Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » August 12th, 2023, 12:51 pm

I'm not sure I would ever refer to Afghanistan as a sandbox. More like, a LITTER Box....and even then, I wasn't part of the 'Muscle Beach' crowd. I used my brain...not my brawn. Strength is really only a small part of success in a place like that.

Heck, I went over at age 50. How's that for being bold (it might even qualify as being patently stupid depending upon one's point of view.) Trainers tried to wash me out by making me have to work doubly hard on PT probably only because of my age. Meh...like most older guys, I had been PT-ed to death before. No biggie.

The lead trainer was a former Army Ranger and by his deeds, I concluded that he didn't care much for cops. I think Wes just didn't understand cops and he, being a Ranger, must have known it ain't really all about the muscle.

He also didn't like the fact that if we were given X-amount of time on a run, I would intentionally use almost every bit of it. All the young guys ran like the devil was behind 'em. So, my sloth-like run really stuck in his craw. Oh, he did the usual stuff like threaten to make everybody run some more while I completed my run. So utterly predictable.

"Go on! Run 'em. I'm old enough to be their father, Wes. Heck, I'm old enough to be YOUR father! No extra points for being first to finish, right?" :lol:

In retrospect, I guess that makes me a Merc with a mouth, eh? Basically, Wes' Army Ranger culture centered around people who went out of their way to prove to others that they were worthy. Heck, with 30 years of cop work under my belt, I already knew I was worthy. I sure didn't need Wes to tell me that.

Wes then decided to try wash me out on the bench press. He claimed I didn't press the max weight (probably true, but only on a dubious matter of style since, according to him, I didn't go to full extension before putting the bar on the pegs) but if nothing else, Wes was a devout rule-follower so according to the rules, ol' TJ would be allowed another bite at the apple. Har-dee har-har.

So, I made him explain to me precisely how he wanted this little bench press I was about to give him. "You wanna come back this evening and give it another try, TJ?" Wes was foolishly trying to get into my head. Experienced cops (like full grown bears) only become annoyed by being teased.

"EFF NO! Let's do it now."

I was hacked off about it and being hacked off helps make you strong..and then there is the small matter of those stealth muscles. I knocked it out straightaway.

"You like apples, Wes, I said at full press. How d'ya like THEM apples?"

Wes's assistant just grinned and marked me fit for duty. Beaten, Wes just turned and walked away without a word.

Then there was our martial arts instructor, named Phil. He would introduce himself as Phil Quan Do. With a lot of hindsight I'm convinced Wes sicced him on me. In the end, Phil Quan Do slapped around everybody...everybody that is, except for my little cabal of cops. I sat back and studied Phil's style while the youngsters threw themselves at him. Cops don't fight fair, aren't afraid to take a hit to 'git 'er done' and from start to finish, Phil quickly ended up on his ass, throughly pinned to the floor at the bottom of our blue dogpile in less time than it took for me to type this paragraph.

But, I have a feeling I have shared these stories with y'all before. Anyhoo, in the end and after some convincing, Wes and I got along fine....and I got along fine in Afghanistan; not including the two large explosions that I was on the periphery of...which sucked. Places like that are rarely an exercise in physicality. They're an exercise in mentality. Keep a healthy mental disposition and everything will be fine. Or you'll be dead and no longer have any worries.

Trouble is, there is a lot that can happen between having a smile on yer face and being dead.

Once you accept that the bad guys always get a vote and the whole Afghanistan experience is gonna be a stinker no matter how 'good' you are, everything else falls into place. I think you vets would agree, no matter where you served.

As for muscles, I came away from there looking half-starved. Muscles? Nope, not for guys beyond their prime. Afghanistan has an oddly voracious appetite. It consumes everything...even its own citizens, who live like dogs. I came away from there looking more like a scarecrow which is the price I paid (plus some serious hearing loss, which is common) for being bold enough to get involved. But, in the end, I got the weight back (and then some)....but not the hearing. :wink:

But as I write this and as we enjoy some light hearted anecdotes here in the safety of our homes, I want to remind every one of you that there were a lot of important people there (and not just Americans) who did far more than I, who suffered more, who worked harder, who faced greater hardships, and some who paid a far higher price. God bless our troops. God bless Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee who was killed was killed Aug. 26 along with 12 other American service members and an untold number of wounded, in a suicide-bomber attack at Abbey Gate outside Kabul's International Airport. Their long and fruitful lives were stolen from them by idiots who wanted to make a particular headline at a particular time and forced a bad plan into action.

I would very much liked to have known Nicole Gee and I am sorely ashamed of those who unnecessarily placed them at such risk of harm.

Blessed are the peace makers....Matthew 5:9
Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » August 15th, 2023, 1:47 am

105 degrees at 6PM. Goodness!

Today was shaping up to be full of hate and discontent. Instead, everything went my way without my having to run after it.

First, I had to deal with a nastygram from TxTag; an organization that, somehow, now owns a section of road which was bought and paid for by the taxpayers...and TxTag is now charging tolls for its use. And the way this is set up in Houston, you can be driving along without a care in the world and then suddenly, find yourself on a toll road without any warning or opportunity to take another route... and for this 'convenience' you will be billed, usually in a tiny amount that is so painless to pay most folks don't ask questions and just pay it. No one really gets terribly hacked off about it and just goes ahead and thinks of it as being one of those 'The World We Live In Today' nuisances one must put up with. So, $3 here or there (more if you're in a truck, and even more if you're in a truck with a trailer) may seem a pittance but what a gold mine that becomes when tens of thousands of cars travel across that stretch of road every day.

So, when I received one of those tiny little nuisance bills in the mail; one that claimed my Jeep was being driven in Houston (and believe me, that would be quite a long haul for a vehicle that rides exactly like a lumber wagon) I knew something was amiss, especially considering it was parked at my house on the date claimed. I called, preparing myself to do battle with some office weenie who would claim the bill, however errant, was to be regarded as something akin to the Word of God. But, before I could get to the heart of the matter, the person chimed in and very sweetly said that the bill was in error and I was to give no more thought to it. It had been corrected. A simple missed keystroke had transformed someone else's license plate number into my license plate number so I was, ostensibly, off the hook. Well alrighty then!

