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Danny's Ramblings

Prepping for winter

It's late September in Chicago and the weather is just outstanding. I've been taking advantage of the splendid weather to prepare for the bad stuff to come. First up was an oil change on our Toro snow blower. It's served us well for the past couple of winters.

Somehow, I lost one of the knobs that holds the handle. The 3D printer cranked out a new one and we're golden again.

With that out of the way, it was time to take a look at the other snow blowers in our flock. We have three snow blowers. Excessive but two of the three didn't work. Here's the guts of our Honda HS520as. A few years back it managed to kill itself after 5 years of use. We took it over to Russo's, but their prognosis wasn't good. The cam gear assembly shrapnelled. Not only did we need a new cam gear, but we needed a new timing belt, auger blades, scraper bar, and a carburetor. Parts and labor totaled out to $350. That $350 went a long way to pay for the Toro.

You can see in the pic above how the timing belt is now nicked in two places. It does need to get replaced, but the nicks aren't all that deep and don't cut any threads. Russo inadvertently gave us a new cam gear, though I only paid for a diagnosis. They probably needed a working cam gear to figure out what else was wrong, but I'm glad its there.

I buttoned up the valve cover with a fresh bead of ancient RTV after properly clocking the cam gear and scrubbing away any old hondabond. After an oil change, and some prodding, its alive again! But only just. It's surging horribly at idle, so something is causing a fuel issue. Could be the fuel cap, excessive debris in the fuel filter, the carb leaking air, the carb being gummed up, or any combination of the above. Its sitting with a fairly high concentration of seafoam and gas at the moment. Hopefully that'll clear the jets. It's not hard to rebuild this carb, but I'd like to avoid it if I can. If I can get the engine to run well, I'll probably freshen it up with new consumables. A working backup snowblower would be nice!

The garage has been getting some love as well. Swapped out the manual garage door release mechanism, stripped and installed new garage door bottom seal, and installed top and side seals. The whole ordeal would have been a lot more tiresome if not for one of my most favorite tools in the world. The pneumatic palm nailer. These things are just so darn amazing. Makes driving a nail a snap.

The top and side seals may seem excessive on a detached garage with no heat, but it's serving a useful but unconventional purpose. Not only will it help seal out the weather, but it'll seal out the bugs too. Found a paper wasp nest in the garage. Yeah we can't have that anymore. There are still a few more things I need to get done before the cold, but things are shaping up great.

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