Replaced a failed sump pump check valve after heavy rains

| June 26, 2021

Last weekend we had thunderstorms and tornado warning that dumped buckets of rain in our area. Thankfully no damage or serious flooding, but I did check on the sump and backyard pumps … I even added my spare pump to the pit in order to keep the water that builds up in the retention area […]

Tool tip: The Alligator Forceps purchase pays off immediately!

| June 19, 2021

Having just posted on the tool tip from Adam Savage yesterday, the Alligator Forceps paid immediate dividends. It was the exact tool I needed to replace the degraded gasoline tubing of my aging TroyBilt 4-cycle string trimmer. For context, photo from 2007 below …

Weekend mailbox project update and Annalyn’s first haircut

| March 14, 2021

Our old mailbox has lasted 26 years and considering it is cemented into a stone post that mostly matches what is in the neighborhood, replacing it with something else is not a option. A few people have repaired theirs, but it has been an expensive process requiring significant masonry work. Last year about this time, […]

Handy IFitIt tools for gadgets and Spring 2021 family photos

| March 13, 2021

Last week I need a small socket and as usual went out to the garage only to realized that even the smallest 1/4” Craftsman socket that I own was too big and bulky. Then I remembered the IFixIt tools Christmas gift my son gave me and voilà … an easy fit and fix. Thanks Taylor! The […]

Is there a high quality, maintenance-free garage door and opener?

| February 23, 2021

One of the most unappreciated attributes often overlooked when dating and looking for a life partner is that of a handyman, or to be a little more politically correct, a “handyperson.” I do know that having the Mister Fix-it gene, or is it a learned skill (???), has been one of my strong traits, but […]

Repairing the aging Caldera Hot Tub … AGAIN #TBT

| December 10, 2020

Well, it happened again. The stainless steel heater element pipe in our Caldera Hot Tub has failed again (last time was 2013). There must be some electrolysis accelerating the corrosion unless the stainless steel tubing is just that poor of quality? On the other hand, like the repair guy commented, your hot tub is far […]

The new Packard Hawk modified battery hold-downs are great

| November 11, 2020

Tweak by tweak I’m staring to enjoy working on my dad’s Packard Hawk. For the past five years I’ve been unmotivated or shy about calling the car that was my dad’s and before that his uncle’s, mine, … but as the list of non-working repairs and fixes grows, I’m seeing a path to making it […]

Picked a warm sunny day for the Packard Hawk to come home

| November 7, 2020

After a long time in a repair shop, I brought the 1958 Packard Hawk back from some transmission repair work. It came back very dusty, but I didn’t notice any damage to the paint or body (yet). The entire process from initial quote to final bill and slowness was a bit disconcerting.  It was not […]

Paintied the hinges and door hardware for the pool changing room

| September 19, 2020

It has taken me most of the second half of the summer, but I’m finally finishing the poolhouse changing room … more work than I thought. The damage done by Katelyn’s “late” pet rabbit Pumpy Umpy was significant enough to require lower drywall (greenboard) and all new casing and baseboard trim. Part of my slowdown […]

A summer thunderstorm may be a Hurricane Laura precursor

| August 27, 2020

As the Gulf of Mexico coast of Louisiana and Texas prepare for Hurricane Laura (as well as areas well inland), we got a taste of the kind of rain that might also be headed our way as this tropical weather works its way north. A strong thunderstorm swept through our area on Wednesday night this […]

It is wearing out, but the Rat Zapper is still repairable

| August 23, 2020

Even though we have a few of those ultrasonic devices plugged into the walls, mice seem to find their way into the detached and attached garage then figure out how to squeeze there way into the house. I’d like to think I’m able to trap them before they find the kitchen, but who knows … […]

Sent the Packardbaker out for some transmission work

| August 21, 2020

My dad’s 1958 Packard Hawk, mine for the last 5 years, has hardly been touched since it was flatbed delivered from Sidney, Ohio. I moved it once … and then covered it up with a battery tender after I noticed a pool of transmission fluid all over the floor. So on the 5th anniversary of […]

