Getting My Bearings

I hope you enjoyed that diversion in the last post.  If not, DON’T BLAME ME!  We’ve got a few housekeeping items to cover.  First, in light of the constant meddling by the Idiotic Brother (IB) in it seems everything, I have added a brief section about him on the “About” page.  So if you are a subscriber, and you don’t usually go the home page:, you might want to check that out.

Second thing, I got nothing from you people on “naked dreams.”  I’d say that if you read this blog that’s a pretty sure indicator that you have naked dreams, so come on.  Don’t leave me the only one hanging out there.  Hmmm, that came out sounding a little funny, given the context.  If you don’t feel comfortable commenting “on blog,” send me an email.  I’ll probably twist your words around when I post your experience, but take a chance.  I want dirt!

Third, and you’re going to scratch your head at this, if only for a brief moment  you’ll note that the old Cost-O-Meter (on the Home Page) has gone DOWN.  That’s right, down.  Those of you who have been reading right along may recall that deep in the Cost-O-Meter’s bowels the original $50 cost of the tractor is reflected.  Believe me, there’ve been many times since shelling out that fifty bucks that I’ve thought the owner should have paid me, but you know “buyer beware.”  Sour grapes aside, The Pony came with a small bonus, 40 feet of nasty, old, rusty chain that had been used to keep people from stealing The Pony.  This would seem a bit of overkill, in light of the numerous ways The Pony had to defend itself:  it didn’t run (for about a hundred different reasons), trees enclosed it entirely and the road out  of the woods was blocked with fallen timber.

The chain sat around in my garage for months, but then not too long ago I decided to advertise it on Craig’s List.  I changed the ad and its location a few times, but this is the add that was running last week:
“This admittedly rusty 40 foot piece of chain (see picture) was attached to an old tractor I bought. I got no need for it. Not sure what its good for: Save it for next Halloween? Make necklaces? Lock up some valuable thing (mother-in-law?) in the backyard? I don’t know, but it’s just 15 bucks.”
I don’t know if this put thoughts in people’s heads, but within no time flat a guy (he looked normal) came out and paid my price, no questions asked.  I didn’t ask any either!

Getting on to tractor news, well kind of, it got so cold this week that I ordered a heater for the garage.  It was only about 52 degrees in there, and I need at least 60 to be comfortable.  I got a 4000 BTU unit on-line which cost me about $95 after taxes and shipping.  I wasn’t real careful when I read the description, but it sounded like it would work for me.  Well, when it arrived, it had a 30 amp plug on it that would not fit my outlet.  I asked Gene if he wouldn’t mind coming over and looking at the heater and my electrical situation and see if we could make it work.  Gene looked everything over, said stuff like 220, 240 what’s the difference and 20 amps, 30 amps pfft.  Off to the hardware to buy a 20 amp plug, Gene changed it, we plugged er in and voila, heat in the garage.

Gene left with much thanks from me and I stuck around to “feel the warm.”  It was around two in the afternoon, I was happily working in my 62 degree garage and ZZZT all the power in the entire house went out.  I heard above The Princess’s precious little feet pounding down the stairs and thought uh oh.  I met her in the mud room where there was some light, she gave me that “what have you and Gene done” look, and the power came back on.  Whew, apparently it was just a coincidental power outage in the neighborhood.  In the two days since, no more events, and the heater is working great.  Thanks Gene.

So with all the heat I needed there was no excuse not to move on and start sanding down the rod bearing caps.  I had made the decision not to take Dr. Virkinhard’s advice and buy new bearings, etc, but to take the IB’s advice and sand down the bearings to reduce all the clearances to .002.  There were some fits and starts on the project, but the key was finally moving down to 80 grit sandpaper, duct-taping it to my table saw and putting a lot of downward pressure on the bearing cap.  I moved steadily from cap No.1 through No. 3, but on cap No. 4 it seemed I was doing a lot of sanding and not making much progress.  Here’s a couple of pictures.

I decided to put down a fresh piece of sandpaper and give er hell, and that second picture shows how the cap looked after the second go round.  Hairy little bugger isn’t it.  I think there is some lesson to be learned there about positive and negative poles, but the lesson I learned is NEXT TIME TAKE IT EASY.  After I put that cap back in the engine, and did the plastigage test, I found I’d overshot my .002 goal significantly, so that in fact, the crank would no longer turn without some real effort.  Rats.  The IB says not to worry, shims should bring it back up to the correct tolerance.  Whew again! 

I’ve still got the two main engine bearing caps to do, but after that this project could start to get fun.  Shortly I’ll be ordering a new set of piston rings and a full engine gasket set, so that the work of rebuilding can begin.  I’m actually starting to get pretty excited, nervous too.  That’s pretty much the way I feel at about this time every year as Christmas approaches.  I love it!  Thanks for reading. 



One response to “Getting My Bearings

  1. I can’t believe someone bought the chain. You ad was quite funny though. He probably just wanted to meet the guy who wrote it!! If I don’t talk with you and Cindy before then, Merry Christmas!!! I love you both!!

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