Category Archives: Tools

Preparing a Pressure Washer For The Winter

Whether you call it them pressure washers or power washers, these are darned handy machines to have around. For portability, we use models with a gasoline engine and are on our second one. The first lasted for a few years until one wither the water in the pump turned to ice and finally cracked the housing. As they say “and that was that”. I thought about just buying a pump but for a little bit more we bought a whole new unit. My friends also cautioned me to always winterize the unit to make it last through Michigan winters. That was 6-8 years ago and I have learned a few tips to share.

By the way, the photo above really is of our pressure washer. I don’t have space to store it indoors so I really do need to Winterize it. Regardless of the brand you buy, there are three things I would tell you to do.

Drain the gas and/or use a mix with Stabil

Assuming you have a gasoline pressure washer, you might want to drain the gas from the tank and run the unit until it stalls. There are two reasons for this – gas can spoil if left untreated and also, when it evaporates out of the carb it will leave a gummy residue that may need to be cleaned out. In my case, my washer only sits idle a few months so I don’t always drain it. I’ve not had a problem so far. I always drain my chain saws because they may sit an unpredictable amount of time.

The second recommentation that you can do along with the first is to always add Stabil, a gasoline conditioner, that keeps it from breaking down for at least 12 months. I always add it to all of my gas cans when I fill them.

Blow out the system and disconnect the gun/wand and hose

What did in my first pressure washer was not draining the water out of the pump. I made a small air fitting by taking an old piece of hose and a 1/4″ air fitting that I can screw into the pressure washer and blow all of the water out of the pump, lines and wand. It works great.

I just use junk hose to make the adapter. You just need a male hose fitting on one end and a way to connect your compressor on the other.

If you really want, you can buy pre-made winterizer fittings for $12-20. The above fittings were all made with old stuff I had laying around.

Pressure Washer Blow Out Adapter/Pump Saver

$12.99
End Date: Tuesday Dec-17-2019 4:42:10 PST
Buy It Now for only: $12.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Sun Joe Electric Pressure Washer | 2030 PSI | 1.76 GPM | 14.5-Amp | Black

$139.00
End Date: Thursday Jan-2-2020 9:53:19 PST
Buy It Now for only: $139.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Pressure Washer Pump Saver and Winterizer Attachment

$19.99
End Date: Friday Dec-20-2019 4:39:54 PST
Buy It Now for only: $19.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Sun Joe SPX3001 Electric Pressure Washer | 2030 PSI | 1.76 GPM | Hose Reel

$169.99
End Date: Friday Dec-27-2019 12:51:29 PST
Buy It Now for only: $169.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Sun Joe Electric Pressure Washer | 1740 PSI Max | 1.59 GPM | 12-Amp

$75.00
End Date: Monday Dec-16-2019 11:56:39 PST
Buy It Now for only: $75.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Drain The Soap Tank

Don’t forget to drain the soap tank also. You don’t want it to freeze and crack anything. I did forget this one year and had to rebuild the fitting that cracked with epoxy.

Don’t forget to drain the soap from the plastic soap tank.

Add a Winterizing fluid

I then use an aerosol based pump winterizer. It can blow the water out by itself technically but I’m paranoid. I use my compressor to blow out everything and then I disconnect the air lines and wand/gun. I then connect the Briggs & Stratton 6151 Pressure Washer Pump Saver Anti-Freeze and Lubricant to further protect against freezing and to lubricate the pump and prevent the O-rings and seals from drying out. This works great for me and one can will last me 2-3 years at least.

This is what I use and have never had a problem.
All you do is connect the hose assembly to the hose inlet and push the trigger. The foam will come out pretty quick – it doesn’t take a lot. Note, stand to the side or you will wear the foam. I kid you not that it took me two years of wearing foam until I remembered to stand to the side when filling the unit with foam. Also, remove the hose and wand/gun before doing this or you will use a lot of material to purge them also. You can blow them out or even hang and drain them vs. using this stuff unnecessarily.

Now a ton of reputable companies sell some form of pump protector / winterizer. I suspect one or two companies actually make it and then applies different labels – Generac, Briggs & Straton, Stabil, etc. Just go with a name brand and I bet you will be fine.