Constantly re-stitching my floating beanbag chair

| August 8, 2020

Although I’m looking high and low for some material to replace the clearance foam bead filled pool floaties I bought a few years ago, I continue to re-stitch and reinforce the old product with “Brenda’s” Sailrite Ultrafeed LS-1. The new stitching holds as long as the old fabric holds up, but sooner or later I’m […]

Archive: Damaged drywall and moldings in the changing room

| July 28, 2020

I started long overdue “Pumpy Umpy” damage repair of the changing room in the pool house. Hopefully I’ll stay focused and get it finished up before the end of the summer? Instead of using drywall, I’ve opted to use Greenboard even though it isn’t a wet room or floor. The area needed new drywall isn’t […]

Archive: Flying down and driving back from hurricane prep

| June 28, 2020

Flew on the airlines for the first time since COVID19 to Florida via Baltimore (photo BWI terminal above) last week and thankfully the flights and negotiating the airport was uneventful. Besides a computer glitch which backed up lines on check in, everything else went smoothly. It is yet to be seen if the rise in […]

Amazon delivery woes puts me in a Grumpy Old Man mood

| May 19, 2020

Sometimes ordering repair “parts” from Amazon is more critical than than others, like last week. On May 14th I ordered a electric fuel pump for our Kubota ZD326s zero-turn mower thinking it would arrive “as promised” by end of day Saturday. Then on Sunday I noticed that the “package was still on its way, but […]

John Deere 330 maintenance and a few photos from a friend

| May 19, 2020

As mentioned on Sunday, the delayed Amazon shipment of the Kubota fuel pump set my maintenance and repair plans back a bit, but I did get around to replacing the previously substituted fuel filter in the John Deere 330. We mostly use the old John Deere diesel tractor for trailer duty (and snowblowing), but ever […]

Ordering from Amazon is getting most frustrating

| May 17, 2020

The Kubota ZD326s zero-turn mower has had stalling and starting problems this spring.  I’ve finally diagnosed the problem as the electric fuel pump. This small pump is used to deliver fuel from the twin tanks to 26HP diesel 3-cylinder’s injection pump. Along with the pump, there are two fuel filters, one before and one after […]

Replacing the blower motor and fan in the 2010 BMW X5 35d

| May 15, 2020

If all goes well, my weekend project on the 2010 BMW X5 35d will be a new blower motor, just as with the old Toyota RAV 4. This past winter has been irritatingly challenging since the squeaky motor bearings have acting up, although sporadically. As the weather warmed and the wear continued, the “only on […]

Plugging yet another tire and “smelling the roses” #video

| April 18, 2020

Another nail or something in the tire, this time in Brenda’s Acura RDX. Thankfully it was in the tread and small, so an easy plug … but plugging two tires within 30 days? (the animated gif above is just a little soap water sprayed on the tire for leak detection) As for a video that […]

Who really wants a plugged tire on their BMW X5 35d?

| March 14, 2020

A little over a year ago I replaced the run-flat tires on the 2010 BMW X5 35d with a relatively economical set of Vercelli NON-run flat tires. This necessitated adding a temporary spare in my underfloor storage area … but besides price, the ride quality is much better. Unfortunately this past week nail found its […]

Accidents, newly stained fence damage and insurance pains

| February 23, 2020

Everything seems to happen when we (or I) am out of town. From the power out and a flooded basement to accidents in our backyard (well for a couple I’ve been home). The latest happened when I was in Florida working on the boat and a sheriff deputy came knocking on the door at 5:30AM […]

There are safer ways to use a ladder

| January 12, 2020

Being young, and someone who looked to be vying to be listed in this year’s Darwin Award, had me telling this worker, on a questionable set ladder, that he may not be as invincible to injury as he thinks? (he said to me, “oh, I’ve done this before”)  We noticed a bit of water seeping […]

How long should AGM deep cycle storage batteries last?

| December 18, 2019

Although my boating life isn’t quite this bad (thanks for the photo Fatty Goodlander), it is frustrating to be dealing with what I thought was an already “fixed” problems aboard Encore. Besides not using the boat often enough, the re-fixing of problems a second time is frustrating, time consuming and costly. Back in 2013 (has […]

