Archive for the ‘Snow plow = money pit’ Category

DSC04357 (1024x768)In what is probably a complete waste of money and time, I put the steer horns on the GMC today.  You gotta admit, it makes a statement!  Nothing exceeds like excess, as they say… 

I made a (rather flimsy) bracket out of some scrap aluminum diamond plate,  screwed the horns to it, then to the panel behind the grill.  I may have to make a couple of little braces, as the whole thing does flex a little.  For now, it’s cool though, and certainly what little I’ll use it plowing the drive the rest of the winter won’t matter. 

Now, I’m open to any and all suggestions as to how much this thing needs to be “cowboyed up”.  I’m definitely going to put a gun rack in the back window and hang a BB gun from it, and it really needs something to break up all that white on the sides.  Some pinstripe?  Chrome 6-shooter grab handles on the cab?  Chrome horseshoe’s somewhere?  Trucker girl mudflaps?  We looked at full, hair on cowhides at Ikea, but they didn’t have any with any variation in color, or I’d have bought one to upholster the seat in.  Probably just as well…

Now, imagine it without the plow!

DSC04356 (1024x768)DSC04358 (1024x768)








DSC04360 (1024x768)DSC04359 (1024x768)

DSC04209 (1024x768)

The warm weather (almost 50 today) is supposed to come to a screeching, grinding halt late tonight, as temps tumble into the low teens behind a strong wind, but I’ve been busy while the warm weather held.  Actually, it’s been mild all winter, we’ve only had about an inch of  snow on the ground at any time, so I’ve had lot’s of good weather to work in the shop without building a roaring fire in the wood stove.

While under the T’Bird a week ago, I decided it didn’t need the air-shocks I’d put on when I built it originally.  We occasionally towed the Chris Craft, so they were needed then, but the hitch isn’t going back on, and the shocks came out.  They found a new home under the rear of the Diamond T, after I made a cross-member and brackets on the spring pads to mount them.   The valve stem is below the gas cap on the left rear, easy to get to but unnoticeable otherwise.  I put 60 lbs of air in them, which raised the truck about an inch, then let them down to 30 bs, which should be good.

DSC04195 (1024x768)DSC04197 (1024x768)








Once that was done, the bed floor, a sheet of 3/4″ Cepele ribbon grain marine plywood, was laid back down, screwed down to the bed frame, and the trim replaced.  I have a little work to do to the final fitting of the aluminum trim panels, and some work to drill and tap all the mounting holes for the stainless 1/4 20 machine screws, but it looks good in pictures!

DSC04207 (1024x768)DSC04205 (1024x768)








While it was warm, I figured it’d be smart to put the chains on the GMC, in case we get any snow and I want to plow the driveway.  I figured it’d be much better to do it now, rather than in the cold in a foot of snow, especially the first time.  I was right.  It wasn’t easy, the inside chain kept dropping down between the duals and getting stuck.  Aggravating.   I finally figured out how to roll the chain up onto the tire, and got the latches hooked.  Some tarp straps to snug them up, and I think I’m ready to plow.  It should be unstoppable now.   Of course, I didn’t think to check the gas before I put them on, and it’s below 1/4 tank, so I’ll need to pour it in from cans.

DSC04201 (1024x768)DSC04203 (1024x768)








Pretty gnarly looking, huh?  They’ll need to come off in a couple of weeks, as we’ll need to get another load of pellets for the stove, but I’m ready.  I could have saved a bunch of money, and installation would be easier had I bought single chains, and just pulled one wheel off each side, and run the outside wheel/tire only, but that didn’t occur to me untill I was struggling to get the chains up and over the tires. 

Let it snow!

Really, I’m not kidding.  If I added up the hours, and money spent on this GMC, and the plow, I’d have the Diamond T done, and money left over to build another hot rod.  (Not that I’m even THINKING about that, Kim!) 

