Category Archives: Fixing Stuff

Replacing The Fuel Spout On An Eagle SP-5 Galvanized Steel Gas Can With One That Works Great

I have a really nice Eagle galvanized steel can that I bought new back in the stone age. Over time the rubberized nozzle started cracking at the base and I kept building it up with RTV silicone until I decided I better buy a new nozzle. Why did I bother? First off, the old Eagle cans are excellent – mine must be pushing 20+ years old. Second, new cans suck thanks to the EPA mandating the bizarre nozzles that you see that are simply horrid to work with. In short, I didn’t want to throw out a perfectly good can and needed to find a replacement nozzle for it.

The first thing I tried was to buy a universal spout kit off Amazon and it didn’t match up to the Eagle’s 1.75″ threaded mouth. So, I had to do some digging – what I should have done in the first place. Turns out there was an eBay listing for an exact replacement for an Eagle can *but* it was $16.95. Well, I figured the can was in such good shape that spending that much on a gamble was worth it.

The replacement cap and nozzle arrived and the first time I put it on I really had to press down on the cap to get the threads in the cap to catch the threads on the can. It’s easier now and my best guess is that the material the spout was made from needed to compress some … whatever it was, it fits okay now.

Here’s the new spout and lid on the can and the old brittle broken one at the bottom. Click here for the eBay listing of the replacement I am using.

So, if you are interested, the one I bought is from Rotopax, is made in the USA and is on eBay – click here for the listing. Now, my old can is back in use.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Add A “Thumper” To A Blast Cabinet And More Than Double Your Productivity!

Okay, Ronin’s Grips started making Yugo M70 grips sometime around 2004 and rapidly added models – the challenge was that I hand polished each and every one of them. It took a ton of time, handwork and was putting my carpal tunnel through the roof. Jeff Miller of HillBilly Firearms told me to abrasive blast the grips for a better grip and a heck of a lot less handwork. I was sold – I had to change something. Jeff also gave me a few tips – get a foot control to protect the seals vs. being in the cabinet with all of the grit, put transparency film on the window of the unit to make it last longer and he told me to get a “thumper” to make the grit settle.

Well, way back in the day margins were super thin so I bought a large bench top abrasive blast cabinet from Cyclone Manufacturing in Dowagiac, MI – they are about an hour from my shop and I could pick it up along with the foot control, I got a box of transparency film either from Amazon or a local office supply store, but I had no idea what a “thumper” was or how important it is to productivity.

Fast forward to about a month ago. Abrasive blasting used to take me a while – blast, hit the cabinet or manually move the material around in the hopper, blast some more, whack the cabinet or move the material around … it gets old. It took me years to realize that this really sucks but blasting was so much better than polishing that I didn’t think much about it.

So, a “thumper” is basically and industrial vibrator (insert joke here) that uses an electric motor in a housing with off center weights on the shaft that then vibrate like crazy when the motor runs. I guess you could call it the power of Amazon but one day I was scrolling through Amazon and a suggested item came up – a concrete vibrator – and it looked like a small motor in a housing. I had 25 Galil grips I was going to blast and all of a sudden I remembered Jeff’s advice.

Okay, the power of a vibrator with a blast cabinet is that the vibrations cause the grit to shake down to the lowest point constantly. You can blast and blast and blast. The unit was $118 with free delivery and I figured I would give it a try.

It shipped from the importer, not Amazon, and showed up a few days later – it was pretty quick as I recall. The unit was very well made other than my needing to tape up a plastic junction box on the power cord that was a little cracked and I needed to attach a 120 volt plug – it was one phase and they said about 40 watts so nothing special. The machine label says – 110V, 1 phase, 40 watts, 3600 RPM – the little thing totally kicks butt and was only $49.

Here’s a close up of the label – note it says 40 watts. There are bigger units but I don’t think you need them for an abrasive blaster.

I didn’t put it on the blaster right away because I wasn’t really sure how violent it would be and I am glad I didn’t – it vibrates like you would not believe – there is nothing subtle about it – and I immediately realized two things – 1) I was going to mount it on the free standing tool bench and not the plastic blast cabinet walls or it would eventually shake loose and 2) I needed a variable speed control to tone it down some.

Try #1

Okay, so sometimes you just have to poke fun at yourself – or at least I do. I marked the bolt holes on the 3/4″ plywood bench top and mounted the vibrator. I then plugged the power cord from the vibrator into the speed controller, the controller into a surge strip and turned it on at full speed.

I wish I had a before photo or a video of what happened next but I don’t. Every single thing on that table started vibrating right off of it. Yeah, all the grit went to the bottom on the blast table but the blast table was headed to the edge of the bench too. Whoa! I hit the off switch.

