I spent a good bit of the day out in the garage with a couple of podcasts and a bottle of Simple Green scrubbing the dirt out of the new fridge. It was a nice quiet way to spend the day before going back to work, and none of the 30 other things I meant to get to really mattered. I pulled the shelves off the inside of the door and wound up having to unscrew the whole perimeter to recover six mounting plates that fell into the door as a result; not really a big deal.

It’s impressively built. Most of the parts are metal—the drawers are enameled steel—and the plastic pieces there are all in really good shape. It cleaned up really well but needs a lot more love both inside and out. I have a lot of research to do on methods and advice, but I’m happy to dive down this rabbit hole.

Date posted: May 30, 2022 | Filed under appliances, general | Leave a Comment »

Saturday morning I was happy to have downed a tall glass of water and two Advil before going to bed; I woke up with a clear head but a tender stomach, and there was heavy lifting to do. A while back I helped some Scout friends save an old IH fridge that was sitting in the basement of a house up in Randallstown. We hauled it up out of the basement, wheeled it out into the back of Bennett’s truck, and moved it to Stephen’s house in Towson. He’s downsizing and gave Bennett and I first right of refusal; I was the first to say yes. But first, we had to get his second Scout and a tractor up to his new house—both of which don’t run. No problem. 

Bennett brought his brother’s towing rig and trailer, and I met him up at the house in the Scout. It was a beautiful day for driving and pushing and hauling—I was glad the air was cool, as it helped me feel better as the day went on. I pulled the battery out of PP to use for the winch on the trailer, and in about a half an hour we had the Scout strapped down and ready to go. We ran that up to the new house and parked it in a spare bay in the garage, then headed back to the house to handle the tractor. Thank GOD it was a Cub and not a full-sized tractor; It was sitting in a barn on the back corner of the lot, so we had to push it all the way out into the road to get it ready for the trailer. While Bennett got that winched on board, I towed a boat out of his backyard and into the carport with my Scout, and then backed up to his front door with the tailgate down. After some careful pushing and pulling, we got the fridge out over the threshold and strapped it flat on the bed of the Scout.

Leaving my truck behind, we rode the tractor up the second house and got it into the barn there with a minimum of fuss. After a bit of lunch we rode back down here to my house, and got the fridge out of the truck and into the garage, where it stands now. I’m waiting for the refrigerant to settle before I plug it in, but Monday I plan on giving the outside a good clean and shine to get it ready.

Sunday we hit the road back to Bob’s house, where I put the shiny rebuilt carburetor back on with a new gasket, and swapped out a 40-year-old Die Hard battery with the Die Hard battery from Peer Pressure. After re-mounting the alternator with some large nuts acting as a bushing, some careful checks, and with a fresh new fire extinguisher, I hooked the battery terminals up and we waited to see or smell any smoke. There was none, so I squirted some 50-1 gas into the carb and had Jen fire it up. The starter works, and the engine turns over, but I couldn’t get it to catch. There were several times when it sounded like it wanted to, but we just couldn’t get it to go all the way. Figuring it could be a spark issue, Jen and I drove down the street for a new battery, coil, plugs, and a ground wire.

I installed everything, got it all buttoned up, and had Bob crank it a bunch of times, but still couldn’t get it to fire. I know there’s a spark issue, and without my multimeter or the correct plugs for this engine, there wasn’t much else I could do. So I packed up my tools and satisfied myself with wiping mildew off the vinyl with a vinegar solution to bring out the shine. The front seats look much better and the door cards shined up really well, but the back seat is the worst. I’ll deal with that when we can pull it out into the sunshine.

Date posted: May 29, 2022 | Filed under cars, friends | 1 Comment »

This week’s earworm: New York, by Richard Ashcroft.

This song came out on his first solo album back in 2001 and it has a great dirty groove through the verse section—it’s this part that’s stuck in my head. I was never much of a Verve fan back in the day but I really liked this album and the vibe of this tune.