Pressure Washer Pump Saver Uses Anti Freeze And Lubricant Formula 4 Oz 6039 New

$9.87
End Date: Sunday Dec-8-2019 7:07:27 PST
Buy It Now for only: $9.87
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Briggs Stratton Pressure Washer Pump Saver anti-freeze lubricant formula 11Oz

$16.99
End Date: Thursday Jan-2-2020 18:45:56 PST
Buy It Now for only: $16.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Pressure Washer Pump Saver Uses Anti Freeze And Lubricant Formula 4 Oz 6039 New

$9.87
End Date: Tuesday Dec-24-2019 7:54:41 PST
Buy It Now for only: $9.87
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Pressure Washer Blow Out Adapter/Pump Saver

$12.99
End Date: Tuesday Dec-17-2019 4:42:10 PST
Buy It Now for only: $12.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Briggs and Stratton Pressure Washer Pump Saver #6039

$11.99
End Date: Friday Dec-20-2019 7:00:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $11.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Summary

I hope this helps you out. My current pump is still going strong even though it is out in the winter weather every year. The paint is fading but it is mechanically solid.


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.


How To Find Out Torque Specifications for Screws and Bolts: An Outstanding NASA Reference Guide

We’ve all been there – you’re working on a project and wondering how much to torque something so either we don’t bother or just take a guess. What I only found out recently was that in 2017, NASA published a really cool guide called “Installation Torque Tables for Noncritical Applications” – with the document ID as NASA/TM—2017-219475.

The document provides the torque specifications for a ton of general purpose fasteners that do not have an exact specification assigned – hence the term non-critical. As you can imagine, they get very specific in critical/risky situations.

At any rate, given the size of the bolt or screw, the thread pitch, the material and the depth, they provide a reference torque specification you can follow for both metric (M6, M8, M10, etc.) and SAE (#8, #10, 1/8, 1/4, 3/8, etc.) fasteners. Note, they provide an assembly torque (which is a 65% load from failure) and 100% torque. I use the assembly torque spec.

They also recommend that the depth of thread engagement be 1.5x the diameter of the fastener. So a 1/4″ (0.25″) fastener should have at least 0.25″ x 1.5 = .375″ (3/8″).

Here’s an example table. This is for fasteners going into 6061-T6 aluminum with a thread depth of 3/16″. If we go down for a 10-32 UNF screw, the assembly torque is 22.2 inch pounds. I’d use that lacking any other detailed information. I could go up to 34.2 inch pounds but I have stripped so many fasteners I don’t risk it. I’m a huge fan of Loctite so I go with that and the assembly spec.

Kudos to the two authors and to NASA for making it available. The PDF is a cool reference document and one I use whenever I can’t find a specific torque value for a given application. All you machinists and engineers – you know way more than me so please let me know if you have other resources you recommend.

To access this cool guide, click here for the NASA link or click here for the copy on our server.


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.


Neiko 1/4" Dr. Torque Wrench | 20-200 In/Lb Auto Click Adjustable Gauge Ratchet

$29.85
End Date: Wednesday Dec-11-2019 13:17:37 PST
Buy It Now for only: $29.85
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

1/2" Torque Wrench Snap Socket Professional Drive Click Type Ratcheting

$27.40
End Date: Sunday Dec-15-2019 11:44:07 PST
Buy It Now for only: $27.40
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Used Craftsman Torque Wrench 3/8" Drive, 25 - 250 inch pounds. part # 44593

$14.95
End Date: Thursday Jan-2-2020 5:32:38 PST
Buy It Now for only: $14.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Neiko 3/8" Beam Style Torque Wrench | 0 - 800 IN/LB 90 Nm

$19.95
End Date: Sunday Dec-22-2019 16:07:46 PST
Buy It Now for only: $19.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Set of 3- 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 Drive Click Type Torque Wrench Snap Socket, Reversible

$54.50
End Date: Saturday Jan-4-2020 11:52:24 PST
Buy It Now for only: $54.50
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

TEKTON 24330 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench, 10-80 Feet Pound

$39.99
End Date: Thursday Dec-19-2019 8:46:51 PST
Buy It Now for only: $39.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Master Mechanic TORQUE WRENCH 3/8" DRIVE Click RATCHETING

$19.50 (6 Bids)
End Date: Friday Dec-6-2019 14:43:09 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

1/4" DR DRIVE INCH LBS POUND MICROMETER CLICKER TORK TORQ TORQUE WRENCH TOOL

$24.95
End Date: Friday Dec-20-2019 16:26:38 PST
Buy It Now for only: $24.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Set of 3 Pro Reversible Click Type Torque Wrench Sizes 1/4", 3/8", 1/2"

$54.25
End Date: Thursday Jan-2-2020 17:41:03 PST
Buy It Now for only: $54.25
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

The Ryobi RY40620 24″ 40 Volt Hedge Trimmer Is Excellent – Seriously Portable Cutting Power

I told you about my very positive experiences so far with the Ryobi RY40230 String Trimmer in my last post. I bought a RY40620 24″ 40 volt hedge trimmer at the same time because it made a lot of sense to me to buy the whole hedge trimmer kit from Home Depot for $169 vs. spending $129-149 for a spare battery alone.

