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The "Daily Routine" build and more - cars, house, and sundry funs

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On 7/9/2021 at 1:56 PM, Lockleaf said:

One of my close friends thinks I'm overreacting and that what I am seeing is merely a result of how blasted hot it is here right now.


Do you know any Subaru guys in the area you could ask if they are having similar issues? If it's a result of just "too damn hot" the gauge should go up high but maintain, not keep slowly creeping to the "buy a new engine" zone. 


When my shopmate's Suby needed head gaskets his car would just randomly peg the needle on hot days with little rhyme or reason as to when...


On 7/9/2021 at 1:56 PM, Lockleaf said:

I appreciate you helping me poke holes in my thesis 


That's my specialty.  😄

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I gambled yesterday on my commute home that my buddy was right about me over reacting.  So I let the car get hot.  noticeably hotter than I have allowed it to any time previous.  It did finally level off.  It got up to about 80% of the gauge, but then it stopped climbing.


This was at the top of the canyon, which is also the top of the very steepest part of the canyon.  It had leveled off and was no longer climbing in temp.

large.20210712_165654_HDR.jpg.06e39d29a1892e4275466a145fd1194b.jpg (900×1200)


However, that still seems risky high for a Subie.  High enough that I wonder if I would have overheated it with just the stock radiator still in it. Though truth be told, it could be that this solid aluminum radiator I bought is just cheap junk and no better than the stock one, so there is that as well.


I'm going to give water wetter a try, see if that is just hokem and snake oil, or actually helps a bit.  If that isn't enough, perhaps I will install an oil/air front mounted cooler and try to draw more heat out that way?  I just want to be sure that as we go in to the hottest and dryest part of summer, I can avoid blowing this thing up, but also have AC so I'm not exhausted and dickish by the time I get home from work.  


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For whatever it's worth, of the 6 (I think? lol) subarus I've had I've never had them get over the halfway mark regardless of outside temp or hard driving (and I beat the heck out of my old WRX) other than the GC impreza I had that burnt so much coolant it got air in the system and nearly overheated before I was able to make it to an auto parts store and get more coolant.


It being that high does not foreshadow good things IMO. Have you tested/replaced the sensor?

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No I have not tested the sensor, but I'm inclined to trust it.  At all other times but climbing that canyon in the heat, the gauge registers the same temperature it always has.

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Whilst dealing with my sob story of a Saabaru, I've also continued working on my wife's horse trailer.


I got the wall totally framed up and installed in the trailer.  You can't tell in these pics but I even folded a flange on the outer edges so it follows the shape of the framing rails I installed.  I used the sheet metal brake I made a couple years ago, which I haven't touched since the start of the quad cab project.  So that was cool 😄.








Next up, I took an existing saddle rack in my garage and converted it in to a hinged unit mounted in the tack room.  They swing in and out.








I used pin and barrel type hinges so that the rack can be removed from the tack room if useful to do so.  And I made 3 hinges, so it should be plenty strong enough.






Building this actually went better than I expected.  The hinges all align and swing pretty smoothly and I was able to figure out the angles for the pins to hold the rack itself so it swings right where I want it to.  However, the top saddle rack ended up being about 1/2 an inch too high for the saddle horns to clear the door, so I have to move that down just a bit.  


But it even works under full load!




I've also filled in the "window" I had created next to the tack door.





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  • 1 month later...

Between general UGH, and other aspects of life, progress has been slow on the project front.  And the trailer is taking up about 95% of all my projecting time.  But it nears completion for this year.  There will still be a bunch more rust repair to do but that will wait until next year. I have other stuff I want to get done before winter sets in and I can't pull projects out of the backyard anymore due to snow.


Patched a big rust strip across the front of the trailer. 



Honestly it turned out like crap.  I'm pretty disappointed in how it looks finished.  I had tons of wind issues blowing away my shielding gas.  My welds turned to swiss cheese and had to be redone like 4 times, so its all warped.  


Gates to divide the horses were built and hung.  My wife built the bumper pads that are on them.  I reused stuff we had cut out of the trailer to build these.




The gates also needed some kind of locking mechanism so we didn't just keep chaining them to the wall.  So this is what we came up with.



So far they have held up, but I'm not sure if they will in the long term.


Added hooks to the lower saddle rack to hold the stirrups.  The stirrups would drag on the floor and I didn't like that.



I built a ghetto rod bender to make those hooks.  Pipe and a pipe wrench for the win.



Did the job well enough though. you just have to have plenty of extra stick out for it to work.