Try #2

I simply took some strips of plywood and added a cradle around the legs to limit travel. That worked. Time to try blasting some stuff.

Here’s the vibrator.
Here’s the speed controller.
Another view of the strips to limit travel. Everything on the floor had been on the workbench before I turned the vibrator on the first time 🙂 By the way, the 3/4″ plywood top is screws into the stands it is on.

Actually Blasting

Folks, it is night and day different – stunningly different. Because I don’t have to stop and whack the side of the baster or reach in and move grit around, I’d bet I’m getting work done 2-3 times faster. A bench top blaster doesn’t have a very deep bottom so without a thumper, I spent a lot of time moving grit over to the pick ,up.

Another fun lesson learned. Over the years, I’ve developed the habit of putting my chin on the plexiglass as I focused on doing the work. Don’t do that. I put my chin down on the vibrating plexiglass and it felt like someone was playing the tambourine with my teeth 🙂

Those are two IMI Galil grips getting blasted. What an amazing difference.

In Conclusion

This is one time I can honestly tell you that I have one regret – I should have done this years and years ago. Wow. It was worth it! I’ve used vibrator and speed controller both extensively for a little over a month and it’s a great combo. I don’t use the slowest speed but I am closer to the low end on the dial than I am the fastest speed.

Note, I got lucky with my first purchase. I really wasn’t sure what size to buy but the 40 watt unit has worked great. I can’t imagine anyone needing a bigger unit for a blast cabinet. These generic industrial vibrators have all kinds of uses including for the movement of powders, grains, rock, etc. so they sell bigger and more powerful ones as well.

I’d highly recommend this to anyone who has a ton of blasting to do and is getting tired of having to stop and manually move grit around.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Use Dupont Ceramic Dry Film Lubricant In Your Steel and Aluminum Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun Magazines To Smooth Their Operation

Firearms box magazines all work the same – a spring is pushing against a follower that is then pushing the ammunition on the direction needed. The follower is often pushing against at least one wall of the box magazine and dragging. This can be especially bad with steel and aluminum magazines making loading the magazines more tedious and even cause problems with feeding. It begs the question – how can I lubricate the inside of the magazine?

The knee jerk reaction is to put oil in the magazine to lubricate things. I’d recommend against this course of action because the oil will trap dirt and eventually can start causing sticking and jamming.

I’d recommend that you use a dry film lubricant aerosol instead. These sprays on and then the liquid evaporates off and what is left in place are thousands of particles that are slippery. I do not recommend any of the dry films that include a wax – like chain lubes. The wax may trap dirt as well over time.

Don’t spray anything in, or on, a plastic magazine without first checking with the manufacturer. Some plastic magazines are self-lubricating and don’t need any additional lubrication. Also, when spraying any solvent (which is basically what the dry film particles are floating in) on plastic, you risk the plastic getting gummy due to a chemical reaction – this depends on what plastic they useed. My recommendation is really for steel and aluminum magazines.

A Quick Side Note About Teflon

Up until a few years ago, I used to like Teflon, which is what Dupont, the owners of the trademark call it. Teflon was discovered by Chemours, which was a spin off from Dupont, in 1938. If you see someone selling “PTFE” – that is the generic name for Teflon. By saying their product contains “PTFE” then they don’t have to pay royalties to Dupont or risk having Dupont sue them.

So, Teflon and PTFE were selling great and then people started worrying about the safety of people eating Teflon, Teflon in the environment and so on. I’m not hear to weigh in on this but whether it was concerns over marketing, lawsuits or just the pandemic, the Dupont Teflon Aerosol Spray went on hiatus for the longest time.

In late 2021, it re-appeared but with a different formulation. The new spray uses a ceramic now and not Teflon. I corresponded with Hank Krause the president and CEO of Finish Line Technologies – the group that actually markets the spray. I was concerned about the change in formulation because the Dupont spray had been excellent before. Want a quick way to test this?First, spray some competing dry films on a black plastic surface and see how some of them actually leave very little residue. Also look at how evenly the distribution is. Not all are the same.

I think this photo says a lot. On the left is the original Dupont spray with Teflon. In the middle is Super Lube’s Dry Film and on the right is CRC’s. This is why I swore by the Dupont dry film for years. The CRC was dry film was going to be my fall back once I ran out of the Dupont Teflon.

