Thursday, October 8, 2009

Vacation and Time with Tom!

Spent a week with Tom, Kevin, and Mickey on the motorcycle, during a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains this past week.

It was nice to spend some time with Alex's Godfather before he ships out in November to Afganistan for a year.

We toured a little of the mountains, went on some Patriot Guard Rider missions, and ate out a lot.

In the pic from left to right: Mickey, Kevin, Me and Tom.

It was good to see him and ride in the wind for almost 2000 miles.

And Congrats to Tom and Mickey - when Tom got back to base after the trip, they got hitched! Welcome to the family Mick!

Picture of the Boy!

Here is Alex with some new stuff from his secret Santa! Now that creates competition for Dad. See he has his own laptop now - I'm sure that pleases Momma since she is a computer engineer and MIS (computer fixer) kind of person.
Dad needs to find him some wrenches and other tools, maybe a bench for him to play with. Although he may just chew them for now, there's nothing wrong with getting familiar with a good tool. At least in Daddy's eyes.

Finally Getting Back To Fixing Stuff

Well this summer sure has flown by, and Alex is now 7 months old.
But it is getting cold outside already, and I haven't fixed any of the snowblowers yet. I did get the clutch issue resolved on the Cub 125 project - the pulley that the starter drives, and subsequently drives the clutch, had a cracked keyway - thru the setscrew, so the setscrew was missing as well. A little welding, and a new setscrew, and putting it back on and we are back in business.
Now for the snowblower - as mentioned back in May the gearbox was junk and missing all the gears. I bought two Cub Cadet 76's, is mediocre to poor shape and fixed them up, and re-sold them. The coolness is that one of them came with a gearbox mounted on the front - so I kept those parts. The mowing deck does not use them, and so now I can rebuild the old gearbox to the snowblower I purchased for the 125 project. Pics of that to come over the next week or so. Also, I have a 6 HP Jacobson walk behind which did most of the work for me last snow season, but desperately needs an engine case gasket. It would leak about 1 quart of oil per hour of useage. I just kept refilling it with used synthetic motorcycle oil, and I still have plenty left from oil changes over the past two years. So I should be back to my wrenching antics within the next few weeks, just in time for a wintertime hiatus.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

SnowBlower for Cub 125 Has Problems Too

Of course my free time is typically on a Sunday. So when I hit a wall (like bad wheel bearings) that is a show stopper until I get new parts.
So when I hit one wall, I'll start another side project, the snowblower. When I bought it, I noted that the gearbox would turn on one end, but not the other. The bearings felt good, but it seemed as if a key was sheared off. So I took it apart.

Well low and behold, the key was fine - and it was there, BUT one gear had 3 1/2 teeth missing and the whole other gear was GONE! After I cleaned out the water inflitrated green grease that had the consistency of baby poo (and I have plenty of that to compare to!), all the snap rings, lock pins, and the keys were there, but no gearing is left in this gearbox.

Looks like I need new gears, a new gearbox, or at least a parts one. This Sunday was a bust, I have fixed nothing, but just found more problems. Typical of a rebuild.

Cub 125 Has Wheel Problems

As mentioned before, one of the front tires goes flat, almost overnight. The previous owner had replaced one of the front tire and rim assemblies with a new one. The rubber and the paint on the rim prove correct - it is a fairly new replacement.

New being the operative term; ie the older machines were designed to work on and maintain, the old rim has a grease fitting to put a grease gun on and the new one doesn't.

Well as I went to pull off the front rim, it wouldn't come off - the bearing was hung up on the shaft. The new bearings that couldn't be re-greased from time to time, have failed, very prematurely, I might add. The void between the bearings had grease, but both the inner and outer bearings have failed - the outer one had ground down to the point that there were no balls left and the bearing race had cut 1/4 the way thru the axle shaft.

New bearings and a new axle shaft are required, as well as fixing the flat. I had pulled both front wheels and pressed out the bearings. In the one picture, the 40 year old bearings from the old wheel are on the left and the two year old bearings are the pieces on the right. Althought the old bearings are getting rather loose, they are definately more intact than the 'new' ones. They don't build 'em like they used to.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Alex is Growing Like A Weed!!

Alex had a checkup yesterday. Now he's 11 lbs, 8 oz and 23 3/4" long. WOW!!! Growing like a weed!! WhooHoo!!!