We installed a water tank, but I had to build a little stand for it.  The storebought stands are too big, but my wife wanted the hose connection off the floor some.  Pardon the suck photos.  We have a 5 foot hose that connects to it, which coils nicely and tucks inside the stand for storage.



Then I built this swing out saddle blanket rack.  Fully removeable from the trailer and locking.








Vertical rod on the right is the lock.  It swings over and a pin drops through the top to hold them all against the wall.  I'm actually really happy with how this turned out and how well it works.




Remove pin, swing to the side to unlock them.




I've also built and hung like 8 hooks built out of old horseshoes in there.  I need to weld up the old doors on this part of the trailer, build some saddle bag brackets, and add some helmet hooks.  That should wrap this up for the year.  I'm really hoping I can get this all done over this upcoming labor day weekend.  Then I can focus on some other stuff to prep for winter.

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I did also go help a friend with a barn find.  1967 Fairlane 500XL.  Been stored in this barn for about 23 years.  California Car, completely solid, but awesome patina.





It was a bit of a tight squeeze getting it out of the barn.  We had to remove the barn doors to get a couple inches more clearance.  Even then we scraped a layer of paint off one side of the barn door frame getting it through.  Car suffered no damage though.



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I also got to put my lift to really good use recently.  My friend gave me this Tahoe complete and running, but in exchange I had to pull the good trans out for him, and he gave me a trans lacking 3-4 gears.  The tahoe will be the foundation of an upcoming project, and the trans will get rebuilt as a part of that whole shenanigan.  




I don't have a trans jack, but I picked up a harbor freight transmission jack adapter off local classifieds for cheap, so we got funky.  Drilled some holes, installed some bolts and BAM, transmission hoist.






The arm is very near flat when the trans is at installing height so there is very little arc when moving up or down a little at that level.  This setup worked extremely well.  A little bulky to work around sometimes, but solid and easy to deal with.  Then we just lowered it down as far as we could and manhandled the trans off from there.


And I had to build a custom socket. We needed like a 1/4 inch more depth than a standard socket offered.  So here's that, because I want to.



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Big step, but not overly photographed.


I started shaving the old doors on the front of the trailer.  A little cutting and a little hammering, and the door became its own filler panel quite nicely.  then I also had to put in a smaller fill panel where the door latch lived.



I didn't get it hung quite square, but its thick metal so I just rolled with it.




Welded and ground back.  The left side you can see is overlapped and stitched.  The panel above this door was already lapped, so I decided it would look best if I just continued that line all the way down.  The top is fully welded shut and the upper half of the right side.  The bottom half of the right side, the trailer is pretty rusted out, so I need to put in a 2 inch wide patch down that before finishing the door stitching.  then hopefully just a bit of filler to smooth it over and done.


while doing this, I lit the trailer on fire.  There is tack in here, so I covered it with what I thought was a wool blanket, hoping that would be enough.  It wasn't.  It also wasn't wool.  I lit this thing on fire pretty good.  Luckily my intelligent wife bought some fire extinguishers recently and insisted one live in my shop.  I put it on the bottom shelf of my cart.  My friend yelled fire, and she yelled about the extinguisher, and I got it all put out.  No real damage done beyond a little charring on the bottom side of two saddles.  And my pride.  I think its time to invest in a real fiberglass blanket.


My wife had to completely clean and condition all 3 saddles that were in there, plus do a bunch of cleaning from the burned blanket and the extinguisher powder.  She was not best pleased with me that day, but luckily her sister came over and helped her get all that cleaned up.



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Lets ignore my own personal ignorance on the flammability of fiberglass and go with - I should buy an actual welding blanket.  Maybe I should just buy a big cow hide.  Leather is pretty hard to burn, right? 😁


But yeah, one of those harbor freight blankets is exactly what I plan to pick up soon.


One random note, those are very much NOT certified for plasma cutting. My friend cut one of these blankets right to pieces while plasma cutting 😄

Edited by Lockleaf
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I've had a few incidents while welding, and a fire will certainly raise your heartbeats-per-minute quickly enough...


I had an actual leather welding jacket for a while, and it does offer good burn protection, but the damn thing was hot, bulky, and hard to work in...



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24 minutes ago, Duncan said:

I've had a few incidents while welding, and a fire will certainly raise your heartbeats-per-minute quickly enough...


I had an actual leather welding jacket for a while, and it does offer good burn protection, but the damn thing was hot, bulky, and hard to work in...




I often wear a leather "bolero" when grinding and welding.  I just looked it up, I guess it is called a cape?  but it has snaps where you can attach another piece so its a full jacket.  Like this



I wear it the most when grinding.  I hate how when grinding I get spray into my inner elbows.  Makes me itch badly.  so I wear this thing.  Still hot, but would be much worse if I were wearing a full jacket.

