Woah Pony, Woah Boy

First things first.  I seem to have worried some folks perhaps by my use of some hyperbole as I discussed the upcoming ozone poisoning.  Listen, they’ve promised that if I start to pass out they’ll lower the dosage.  No, no, no, seriously, here’s the deal.  What they’re going to do is stick me in a room three times for three hours (half of which time will be spent walking on a treadmill) and expose me to three different levels of ozone.  One of the three times there’ll be no ozone at all, just purified air.  Another time it will be at a very low level that causes “no noticeable effects,” and the final exposure will be at a level that most of us “…are frequently exposed to especially during the summer months.”  Since, when there is an air quality alert in our area, I go out and do the “morning 40” anyway (for three hours), this little experiment, well, it’ll be a “walk in the park.”  Y’all are sweet, and thank you for fussing for me, but this is NOT dangerous.  Now I’ve kind of ruined the fun of this for you, but I’ll still try to spice it up in future reports on this project.  For example, Friday I’m going in for a training session where I will have ECG leads plastered to my chest.  Because the technician only uses a dry razor to remove chest hair, she suggested I shave my chest before coming in, as it’ll be less painful if I do it.
24 hours later
Jeez, I musta spent an hour last night shaving my chest.  What a mess.  Now looking at my bald head, you’re probably thinking he’s not such a hairy guy, but you’d be wrong.  First I used my old beard trimmer kind of like a weed whacker to clear away the heavy brush.  Then I lathered-up and took it right down to the skin with my Gillette Sensor razor.  Only two blades folks; you can’t tell me that any more than that (they’re up to 4 now) is necessary. 

Holy cow, what an adventure.  I really found some stuff.  I found a thing growing in there…thought at first it was a third nipple, we’ll have to keep a close eye on that thing.  I was wiping the hair out of the sink and found a tiny lock washer in there.  I’m pretty sure I lost that thing a couple of months ago while working on the Pony.  The big shocker came this morning though.  I left early on the morning 40 when it was just 54 degrees.   I dressed the way I normally would for that temperature, but  I’m telling you, shooting down that first hill…whooee…that cold wind just went right through me.  Apparently chest hair has a purpose!   Anyway, I’m all set for my Friday training session, I mean “walk in the park.”

Not sure if any of you have checked the web page lately, but for a couple of months the COM just sat there at $1800 and change.  I wasn’t trying to keep anything from you, honest, just lazy really.  If you check it today you’ll see that I’ve added $128 which accounts for numerous items, and brings the new total to $2056.  I’ll admit it did hurt a little to watch that retched thing click over the $2000 mark, but in order to make my self feel better, I’ve taken to looking at it another way.  I’ve had the Pony for two years now, so the monthly “run rate” (as we used to say back in my old finance days) is a rather modest 84 bucks.  I’m not saying that I view that as acceptable year after year after year, but I do view it as a pretty cheap hobby.  Heck, I’ll bet there are some folks who spend that much on their hair each month…eh Princess?

On the subject of those items in the COM, I want to show you what 60 bucks went for.

That piece of tractor is known as the “bell crank,” and it’s attached out on the nose of the Pony.  It turns when the steering wheel turns, and the tie rods which attach to it, extend out to the wheels and make them turn.  The folks at my “non-engine” machine shop are incredibly nice and just as importantly, good at what they do.  A week ago they managed to get that shaft out of the hub of the crank, but in the process everything (the shaft and the bushing) was ruined.  They were going to charge me $35 for getting the thing apart, but felt bad about how it had come out, and I said I really couldn’t use the thing in the condition it was in.  They said don’t worry, they’d make it right, and would “work with me” on the price. 

Well what they did was just beautiful (it’s on the right in the photo), and let’s face it, the new shaft they made is probably, no certainly, the nicest thing on the pony.  They also put a new brass bushing inside the hub.  The young lady, Kristin, who works in the office said they’d take $45 for the job, but I said, “No you won’t, you’ll take $60, cus the Pony accepts some of the blame  for this debacle.”  Heck, their hourly rate in the shop is $75!  So, to my new friends at P.B.E.M. in Durham, NC, you are now officially FOP (Friends of the Pony).

Moving on.  If Gene and I ever get the Pony to move, we will now be able to make him stop.  Last week we finished up all the brake work.  When we first opened up the brake compartments, out poured a good quantity of ice-cold, rusty water, so you can imagine what the inside looked like.  I’ve mentioned in earlier posts how we managed to get enough good parts together to fit back inside the brake housings.  There’s a drum inside each housing, and belts tighten up against those drums when the brake pedals are pushed.  Following is a slide show  of the work on the brakes.

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I think that may be my first attempt at a slide show, and somehow that bell crank shot snuck in there where it doesn’t belong.  We jacked up each side of the rear end to adjust the brakes.  What you do is tighten the belt down until it hugs the drum, and then back it off until the wheel spins freely.  Then you set the brake linkage on each side, so that the two sides will brake in tandem.  I think we really did get them right.  I’ve had those nice, red covers done for months, so it was fun to finally see them installed.

So, now that we can stop the Pony just fine, ALL we need to do is get him going.  I’m working right now on conquering some leaks back at the engine.  I should complete that work this week, and then it’s on to the steering.

In the meantime, don’t shave anything you don’t have to, and thanks for reading!


One response to “Woah Pony, Woah Boy

  1. Hey Bruce,

    How’s retirement treating you? Sounds like you are really into the tractor world. Are you still biking? Haven’t heard from you in some time. Drop me an email, and I will bring you up to date including the birth of my first grandchild, named after my mother, Ruby. Is 71 too old to become a grandfather?

    Mike Evans (bikemike41@comcast.com)

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