33 miles this trip, odometer now 29,676, total miles this year 34,236

From Delmar, MD, Hi Everyone!

Not many miles this time. I have been spending my time studying old timers I have added another four hundred names to my genealogy files, of really old timers who lived in the 16 and 17 hundreds. I now have over 8800 names in my computer, all of them linked in some way. I have spent some time working on old timers, I'm talking about machines, that, like me, are old, high mileage and have a problem. If I can solve the problem I can extend their life a few more years just like when Doc. Olson extended my life by doing bypass surgery on my heart back in April 1990. So far I have gotten 12 more years and I'm looking for 5 to 10 more.

I extended the life of Alexis' old 1987 Ford car with over 142,000 miles on it. She told me it wasn't running right and she thought it needed a new fuel filter. She bought it a few years ago when her old car gave up. It was no spring chicken when she bought it, and the drivers side inside door handle had broken off. At that time I took the inside door handle from the rear door and put it on the front door. That handle was now broken and she had to open the window and reach to the outside door handle. When I studied the situation I cussed the engineer who designed it. He designed it with a week point right in the highest stress point. I fabricated a door handle from junkyard steel that works but to make it the way it should be made, I would have had to butcher the inside door panel so it, like the original has a week point. I was wishing it would outlast the rest of the car. My wish was almost granted the next day when she headed to work and came back home with the engine making some awful noises that sounded like loose parts bouncing around. She said that something had broken and she took Jeff's pickup and went to work. I went to work to find what was making all the noise. When I opened the hood I didn't need a stethoscope to determine the noise was coming from the rear valve cover (it was a V6 mounted crossways). To get to the valve cover I had to remove the intake manifold with the fuel injection controls on it, I cussed those ford engineers again and went to work. I really cussed those ford engineers when I got the valve cover off and found a rocker arm, its bearing and an under sized metric bolt that had stripped the threads out of the head all lying down between the other working parts. This would require a delicate operation to bring the old ford back to life. I was very careful to not contaminate the engine with metal filings when I drilled and tapped the hole in the head to take a 3/8th inch grade 8 bolt. Now one of the 12 rocker arms has the correct sized bolt.

When I had the intake manifold off I see the inside of it was covered with oil, she told me it was using a lot of oil, so I put a new PCV valve on the valve cover, if that don't fix it, it will get the washer treatment. After a few days I found that the new PCV valve did the trick, it cut the oil consumption way down.

Then Mark shows up with an old Mazda Pickup that I have resurrected twice before. The first time was when Jeff hauled it out of the woods where it had been abandoned by someone years before. I found the distributor full of oil, after cleaning it and installing a new O-ring to keep the oil out of it she came back to life for a few years. Then she died again when the timing chain slipped a tooth. A new timing chain brought her back to life again. This time she was still running but Mark had installed a new hydraulic cylinder on the clutch actuator and needed some help to bleed the air and the crummy old fluid out of it. He told me the engine was using a lot of oil, it didn't have a PCV valve, just a hose coming out of the front of the valve cover to the intake manifold and a hose from the rear of the valve cover to the air filter. I pulled the hose off the valve cover that goes to the intake manifold and install a # 6 finish washer and told him to check for oil on the air cleaner filter. He tells me it reduced the high oil consumption and the filter still looks OK. So, if you have a high mileage engine using a lot of oil, give it the washer treatment, it just might work, and if it don't, it can be undone in a couple minutes.

Another old timer, was the elevator between the first and second floors in a 100 year old house. A few years ago Jeff installed an alarm system in this old house for the Isaacs. In it's early life this old house had housed some of the upper crust of the city. The elevator had not worked in a long time and Richard Isaacs asked Jeff if he knew anyone who might fix this old elevator. I was in the shed at Jeff's working on my old motorhome and Jeff asked me if I thought we could fix the elevator. I told him I would have to see it, so he called Richard and got us an invitation to dinner that night. As it turned out, after unwinding some cable that looked like a bowl of spaghetti from a winch and adjusting a switch and a brake the elevator came back to life. Now after running for a few years, Richard called Jeff to tell him that there was a scratching noise coming from the wall when the elevator was running. I went to investigate and sure enough it sounded like a cat sharpening its claws inside the wall next to the elevator. Richard ran the elevator up to the second floor and he and I opened up the boxed in area of the wall that the scratching noise had come from. Instead of a cat, we found a cable with a broken strand that was bunched up and frayed. We also found the cause of the problem, two nails had been driven into the wall in the kitchen and they protruded about an inch into the cable compartment and had been rubbing on the cable. We bent them over, Cut out the frayed strand, taped the cut ends to prevent further unraveling. I now expect the old elevator to still be alive when Richard and I are long gone. It's by keeping these old relics alive that is keeping this old relic alive, I hope I can keep doing it for another 5 or more years. Dominique asked me if I knew any thing about dishwashers? I should have headed to FL right then but I told her I would look at it. This was not an old timer. It was leaking water when running. As it turned out, the seal on the shaft where the motor shaft connects to the pump was shot. After I got the motor and pump assembly out I told Richard, it looked like a used motor had been installed on it. It was about 6 months out of warrantee but Richard called Hotpoint and told them what I said. They told him to take it to an Appliance repair place and if they confirmed that it was a used motor they would send him a new unit and a repairman to install it. As it turned out the appliance place would not confirm the motor was used and they wouldn't confirm it was not a used motor. Hotpoint then told Richard they would send him a new unit but he would have to pay for the labor to install it. So, I installed the new unit (with an improved motor) and it now no longer leaks. From the treatment given to Richard, I would recommend Hotpoint as a good Company.

Richard's wife, Dominique is a French lady and is a fantastic French cook so I always enjoy visiting the Isaacs. Richard and Dominique are going to France for about two weeks next month, I wish them a safe voyage and enjoyable vacation.

Till next time, Dallas or Dad if it fits.

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