Tag Archives: repair

Fixing the Water Inlet Valve on a KitchenAid KRMF606ESS01 Refrigerator

Well, when I was little it seemed like fridges (“refrigerators” for people who prefer the full word) lasted an eternity. When we bought this KitchenAid KRMF606ESS01, I thought I was buying a top of the line quality fridge, but that’s no longer the case – appliance manufacturers don’t necessarily want them to laste forever because that means no more sales to a given customer.

A year after the warranty the ice maker stopped working and the service person whom I trust told me it would cost a considerable amount of money to replace the circuit board. So, strike #1 against the KitchenAid. Despite being “stainless”, the shell of the fridge rusts. Strike #2. Strike #3 is the topic of today’s blog post. The water inlet valve failed and leaked water all over our wood floor.

Let me set the stage – I went through the kitchen to my shop and when I came back in I saw wet footprints – my foot prints – from the floormat in front of the fridge to my shop door. ARGH! I was hoping maybe someone spilled water and didn’t clean things up so I removed the mat, mopped up the water with a towel and watched new water slowly emerge from under the fridge. Crap. I immediately wondered about the water lines on and in the fridge. The supply line was copper tube and it had looked great the last time I pulled out the fridge so I doubted it was that but I couldn’t ignore it either or it would ruin our real wood plank floor.

Turning off the water

Most fridge installers put a vampire tap on a water line to get the supply needed. In my case, I knew there was a tap under the house. We have a crawl space that isn’t bad compared to some that look like they are a scene from a horror movie but being a pretty big guy with a sore back I have to fold myself in half and do a crab shuffle over to where it is about 50-60 feet from the entrance. Short translation – it’s doable but I swore the whole way over to it.

See that far center column in the dark? Yeah, I was heading just to the right of that and swearing the whole time. It was way easier getting under there 25 years ago.
I don’t know if these things have a formal name – I’ve always heard them called “vampire taps”. They re put on copper supply like with a rubber gasket between the part of the saddle with the valve and the pipe. The two halves of the clamp are screwed together and then the handle is screwed down until the sharp end of the valve pierces the relatively soft copper. You then back the valve off (meaning turn it counter-clockwise) and water begins to flow through the supply line. So, with this in mind, I needed to close the valve which means turning the small handle you see clockwise until it stops thus closing the valve. I’ve needed pliers in the past to deal with hard turning valves and these things are also known to leak when you try to close them. I got lucky – it both turned easy and it shut the water off entirely just the way it should.

Confirming it was the inlet valve

In reading, there are a few ways these inlet valves fail – they can leak water on the floor but still work and dispense water, not leak but dispense water very slowly, or don’t work at all. I was 90% sure it was the valve given past experience with other fridges so the first thing I did was to pull out the unit.

If you have never pulled your fridge out before, let’s start here. See the plastic facia/cover below the door? That is just for looks and pulls off but you need to open the lower freezer door to do so. Note the rust on the “stainless” steel skin above and to the right of the KitchenAid logo. “Stainless” is a generic term and really the resistance to corrosion is dependent on the alloy used. Whirlpool/KitchenAid went with a cheaper alloy to save money so it’s not very “stainless” over time.
By pulling the freezer door open, the entire plastic covering is exposed and it literally just pulls forward – no screws or freaky little clips to deal with. They know folks will need to pull this off periodically (or they should) to clean the condenser coils under the unit. So, pull it off and completely remove it.
The fridge has four wheels to allow you to move it but if these small levelers are in use it will not want to move. Take a small wrench and turn the head of the bolt to retract the leveler on each side. The fridge will now pull forward. Peek in back to make sure you have enough water line to do so. The water supply line and the power cord will limit how far you can pull the unit out until you disconnect them – if you even need to. I never unplugged my fridge while working on it for example.
There was a real small chance that the supply line was loose so I tightened it just a tad and then hand my wife watch the valve for leaks as I went back under the house to turn the tap back on. It’s way easier and cleaner to do it with two people. So, I turned it on and she called down that water was going on the floor and I shut it off. The water started right under the valve and everything else was dry … my money was on the inlet valve was the culprit and it was.

Okay, the water inlet valve is a small electricslly controlled valve that is turned on and off by either the ice maker (that no longer works) or a person wanting cold water from the dispenser pushing their cup against the on-off switch. The valve body is made of plastic and that is what failed. The only saving grace is that the engineers put it at the back of the fridge and it is very easy to access and change – literally a 5-10 minute job. You can easily buy one online without spending a fortune.

To order parts for your fridge, you need to know the exact model number – in my case it was a KRMF606ESS01. You can find this info inside your fridge – in my case this sticker was on the inside top left of the unit facing down hence the camera angle is looking up.

I spent some time searching on Kitchen aid KRMF606ES01 water valve and found out that my fridge has two – one at the inlet (that I needed) and one inside that I did not so make sure you order the right part. The valve part number I needed was W10394076.

Direct from KitchenAid I could get the part for over $95.49. No, Whirlpool, I didn’t feel like spending a fortune by ordering it direct. I kept on searching and found it in the $70s then the $50s and then hopped over to Amazon and found it for $27.99 with free Prime shipping. It got great reviews and I ordered it on Saturday with delivery on Monday. Guess what – it was the exact same valve. Strike #4 for KitchenAid by the way.

I’m jumping the gun a bit but this is the sticker on the original that I removed from the fridge. Note the maker is Robertshaw and their part number was K-78282 with Whirlpool’s W1039476 part number indicated.
Same maker – Robertshaw – slightly different part number K-78282-AM — the suffix probably denotes some relatively minor changes. No Whirlpool part number on and and no ghastly markup either. It is an exact match otherwise.