Yup, He's a LadyKiller!!!
A Chick Magnet!!!

That's My Boy!!! :-)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Snow Thrower Project For the 125 Cubbie

I found an International QA-42A Snow Thrower (which will install on any narrow or wide frame Cub Cadet tractor built before 1981) for a whopping $40 in Panesville, OH. Sure its rusty and beat, a spring pin is sheared off in the gear box, the augers are cut up from a gravel driveway, and the bottom base is a little bent. For very little work, I can make it work again. With a little sandblasting, a BFH, paint and a few more hours I will have it working great and have it looking as good as almost new (those augers are really torn up!) But for form and function, it will be a great addition. I removed the gear box and mounting before I unloaded it from the back of the truck, and will post pictures of the disassembly when I get to it.

Oh No!! It's Almost Easter!!!

I just couldn't take a few up and close faceshots of the little man, and not at least post one. I think the boy will be quite the photogenetic model for some time to come.

Well Easter is around the corner and we are going to go visit my family in central PA for the holiday. So more pictures to follow. Easter eggs, here we come!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

New toilet in the apartment

Well the landlord is pretty great, he jumped thru hoops to get the pad ready for us before Alex was born. He even had the carpets cleaned, and said I could use the garage (Mancave) if I cleaned it out for no cost.

He had reservations on the toilet and shared them with us as we moved in. It has leaked from time to time, but a collection vessel (trash can) usually did the trick, and in a few hours it would subside. Well no more, something shifted, and it leaked about two gallons of water overnight, and none of it was collected. It all just rolled down the tank and bowl surfaces until it met the floor. From all the water laying around, it looked like we just gave Chance and Harvey baths.

So I've done this before, and the landlord already had all the hardware waiting for this moment. Started at 5:20pm, and by 7pm we had a new toilet installed and the old one on the curb.

"Hail to the King and Queen......we got a new Throne"

I'm the Best!!! (Alex)

Well folks, here's a pic of the little guy declaring what everyone knows already on his jersey.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Goin To Jail (For a Great Cause!)

Yeah, its April 1st, but this is no joke.

My friend Paul for several years now has donated his time in raising money for Musclar Dystrophy. This year he has teamed with another fellow engineer here at work , (also a Paul) to raise money to cure MD. Its great, someone dressed up as a cop actually comes to our workplace and handcuffs these guys and draggs them off to jail. While they are in there, we all can raise "bail" to get them free, and the money goes to a great cause.

Here's a link to donate to the cause in their names:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Momma and Baby

Amber also got her picture taken with Alex. I really love this picture. Momma is smiling, and Alex is just content to pose for the camera.

Some Lovin for the Boy

I stole this pic from my Wife's blog, , but since it was of me and our new son, I felt it wasn't a theft of a picture, but more of a laugh for more people to share. "Gee, Dad, Your Face is Kinda Scratchy!!"

Mancave had a Visitor

Well Wildman had a visitor of whom tinkered and played with the tractors! Paul from swung by to share some time together, wrenches in hand.

We replaced the battery in the 125 project and did a little plowing as a test. We scraped up a good amount of grown over dirt and sod from the neighboring alley and transplanted it to a low spot around a bush in front of the garage. The tractor is only 12Hp, but it is a beast! It cut thru the dirt like a hot knife thru butter.

We also toyed with an old Montgonery Wards tractor. There isn't much wrong with this one other than just age. We added water to the battery, and it charged right up. A few tweaks, and tightening some bolts, and its up for resale.

Later in the day, we headed over to Paul's and I took my blue hippo out for a spin (Suzuki Intruder) and Paul was on his Triumph. It was an awesome day, 50+ degrees, amazing that just 28 hours later, it was snowing again.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Beach Outing and Burgers

I'm being lazy and just forwarding to my wife's post for this evenings outing:

It was a nice time out. She certainly took nice pictures.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Here's the project(s) in the Mancave. However there's more. The Cub 125 to the left, an old Montgomery Wards riding lawn mower to the right. A very sad little tow behind lawn trailer in the foreground.
That's Paul's dolly in front of the red one.
Of course, I have a few engines in my stockpile. These are about 80% of my collection.
Kinda sick, isn't it?
It is so sweet having a garage again!!!

Mancave with Room

Look, there's still room for the family car, after the project was tightly packed away in the front of the garage.