(but I had to call THEM to get it done and if I had just paid it, I'm betting they would have taken the money)

Still, this 'system', one that is undoubtedly sopping up mountains of cash from people who are too busy to be bothered and who will just pay online; well, it isn't the sort of thing I care to have the general public in close proximity to if there is no one checking for accuracy. A picked pocket is a picked pocket....no matter how you slice it. Sooner or later, some system that depends solely upon someone's rather questionable keyboard skills (without any checks and balances in place) is going to start something that the rest of us will have to pay dearly for.

Speaking of accuracy (or lack thereof) I stepped out of the Doctor Car last weekend and noticed the left rear inner fender liner didn't appear to be wholly tacked down. Closer inspection revealed an utter lack of little plastic fasteners that hold it in place. So, while Doc was snoozing, I took her car back to the "Luxury Car' body shop (their term for it, not mine) for the fourth time to get what I should have gotten on the first go-'round after Doc had her little fender(s)-bender. I greeted our 'service advisor' with my standard opening line, "Imagine my surprise...." Appears that NO ONE there is actually performing any checks on the quality of their workmanship. Finish the job with a few spare parts (like fender fasteners)? Sure. Why not? Do a slap-dash job on the body work, lay on the paint and only THEN will anyone look it over. You can be assured none of these guys in the shop spent any time serving on a nuclear submarine where small oversights get people killed. At the body shop, it would seem that anything goes...and the sooner it goes out the door, the better. BUT - Have the misfortune to get a customer like me and they'll have to go back to the beginning. "WE'RE not satisfied until YOU'RE satisfied." What a joke. But today, they were quick about getting me sorted out and I was out of there in 10 minutes so that was the Second good thing for the day.

Finally got back to the house and made myself a cuppa and the phone rang. It was my Doctor's office weenie. She wanted to inform me that he had a conflict of some sort and wouldn't be able to see me for my check-up. Fabulous! My check-ups with him are far too close together anyway and I have the feeling my many visits are more to the benefit of funding his supercar habits than for the benefit of my health. But, that change opened up the back half of my day; this being the THIRD good bit of fortune for my day.

And that, friends, allowed me the time and clarity of mind to get some plumbing supplies for hooking up my rainwater catchment system. Well, one of them, anyway. I must say, it turned out spectacularly well which was helped by not having to worry about having commitments elsewhere; the FOURTH good thing of the day.

Doc finally got her weary bones up, got herself looking doctor-ish (imagine having a job where wearing PJs to work was not only accepted, but it was also a cultural norm) and we visited a favorite low-bid BBQ restaurant for quick dinner. There I found that a seasonal plate they offered was back on the menu... EARLY! WooHOO! Not only is this particular meal combo delicious and very satisfying, it is an indication that we, here in the San Antonio area, are officially on the back half of the year and, despite the ridiculous temps we are experiencing right now, relief will be on the way. That made me very happy. Win number FIVE!

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by raymond » August 16th, 2023, 8:10 am

I always felt that I should get a tax refund for the state and federal excise taxes on the gasoline I burn while driving on toll funded "private roads" and turnpikes.

I'm thinking class action, with me collecting on behalf of the class :idea:

After my lawyers and I cash out, you guys can be satisfied with your free toll token that you can only use between the hours of 1am to 3am on the 6th Tuesday of the month.
Raymond


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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by hondo100 » August 16th, 2023, 8:17 am

Is that Bill Miller BBQ that you are talking about? Spend almost two years in San Antonio back in 2000.

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » August 17th, 2023, 2:25 am

Oh yeah. Bill Miller's BBQ. Heck, they even built a new restaurant in my town! My next heart attack will be a matter of consuming too much overly convenient, low bid BBQ.

Yesterday, The Billmeister and I tag-teamed my Jeep YJ because the death wobble gremlin was back and my new track rod for the Jeep was beginning to put down roots in the living room of the house and would never be mistaken for modern art. So, we set up the work space. I went under and Billyboy handed me tools. Less getting up and down that way for both of us. After having removed the old track rod, I concluded that the track rod was not defective -and- the track rod bracket on the passenger side was the actual culprit. Like the U-bolts on my axles which had never been torqued down to spec, so too was the track rod bracket. Loose as a goose. So we took everything off, cleaned it all up, put it all back and installed the new track rod (because I had it.... so, why the hell not?) Then I eyeballed the steering dampener (which, because it was original equipment, was suffering from accelerated decrepitude.) I decided to replace it because, well....we had all the tools out and I was in the mood for wrenching and wanted the old original, drippy mess gone-gone-GONE.

So, I called Ben at Auto Zone and from the moment he answered I knew Ben was going to need a kick in the pants. I gave him my application (three times...because Ben writes oh-so slowly) and asked him look up the part. When Ben couldn't make that happen, I directed him to an exploded diagram (this is all happening over the phone, by the way) and had him look for it that way. Ben, sounding very uncertain, said, "We don't have those." "Really? I happen to know that you DO have those as they are a very popular item and is one that requires replacing on a regular basis on these Jeeps," I said. Mine certainly hadn't been replaced on a regular basis but I felt some theatrics might build a fire under ol' Ben.

Suddenly, and because Ben realized I was probably no going to go away without a struggle, Ben had a lightbulb moment and he managed to come up with some fancy pants one that had a three-color anodized finish, that had been machined out of a solid billet of unobtanium, cost way too much and did no more than an OEM equivalent with the exception that it probably came with clever little stickers designed to add at least 5HP to any application.

Run-On Sentence Achievement Badge With Oak Leaves And Swords - AWARDED!

I thanked Ben and hung up.