Replacing the valve

First, make sure the water supply is turned off and have a container you can set the supply line in just in case it drops. I’ll step through this with photos:

get the the fiberboard back cover out of the way by removing the screws around the edges. Doing this gives you easier access and you can make sure there are no drips when you are done.
Always compare new and old parts to make sure they match. I have been burned so many times over the years that this comparison is automatic for me now – don’t assume anything.
I’d recommend moving connections one by one. Take one off the old valve and put them on the new one. Then again, you have three very different connections so mixing them up would be next to impossible. Do note the orientation of the electric connection and keep it the same. In this case, I am using the adjustable wrench to hold the steel bracket and a flare nut wrench to loosen the water supply line. Never use an adjustable wrench on flare nuts – if the jaws give you can round over the nut so at least use a fixed wrench or better yet a flare nut wrench.
The waterline in the bottom is connected via a “push-to-connect” or “push connect” ,fitting. Push the blue collar in towards the valve body while pulling the outlet water line away and it will come right out. Note where the white electrical wire is for reference. Looking at the valve from the back, it is on the left side.
This is everything moved to the new valve. I then put it in place and secured it with the original screws. Again, note where the white wire is at. I didn’t want to find out if it mattered which side was connected so I just followed the same wiring orientation on the new valve, Also, use the adjustable wrench to hold the valve body while tightening the flare nut.

And with the new valve unit installed and my wife watching everything, I headed back down into the crawl space and turned the water on. No leaks. She tried the water dispenser and it was actually putting out a larger volume of water also – our jet had always been on the anemic side.

So, I waited while she filled a few big cups of water and threw them out to purge the lines. She also didn’t see any leaks so I headed back up after a few minutes hoping my crawl space work was done … and it was.

I looked for myself and it was definitely a much stronger jet of water – it had never moved that much water.
After a half hour of careful monitoring for leaks, I sealed it back up. I then waited a few hours and double checked by moving it forward a tad and checking around underneath with a flashlight and no leaks so I slid it back in place. When you slide it back, make sure the power cord and water supply line do not get caught on anything.

With the fridge back in place, use the levelers if you need to – I don’t actually.

I didn’t get photos but the last thing I did was to use a long brush made for cleaning condenser coils to do just that. As lint and dust build up on the condenser it becomes less efficient, the fridge runs more and your electric bill is higher. The lint and dust there by the way because of an electric fan that is running underneath to help cool things off.

The last step is to open the lower freezer door and push the plastic cover back on the bottom. Done.


A week later and it is still running great. I hoped that the ice maker might start working again but no luck there. We bought am Aglucky counter top ice maker a few years ago that we’ve been very happy with.

I paid a premium for a supposed top-of-the line KitchenAid fridge and I don’t think the same level of quality is there. We have a Samsung fridge downstairs that has been flawless for us. When we replace this main fridge in the kitchen it may very well be a Samsung but it will not be a KitchenAid.

In the mean time, if you are having problems with your water inlet valve, I hope this helps you solve your problems and save some money.

3/2/24 Update: The new valve is still working great. We noticed we have more flow also – glasses fill faster. So, if you want to save some money, it’s an easy DIY repair that valve is still only $27.99 off Amazon.

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 in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Latex-ite UltraShield Driveway Sealer Has Limits – It Seals But Does Not Repair

My wife and I wanted to seal our 160 foot long x 12 foot wide driveway in 2022. My first thought was to use a service but they were sold out for the season by the time we asked so we decided to try and do it ourselves.

What I found out is that the old days of buying some liquid tar / oil based product are gone. You have to buy all these different products that are based on latex of some other chemical. You need one thing to seal holes, another for big cracks and the sealant. Okay, we have a big driveway and it is beat to hell, falling apart and really ought to be replace but we couldn’t afford it. So, what did we do? We took a gamble and the results are so-so but I learned a lot and want to share them because I bet they will help you regardless of brand or product you are using.

Getting Started

I did the math and bought a bunch of pails of Latex-ite UltraShield. What I did was I took the length of the asphalt portion of my driveway x the average width in feet. I then divided this by their average coverage ratio: 160×12/200=9.6 pails. I think I actually bought 10 pails at my local Home Depot but ecause my driveway was in such tough shape, I wound up actually using 14.25 pails for two coats.

There were areas where the old asphalt had crumbled and disappeared. I bought bags of Quickrete asphalt patch to fill in these places. I first broke out the old material into rough rectangles and dug down another inch.
This is the result – I used a tamper to beat it down as best I could and then sprinkled the top with sand so it wasn’t so sticky.
Our driveway was in tough shape – we knew that but were hoping to extend the life a few years. After we filled in the big holes – one of which you can see part way down.
My friend John had a good suggestion – heat up old pieces of asphalt with a ground torch and beat them into holes. So I did that in some places where missing asphalt caused a gap.
I read the Late-Ite Ultra Shield directions, watched several videos and new surface prep would be key. I burned off grasses and moss with the ground torch, sholved the grass back off the edge, blew it clear with a blower and then washed it – literally. That is my pressure washer – I went down the whole driveway and first applied Purple Power to clean and degrease it and then another pass with just water in the pressure washer to get rid of the cleaner. It was so clean you could eat off it … time would tell me I got it that clean in most places but not all.
The day before I flipped them so the solids would break free of the bottom and go towards the lid.
The recommend applying the sealer by going left and right with a squeegee – overlapping the last pass and pressing it into the asphalt.
When I got done it looked amazing. You can see all the still wet sealant in the cracks.
I then applied a second coat. The first coat used up each pail real fast due to the cracks. The second coat went much faster and each pail went further. By the time I was done, I had used 14-1/4 pails of sealant and the coverage comes out to about 134 sq ft/gallon if I am doing the math right.