The box arrived beat up with the battery missing. The unit was undamaged and when I called Home Depot’s customer support number they shipped me a replacement battery right away. I don’t know what happened but I used the battery from the string trimmer and ran the unit without any problem. I was impressed by their customer service – they could have run me in circles but instead moved quickly to do what I asked of them which was to simply send me the correct battery that was missing. No hassle at all. I appreciated that.

I also bought the unit because we previously had a Black & Decker Hedge Hog that did a great job but required an extension cord to work and I wanted to get out to our hedge rows to trim them vs. just the bushes by our house. I also wanted plenty of power because a lot of the branches were 1/2-3/4″ thick.

My experience with the 40 volt Ryobi unit is very good. It came fully assembled and has a ton of power. It’s a tad heavier due to the battery but is well balanced. It will chew through 1″ and even slight larger branches no problem.

One feature is that it can rotate the battery relative to the blade 90 degrees either left or right. I have not needed that feature but it does give you some additional clearance.
I should have taken before and after photos. I am largely done here. The unit made very short work of this hedge. All of the branches were well under a 1/2″. When doing trimmer work, I have not drained a battery yet.
You can see part of the far hedge row. If I could get a branch into a 1″ cutter slot, the hedge trimmer would cut it. It was pretty amazing. I used to do this manually with pruning snips and it took forever. With the Ryobi, I walked along while swinging the unit up and down in arcs and quickly cut back a ton of brush.
This side too. You can’t tell all the brush I cut back here. This isn’t a traditional hedge – more like an overgrown part of our property between us and neighbors,

So, I’ve now used the unit probably 4-5 times to trim parts of the property and probably use it for about a 1/2 hour at a time. No problems – I do lubricate the bar with a spray dry Teflon lubricant just to help it out. Ryobi does not say this is required but I do it anyways.

I’m very impressed by this hedge trimmer and have no reservations recommending 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.


The Ryobi 40 Volt RY40230 Brushless String Trimmer and RYTIL66 Cultivator Are Amazing

Getting ready for this season’s outdoor chores on our 1.5 acre property, I had some decisions to make. For the last two years I had been trying to live with an anemic 18 volt string trimmer that was way, way underpowered for what I needed. I bought it after an old Homelite my father-in-law bought be in 1998 finally gave up the ghost after years of repairs.

The 18 volt Ryobi trimmer simply lacks the power for big lawns where you need to trim around lots of trees, tough to cut areas, etc. It has a single line and you have to make real slow thin cuts to get the work done. With my old Homelite,I had about 30 minutes of work to do on average and living with the old 18 volt Ryobi, it took closer to an hours and two batteries. It did have two things going for it – it was quiet and I didn’t have to mess with 2-cycle gas. So with this current season fast approaching, I started reading up on what to get and it really amounted to my wanting a far more powerful electric trimmer.

Enter The Ryobi 40 Volt RY40230 Line Trimmer

I did quite a bit of reading and opted for the Ryobi RY40230 line trimmer for a number of reasons:

  1. It was 40 volts and the motor had far more power based on all reviews
  2. It was brushless meaning the motor design did not require spring loaded brushes to transfer electricity that wear out and brushless designs tend to have a lot of torque.
  3. It was a Ryobi and it came with a 5 year warranty. Folks, I’ve had good luck with Ryobi battery operated tools.
  4. It used 0.80 line with two strings protruding
  5. Reviews were very favorable
  6. For $199 it came with the trimmer, a 3.0AH battery and a charger
  7. It was expandable – if you look at the Ryobi series of 18 volt and 40 volt tools, they are expanding rapidly. I needed a hedge trimmer also – they had one. I also wanted a light cultivator – they had an attachment that would swap right onto the base trummer.