Nano-Ceramic Boron

At any rate, Hank told me that they have moved away from Teflon to Nano-ceramic boron nitride particles and I told him my concern that I didn’t know whether to change to a new dry film technology I knew nothing about. Hank told me the new formulation used thier same propretary technology for binding the particles to the surface and the following are benefits of the new ceramic technology over Teflon (I will copy and paste his list verbatim):

  • Helps extend life of the lubricant, thus delivering longer relubrication intervals
  • Provides enhanced lubricity
  • Provides better extreme pressure capabilities
  • Increases the high temperature operating range of the lubricant
  • Provides better resistance against chemicals
  • Helps repel water and moisture more effectively

So, based on Hank’s assurances, I ordered in some cans of the spray and started testing them. The residue looked very similar to the Teflon test above – the ceramic dry film residue is also white.

The black strip is the shiny side of a piece of Kydex. I included the cans in the photo. The Dupont sprays put down the thickest coat. Interestingly enough, the CRC left a very fine film. I couldn’t find the SuperLube product – I may have tossed it – I’m not sure.

In terms of lubricity, it does the job just as well and maybe even better than the Teflon. While this may seem subjective, the lubrication seems very good with one solid spray of the ceramic both in the tube of the magazine and on the follower. Any over spray wipes right off with a rag.

With the ceramic spray, feeding rounds by hand into the magazines and unloading all feel very smooth. Bear in mind that this comment is after hundreds of loaind and unloading cycles by your’s truly.

Our new second generation followers for our RIA 9mm magazines are converted from OEM followers with the final step being fine sanding paper. It’s my speculation that the ceramic particles are getting into the tiny grooves of the follower and providing excellent lubrication.

At any rate, I am very happy with the new Dupont Ceramic Dry Film aerosol for use inside firearm magazines and wanted to pass along the word. Going forward, we are using the Dupont product in all of our steel magazines that do not already have an anti-friction coating (AFC).

By the way, I cleaned out a bunch of IMI Galil magazines that I bought and you could tell there was a bunch of friction going on in the mags between the parkerized tubes and followers – the parts hadn’t worn in yet by any means. With the mags disassembled, I sprayed in a heavy coat of the Dupont Ceramic Dry Film in the tubes and sprayed both the followers and springs, let them dry and re-assembled the mags — wow! What an amazing improvement.

Note, the Amazon listing is a bit confusing. I think to try and get traffic they started selling the ceramic forumla from the same listing they had for the Teflon formula. So, you will see a photo of an aerosol can that says “ceramic” but then in the text of the listing you will see mentions of Teflon – it is the ceramic formula that they are selling now.

I hope this helps you out.

We make a variety of magazines for the 10mm, .40 S&W and 9mm Rock Island Armory (RIA) FS A2 pistols. Click here to see them.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Troubleshooting A Pride Mobility GoGo Elite Traveller Scooter’s Power Problem

My mother-in-law is getting older and so are my wife and I. Let me tell you, It was a lot easier pushing around a wheelchair 10+ years ago compared to today. With this in mind, my wife and been watching for a good deal on one of those little electric mobility scooters. Finally, one day she saw one posted on Facebook at a local thrift store so we want and took a look.

The owner of the store buys abandoned storage units and a Pride Mobility Elite Traveller scooter was in one of them. It looked to be in great shape but it wouldn’t run. He could turn the on/off switch and a light would come on the little dashboard but that was it. He said he tried charging it for an hour but nothing happened and thought it was the batteries — this is a great example of someone giving you their diagnoses and then that affects what you do.

At any rate, it came with the original Pride Mobility charger so I figured it was probably the batteries and did a quick search on them and replacements ranged in price from $51-89/pair. With this in mind, we settled on a price of $250 and brought the scooter home.

Here’s the GoGo Elite Traveller scooter. It’s remarkably well made. I was impressed the minute I started critically looking at the fit, finish and serviceability.
Note: Pride Mobility puts all of their manuals online. I really appreciate it when firms do this. You can get the brochure, owner’s manual, specification sheet and more on their website – click here. Just FYI: They do not provide a repair manual or technical guide.

A few days went buy before I could work on it. The first thing I did was plug the charger into the wall, then the cord direct to the power pack, turned on the switch and the little red power light came on. The charger’s second indicator LED was supposed to turn yellow that it was charging. It did not – it stayed off. Also, the cooling fan never started. Hmmm…. interesting but I had run into problems before with smart chargers not starting if batteries were dead.

Now, this mistaken assumption cost me some time but I learned a lot in the process that I’ll share.

Removing And Opening The Battery Compartment

Based on what I saw, the engineering and build quality of the scooter was excellent. I’ve seen people driving them around but never had the need to look at one up close or take one apart. Everything is built heavy duty with reliability and resiliency in mind not to mention they put fuses all over the place to protect the electronics. With that overview comment done, my focus was on getting to the batteries because I thought that was the problem.