The Results Six Months Later After Winter

I had a really bad experience once with a wood deck repair chemical that claimed to fix anything that looked awesome in the summer but then the wind literally blew it off in sheets during the winter. The deck sealer had glowing reviews that first summer and then got absolutely smalled with one and two star reviews at Lowest after the first Winter. My point is that I have been sitting on a ton of photos and stuff since last fall to see how it would actually hold up before I wrote this post.

The first thing I want to be clear about in fairness to Latex-ite is that they tell you over and over it is a sealant and will not fill big cracks. Well, even though I searched a ton, I ignored that. I shouldn’t have.

Latex-ite is basically a glorified black paint that dries and hardens on clean solid asphalt to seal it. Well, it looks brownish as you are applying it but it turns a nice rich black as it dries and cures.

One thing I learned is that where it can’t get a good grip, it peels up so a oily, dusty or dirty surface will not work. I tried to do my mother-in-law’s little short driveway in a rush and didn’t get it pristinely clean in all places so I can tell you it doesn’t stick plus I had a few on our driveway as well.

You also need to squeegee it in place to force it into cracks, crevices and pores but if applied too thick, such as in the tons of larger cracks on my driveway, it will crack, break down and otherwise slowly disappear.

In short, it is just a sealer and gives you a good looking new black coloring on your asphalt. It really is not a filler, glue or anything else in terms of fixing things.

The following photos show the difference between mid-September 2022 and March 2023:

Most cracks over 1/4″ do not have any visible selant in them. The black sealant is on most of the larger pieces – the brown tracks are where we drive and yes, the area is very wet every spring.
This view is bakc towards our house. The family who had the home built in the 70s had a concrete driveway poured closer to the house and asphalt from a certain point to the road. It was probably a cost savings move and the asphalt is neither very thick nor sitting on a very well prepared bed.
You can see how the sealant is breaking down into flakess and separating.
This is by one edge – it tells you that I didn’t get the drive way as clean as I thought in all places. Again, the sealer can’t bond to dirt so it will curl or float there and rapidly break down as you drive over it.


What I want to take from the blog post are some key lessons learned:

These new drive way finishes – all of them that no longer have oil/petroleum products in them – have limits so carefully read their instructions, application notes and reviews by others. If they say they can’t do something then respect that. My biggest regret in hindsight was trying to use the sealer to fill the cracks – it can’t and the maker said so.

Surface prep is key followed by applying two good coats with a squeegee. The Quickrete patch held up fairly well. The sealer helped keep it from falling apart during freeze-thaw cycles, something I have experienced multiple times in the past.

John’s idea of heating up asphalt pieces and beating them in place worked just fine – no surprises there.

What are my thoughts on Latex-ite UltraShield? Well, to be completely fair to them, the product performed as they said it would. If my driveway wasn’t in such tough shape, I bet it would have held up better. In places where it could get a firm grip on the asphalt it still looks good.

Am I going to use it again if I try to reseal the whole drive again? Maybe not. I would really like to find something that is more flexible given my driveway’s shifting nature but first I need to apply crack filler before doing anything else.

Does it look better than before I started all this? Yes, I think it does. Not as good as I would like but it is better. At best, I am playing a delaying game. We will need to replace that driveway at some point but if I can get another 5-10 years out of it then great.

Let me stress this one more time – regardless of brand or product, unless your driveway sealer or finish says it can fill cracks and gaps the sizes your driveway has, you will need to take care of them first.

I hope this gives you some food for thought.

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 in**@ro*********.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 Rebuild A Residential Diving Board

Have you ever been stuck between a rock and a hard place because you need to get something done but a vendor fumbles the ball … badly?  That happened to me recently.  We have a home made in the 70s and the pool is the same.  While we have replaced the liner a number of times over the years, it was the original slowly falling apart diving board.  We actually bought our home in 98 and the previous owner had put a 2x8x6 between the board and the spring to keep it alive.

Let’s fast forward to about a month ago.  We were getting ready for a family reunion to be held at our place so I got the pool ready for the summer and decided I better check the diving board.  Oh man, it was shot.  The fiberglass underneath had torn around the board it encased and there was just no way it was safe.

One thing I have learned about pools over the years is that you can usually find parts.  So, I new it was an 8′ residential diving board and the hole pattern for mounting it was 4.5″ on centers in the back and the front single hole was 36″.   I did some digging and  the hole pattern and distances from the back and sides corresponded with the SR Smith 8′ Frontier II board.

A number of vendors carried it online and the problem was that I needed it with only about a two week lead time before people started arriving for the party.  InTheSwim said they had it and it would arrive in time.  I used my wife’s card on the website and it wouldn’t go through so the website gave me an 800# to call.  I did, the lady told me it was a fraud screen, I approved a text message sent to my wife’s phone and the InTheSwim operator told me it was all set and I should get an email shortly.  She never said she resubmitted it … About an hour later, still no email so I called and I am pretty sure the same lady answered and said the order was fine …. in fact it was not.

After a week of no updates, I called and after confusion on their part, they found the order in limbo, fixed it and told me it would probably still make it in time.  Okay… I kept tabs on it and finally called and said I needed the board.  They told me it would not even ship until after the party.  I asked that they expedite it, that I would even pay for it and they said they had no way to do that.  I then told them in no uncertain terms to cancel the order.  If that reads like a rant, it should.  I hate it when a vendor fumbles the ball and literally does nothing to make it right.

