Category Archives: Fixing Stuff

The EWK Vacuum Fluid Extractor is Darned Handy to Drain Engine Oil and ATF Through the Dipstick Tube!!

Folks who know me also know that I am always tinkering with something – cars, trucks, tractors, firearms, you name it.  A few years ago a guy showed me how he could change fluids in his car using a vacuum siphon and I was intrigued but let it slide.

I recently went through all our old Toyotas and changed the transmission fluid to Valvoline Max Life and it dawned on me that it would be real nice to have a way to more precisely get the fluid right where I wanted it in the transmissions because I had slightly overfilled one car.  Then I remembered the vacuum siphon and hopped on Amazon.

The EWK 6.5 liter (1.71 gallon) pneumatic or manual fluid extractor looked like just the tool for the job.  I always pay close attention to reviews and this unit really had good ones – 277 reviews and a score of 4.4 out of 5 stars.  That’s pretty good statistically – I like to get well past 30 reviews and the more the better.

At any rate, thanks to Amazon prime, I ordered it and the unit arrived two days later.  I must say that I was impressed.  The plastics are all well done and it worked like a charm.

In this next photo you can see the little adapter and hose extension that comes with the unit.  They say three in the ad and the first hose is attached to the cap with a strain relief.  The hose is about  .39/.31 (OD/ID) and 39.3″ long.  The other two hoses are basically extensions via a soft rubber connector.  I am using the medium extension that is .26/.21 OD/ID) and also 39.3″ long.  That diameter has worked fine for Toyota T-IV ATF, Valvoline Max Life ATF  and also 10W30 engine oil.  When I say it can suck, that is a compliment in this case 🙂

The next photo shows the pump handle and also the venturi vacuum generator.  I have that air line on my dryer system and is running 90PSI off a 60 gallon IR two stage compressor.  It really didn’t use too much air.  No vacuum generator will win awards for air use but you don’t need to run it for very long – just while you are pumping the fluid out and that will probably be about 2-3 minutes for most engines and transmissions.

The first time I used it, I did so with an air line (it can use compressed air to create a venturi vacuum) .  It actually pumped way faster than I realized and I had over a quart out of the car before I realized it.  You can definitely reduce the air flow to reduce the vacuum – it was just faster than I thought it would be, which is good news.

I was so impressed that I used the extractor to remove all the ATF from a 94 Corolla in very short order.  I let it pump until nothing else came out — no problem.

I recently needed to change the oil in my tractor – again, used the siphon and it drained it very quickly.  This is noteworthy as I used the hand pump to create the vacuum and it really was effortless.  This was also when it dawned on me I better take some photos 🙂

In this next photo, you can see the unit with the hose cap off – it just twists off – and this is the pour spout to empty the unit also.

In summary, it’s a great unit.  I’ve not had any problems at all and recommend it.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.



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EWK Pneumatic/Manual 6.5 Liter Oil Changer Vacuum Fluid Extractor Pump Tank Remover (Misc.)

?Customer Service?
1. Office hours: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 3:30pm (Pacific Time).
2. We will reply your message within 24~48 hours.
? Shipping?
1. Monday to Friday (orders placed before AM8:00) will be shipped within 24 hours.
2. Orders placed after Friday AM8:00 or national holiday will be shipped on the coming business day.
3. Buyers responsible for all custom and brokerage fees for shipments outside of the United States.
?30 Days Money Back Guarantee?
1. Customer MUST contact us within 30 days after the purchasing.
2. Item must be sellable condition with the original packaging. Fees may apply if item is determined as not original condition.
3. Buyer should be responsible for the return freight.
4. 20% restocking fee is NON-REFUNDABLE under any circumstances.
? Warranty?
1. Most of items which were marked “warranty” on the selling page apply to the warranty policy. Some item is not included.
2. Warranty period: 1 year
3. The warranty only covers the defects under normal use.
4. The warranty DOES NOT cover the defect was subjected to misuse, negligence or accident.
5. The warranty DOES NOT cover consumable parts.
6. EWK reserves the right of final decision.

Features:

  • Two functions oil changer-manual & pneumatic – Quick extraction on pneumatic mode, 1.6L/min. – Oil changing anywhere without compressor on manual mode.
  • Widely used for fluid extraction – engine oil, gear oil, brake oil, coolant, water, etc.
  • Connected hoses fits car, marine, lawn mower and industrial machinery.
  • Extraction without car lifted up! Special angle spout design makes everything clean. Changing oil, your best partner!

List Price: $77.49 USD
New From: $77.49 USD In Stock

Sick and Tired of Mosquitoes? How I Got Rid of Them With Talstar P Pro

Our home is in a former swampy area that was drained in the 1980s and a subdivision built.  In short, you dig down and can hit water fairly soon – usually within 10 feet.  At any rate, we’ve had a very wet spring and summer and had standing water in our lawn until late-June and the mosquitoes have been the worst I ever recall in the 20 years we’ve been here.  We could not stay out at night or we’d get attacked unless we hosed ourselves down with Deep Woods Off.  In short, something needed to be done.

This hedgerow is right by my garage and ensured the mosquitoes had a perfect base to attack me from and rings our property:

When I was at Ace Hardware, I saw Off! brand’s Backyard Pretreat that was supposed to kill mosquitoes and leave a residue to repel them.  I thought they would know what to do given their experience – as it turns out, this product is a rip off.

I’m sad to report that after three jugs of this stuff and my getting bit over and over while applying it, I can’t say it did anything at all even several days later.  I really had high hopes – I dragged a long hose all over the place spring stuff down over and over with no noticeable improvement.

