We had a large maple tree removed from our backyard recently. The tree was in bad shape and we felt it was a good time to have it removed. I asked the crew to cut up and leave one of the large limbs so I could split it for firwood to be burned in our fire pit.
I wanted to keep it dry while it seasoned, so I designed and built this firewood rack. It was a simple project, and the first time I decided to record building something just for YouTube.
One of the projects I have been wanting to build for a couple years now is a new wall cabinet for our downstairs half bath. This room is very small, barely enough to fit a toilet and an extra small sink. There’s no storage at all. I thought about just buying a cabinet to go over the toilet, but I wanted to make something. Something from steel and old wood. I designed it in SketchUp.
I had the steel lying around for a while, I bought it before the workshop even existed. I put the Harbor Freight bandsaw to use cutting each of the pieces of angle and square tube.
For a cheap saw, I have it dialed in to cut very straight and accurate. I needed quite a few small pieces, needed to do a little bit of grinding to get the lengths just right.
I still need practice with the TIG welder, so I decided to use this project. Tacked everything together before finish welding with the TIG 225X.
I wanted to get a little TIG practice in with the Primeweld TIG 225X. I had some 2″ mild steel flat bar left over from a different project, so I decided to cut it up into roughly 2″ lengths and weld it together to make a cube.
My welds still need a lot of work, but every bit of practice counts. I should have taken my time on this, but, TBH, I was just happy to be welding.
And ever since then, it has run a lot hotter than it should. Even at highway speeds, it shouldn’t get any hotter than 215 degrees. Not mine, if the Jeep was working (on trails, on the highway in hilly areas, or on hot days) I could see temps hit 240 and higher.
I have suspected for a while that the radiator cooling fins were clogged with mud. The mud and water at Southington are very sandy and full of silt. I’ve known many a Jeep that needed new front axle seals and spending a day in that mess. And I was sure that there was a leak in it somewhere. You could smell coolant when it was running hot, but it never lost that much fluid, so I was certain it was pinhole leak.
It’s been bugging me for years. So I decided to take the time during this Coronavirus lockdown to go ahead and replace my radiator. I found a YouTube video that did a really good job of describing the steps for a Jeep very much like mine.
Disassembly took about an hour. After removing the air intake and air box and draining the radiator (I had to make tool for this – the petcock was unreachable with the bumper and winch still attached), it was a matter of removing a series of bolts that hold the transmission cooler and the A/C condenser on the front of the radiator.
Took a little doing to work the radiator around the hoses and lines, but all in all, the aforementioned YouTube video was spot on.
Once I got the radiator out, it was obvious why I was running into heat issues. Not enough to cause it to completely overheat, but enough to not cool it down fast enough. All that silica sand from Southington. Never again.
With everything out disconnected, I took the opportunity to clean some of the Moab out of the engine compartment. That dust just gets everywhere.
I bought a new factory replacement radiator from a local dealer. I had looked at aftermarket options, but quite frankly, justifying the triple cost wasn’t going to happen. And the other lower cost solutions, well, let’s just say I didn’t want to take that risk either. At least if there’s an issue with this one, I know I can get it replaced.
Reassembly is pretty much disassembly in reverse. It was a little challenging getting the radiator lined up so I could reconnect the condenser and transmission cooler.
A few of the bolts are really hard to get to. I had to remove the driver’s headlight to get to one that attaches the condenser lines to the side of the radiator. The driver’s front were the hardest. Had to really contort the radiator being careful not to stress the lines.
I purchased several gallons of concentrate coolant. During disassembly I tried to drain as much of the coolant out of the engine as possible. If I’m going to go this far, I might as well do a coolant flush at the same time. I also borrowed a burp kit from a friend to make it easier to get the air out of the system.
I mixed up a couple gallons of 50/50 mix and poured some in with the burp kit. One I started the Jeep, it started to warm up, but when the thermostat opened up, it started to push coolant up into the funnel. That told me there was an air block in there somewhere. So I put the Jeep up on ramps and let it sit for a while. The next time I started it, I got quite a few bubbles in the burp funnel. I managed to catch some on my phone.
So now the coolant is flowing, but I have no heat. There must have been another air block in the lines leading to the heater core. I decided to leave it to cool down overnight and hopefully, more air will work its way out.