The battery pack is the black plastic “box” with a molded handle directly underneath the seat on the floorboard of the scooter and is held in place by a tab of 3M Dual-Lock fasteners on each side. Dual-Lock is a stronger than traditional velcro and it does a great job of holding the battery compartment in place both for the sake of safety as well as to prevent rattling.

To remove the battery box, lift straight up – there aren’t any bolts or clasps – just a combination of weight, the way the pieces fit together and the Dual-Loc. If you try to lift at an angle, you’ll be surprised how it will not want to budge – straight up is what you need to do.

That black molded plastic object with the handle in front of the silver set mast is the battery compartment. It comes off the scooter by lifting straight up. FYI – the white label on the seat mast has the date of manufacture.
Between the way the compartment sits into the molded floorboard and the 3M Dual-Loc tabs, the unit is very secure.

The battery compartment is very well made and to disassemble it, you need to remove six philips head machine screws. This is just an example of where I thought the design and execution was excellent – these are threaded machine screws that go into brass female inserts on the other side – they didn’t just go cheap using some self tapping screw. You flip the compartment upside down and remove the screws. The batteries are held securely in place by Dual-Lock also.

The 12 Volt Batteries Themselves

I’m going to step you through some details on the batteries but I did not change them yet. I’d recommend you read this whole post because your “problem” may or may not be the batteries.

Our scooter is powered by two 12 volt 12 amp hour batteries wired in series to provide 24 volts. In the compartment is a wiring diagram and everything is done very nicely to avoid confusion – red wires to positive tabs on the battery and black wires to the negative tabs on the battery.

These are the 12 volt 12 amp hour batteries that are hooked up in series to provide 24 volts. If you look to the right of the silver plug, the two red wires white plastic connector is on a fuse assembly that protects the charger circuit that you will want to check and the far right side has a circuit breaker that is also worth checking. Pride says they can go up to 6.7 miles depending on factors such as the weight of the passenger and cargo. Note how everything is so well labeled, the wiring is very neatly done and they even provide a handy wiring diagram above the left battery. Whomever designed and then built this cared about what they were doing.

For those of you unfamiliar with direct current (DC) batteries, these two batteries are hooked up in series to produce 24 volts. This is done by connecting the negative terminal of one battery to the positive of the other and then the opposite as well. In the scooter, this is done at the wiring block in the middle. You don’t need to worry – just note the wires when you take it out (a photo helps) and do a battery at a time – black wire to negative and red wire to positive,

Note, there are at least two sizes of batteries used – their standard battery pack is rated for 6 miles and uses two 12 amp hour (Ah) batteries. There is a 9.7 mile bigger 18 amp hour (Ah) battery and it correspondingly uses a bigger cabinet so if you decide you are going to replace your batteries, confirm what is in your battery compartment first. You can change cabinets – or even buy entire battery packs ready to go. From what I have seen, the cheapest bet is to just buy the batteries and swap them out in your existing compartment. I also see batteries with other capacities like 15Ah and over 20Ah, I’d recommend you confirm that their physical sizes will fit whatever battery compartment you have.

Troubleshooting the HP8204B Charger

The batteries hold the charge that runs the scooter but they must be recharged by using a battery charger. I should have checked this first but didn’t because I assumed it was the batteries but let me step you through what I did.

I put a voltmeter on each of the 12 volt batteries and they both read just a tad over 4 volts. So, not absolutely dead but boy were they spent. In doing automotive work, I would have expected the smart charger to sense the voltage and begin. Okay, something was fishy and it wasn’t adding up. It was time to look at the charger again.

The scooter came with a Pride Mobility HP8204B charger rated for 24 volts DC at 5 amps. That would mean that if I took my meter and put it on the pins, I should read somewhere around 28+ volts (the exact volts is an “it depends” – I would have been cautiously happy with anything over 24 and stopping somewhere around 30).

This is the original charger. Only a solid red light would come on. That indicated it had power. The cooling fan never turned on and the second LED that should turn yellow for charging or green for fully charged never turned on.

I used my multimeter on the batteries with the Pride charger connected. Only the red bulb on the charger was lit. No fan, no yellow light and no additional voltage detected on the battery terminals. I should have read 13-14 volts when doing the positive and negative tabs on each individual battery with the wires connected but I read just the 4 volts (by the way I word it like this because it was 4 and some decimal but I didn’t write down.)

The fuse you can see outside of the battery pack between the plug and a circuit breaker on the front of the battery pack looked fine and tested okay for continuity.

