Area51 - Mike's Misc Projects 2014:




2014 turned out to be a super busy year between moving, house painting and renovating, I also managed to complete quite a few projects in the garage which included finishing the inside of my brand new Area51 facility! Our new house sits on a 1/2 acre lot, which means there is a lot of grass to mow, a PITA chore at best. Thankfully a good family friend donated a 90's vintage ride on lawnmower which sports a 12.5 HP Briggs and Stratton engine and a 36" cutting deck. The tractor was in fantastic shape and only needed minor repairs before putting it into service. The burned out headlights were replaced, a minor oil leak around the dip stick tube fixed and a slow leak in one of the front tires repaired. The tractor now runs flawlessly and makes the mundane chore of cutting the grass enjoyable!


One of the biggest projects was actually finishing the inside of my Garage, the full story for this can be found on the Area51 Page. One job I had to under take was rebuilding of the heads on my 60 gallon air compressor. The compressor wouldn't make maximum air pressure & cut out, I found that one of the head gaskets had failed. The guys at Rideout Tools were fantastic help, and managed to match up the proper gaskets to make the repair. I replaced the gaskets on all three cylinders to maintain reliability of the unit.


With my new Area51 facility complete the next task was some maintenance work on my trusty Honda 9/28 snowblower. This unit has seen 8 hard winters blowing 1000's of tons of snow at our old house in Mount Pearl, and has only required minimal maintenance such as oil changes and one spark plug and has never let me down. This year I purchased new belts as I figured the original ones would be in hard shape given the number of hours on this machine. I took the auger assembly out for inspection and found one bearing where the auger meets the bucket slightly rough so I replaced both $4 bearings. While apart I took the opportunity to sand and paint the rusty augers to keep them looking great.


With the belt cover removed I closely inspected both of the belts and was surprised to find them in great shape. There was zero noticeable or measureable wear and no signs of dry rot, cracking or fatigue. I opted to leave the original belts in place and keep the replacements on hand for when they are needed. As like every year, I performed an oil change.


The only other parts I replaced were a worn out Teflon discharge chute bushing which caused the chute to rock back and forth, and the impeller shaft sheer pin which was fatigued.


While working on my snow blower, I had a few repairs to complete on Project Foreman before our Moose Hunting tip in November. At some point in the year I split a front axle CV boot which allowed mud, water and sand to enter the joint wearing it out in short order. I picked up a new Front inner CV joint & a replacement boot & clamps from Honda One and set about installing it. Its pretty straightforward following the repair manual. I also took the opportunity to change the engine oil using new Maxima semi synthetic ATV oil and changed fluids in the front and rear differentials.


So that's the recap for 2014, I'm super stoked to finally have a sensible shop to work on projects, one that is constantly heated, dry and where I'm able to use air tools, weld and cleanup with ease. Hopefully 2015 will see the commencement of some exciting new projects!

Cheers, MIKE

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Copyright 2011 Michael Smith