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OT: What would Willy or AK Boomer do?

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  • OT: What would Willy or AK Boomer do?

    The fan belt on my Hitachi excavator was a little loose so I decided I would tighten it up. No problem. Wrong. This is a small 5 ton excavator with a very tight, very close quarter engine compartment that has very little access. The lid that lifts up doesn't go very high. Just trying to get a wrench to the two bolts that must be loosened is a nightmare. There is no direct path to either of them. Today it is down around -6 Celsius here. Working with gloves is not an option. I even had to take my jacket off and roll up my sleeves to be able to worm my hand and arm in to get to the two bolts which are on the back side of the engine. Then as luck would have it while trying to snake the 14mm wrench into place I dropped it into the fan cowling! Now what to do! Ah Ha! My gloves are hunters shooting gloves with the fold back trigger finger that get held in place while folded with MAGNETS! Yep you guessed it, I was able to stuff my glove down to the wrench, get the finger to grab the wrench and pull it out! Big smile on my face. Patting my self on the back about being a clever bastard! But wait there is more. I still had to loosen the bolt. So this clever bastard tied a string to the wrench so I could pull it out if I dropped it again. I didn't drop it again but if I had I was ready! The excavator was out in the woods where I needed to do this repair. Not in a nice clean warm shop.

    You guys that are mechanics have always been my heroes. Working on all kinds of vehicles with no room to work. I thought I was going to have to call my dentist to come and tighten this belt.
    Location: The Black Forest in Germany

    How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

  • #2
    I've done the magnet thing to retrieve a tool. Actually just a few weeks ago to retrieve a wrench that I dropped into the front axle on my Ford 8N. I've also done the string thing and should probably do it more often. They make lanyards that Velcro around your wrist and the tool. They are actually required in certain situations at work such as overhead work or critical systems. Think nuclear power plant. I once used a magnet on a string to recover a nut.
    Tom - Spotsylvania, VA

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    • #3
      My poor, whiskey drinking, fiddle playing uncle Jimmy was given a 1954 Fargo half ton truck with a blown engine. Somebody else had wrecked a 1938 Plymouth and he bough the engine for $25. I helped him pull the Plymouth engine out, pull the Fargo engine out, and put the Plymouth engine into his truck---Outside in February. (this has to be about 50 years ago). We kept a bonfire going, and when our fingers got too cold to hold the wrenches we would go over to the fire and warm up for a bit, then go back to work on the truck. That was probably the coldest thing I ever worked on.---Brian
      Brian Rupnow
      Design engineer
      Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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      • #4
        You could use a serpentine belt tensioner off a cam belt, like an Audi A4/A6, basically a sprung jockey wheel on the back of the belt, zero swing excavators are notoriously tight in the engine bay
        mark

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        • #5
          Hats off to you. I hate working in the cold. Yesterday morning I sprung a leak in my tranny cooler line and am not looking forward to having to change that later today. Nothing ever breaks in the summer time.

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          • #6
            I am no mechanic. Since I was a teenager I have not worked on my own cars or trucks. On tractors and heavy machinery yes but still just a hack. I get no pleasure out of working on that stuff even in great weather. If I had anyone working for me that could have done this simple fix I would have had them do it. But I don't. So I had to buck up and get er done. Now my wife will have to listen to how hard I had it this morning for at least a week.

            Then after the fix I jumped in and started the excavator and found out real quick that yesterday I forgot to clean out the tracks so the machine is sitting still until it gets warm enough to melt the frozen mud that is keeping the tracks from moving on the undercarriage. My wife accused me of doing it on purpose.
            Last edited by Black Forest; 01-14-2022, 08:51 AM.
            Location: The Black Forest in Germany

            How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

            Comment


            • #7
              Working on vehicles or equipment in cold weather is a thing in Buffalo NY.
              What I found that makes life worth living is one of those kerosene or diesel
              "torpedo" heaters. Blowing hot air under the vehicle, like under the front
              of the radiator, really makes them crank better at below 0°F temperatures.
              I think they have propane torpedos today also.

              --Doozer
              DZER

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              • #8
                Yes so glad I'm not doing a lot of this type of work anymore.
                Temperature extremes can be very distracting and at times unbearable. Minus or plus 40°C each present their own challenges, in the middle can be more forgiving but it's not always a treat either when laying under a machine in the mud with some kind of liquid cascading down on you from the machine. That's when snow on the ground to lay on is a real treat.
                But yes when it's real cold a tarp to act as a makeshift tent and a tiger torch are your best friends.