In looking at the battery pack, I unplugged the pin 1 should have been positive and pin 2 should have been negative. I cautiously touched my probes on the two tips because I didn’t want to unnecessarily short the system out by accidentally touching positive and negative together. Guess what? Nothing – not a thing. My auto-ranging digital meter was doing it’s usual millivolt reading garbage but there was no real voltage coming through.

The next thing I did was to turn off the original charger and remove the fuse from the end of the charger with the lights – undoing the round cap will produce a glass tube fuse. You can usually see if the wire running from one end to the other in the middle of the clear glass is intact or burned out. It looked okay and just to be sure I ran a continuity test with my meter and it was okay.

I also pulled apart the plug that goes into the battery pack just in case something was lose and it read zero volts too. In case you are wondering why there are three pins (I wondered why) – pin three provides voltage to the scooter so the little computer knows the charger is still attached and will not let the driver move the scooter – pretty good idea.

Okay, it was time to Google the scooter and the charger to learn more. The fact that only the red light was coming on but not the fan and/or the yellow charging light was making it look the the charger had failed. I did the “sniff” test to see if I could smell if anything had burned out but if it had, it must have been some time ago as I didn’t detect anything. In short, the charger was history.

There are tons of charger options on Amazon but I want to caution you against the little sealed chargers. They do work but they are going to get hot and they will probably fail at some point due to all of that heat. There’s a reason Pride went with the a fan cooled charger – they get hot converting AC (wall outlet) current to 24 volts DC (direct current).

Companies like Pride rarely make their own chargers. They will either use an existing charger on the market and not bother covering up the name of the maker or they will pay for it have their brand name on the decal. Pride opted for the latter or at least that’s what I think they did. The trick to realize here is that by searching on HP8204B, you can find either the original maker or another firm who did the same thing – had their name put on the charger. Regardless, you can save a bundle off a new Pride charger.

In my case, I found a seller named “ENCAREFOR” on Amazon selling what seemed to be the exact same charger but with the label “High Power” on it. Besides the label, the rated output is at 4 amps vs. 5 which means it will just charge a tad slower. It was going for $89.99 with Prime One Day shipping but I held off as I realized I needed to test the batteries and the scooter before I spent more money. In other words, I knew the charger was bad but didn’t want to spend more money if the scooter itself was burned out – if it was just the batteries, I could still order them.

By the way, you can buy used OEM Pride chargers off of eBay. I’ve had mixed experience with used chargers in general so I tend to just buy new. If you don’t mind gambling on a used one, they are on eBay.

Used a Noco Genius Car Battery Charger For Testing

At this point I was pretty sure it was charger and also thought that the batteries might be okay. Why? First off, there is a sticker on the mast pole of the seat that said the scooter was made in 2019 – that meant it was three or just under three years old (especially given I was doing my troubleshooting in mid-February 2022). Batteries can last maybe five years give or take. If the voltage was zero, I’d bet they were junk but since I was getting just over 4 volts from each battery independently, they weren’t completely dead. I started to wonder if a good reconditioning and charge might work to bring them back to life. I had just the charger to try.

I’ve written in the past about Noco products – I think they are great and I use mine regularly. Not only are they excellent smart chargers with a number of safeguards built in but they can also recover/recondition deeply discharged batteries as well. My big Noco G26000 can do 12 or 24 volt batteries but since I was planning on a battery at a time, I just needed the 12 volt option. Indeed, I have three Noco Genius chargers of varying sizes (meaning the amps they put out) and they all could have done the job although the smaller 5 amp charger would have likely taken longer.

Any 12 bolt charger can do the job provided you charge the batteries one at a time.

I undid the battery cables from the first battery only and directly connected the Noco to it. I charged for one cycle and then ran a repair cycle. During repair, the charger pulses the battery to desulfinate it.

Don’t let all the wires intimidate you. I hooked the plus (red) clamp of the Noco to the plus (red) terminal of the battery on the left, I then hooked the negative (black) clamp from the Noco to the black terminal of the same battery. I have a small voltmeter that clamps ,on attached also so I could monitor progress — that’s strictly optional.

Results

When the charging was done with both batteries, I connected the scooter’s cables back and seated the battery back into its cradle. I then turned the key on for the scooter and moved it forward and backward. It worked just fine. I checked the batteries and the voltage was holding – it wasn’t dropping down.

This is what I wanted to see — the batteries were fully charged. I drove the scooter around the house and the charge never went down. I also learned that scooters are bizarre little things to drive – their turning is like sitting upright on sensitive go cart.
Other than the decals and the lower 4 amp output, the new “High Power” charger looks identical to the Pride unit. Note, I’d opened the front of the unit up to inspect the inside — the front panel is what is dangling in the bottom left of the photo.
As soon as I plugged in the new charger and turned it on, the red power light and yellow charging lights came on.

