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OT - Thank God I'm a Country Boy!

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  • OT - Thank God I'm a Country Boy!

    Well, okay, I don't live on a farm anymore, but I was raised on one. Part of life as a kid was learning how to fix stuff, cuz a lot of times there wasn't the luxury of being able to run to the corner store for a part. Or it was just too danged expensive. And maybe I was just born curious or something.

    Anyway, I have been in need of a new washing machine. A guy from work had one that I used for a couple of weeks while I looked, but it was free, and as he said, sometimes you get what you pay for. So it kinda worked. While looking at new pretty washers, I also kept an eye on CL.

    Well, a 7 or 8 year old washer that was in very good condition showed up for $25. The hitch was that the lid switch was bad. No big deal. So, I bought it. Got it home and found that the reason the lid switch was bad was that the arm was missing part of itself. So, when the lid came down and the little pokey thing went through the hole it didn't depress the arm far enough to close the switch. 15 minutes with some 5 minute epoxy later, and a piece of mylar on top to make it smooth and slick, and it was back installed and works like a charm! I may still order a replacement switch just in case, but then again, this seems better than new. And the washer works like it is new to boot. I like fixin' stuff!

    Still building my new old truck - see the progress!

    Square Wave TIG 200 - Woot!

  • #2
    Good for you, whatego, that you've got the ingenuity and ability to fix things. But then, out in the frontier of Kansas where you live, you need to be able to fix things in order to survive, don't you?

    Possessing the ability to fix your own things is an extremely useful trait, especially in third-world countries. When we lived in Kenya and Tanzania during the late 70's and 80's, we saw a lot of examples of this. To me the most impressive repairs were the major automotive repairs we'd see being done along roadsides in those countries. On many of our long distance automobile trips in those two countries, we'd see a truck parked in one of the two lanes of the highway (they always parked right in a lane since the shoulders were nonexistent). As we slowly drove past the truck, we would see two or three men working underneath it. The truck's entire transmission or differential would be visible on the roadway underneath the truck. These trucks always seemed to break down far out in the countryside away from all towns. Several days later, when we returned in the opposite direction, the truck would be gone. It was obvious that they either fixed the problem or reinstalled the transmission and got the truck running again. If my car's transmission broke down out in the U.S. countryside and I couldn't summon any help, I might sit down on the curbside and cry.

    Actually I was not all that bad as I did manage to repair my share of things. When we first moved to Tanzania, we took a 10 year old Frigidaire side-by-side refrigerator with us (shipped it in one of our crates). I'd read sometime before that move that the average refrigerator's service life was 10 years. Our Frigidaire was running well, however, and therefore we thought little of shipping it to our home in East Africa. During our first year there (in a town that was almost 500 miles from Dar-es-Salaam, the country's only major city), the temperature in the refrigerator compartment turned warm. The freezer compartment, however, remained cold and continued to produce ice. Not having any experience in refrigerator repairs myself and with no refrigerator repair shop in our town, there was no other course for me but to poke around our refrigerator myself. After a couple of days of poking around, I discovered that the source of the problem was a malfunctioning light switch in the refrigerator compartment's door. Closing of that door not only turned off that compartment's light but also turned on the fan that blew cold air from the freezer to the refrigerator. A broken $2 part had taken down the entire refrigerator compartment!

    Since it was inconceivable that I could find a replacement door switch in the entire country, my only hope was to repair the switch. In the USA these are throw-away parts, as you can imagine, since they are not made to be taken apart. I managed to carefully pry the switch's case apart, though, and found it contained a broken leaf spring. By rebending the spring, I managed to make the switch - and our refrigerator compartment - work again. I wrote a letter to my father, who was living in the USA, and asked him to purchase a new replacement switch and a new thermostat for me. A couple of months later I received both of these. Several months after that the thermostat in our Frigidaire side-by-side broke down, but, I already had the replacement part in hand.