Windshield chips become ugly cracks when it is cold

| December 14, 2019

Don’t you just hate this! Earlier this week I was driving home through construction and traffic as I headed south from Columbus to Cincinnati on I-71 (road construction is not done yet!) and I heard a rock hit the windshield. It sounded pretty nasty, but after looking around carefully from the inside, all was fine […]

A Fluidampr Harmonic Balancer for the BMW X5 35d

| December 6, 2019

One of the engine components known to fail prematurely on BMW diesels is the weighty harmonic balancers on the 6 cylinder crank shafts. Perhaps the park is designed with the vibration rubber material that degrades or perhaps it is just the constant hammering of the diesel engine that is hard on the original design? In […]

A workbench repair and a cool oil filter wrench idea

| August 31, 2019

Last week I brought my old Poulan chainsaw back to life for a few dollars after giving away my newer one, but I ended up damaging my workbench while adjusting the carburetor jets. The saw was still in several pieces (without filter, the bar, chain or guard on) while making tune-up adjustments and I accidentally […]

Bringing my older Poulan chainsaw back to life

| August 25, 2019

Five years ago (2014), I was in the middle of cutting wood and my older lighter weight Poulan chainsaw wasn’t running right. I used some small fuel lines in a attempt to hurriedly fix it suspecting it was the ethanol in the fuel … but my quick fix was to no avail. Instead, I ordered […]

Music Monday: Felt like a Kenny Chesney and George Strait song

| June 17, 2019

This past weekend was rainy and stormy, but I was still able to squeeze in a few yard chores – even got the front lawn mowed before the BIG storms hit. We even had tornado sirens wailing on Saturday night as tornados hit in Indiana before making an appearance (so says radar) just south of […]

Replaced the rear shocks the Honda Odyssey this past weekend

| April 16, 2019

Besides finishing the painful tax filing this weekend, I replaced the rear shocks in my 2002 Honda Odyssey  “work-wagon” and Florida vehicle. It is still the lowest mile vehicle we have, but unfortunately, it is showing its age … especially the rusting undercarriage. Still, it runs well and is reliable … knock on wood. I’ve […]

Gender roles and a repair estimate for our Honda Pilot

| April 13, 2019

Even in today’s gender-neutral world, there are duties, either said or unsaid, that married couples still assign to each other. One of them in our house assigned to me is taking care of our automotive issues … especially the ones nobody really wants to do. One of this past weeks’ tasks was to take our […]

West System epoxy repair to one of our many porch columns

| March 30, 2019

While working on the “bird away boxes” last weekend, the spring weather warmed improved enough at least for a day in order to start a fiberglass column repair (needed for curing). The wind blew enough a few weeks ago to toss items around enough that a crack and a chunk of plastic was broken out […]

Obituary: John Harold Haynes, founder of Haynes Publishing

| February 13, 2019

For those of us who grew up working on cars pre-Internet, the Haynes Manuals were one of the “go-to” sources on how to fix automobiles … or at least a particular brand and model of car. Last week  John Haynes, the founder of the publishing company, passed away at 80 years old. Although I also […]

How hot is too hot for a Late 2012 Apple iMac 3.4GHz Core i7?

| January 8, 2019

No matter who you talk to, running the processor at water’s boiling point is too hot and not healthy for a computer chips. After replacing my iMac’s power supply board … and hard drive … I thought my problems were over, but probably not. It looks like I’m going to have to clean the old […]

Zoeller has become my go-to favorite for replacement pumps

| December 22, 2018

They are not the cheapest, but the cast iron US made Zoeller pumps are now my go-to for pumps when replacing our “way too many” pumps. They are definitely superior to the big box store brands. Although each time I need a new one, I inch up the line as to quality … this time […]

BMW 528i Rear Window Seal and Variable Timing Solenoid

| December 5, 2018

My son Taylor has been putting off replacing the rear window seal on his 2008 BMW 528i for too long but before the snow starts again decided to come over after work to put it in. It was surprising that this task was easier than expected, considering just how much I dislike fiddling around with […]