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On 9/9/2021 at 5:14 PM, Lockleaf said:

I wear it the most when grinding.  I hate how when grinding I get spray into my inner elbows.  Makes me itch badly.  so I wear this thing.  


I usually wear a zip up hoodie in winter to stay warm, and often have to replace it every year. The old one gets demoted to this job.  😁

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  • 1 month later...

Horse trailer is basically done for the season.  I have more work to do next year, but hopefully it won't eat away most of my summer again.  Mostly looking at rust repair for next year, not much in the way of fabrication.

Alongside having picked up a free cherokee to snag a roof for the quad cab 720 (see the Tiny Havok thread for more info), I also recently snagged this STI chassis for free.




Then promptly cut out the few pieces I really wanted, and hauled the rest off to the recyclers.  They didn't even bother asking for a title which seemed odd.  The dude picked it up with a front loader bucket that opened up as a giant jaw.  That was pretty cool.  I hadn't seen that type of loader bucket before.


I cut 4 pieces off the STI.  I cut out both rear quarter panels (for one day Saabaru widebody), the roof skin (because good compound curved sheetmetal for other stuffs), and I cut off the front of the car completely in front of the front wheel tubs (seemed like something someone might want to rebuild a car after a front end accident).  The rest went away.








In terms of Subaru sedan "widebody" components, I now have both rear quarters and 1 rear door.  I still need the driver rear door and both front fenders. Plus I have a clean front pass door and pass fender to replace the dented panels my car is currently wearing.  The only other major component I will need is a new front bumper.  The upper section of mine is currently made out of black duct tape because the deer smashed it up when the previous owner mowed him down.


See!  I wasn't doing nothing!  just most of nothing....

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51 minutes ago, Lockleaf said:

Then promptly cut out the few pieces I really wanted, and hauled the rest off to the recyclers.  They didn't even bother asking for a title which seemed odd. 


I have always been told it's a percentage thing. If you are scrapping less than (X)  percentage of the car, you don't need a title. 


We used to cut them in four quarters, take two to one scrap yard, and two to another. 😁


And it helps to not give them any piece of the car with a VIN on it. 

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On 11/4/2021 at 2:01 PM, datsunfreak said:


We used to cut them in four quarters, take two to one scrap yard, and two to another. 😁


And it helps to not give them any piece of the car with a VIN on it. 


I bought a Datsun 210 once for the motor and 5-spd that ended up in a Morris Minor Van. 


The carcass ended up in pieces being dumped (over time) into a dumpster at Fender..


The non-transferred title ended up disappearing into the cosmos.





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More non car fun has been had.  I started building a retaining wall to keep my neighbors stupid dirt berm from taking over my driveway.  His dirt had collapsed as much as 2 feet on to my property since he piled this garbage up a couple months ago. He's paying half and completely failing to do any of the work, regardless of his promises to be out there when I am.  Honestly though, I bitch, but I prefer it.  I don't work well with others.  Wall should look nice when complete.






Its built out of "hog wire fencing" as one of my other neighbors called it.  Fencing hog rings hold the pieces together.  Filling it with riprap.  I haven't gotten any farther since the weekend but even if it sits like this all winter that is fine.  At the least bottom is done and marks the property line.


I got pretty twitchy last night, but it was raining hard so I didn't want to be outside to work on anything.  Then it occurred to me I had purchased a new compressor head last Friday, so I could start building my compressor.  My original 30 gal compressor died multiple years ago but I kept the tank around.  My buddy gave me a slow, nearly dead 15 gal to fill the void and i've survived on that thing for long enough now.


Here's my parts.  An old "5hp" craftsman motor (its more like 3.25 hp or so) and a harbor freight 3hp compressor head. 




New frame built to hold compressor head, welded nuts in to the frame to bolt it down.  This box tube is pretty freaking thick stuff, so it should be up to the task.










I bolted down the pump head and then built mounts for the motor, but I'm really not happy with how those look, so I'm going to do it again so I like them more.  Once finished, this will all get a good coat of paint.






This is only the first half of the project though.  I still have to connect the pump head to the tank, wire everything up, buy a motor pulley and a belt, then consider cleaning this fiasco that is my shop currently (i'm not so proud of how destroyed it is right now) so I can put this where it is supposed to live.  I'm also thinking that in the future, I might pick up another tank to increase my capacity, and perhaps slowly assemble parts to put together another full compressor like this but plumb them together.  6hp worth of air seems nice, and if I'm not in a rush, I could piece another together for $350, just buying the good deals whenever they pop up.