The next morning, I noticed the coolant level in the fill funnel had gone down quite a bit. I poured some more in and shook the jeep a bit, and even more bubbles came up. Turned on the Jeep and had heat again. The air pocket must have worked its way out overnight.
Took it for a test drive. Haven’t seen temps like this in a while.
Of course, it’s only 45 degrees out right now. Won’t know for sure until we get into the summer months, but I am optimistic.
I’ve been wanting to install one of these for a while. Especially since we moved into this new house. The house we are in today, has a sump pump. On on rainy days like today, you can hear it kick on about once an hour or so.
Not long after we first moved in a couple years ago, it was a rainy winter day, the sump pump was kicking in on regular basis, and we lost power. Yikes. So I did what any reasonable person would do, I panicked ad rushed out and bought a generator.
I assembled it, filled it with gas, and ran an extension cord through my basement window, after cutting it’s screen, to the sump pump. It must have been pretty full (I didn’t take the lid off to check) because it ran for what seemed like 4 times its normal duration.
Since then, we’ve had a few other outages, and I have had to do the same thing. But I got creative and ran a second cord to the TV and internet modem so we could have something to watch. I even ran another cord upstairs to keep the heat lamp for our bearded dragon on.
And now that my wife works full time at home, and since I have been working at home for the past couple of weeks due to the Coronavirus shut down, I decided now would be a good time to direct wire a generator transfer switch into the breaker panel.
All in all it was a fairly easy job. I just had to choose which six circuits I wanted to have operating off the generator. I installed an outlet in the side of the house for the cord to the generator. Ran some #8 THHN building wire through some conduit into the transfer switch. And then wired the transfer switch into the breaker panel.
Also grabbed some scrap metal and welded up a hook for the power cord and mounted it below the transfer switch.
The system tested out fine. I was able to run our boiler, the sump pump, the fridge, the internet modem and wifi, my office, my wife’s office, the downstairs TV and an outlet in our master bedroom.
Now I just need to wait for the next power outage. 🙂
Finally waited long enough to buy one of these Harbor Freight horizontal band saws.
Didn’t bother keeping the stock blade. Bought a new blade right off the bat and used it to set the alignment of the blade. It took a little doing, but it’s dialed in and cutting straight.
I found this document for aligning the blade and adjusting tracking. It’s still not tracking 100% on the lower drive wheel. But I think I have a plan on how to fix that with some help from the internet.
After work today, I went ahead and assembled the leg kit for the welding table from weldtables.com. I didn’t take many pictures of the process. Started by tacking it from underneath with the MIG welder.
I could have finish welded it with the MIG, but I really need the TIG practice. In hindsight, I should have just stuck with the MIG. I ended up having to weld a good part of it out of position, and even blew through some of the thinner leg steel in the process. Managed to fix those mistakes and just kept trying and taking it slow.
The welds are a bit ugly, but it’s together and is almost exactly the height I expected it to be. Once I replace the work table top with a piece of 3/4″ plywood (it’s currently 1/2″) it’ll match the height.
Next step will be to make some minor improvements. I want to skin the bottom shelf with expanded metal or sheet metal. It’s the perfect height for the TIG foot pedal when I am seated on the shop stool. Plus, I would like to make something to hang my angle grinders from off on one side, and a place to hang clamps on the other.
The kit comes with inserts that fit into the bottom of the square tube that makes up the legs as well as some nuts. Taking this as an opportunity to practice my TIG welding a little bit more. I tacked them up first before finish welding them.
Continuing the Weekend Welding theme, I decided to make some hold down clamps for the new welding table from weldtables.com. I could buy a bunch of these for $45 a piece from Bessey, but that was just a non starter. I have seen many DIY versions of the same thing, so I decided to make my own.
I put the new band saw to use and cut some 5/8″ metal rod into a few 1 1/4″ pieces. I had a few clamps from Harbor Freight that I have had for years. You can find this for between $3 and $5 a piece depending on if they are on sale or not. I cut the end of the clamp off and then ground the rod the other end slides on to a slight angle.
From there, I welded on the small piece of steel rod.
Did this a couple more times, and vioala! I see no point in spending $150 on clamps when I can make them for $5.00 total.