On Facebook, I posted my woes with Mosquito control and a friend, Allan, suggested Talstar P Pro and a Ryobi cordless electric sprayer to help with evenly spraying a ton of solution.  I had never heard of Talstar so I did a search and it is very well regarded.  Allan told me they live on a wooded ravine and he’s been using it for 10 years to control mosquitoes and it worked exceptionally well for him.

Talstar P Professional

Every once in a while on Amazon, you see a review score that is mind blowing.  FMC’s Talstart P Professional 96 oz has 2,263 customer reviews and a combined score of 4.6 out of 5 stars.  That is one heck of a score and is only possible if something works really, really well.

So, based on what I read and Allan’s recommendation, I ordered the 96oz bottle.   I then read up on the Ryobi sprayer.  It gets good reviews, uses the 18volt Ryobi batteries (it comes with one battery and a charger) and it has a three year warranty.  I ordered it off the Home Depot website [Click here]  as they had free next day home delivery and since I had to wait for the Talstar, I figured it would save me a trip.

Note:  You can use any pressurized sprayer you want – I have 1.5 acres and knew I would be applying gallons and gallons of it.  My shoulders and elbows hurt enough as it is and I didn’t want to incur the repetitive stress.

The sprayer arrived the next day and the Talstar the day after.  While I was waiting, I went to the FMC website to read up on Talstar to make sure I understood how to apply it plus I peppered Allan with his experience.

I would recommend you go to the website [click here] as they have recommendations on best practices for mosquito management and Talstar P Pro is actually interesting from a chemical perspective.

The active ingredient is Bifenthrin, which is similar to the chemical extracted from Chrysanthemums to kill insects.  Here are two links so you can read more at the National Pesticide Information Center.the user guide for the Talstar P.

Ryobi Model P2830A One+ 18-Volt Lithiu-Ion Cordless 2 Gallon Chemical Sprayer

Here are photos of the sprayer.   I charged the battery and screwed in all the fittings.  They are all lose so be sure to do that.  I didn’t have any loose plastic in the tank but I did rinse it out just to be safe.

Application

After reading the user guide, I planned to use one ounce of Talstar to one gallon of water to ensure I had residue to continue killing mosquitoes.  Since it was a two gallon tank, I increased it just a bit to 2.5 ounces per two gallon tank.  Note, a real nice perk is that the tank lid is a measuring cup!  I would use it, rinse it out and pour the mix into the tank before filling it with water.

While doing the work, I wore Nitrile gloves just to avoid contact plus I was constantly adjusting the sprayer tip from coarse mist to a stream to try and reach back over brush, through leaves, etc.

FMC recommends spraying at night or in the evening when mosquitoes are active.  I was busy the first night so I did it the following morning at 7am.   I mixed up two gallons and started spraying around the house, pool, garden and so forth.  I hosed down the bushes, the walls of the house and under the eaves.  I also sprayed the hedge – first using a coarse spray on all the brush, leaves and ground.  I found adjusting the tip to a stream was handy to penetrate the brush and also reach further back.  I’d just come back to the hose and what not and mix another two gallons of spray (2 gallons water and 2.5oz of Talstar) and kept spraying.

It took me aboput 30-45 minutes and 8 gallons, or four complete tanks, to do most of our yard.  I skipped probably a half acre of grass starting about 100-150 feet from our house but I did all of the hedge row, bushes, etc.  I was pleasantly surprised that the 2.0Ah battery was able to do the whole yard.  When I finished the first batch, I did plug the battery in and let it charge.

That night I still saw mosquitoes, but fewer of them, and applied a second dose around 7:30-8pm.  Same procedure – 8 gallons focusing around the house, all the bushes, etc.

Results

The next morning – no mosquitoes.  Whoa!!!  I did not see one single mosquito all day.  That night I worked on cars without being attacked!  I did so again yesterday and just had breakfast with my wife in her garden — something that would have been next to impossible.

I’d say the spray got a good number of them but when they landed in the residue, that got rid of a ton as well.  In other words, you might see a bit of a delay from dose to noticeable reduction.

In four weeks, I am going to do it again.  Even my wife, who always groans at me and my tinkering, was impressed and told me to make sure I apply another dose before the first one wears off!

It’s really not that expensive in the long run.  The bottle holds 96oz.  I use 10oz per 8 gallons (4 batches x 2.5oz/batch).  If I apply it twice per application, that means I’ll use 20oz per time, which means I’ll get just over 4 complete applications (so about four months of protection).  At $35/bottle, that’s about $9/time plus however you want to account for the sprayer.  For me, it’s worth it.  My wife really reacts to mosquito bites plus we can enjoy being outside again and I can go back to working outside without getting attacked.

I’d highly, highly recommend you skip the ripoff gimmicks and temporary fixes.  Spend the money and get Talstar Pro and a spray bottle (if you don’t have one).  It made a world of difference for us and wanted to spread the word that this stuff really works.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.

 

 

FMC Talstar P Professional 96oz (3/4 gallon) (Lawn & Patio)

TALSTAR PROFESSIONAL INSECTICIDE

Dependable insect control designed with pros in mind.

For decades, PMPs have made Talstar® their number one trusted brand of insecticides. With its broad label and dependable efficacy, Talstar Professional has been expertly formulated to help you get the job done right every time.

Talstar Professional achieves long-lasting control of over 75 pests, including ants, termites, cockroaches, spiders, bed bugs, fleas and ticks. And with its flexible label, Talstar Professional is approved in multiple use-sites, so you can use it almost anywhere: indoors and out, in industrial, commercial and food-handling areas.