    A sad sequel to this story was that one of our mission hospital's doctors, Aby, purchased a used, nonworking refrigerator and hired a traveling, "refrigeration expert" to get it working again. These tradesmen occasionally would announce news of their visits before they arrived in our town. Well, the refrigeration expert went over to Aby's house and got the refrigerator running again. Aby paid him a sum amounting to the equivalent of $250 U.S. for the repair work. However, after he left, Aby found out that the refrigerator's compartment was not very cold even though the refrigerator ran constantly. Since I had acquired somewhat of a reputation as a refrigeration expert by that time, Aby begged me to come over to examine his refrigerator. I was appalled by what I discovered when I examined the rear of his refrigerator. The traveling expert's "repair" had consisted of severing all of the wires and then running the power cord directly to the compressor. The refrigerator's compressor ran constantly, therefore, but there was no functioning thermostat, fan, interior light or switches of any kind. Sadly I had to explain to Aby that repairing his refrigerator was beyond my limited ability.

    This reminded me of the experience of one of our yard workers whose wrist watch stopped running. He took it into town and turned it over to one of the watch makers who worked out of portable carts on the sidewalks. We had several of those watch repairmen in our town. Several days later Daniel, our yard worker, told us his sad tale of how this had all ended. When he picked up his watch, the repairman told him it now was working. Daniel paid for the repair and took it home. On arriving home Daniel found that the watch still was not running. In his frustration he somehow managed to pry off the watch's rear cover. To his dismay he discovered that the case was empty. The watch repairman had abscounded with the entire innards of the watch. Somehow, to conceal his theft the watch repairman had left the two hands on the face of the watch.



    • #3
      When asked what I do my grandson says he can fix anything. I wish it was even 1/2 true. Sadly many think they can't fix anything because they never try.


      • #4
        Thats great! A few years ago I got this 4x4 s10 for free that "wouldnt start". It turned out to be the fuse for the fuel pump. Truck is still on the road today.
        HH 140
        Hobart stickmate ac/dc
        Sanborn 7hp 60gal comp
        1950's Craftsman drillpress


        • #5
          . o O (Okay, thought this was a thread about John Denver ... )

          Since y'all are telling tales about repairing things, i thought I'd share a couple of mine:

          Recently (within the last month) I picked up a pocketbike for $50. According to the owner, who has seriously mistreated the bike - he had been using a street bike for offroading, and it was covered in thick mud and caked-on dirt - the bike had a "blown engine", and I would need to replace it. Well, the engines for these little things is almost the same cost as buying a new bike, so I wasn't about to do that! After a thorough washing to get all the dirt off, a good carb cleaning, new plug, regapped coil, retightening of all the bolts, and a tank full of fresh gas, I gave the bike three hard pulls and VROOM! Fired right off. I turned around and resold the bike for $80.00. My cost for the repair? $1.75 for the plug.

          My father used to work at a local garbage dump, and would always bring home "broken" bicycles for me to repair. He would wheel them into the backyard after work, and tell me, "Here's what's wrong with it, you know where my tools are, have fun." Sometimes it was something as simple as a flat tire (yes, people actually threw away bicycles with nothing else wrong except flat tires!!!), other times it would be bad brakes, non-working derailleurs, bent sprockets, and so on. Growing up, I was probably the only kid in the city who literally had a different bicycle to ride for every day of the month! I'd fix them, ride them, break them (boy, did I break a few of them!), then fix them again and start all over. Of course, all my friends knew I was handy at repairing bicycles and knew my way around a toolbox, so whenever anything went wrong with their bikes, it was "Bill's the man. If he can't fix it, nobody else can."

          On occasion, when we got too many repaired bicycles in the backyard, my father and I would load up the truck, and take them to the police station for donations, The bikes would be given to families who didn't have the money to get bikes for their kids. I used to live a few doors down from a kid who didn't have a bicycle, so I repaired an old BMX and gave it to him one day. Twenty years later, he not only still has it, but just recently gave it to HIS kid, and he's never forgotten where it came from.


          • #6
            I envy people who can fix anything. I had a brother in-law named Fred, who was raised on a farm and he was good at afro-engenering, (no offence). He could fix anything. Anytime any of the ladies in the family wanted somethinfg fixed, He was johnny on the spot. Now my sister lives alone and is allways wanting me to come over and fix something. About to work me to death.. I tell her that I'm no Fred, but I will look at it later.