New Project (Cub 125)

It was one stop shopping - and I got a lot. Unlike my 169 project in which I got the tractor in Randolph, Ohio, the snowblower in Rochester, NY, and the rototiller near Canton, OH and many smaller parts on EBay, I got everything I needed in one place. The guy was really nice and knowledgeable, and even told me about a tractor club that meets in Ashtabula, Ohio. It turns out, that he downsized his property, and his son only wanted a riding lawn mower, so he put this one up for sale.

Cub Cadet 125's came off the manufacturing line between November 1967 thru August 1969. I will confirm the actual date later with the serial number. The tractor has a 12Hp Kohler horizontal engine, a hydrostatic drive, 44" mowing deck, a trailer, and snowplow. It also came with a 42" rototiller that even included the gearbox pulley drive and mule pulley bracket. The tractor also has headlights (an option at that time) and a cigarette lighter which was rather common at in that era. I also got a small collection of belts and various clutch parts. It only needs a battery, a headlight, a few belts, and a new seat to put back into service, but I'm going to sandblast, paint it up, and tighten up a few loose items as well. Sweet deal.

My Hunnies

I went outside to take a vew pictures of my new project. It is quite the nice day outside.

However, when I came back inside, the wife, the newborn son, and one of the dogs all had fallen asleep, together on the couch.

How cute, and sweet. There will be many more family pictures to come. Married 5+ years, and I have been a father for a whopping 14 days.

Wow! Life is Sweet!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

New Tractor (Cub 125)

Well ya know I like to fix stuff. I like cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

Well those take lots of room and money.

A few years back, I fixed a mower that a neighbor threw out. It was junk to him, but in an hour and some tinkering, I was mowing my lawn. I sold it, and so began a new hobby. Actually one that makes money, or at least funds itself.

Some three years later, about 20 push mowers, 15 tractors, and a couple of weedeaters, snowblowers, and other items like that; I now surf craigslist and ebay for the next project.

Tomorrow, I head to Cleveland to buy a 40 some odd year old Cub Cadet 125 that has several accessories: snowplow, 42" mowing deck, rear tiller, and tow behind cart. I am quite hopeful from discussions with the current owner that getting it running will be easy. I'm sure it will need sandblasted and painted, a new battery, drive belts, and basic tune up and grease job.

I like the old ones - they actually can do a lot more than a tractor bought today. Plus, since I found my Cub Cadet 169 hidden behind an old barn in Randolph, Ohio a few years back and spent many hours bringing it up to full strength, and then a paint job. It has been my favorite rebuild to date. The tractor is hydraulic drive, 16hp, came with a 50" deck and 42" plow. I have since purchased a 42" snowblower (which works great), and a 42" rear rototiller and rear drive gearbox. I am looking forward to the new 125 project.

Here's a pic of my 169 just after the new paint. I still hadn't re-installed the headlight panel yet.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Before my wife....

When my father was young, he was a mechanic and later in his life worked on powder metal presses. My mother was a nurse. Well, I became a mechanical engineer, but love to work on engines of all types. However, my dad used to smile at me cuz I would constantly wash my hands because of my mom - I was the cleanest mechanic my father had even seen.

I have been designing mechanical and hydraulic presses for the last 12 years. I love fixing anything mechanical. I have repaired cars, trucks, tractors, motorcycles and even American Flyer trains. I have typically surrounded myself with guys that have the same traits. Working on stuff is what calms me.

Now I am a first time Daddy and other than being nervous and anxious I have never experienced anything that I couldn't fix. Well when the boy screams and screams and there is nothing that I can do to calm him, I feel pretty inept at being a father. My dad was everything to me - teacher, guide, friend, bouncing board. Both my brother and sister are excellent parents with their families. I've got a long way to go.

I learned calculus. I even learned to enjoy it (if that's believeable). Now I have to learn to be a great Dad, if tha's even possible.

In The Beginning....

Although being new at this, I have three very good reasons for beginning a blog:

1. I have an in house pro that can teach me anything I need on a computer (da wife)
2. We have a newborn son that I am overjoyed about and want to be able to share with my family.
3. I like to fix most anything mechanical, and some tend to find my excursions interesting.

If anything, this should highlight the good points (and the embarassing ones) and bring smiles to others out there as well as myself.