By the way, the charger’s fan will make a pulsing or surging sound as the speed changes as it nears the end of charging. This is normal and will give you an indicator that charging is almost complete.

When the scooter’s batteries are fully charged, the yellow light will turn green. The fan will make a pulsing sound as the charging nears completion.

Bottom line, the batteries and scooter were fine – it was just the charger that had failed so I ordered the replacement above from Amazon and it topped off the batteries. I drove it around the house some and everything was working just fine.

In Conclusion

So I learned a few things. The scooter was exceptionally well made is my first comment. Second, I should have started from the wall and worked towards the scooter vs. focusing on the batteries to start based on what the fellow told me.

I should have confirmed power to the charger, then that there was no power from the charger to the scooter and ordered a new charger. I’d bet a new charger could have recovered the batteries – they documentation says they can recondition a battery but who knows. Even though I started with the battery, at least I could run the Noco charger through charging and repair cycles – I’ve used it to recover a number of really compromised batteries over the years.

The scooter is ready and now we need to wait for warmer weather to let my mother-in-law practice in the driveway. I hope this story helps you out.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


How to repair a broken brake light lens with a 3M film you can buy at a car store or Amazon?

Okay, it was late the other night and I was tired. I backed up my 2021 Ram 2500 and heard the truck hit something. “Crap” I thought as I remembered my Western plow was disconnected and sitting on the ground in the area where I was backing up. Well, I hoped I had just nudged the plow frame with my rear bumper but when I got out, it turned out that one of the lights on the plow frame had busted out a golf ball sized part of the passenger side red brake light lens – it was a good thing I was going slow at least but what to do?

If you notice the scuff mark on the back edge of the light, that’s what hit the passenger side tail light and busted the lens. I’m definitely glad I wasn’t going fast.

Well, first I have to tell you I felt pretty stupid. I literally forgot the plow was back there but then my next thought was “how do I fix this?” It was about 11:15 at night, 9 degrees out and snowing. If there’s one thing I have learned about myself, it’s that my patience is gone when I am tired and that was the not the time to try and fix something. I didn’t want the light assembly to get a ton of snow in it so I just lightly stuck some duct tape on it and work on it the next day.

Looking For A Quick and Easy Fix

First thing I did was to get online and order a new right side tail light assembly (68361714AD for my Tradesman) and that will take some time to come arrive – I literally ordered it yesterday morning and am waiting as I write this. At any rate, I needed to apply a temporary fix to the busted lens. In college, I’d used a red self-adhesive tape to “patch” a busted brake light. I figured I would do something similar because I wanted the lens closed and also you can get a ticket for having either a white light showing from a brake light or an inoperable light. The other thing was given the weather and supply chain problems these days, I wasn’t sure how long I would be waiting for the replacement light assembly so off to Autozone I went.

Autozone carries two type of repair kits both from 3M – one was a roll of red colored translucent tape ($4.99) and the other was a semi-rigid red translucent film ($8.99). I opted for the latter because I could cover the hole without seams and figured it would blend in a lot better. Now I have not used the 3M tape but the one I used in college 30+ years ago faded in the sun and didn’t stick to red hot so I just wasn’t that gung ho on it but I will tell you that my general experience with 3M is that they turn out top notch stuff so I am sure it would have been better but I went with the film and not the tape.

3M High-Strength Red Lens Repair Film 03441

The package has a 3.75×7.75″ piece of thick red film. It’s stiff but it will bend and 3M says it measures about 6-6.5 mils (1 mil =1,000th of an inch) thick. For example, if a credit card is around .03 inches thick, it measures 30 mils to give you an idea.

This is the front of the package in case you are hunting for it.
I read and followed the instructions.

As you can see in the photos, it was snowing and 16 degrees out when I did the repair. I cleaned the lens real quick with 409 – a general purpose cleaner. I then wiped it dry and brought over the film and a pair of scissors.

The break in the lens had a slight curve so I worked the material around in my hands to get the basic curve I needed and trimmed the material so it could sit flat on the surface. I then removed the rear backing materials and kept pressure on it while working out air bubbles. I figured it might need the heat of my hands to both stay bent and to bond so I did this for 1-2 minutes. For some reason, after I applied the patch was when it dawned on me that I did not take a photo of the hole – why? I have no idea.

Here you can see the hole covered with the film. I have a pretty good seal except for at the bottom where all the cracks are. There’s a raised ridge there that the film cant conform to so I called it good enough and stopped there. I figure this only needs to last maybe 2-4 weeks but wanted it good enough that it can go longer if need be.
It was definitely snowing and cold. This is a piece of film left over after the patching so you can see it.
The lens cracked but did not come apart of the top right side. If you look close you can see a rectangular piece of film I stuck there just to make sure the track doesn’t get worse.
You step back a few feet and you can’t even see the film. I checked the bond the following day and it feels like the film has really bonded to the lens. I’m genuinely impressed.