Date posted: May 29, 2022 | Filed under earworm, music | Leave a Comment »

I had my final welding class last night, which consisted of a final test and open lab night. I haven’t studied for a test that hard in decades. It was on all four processes we learned, and because each one is fundamentally different there was a lot to cover. Plus, there were welding symbols and basic diagrams to memorize. I found a bunch of online quizzes offered by Miller that I used to go over the basics, and spent my time on the train to and from DC to review the textbooks. My score was an 84, and it would have been higher if not for a bunch of SAT-tricky true/false questions toward the end. I actually aced the welding symbols and diagrams sections, which made me happy.

So now I have a basic understanding of welding, but need to get time with some equipment and practice. I would have already signed up for the intermediate MIG class, as that’s the one that translates best to automotive work,  but I’ve got other bills to pay right now and I don’t have a welder of my own yet.

* * *

On the bench downstairs I have the Carter AFB carb from the Chrysler 95% rebuilt—I just need to put the linkages back on. With the videos I followed, the whole process went very smoothly, and any questions I would have had if I’d done it on my own were answered pretty quickly. So the plan is to head back down on Sunday with the battery from the Scout, some 50-1 gas, a fire extinguisher, and some other small parts, and get the yacht ready for a test-fire. If I can get it lit off from the carb and running, the next step will be to drop the fuel tank and either have that cleaned or replaced. While it’s up on jack stands we can run it with the rear wheels off the ground to see how the transmission works. And if that all looks good, then it’s on to a basic brake job.

Date posted: May 27, 2022 | Filed under cars, life | Leave a Comment »

How I Experience The Web Today. LOL

Date posted: May 26, 2022 | Filed under humor, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

The update: I’ve got a Carter AFB carburetor in two dozen pieces on the workbench downstairs. It’s waiting for the rebuild kit, which should be here later tonight. I want nothing more than to pull up a stool with a cold beer and start re-assembling it, but I have to focus tonight on studying for my welding test, which will be tomorrow at 5:30. Will I fail at life if I don’t pass this test? No, but I’d sure like to walk away with some new knowledge and the ability to MIG weld with a better idea of what I’m doing.

In the greenhouse, I’ve got three store-bought tomato plants in tubs which seem to be very happy; two are flowering and they’re all at least 3′ tall. I originally thought I’d buy more but we haven’t been to a garden center in weeks, so I’m going to re-pot one in its own tub and let them do their thing. In some ways being this busy all spring is a good thing, as I finished out last year’s planting season very discouraged by my yields. I don’t think I was cut out to be a farmer, but I do love having fresh tomatoes.

Date posted: May 25, 2022 | Filed under cars, greenhouse | 1 Comment »

I’m just gonna leave this right here, because it’s exactly what I need this week:

I’m stopped at about the 8:00 minute mark on the first video, as there’s one bolt that just won’t let go. It’s soaking in PBblaster overnight, and if it doesn’t budge, I’ll bust out the torch and heat it up tomorrow after welding class. Stuff like this makes me glad I’m a Hagerty member, because these are excellent videos with just the right amount of detail.

How did we operate in the years before YouTube?

Date posted: May 23, 2022 | Filed under cars | Leave a Comment »

First and foremost, Happy Anniversary, Jen. I love you.

the queen

We did not have any spectacular anniversary plans because we drove down to my Father-in-Law’s house to continue helping him sort his house out. We got a lot done in two days—not as visually impactful as previous weeks, but we’re making steady progress.

I drove the Scout down separately from the girls because I had it stuffed with tools and four new tires for the Chrysler. The first thing I did after we got settled was to jack up each corner and put new shoes on the old girl; she looks so much better sitting on fresh tires. When that was done I jacked up the front end, put a 1 1/4″ socket on the crankshaft, and gave it a tug with the breaker bar. It moved! Putting a socket wrench on it, I got one full revolution going both ways, which means it’s free!