I took a leap and bought both the edge trimmer and the hedge trimmer. I bought the hedge trimmer because it came with a 40volt battery and charger also. I knew I needed a second battery so rather than just buy a spare battery ($129-149 depending on the capacity) , I bought the whole hedge trimmer kit made way more financial sense (it was $169 with a 4.0Ah battery).

Here are the major parts from the string trimmer. Assembly went very smoothly. The first thing you should do is pull out the charger and start the battery charging while you assemble the rest.
Here it is ready to go, It comes with line already installed in the head plus they give you some additional pre-cut pieces and a winding handle for loading the bobbin.
Here’s a closer look at the business end.

The Test Bed

We have a small garden area that is fenced it. Cutting the grass in there just would kill the 18v Ryobi. This was my first test with the 40v model and as you can see – the grass was about 4-6″ high.

The 40v model would either cut this to my satisfaction or get returned.
Boy, it kicked butt. I saw no power difference between the 40v Ryobi and my old Homelite from years ago. For all I could tell, it was just as strong or stronger. I could cut right into the tall grass and a nice regular pace. I was happy. This also meant buying the cultivator head was worth doing to tackle the old overgrown planting bed on the left.

Folks, this brushless trimmer is dong a great job. I’ve now used it for half the summer and have cut a ton of grass with it. I’d say I get 30-45 minutes from one battery but that depends on how thick the grass is and it’s a best guess also since I cut and move, cut and move, etc. I’m glad I have two batteries as I run one until it is drained and swap it for the other.

Next, let’s talk about the cultivator attachment they offer for it.

The Ryobi RYTIL66 Cultivator String Trimmer Attachment

A few weeks passed before I ordered the cultivator attachment from Home Depot. The string trimmer was doing great on our property so when it came time to tackle that garden bed, I drove over to Home Depot and picked the RYTIL66 attachment up. They do sell a dedicated 40 volt cultivator but since I already had the powerful brushless motor unit, it made more sense to just get the attachment.

When I first opened the box I thought assembly would take a lot longer than it actually did.

It looks daunting but the four steel tines (the wheels that cut into the earth) slide right on and are held in place with supplied cotters keys. The replacemnet handle goes in place of the plastic original. I like that handle so much I just leave it on the unit even when not cultivating.
There is some kind of synthetic felt washer that goes between the tines. Note the holes in the axle, you can run 2 tines, 4 tines or whatever you want. I started with all four.
All four tines installed.
To change heads, loosen the grey locking wing nut and push the silver detebt in. The head pulls right off. Put the new one on and tighten it down – done.
I’m getting started. The head uses a ton of power. I went through about one and a half 4.0ah batteries to do the area that was about 4’x18′ long and I tilled down about 3-4″
Here’s what it looked like after about 30 minutes of work. It did the deepest tilling when I pulled the untit backward. I then went through and removed all the roots that it dug up with a rake. We now have tomatoes planted in there.
Other than losing some paint on the tines, which is totally to be expected, the head and the motor held up just fine.
I liked the handle so much that I use it when trimming too.

The cultivator rocks. Growing up my dad had a big heavy one from Simplicity. Due to its weight, it could really sink down in and tear up the soil. The Ryboi unit is relatively heavy but you still need to do some pushing and pulling to get it to work. It really did a good job given its weight, portability and that it attached to the existing line trimmer shaft and motor. I feel it was worth it and am glad I bought it.

The Bottom Line

The 40 volt string trimmer is totally worth it. The brushless model is considerably more expensive but it ought to last a lot longer and be more powerful. Now that I have used it for half the summer I can say it does a great job. I used the cultivator the one time but I used it hard for half an hour – even my wife was impressed. It’s stored in the shop for the next project.

I’ll post about the hedge trimmer next. It’s also done a very good job and held up 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.


The EZRed MR34 Extendable 3/4″Socket Wrench is a Beast With Two Quick and Easy Tweaks

I have both SAE and Metric 3/4″ socket sets that come out once or twice a year when I am working on big bolts on cars and trucks. As you may know, the longer the wrench, the more torque you can apply. Back when I was younger would would slide a piece of pipe or heavy wall tube over a ratchet or breaker bar to get even more mechanical advantage. We definitely snapped some socket wrenches while doing this as we exceeeded their design specs.

You see, a ratcheting socket wrench has limits as to how much torque the mechanism can handle before something either bends or breaks. Quite often, the rathchet pawl would bend/crumple and no longer be able to engage the teeth of the gear. When that happens, we’d toss the cheap wrench.