I was left with two options – disappoint a bunch of relatives or figure out how to fix the board.  I decided to do the latter and I suspect this is the part of the post you really care about.

What went wrong with the board?

Many, if not most, residential diving boards have a fiberglass top, sides and bottom but the core is wood.  Through the in the fiberglass rotting wood was plainly visible.  I put the board on sawhorses, put the old supporting board underneath it and flipped the diving board over to access the bottom.   Again, the diving board was resting on the old supporting board – I new that if I didn’t support it, the odds were high that it might snap.  Once supported, I used a diamond masonry cutting wheel in my 4.5″ Ryobi cordless grinder to slice off the torn fiberglass to see what was going on.  I had a hunch that If I could salvage the top of the board, I could fix the bottom and I was right.

Important Safety Comment: Wear eye protection and a quality face mask (N95 or better) when you are cutting or sanding on fiberglass. You don’t want stuff getting in your eyes or lungs. I also wear gloves to protect my hands.
I used a masonry cut off wheel – in this case a diamond coated one – because the glass fibers can dull saw blades, etc.  Just about anything can cut open fiberglass – it just depends on whether you care about what is happening to the blade. 

Once I cut open the bottom that held the wood, I could see it needed to be replaced.  What was there were three pieces of wood and there was a cap on each end with nails that held it together.  Over the years as holes and cracks opened up, water got in and slowly rotted the wood.  I really wasn’t surprised when I went to lift the board off the spring – it weighed a ton due to the waterlogged wood.

The wood wouldn’t lift right out so I would prop it up and cut it with a small hand held Ryobi circular saw into thirds.  I used a small pry bar and lifted the sections out.  I didn’t cut all of the fiberglass out yet thinking that I might use some of it to make things stronger.  In hindsight, I’d now tell you to remove all of the hold fiberglass wrapping on the bottom -there was no need to save it.

Wood and Fiberglass

In a perfect world, I would have the exact same size of wood and better yet, treated wood, to replace the rotten wood.  I didn’t have time for wet treated wood to dry so I went to Home Depot and bought two 2x12x8 pieces of dry pine lumber.  One to go in the board and one to still support it even though it probably wasn’t needed.

I also stopped by the adhesives section of Home Depot and picked up two 1-gallon jugs of Bondo fiberglass resin and three packages of fiberglass cloth – if I had it to do over, I would have bought a couple more for complete overkill in terms of strength.  I knew I had a spare cloth at home so I had four fiberglass cloths total. I also bought a spare package of hardener just in case.

Here’s one of the jugs of resin.  Because I work with plastics, I had a large selection of mixing cups and stir sticks.  I used 32 oz cups and a half tube of hardener at a time.  I would mix them and then pour the contents into a second 32oz cup.  This is known as a double pour and reduces the odds of you pouring unmixed contents and making a mess.

Note:  The Bondo fiberglass system uses a polyester resin vs. true epoxy.  Polyester is cheaper than epoxy but not as strong. I’m pretty sure it will hold up and we’ll see over time.  I’m writing this post a week after our reunion and the board looks just fine – no cracks.

Cleaning Up The Board and Preparing It

With the wood out, I then removed all of the debris to get a better look at what was going on.  I removed almost all of the old fiberglass that was holding the old board – I now know I could have removed all of it.

Here I am scuffing up everything really good with 80 grit sand paper in my orbital IR 6″ sander.  If you want the fiberglass to bind really well, the surface must be abraded.  Just remember, if the surface is smooth and shiny, your adhesion is going to be bad.  A very abraded clean surface is ideal.
Here’s a better view of the center front hole and the big crack that went completely through the fiberglass top.  Note, after sanding, cleaning and degreasing, I closed all holes with black Gorilla tape before I started apply resin. Once again, I would remove all the old fiberglass that surrounded the board. Those vertical pieces you see would be gone.
Here’s a close up of the back two holes – they are worn open and stress cracking around them.
One more view of the big crack at the center.  I sanded the heck out of everything with 80 grit, sprayed down the inside with brake cleaner thoroughly to degrease it and then stuck big pieces of gorilla tape over each hole.  The diving board surface was ready.

Preparing The Wood

The wood was completely dry – let me stress that.  If you seal in wet wood, it will rot so make sure your wood is dry.

One thing I noticed with the rotted wood that I pulled out was that they had rounded over all of the corners/edges of the wood to not stress the fiberglass.  That made a lot of sense to me.  I put a 3/8″ carbide tipped round over bit in my trim router and rounded over the new board too and then sanded it with 80 grit sandpaper to prepare the surface for maximum adhesion.

The 2x12x8 boards were longer than the original so I trimmed them down.  I then used a round over bit on both and sanded them.  My plan was to embed one in the fiberglass but still have a support/buddy board underneath.  Note, I did not drill any holes.  My plan was to center the new pine board insert and drill the holes later.

I did test fit everything before I went to the next step.  You don’t want to mix up resin and get part way in only to find our boards are the wrong length.

Gluing The Board In Place

Okay, to close the bottom back up, I did it in steps.  For the first one, I mixed up 32oz of resin, liberally brushed it in the bottom of the board really thick.  I then clamped the ends and put weights in the middle to keep everything pushed together.  You need to have this planned out because once the resin sets, it’s game over.  I had the clamps and everything ready to go.

This falls under the “make do with what you have” category.  The blue clamps are really strong and are on both ends.  In the middle we have two brake calipers from a 96 Landcruiser and two full 5-gallon cans of gas.  The more pressure pushing the parts together and the adhesive into as many spaces as possible is what you want.

