkles spark.
Without a condenser, that 0.015″ points gap will burn-out. When you really OPEN a switch (and points are a special switch) there is little/NO spark strong enuff to jump a WIDE-GAPP, but that itty-bitty 0.015 points gap ain’t wide enuff, so the electrons will JUMP the gap unless they are absorbed by the condenser.

5. NOTE: condensers are 2-metal foil conductors seperated by an insulative film. When the points close, the points actually short-out the 2-foils and DISCHARGE the condenser so there is a place ready the next time to absorb the extra electrons when the points OPEN. I went to college 4-yrs to learn that simplistic explanation.

6. I always use:  A condensor is a road block for dc current and a highway for AC current🙂

7.  Right on Dell. That is what I learned also. I learned in addition as a side benefit that the discharge of the condenser when the points close aids in rebuilding the magnetic field in the coil.

8. Yes it prevents/minimizes the sparking at the points. How it does that is a mystery to me, I am electrically challenged as Dell puts it.

9. The condenser prevents points from burning out in a very short time.

Of course my favorite part, “This is a normal natural coil phenomenon and is actually what causes ‘sparkies’ that make yer sparkles spark.” And I like number 6 too.

I believe the stage is now set for “A very Pony holiday season.”  I’ll stay in touch as it unfolds, and as usual, thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chump is Stumped!

Sorry, that headline truly belongs to the “Car Talk” guys, but your Idiotic Author is stumped, and this is a cry for help.

To bring you up to speed, the radiator installation was successful.  I rolled the Pony out into the drive, fired it up and it ran (without leaking anywhere) for 20 minutes.  The engine then stalled, and I have not been able to get it started since.

The engine will go brrumm, but not stay running.  As one of my experts has said, it sounds like it’s “starving for gas.”  I felt that way too, so I took the carb apart, blew air through all the jets, checked that the float was set to spec, and put it back together.  Also cleaned out the sediment bowl and blew air through the fuel line.  These steps had absolutely zero positive result on the engine starting.

I’ve taken a short YouTube video demonstrating the problem, so that you can see and hear what it does when I hit the starter.  Here’s that video:

Engine start demo

I’m truly bummed and want desperately to get the old Pony going again before son, Andy, arrives for his Christmas visit.  Please comment to the blog with any suggestions.  The person or persons that come(s) up with the solution will be declared official “Horse Whisperer” to the blog and receive a jar of my home-made strawberry jam.

As I thank you in advance for your help, I am also reminded that Happy Thanksgiving wishes to you all are appropriate.  So, from the Pony, Cyndy and me to all of you,
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 

Rigged Election in North Carolina?

The Princess and I were so excited to get out and vote, you know, actually do something about this election, and at least get our part of it over with, that we showed up at Carrboro Town Hall on the first day of early voting.  Being the first day, there was quite a crowd, with the line actually snaking out the front door and into the parking lot.  We didn’t mind the long line, but I was somewhat taken aback when I noticed a few spots ahead of us in line, a rather large dog.  I thought “ok,” maybe Trump is on to something when he whines about voter fraud.  It could really happen here too, because the courts struck down our voter I.D. law.  I rested a bit easier when I saw the dog lift his leg to pee…and noticed it was his right leg, so certainly one of Trump’s voters.  Half an hour later though, as we were walking back to the car I saw the same dog walk to the right of a street lamp and lift his left leg.  Hmmm, I’ll bet he’s independent, but regardless, we gotta tighten up the voting process!

Enough silliness, I mean it, enough!  Let’s talk about the Pony.  Two things occurred recently that caused me to finally take some action and replace the Pony’s radiator.  First, the Pony had a rather serious overheating episode, leaking during operation and even ruining some paint.  Second, Cousin Bill declared that any future expenditures would not be charged against the Cost-O-Meter (it’s closed), but would be considered maintenance.  So I jumped in and spent the $300 for a new (Chinese) radiator.  Yeah, the parenthetical part there bothers me, but really, that’s the only option for a replacement.  Here’s a photo.

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Chinese Radiator

It’s far from perfect, paint drips here and there, and a bit of rust too, but we won’t know the most important thing, does it leak? until later.  But I’m going to miss the pretty little brass plaque on the old radiator that said, “Made in Toronto, Canada.”