Next I pulled a heat shield off the steering column so that I could get a smaller ratchet on the socket stuck on cylinder #7, all the way up front on the driver’s side. With some careful maneuvering I got the socket and the plug off, and dumped some Marvel Mystery Oil down that cylinder as well. Then I replaced all of the plugs with fresh ones and reconnected the old wires (new ones are on the way).

Then I pulled the alternator off, flipped the bracket around and re-mounted it; it fits much better but I need to find some bushings to help secure it in place (I’d guess the originals fell off when the old unit was pulled in 1980). When I’ve got those I can mount it up permanently and hook it back up to the electrical system.

Next up:

  1. Clean and rebuild the carburetor. I’ve got a kit coming with new gaskets, needles, floats, and hardware. I’ll douse the whole thing in brake cleaner and get it set up for surgery tomorrow.
  2. Order plug wires, a rotor for the distributor, a new coil, and some fan belts.
  3. Order a drum brake kit for the fronts—If I can get it to stop reasonably well when it’s running, I’ll drive it to a brake shop and have a pro go over the whole thing properly.
  4. Read up on testing for spark, using a multimeter to test the coil, and diagnosing distributor issues.

Other than that, I did a lot of stuff around the house, like fixing his garage door, fixing a window, further organizing his garage, and hauling a load of stuff to the dump. It was unbearably hot this weekend, so I was covered in grime at the end of both days. But I had fun driving the Scout—even in heat, it is a ridiculously fun road trip vehicle—only having to pause under a Shell awning for an hour to let a thunderstorm pass by.

Date posted: May 23, 2022 | Filed under cars, family, photo | Leave a Comment »

Welding class is beginning to wind down. We spent half last night’s class burning wire on MIG machines, practicing lines and tweaking settings. SO SATISFYING. Then we went back into the classroom and reviewed welding symbology for the final test next Thursday. I’m very interested in continuing lessons with MIG in particular—it’s the best of the methods for working on cars, and offers the most flexibility—but I just made a down payment for Invisalign to straighten my teeth, and I’d like to pay that off first before I do anything else.

* * *

There are four shiny new Hankook tires mounted and balanced to the crusty Chrysler rims I brought home, waiting to be reinstalled on the car this weekend. When I got them back from the shop I sprayed the rims with Simple Green, let them soak while I took the top off the Scout, and then power washed everything. They look no better but at least they aren’t covered in PBBlaster and cat litter anymore.

Doing my research last night I searched locally for anyone else with a ’66 Chrysler and found a guy in Accokeek with a set of fender skirts for a ’66 Newport, which is the body style Bob’s 300 is based on. His  car has one good and one rusty replacement fender skirt but the parts-hoarding part of my brain is screaming GO GET THEM as loudly as it can; I’m ignoring that voice until I know the car will run. The sheet metal on Chrysler products of that era changed year over year, and from the research I’ve done there were only 2,500 of these convertibles made which makes replacement parts more scarce than Scout parts.

* * *

Meanwhile, in other Rare And Unusual Items news, we’ve got a date on the books to move the fridge I helped rescue from a basement in the Before Times. It’s looking like a Scout moving and wrenching day is on the books for Saturday, which includes hauling a friend’s roller Scout and tractor up to his girlfriend’s house, moving the fridge down to my place, and putting a windshield in Bennett’s truck. It should be a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing friends.


Date posted: May 20, 2022 | Filed under cars, friends | Leave a Comment »

Driving Finn back from karate on Monday, I was flipping through the radio stations and the distinctive guitar opening for Lit’s My Own Worst Enemy came on. Typically I change the station as soon as I hear these notes, as I could not stand this song in 1999 when it was released, and I dislike it even more now. One of the many “I’m a drunk manbaby and I can’t remember what I did last night” songs that headlined that era, it played constantly for years and never seems to go away. Now it’s stuck in my head.

I don’t have much more to say about it (and I’m not linking to the video here) because I want it out of my head as quickly as possible.

Date posted: May 18, 2022 | Filed under earworm, music | Leave a Comment »