The next step was to put down the first layer of fiberglass cloth. I laid the cloth on top of the board and trimmed it to fit inside and just up the sides. I then mixed up a 32 oz container [don’t forget to do a double pour and use the right amount of hardener] and rapidly brushed it on very thick to the front area I was working on, applied the cloth and then another coat of Bondo on top. If you’ve not done fiberglass before, start with one section and learn. You want to get the cloth in place and wetted down with the liquid before it all sets. Also, have a bunch of nitrile gloves near by or you will get this stuff all over your hands no matter how hard you try. I wear gloves and have at it. I use my hands to rub the liquid into the cloth.

I did the front, the back and then the middle. If you need to stop, just sand the surface, blow it off and continue.
This is about the first half of the board. I let it cure and then sanded it before I applied more.

So I did the front, the back, then the middle. I used the full length of the cloths and overlapped at the middle. At this point, it was rock hard and I really wished I had just cut out all of the old fiberglass walls that surrounded the old wood. I thought it might make it stronger but then realized this wasn’t the case. I sanded again and cut my fourth and last cloth down the middle. I applied one length on the left and one on the right to strengthen those areas that still had the remnant walls that I should have removed.

Here it is with all of the layers applied. My next move was to sand and then paint it.

Drilled The Holes

Before painting, I flipped the board over, removed the Gorilla tape. The brownish color of the Bondo clearly showed me the old hole positions and drilled two 1/2″ holes in the rear and one in the front using the clearly visible filled in holes. I carefully pushed the support board under, clamped it in place and drilled it as well.

Painting The Board

To paint the board whatever color you want, use boat paint – what they call the top coat or deck paint. Years and years ago, I painted our board because it looked really tough and found out you had to add non slip grit to the paint or people would slide off. Yeah, there’s a story there about a teenager falling off so make sure you get the non-slip additive for whatever paint you buy.

I used Rust-Oleum’s Topside White for the board and a Ocean Blue paint made by Pettit for the trim. The only reason I went with the Pettit paint was that the local boat store carried it and Lowes didn’t have the blue colored Topside paint.

So, when you are applying this, do it in a well ventilated area, make sure it isn’t going to rain if you are outside (I was in my driveway) and follow the guidance carefully. One thin coat a day. If you try and do a thick coat or too many coats, the paint will not cure to a hard finish and stay in an odd tacky/smudgy state. I had this happen to me years ago because I’m not patient but I sure hard to learn patience with some of the specialty paints.

I did two coats of regular white Topside paint on the bottom to protect the fiberglass from UV rays (they really mess up plastics, epoxies and what not unless they are designed for them) and I applied two coats of the white with the grit mixed in on the top.

That’s two coats of white TopSide Paint on the bottom. I did NOT use the non-slip there.
I painted the top with the non-slip additive and didn’t worry about the old blue colored side paint.
It was hot out and even so, I let the top cure for a day before I applied blue painter’s tape to protect the top while I painted the side trim blue.

Painting The Pedestal and Support Board

While waiting for coats of paint to cure on the board, we removed the pedestal and spring unit, wire brushed it, sprayed it down with brake cleaner and sprayed on three coats of white Rustoleum spray paint.

We cleaned it and applied three coats of gloss white Rustoleum spray paint.
We painted the support board too. All I had was white spray Rustoleum at that point so that’s what I used.

Wrapping Up

We reinstalled the pedestal and spring unit first. I bought new stainless nuts and washers so it looked better.

We installed the pedestal and spring assembly first before the diving board. Have a solid surface to put the support board and diving board really helped. They are too heavy to move all at once … at least for me. My son helped – those are his feet 🙂
The board is held in place by stainless hardware” 6″ carriage bolts, 2″ fender washers, rubber gasket washers under the fenders on the top. On the bottom are regular washers , lock washers and nuts. Your hardware will depend on your board’s configuration and how thick it is. We salvaged the carriage bolts and I wire brushed the tops so they looked better but I bought everything else at Ace Hardware.
Another view.

In Closing

InTheSwim really damaged their reputation with me. On the other hand, this was done in a matter of days, cost us about $300 vs $800 (for the wood boards, hardware & paint) and all the kids at the reunion had a blast. So, problem solved — it worked out to our advantage actually. I’m curious to see how it holds up over time and I have high hopes given how it turned out and performed at the reunion.

One last parting shot.

If you have a diving board, I’d bet you could do the same and save time and money as well. I hope this gives you some food for thought.

7/23/2024 Update: where a number of kids used the diving board and it held up just fine.

6/15/24 Update: Just finishing opening the pool for the summer. The board is holding up just fine.

5/23/23 Update: Board is holding up great and we’re getting ready for another summer. I just inspected it yesterday – no cracks or any signs of issues.

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 in**@ro*********.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.

3/17/24 Update – still working. This appears to be a long-lasting fix. I’ve done nothing to it and it still looks just as good as the day I applied it. No color fading or coming loose. I’m even more impressed.

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 in**@ro*********.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 in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Recharging The R134A Refrigerant In A Glacer Bay VWD5446BLS-2 Water Cooler

Years ago we invested in a water filter unit that sits on top of a regular water cooler. This lets us have clean good tasting cold water – at least it did until about a year ago. My wife was the first to notice that the water wasn’t getting as cold and finally it got to the point where it was only just a tad cool first thing in the morning. Because this thing was older, my first thought was that it was low on refrigerant because we’d had this happen before with old fridges.

Refrigeration systems are sealed but over time the seals age and slowly the refrigerant leaks out. At some point, there isn’t enough left to effectively cool whatever it is in questions – a fridge, freezer or a water cooler.