O'Reilly's was a different experience. They had one in stock and would they like me to put it out on the counter? Yes, please and I'll see y'all in a few minutes. Whambam, thank ya, Ma'am. Arrived at O'Reilly's, thankful for the break from writhing around on the hot concrete and found my part waiting for me right where they said it would be. It was dressed in black, without frills and very OEM looking. Perfect.

With our break over, we returned to the Jeep and after a quick side-by-side comparison, saw it was going to bolt right up. Getting the tapered stud out of the tie rod was going to be a bugaboo (after all, it had been in there for 30 years) but, with a minor amount of swearing, it gave up before I did (which is all that counts) and afterwards the new kit was in and torqued down in less than ten minutes.....and it was only 100 degrees by then. We picked up the tools and after a successful test drive; one which had us going over the bits of bad road that historically set some death wobble in motion on my Jeep, we felt assured yet another gremlin had been exorcised. Not only that, the Jeep felt brand new at the steering wheel which was certainly worth the price of admission.

A double victory in hand, we wisely took the rest of the day off.

Cheers,
TJ
Last edited by m3a1 on August 19th, 2023, 11:15 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by rickf » August 17th, 2023, 9:18 am

I would have stopped by Auto Zone on the way home to show Ben what a replacement stabilizer looks like, And make sure it is still in the O'Reily's box!!!
And to add insult to injury have him run the O,Reily's P/N and cross it over and he would probably find it on his shelf. Sale lost!
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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » August 17th, 2023, 12:44 pm

I actually personally know a fella who is very high up in the Auto Zone hierarchy but I'll not throw Ben under that particular bus. Times are tough enough and at first blush it would seem Ben has more than his fair share of mountains to climb, being a person with very little intelligence. But, to give credit where credit is due, Ben DID go out and get a job which is more than we can say about a lot of people who are more capable and who are gaming the system.

I actually prefer O'Reilly's (I have no idea why I called Auto Zone first, by the way) as their stores seem to be better lit which is important when these old eyes are trying to see stuff. O'Reilly's also seems to have a blanket policy of allowing a motorist to use their parking lot for making repairs, lending tools and generally fostering a more complete 'Git 'er Done' attitude. I have a story for that too because, as all of you know, I have a story for almost everything.

Lucky you.

When my father died, I inherited his beautiful low-low mileage 1980 Corvette which was snow white with a lipstick red interior. Dad almost never drove it but when I visited, we would take it out for a 'once around the pea patch'; his phrase for taking his airplane up for an evening jaunt. This car was his compensation for getting his wings clipped by the FAA owing to unreconcilable heart troubles. But, despite its good looks (and square tires) the Corvette really brought no joy and the poor, sad thing just sat and sat in the garage under a car cover.

So, when it became mine, I decided that I was going to drive it back home from northern Ohio to south Texas. But the first order of business was to replace the Eagle GT Radials, all of which had flat spots. That effort became a real nail biter because I had to be back in Texas for work in a couple of days and apparently Bellevue Ohio is one of those "geographical oddities" (a perfectly applicable phrase from Oh Brother, Where Art Thou) where Eagle GT Radials can be had but only after waiting 6 or seven days for no discernable reason. In actuality, the Goodyear warehouse in Toledo was only one hour away....but don't you even THINK about offering to drive over there and pick them up, fella. Apparently that just isn't done.

I was trying to swap Eagle GTs for Eagle GTs when what I should have been doing was simply getting some comparable skins on the car. In retrospect, and with all the trouble those people gave me, Goodyear can eat my chicken nuggets. Theirs is not a friendly company.

Anyhoo...

I managed to get them, only by driving the wheels and tires up to a Goodyear dealer in Toledo, buying them and getting them mounted there. If one cannot bring Mohammad to the Mountain, one must bring the Mountain to Mohammad. One does what one has to do. And so, I began my trip to Texas in a very low-mileage, vintage car, with new tires; a car that never had an owner who really wanted to drive it and make it do what it was meant to do (which is a real pity). This car really hadn't had its legs stretched in a very long time. Everything on, in or under it was original; belts, hoses...thermostat..

(insert a pregnant pause here for dramatic effect)

...and off I went into the great unknown.

Now, a 1980 Corvette wasn't what you would call a Turnpike Cruiser. It was a rough-riding SOB really meant for automotive combat. Think of it as a fighter plane, rather than a bomber. It could pass anything but a gas station and through Missouri (which I would soon begin to pronounce, MISERY) it would pass anything but an O'Reilly's Auto Parts.

First thing to go was the upper radiator hose and naturally, it puked coolant absolutely everywhere when that happened. Luckily, I was at an exit and I let it cool off in a parking lot and limped to the nearest auto parts store which, by happy instance, was reasonably close. Being on the road and with a reluctant car and limited financial resources I decided to simply replace the hose and the coolant (in their parking lot) and go about my business. The good folks at O'Reilly's lent me the necessary tools, told me not to worry about the mess and soon, all seemed well.

Little did I know, I was being launched, Chinese Fireworks Style, into a huge misadventure.

Back on the road for a short distance the lower hose let go and somehow that caused the belt to go crashing out of its orbit or the cause and effect might have been the other way around... and again, I shut the car off, let it cool, added some more coolant which I had wisely stockpiled at my first point of repairs, and limped off to ANOTHER O'Reilly's which was actually in sight of my stricken car. Friends, going under the front of a 1980 Corvette that has puked coolant out absolutely everywhere is no treat. Repairs made, the crew at O'Reilly's even let me use their back room to change into cleaner clothing. Now, with TWO new hoses, I confidently sallied forth and by the time I got three exits down the darned thing was puking coolant again.

WHAT THE F....!

I eased the Vette through the grassy median, Highway Patrol style, and doubled back to to the nearest exit and pulled into yet another O'Reilly's, which had been conveniently located by the freeway for guys just like me. Guys with high hopes and not much else. Coolant was spewing out of a gap between the thermostat housing and the engine. It looked like a New York fire hydrant in the summer in the 60s...back when the cops would close off a street and the kids would be allowed to enjoy themselves during the city's annual hydrant checks. Except this stuff was coolant and it was H-O-T. And I haven't even mentioned what having superheated coolant finding its way into the air vents of a Corvette was like...THREE TIMES...all in the space of an hour.

