In the last post I alluded to the fact that I would be trying to work an easy fix for the stripped threads in the no.17 head bolt hole. Gene helped me put together a 2 and 7/8 inch fully threaded bolt to replace the normal 2 and 1/4 incher that the engine takes. With that longer bolt I was hoping that the new thread reached, would be able to sustain the 40 foot pounds of torque. Well, typical for the Pony, no dice.
So this meant the machine shop would have to install a helicoil in the hole. The helicoil takes the place of the stripped threads and allows the same size bolt to be used. So, Wednesday found Gene and I driving the engine over to Durham in the back of his van. Fortunately, the shop agreed to send the completed engine back to its Carrboro store, so at least the pick-up was convenient. For loading and unloading the engine (incredibly heavy), I added a temporary little ramp to the engine stand. The shot below shows the engine after we’ve slid it back up the ramp and then jerked it up onto the stand.
Alright, I admit this was staged after Gene and I yanked that damn engine up off the ramp. We wouldn’t look so nonchalant if I had remembered to call The Princess in to take the picture while we were actually working. But this gives you the idea. Also note that before any of this moving took place I had attached two handles to each side of the engine stand for easier of lifting. The guys at the machine shop thought these were pretty cool, and one compared lifting the engine with these to carrying a casket. I don’t know if I like that comparison; I’m hoping that one day soon, what’s on that stand will be very much alive, not headed to its grave.
So now I’m back at the point I was about two weeks ago, just $26.50 poorer (the machine shop charge). Big thanks to Gene for dragging me and the engine all over the place this week. With some time to burn while the engine was idle, I picked up another part, the solenoid (correction, it’s the ignition coil; see comment), and refurbished it. Here are the “before and afters.”
Ya know, we’re fast approaching the one-year mark since the Pony entered my life (and yours). It could have been this approaching milestone, or just a brief attack of cussedness, but this week The Princess took on the Pony over the issue of the Cost-O-Meter Ceiling. Huh, what ceiling? Out of the blue, The Princess is claiming that because of some general statement made months ago about the Pony maybe costing altogether $1500, she claims that to exceed that ceiling requires her approval. I guess this was bound to happen, as the Pony has always been pretty much a “tax and spend” kind of tractor, while the Princess in spite of noticeable lapses in her own behavior, is a fiscal conservative. The two have been locked in what The Princess calls negotiations, but which the Pony views as spiteful intransigence. The Pony keeps offering truly meaningful stuff:
* Free rides when he’s operational.
* More time between oil changes.
* A cut of the sale price when and if he’s ever sold.
* Dollar for dollar “matching” of art supplies and Pony costs.
And all he wants in return is to raise the C-O-M Ceiling to $2000.
Every time they get together, the Pony offers this stuff and more and the Princess just says, “No.” She claims that she has signed some kind of pledge (the Pony thinks it’s a pact with the devil) that leaves her no room to negotiate. After the last session, all I saw was The Princess stomping up the stairs from the garage, her face having acquired an odd orange tan, and her lower lip trembling as if she was about to cry. I entered the garage and the Pony says, “She just walked away and says she’s done trying to negotiate with what amounts to cold hard steel.”
In the meantime, guys like Gene and me are stuck in the middle worrying about what the Pony will give away next and whether The Princess will finally do something to avert crisis. I asked the Pony what his bottom-line, drop-dead number is, and after all kinds of posturing allowed as he might except a number in the $1800 area, but that would have to be matched by $200 in reduced salon expenditures by The Princess. I caught up with The Princess a bit later and her one word response, you probably guessed, was “no!” All this drama just left me thankful that stuff like this only happens in ThatIdioticTractor Land and not out in the real world.
Try to stay cool everyone and thanks for reading.