So, step one was to pull the cooler out and look at the manufacturer’s sticker on the back. Glacier Bay is a Home Depot house brand – no surprise there. The refrigerant used was R134A – definitely needed to know that, which was nice because I keep R134A around for use on cars. The sticker also told me the unit was made back in September of 2014 — yeah, this thing was just over six years old and we bought it new way back when.

This is the manufacturer’s sticker off the back of the unit.

Note: If you need R134A refrigerant, go to your local discount car parts store. Odds are you can get a can cheaper there than mail ordering one.

Now there’s one thing I have learned – do some research on things that need to be repaired before you make the wrong assumptions and really screw things up. Boy, I’m glad I did that in this case because these small refrigeration units work at way, way lower pressures than a car or truck.

Watch this great video

What helped me out the most was an amazing video that a fellow put together about how to recharge small fridges. It was exactly what I needed to know and I only made a few small adjustments to his recommendations:

What I did

The first thing I had to figure out was how to get to the low pressure line to attach the bullet valve. While you may think to come at it from the back, which was my first thought, it will be a nightmare. It turns out that you remove the water tray by pulling it straight out and you are then looking at the one screw you need to remove to then pull off the front lower cover – voila – you are looking right at the lines.

Pull the water drip tray straight out and you will see that single philips screw in the middle. Remove it and then the front metal cover pulls off. You are then looking right at the low pressure line – it will be the one that is cool and/or wrapped in insulation.

I got my bullet valves off Amazon and you definitely need to back off the valve or it will pierce the line when you clamp it on. The gentleman mentions it in the video and I just want to reinforce you better make sure it is backed off.

This is the way the tap looks when I first disassembled it for installation. You can see the hardened steel point is extended. If you don’t first use the supplied hex wrench to back the valve out, this point will pierce your copper line while you are trying to install the valve and you don’t want that.
Seriously, this is a wickedly simple elegant valve. Everything you need to tap into the line is there with the exception of using sand paper or a brillo pad to clean any oxidation off the copper line where the piercing tap and the green rubber o-ring seal will go.

The line you need to attach the valve to has the insulation on it. I slid the insulation out the way, installed the valve assembly so it was just barely snug and then did the final positioning so I had easy access to the valve hex screw and could also attach the refrigerant line.

I moved the valve around until I found a good spot for it where I would have easy access to the valve screw where the hex head wrench is in the photo and also be able to easily get to the refrigerant line. Make sure your copper line is clean. I’d recommend using very fine sandpaper to make sure there’s no oxidation that will interfere with the seal.

The compressor was drawing a vacuum and it appeared to be working and holding the vacuum so I did not use a vaccum pump to draw down the whole system. For me, this worked.

The fellow mentioned these things run at 1-3 PSI on the suction side so I opted to slowly fill it until it was at 2 PSI. Note, I did purge my manifold line before I opened the valve so as to get rid of any air first.

Now when I say slowly fill, I would add a bit with the cooler’s compressor running and then wait a few minutes to see what happened. I did this over and over for almost 30 minutes until the pressure gauge read 2 PSI. Don’t try to do it all in one step.

This is the Master Cool model 66661 air conditioning manifold gauge set that I use on cars and the low-pressure blue side started with a low enough marked increments on pressure and vacuum to work. You can definitely use what the fellow has in the video – I just used what I had. The red hose was not needed in this case.
The blue gauge shows vacuum in inches of mercury (In Hg) colored green down in the lower left and then it switches to pressure in PSI in black above the 0. Again, you just need 1-3 PSI and I stopped at 2.
The cooler is working great once again and it’ll be easy to add refrigerant again if needed.

In conclusion

It’s been two weeks and the water cooler is still working just great. I have a spare bullet valve should I need it but other than those, since I already had the gauge set and the R134A, the repair didn’t cost me anything. Even if I had gone with complete repair kit, it would have been cheaper than having a repair person visit.

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 in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Running Your Garage or Shop Oil Lubricated Air Compressor in Cold Weather – below 32F

A fellow asked me the other day how I can run my shop Ingersoll Rand (IR) 2340 compressor, which is an oil lubricated 60-gallon compressor, in the winter in my unheated shop. The reason he asked is that as the compressor gets colder and colder, the oil gets thicker and thicker. The end result is that many compressors will not even start below 32F (0C) – the motor tries to spin the air pump, there’s too much resistance, the motor draws too many watts and trips the breaker… or burns out the electric motor. Because of this, many air compressor companies will tell you not to run your compressor when it’s below freezing. I’m going to tell you what I do and you can decide what works for you.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I just said that last part and it’s because I will not be liable for any problems you may have. I’m going to tell you what I do, or have done, and then you need to do some research, conduct some tests and decide what works for you.

Run synthetic oil – not conventional oil

The first thing I will tell you is to run a good synthetic compressor oil and not the basic Petroleum 30 weight oil that probably came with your compressor. I use Ingersoll Rand’s All Season Select Lubricant because I bought it in bulk a few years back. It’s pretty good but you do have other options as well. Note, it does need a crank case heater to not trip the 30A breaker my 2340 is connected to when it gets really cold (down in the teens or lower).

Another option is moving to the thinner 10W30 Mobil 1 Full Synthetic engine oil in your compressor. I did this some years back with a Husky compressor that I eventually replaced with the bigger IR unit I have today. Some guys go even thinner to 5W30 but I have a hard time recommending really thin stuff like 0W-whatever but there are definitely guys out there who do it on smaller compressors – I’m just saying that I would not do so personally. Note, we are talking about full synthetic oils here and not regular engine oil.