This is why breaker bars were made by the way – they have no ratcheting mechanism and, thus, can handle more torque. There’s one problem though, there are times where you can’t get the breaker bar into position because you can’t turn the handle relative to the socket. So, what is a person to do when they need a ton of torque and a ratchet mechanism?

The short answer is to get a wrench with a long handle that is designed to handle a ton of torque. A ton of companies make socket wrenches with longer handles. I have a couple of these but what I find really handy are wrenches with extending/telescoping handles. When you are working in a relatively tight space, you may not have room for the fully extended handle or you have need to work it into position before you can open the handle.

The EZRed MR34 Wrench

So, when I need a ton of torque and mechanical advantage to help me get there (I’m at the age where I need to work smarter because my body doesn’t support harder any longer 🙂 – I break out the wrench I affectionately call “The Beast”. It is a beautifully made and chromed giant 3/4″ ratchet wrench.

The wrench is sold in the US by a firm called “EZRed” with a lifetime warranty and, like many things, is actually made in Taiwan. When you do some digging around, there are a lot of guys using this wrench for heavy equipment, farm equipment, trucks, steam pipes and more. After reading about the real world experiences with the wrench, I ordered one in.

Here is the wrench closed and you can see it is about 24″ overall.
Here is the MR34 fully open and about 40″ long overall.

The first things I noticed was that it’s a big wrench even without the handle extended. Next, it’s a heavy wrench and weighs in at about 8.5 pounds. I have to be honest, I don’t usually pay much attention to looks but the chrome finish is gorgeous.

Pull the collar down and a detent is released that allows the handle to telescope out. The handle then locks into position in the next available hole. The locking feature is definitely nice.

I use this for 3/4″ sockets and also have a SunEx 3/4 to 1/2″ reducer for those times I want to apply a ton of torque to a smaller bolt.

Here’s the wrench with a SunEx 3/4 to 1/2″ adapter.

So far, I am very happy with the wrench. As you can tell, I haven’t used it a ton yet but for the few quick jobs so far, it worked great.

Two Big Tips

A fellow recommended apply Blue Loctite to the head screws and grease the wrench while it was open. He was spot on – the screws were surprisingly lose. Even though they have blue thread locker on them from the factory something seems odd and guys have reported losing the screws. I really think if Ihad not followed the fellow’s advice I would have already lost mine as well – they are that loose.

The screws come out and then the head is very serviceable. You can see the two pawls and their springs plus the selector in the middle. What you don’t see is any lubricant! I must say I am a bit surprised.
You can see the faceplate and the 24 tooth geared head.

So, I used a brush and lightly applied SuperLube grease to everything, reassembled the wrench and put Blue Loctite on the two head screws before tightening them down. The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes start to stop including taking the photos.

If you ever need it, the EZRed sells a rebuild kit – part number RK34.

Summary

I really like the wrench. It’s worked great so far but I really haven’t done anything super stressfulso far – just breaking some very rusty 1/2″ diameter carriagle bolts free off my plow. It’ll definitely get used this upcoming summer a lot more.


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.


EZ Red RK34 Head Kit for MR34 Monster Ratchet

$22.54
End Date: Friday Jan-3-2020 7:30:58 PST
Buy It Now for only: $22.54
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

EZ Red RK34 Head Kit for MR34 Monster Ratchet Excellent Quality Free Shiping

$31.74
End Date: Monday Dec-16-2019 11:47:46 PST
Buy It Now for only: $31.74
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

E-Z Red MR34 3/4" Drive Extendable Monster Telescoping Ratchet New Free Shipping

$92.99
End Date: Wednesday Dec-25-2019 7:16:09 PST
Buy It Now for only: $92.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

EZ Red 3/4 in. Drive Extendable Monster Ratchet MR34 New

$93.29
End Date: Sunday Dec-8-2019 11:38:17 PST
Buy It Now for only: $93.29
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

EZ-Red MR34 - 3/4" Drive Telescoping Monster Ratchet

$97.50
End Date: Saturday Dec-28-2019 6:55:44 PST
Buy It Now for only: $97.50
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

EZ Red 3/4DR EXTENDABLE RATCHET EXT TO 40 INCH MR34

$110.95
End Date: Friday Dec-27-2019 7:17:23 PST
Buy It Now for only: $110.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

EZ Red 3/4" dr Extendable Locking Shaft Ratchet, 24" to 40" Long #MR34

$116.19
End Date: Saturday Dec-28-2019 19:08:49 PST
Buy It Now for only: $116.19
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