Features:

  • Active Ingredient: 7.9% Bifenthrin; Target pests: Talstar Pro controls over 75 different pests; everything from spiders, mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks and fleas to pillbugs, chinch bugs, earwigs and millipedes
  • Application area: Inside, outside, around the perimeter, and even in food handling areas
  • Pet safe: Yes, when dry.; Always read the label before use

List Price: $34.38 USD
New From: $34.38 USD In Stock

Resurrecting a Gummed Up Air Tool Without Disassembly

Recently I got out my Ingersoll Rand model 117 air hammer to use and found out its action had gotten all gummed up.  It’s been probably a year since I last used it even then probably didn’t use it a ton.  I always drip air tool oil into a tool before use because my air lines run driers and particulate filters for my plastics work.  Thus, I have to manually apply the oil before I use a tool.

When I went to use 117 the piston would not actuate and when I shook the tool, it didn’t sound like it normally did.  My first thought was to check the air pressure and it was at 90 PSI and the regulator was wide open so my next guess was lubrication.  Adding more air tool oil didn’t make any difference.  I then remembered a tip a guy told me years ago with gummy air tools – spray a ton of PB Blaster down the quick connect fitting and let it sit with the quick connect fitting up in the air trapping the penetrating oil in the tool for 5 minutes and try again.

So, I did that, reconnected the air line and it worked!  The tool worked like a champ and it blew PB Blaster everywhere!  I did it one more time just to make sure stuff was clear and ran the tool for a maybe 30 seconds to blow the PB Blaster out, wiped it down with a rag and then put in four drops of air tool oil.  Problem solved.

This was a huge win because I was in the middle of working on AK and wanted to use this tool plus I didn’t have time to take it all apart,  I’m writing this post a few weeks later after completing the AK build and the IR 117 is still working like a champ.

By the way, PB Blaster can be found at tons of automotive stores.  The packing looks gimmicky but it is actually one of the best penetraing oils that is out there along with Kroil.  If I didn’t have access to either of those, I would have made up some Ed’s Red or at least used some form of transmission fluid.  Tranny fluid works great but take a while to penetrate gunk.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.

Ingersoll-Rand 117K 2,000 Blows-Per-Minute Standard Duty Pnuematic Hammer with 5 Chisel Set (Tools & Home Improvement)

An economical air hammer with a longerpiston stroke, this tool is designed forexhaust work, bolt cutting, and front-endwork. The trigger control and a built-in powerregulator give you full control of the speed and power. Longer stroke piston. Alloyed steel barrel and heat-treated piston for longer life. Up to 2, 000 blows per minute.

Features:

  • Longer Stroke Piston
  • Alloy steel barrel and heat-treated piston for longer life
  • Up to 2,000 blows per minute
  • 5 piece chisel kit

List Price: $69.99 USD
New From: $69.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $65.23 USD In Stock

Getting the Simplicity Broadmor 16 Hydro Lawn Tractor Ready for the Season – Air and Oil Filters via Amazon

Given we live in a rural area, it can be a challenge trying to find the right air and oil filter for our Simplicity Broadmor 16 Hydro tractor.  It has a Kohler engine and the air and oil filters are readily available on Amazon.   It makes life way easier to just order them.  Sometimes I’ll get a deal on several and have one for the following year.

So, just to make things easy for you, here are links if you need to order them:

I only change the oil filter once a year.  If there’s a real good deal, I might buy a two pack.   You can search and double check prices.

For the air filter, I definitely use the model with the pre-cleaner.  The foam pre-cleaner catches a ton of dust.  Each year I have to clean and re-oil the pre-cleaner several times due to all the dust.

I change these each season plus I grease the oil fittings.   When we got the tractor I asked the mechanic who delivered it what would be the one thing he’d recommend to get long life from the tractor.  Of course he pointed out the oil and air filters but then he added to make sure to keep the tractor greased using the Zerk fittings and I have ever since.

I hope this helps you out some as well.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 

Kohler (2 Pack) 12 883 05-S1 Replacement Air Filter With Pre-Cleaner

Includes (2) 1288305-S1 Filters. New, Bulk Packed. Genuine OEM replacement part. Consult owners manual for proper part number identification and proper installation. Please refer to list for compatibility. Compatible with: Kohler engine models : CV12.5ST-1280, CV12.5ST-1281, CV13S-21509, CV13S-21516, CV13S-21525, CV13S-21532, CV14-1401, CV14-1402, CV14-1403, CV14-1404, CV14-1405, CV14-1406, CV14-1408, CV14-1410, CV14-1411, CV14-1412, CV14-1413, CV14-1414, CV14-1415, CV14-1416, CV14-1417, CV14-1418, CV14-1419, CV14-1420, CV14-1422, CV14-1423, CV14-1424, CV14-1425, CV14-1427, CV14-1428, CV14-1429, CV14-1430, CV14-1431, CV14-1432, CV14-1433, CV14-1434, CV14-1436, CV14-1437, CV13ST-21510, CV12.5-1201, CV12.5-1202, CV12.5-1203, CV12.5-1204, CV12.5-1205, CV12.5-1206, CV12.5-1210, CV12.5-1211, CV12.5-1213, CV12.5-1214, CV12.5-1215, CV12.5-1216, CV12.5-1217, CV12.5-1218, CV12.5-1219, CV12.5-1220, CV11S-1113, CV11-1101, CV11-1102, CV11-1103, CV11-1104, CV11-1105, CV12.5-1223, CV12.5-1224, CV12.5-1225, CV12.5-1227 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1229 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1230 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1235 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1237 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1240 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1241 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1242 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1243 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1245 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1246 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1247 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1248 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1249 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1250 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1251 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1252 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1253 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1254 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1255 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1256 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1257 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1259 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1260 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1261 12.5 HP, CV15-41508, CV15-41509, CV15-41510, CV15-41511, CV15-41514, CV15-41515, CV14ST-1486, CV14ST-1490, CV14ST-1491, CV12.5-1262 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1263 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1264 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1265 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1266 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1268 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1269 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1270 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1274 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1275 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1276 12.5 HP, CV12.5-1277 12.5 HP, CV14S-14100, CV14S-14106, CV14S-14107, CV14-1438, CV14-1441, CV14-1443, CV14-1444, CV14-1445, CV14-1446