There are two brackets that attach to the radiator’s sides that allow it to be fastened down to the tractor and provide a surface for the grill to be attached.  Removing those brackets from the old radiator  was not easy, actually had to go out to Gene’s and get his help.  But finally, between the two of us, we were able to remove them.  I then did a “Boehmke” on them, you know, “the full deal,” that’s sanding, priming, painting and waxing.  Since I’ve been working out of my own garage, I did the painting down in the trees where the “chiggers” have gotten me in the past.  Those pesky buggers must have gotten tired of waiting for me, because they weren’t there this time.  Thank God!  Here’s a shot of those radiator brackets after the final coat of paint.

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I then went to the hardware store and picked-up some new nuts and bolts, since I had to hacksaw thru one of the old boltsI then headed off to the hardware store for some new, well, hardware.  So, the next two shots show the new radiator with brackets attached, sitting on the tractor for a “test fit.”

Later, yesterday actually, I put sealer on the radiator hoses, screwed down the hose clamps and attached the the radiator brackets to the tractor.  So far, so good!  Don’t forget, if you want to see a larger version of either photo, just click on it.

Finally, I wanted to share a couple of truly frightening images with you.  Monday and Wednesday mornings I do some volunteer work, using the term, work, loosely.  On Halloween some of the staff and volunteers like to dress appropriately, OK, inappropriately really.  Lucky for you folks, today is Halloween, so I thought I’d share a couple of photos of yours truly in costume.  WARNING:  The images you are about to view could be upsetting…drink a beer first!  And I wouldn’t click on these if I were you.

Happy Halloween, and thanks for reading.

In Memoriam, Carol L Boehmke, 9/2/23-9/11/16

My Mom, Carol, passed away a week ago at the age of 93.  I did not want to let this go unremarked upon even in such a silly rag as this blog.  Mom lived in Sarasota, Florida and enjoyed going to Siesta Key beach with family (often my son) to have a glass of wine while watching the sun set.  So after the memorial service on Friday at son Andy’s suggestion, The Princess, Andy, the Idiotic Brother and I went out to the beach to honor her memory, and raise a toast to her just as the sun was setting.  Andy took the photo below.

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Carol’s Memorial Sunset

Andy took a lot of photos that evening, but I chose this one because of the symbolism in it.  The three sea gulls at the top representing my two brothers and I soaring forward while my mom’s sun is setting.

Following is the last line of the eulogy I gave at Mom’s memorial service:  “Thank you, Mom, for giving me life, and for showing me through your life, how to live mine.”

September 18, 2016

What Was He Up To?

First things first.  After not counting the cost of the starter rebuild, but adding in the cost of hardware purchased for the new side panel attachment system, note that the C-O-M now stands at a rather retail sounding $3995.  Whew, I believe that’s it, the final cost of the Pony restoration.  It brings to mind a conversation Gene and I had in the early days of the Pony work.  Trying to get an idea of how committed I was to the project, Gene asked how much I was willing to spend on the job.  I threw out the number $1500, thinking that was a number I could live with and certainly enough to get the job done.  Gene and I hadn’t known each other that long at the time, but I remember the doubtful look on his face, and could imagine the likely thought behind it…what a dreamer!

Since we’ve been talking about the Pony’s C-O-M, you might also find it interesting that the blog is now 6-years-old, in which time I’ve written (using that term loosely) 234 posts.  I got a coupon recently from Staples, so I had them print-off every post since the beginning, almost 1000 pages!  I know, I know, you’re thinking what a waste of paper, but I thought, you know some day I might “weed” through it all and see if there’s any lawn left when I’m done.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

But with the Pony restoration complete, what’s ahead for That Idiotic Tractor.  Man, I don’t know, but I paid the annual fee to keep my website for another year, so I’ll fill up this space with something, believe me, at least into 2017.

Stuff like this.  And to head off complaints like, “There he goes, talking about his ass again,” I’m just going to say that recently I was diagnosed with “pudendal nerve entrapment.”  If you’re brave enough you can google that condition.  Suffice to say, that when you’ve spent over 100,000 miles on a bike seat, there are going to be issues “down under, and I don’t mean in Australia.”  Then at the same time that that medical issue has been going on, I came up with another small medical problem.  A month ago a red thing showed up on the lower eye lid of my left eye along with some puffiness under the eye.  A pretty firm practice of mine is what I call “the three week rule.”  I ignore any medical condition for three weeks before going to the doctor.  Generally stuff just goes away on its own in that time frame, but if it doesn’t, then the rule requires getting into the doctor pronto.

