Thursday, May 22, 2014

Whacked. . . or not. . .

We don't have a 'lawn' in the traditional sense, instead we have several acres of meadow. Depending on the rainfall for the year we'll shred (With a brush-hog behind the tractor.) anywhere from 0 to 2 times per year with late spring, after the wildflowers are done, and mid winter, before the spring growth starts, being the target dates.

But in between we sometimes have to do a little cleanup around the barns if, for nothing else, so we can walk around and take care of things without fighting some of the pricklier stuff that grows around here. For that we have a weed whacker. Well - we have two of them.

There's this one, which nobody wants to see let alone use but you have one hanging on the wall anyway, if for nothing else, because your grandfather had one.

And then we have this one. The kind any sane person reaches for first, and last.

Which is exactly what I did recently when the growth between the back door of the barn and the front door (The only door but it sounds better to say it that way.) of the greenhouse got to be about waist high. Some of that growth was wild blackberries and walking full speed into those suckers hurts!

Because of the drought around here I hadn't had need to use the weed whacker for quite some time, like more than a year's worth of quite some time, so I expected I'd have to push the little squeeze-bulb primer more than the prescribed 8 times before attempting to start the thing, but by about the 80th time I began to suspect something wasn't quite right.

 A little investigation and some disassembly and this is what I was left with. Little bits and pieces of trash that used to be the fuel delivery system. I'm told, by people that know about these things, that this is what the alcohol now being mixed into our gasoline does to fuel lines.

Never mind the highly suspect Eco-advantage of mixing alcohol into our fuel, what with the high net carbon cost of growing, transporting, processing and delivering grain in flammable liquid form, not to mention (But of course I'm going to.) the reduced stored energy in alcohol relative to just about any other fuel and the subsequent lower fuel mileage obtained from a gas-alcohol mix even though the transportation costs of a gallon of each, pure gasoline and pure alcohol, are the same by the time they end up in your tank. And don't get me started on the devastating ecological impact of so many acres of diversified ecosystem being withdrawn from the CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) to be tilled under for fuel-bound grain production.

But anyway. . . The fix was fairly easy

 Using a couple dollars worth of new fuel line, and the original in-tank filter and on-tank grommet, I just re-plumbed the thing.

Of course it would have been even easier if I didn't make assumptions along the way; in this case my assumption was that the primer bulb pushed fuel into the carburetor when in fact it pulls it through the calibrator.  But after a second round of re-plumbing all was functioning properly again.

And instead of generating blisters on the wrong end of this:   

I was able to flirt with permanent nerve damage in my hands due to vibration from this! How great is that!!

OK, note to self: From now on drain the weed-whacker fuel tank after every use.

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