Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boondocking... Broken Bolts... and Having the Tools to Keep You Going...

I don't have anything like "All" my tools on the rig. Fact is, what I have is probably maybe 10% of what I used to own. Most got sold off when I chose to change the way I was livin'.

Right off let me say that even if you're into minimalism... which havin' carried my camp on the back of a mule a time or two... is a philosophizin' idea that is near and dear to me... Tools are Not a luxury.

Bein' able to take care of yourself, as "self contained" as is possible is to me a part of the art of Minimalism.

There's a confidence that comes from knowing that no matter what comes... You've honed your American red neck ingenuity parts to make do one way or t'other... and keep on keepin' on... No matter what comes.

Sure it's a nice thing to be able to just get on the phone, give 'em your credit card number and say; "Fix it and call me back when you're done."... but that ain't gonna get it done when you're sitting on the back side of beyond, no cell service, you got a broke widget and only two stale muffins, a cracked broom handle, the parts you saved from the blender, two feet of tie wire and half a roll of hundred-mile-an-hour tape to fix it with.

You'll sleep a lot easier in between the dances... if you develop an ability to handle yourself whatever difficulties come along.

If you can pawn the labor off on somebody else, fine... but at least you'll KNOW you CAN handle it yourself when there's no one about to pawn it off on... and that's a great comfort.

What I carry has so far mostly let me do what repairs I'm able to make myself. When it requires axle alignments, frame welding and neurosurgery... I generally hire somebody with the hardware to accomplish that task.

On my recent run to Turlock, one of the saddlebag mount bolts sheared. Now... that bolt was Supposed to be a 12.9 metric grade. In the U. S. of A... mostly our highest grade is 8... in metric the equivalent is 10.9... so... the 12.9 I hung the saddlebags with should have been up to the task...

... Buuuuuut... there's an "issue" with bolts the last decade or more.

Most all bolts these days come from a place across that big pond over west. Those particular boys in question don't feel much in the need of behaving in an honorable fashion when it comes to making things. They seem to operate on the belief; "Those Americans are fools. They'll buy anything so who cares?" The "CON" is often in play.

Bein' a bit honest here, they often aren't too far off the mark are they?

The upstart is... they've been caught on multiple occasions manufacturing counterfeit bolts! That is, bolts that are marked up to a certain Grade... that aren't that grade or even close. I expect it saves 'em a penny or two a bolt, maybe more.

Doesn't sound like much does it? but, take that penny and multiply it by a few million bolts a month or so... and pretty quick it adds up to a whole lot of "Much."

So... I pulled the scooter apart to get at the broke bolt and drilled out the broke stub to knock in an easy out...

*Broken bolt drilled out to be removed with an easy out*

That's pretty much when I came to the conclusion for sure and for certain that the bolt itself was bad...

A hardened bolt shouldn't have been as soft and easy to drill as this'un was. No sir. Whether it was just a manufacturing defect (stuff happens) or a deliberately counterfeited bolt...that sucker was junk when it was sold to me...

What's a guy to do? I'm about four or five states later now than when I bought that scrap metal, and buyin' from a different retailer with a different supplier... So I should be clear of that particular batch of less than prime bolts. :)

The NAPA store in Lone Pine has some bolts on order for me... in the mean time I've installed a temporary bolt; that they did have in stock. It's strong enough, just looks like hell! ;) So all's well... When the new bolts come in I'll R&R all the mounting bolts I used for the Saddle Bag installation.

The only thing I can do is hope these particular bolts are genuine.

Bottom line is, if you're gonna go wanderin' around the back country... you'd be well advised to carry a few tools and even some miscellaneous bits and pieces of hardware to patch your rig together at the least; to get you to a place to make complete repairs.

I've got drills, a couple saws, a bolt bin... which DIDN'T have these particular bolts... but soon will! ;)

... le'ss see... there's wrenches and sockets, chisels, pliers and hammers/mallets, pry bars, tie wire, electrical tape, electrical connectors, screw drivers, fuses, a bit of automotive wire, screws, glues and caulking tubes, clamps, an angle grinder... a compressor... and even a couple of pin guns and a quarter sheet sander! :) along with one big blue heavy duty, hammer blow cable crimper for making battery cables.

If I had a welder with me... I could probably just build a new Adventure RV for us right out here in the desert! ... hmmmmmm... Now wouldn't THAT be a hell of a story to tell!:)

Uh oh... there I go schemin' and makin' folks roll their eyes again... I can't hardly see for all the smoke in my own eyes! :)

Buuuut ... A sad truth is, I better spend some little while and a bit of dinero, going through my tools and hardware cache to replace and square away the damage I've done to 'em over the past three years of running the roads and breaking things. ;)  ... before I go cowboy engineering a desert camp built rig on the fly!

I might not be a mechanic.. but I can still screw things up with the best of 'em!

Making Sparks and Smoke in the Desert


Anonymous said...

You are so right. In fact when it comes to the RV, if I can't fix it, I am VERY particular of who I will allow to touch it. Been burned too many times. Gotta have at least the least of tools required for a job. With basics almost anything can be done.

acheapguy said...

Brian, if you need anything specific from the "big city", I would be happy to get whatever stuff you need and get it up to you. You are 1 day away by UPS here in Los Angeles.

Jack said...

I only understood a little of what you said, but I carry every imaginable tool in the bed of my truck--I imagine it affects my mileage more than my little trailer. My hope is, and I've been successful to a large degree, is that I'll learn when the "Mother of Invention, Necessity" steps in.

As far as engines. I'm at a loss. Couldn't do anything in that department.