Fellas and Fellettes, Derek Bieri ain't got nuthin' on me.

Still, fix number three was little more than a new thermostat and a new housing, just to be on the safe side and yeah, another change of clothes and a couple more gallon jugs of coolant.... just in case. Oh, and a new temperature sending unit....because....you guessed it. The old one wasn't doing the thing.

You know. The THING!

Fade to black. New scene.

There he is. Back on the blacktop. The reluctant Road Warrior whose world is hot glycol and O'Reilly's parking lots. His blood red eyes, scanning all the gauges. He is as nervous as a June bride. And you know what that is. A June bride knows she's going to get IT. But she doesn't know how big IT's going to be.

There he is. White lightning on new Goodyear Eagle GTs. Bombing down the interstate in the Great State of MISERY, breathing in faint wafts of coolant; an odor which keeps him edgy. But the engine temp is staying rock steady.

Yeah. There I was, 18" AGL without a parachute, headed for Texas on a wing and a prayer. I was hanging in the right lane just sort of loafing along behind a semi with plenty of faster drivers passing on the left. Traffic is unusually busy for an interstate as folks trying to get home from work. Then the semi kind of took a little jog to the right and a gator; a huge section of commercial tire tread which had wrapped itself up into a sort of medicine ball sized chunk of rubber, suddenly appeared in the road directly in my path. There was time enough to recognize the threat, time enough to formulate evasive action but not time or distance enough to implement that plan.....and the Vette took it right on the chin.

Being a road warrior isn't easy. NOPE.

Expecting the worst, I pulled to the shoulder. The front lower valance had been folded under by the impact and as a result, it had been momentarily in contact with the road. This beautiful, steamy, hate-filled, bucking bronco of a car had just had its teeth kicked in. I kind of pulled the valance back up as best I could and, relieved that my radiator had suffered no damage (which was a miracle) and I headed for home. Bronc busting. Maybe that was what it took to tame this beast, because after that hard knock, the car behaved itself all the way back to Texas.

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » August 20th, 2023, 2:23 pm

Well, the weather continues to be hot-hot-hot around here and now they're saying the Autumn will also be unusually warm. The internet keeps pumping out opinion editorials claiming death sentences for the planet; everything from plastic nurdles in the ocean (I did NOT make that word up) to stuff like cow farts (a theory which completely ignores other natural sources of methane emissions) and of course all the other things we humans DIDN'T do that might have made us better conservators Planet Earth.

Because having guilt goes a long, long way. That, and if we fail to magically manage to undo what humankind has been doing to the planet for as long as humans have been on the planet and if we die anyway, at least we won't feel guilty on our deathbeds. Truth is, no matter how peachy the earth is doing, right around 50% of us will feel guilty on our deathbeds anyway. You know what I'm talkin' about, fellas. You had that poster of Farrah Fawcett didn't you? Yeah. THAT one. Instant guilt trip.

Of course, in other parts of the country where the weather has been lovely and mild, people are saying, "I don't see what the big deal is. Things are great, here." My response to THAT....

... cannot be published here, in polite company.

So, with all the gloom and doom I did what any sane individual would do. I did whatever made me happy at the moment. I went to my storage unit to root around in its dust-covered goodness and to look for cool accessories for my gas-guzzling, eco-destroying machine so that I could go forth and do further irreconcilable harm to the environment and hopefully cause enough damage to cause those carefree mother lovers up north to have to join in our misery. These happen to be the same people who don't have illegal aliens tromping through their back yards at night.

Misery Loves Company Achievement Badge - AWARDED!

Would I actually do that? Nawwwwwwwwyeah.

There in the storage unit, I found the half doors for my Jeep. When I bought this Jeep, they were part of the bargain and neither the previous owner nor I had ever actually put them on the Jeep. So, it seemed reasonable to at least try them out and maybe even conserve some energy by not having to actually exert myself in rolling the windows up and down on the full doors. I would soon find that all this energy conservation is a somewhat sticky business that can be summed up very nicely by something as unexpected as a brief discussion of Jeep half doors.

The first energy conservation benefit of Jeep half doors is a hefty weight reduction so, you know...a better power to weight ratio = better fuel economy and other bullshirt like that. I know what you're going to say. You're going to say I'm a fatty so all my additional weight actually negates the weight savings. To this, I reply, "You're cruel for making fun of my weight but technically, you are correct." But I ALSO know that any discussion of energy conservation is won, or lost, based solely upon where you begin the discussion.

By way of example, one might claim that Net Zero Emissions Cars are good for the environment...but only if one BEGINS the discussion at the point where the cars are already built and wholly ignores all the emissions that were created to build the darned thing. Net Zero is a bald faced lie meant to be perpetrated on those what are so riddled with guilt that they will do anything and pay any price to assuage that guilt. I'm not saying we couldn't do better but first, we have to accept certain truths. The first truth is, there are a lot of nincompoops out there who should be avoided at all costs.

You're going to say I'm a fatty again, aren't you.

To the matter of energy conservation, when it come to Jeeps and fat guys, where do we begin? With the weight reduction of the Jeep, or the addition of a fat guy behind the wheel? Yeah...

There's that ol' Yin-Yang thing again. Around and around we go.

Then there is the matter of having no side curtains so, IF it rains (and you know darned good and well it will, precisely because I have installed half doors with no side curtains) the rain will get into the jeep and they don't call Jeep bodies 'tubs' for no good reason. Would I endure that additional expense of buying the side curtains? Probably not, because I spent all my mad money on rainwater catchment systems. So, if for lack of side curtains the Jeep catches some rainwater, I reckon that'll be okay. I suppose I'll just sop it up and wring it out at the base of my thirsty trees. It doesn't make any sense to spend money to catch rainwater and then spend even more money to NOT catch rainwater. See? I told you this was going to be a sticky business.

