Monday, October 17, 2011

Farm Auctions and Truck Maintenance

First of all we would like to say hi to our friends from Alaska and in particular Jerry and Jolene. Jerry and I served together the last few years before I retired and he was my boss and is a great friend, we grew up in the same area of Oregon and our birthdays are just a week or so apart. He came back from Iraq a few months before I did on the last tour and though we didnt know each other before that, I found a kindred spirit who likes to tweek the system and call things as they are....we were a terror for awhile there! His beautiful wife Jolene made the quilt thats on the bed in our spare bedroom from posts past and it is truly a piece of art work that we cherish and it is destined as a family heirloom.

On Saturday we went to our first farm auction that was being held in our little town. If you havent been I highly recommend it; it was a social gathering more than anything else and we knew lots of people, we enjoyed the auctioneers sense of humor and we got a couple things at screaming low prices. They were even selling whole tables of household stuff for $1.00 but there was one item I hoped for but thought I wouldnt have enough money for. We have learned to take a set amount of money (in this case $210) and if you cant get what you want you just dont go over that also keeps you from bringing home a bunch of stuff that you dont have room for.

We also blew the seal on one of the front shocks on the farm truck and needed to replace it and since they were 10 years old we decided to replace all of them. So our good luck continues, we found a special on Monroe Gas-Matic truck shocks for $43 a piece and we got a $25.00 rebate since we bought four.

So here is what we got ...

This beautiful sweater chest came up for bid when Holly was across the street buying an ice cream cone and with the $210 we were limited to I was afraid if I bid on it I couldnt hope to bid on the item we actually came there for but I couldnt pass it up.

Its heavy, hand made in the primitive style and I had to get this for my bride.

$32.00 later we loaded it into the truck! Holly was pleasnatly surprised and though she is the most undemanding person I have ever known, I would have paid $1,000 for it to see her smile.

So then this little beauty came up for bid. Its a 1993 Montgomery Wards Commercial Industrial lawn tractor with a 42 inch cutting deck and a V-Twin 18hp Briggs and Stratton engine coupled to a 7 speed transmission.

Now, we already have two big tractors and 3 garden tractors so did we need this? can never have too many things to ride and what if the first three break down? How will we mow the grass?

So I admit we are a little addicted to these things but its a cheap hobby.

The darn things is in excellent shape and I mowed the lawn with it as soon as we brought it home.

The engine purrs and when the bidding ended we walked away with it for...$175.00. So, combined with the $32.00 we spent on the sweater chest we spent $207 of our $210 allowance.

In high gear it is faster than any of our other garden tractors and if you pop the clutch it will do wheelies.

It has a tight turning radius and I need to change the air filter, fuel filter, oil, and hit the zerks with grease but it is a great machine.

Holly and Chris are already fighting over who gets to use it all in all we are happy with the purchase and it just joins a long list of our on going projects.

A couple months ago I went on a medical call into a remote and rough area and took the old farm truck (I was already in the area and met the ambulance there) and blew a seal on the drivers side shock. The truck is almost 11 years old and gets used as a working truck so the shocks needed to be replaced anyway.

Surprizingly the shocks came out fairly easily and I was able to clean off the gunk.

Monroe Gas-Matics arent top of the line shocks but I have used them for years (well..decades actually) on various trucks and have been pretty satisfied with them. 

Having a new shop to work in was great but I am still troubled from the balance issues so when I would look up or stand up I got pretty dizzy. I just have to remember to take my time and things go better. For the safety conscious, note the use of jack stands.

Once I got both front shocks on I took it for a test drive but realized the tires had severe cupping or checking from the bad front shocks so we had to rotate the tires to get rid of the shimmy in the front end.

Since the tires had to be removed we checked the brakes, hubs and wheel bearings and everything was to spec. We did the brakes about a year ago and replaced the rotors with aftermarket rotors as the GM rotors warp easily if they get imersed in water. This truck gets used off road about 50% of the time and we do ford a lot of streams and flooded areas so we were happy these new rotors are holding up.

And then we did the rear shocks and since the rear shock bolts were rusted and its difficult to reach up and break them loose all I can and did say about this phase of the project was (*&^@#$!!!!! I really need to invest in some impact wrenches. 

And finally, how do walking sticks enjoy a warm afternoon? By making twigs.

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