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  • 2 weeks later...

More stuff not cars!  And a little cars.


Story time.


So a few weeks ago, I got a text from my wife advising me she had returned home from running errands to find 2 full truckloads worth of dirt (topsoil it appears) dumped on our property in front of the house.  We had not ordered any dirt.  We do not know anyone who ordered any dirt.  We don't know why we have dirt.  So we decided to leave it alone for a week or two and see if anyone came and claimed it.  No one did.  Then last week our neighbor offered us a pallet and a half of free sod.  The only grass on my property is in the corral where my wife periodically keeps horses.  The rest is mud, so we said yes.

That same neighbor then borrowed a bobcat and helped us do a bunch of landscaping last weekend.  He moved loads of dirt and then helped us set some big heavy rocks as well.


We grassed a patch I call the courtyard, which has always looked like crap and was a 4 inch thick ice pond last winter, due to some stupid drainage decisions by the contractors and piss poor dirt finishing by the foundation.  I have fixed most of the drainage concerns (I think).  We raised the dirt at the foundation maybe as much as 5 inches and sloped it all outward like it should be then grassed it up.








We will eventually plant a small weeping spruce on the dirt hill we think.

We had enough after that to put in a small backyard patch.


Not sure why this one is tiny.






Hard to tell but we raised the level of the dirt a few inches, which is held in place by the rocks.  All those rocks were dug up on our property when they built the house, we had them pile them in the yard for someday future use.


Free dirt and free sod and free rocks (and free bobcat to move it all) made for some pretty decent landscaping. 😄 


We also (mostly) finished the rock wall we were building.  We put a lean on it so its slightly tilted in to the dirt hill.  Then to reinforce it holding itself up more, we ran rebar through it all and wired that to the stakes and cages.  Then I also built some big ol rebar staples which are driven sideways from the cage in to the dirt hill.  Compaction should hopefully hold those pretty well.  Should be a stable wall.










And lastly, I finally got a little car time in.  My saabaru needed new tires, so of course that mean a whole days worth of modifications.   I swapped on some coilovers and dropped in a couple inches, threw on the new tires wrapped around 18x8.5 Tribeca rims, rolled and pulled the fenders (but the back fenders need a little more massaging), and installed the cool kid rotors I had picked up a while back for dirt cheap.  The rotors are from a legacy and while the fronts fit perfect, the rears were like 1/8 larger in diameter than the impreza ones.  I had to take a file to the brackets and calipers and clearance them just a little bit.  The amount seems so small that it seems like they could easily have used the same parts on both cars.


The rear seems to be riding just a bit higher than the front.



And I made some progress on the compressor build!


The base got painted.  A pulley gave me a huge headache before things got serious and I made it move.  I started on a belt guard.  And I got the pump head fully plumbed to the tank.  I live in a small town but we do have a Tractor Supply nearby, so I fit everything together with off the shelf parts from the tractor supply and a local hardware store.


Had to cut most of the way in to the pulley to remove the old one.  Stupid thing.



New pulley in place.  Keyway only fit after a bit of hand filing.




But I have plenty of adjustment for perfect alignment.  Its pretty darn good.



Originally, the tank had a copper line up to the pressure switch.  Because I had to rotate the fitting that copper line ran to, it was no longer long enough.  So I lengthened it with fittings and a grease gun hose.  You can also see the 1/2 hydraulic line and fitting I used to connect the pump to the tank.




small.20211119_200132.jpg.8cdaa04b5e84c0  small.20211119_200141.jpg.8dafae636cb65c


Belt guard starting out









Then I cut it out of sheet metal (the side of an old oven 😄), but haven't gotten any farther than that.  Still need a belt and some stuff to finish the wiring to make it functional.  Hopefully this week will see it come alive.  But that pump pulley terrifies me without a guard.  I'm convinced I will get my hand in there, regardless of where I put it or how likely it is I would be that stupid.


That was a big dump of stuff.  Hopefully it was at least worth getting to the bottom of 😄.

Edited by Lockleaf
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15 hours ago, Lockleaf said:

But that pump pulley terrifies me without a guard.  I'm convinced I will get my hand in there, regardless of where I put it or how likely it is I would be that stupid.


FWIW, ours is in the corner of the shop, so the belt pulley side faces the wall. Figured that was easier than building a guard.  😁

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I never said I was being rational 😄.  But no, where my compressor goes inside the shop doesn't leave it massively exposed, but it is also not tucked all the way in a corner.  So I will spend the couple hours necessary for a guard, just to make myself feel better.

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