My ace in the hole is, we need rain. Badly. Having rain inside my Jeep seems a small price to pay at this point.

How does catching rainwater conserve energy? Well, I'm glad you asked. If you are on 'city water' service, the city expends energy to move rainwater from A to B to C and do all the things that make city water safe to drink. If you have a well, there's a strong likelihood that you rely upon electricity to pump that rainwater out of the ground. Rainwater catchment systems in their simplest form rely solely upon gravity, conserving energy by not expending energy needlessly. Boring...but true. But let's get back to other, more interesting things like Jeeps, and goofing off.

And, full disclosure - If I DID have side curtains, I would have to have my half door locks re-keyed because I discovered that they were clearly off some other Jeep; one with a different key. Happily, the color and pin striping of these particular half doors are a spot-on match for my rig and there isn't a lot of sense in locking a half door anyway. Half doors just don't provide a lot of security unless the guy (or gal) who is trying to break into the Jeep is really, REALLY short and I'm not parked next to a curb...which is precisely where my Jeep is usually parked. *sigh*

The only bright spot in this matter is, if a cop sees a vertically challenged person (or anyone else for that matter) trotting down the sidewalk with two Jeep half doors under his (or her) arms, that's cause for an inquiry, right then and there.

Yup, the OTHER elephant in the room which is the fact that Jeep half doors are themselves the target of theft and the folks at Chrysler-Jeep didn't go to a lot of trouble designing a way to make them secure. At the base of the top door pin is a short, threaded bit meant for a simple nut which doesn't allow the door hinge pins to rise out of their sockets. They didn't even bother with putting another threaded bit on the bottom pin. Now I know the engineers at Chrysler-Jeep were aware of things like Gravity so one can only conclude that one lonely nut is really meant to keep the whole thing from coming off in the event the vehicle is upside down and you find yourself making your second painful mistake of the day by trying to extricate yourself from the inverted wreckage by opening the half door.....in which case, without a nut, it will likely fall on your head.

But back to the point of the whole thing. What the hell are we talking about?!! Ah yes, that's right. Conservation of energy. All it takes to remove a half door is to remove one tiny 5/16 nut, open the door and lift the hinge pins out of the sockets. To the matter of theft prevention, Chrysler-Jeep apparently decided it would be easier for Jeep owners to rely solely upon the forbearance of their fellow man when it came to the matter of Jeep half doors going missing. What's the worst thing that could happen?

Well, a victim of door theft would have to buy ANOTHER set of doors...and enriching the manufacturer of half doors from, or by the harm done to others describes the human condition in a nutshell..

Anyhoo, I found several options for securing the half doors against theft and ordered a simple set of security fasteners which require a specially-keyed driver (or a thief with a good pair of Vice Grips) to remove them. I know what you're going to say. Somebody mined the ore to make the steel and somebody mined the coal to power the machines that made my special fasteners. See? Now you're catching on!

It's a vicious circle. Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.

But sometimes, cognitive insight comes from a most unexpected source. That's right. The Doc. She may not be a 'car person' but she has good critical thinking skills. Doc came up with a simple solution for all this madness and summed it all up in seven little words. Just put them back in the storage unit.

Now why didn't I think of that?

Cheers,
TJ

P.S. The cats camped out in my Jeep overnight. :roll:

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » August 25th, 2023, 9:03 am

Got up yesterday, made myself a cuppa and headed out to see Nickel, the tractor which I have been neglecting owing to all this ding-danged heat. Alas, the sun was not yet up. Utter darkness makes short work of the usefulness of having an excess of time on one's hands. The humidity was up and there could be no second coat of paint on the tractor parts I hung up to dry the day before so I did what any sensible man would do. I returned to The Command Post (my hopelessly cluttered kitchen table) sopped up coffee and let the internet entertain me.

It is unusual for me to get up early but, since drinking alcoholic beverages so thoroughly and predictably screws up my sleep, I was up early. If there ever was a reason for not drinking, THAT has got to be IT. Getting up early is for certain people who are, what I like to call, 'mentally malleable'. I had a friend who was ARMY and he used to parrot the boastful ARMY adage, "We do more before 9AM than most people do all day" to which I would always reply, "Yeah but y'all don't do anything after that!" I've been on ARMY bases, fellas. Those places always look like a ghost town after 9AM, so I find the whole claim highly questionable, at best.

Civilian types say, "The early bird gets the worm." I can say with competent authority that worms are highly over-rated and if they cannot be avoided entirely, they should be kept to an absolute minimum.

So, there I was (as I am now) up early with things to do and nowhere with enough light to do them. Oh, I could set up lights and all that but any time I gained would be lost taking them back down. Oops. There's that old yin-yang thing again!

When I finally DID get back out there, it was still humid but at least the sun was up. So I pulled the cover off the engine, grabbed an air rake and blew away all the cobwebs, cat hair, leaves and all sorts of other unidentifiable bits of crap. I took note that a particular hydraulic fitting which had caught my eye (because it had begun weeping in June for no good reason at all) and had obviously not yet repaired itself. I reckon If it can 'go bad', logic suggests that it can also 'go good', right? I also noted that everything I had yet to achieve, was hung up on the fact that the tractor's radiator was in the way.

Oh goodie.... I hate doing radiators.... Because there is never any precise way to remove the coolant in a neat and civilized manner....

Especially on tractors fitted with a loader which means it has mounting and hydraulic kit absolutely everywhere....

....all of which is in the way of something else.

And have I mentioned that I immediately began sweating gallons? So, I went back inside to top off my cuppa and grab a hand towel to manage the perspiration. Returned to my work just a little bit better prepared and set about locating the petcock for the radiator. I actually shouldn't complain too loudly about this particular radiator. After all, at this point, all the working bits of this tractor are now right out in the open. Locating a suitable catch basin, I crammed it under the petcock and then noticed that it (the petcock) was actually in the open position. Yet, the radiator was full...ish. So, I screwed around with the petcock and determined that (a) it was mobile enough to work and (b) some jerk had filled it....with JB Weld....