EZ Red Monster 3/4" drive Extendable Ratchet, 24" to 40" Long #MR34

$124.49
End Date: Sunday Dec-22-2019 11:03:22 PST
Buy It Now for only: $124.49
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Ez Red MR34EA 3/4" Drive 25-39.75 Long Extendable Ratchet

$125.82
End Date: Wednesday Jan-1-2020 16:21:36 PST
Buy It Now for only: $125.82
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

EZ Red 3/4 in. Drive Extendable Monster Ratchet MR34 New

$125.89
End Date: Tuesday Dec-10-2019 14:27:59 PST
Buy It Now for only: $125.89
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

REPAIR KIT (EZR-RK34)

$35.62
End Date: Sunday Dec-22-2019 15:26:41 PST
Buy It Now for only: $35.62
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

E-Z Red RK34 REPAIR KIT

$39.36
End Date: Friday Dec-20-2019 19:16:51 PST
Buy It Now for only: $39.36
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

3/4" Replacement Head Kit E-Z Red RK34 EZR

$38.41
End Date: Friday Dec-13-2019 11:56:20 PST
Buy It Now for only: $38.41
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

3/4" Replacement Head Kit EZR-RK34 Brand New!

$32.93
End Date: Sunday Jan-5-2020 17:51:51 PST
Buy It Now for only: $32.93
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Victor Silvester & His Ballroom Orchestra: You're Dancing On My Heart (CD, 1999)

$16.99
End Date: Tuesday Dec-10-2019 16:29:21 PST
Buy It Now for only: $16.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Do It Yourself Cold Weather Mechanic Work Gloves That Are Insulated But Still Allow You To Work

Here’s a quick tip for you when you need to turn a wrench outside except it is really cold but you still need to feel what you are doing or can’t wear bulky insulated work gloves.

What you need to do is real simple – put on nitrile gloves first. This layer next to your skin insulates and protects you from both the wind and your hands getting wet. This is a big deal when there is snow. The second layer is your regular thin mechanics gloves. I have several brands of work gloves but Mechanix is probably the brand I use most followed by Ace.

I meant to write about this last year but forgot. Yesterday I had to work on my plow and it was +9F. The above worked great. Of course there is a limit and I don’t want anybody getting frostbite so use your common sense and play it is safe it is super cold.

At 9 degrees Farenheit, holding steel tools and moving metal parts around is a recipe for frostbite. It was this kind of work last year that led me to experimenting with putting Nitrile gloves under my thin Mechanics gloves.

I buy boxes of 5 mil Nitrile gloves whenever they go on sale at Harbor Freight. I think the sale prices tend to be around $5.99 and there are 100 in each box. I use a ton of them with my plastics work but also when working on cars. Any brand ought to work but I think the Harbor Freight gloves are a great deal when on sale.

I settled on 5 mil thick gloves because thinner ones fall apart very easily and thicker ones start to be bulky and mess with your sense of touch. I tried both 7 and 9 mil gloves before going back to 5.

I like 5 mil. It’s neither too thin nor too thick in my opinion. Note, they are meant to be disposable so you may or may not get more than one use from them.

The outer gloves are just basic Mechanix brand gloves.

I literally snapped this photo on my way out to work on the plow in 9 degree snowy weather.

I hope this little trick helps you out! I set up some Amazon product links for you below this post in case you would like to buy gloves.


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.


The Rise of Useless Reviews on Amazon – Read Before You Buy

Amazon is really cool. I can get good deals on stuff and have it delivered to where I live. The problem is that I used to historically look at the number of reviews and the average score to determine if something was worthwhile or not. A pure math approach of looking at the numbers is not working any more and let me tell you why.

I’m noticing a lot of reviews where people give 4 to 5 stars without really using the product. I don’t know if they feel they need to report right away or just what but you will read stuff like “it looks good” or “it feels good” and nothing about the actual use. I suppose it’s better than nothing but not by much.

Also, some merchants reach out and correct problems then ask the buyer to revise the score. You know, I’m cool with that. A friend of mine recounted the story of being hounded – email after email – from the seller to change the score. So, you need to be aware of this too – I’m not a huge fan of wasting time troubleshooting stuff – I want it to hit the ground working.

Recommendations

Again, the basics are true. Products with no reviews are very risky and less than 30 are still risky but you are starting to get a safety margin. However, you must dive deeper to learn what folks are saying.

