As promised in the last post, Gene and I did get together on Sunday and made the transition from destruction to construction. It’s funny, but I’ve awaited this stage of the tractor work with equal amounts of anticipation and trepidation. So true, that the first step is always the hardest. But with the heater blasting away in the garage, we started work on installing the nearly famous valve train in the engine.
If you recall our work in pulling the old valve train, you’ll remember that a big part of the hassle was working with very small parts in a very tight compartment. The same held true for the reinstallation. I’ll bet we worked for 45 minutes before we got that first valve and its associated parts installed. It was after we had that first valve in that we realized that the camshaft was supposed to be in the engine first. Yes, that was included in the install steps provided by Jim, but…well, no excuses. So, we had to undo that first valve to feed the camshaft in and start over. Here are a few shots of us working on the install.
The first shot was just to prove to you that it was actually Gene and me doing the work. The second shot is installation of an intake valve, the third an exhaust valve. The tool Gene is operating is a valve spring compressor. It’s used to retract the spring, so that the valve locking parts can be installed. The exhaust valves were much harder to install than the intakes, because of the testy job of having to place two of those little tiny half-moon shaped pieces around the valve prior to fitting on the valve cap. You can see what those pieces look like in the last post, where I used them for the smoke coming out of the engine’s stack, also the light beam. The parts are so small that I had to use a tweezers to fit them in, the same with the tiny pin (see yellow circle in second picture) that locks the intake valve pieces together. By the way, credit for these photos goes to The Princess, who collected hazardous duty pay while standing on a tippy stool to capture the action.
That’s a real sight for sore eyes isn’t it? I’m telling you, I felt so exhilarated after this step was completed, I just wanted to barrel right ahead. We did start installing the new rings on the pistons, but ran out of time before completing that job. But Gene and I shook hands at the end of the day, congratulating ourselves on the progress we made.
Another Pony-related project was finished on Monday. I glued the wheels on our latest Speedy Duck (c). We’re calling this Pony Duck “Harris,” as in Massey-Harris. You’ll recall The Princess was working on this little guy as one of my Christmas presents. Here are a couple of pictures of him.
To really appreciate the detail go ahead and click on the images. One of the changes I made from that of a “normal” Speedy Duck (c) was use of a larger wheel on the back. This required carving wheel wells into the wings. Harris will have a place of honor on my computer desk.
You know how Steve Jobs “out of the blue” announced he was taking medical leave from his job as CEO of Apple? Well, I’m going to take a page from his book and am announcing a medical leave from That Idiotic Tractor. I waited until after the close of the stock market today to make this announcement, so as not to cause an interday hiccup in the trading of TIT stock. Boy that’s quite an acronym! Unlike Steve Jobs, however, I can be more specific about my medical leave. For years I have had a torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder. I was diagnosed three years ago, but I kept putting off the surgery, not wanting it to interfere with my fun. Well, its starting to bug me so much that I’ve finally decided to have it fixed this Thursday.
So, I’ve put a blanket over the engine and will not be doing any tractor work for at least two weeks. Even then, I’ll still have my wing in a sling, but Gene has volunteered to work on the engine, while I supervise. Quite a neat trick, eh? Although typing will be one-fingered for a while, I hope to get back to doing posts after a couple of weeks as well. In the meantime, how about going back and reading some of those early posts you may have missed? Just like those TV reruns, if you haven’t seen em, they’re new to you! I’ll share the gory details of my surgery and medical leave with you as soon as I can. What good is that kind of thing if you can’t whine about it? I’ll get back to you in a couple of weeks. Thanks for reading.