....so it couldn't micturate even if it wanted to.

Micturate. That's a 'doctor word' that has managed to wend its way into the lexicon here at my house. I cannot fathom why doctors need fancy words for basic bodily functions when we all so routinely have to deal with them. It just annoys those of us who have managed to get to our 63rd birthday without knowing that the word micturate even exists. (end of rant)

The petcock was actually filled with JB Weld because WHY? Because petcocks are SO expensive to replace? Or because it was just simpler to plug it up and leave the heavy lifting to someone else at some later date. I swear, this tractor has been one long litany of poor decision-making paradigms.

So, I moved the catch basin over to the other side and removed the lower radiator hose which puked out coolant absolutely everywhere BUT the basin. Naturally. Of course it did! I got out the water hose and I thoroughly hosed down the driveway, in broad daylight, in the middle of a drought, with water conservation at Level - 6.2 gadjillion. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

Of course I was looking around and hoping against hope that there are no Karens nearby because there was the small matter of the tell-tale puddle out by the sidewalk and the path of water leading up the driveway, straight to the boob with the tube. (water tube, that is) I dodged that particular bullet but when I shut off the hose and discarded it so as to appear somewhat more innocent, I noticed there were witnesses to my misdeed. Two older, reasonably well-dressed guys who were stepping off my front porch and heading for the street, holding between them a rather animated conversation in Español. I doubted they would actually rat me out.

And there was a time when I would have found these guys highly unusual. *sigh*

Since they weren't holding anything else between them (like stuff from my porch) I figured, correctly, that they were just solicitors. Yup. Some scrap of paper could be seen sticking out of my front screen door.

¿Dónde haller respuestas a las grandes cuestiones de la vida?

Well, you certainly won't find em' anywhere on this tractor, fellas!

Frankly, I kinda miss screwing with the guys that used to routinely show up in my yard. As I recall, they were from The Church of the Paisley Tie. Bold as brass, in their freshly pressed clothes, their argyle socks, their skinny ties and their bicycles. All that was missing from the picture was the big black salesman's trunk marked, Fuller Brush Co. in gold leaf letters. With these guys, it didn't matter how busy I looked. Uninvited, they'd come right up and ask me if I wanted to talk with them about things. You know. THINGS. Things like my salvation.

Ya know what? Asking a guy on a scaffold, who is madly sanding the exterior wall of his house and who is completely covered in paint dust, if he wants to stop and chat IS bold.... but it is also rather stupid. I mean, what the hell did they expect me to say? Well, Dear Reader, I have developed a standard reply for guys who 'want to talk' and it's a quote from Pale Rider (1985) "Spirit ain't worth spit without a little exercise," I'd say and add, "so, if you're willing to roll up your sleeves and get up here and sand this here wall with me, I'd be happy to listen to anything you have to say."

Yeah. Helping a fella work on sanding his house never happened. So much for spirit, right?

But, these two Spanish cats were keeping it real. They only distributed the flyers and didn't get too involved in anything else. Just as well. My español IS a bit rusty and it would have been difficult to impress them with my clever locutions.

So, with the faithful Spaniards having departed, with my mess on the driveway (mostly) cleaned up, and with a bunch of other related bits freed up, I got the radiator off and with THAT moved away, I could remove the alternator which the previous genius had installed, but had never hooked up. Are you beginning to see a recurring theme with ol' Nickel? Stuff is there, but it's usually all jacked up but that's okay because it's not expected to actually work, anyway.

In order to get the alternator off, the rad had to come off because the piece of all-thread that the guy used was too long to come out without being blocked by stuff behind it, or in front of it, and the all-thread blocked access to the two large bolts that held the bracket to the engine block. Absolutely diabolical. I guess I have neglected to tell you that the job of the day was to get a new, original style generator back on the tractor. Anyhoo, after I finally got the alternator off, it looked like clear sailing...

Nope. No it did not.

So I began rounding up some nice new hardware for mounting the brand new generator and in checking everything for fit. It was at this point that I found that the holes in the lower bracket had been drilled out to accommodate the larger all-thread for the ad hoc alternator. :roll: But, you can trust ol' TJ to be one step ahead. On one of my previous visits to the tractor salvage yard, I had been told that an original generator (WITH bracket!) was only $5. Fellas, with prices like that, you can't afford to NOT buy salvage parts. So, I just happened to have another lower bracket on hand. Off with the old! But first, I took note that the original lower bracket was loose. Not WAY loose but just kinda sorta loose. Loose enough to make trouble without being too obvious about it. Yeah, the 'other guy' screwed up....again or he did it on purpose, the SOB.. Everything he has touched is a disaster just waiting to happen or he's some kind of evil genius who really hates people with mechanical skills and has made it his mission in life to drive them completely insane.

So, discovering exactly what he has touched and how screwed up it is them becomes the really tricky bit.

The generator's lower bracket was bolted to bosses on the engine block with two bolts which go into two blind holes. Blind, meaning the depth of the bolt holes is finite and that means that they could only be tightened just so much. Leave off a washer, or in this case, a lock washer, and you cannot tighten those bolts enough to adequately secure the bracket. I suppose I just ought to be happy that he didn't punch those bolts straight through the block. So, I hung the salvaged bracket on the tractor with the correct combination of fasteners and tossed the other one onto the pile of Stuff I Might Need Some Day. Then, I put the new genny on there.

Getting parts out of bins and onto the project is always nice.

Alas, the niceness was short lived. You guessed it. The arm meant to set the belt tension was all wrong. Yeah, getting that arm to line up with the generator wasn't happening and it was also oversized and possibly drilled out as well. So that the hole for mounting the arm to the engine was too big for the fastener. Having that hole sloppy would mean that any effort to set belt tension would end up sloppy as well. The best solution would be to remake the arm so that it had an offset in it and a correct sized bolt hole. So, this morning I get to do a little drilling and cutting and welding.

Wish me luck.

