63 thoughts on “September 13, 2021: Sooner Than You Think”

  1. Well, I tried to fit in changing my front brake pads and rotors yesterday, but the rotors are corrosion welded to the wheel hubs so I have to take it in to the shop. I also woke up this morning reminded that I am almost 40.

    1. When I was replacing the shocks on FARMTRUCK last summer, I found I couldn't get the front driver wheel off. The lugnuts came off fine, but the wheel is corrosion welded to the hub. Fire, sledge, lever - nothing worked.

      I'm half-tempted to take it to the shop and just say "Just take it off and put it right back on please"

      Luckily, the body of FARMTRUCK is so large that I was able to get enough space to change the shock w/o taking the wheel off anyway.

      1. I had a lot of that with my previous cars, but never so bad that a BFH wouldn't do the trick. The wheels on this car came off no problem, with the exception that, holy crap are the OEM Ford lug nuts absolute garbage. I had to take it to the dealership last week to have two of them removed because they were swollen. I bought a set of new lug nuts that aren't an idiotic two-piece design and was able to replace all but three, which are also swollen.

        I'm pretty bummed. Doing the breaks was like the one thing I was going to be able to do since nothing else goes wrong with the car. Stupid modern day reliability. I've had it for five years and this is the first time it needed brake replacement because I drive way less than I did pre-pandemic, which is probably why the rotors are in such bad shape.

  2. The change in seasons will bring some challenges around the joint with decisions on how to staff patio on cooler days and when to start winterizing certain portions of the patio. Another season of new things to deal with.

  3. After not having had to mow since the first days of June, I finally had to do so this weekend. My mower did not want to start at first. Pulling the start cord made it almost fire up, but it wouldn't quite catch.

    Admittedly, I bought a fairly cheap mower 5+ years ago, and have not put a lot of time and energy into maintenance. Part of that is lack of knowledge, part of that is lack of priority, and part of that is the design of the mower is not conducive to easy care - I can add gas, I can add oil, and I can access a filter. Other than that, everything is closed off, and in such a way that getting access would be a challenge.

    Anyway, ultimately I got it to start after I nudged around what I think was a cable to a battery? (Again, not easy to access, but it's in the front, underneath part and connects to the piece you engage when pulling the start cord). Is that a thing? I just kind of shoved the cable a litlte further into the area where it led to, and after that the motor caught and continued running just fine. Anyone here know mowers or small engines well enough to give me some tips? Should I just hope it keeps working, or is there likely something that, if given a little attention, would ensure it keeps running? Any thoughts?

    1. Fwiw, I bought a Ryobi electric mower (40 watt) a couple of years ago before my ankle surgery because the Mrs hated my reel mower so much.

      It is super quiet, puts out no noxious fumes, mows just fine, and mulches. Main drawback is the relatively small grass catcher (which I mostly use for bagging leaves). If you have a big lawn, the battery pack might not last for the whole thing (it's good for about an hour of mowing, a bit less for combined mowing and leaf-blowing with my Ryobi leaf blower, which can use the same battery. I have two batteries....).

      1. We have a half acre that takes 1.5 hours or so to mow, depending on thickness, etc. We rarely bag, because it's just so much lawn, though, admittedly, the mulch funciton of our mower ain't the best, so mostly we just leave lines of grass laying on the lawn until we mow 'em up the next time, leaving different lines of grass...

        Can you tell yardwork is not my passion?

        1. How long is it when you mow and to what height do you mow? Mulching is the general recommendation. If you're letting it get long and then cutting it short however, that will leave a lot of clippings.

    2. Was it the spark plug connection you were messing with? Probably no battery in there.
      Probably just hope it keeps working. May have just needed to get fuel moving after sitting quite a while.

              1. This is close to, but not exactly, the one I've got. I'm guessing the 6 years or so has led to different iterations? Mine, for example, does not have an accessible primer.

                Still... what the heck is the box under the mower deck?

      1. Yeah, my thought too.

        Our 31yr old Toro quit starting on me, and since I'd only been doing routine maintenance over the years, I decided to take it in for a good tune-up. They are also degunking the carburetor, and hopefully I'll get another 31yrs out of it.