So still no big deal, at least in the most recent case.  Just as you probably already have, my crack medical team diagnosed a sty in my eye.  Not very exciting, but the new technique for treating it was curious.  They said to boil an egg, wrap it in a dry wash cloth and hold it against my eye for half an hour. What? Why not wait for a full moon too, for crying out loud.  And do this five times a day.  Well, the “pudendal thing” requires sitting with an ice pack in my crotch for 20 minutes after bike rides.  So why not as they say, kill two birds (or medical conditions) with one stone.

I shove one of those blue ice packs from the freezer inside a pair of bike shorts (clean ones) and then hold a hot egg to my eye.  As I was doing this I thought, man if I had a heart attack and died while doing this, what would the coroner’s line be in my episode of CSI?  “Well, he’s got an ice pack in his crotch and a hot, hard boiled egg in his eye.  It’s obvious he’s had a heart attack, and we’re looking for the villainous doctors that egged him on.”

Thanks for six years of reading and Happy Labor Day.

 

 

Video Games (Addendum)

I have been made aware by some of my subscribers that they were unable to view the video that was embedded in the last post.  To view that video here’s the site:  https://youtu.be/8vxWsnk0kXU

Sorry for the confusion.

 

Video Games

Pony News
I had that open question of what to do about the cost of the starter rebuild, namely should it be charged against the Cost-O-Meter, or just be considered an ongoing maintenance cost?  Well, I got my answer.  Ever since my cousin, Bill, reminded me that the quarters I welded into the Pony’s oil pan should be included in the C-O-M, I’ve kind of considered him the unofficial blog accountant.  As you can tell from his reminder, he’s a real stickler.  He weighed in on this recent matter and said that I should consider the starter rebuild cost maintenance.  Cool, so we’re still shy of $4,000 on the old C-O-M.

I did spend a few dollars on hardware, however, when I converted my side panel attachment system to “quick release.”  But I’ll tell you, it was money well spent.    The side panels are usually held on by seven screws with washers and nuts behind the panels.  There’s a lot of stuff that one needs to get at behind those panels (battery, cables, fuel shut-off, steering box), and it’s a pain in the ass to remove all those screws every time you want to get inside there.  My attachment process only involves three attachment points all accessible from the exterior of the tractor.  I put together a little YouTube video demonstrating for other Pony owners how they can make the conversion, and it’s included below.  When you play it you’ll be able to see the neat, new system.

Although my acting certainly won’t earn me any Academy nominations, credit to son, Andrew, for the seamless videography.  And from that credit you have likely deduced that Andy was her for a visit, and on that you would be correct.  We had a barrel of fun canoeing out on the local lake, trying out new beers in the local brew pubs, and grilling anything and everything out on the grill (since he does not have access to that in NYC).  And, he always enjoys taking the Pony out for a spin (or two) on the “back 40,” so following are a couple of photos taken during one of those rides.

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Man At Work, Well OK, Play Really

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Son and Pony Taking a Breather

The only mishap occurred during the second ride, which I guess is my fault; we ran out of gas.  That Pony is a gas hog!

Other Pony News
A few weeks back I got a rather cryptic note into the blog simply asking me for the length of a Pony.  I went down to the garage, put a tape to the Pony and sent the dude the measurement (105 inches).  Then a week later I got an email from the same guy, Len Sharp, and it turns out he was fixing to bid on a Pony and wanted to make sure it fit on his trailer.  Turns out his was the winning bid and he sent the photo below of his prize.

1951 Pony

1951 Pony

Man, if my Pony had looked that good when I bought it, it would have cut 3 years off the restoration time.  Anyway, congrats Len, and good luck with your restoration.

Finally, in non-Pony news my Mom (Carol) will have her 93rd birthday next week, so I’d like to take this opportunity send out love from The Princess and me and our wishes for many, many more happy birthdays.  Thanks for reading.