What I am finding is that you need to read the reviews and:

  • Look for people who actually used the product and are reporting back.
  • Look for trends – was the product great and having more and more problems or vise versa?
  • Look out for tons of edits where people post that they have revised the score after the vendor sent a replacement. Why was this necessary? I could understand a few but not a lot and definitely not a trend.
  • Be sure to click on the number of reviews right under the product name so you can see the breakdown of scores and even click on the number of stars to read the reviews. So, if you click on “1 star” you can read those reviews.

Fortunately with Amazon, they give great customer service and I can’t guess how many times they have made things right over the years. I think a lot of folks have a level of comfort with Amazon now and I also think you need to use the tools they gave us to make a better purchase decision.


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.


Be Careful With the DBPower 1200A Portable Jump Starter For Your Car or Truck – They Will Not Hold a Charge Long

In August 2016 I bought a DBPower 400A DJS10 Peak jump starter amd found it handy. At the end of August 2018, I bought two of the bigger 1200A portable jump starters. I was busy and the units sat until some time in November when I tried to charge them. One was dead on arrival and would not charge no matter what method I tried (USB or their supplied charger). I contacted the seller and they were cool about immediately shipping a replacement. I charged it no problem and put both in our cars as a “just in case” measure.4

So, fast forward to February 1, 2019. Michigan was in the grips of an arctic freeze with ambient temperatures ranging from -8 to -12F and windchills under -20F. It was this way for two days. On the first, I went to start my wife’s Camry for the first time in several weeks and the starter could barely turn a few times before the solenoid clicked. The battery read 11.17 volts.

I thought myself lucky that I had the foresight to buy the batteries as I would not have to move my truck around to jump start it or run an extension cord out to use one of my Noco Genius chargers. The DBPower unit had been in the card and it was about +9F at the time. The whole point of these things is to store them in the car, right? It was fully charged when I put it in there.

Guess what? The DBPower read “Lo” voltage on the LED display when I turned it on and tried to charge the battery. It didn’t help the cart start at all. I was pissed. These things were $72.99/each. I felt like I had wasted a ton of money on junk. That is not a good feeling.

So, I decided to run an extension cord from my shop and hooked up my big Noco Genius G2600 charger to the battery and set it to the 30 amp quick charge setting that runs for five minutes.

This time around, the story ends a lot better – the car started right up. My wife used her car to run errands and I let it charge all last night with the normal charging cycle on the Noco.

4/16/19 Now, DBPower did make things right and replace both units and told me I have to change the units every two months to have reliable power. If you open a unit up, you will find out they have Lithium Polymer (LiPo) power cells. These can hold a big charge and discharge quickly but they lose the charge as they sit – typically in about two months.

12/6/19 update- still working just fine as long as I keep them charged.

Bottom line, if you get DBPower jump starters for your car, plan on charging them every two months. Don’t make my mistake of charging them once and thinking they would be good to go all Winter. Now that I’ve had the DBPower and the Noco jump start unit, I’d recommend the Noco.


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.


NOCO GB40 Genius Boost HD 1000 Amp 12V Gas/Diesel UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter

$99.95
End Date: Saturday Dec-21-2019 5:18:32 PST
Buy It Now for only: $99.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NOCO GB70 Genius Boost HD 2000 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter

$198.95
End Date: Sunday Dec-15-2019 11:37:28 PST
Buy It Now for only: $198.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NOCO Genius G3500 Battery Charger

$59.95
End Date: Tuesday Dec-31-2019 6:53:19 PST
Buy It Now for only: $59.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NOCO GB150 Genius Boost Pro UltraSafe 4000 Amp 12V Lithium Battery Jump Starter

$299.95
End Date: Saturday Dec-21-2019 5:19:13 PST
Buy It Now for only: $299.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NOCO Genius Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12v New updated version Thin clamps

$96.00
End Date: Saturday Jan-4-2020 12:38:51 PST
Buy It Now for only: $96.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NOCO GENIUS5 (G3500) 5 Amp Smart Battery Charger Maintainer Desulfator

$69.95
End Date: Friday Dec-13-2019 5:04:21 PST
Buy It Now for only: $69.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Noco Genius G750 .75 Amp UltraSafe Battery Charger and Maintainer 6

$29.95
End Date: Tuesday Dec-24-2019 11:31:53 PST
Buy It Now for only: $29.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

NEW NOCO GB70 Genius Boost HD 2000 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter

$178.00
End Date: Saturday Jan-4-2020 14:52:19 PST
Buy It Now for only: $178.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

The Tekton 1/2″Torque Wrench is Affordable And Accurate

Folks, if you do much work on cars, trucks or fire arms, you are going to need a good enough torque wrench. This Tekton 1/2″ unit is pretty decent. There are over 2,300 reviews on Amazon with an average score of 4.4. You can only get this kind of score if you have a good product.