Features: Sold on Amazon

List Price: $33.86 USD
New From: $33.86 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

Fixed a Starting Problem on my Simplicity Broadmor 16 Hydro Tractor

We bought this Simplicity Broadmor 16HP lawn tractor back around 1999-ish and it has served us well.  In the years since, I’ve had to replace a few parts and figure things out as the dealer went out of business.  Luckily, finding parts is pretty straight forward given the WWW and Amazon.

At some point last summer, the tractor began to develop intermittent problems with starting when it was hot.  It didn’t happen all the time and was a bear to try and find – sometimes you’d turn the starter switch and nothing would happen.  Well, I just assumed it was the solenoid given similar problems with cars over the years.  I did some digging and bought both a solenoid and starter off of Amazon.  In the Simplicity, and many tractors for that matter, they are two separate parts mounted away from each other.  The solenoid is up under the dash held in place by two screws and the starter is held in place by two screws and a collar.

I ordered a Caltric Starter for the Kohler CV16 engine and it mounted up just fine.

I ordered a Stens 435-099 starter solenoid and it went in just fine as well.

Well, I thought I was set but the problem got worse.  In a ways, that was a good thing.  Because when the problem happens readily, you can sort out what is wrong.

This spring, when we got the tractor out, every time it would get hot it would not re-start.  I put my multimeter on the starter power cable and it was dead.  I did not hear any clicking from the solenoid either.  If I wiggled the switch then it might start but not always so the switch made me suspicious.  If I used jumper cables and went right to the starter, it would start and run no problem with the key one.  Okay, time to replace the switch.

I did some digging and the replacement switch was a Briggs and Stratton 1686734SM unit.  I got that on order from Amazon and waited for it to show up.

Now there is just a bit of a twist here that I want to share with folks to save you some time.  It turns out the tractor was built using an all plastic switch (groan) part number 1718305 that requires you to change the wiring in the connector.

Note the letters next to the male spades – this is how you confirm it is the 1718305 switch – the layout of the pins:

It just so happens that to use the replacement 1686734SM unit, you need to diagonally swap the four lower wires – upper left to lower right and upper right to lower left.  They recommend you label the wires before you do the swap – I just jotted down the color codes.

The following photo is from the instruction sheet that came with the switch — it’s actually well done and helped me figure this out:

Figure 2 shows the identifying marks for the plastic 1718305 switch and exactly matched what I had.

Figure 3 shows the pin out of the original connector

Figure 4 shows the new lay out.

In case you lose track of the wires for whatever reason, here are the color codes that are in my Broadmor by labeled connector pin:

  • A.  Red / White (meaning primarily red with a white stripe)
  • B.  Red — this is from the battery so make sure your battery is disconnected
  • G.  Black
  • L. Red/Black
  • M.  Purple/White
  • S. Blue/White

First, disconnect the negative cable from the battery or you risk some fireworks when you change the red/hot wire.

To change the wires around, I moved them a pair at a time – just the lower four are changing — I ran a small blade screw driver in and loosened the female spade fitting inside the connector and pulled it back out gently with a pair of needle nose pliers.  I then swapped the location and pushed each connector into the new location.

To seal the connections, I applied a layer of silicone grease on the female connector openings so that when the male spades pushed in, they would be coated with the grease.  I have a jar of Mission Automotive brand Silicone grease that I use all the time.

I then confirmed the layout one last time, sat on the tractor, made sure the engine was clear and started it.  Everything worked on the first try – a good sign.

The switch fit nicely inside the OEM hole.  It comes with extra parts for mounting and I just did what Simplicity did – I installed the switch, used the supplied hex nut to secure it on the front and pressed on the switch cover.  I then tested again just to be safe.

By the way, here are photos of the back of the installed switch:

I then mowed part of the lawn for 10-15 minutes and when the tractor was good and hot, I turned it off and back on several times.  I then let the tractor idle for about 10-15 minutes and again could turn it off and on with no problem.

I think the problem is solved as the tractor is still working just fine.  I wanted to post this in case you needed to know what to get from Amazon or see the wire colors and hope it helps you out.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements.  EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed.  Doing so will help us fund continued development of the blog.


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Briggs and Stratton 1686734SM Ignition Switch (Lawn & Patio)

This product is O.E.M. authorized part. OEM Part Number 1686734SM. Fits various Briggs & Stratton models .This product is manufactured in United States.

Features:

  • This product is O.E.M. authorized part
  • OEM Part Number 1686734SM
  • Fits various Briggs & Stratton models
  • This product is manufactured in United States
  • This is a replacement part
  • Part Number 1686734SM
  • This is an O.E.M. part

List Price: $22.06 USD
New From: $22.06 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ AirStrike 18-Gauge Cordless Brad Nailer

Well folks, I recently needed to install some molding at my mother in law’s and realized I no longer have a small compressor to run my air nailers at a remote site.  So, I recalled an article I had read that spoke well of the Ryobi Airstrike 18ga brad nailer.