This morning I went back to ALRO steel and got another little piece of 12 ga. sheet, and spent the afternoon cutting the remaining rusted out portions of the blade skin away, then welding patch panels in.  After that was done, I rolled a couple of coats of Rust-O-Leum industrial yellow on the whole mess, and while it’s certainly not up to Ridler Award standards, from 10 feet, it looks pretty damn good.   Wait ’till I get the Longhorn steer horns on the hood, pinstriping,  and “hair-on” cowhide upholstery in it…

Truth be told, I rather proud of the whole project.   Part of the reward came last Monday, when we picked up the lawn edger at the rental place (that we needed to bury the wire for the invisible dog fence) and one of the guys there said, “Man, that’s a NICE old truck!”  That comment was in no way diminished when said edger, un-restrained in the box, rolled out of the truck on M-43 on the way home after we stopped for breakfast  Happily, they didn’t notice the barked up handlebar grip and scuffed wheel rim when Kim returned it that afternoon.  And, it worked perfectly.

So, the truck AND the plow are now  DONE.  The truck has a new radiator, 6 tires, wheels, battery, gas tank, gas lines, brake lines, and with only 19.000 miles on the clock, will last me as long as I need a pickup truck.  A ton of wood pellets in the back doesn’t even settle the springs onto the overloads, and it looks pretty purposeful too.  This morning my buddy Joe said at breakfast, “You could have bought a pretty decent plow for what you’ve got in that one now.”, which I can’t argue with, but with almost everything new, including a third of the blade, I think for a total of about $1200 now that it’s all fixed up, I have a better one than if I spent that much at the get go. 

Let it snow!

Yes, I’m still working on the plow I bought last winter for the Dually.  You’d think a 30-year-old plow, bought from a metal recycling company, would be in tip-top shape, but it has needed, well, everything. 

I ordered a new pump base, as the original turned out to have frozen and cracked, from water getting in the hydraulic fluid.  Probably it got in the missing vent on top of the pump reservoir, which was missing when I got it.  Who knew it wasn’t supposed to have a 5/16 bolt just dropped in the hole?

Anyway, the pump base was easy to change, and I had O-rings left over from the rebuild kit (I ALWAYS seem to have parts left over…) from the first “rebuild”, so it’s all set.  The right-left toggle switch, which had quit working, turned out to just have had the right-swing wire off the contact, easy fix. 

Today’s project was to go to my favorite place to shop, ALRO steel, and get an 8′ long, 8″ wide drop of  14 ga. (?) sheet stock to replace the rusted out top of the blade.  That went pretty well, although I should have gotten some more chunks to patch the other rusted areas.  Seems that crap accumulates between the skin and the angle iron frame sections, and the thin sheet metal rusts out.  So, Saturday morning I’ll get some more, cut out the rusty spots, and weld in some more patches.  It’ll look like one of Kim’s quilts!  One could argue it would have been better to simply replace the entire blade skin, but this will be fine for what I’m going to do with it.

I also got the trucks ORIGINAL vintage 1976 mud and snow tires on the rear, which still have deep tread, although they’re weather checked.  The chains I bought are not the correct size for the Michelon 225x75R16’s on the truck, so they’re stashed away in the shop.  The concrete filled tire is in the box, there’s half a ton of tube sand to load in, so when snow flies, I’ll be ready!








In other news, we’ve replaced the beautiful little cast iron and marble tile, direct vent gas stove in the family room with a pellet stove.  It’s a Harmon Iron “Accentra” model, the same as we have in the living room of the house.  With these, we’re no longer slaves to our local LP gas supplier, “Ferrell Gas”, which saw fit to charge us almost $4.00 per gallon for propane last winter because they said we didn’t use enough gas to qualify for the going rate of $2.59 like all our neighbors.  Pellets are $175/ton, we have a ton tucked away in the garage, and hope to be able to heat the house all winter with 2 1/2 tons, give or take.  The new stove will pay for itself in two years, or less.  Still have to paint the wall behind the stove, as I had to move the exhaust vent and patch the hole, but that will get done this weekend.

Next project, the Diamond T gets wrapped up, the Tini-Home gets new polished aluminum siding to replace the wrinkly fiberglass “Filon”, and the T’Bird will finally get some lov’in!  Stay tuned for all the action!