This wrench is affordable, has a decent degree of accuracy (+/-4%) and a very nice wide range of 10-150 foot pounds of torque.

It’s a “clicker” style meaning you dial the torque setting and the wrench will “click” audibly, plus you can usually feel it as well, when you reach the specified torque.

There is one thing you need to remember with any “clicker” style troque wrench – be sure to reset the dial to zero torque before you put it away.  If you don’t do this, the spring will relax over time and not be as accurate.


[amazon-element asin=”B00C5ZL0RU” field=”desc”]


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.


How to Safely Change AR Muzzle Devices and Barrel Nuts Using a Magpul BEV Block

If you like working on AR-type rifles and plan to replace a muzzle device or change a barrel nut to install a free-floating handguard or to swap barrels, you are going to need to apply a lot of torque. Torque and aluminum are not friends and this is certainly the case with the upper receiver for AR rifles and pistols.

What not to do?

I actually want to take a minute and tell you two things not to do. First, do not simply clamp your lower in a vise and go cranking on whatever on the upper. Remember that the upper is connected to the lower by two steel pins going through relatively soft aluminim. Not a good combination.

Number two, there are work fixtures that look like a rectangle that allow you to remove the upper from the lower and then pin the upper to this block that is then held by a vise. I’m not fond of this either because then your two aluminum connection points on the receiver take up all the stress and they weren’t designed to do so.

Please do not do either of those or you may regret it. The odds are that you will regret it. I word it this way because you may get by once or twice but these methods are risky so don’t do them.

So what do I recommend?

At this point, it comes down to two options that engage the barrel extension, which can handle the torque of any AR upper operation you may need to perform. The first is the Geisselle Reaction Rod. It’s pricey but it does the job and you can get a relatively good price on an AR tool kit from them on Amazon.

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B01F48QSDK”]

The second approach, which is what I use, is to secure the upper in a vise using a Magpul Barrel Extension Vise (BEV) block. It’s a very well designed block that engages via the barrel extension with its own steel lugs that are designed for strength but also to not harm the extension.

This is the top of the BEV block. You can see the front engagement lugs, the rear protrusion is for the bolt carrier and I would recommend keeping that O-ring oiled. The hole just under the front lugs is for a cross pin to secure it to the upper.

The BEV block uses a bolt carrier with the bolt removed to further secure it in the upper. You could remove the bolt from the bolt you normally use. I have a bolt carrier body that I keep in my toolbox for just this purpose.

The following photo shows it partially inserted in the upper.

This next photo shows it fully forward with the bolt carrier assembly installed. It does not have a cross pin installed at that point. Even without the pin it can handle the rotation stress. The pin just keeps it all in position and is not load bearing.

At this point you are good to go to change muzzle devices, barrel nuts or whatever else you may need to do without risking damage caused by torque. It’s a solid tool and I highly 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.


Magpul BEV Vice Block Armorer's Gunsmith Tool - MAG536-BLK - New Genuine

$48.49
End Date: Saturday Jan-4-2020 6:07:34 PST
Buy It Now for only: $48.49
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Magpul Industries BEV Block Accessory, Block Tool MAG536: MAG536-BLK

$47.45
End Date: Wednesday Dec-18-2019 10:33:37 PST
Buy It Now for only: $47.45
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Bev Doolittle WOODLAND ENCOUNTER Matted & Framed with Original Artist Signature

$899.99
End Date: Sunday Jan-5-2020 17:25:40 PST
Buy It Now for only: $899.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Bev Doolittle TWO INDIAN HORSES Matted & Framed with Original Artist Signature

$899.99
End Date: Thursday Dec-26-2019 15:37:46 PST
Buy It Now for only: $899.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Bev Doolittle WOODLAND ENCOUNTER Matted & Framed with Original Artist Signature

$899.99
End Date: Monday Dec-30-2019 5:47:56 PST
Buy It Now for only: $899.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list