The interesting twist on this nailer is that it uses an 18 volt One+ battery to operate and you don’t need a compressor or air lines.  I have a ton of Ryobi tools and decided to pick up just the tool for $129.99.

I read the manual and the tool has both an air pressure adjustment and a depth adjustment.  In the next photo, the silver dial on the top adjusts the air pressure and depth is down towards the nose.   You’ll notice I have one of the slim low-profile lithium batteries on it.

It came with 200 1-1/4″ brads and they look just like the ones I use in my air brad nailer so I have plenty for the future.  They load in the magazine just like other nailers.

Now, I definitely would recommend practicing some with this.  The balance is fairly good but what is really different is the way it cycles when you pull the trigger.  There is a split second delay as it builds up pressure and then it fires the hammer driving the brad forward.  For me, the delay took some getting used to.  We’re not talking very long at all but I’m used to bang-bang-bang-bang with an air nailer as fast as you can pull the trigger.  Here there is just enough pause to throw you off.  I found myself pulling the trigger and lifting to fast so I needed to make my self slow down, pull the trigger, let it cycle and then pull.

What I was installing was some of that cheap paper/fiber molding so it was very easy for the nailer to drive the brads in.  I really should have dialed the pressure back a bit and/or reduced the depth.  That will take further experimenting for me to learn the right combo.

All in all after driving about 30 brads, I am happy and would recommend the unit to someone who is interested in going cordless.

Note, I would consider a bigger nailer if I needed it down the road but most of the time I am close enough to my shop that I can run an airline to my big compressor.  The reviews are mixed on the big nailer as it uses a relatively oddball sized nail and I’m hoping they change that.

If you are thinking of buying one of the brad nailers, they are on Amazon but you will pay a premium.  Either get them at your local Home Depot store or buy them online:

Just the tool – click here.

The tool, battery and charger – click here.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon or click one of the AdNow advertisements. EBay and Amazon you need to buy something, AdNow pays for each link you visit – no purchase needed. Doing so will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 

Getting Unstuck With Traction Mats

Well, I parked our full size Ford Transit van at the end of the driveway on the grass to get it out of the way.  Of course, given the recent snow melt the ground turned out to be too muddy and soft to support the van’s weight – but I didn’t notice that because it took a while to slowly sink.  Yeah, I didn’t notice anything – my wife did we she went to use it!  Oh crud.  So she called my cell phone and was none too happy.  I didn’t really worry about it because my truck could pull it out – or so I thought.

I drove to the house, cockily pulled my trusty old 96 Landcruiser up in front of the van and got out one of my big tow straps and walked up to the van.   Should have been easy, right?  Wrong.  Nothing, nada to hook on to.  Ford, in their infinite wisdom does not put a tow hook, eye or anything up near the bumper!  Crap, crap, crap.  [Note, near the bottom of this blog post I added in what I found after researching how to recover a full size Transit.  I’m still irked at Ford.]

Did I mention my wife was standing their fuming?  Yeah, she was.  I should have known better than to park the heavy full size van on soft ground.  Point taken – I didn’t realize it was that soft.

At any rate, I went back and looked at the 5″ deep rut the driver’s side rear tire had dug for itself.  By the way, these photos are after removal.

I needed something long to fill the ruts and give traction.  Luckily, back in 2010 and then in 2014 I bought these things called “traction mats” from a company called OTW Enterprises who touted them as portable tow trucks.  In 2010 I bought the black ones after getting my truck stuck on ice with the plow blade buried in a snow mound.  In 2014. I bought an orange set to put in my wife’s car in case she got stuck.  Here they are after I hosed all the mud off.

Well, they bounced around in the trunks for a while and did bail me out a couple of times over the years but were actually leaning on the outside wall of my shop.  They don’t fold and while they fit in the trunk you have the little plastic spikes catching stuff so I tool them out at some point and leaned them against the wall of the shop.  At any rate,  I walked over and they were exactly what I needed.  Each mat measures 36″ long and 8″ wide.  Since I had four, I butted on up against the front of each tire and placed a second one in front of it to help the tire get up and out of the rut.  The sides are labeled by the way – the relative few long spikes go down and the side with many spikes goes up.

I got in and rolled the the van back a bit and then forward to get up on the mats.  I then slowly gave it more gas (not much) and the van up and forward onto the mat and got out of ditch and I kept moving forward onto the pavement.  I don’t have any action photos – things were stressful at the time and I really wasn’t thinking about a blog post 🙂

Well, I was pretty pleased with the outcome.  Wreckers charge at least $65 to come out to our house so avoiding that charge is always a good thing.  My wife was relatively happy but gave me a hard time for causing the problem in the first place.

Are these mats perfect?  No.  They will fly out from under your car if you don’t go slow and make sure you have the correct side down.  Even then they sometimes do so I would never have someone stand behind the car.  My recommendation is to go slow – avoid your spinning tires and rock the vehicle onto the mat if need be – don’t spin your tires onto them.

My wife is so impressed she wants them back in the cars.  I just wish they had a carry case but I do recommend them as another tool to keep in your bag of tricks.

I hope this helps you out.


Comment about Ford and Their Oversight on Towing

By the way, I looked up the tow/winch location up for future reference  so if you are surfing the web trying to figure out how to tow a full size 2016 Ford Transit, here is the reference link at Ford – click here.