The Results

I’m surprisingly happy. I didn’t know for sure if it would work but it’s holding up just fine and from a distance you wouldn’t even know it is there.

If things change, I’ll be sure to post an update but so far, so good.

2/19/22: Still holding up just fine. Nothing has changed at all – adhesion and color are just fine. I’m still waiting on the Mopar parts dealer to send me the tail light assembly. Thanks to the film I’m not in a rush and it looks just fine from a few feet away – you wouldn’t even know it is there.

2/19/2022 – still holding up just fine a week later. No sign of the plastic film letting go from the base tail light lens. It’s solid. We’ve had weather ranging from snow and 12 degrees to rain and 15 degrees. It seems to be a solid repair.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Looking For A High Quality 5-Gallon Gas Can? Check Out Wavian

I’ll keep this post short and sweet. A couple of my many-year old plastic gas cans are getting brittle and I needed to replace them. Some years back I bought some steel Chinese ones off Amazon that are doing relatively okay other than starting to rust a bit inside – I looked it up and I bought them in 2014 for $54.50 each so that’s not too bad. I wondered what some higher quality options might be so I did some digging and came across Wavian.

Honestly, when I saw their name I assumed it was some cheap import but then started reading more. Wavian cans are made in Latvia and they are a NATO supplier. After getting mine, I can tell you they are the highest quality cans I have seen since my dad’s old surplus cans from WWII or Korea.

A Bit of History

The “Jerry Can” design dates back to 1937 created the Vinzenz Grügenvogel, the chief engineer of Müeller engineering in Schwelm, Germany. An interesting design requirement of the Wehrmacht-Einheitskanister was that a German soldier needed to be able to carry two full cans or four empty ones hence the size and triple top handle design.

There’s a far more complete historical narrative on Wikipedia including what America did if you are interested – click here.

Fast Forward To Today

Folks, these are really nice cans. At any rate, they have some cool features and I just want to highlight the ones I noticed and want to share:

  • They are rated for 20 liters which is actually 5.28 gallons of gas
  • The color you choose, I picked red, is powder coated on and a nice deep color and is gas resistant
  • The welding and assembly is excellent – cheap cans use tack welds that do let go.
  • The steel body is 0.9mm (which is 0.0354″ and puts it a tad thicker than 21 gauge (.034375″ 0.873mm)). Cheaper cans use thinner metal.
  • There is an internal coating to protect the steel – I doubt you will see this in a cheap can – it’s not present in my Chinese cans.
Leave it to the EPA to screw up easy to use gas can spouts. At least Wavian tried to do what they could with the mandate.
The cap closes very securely and the cadmium colored pin you see locks it in place. The pin itself is flared on the far end on purpose so it can’t be accidentally removed all the way and lose – that’s a nice design detail I think.
Brand new Wavian on the left – cheap 8 year old Chinese can is on the right. In all fairness, it’s held up for holding gas but I don’t really transport gas in it. The Wavian is built like a tank.
Here’s a close up of the Chinese can’s filler tube, It’s discolored with age but it works. The con is the it does flip-flop around when you are trying to start pouring. Again, it’s held up being outside all year long so I can’t knock it too hard.

The negative is that they come with a God-awful EPA compliant nozzle. I absolutely hate any nozzle where I have to pull something back and hold it back while trying to hold a can with up to 33.8-37.7 pounds of gasoline in it. Folks, I am 54 and it’s not that easy any longer. At least Wavian tried to do what they could with the mandate. In many cases, if you can push the spout into a filler port on a vehicle, the pressure would keep the spout open but not all gas tank filler ports are shaped that way – for example it will not work on my lawn tractor or generator that both have horizontal gas tank filler ports.

So, I did spend the extra money for a more traditional steel goose neck nozzle that does not have all that EPA stuff on it so I can manage holding and positioning the can with both hands and let the nozzle do it’s thing. By the way, it’s not like Wavian really has a choice – they are mandated to supply a self-closing nozzle but at least they can still sell the aftermarket nozzle.

The EPA-compliant spout is on top. The optional spout that you can buy separately is on the bottom and far easier to use. I will install the longer spout when and where I need it vs. leaving it on the can.

Note, growing up my dad had the old style Jerry cans and kept his nozzles separate from the tanks. I’m going to do the same thing. I’ll grab the nozzle and the gas can I need when it’s time to pour gas.