Tech Friday: My Brydge BT keyboard has a faulty USB socket

| November 16, 2018

The Brydge keyboard attached to my aging iPad Air2, which I love, has been slowly causing me a few irritation when it come to getting a connection while charging. The tightly sealed aluminum clad keyboard was much better than my original Kensington (left) and tested Zagg (right), both which were great. Still the Brydge is […]

Fighting back my desire to participate in the Apple upgrade cycle

| October 31, 2018

It is a favorite time of year for those who enjoy seeing the new product coming online from Apple. iPhones in September,new iPads and Apple Air notebooks this week and even a new Apple Mac Mini (used an older Mini for my desktop next to a Windows machine for years). This year it seems even […]

Two years seems too fast to be replacing burners in the grill?

| October 22, 2018

In 2016 my friend Jeff gave me his old grill as I finally gave up on our well loved and well used old aluminum shell grill. His was a 4 burner Charbroil propane model that I was able to cleaned up, converted to natural gas and add some new internal parts. It has worked great […]

The never ending quest to make my Sperry Topsiders last longer

| August 29, 2018

Those of you who regularly read my blog know that I love wearing boat shoes (and flip-flops) and have gone thru great lengths to make them last and keep them "semi" odor free. From insoles to epoxy mixes for "wear control" … and have been accused of going  a bridge too far.  Short answer, it […]

Oil leak panic for the Mercedes Benz 300D Turbodiesel

| July 29, 2018

Whew … I was worried on Friday while driving the old 1982 Mercedes Benz for a reasonably close business call as I noticed oil leaking everywhere. My first concern was for an engine seal or gasket since there was so much oil dripping under the car. As a babied the car home, I feared the […]

A new Hunter outdoor ceiling fan after 20 years from the other

| June 21, 2018

Last weekend I notice one of the ceiling fans was no longer working … we could have used it with temperatures in the 90s – hey, it’s summer weather and to be expected in Cincinnati. Anyway, after taking apart the old Hunter fan, I could tell the inside was “growly” which indicated some corrosion. I […]

Basic maintenance on the Kubota ZD326s and John Deere 330

| June 7, 2018

Several of the parts for our now 10 year old Kubota ZD326s have arrived so I started the process of cleaning, greasing and replacing the "broken and beat-up parts." I’m still waiting for the air filters to arrive from China, but have the Kubota branded oil filter and Chevron Delo 400 SDE 15W040 diesel oil […]

An Encore dodger repair with Tear Mender and Sunbrella patches

| June 2, 2018

Although it rained constantly over the Memorial Day weekend and practically the entire time I was in Florida working on the kitchen update, I did squeeze in a couple of minor hurricane prep items aboard Encore. The canvas (spray dodger and bimini) is starting to show signs of wear, but a little tear maintenance will […]

To salvage or not to salvage? An epoxy LED light repair.

| February 18, 2018

Too many times in life I find myself fiddling to repairs something that really just needs to be thrown away. Case in point (see interesting idiom explanation below) … I brought home an LED fixture that replaced a higher wattage halogen bulb that works well in Encore‘s cabin, but for some reason the pin/plugs must have […]

Thrifty souls unite – a snap fix for a broken zipper

| January 2, 2018

Ok … so this nautical fix has not been endorsed by my wife, in fact, she will not be seen with me from wearing these pants in public ever again … although like most women,  I’m not sure she is fond of cargo pants anyway? My Eddie Bauer flannel lined winter cargo pants are a […]

Keeping knobs on cabinet doors/drawers. Out comes the epoxy!

| December 31, 2017

Let’s end 2017 with a kitchen cabinets knob repair. One of the changes to our new kitchen were the crystal looking knobs … Brenda felt they were too small. So we added larger ones, but the adhesive they used is not as solid as it should be, so out comes the epoxy and clamped in […]

After repairing my old Marlin 1894, it is time for upgrades

| November 21, 2017

One of my first rifles is still one of my favorites, so after repairing my Marlin 1894 last month I thought it might be time to upgrade a couple small parts. This .357 chambered lever action rifle is now 40 or so years old and after a fair number of rounds, suffered the bent extractor […]