Regularly change your oil

If you have never changed your oil or don’t follow the maintenance schedule of your compressor and oil combination, you really need to. Contaminants and what have you can make it harder for the motor to turn the pump over – even in good weather let alone cold weather.

Run heating pads on your pump

A trick I learned some years ago for stationary compressors is to put one or two of the small oil pan heaters on the pump alongside the oil reservoir. I run one Kat’s 24025 25 watt heating elements that measure 1×5″ on each side of my pump. No more tripped breakers for me.

This is a Kat’s 1×5 25 watt heating pad. It has an adhesive backing to help position it. Clean the pump off first with brake cleaner so it will stick. I then add aluminum HVAC tape on top to hold it in place. There’s another one on the opposite side.
It has two layers of 3M 3350 HVAC tape on top to hold it in place and help distribute the heat into the crankcase. I’ve used a number of these aluminum tapes over the years and the 3M seems pretty reliable as long as the surface is clean,

Be sure to keep your tank drained

Condensation is more of a problem in the winter. The relatively warm moist air can condense on the walls of your tank and then go through your air lines causing your tools to freeze up. It usually happens when the weather really sucks and you need the tools the worst.

Start With No Load

One trick to try in a bind is to start with little to no load. In other words, empty the tank so the motor isn’t fighting both thicker cold lubricant and pressure in the line as well.

The thought process is that your bleed off valve that empties the line from the pump to the tank and to the pressure switch might be frozen up from moisture or bad/failing. For example, the switch on my IR 2340LF-V is a real cheaply made POS – I’m miffed about the quality and am not going to mince words about it. I’ve replaced it once already and as of this writing it’s starting to fail again about a year later after the last time and I already have a replacement on hand.

Also, one trick I learned from an old timer is to add more line or a reservoir between the pump and the tank so the motor can get a running start before it encounters resistance. Here’s a post I did some time back about that.


You definitely can run an oil lubricated compressor in the cold weather. It just takes a little planning and preparation is all. It’s my hope that the above gives you some food for thought and you can then research what will work best for you. You’ll notice that if you do some Googling around, you’re in good company with a ton of other folks trying to figure out what to do as well.

I hope this post 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 in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Replacing the Crank / Lower Bracket Bearings On A Schwinn GTX-1 700C Woman’s Bike – Model S5230

In the last post, I described changing the inner tube on my daughter’s bike and then finding that the crank was grinding. It was so bad that it felt like metal on metal. When we brought her home last year, I noticed the crank had a ton of play in it and had a grinding feel when turning and knew that meant the bearings in the crank/lower-bracket were bad.

I’ve not worked on the crank of a bike for probably 40 years – literally. I had a vague idea of what to do but some details have changed over the years and I had to do some reading. Given that I had to really dig to figure out what to do, I figured it was worth sharing this also in case someone else has “what in the heck is this?” moment with one of these Schwinns or a bike with a similar setup.

Here’s the bike upside down. I have it resting on a work table with the handbars clamped onto a wood working vise. A weird way to hold it but it worked. It just so happens the bike basket helped stabilize things.

I had to watch a bunch of videos and read some blog posts to get an idea of what to do. I thought “crank” applied to the whole assembly but it turns out the correct term for the innards is the “bottom bracket” and cranks just appear to the lever arms the pedals attach to.

Here’s the approximate sequence of what to do

I’m writing this a few weeks after doing the actual work but hope it helps if you find yourself in a similar bind:

Step 1: Remove the left and right cranks. They are pressed in place and I had to buy an actual purpose built puller to get them off. None of my generic gear pullers would work.

You remove the obvious bolt and then use a purpose-built puller that threads into the crank all the way and then tighten the center bolt to push the crank off. The Schwinn needs a puller that has 22mmx1mm threads made for a square crank.

Park makes two tools – the one I used and the one I bought for future use. I bought and used the CCP-22 crank puller but I would not recommend it. Both cranks were on so hard that I had to hit the handle with a dead blow mallet to get it to turn. At least for the bike I was working on, the integral handle wasn’t sufficient to remove the crank.

Here’s the Park CCP-22 crank puller in use. It did the job but the handle alone didn’t give me the torque I need.

After I got done with this bike, I bought a CWP-7 that they call the compact version but what is appealing is that it has a hex head that I will engage with a socket or impact wrench to do the job far easier, I wouldn’t recommend the CCP-22 unless you know the crank is going to come off easy.

Step 2: Loosen the lock ring. When you look at the bracket, you will notice it is threaded and goes into the frame. Securing it is a locking ring that is threaded and is tightened against the frame to apply pressure. You loosen the locking ring by putting a punch in one of the little “notches” and tapping the ring so it will turn counter clockwise. It will come lose and turn very easily. Just move it a few turns from the frame but leave it on the bracket – you do not need to remove it all the way.

The locking ring is the part with the little rectangular notches right against the bike frame. The first evidence of this think being whipped together is here. Look how “smashed” the notch is at about the 2pm position. Regardless, it came free quite easily.

Step 3: Remove the non-geared side of the lower-bracket. If you look at the photo above, you will notice there are splines radiating inwards on the bracket. You need to measure the diameter and count the number of splines in order to buy the correct size wrench to remove this part of the bracket. This one was about 31.5 mm inner diameter and had 22 splines. The Park BBT-22C tool fits these. There are many different sizes so you really to confirm this.

Here you can see my BBT-22 tool on the end of a big 1/2″ E-Z Red extendable wrench with a Tekton 1/2″ to 3/8″ socket adapter. I like to have plenty of torque when I need it. You can also see the dead blow hammer on the left that I had to use to beat the Park wrench to remove the cranks. You can also see the punch and hammer used to tighten and remove the bracket’s locking ring one one of the two bearing assemblies.