Cheers,
TJ
Last edited by m3a1 on August 26th, 2023, 10:19 am, edited 8 times in total.

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by rickf » August 25th, 2023, 10:15 am

Why not just run a one wire alternator and be done with it? All you need is in the alternator so no regulator wiring or regulator to deal with. And with a one wire alternator you can splice in a heavy duty wire on the charging wire with another heavy duty ground wire into an Anderson plug and unplug the tractor battery and plug in a set of jumper cables and have a nice portable charging unit. The tractor will run for a long time on just it's battery.
1964 M151A1
1984 M1008
1967 M416
04/1952 M100
12/1952 M100- Departed
AN/TSQ-114A Trailblazer- Gone

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » August 25th, 2023, 10:41 am

You're forgetting the fancy little cable drive for the tachometer that comes off the back of the generator. And whether the tach is actually needed or not is irrelevant. The real value in most of these vintage tractors is their completeness. When the right things are where they are supposed to be and are actually working, the value jumps up dramatically. I'll probably be D-E-D dead when it's time to sell off ol' Nickel so the more complete and correct, the better off Doc will be.

Of course, achieving correctness on this particular rig will be a minor miracle with all the stupid, idiotic stuff I'm having to deal with.

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by rickf » August 25th, 2023, 11:16 am

Yup, Was not thinking of the tach drive. Mine is diesel so drive is off of the cam.
1964 M151A1
1984 M1008
1967 M416
04/1952 M100
12/1952 M100- Departed
AN/TSQ-114A Trailblazer- Gone

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » August 25th, 2023, 2:55 pm

Whoever you are, if you wished me luck, I got it.

Part of my trouble is I'm being forced to keep one mental subroutine open to keep track of the problems i'm finding, while I'm having to keep another subroutine going to evaluate each problem and yet another subroutine going to see how each issue fits into the larger problem and then the big kahuna that was eating up all the remaining random-access-memory was devoted to how to overcome all the obstacles.

All of this cluttered thinking was drowning out that little voice. You know the one...

My head hurt and I was tired from getting too little sleep. I went out, cut and drilled the new end (with a smaller hole) which was meant for my new and improved, thoroughly custom, top bracket. I cut the end off the original top bracket to allow for the new bit and fitted it all to the engine. From this dry run, I determined it would fit and perform very nicely.

But, in a moment of clarity, where the amount of caffeine ingested perfectly balanced itself against my fatigue (and way too much cerebral activity) I heard the voice clearly. It said, "You're missing something obvious, Stupido."

So, I went back to the beginning. The top bracket, meant for adjusting belt tension at the generator, looked all the world like it belonged on this tractor. That was just an assumption, but a strong one because it had some matching paint on it and corrosion that was just about like all the other corrosion on this machine. Though oddly, it had no part number stamped into it. And thus far, there had been no evidence that the 'Other Guy' had spent so much as a dime on this machine. So, it was highly unlikely he went out and sourced another top bracket. If it was original, why didn't it fit? The new generator was a dead ringer for an original.

And why was the bracket's bolt hole too big for the retaining bolt? Had a bushing gone missing? Highly unlikely that it ever had one. Why put a bushing in something that spent all its time NOT moving? I could only conclude that the location and the bolt that the "Other Guy' was using was.... the wrong one.

Apostrophe Moment Achievement Badge - AWARDED! That's EPIPHANY....not APOSTROPHE, Stupido!

So, where was the bracket supposed to be anchored? I went out and looked carefully and reexamined an awfully empty hole at the end of the water pump; a hole that I had assumed the 'Other Guy' had snapped a bolt off in and, because it wasn't leaking, it was a hole I cheerfully ignored as not being worthy of additional attention and to my credit, this hole had been formerly blocked from view by a fan blade.

Give me a break, fellas. I work solo on this stuff. I do not have extra pairs of eyes milling around my work area drinking bottles of Schlitz (or even Iron City) Beer, smoking unfiltered Old Gold cigarettes and looking over my shoulder and making helpful suggestions.

I got on the internet and googled my tractor's engine and looked at images because there sure weren't any good images in the shop manual. One image didn't actually show the correct anchor point but did show at least a little bit of the bracket sure pointed to it. Yup. The anchor point was the empty hole. Not only that, the empty hole had a relieved area surrounding it which would do much to allow for the bracket to fit very nicely there.

So, I did what any mechanic would do under the circumstances. I prayed. "Oh please, God, NO...I don't want to deal with extracting a broken bolt and have to remove the whole water pump to do it."

Got myself a stiff piece of wire and checked the depth of the hole. It was obviously rough in there but to my surprise (and great relief) the wire went full depth. I got a bolt and tried it. Resistance. Big time. Nasty inside and I didn't have any long taps. I found a longer bolt, bisected its threads on two opposing sides with an angle grinder and transformed it into an ad hoc tap. I would send it in, take it out and afterwards, I blew debris out each time. Each successive time, I would get it in a little deeper and after, there would be just a bit less debris.. I did this over and over until the bolt I would be using went in nicely. Now we were getting somewhere!

I hung the end I cut off the original bracket on the bolt and just sort of held the rest of the original piece in the air next to it. Yup. That was surely the correct spot. The little voice had finally gone silent. So, I took my two original bracket pieces, went back to the welder, prepped everything nicely, clamped it all up and welded it back together with two of the prettiest welds you'll ever see. Gave the whole thing a ride on the wire wheel and painted it, welds and all....

and yeah, I left the welds....just to remind me to listen to the little voice a bit harder next time.

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » August 28th, 2023, 6:36 am

Now that basically everything ahead of Nickel's engine block had been removed it was time to remove the old mechanical fuel pump and replace it with the new one so I got in behind it with a tiny pick and loosened up all the caked up grease, and blew it out of there with the air rake. That done and with two bolts removed, it came off, which should tell you something.