                Tight under-hood confines are now the norm as OEMs are challenged to package more and more emissions packages under an ever shrinking real estate envelope. It's almost to the point that it's getting hard to stuff a book of matches under some hoods or cowlings since styling seems to take precedence over functionality, even in industrial applications.

                I have over the years I've gained quite a collection of one-of tools in order to reach or retrieve fasteners and parts from the nether regions. But planning and thinking out of the box can pay big dividends, the direct approach is as often as not, not always the fastest or easiest route. It often seems that the vehicle or piece of equipment one is working on was built around whatever needs fixing.
                Where's that strong skinny kid?

                Mud in the tracks is a nicht-nictht when it's frosty out and a sure fire way of getting the morning off. Good thinking!
                If only the heat one gets after could thaw that mud out.
                Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
                Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

                Location: British Columbia

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                • #9
                  Yep, cold weather repairs.

                  Once below freezing, it is just cold... or colder. It's a real pleasure to work on a car outside at 29 below zero F... which is when they don't like to start, or didn't back 50 years when they were parked too far from the house for a block heater.

                  It was also good (but not clean) fun to work on my FIL's water trucks, crawling under them in the snow (and sometimes slush). Your -6C sounds warmish, but not so warm with your arm bare and worming it through a bunch of cold metal, having had to take your coat off. Once you are cold outside, warming up takes time.....

                  Insulated coveralls are your friend. But they do not make it warm, just a bit less cold.
                  4357 2773 5150 9120 9135 8645 1007 1190 2133 9120 5942

                  Keep eye on ball.
                  Hashim Khan

                  Everything not impossible is compulsory

                  "There's no pleasing these serpents"......Lewis Carroll

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    For really tight quarters I've found this Tite-Reach wrench very useful:
                    https://tite-reach.com/products/3-8-...tension-wrench
                    Basically it is a housing with a chain drive from one end to the other. You get the socket on the bolt and remotely turn the bolt. I also bought the low height sockets. Can be a real life saver.

                    Mike

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Willy View Post
                      Y

                      Tight under-hood confines are now the norm as OEMs are challenged to package more and more emissions packages under an ever shrinking real estate envelope.
                      I would sort of disagree with that statement. If anything it is more performance items like turbo chargers that take up space. In general I think engines are getting smaller. I think auto manufactures have a set of emission items such as EGR valve, fuel vapor canisters, etc. that haven't changed much. Now that the fuel/air ratio is computer controlled they don't need a bunch of hardware like that stupid air pump that came with 70-80's vehicles. "The answer to pollution is dilution" pump. But yeah drivers who never work on their cars (or tractors) don't care how hard it is to work on. And dealers would prefer you come to them anyway.

                      Tom - Spotsylvania, VA

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MikeL46 View Post
                        For really tight quarters I've found this Tite-Reach wrench very useful:
                        https://tite-reach.com/products/3-8-...tension-wrench
                        Basically it is a housing with a chain drive from one end to the other. You get the socket on the bolt and remotely turn the bolt. I also bought the low height sockets. Can be a real life saver.

                        Mike
                        Wow never seen one Mike - thanks for posting, I do wonder about how much torque it can handle,,, what is it "chain driven"?

                        Oop just re-read your post - guess it is chain ---- I could see it coming in handy for certain situations for sure, little pricey for me though.

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                        • #13
                          BF good duty! that's half the battle is improvising and you sure did,,,

                          I remember an older brother changing the rear end of his mustang out in the cold on a michigan winters day,,, the car was conveniently parked over an ice puddle - his back broke through the ice and he was out there wrenching for hours half wet half frozen... Iv always told him that he was the king of pain after that one...

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                          • #14
                            I hate working in the cold on the car. Used to put a 3kW halogen light next to me for radiated heat and that certainly extends how long you can work with bare hands.

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                            • #15
                              Now you are in my bad books!

                              You just HAD to bring this up.... So right after reading your post on your fan belt, the connection on the front muffler of the car broke off flush. I get to replace it (the muffler), with the vehicle in the driveway, in tomorrow's snowstorm (Had to be ordered and be here tomorrow).

                              Cold + snow + working on exhaust systems. What could be better?
                              Last edited by J Tiers; 01-14-2022, 01:41 PM.
                              4357 2773 5150 9120 9135 8645 1007 1190 2133 9120 5942

                              Keep eye on ball.
                              Hashim Khan

                              Everything not impossible is compulsory

                              "There's no pleasing these serpents"......Lewis Carroll

                              Comment

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