Area51 - Mike's Misc Projects 2021:


As far as winter weather goes, 2021 is not off to a good start. Granted, warm weather was convenient to get Project Foreman outside for a wash (badly needed after the last snow adventure) but its still disheartening if you enjoy snowmobiling and other winter activities.



Fortunately there were a couple storms in the forecast. I prepared by getting Project Argo ready for winter starting with a thorough cleaning after a long moose hunting season.



Next was an engine oil change, greasing the inner and outer bearings, and lubricating the drive chains. I also knocked another minor issue off the list by installing a new seal on the transmission shifter as it had been weeping a little gear oil while driving.



I like to use decent oil in the machine, it's 32 years old and air-cooled so synthetic oil certainly holds up better than conventional. This older engine also does not have an oil filter and utilizes splash lubrication. I change the oil every 25 hours as cheap insurance and to rid the engine of contaminates.



Next up was installing the tracks, this year I took a few more pictures of the process and updated my HOW TO: Install Argo tracks guide here on the website.






Next was the windshield,



Followed by the convertible top which I actually finished on the night of our 30cm Blizzard.




Meanwhile we also had to get Mark's Argo ready starting with a light service (greasing bearings & chains) and installing tracks.





Mark also retired the 2-year old drive belt replacing it with a freshy keeping the old on onboard as a good spare. We like to replace drive belts fairly often, you get top performance with a fresh belt, plus the strain and heat can damage a belt to the point it just catastrophically fails, not a huge deal if you have a spare but a nicer job to do in the garage vs in the woods.





Next up Mark and I picked up some new ice fishing gadgets. First are these simple yet effective rod holders made by HT which work really well with our new ice fishing lines purchased at Outdoor Pros last year.



Next we built some automatic Jaw Jerker rigs based on a design I found on the Facebook Group Newfoundland Hunting & Angling Junkies Page. It starts with an HT tip up rig & a 29" rod/reel, and adds a custom bent jaw jerker rig. I'll have a full write up later this month after we get a chance to field test them!



New Tool!!! I finally grew tired of regularly fixing or replacing my Weller Butane soldering irons which I have been using commercially for over 20 years, when my current one failed I decided to give the recently released Milwaukee M12 soldering iron a try.



The iron is great, it heats up and is ready to use in 20 seconds, comparable to Butane (both of which are much faster than my 110v corded irons). It has a light to illuminate your work which will probably be a nice addition, it has an LED to indicate when it's up to temp (green) and an LED to indicate its too hot to touch/store after you shut it off (red).



It also bends which might also prove handy. Like most irons it features changeable tips and included a chisel & a pointed tip in the package.



In February I took advantage of warm weather and cleared up the backyard taking a full pickup load of soggy old scrap lumber to the dump.




After my Argo Snow run in January I found my new wiper was leaving a nice bit of the upper windshield untouched. I modified the wiper arm by shortening it 3" and swapping the 16" wiper blade for an 18" which made a huge difference. Full write-up on my Argo 6x6 Project page on the Projects in the Shed page. Also Project Argo is finally sporting new Shed-Headz and Pussy Magnet Decals! I hope to have decals and shirts available for sale very soon.



Parts for my snowmobile arrived. When I stored my sled 2 years ago I found the kill switch broken (left-big black section broke away). Of course you cant just buy that small part so I picked up an full used assembly and harvested the part I needed (right). Hopefully I'll soon get Project REV out of storage, make a few repairs/maintenance items and get out for at least one ride in 2021!



Also in February the Front Fender Kit arrived for Don French's Kubota 5460 tractor. As you can see below, without them the front tires make a heck of a mess travelling between Don & Mark's houses.



The kit seems pretty sturdy and instructions were decent so Mark and I knocked out the install pretty quick.






In February Project REV finally makes it home for a couple minor repairs and hopefully a few rips with the boys if time and weather allows. Check out the full story on the Mike's Project Powertek REV page.



Near the end of February French and I spent the afternoon doing up a couple dozen bottles of moose which we look forward to utilizing for lunches up in the woods. We prepared the bottles in the kitchen but did the cooking using French's All American Pressure Cooker/Canner in my Garage as it was quite cold and windy outside hitting -14șC plus wind-chill. We kept the overhead door propped open, rear garage window open and had fan running to prevent build-up of poisonous CO gas and everything went well. Look for a How To article soon on this process!



On my February 19th ice fishing trip I set up my Rapala ice fishing shelter for the first time in awhile and unfortunately broke a support pole in the process. The pole was in the roof section, I temporarily lashed it together with electrical tape but the roof was quite slack.




I have never worked on one of these before, but I tackled it anyway as I couldn't make it any worse. My first choice is to replace the pole, or even all 4 poles & hub if needed but I cannot get any support from Rapala for replacement parts. No one locally has anything in stock, I may in the future order online from EBay or Amazon.



With the nut and cap removed the pole slid out of its pocked in the tent and out through the hub with ease. I removed the broken pole as well as one good pole to use as a length reference for my repair.



My first idea was to replace the fibreglass rod with Aluminum or steel, but these rods need to flex while setting up the shelter and I was afraid those materials would bend or kink.



Instead I decided to experiment with a fibreglass repair. First I fit the two broken sections back together like a jigsaw puzzle using the good rod I removed as a length reference.




Then I started using 18" lengths of sturdy braided ice fishing line to lash the repaired area. I figured it would be strong, the right colour and it's ice fishing line on an ice fishing shelter. LoL



I applied what I believe is enough lashing to hold the parts together and provide strength which will be made much stronger in the next step.



I still had about a gallon of fibreglass resin left over from rebuilding Dad's boat so I mixed up a batch to finish repairing my tent pole. I soaked the whole affected area so the resin ran thoroughly into the damaged area, and made sure the braided wraps were liberally coated as well, recoating as it soaked in.



I let the pole cure overnight and flexed it the next day and it seems great!




I reinstalled the poles into the hub, fastened the hub cover and set up the shelter in my spare room! Success! It didn't snap or fail! I will order a replacement as soon as I can track one down, but this will get me back on the ice for the remainder of the winter fishing season!



Having sold my rusted out trailer earlier this year and not yet having a replacement I decided to set up my truck for carrying my snowmobile.  I installed some EZ Glides on my work bed slide so it would be easier to load & unload without tearing up the plywood surface.



Next I needed a set of loading ramps as there aren't always tall enough snowbanks nearby to get the sled up into the back of my 2500 series truck. My steel ATV ramps are not skidoo carbide friendly. I made these with an aluminum ramp kit and 2x6 lumber (already in stock - if these work I may re build them with 2x8 as recommended).



I didn't want the ski carbides to dig into the aluminum so I covered the aluminum top with EZ Glide as well  which will make loading as easy as possible.



I made them 88" long which will give me a decent angle and still fit in the box diagonally so I can lock them under the tonneau cover while riding. I may add a 3rd ramp to carry the track as right now I drive the sled up until the skis are in and lift the back up which is a PITA where my truck is pretty high.


Cheers, MIKE

Return to Area51

Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith