In a comment here:
“ossqss” said some experience points would be shared after a bit of sleep time. Well, I’m about done for today too, but have some experiences I could share… later. That got me thinking maybe a thread for that would be a good thing.
6 April 2018 at 4:46 am
Thank you all for the feedback and coaching! It is appreciated and welcome. After dealing with Irma last year, I had to think about gaps in my planning. On the same subject, I would offer some experience based observation on disaster recovery.
I will do so tomorrow as it is very late here, but here is a sampler. Ridgid 18v cordless tools and batteries and compatible accessory products (most with lifetime warranty, in particular the batteries), inverters, and multiple size generators for different tasks. It is quite eye opening what a Hurricane can teach you and your neighborhood about needs!
So I’m figuring there’s more than just the two of us with some hard won lessons learned.
Well, here’s a place to put your story of things you’ve learned about what to do when it all goes sideways and pear shaped.
I will start off with one semi-funny bit that is unlikely to ever be useful again:
When I was about 17, I was driving a VW fastback out in the middle of nowhere (and before cell phones). My engine started running really crappy and I pulled over. Waiting about 1/2 hour, nobody came by. I figured I had about a hour to sundown.
That engine had two cylinders out each side and two valve covers. (Boxer engine). Each side with its own carburetor. I pulled out my standard tool kit for the old VW air cooled engines ( 10 mm & 13 mm wrenches, screwdriver) and popped off the valve covers (held on with a big wire “bale”). On the drivers side, one valve push rod was poking out past the rocker arm, bent. Not going to run with the valves not opening… What to do…
After a bit of a think, I thought ‘why not make that side just air springs?’ Close ALL the valves. In truth, at the time I didn’t have the words “air springs” as a concept. I just thought “Not going to open that valve. What happens if both are left closed? Um, that cylinder doesn’t fire and I have an unbalanced 3 cylinder engine. What if I close the valves on both on that side? Oh, a balanced 2 cylinder engine with 2 just compressing and expanding the same bit of air in them. Ummmm would the spark set off bits of it that got sucked in past the valves? Better cut off the gas to that side and pull the spark plug wires off”… Later at the library I learned what “air springs” were and that I’d made them. You don’t need the words for a thing to make the thing. Just the idea.
Two 13 mm nuts later the rocker arm was off. I took out all the push rods (4 of them) and put the valve cover back on. Up top, I removed the gas line from that carb and ran a spare sheet metal screw into the end of it to seal it. (I think I took it from the rear trunk hatch…). Back in the car, it started right up and ran fine, if horribly under-powered (an 800 cc engine at that point). Loaded up my tools and drove home.
The lessons learned:
1) Don’t give up. THINK. What can I make with what I’ve got? I made a 2 cylinder engine out of a 4.
2) Carry tools. It’s a lot easier to be creative if you have tools.
3) I would have been much happier with some hot coffee and a sleeping bag in the car (in case I failed w/ the engine.)
4) Going out in the boonies all alone and not telling anyone can be suddenly exciting, and not always in a good way.
5) SIMPLE mechanical designs are better in an Aw Shit. You have a hope of fixing them. (Forgotten in the modern age).
6) Keep “cleaning materials” in the car at all times. Paper towels at a minimum. Soap or hand cleaner if possible. Water too. Driving home an oily mess makes for an unpleasant drive (but better than stuck for a long cold night.)
7) Yes, it’s summer. Put your shoes (not just flip-flops), socks, and coat in the car anyway. Night can be cold. (This I thought of while working on the engine and not knowing if I was going to succeed).
8) That little known / little used shortcut comes with a risk. Well traveled roads have “helpers”.
9) It’s a really really good thing to know how your stuff works inside. Can’t change what you don’t understand. Well, not in a very good way very fast. It is much easier to redesign how something works if you know the present design.