So, do I like the Wavian can? Absolutely – I just bought a second. If you are looking for just about the best can out there. Get a Wavian. I’ve not seen a modern can even remotely close to this level of quality. I bought both of mine and the fill spout from Amazon:


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Still Nuking Mosquitoes and Ticks With Talstar and The Ryobi Power Washer

A reader dropped me an email and asked if I am doing anything new this year for mosquitoes as he read my past posts. I’m still very happy with the effectiveness of the Talstar insecticide plus the combination of the Ryobi 120350 Power Washer and 10-gallon tank strapped to a dolly continues to work fantastic.

Here’s the full write up I did last year about the combination – click here.

I hope everyone has a great summer and be sure to nuke the bugs before they get to you 🙂


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Used DryLok To Stop Brick Spalling And Sealed a Chimney Cap

Our home was built in the early 1970s and someone decided to use same relatively soft red brick at the threshold of the door as the rest of house’s exterior walls. I noticed in the fall of 2020 it was really starting to spall – meaning the brick was starting to flake apart. This happens when water gets in, freezes, expands and causes parts of the brick to crack and split. The above photo gives you and idea of what it looked like.

I did what I normally do – I started reading about how to stop spalling brick. The consensus was that sealing the brick before spalling started was the best approach but you know what – that really didn’t help me much because I already had spalling going on but the core of the bricks was intact.

Let me tell you something – there are a ton of brands of masonry sealer and based on the forecast, my procrastination was forcing me to get something applied within three days of cold weather really setting in. This meant and I had to rush and get something on-hand at a local store.

The closest hardware store to me is Ace so I want to the section where they had masonry sealers and started googling and reading reviews of each one that they had in stock. Again, I was pressed for time so I had to move. What I wound up buying was UGL DryLok Floor and Wall Masonry Sealer.

This is what I bought.

I got home, read the instructions, cleaned the brick off, put down a piece of cardboard to catch the drips and applied it fairly thickly with a painbrush taking care to daub it into all of the corners. The stuff seriously reminded me of Elmer’s Glue but not such a bright white.

This is the second coat. I applied the first coat the day prior and I took care to make sure I worked the sealer into all of the cracks.
I literaly laid down on my side and worked the sealer into every crack – including where the masonry was gone. I did this for both the first and second coat.

I let it dry overnight and then applied the recommended second coat . After drying, the bricks had a “wet” look to them – they were slightly darker and shinier than before but they appeared sealed. So, I crossed my fingers and hoped it would at least make it through the winter and I would plan a new approach if it failed.

Okay, I am now writing this in June of 2021, about seven months later and the DryLok worked. Not one bit of new spalling and even more surprising, the sealer looks the same. I can’t say that I see any wear in teh shiny finish. I guess now I will just wait and see how long it holds up.

THis photo is from June 21, 2021. No new spalling and the sealer does not show any sign of wear. You can see that the wet look faded as the sealer dried but the bricks are still slightly darker and shinier than the uncoated bricks. All of the bricks in this photo were coated by the way both the top protruding threshold and all of the bricks underneath it.

I Was So Impressed I Used It On Our Chimney Cap

A project on my list for this June was to seal my poured concrete chimney cap. It was starting show some surface cracks and when I ran my hand across it, I could feel loose grains of sand. It definitely needed to be sealed.

Guess what I used? I bought a gallon of the DryLok to do the threshold and only used a tiny amount to do it. I went and got the gallon and used over half of it applying two decents coats to the chimney cap and flue covers. We’ll see how long it holds up but I suspect it will be a few years at least given the threshold.

You want to protect the integrity of your chimney cap as it prevents water from running down into your chimney and causing the bricks to crumble. We replaced the original cap with this new one about 3-5 years ago and the sealer I applied then was long gone. I honestly don’t recall what I used.
That crack is what got my butt in gear to get up and seal the cap. As with the threshold, I applied the recommended two coats and I do put it them on iberally. It was scorching hot up there so the sealer dried fast but I still waited until the next day to put on the second coat.
If I can take an easy path I will. I noticed the caps to the flues were starting to rust so I sealed them as well. I was there … I had the sealant … it just seemed a lot easier than going down to the shop, getting black Rustoleum, climbing back up, etc. We’ll see how it holds up – that is a pretty brutal surface when you think about it – full sun and heat in the summer and full sun and cold in the winter … time will tell.

In Summary

The UGL DryLok Floor and Wall Masonry Sealer did a great job stopping the spalling of our front door’s brick threshold and it made it through one winter. Given how it performed, I just used it to seal our chimney cap and we’ll see how long it lasts there as well.

I hope this helps you out.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.