Look just behind the tires at the frame and you’ll see the eye rings that are part of the frame.  You can’t make this stuff up — Thanks Ford.  It drives me nuts when you look at decisions made in ivory engineering towers vs. real world needs.  Sure, let’s bury it under the van, make it hard to get to and pretty much ensure damage will occur if you actually use this to pull the van for whatever reason.

Now look how their factory winch attachment point lines right up with hitting the front radiator.  If you pull this at just about any angle where the recovery vehicle is higher than the van then the cable/strap is going to cut right into the aluminum radiator at the front.   In the next photo, you can see the silver aluminum radiator just above the lip of the bumper molding.

If you wanted to protect that radiator, you’d actually need a harness with something to push the attached cable lower to the ground – or fabricate another attachment method.   Maybe my 4″ drop hitch in my rear class IV receiver would be low enough to tie onto vs. my truck’s winch or front recovery hooks.  … Something for another day.  I didn’t buy a new van to have to worry about something people in rural areas need regularly in the winter.   They should have been in the front.


2/11/2018 Update:  The traction mats bailed me out again when I got the van stuck on ice in our yard while turning around.  I’ve come to realize the van does a fair job on the road but the tires are damn near useless on uneven icy surface,  With this van, it’s really handy to have four.  With only two handy, I could move the van forward and then get stuck, move the mats, move forward again, get stuck, etc.  I had to do the cycle about three times.  I think if I had all four handy it would have done the trick in one shot because I could have built up some forward momentum.  I now have all four stored together,  We’re nearing the end of Winter finally and I think I will keep all four in the van next year and need to find some kind of carrier bag to store them in.


See larger image

Additional Images:




Portable Tire Traction Mats – Two Emergency Tire Grip Aids Used To Get Your Car, Truck, Van or Fleet Vehicle Unstuck In Snow, Ice, Mud, And Sand – Orange, 2 Pack

“Portable Tow Truck’s emergency traction pad provides you with the way out of messy situations. Getting stuck in mud or snow on the side of the road is a common roadside emergency. You could could call for a tow truck to pull your vehicle out, which can be expensive, or install tire chains when you’re stuck, which is messy and dangerous.

There is an alternative. The Portable Tow Truck tire traction aid provides emergency traction to your drive wheels and allows you to get back on the road. The innovative cleat design bites into your tire and allows your drive wheels to climb the mat instead of spinning in snow. No more digging and pushing and rocking back and forth. Simply wedge the Portable Tow Truck under the pulling wheel and slowly drive the vehicle to a more suitable surface . At only 2.5 pounds and 36 inches long, the Portable Tow Truck is easy to handle and consumes very little trunk space. Buy this Portable Tow Truck and a future version of yourself, stuck in the snow or mud, will be thankful you did.”


Features:

  • Provides emergency traction for your tires in snow, ice, mud and sand. Works on all vehicles with summer, winter, or all-season tires.
  • Comes with 2 reusable polypropylene solid and virtually indestructible traction mats.
  • No installation required, making it hassle free, easier and safer to use than tire chains and snow chains.
  • Each only 2.5 pounds and 36 inches long, allowing easy storage in your trunk or under your seat.
  • Avoid the stress of shoveling, slipping and sliding, being stranded, or calling for a tow truck in emergency situations.

List Price: $49.95 USD
New From: $49.95 USD In Stock

20 tips for getting better results with epoxy

I use a ton of epoxy as part of my work plus fixing all kinds of stuff at home, on cars, guns, knives and more.  I’d like to take a few minutes share some lessons learned with you to bear in mind on your next project that involves epoxy:

  1. Buy quality epoxy – not cheap junk.  Epoxy is a generic term and a lot of the no-name blister pack retail stuff is crap.  Go for brand names.  If they list real specs about the formulation then it is probably legit.
  2. I recommend industrial epoxies and not the consumer stuff.  My hands down favorite epoxy is Brownell’s Acra Glas liquid.  It is strong and resists breaking down from repeated impacts very well.  It’s one down side is that it takes a long time to set up so it may not be your best bet if you need something to be fixed and back in service quickly.
  3. Know your application and match the formula to your need – there is no magical formula that does everything.  You may need a putty, a fast cure, a short pot life, higher heat resistance, improved impact resistance, shear strength, etc.  Figure out what you need and then look for the epoxy that will work best for you.  At any given time I probably have 3-4 different formulations on hand.
  4. The longer it takes an epoxy to cure the stronger it is.  All things being equal, an epoxy that cures in 24 hours will be stronger than one that claims to do so in 5, 10 or 30 minutes.
  5. Read the package – setting up vs. curing and reaching full strength are two very different things.
  6. If you want to get epoxy to flow into wood or difficult areas, heat it up.  The liquid thins as it warms up but note this will also speed up how fast it sets up and cures.
  7. As epoxy gets colder, it takes longer and longer to cure.  If you are working outside, use a space heater, flood light or other heat source to keep the epoxy and the work piece area being repaired at least 70F.  I shoot for 80-90F.
  8. Epoxy can get really thick as it gets cold and not want to come out of the containers.  Either keep it inside where it is warm or at least warm it up before you use it,
  9. Epoxy resin can sugar with age just like honey.  What I mean is that will develop a solid mass in the resin bottle – it’s not really sugar!  If you heat up a container of water, take the resin container’s lid off and then set it the container in the water, the resin will warm up and the solid will dissolve back into liquid.  I buy 28oz or larger bottles of Acra-Glas that I don’t always use right away so when it sugars, I do this.
  10. As mentioned above, I buy my epoxy in bulk.  Acra-Glas can be measured by volume and it has a ratio of 1 hardener to 4 resin.  The way I deal with this is very simple – I use 10cc syringes without needles.  I have on syringe in a cup that I use for hardener and one syringe stored in a cup that I use for hardener.  The reason I do this is that the two parts do not react to the air very fast.  I may be able to use one syringe for a several weeks/months before it stops working so I set the syringe in its dedicated cup when done to be used again.  I do not use fresh syringes every time.  A 100 count syringe pack will last me at least a year.
  11. You can definitely color epoxy.  You can buy purpose-made dyes such as So-Strong or add in powdered tempra paint.
  12. You can add fillers for strength or looks.  When filling gaps, I mix 1/32″ milled glass fibers with the epoxy.  The ratio depends on the epoxy you are using, how thick/pasty you want the result to be or how much you want it to still flow into place.
  13. To get rid of bubbles you either need to draw a vacuum, apply pressure or at least use a heat gun to thin the epoxy once it is applied and this allows the trapped air to escape.
  14. When I am gluing big objects together, such as wood panels, forms, or other construction I will use a cartridge based epoxy.  My favorite is Hysol E-20HP.  To use a cartridge, you need the dispensing gun and also the correct mixing tip.  This allows you to squeeze the trigger and properly mixed epoxy comes out of the tip.  When you are done, you just let the tip harden in place sealing the epoxy.  When you are ready to use the gun again, you simply remove the plugged tip with a new one.  This allows for you to deploy a bead of epoxy very quickly but the con is that you throw away a tip every time you stop.  You also can’t color the epoxy first but it is fast and convenient on larger projects.
  15. The surface must be clean for epoxy to work best.  Remove dust, dirt, oil, etc.
  16. A rough surface is always better than a smooth surface.  I always recommend sanding, brushing or blasting a surface to improve adhesion.  Not only do you increase the surface area but you also are creating a texture where the epoxy can get under the base material in thousands of tiny places to really grab hold.
  17. Wear disposable gloves to avoid making a mess.  I buy boxes of the Harbor Freight 5 mil nitrile gloves when they go on sale for $5.99/box of 100.  They really are a good value for a medium-light duty disposable glove.
  18. If you need to clamp parts together, wrap the assemble with wax paper to avoid gluing your clamps to the work piece – yeah, I’ve done that.
  19. Whenever possible, I prefer to clamp work together to get this best bond.
  20. Check, double-check and come back in again later and check your work again to make sure nothing has shifted.

I hope these tips help you with your next project.


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Did you know most consumer vehicle undercoatings are rip offs?

We recently bought a new van and I wanted to undercoat it so it would last — being old school that was the first thing I thought of anyways.  The next was to do some searching around with Google about undercoatings so I could get the best product to use.  You know what I found out?  When most cars and trucks are made, the manufacturers do a ton of stuff now to prevent corrosion straight from the factory – so much so that you may find it hard pressed to find a shop that even does undercoating/rust proofing any more.  The car companies have improved their alloys, finishes and even learned not to leave exposed lips for mud to settle in to and sit – think about how the old wheel wells had the reinforcing lip all the way around that dirt/mud could sit in and hold salty water or even just water against the metal – of course it would rust.  So now you look in to wheel wells and through one method or another that flange is either not there or protected.

So I want to share some things I learned.  First, rubberized spray on undercoatings often caused more problems than they solved.  Now, you may be wondering why – I know I did.  You see, it is a spay on finish the adheres to whatever surface it can stick to – paint, rubber, metal, dirt, etc.  Over time, that undercoating develops small holes from stuff hitting it and then a pocket starts to form, salty water enters in and is held against the very steel it is trying to protect!  So to make a long story short, after reading tons of posts about the various spray on rubber undercoatings one must conclude they are not worth investing in any longer.

Second, rust proofing sounds great but there really is no such thing.  You are delaying the inevitable if we are talking about steel and salt water – eventually something is going to rust.

Okay, enough doom and gloonm, let’s say you live in a state, like Michigan, where they salt the heck out of the roads in the winter.  What do you do to protect new cars even more than what the factory did *or* you want to try and save older vehicles even if they have started to rust?  The answer, interestingly enough, was developed long ago – Fluid Film.  Eureka Chemical Company, yes that really is their name – started in the 1940s when they developed a product with an unlikely source to help the Navy prevent corrosion – the not-so-secret ingredient is lanolin from sheep. If you want to read the whole story, click here.

Let me cut to the chase – the reason this stuff works is that it oozes and seals itself if nicked.  DoD, NASA, Coast Guard, Delta and others are still using this stuff!  After doing a lot of reading, I bought a five gallon pail off Amazon, an applicator gun and a pail pump dispenser.  They sell an aerosol can version but I really don’t have much experience with it but am a bit leery of it because the liquid is so thin that comes out compared to what I can spray with the applicator gun.

This is my second year using it on our vehicles and it almost makes it a few months before you can tell it has dried out / faded.  In other words, it doesn’t quite make it the whole winter. I get rid of looser dirt by spraying it down, let it try and go to town spraying this stuff on everything – even the exhaust as it will just bake off after the first time it gets good and hot.

Honestly, I think the FuildFilm helps – our newest car after our van is a 2002 Camry and I spray the heck out of it and our other older cars (the oldest is a 1992 Corolla) and my old 1996 Land Cruiser.  I go through about a quart per car/truck liberally applying it real thick all over the under carriage.  I also spray door hinges, locks and hood latch.  The stuff smells funny for the first day or so but seems to really do the trick.  I just finished putting it on our vehicles for the second year.  I’m about half way through the five gallon pail so if you want to test it out some, you could start with a gallon pail – that would do 4-6 cars or trucks depending on how thick you apply it.