                  1. I had to tear apart the carb on my snow blower two years in a row. I finally didn't have to last winter and I made very sure to run all the gas out so hopefully I can avoid it this year as well. I should probably check on that soon.

                    1. Replacement carbs are cheap and easy. I put a new one on the snow blower last year when I did the valve job and now it runs like a champ and starts on the first pull every time.

    3. If you've got a pull start, you shouldn't have a battery.

      You are providing the energy via the cord to turn the starter that a car would get from a battery.

      A spark plug connection would be my first check.

      Is it self-propelled?

        1. Yes, possibly, depending on how your engine is oriented.

          Is it just a single, thick cable going in?

          Also, if it's self-propelled you can try a bump start

          Essentially, because the wheels and engine are connected, you use the turning wheels to get the engine to turn over instead of the other way around.

              1. So when I depress the bar that allows me to start the mower, there are two wires. One leads to the engine area, one leads to this transmisison area. I monkeyed with the one leading ot the transmission area, and after that it started.

                Coincidence? Or something there that makes sense?

                1. The wire you messed with is probably connected to the kill switch, or whatever mechanism they use to shut it off, so yeah, that makes sense. If you can't engage the transmission it won't start up.

                  1. Small engines use a magneto to generate the electrical current for the spark plug. That's generally where the kill switch is and it's usually actuated using the throttle cable. That could be what was causing the issue.

    4. We have an apple tree that grows a ridiculous number of baking apples in odd-numbered years. The last time I mowed, I think I ran over an apple that got sucked into the mower somewhere and jammed up things. Now, the pull start won't pull far enough to actually fire up the engine. Any ideas on where to search for the blocked apple?

      1. Did it keep running after the apple, or did that kill it? I've had issues before when cutting grass that was too thick where the mower died, and it was a matter of cleaning out the blade/stuff leading to the blade.

  4. Instead of winter, we've been staring down September. Class started and I have a hernia surgery this week, so we wanted to get some of the heavy work done before now.
    It seems like a long time since I've really kicked ass on projects around the house, but over the past two weekends I whacked through three overgrown bushes and dissected two monster arbor vitae down to the stumps. Felt good.
    I now have three days to clear enough crap in the garage to let me park in there again before I'm not allowed to do anything for weeks. It's a bummer, because having kids out of the house for school has freed up wife's headspace a lot to make progress on things, too, and I really wish we could keep that ball rolling.

    1. Thoughts and prayers as you undergo surgery. I had a hell of a time with mine, still feel twinges of pain from time to time and it's been three years since the repair.

      1. Nuts. That's discouraging. I'm sorry to hear you're still dealing with it. This is proactive, so hopefully small and simple, but...my father in law told me he thinks he messed up by lifting a vacuum too soon, and my dad had to go in a year after his to get it repaired, and that one somehow led to a bowel obstruction that nearly killed him.
        Has anybody not had problems with hernia surgery? I could use some reassurance, it seems.

        1. My big mistake was letting the initial post-op pain keep me off my feet. As soon as they let you, start a walking program and don't try to be tough or manly by lifting stuff before you're ready. I made both of those mistakes, which is probably why I had the outcome I did.

            1. I’ve had both sides of my lower repaired. Once at age 5, and the other at 17. Both likely congenital birth defects. Both still report when the barometric pressure changes. My advice is to not live on the gulf coast if you don’t want to experience discomfort in your crotch from June to November.

        2. fwiw, the Boy had one repaired last year, between COVID waves in LA. No issues that I know of.

          These days, I think his lifting is largely confined to 12- or 16-oz curls.

  5. the water softener I ordered last week from Home Despot came damaged (a hole punctured in the top) , likely due to inadequate packaging and rough handling by Ontrac. So I had to go through the process to have that one picked up (UPS handles returns) and a new one shipped (also handled by Ontrac). I get reimbursed for the damaged one after UPS picks it up and sends it back, but had to pay up front for the second one. (dude gave me a token discount for my troubles, which was nice)

    Maybe the big arrows on the box pointing in the direction the box is supposed to be held (upright) should have been a clue to the last delivery guy. It was lying on its side in the truck. I helped him carry it out and it "thunked" when set upright.

    1. I went through with installation of a dented water heater once. Probably should have went through the trouble of getting another. I know I replaced it before it was due.

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