Yeah, all the fuel lines had already been removed. Removed, as in - REMOVED ENTIRELY.....after they had been cut, or clipped, or wrestled to the point of metal fatigue. The somebody who did that had the presence of mind to hang onto the various sections of fuel line which, by an amazing stroke of luck, had been found and kept. Then I came along and I found those pieces in a pile, sitting on a shredder near the tractor. I recognized them for what they were when I unearthed ol' Nickel at Frank's place. The kind of floated around with the rest of tractor parts until now. After some sleuthing in the shop manual, I got some hint as to how they should be oriented. Oriented, as in - ORIENTED, but only on the W-X-Y-Z axis. That did very little in telling me how they snaked in and out and around the various bumps and brackets of the engine but it helped.

Normally, I forswear annoying puzzles like this. Especially when having to do this in completely still air at 102 degrees but, I thought I'd give it a go anyway if only to maybe develop some sort of technique that might be useful in the future. After some musing about how best to go about this (having sensibly retreated to the air conditioning) and more studying of various photos of my particular flavor of engine on the internet, I went back outside and sort of made temporary joints in the pieces of fuel line by inserting sections of heavy wire into the pieces to allow them to temporarily rejoin themselves, 'Frankenstein style' and with bit of painters tape, violá, I had a fairly well restructured bit of fuel line....

....that looked like a rough approximation of Wolf Creek Pass.

There was a lot of staring and stroking of the beard for this next bit because, with the assembled fuel line in hand, it became apparent that it had to go upwards, then backwards at an angle to avoid the V-belt, then around and behind a bracket that was meant to support the upper part of the radiator. That bracket had a clever little whoop-dee-doo in it where just a flat piece would have done very well. That was a big hint. That whoop-dee-doo would permit the fuel line to snake inwards and aroundwards behind it where it would then turn to go alongwards the long axis of the tractor, abovewards the coolant manifold (yeah that's right...it ain't inside the engine block) and then dive downwards through the coolant manifold....

down and around and around and down till it run outta ground at the edge of town and bashed into the side of a feed store (my carburetor)....

...in downtown Pagosa Springs.

I deemed that last little snaky bit to be beyond the call of duty and decided it would be better to achieve it with some sort of flexible line. Thereby preserving what little sanity I had left. Yeah, I know! That's right! It's called cheating! I'm not abovewards of cheating. If you aren't cheating you aren't trying hard enough! And I hadn't even begun to figure out the service line to the fuel pump. (panting) I gotta pace myself.

The external coolant manifold was interesting enough to hold my attention for a little while. Basically, it was a single casting, consisting of a horizontal, boxed tube with individual connections to the block. It terminated in a sort of odd-looking, hard left turn, cast iron thermostat housing with a place for the upper rad hose to connect. Trouble was, not only did it make a hard left, it also swept upwards which looked to me like a great place for chunky bits to gather. So, I stuck my finger in and sure enough, it felt like there was a rock slide in there.

Remembering the uninvited guests from last time, I popped my head up, prairie dog style, and looked around to make sure there were no witnesses, grabbed my garden hose and hosed 'er out. Then I hosed the mess I had made off into the gravel. Remember what I said about cheating..? I stuck a finger back in there and it still felt horrible. There was gonna trouble. I was sure of it. So, off came the thermostat housing. Behind it, in the manifold, there was some debris but not a horrible amount. But, inside the housing, it sure looked like the Titanic. Did I mention that the manifold was aluminum? Did I mention that the thermostat was brass? Did I mention that the housing wa.... well, I guess I did. All the things needed for a galvanic current, I reckon.

Perfect.

Well, I separated the thermostat from the iron housing and it was pretty clear that the upswept nature of the design did indeed do a lot to trap chunky bits at the face of the thermostat. Since it was mounted on its side it was, very effectively, silted in. Better than having all that junk in the radiator, I reckon. My goal was to get everything all cleaned up and perhaps recover just enough information from the thermostat to ensure that I would source the correct replacement. Happily, the thermostat cleaned up pretty well with the larger bits of iron scale pretty much just flaking off when I scraped. Not too much of a headache after all. God bless the easy jobs.

After a little ride on the wire wheel, I had a fairly good looking thermostat in my hands; one that was rated at an oddly specific 188 degrees. I checked it out in hot water in one of my wife's brand new pots. It worked great. So did the thermostat which was opening at precisely 188 degrees every time. Right on the money. Yeah-yeah-yeah. I know what you're thinking. Of course, I washed the pot before I put it back.

I wasn't raised by wolves.

Cheers,
TJ

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Re: Beverly Hillbillies, Part Deux

Unread post by m3a1 » August 28th, 2023, 5:20 pm

Well, today was a rather do-nothing day. Things are getting to the point where some new parts will be needed for reassembly and rather than wait till the last second, I decided to order them now. Stuff like new radiator hoses and new radiator shock pads and thermostat housing gaskets. If I've gone in this far, I'm replacing those old radiator hoses just because it's the sensible to do.

Within the category of 'Laying On Of Hands' what I did accomplish was to get the thermostat housing into Sir Billiam's blast cabinet (mine is throughly buried at the moment) and it came out looking mighty fine except for the inside which, while not terrible, was rather pitted and that would mean for a great starting point for yet another silted in thermostat.

That's an important thing to avoid because this particular thermostat, when healthy and fully open, really doesn't have an aperture that anyone would describe as 'generous'. Lose half of that volume to a blockage and cooling problems could quickly appear. Probably not for the limited use I intend for this tractor to have, but for anything more than that, it would be a safe bet that trouble would soon be on the way. So, I decided to solve the problem before it happened.

So I blasted the housing and coated the interior and exterior with POR15 and it's drying as we speak. Between the POR15 coating and the use of a good grade of coolant, I'd expect to have plenty of trouble-free hours from this cooling system...or at least this part of the cooling system can be held blameless. Of course our little M151s have a very similar system wherein the block is iron, the thermostat is brass and the thermostat housing is aluminum (there's lots of galvanic activity there, fellas!) so you might want to ask yourself one little question before winter - "What kind of trouble might I have brewing in there?"

Something to think about.

Cheers,
TJ

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