So, thought I would pass along what I learned – don’t bother with rubberized undercoatings and definitely check out FluidFilm.



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Note, my local Autozone also sells the below aerosol cans.  I really do not know how long it will protect what you spray it on.

 

 

 

Fluid Film 5gal Pail NAS Rust Inhibitor Rust Prevention Anti Corrosion Anti Rust Coating Undercoating Underbody Rust Proofing Corrosion Protection for Truck Snow Blower Mower Car Semi Tractor Bus (Automotive)

Fluid Film is a rust and corrosion preventative, penetrant, and lubricant. Lanolin based formula embeds in the pores of the metal to remain active, lubricating and stopping the corrosive effects of salts, fertilizers, pesticides, and high humidity. Will not harm paint, plastic, or rubber, or cause burn to greenery. Solvent-free, non-conductive, non-drying, and does not freeze. Fresh inventory shipped direct from Kellsport Products

Features:

  • Rust Preventive Lubricant
  • Solvent Free, will not dry out. Long Lasting
  • Environmentally friendly. Lanolin based. Clean.
  • Anti freezing agent. Geat for snow blower chutes.
  • Undercoating agent for cars and trucks.

List Price: $164.00 USD
New From: $164.00 USD In Stock

Simple Life Hack – How to Combine Candles And/Or Add a Candle Wick

My dad raised honey bees when I was growing up so we had a lot of wax.  One year, my mom and dad bought some molds and we cast candles.  For wicks, we used heavy cotton string.  When you put string in hot liquid wax, capillary action occurs and the wax is “wicked” into the string.  The candle then cools and away you go.  Now I had pretty much forgotten about this for about 20 years until I saw our growing collection of almost empty candles or candles in glass bottles that had burned the way around wick but left a ton of wax on the jar walls.  It was one of those “Gee, I bet I can fix that” moments.

Here are some supplies and tools to gather up: #36 cotton twine (it has to be cotton and not a synthetic), a washer to serve as weight, gloves to handle the hot containers, needlenose piers, a screw driver, cutters and a piece of cardboard to protect the table in case I spilled wax.

Also, your work area should be near the microwave.  The counter I used was about eight feet away.  Make sure there are no trip/fall hazards between the microwave and work area and that you have a drop cloth, piece of card board, newspaper or something to deal with spatters and spills.  You do not need to be in a rush – indeed, take your time!!  It takes wax a while to cool off.  I just want the work center close by to reduce the chances of dropping the hot wax.

So, step by step if you just want to melt the wax down into the bottom and add a new wick:

  1. Use a cloth to firmly rub the glass rim and remove any waxy soot (the black junk on the glass).  It will come off.
  2. If the current metal weight/anchor is exposed, remove it with your needlenose pliers.  If you don’t, you’ll see arching in your microwave and potentially hurt the microwave.  Seriously, this is not a joke – you can ruin your microwave my putting exposed metal in it.
  3. Microwave the candle in the glass jar until it all melts.  The time to melt will depend on the formulation of the wax, how strong your microwave is and how much wax there is.  On one candle it took about 5-6 minutes and on another it was much longer.  Go for a minute, check, go for a minute, check, over and over – don’t try and do it all at once.  You don’t want molten wax bubbling all over inside your microwave as it will be a HUGE mess to clean.  Have you ever heated water too much in a microwave and had it bubble over everywhere?  This is the same thing but when the wax cools it is a bear to get off.  So, be careful and go slow.  Don’t heat it any more than you need to.
  4. Tie a weight to the end of the string so it will sink to the bottom – I used an old washer I had laying on my bench
  5. Take the candle out wearing gloves.  The glass can be very hot so you don’t want to get burned or drop the molten wax as it will be a bear to clean up.  Just be careful and have a good grip.  I wear lined work gloves.  You only need to hold the container long enough to get it from the microwave to your work area that should be close by.
  6. If you haven’t done so already, use your pliers and remove the old wick.
  7. lower the weighted end of the string into the center of the candle.  When the string bends, it has reached the bottom so lift up slightly until the string is straight
  8. Lay your screw driver or something else across the mouth of the jar and make sure the string is still centered.  Put something on the ball of string / extra string so it stays in position.  I found I could move the ball around and the weight of the ball was usually enough.  Another time I put a pair of pliers across the string so the weight of the pliers would hold the string in place.

Now if you want to consolidate candles, do the above to the first candle, let it cool (if you want), and then heat the next candle and poor it into the first one.  Don’t forget to remove the old wick and weight.  Take your time, be safe, the wax will not cool fast.  So here is the second candle.  The wick weight is buried under the wax so I will remove it once the wax is molten.  If it were exposed or close to the surface, I would dig it out.

Here is is after I melted it, removed the anchor and poured it into the first candle.

After a little over an hour, the candle has cooled enough that I could cut the wick.  The wick will burn down to whatever height the wax can reach and burn so don’t worry about it being too long.  You do need to be patient and let it cool or you will make a big mess while trying to cut it (I made that mistake with another candle where it looked solid but was still way too soft and I made a mess).  You just need to be patient and let it cool all the way is the bottom line.

That’s it.  I like this kind of stuff.  It’s a great distraction from the normal work.  You can combine waxes, try different thicknesses of cotton string, etc.  Have fun!


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Note, go to Ace or your local hardware store for the cotton string.  It should be $4-6 for a ball that will last you a long time considering you are using maybe 6″ at a time.