Finally repaired my out of production Marlin lever action rifle

| October 31, 2017

Although I don’t think the Marlin company makes my .357 magnum Model 1894 lever action rifle anymore, I was finally able to scrounge the parts to repair it. I’ve had this beautiful short barreled saddle rifle since high school as it matched the caliber of my short barreled revolver. I have enjoyed it through most […]

iRobot Verro has been the longest lasting automatic pool robot

| September 23, 2017

About the only replacement parts I’ve had to purchase for our iRobot Verro pool sweeper/ cleaner were the filter bags that go inside the housing. It has been the best of the pool cleaners we have had. Originally we started our pool ownership with a hopping Kreepy Krauly gizmo for our first pool back in […]

Sperry Topsider update: Trying to repair worn heels with epoxy

| September 5, 2017

  It has been a while since talking about Sperry Boat Shoes, but it is obvious by the popularity of the old posts that I’m not the only one who loves wearing them. Usually the question is how to keep them from smelling or make them a bit more comfortable (with insoles). In this post, […]

The BlueMax blue poly pipe continues to haunt #home #repairs

| August 2, 2017

  Once again we’re dealing with BlueMax pipe (polybutylene plumbing), this time thankfully it is not on our nickel or is due to a flooded basement. I notice water bubbling from the water meter pit in our yard yesterday and after Butler County came out to look at the meter, he knew right away it […]

Update on BMW X5 35d problems: Battery and tires

| March 1, 2017

Neither of the problems I’m having has anything to do with BMW X5 35d diesel brand since the battery and run-flat tires are both aftermarket items. The AGM replacement battery I installed last year is still hanging in there so long as the weather remains warm (cold cranking amps are sufficient), but it will not hold a […]

Scavenger from one furnace to keep another furnace going

| December 20, 2016

A chill is in the air, but likely that has more to do with our 21 year old 80,000 BTU furnace acting up. We have three furnaces so I’m hoping it is the "pressure switch" once again; it does seem to be the weak links on modern high-efficiency furnaces (or could be all furnaces for […]

A second temporary BMW 528i upper radiator hose repair

| November 8, 2016

Besides being distracted on Tuesday watching the general election news, a call from my son Taylor brought me back to reality. I scrapped my afternoon plans and drove down to Clermont County where he works to "try a second time" to make a temporary repair (the first one was Sunday night). There is a ridiculously […]

What do you do when you mix up too much epoxy?

| October 28, 2016

Repair a shoe of course!  I’ve was frustrated with my carelessness when welding last year after burning a hole in my Keen shoes, but still wear them (albeit with a little more air conditioning than I would like). So after mixing a little more epoxy than needed for a repair, I dabbed a little bit […]

More repairs and parts. The John Deere 330 diesel this time.

| October 17, 2016

Actually this repair is long, LONG overdue. A decade or so ago when I was heavy into running biodiesel, a sticky batch of fuel ended up in our John Deere. I really never hesitated to run about anything in this little Yanmar diesel engine, but the biodiesel was a mistake. The solvent nature of the […]

Tim Ellison, a Christian entrepreneur that Walks the Talk

| September 24, 2016

We are humbled to call Tim Ellison of Mr. Godwrench our friend. A few years ago when he started his automotive repair business I knew his unabashed and outspoken Christian "modus vivendi" was attractive to me, so I quickly promoted his automotive services and did as much business with him as I could. Due to […]

My eyes are open for an Approved Packard Service sign

| August 17, 2016

A friend of mine, an automotive journalist, snapped this photo on his way across the country on Route 66 last week and I couldn’t help but crop and copy it for my blog – (above – thanks Wayne, not that you know I’m using your photo).  Although my garage shop is not quite ready for […]

Cars are breaking down at record rates

| July 25, 2016

Despite advances in automotive technology, roadside service calls to AAA were higher than ever last year. The causes were often new tech and new design. Drilling down a bit, AAA points to tires and keys above all else. The organization stated that cars less than five years old were responsible for a disproportionate number of […]

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
My Desultory Blog