I used the above pictured E-Z Red wrench and BBT-22 adapter to remove the bracket, When the bracket came out of the frame, I kid you not, ball bearings fell out. What a mess.

None of the ball bearing assemblies were intact, there was no grease to speak of and the rusty sludge that I had to clear out of the frame had remnants of the ball bearings and the cages/retainers. There were literally no ball bearings supporting the crank axle/spindle. The axle was just turning directly on the ends of the lower bracket! No wonder she was complaining it was hard to pedal

Step 4: Remove the geared side of the bracket. This comes off very similar to the non-geared side with two exceptions. First, it is reverse threaded. Turn clockwise to remove the bracket on that side. Second there is no lock nut. The proper tensioning of the bracket is done from the non-geared side. By the way, if you maneuver the crank and gear assembly around a bit, you can leave the chain in the derailer.

Step 5: Thoroughly clean and grease the frame’s tube where the bracket was at. You do not want debris to get into your brand new bearings. I had a ton of crud to get out and then I liberally greased the walls.

Step 6: Reinstall the geared side of the bracket. Remember that it is reverse threaded and it goes in all the way. The final adjustment is done from the non-geared side. Note, I put a lot of grease in the dome before screwing it back into the frame.

Tip: Re-install all threaded pieces such as brackets and bolts by hand to make sure the thread is properly aligned and not cross-threaded. Use a wrench to tighten things down only once you know the threads are properly mated.

Step 7: Grease and install the bearings. I had grease everywhere at this point and didn’t want to touch my phone. Normally you would be able to see your old bearings and have an idea of what to buy. All I had were some rusty ball bearings and pieces of the retaining rings. So, I did some digging on Amazon only knowing I had a Schwinn bike and needed bearings with an inner diameter based on the axle or shaft between the cranks of about 0.72″ and an outside diameter of about 1.14″ (29mm).

Okay, I got lucky. In reading the comments of a lot of different bearings, a 1/4″ x 9 ball unit from Jaceyon popped up with people reporting they worked on Schwinn bikes. I was running out of time so I ordered them and they worked!

Tip: The Jaceyon bearings were fairly cheap and got good reviews. It came with four bearing sets – meaning two pair. For some reason I busted one during installation and was very happy I had a spare. For $9.28 (at the time), it was totally worth it. If you can swing it, I’d recommend getting four so you have a couple of spares just in case.

Use wheel bearing grease to pack the bearings as best you can. I apply a lot of grease to all surfaces including the bracket face, the axle/shift and the bearings. I like to use a synthetic wheel bearing grease, such as Mobil’s, because I find it doesn’t ooze oil like normal grease does. In the end, use what you have but just be sure to grease the bearings before installation.

When you install them, there is a proper orientation. Please look at the inside ends of the brackets – they are domed. This means the exposed bearings will engage with these ends. The flat part of the housing faces the inside of the tube.

This is the front or top of the bearing. It will be facing outward from the bicycle such that the bearings are engaging on the domed surfaces of each end of the bracket. Those are some remnants of the original. I don’t think any grease was applied during assembly. By the way, some will refer to the ball bearing group as a set or say that the bearings are caged. No matter how you look at it, the retainer properly positions the balls around the crank’s axle to allow it to turn freely. You can imagine that if they rust it will be game over pretty fast. The retainer is just folded sheet metal.

I slide the geared side bearing and the axle in. Again, make sure the bearings are facing outward so they will engage with the bracket. I then put a bunch of grease in the non-geared bracket end dome and hand screw it back into place.

They will go in like this with the ball bearings facing out on each end. I have not greased these yet and this set of bearings is just sitting on the end of the installed bracket for the purpose of this photo. If it were really being inserted, I would have it covered in synthetic wheel bearing grease.

Step 8: Tighten the bracket and install the lock ring. Now this part may take some tuning. By tightening the non-geared side, you are compressing the bearings into place. Tighten the bracket until the crank axle can no longer wiggle but it can still turn. Do not use a huge wrench here or rush – you can smash the bearings – I’ve done it. Tighten a little and feel the axle, over and over.

Step 9: Tighten the lock ring. Use a punch and hammer to rotate the ring clock wise and lock the bracket back in place.

Use a punch or whatever tool you want and a hammer to tighten the lock ring and secure the backet.

Step 10: Reinstall the cranks. Situate them on the shafts and use the center bolt to press them back into place on the axle as well as lock them there. Each crank arm should be 180 degrees opposite of the other. The square ends of the axle are intended to make this easier 🙂

Reinstall your chain too when you are wrapping up the gear-side if you haven’t already,

Step 11: Give it a test ride. If it makes a creaking or groaning noise when you pedal either the bracket needs more tightening or you trashed the bearings. If the sound will not go away, you will need to take it back apart because the bearing probably failed for some reason. That means you go back to step 3. Hopefully you will not have this happen. It did to me the first time and luckily the bearings I bought were four sets to a bag. I’m really not sure why it busted but I am glad I had a spare.


I didn’t find any exact videos, which is one of the reasons why I wrote this post, but there are videos that can give you a better idea of what is needed. I’m hoping that between my post above and your watching these videos, you will have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done.


With this done, the bike was all set for my daughter to use again. I don’t think a ton of care was taken during assembly and really wouldn’t be surprised if little to no grease was applied to the bearings.

I hope this helps you out.

6/27/2021 Update: The bike is still doing just fine. No problems with the crank and bearings at all.

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