From the full version of Sunnyside's Lousy Book.
What happened to my drawings?
I should have thought something was funny about the architect's progress, but at the time my priorities were on my truck project. Five months later I had to call the architect up and say, “Hear that noise?”
"That's my generator running because they have just turned off my electricity. What happen to you having the plans done in two weeks?"
As it turned out, he had only worked on drawing the garage and I had to push him for a few days to complete the work on the house drawings. Basically I found myself giving him the dimensions of the existing structure over the phone as if he wasn't even taking the time to look at my drawings. He finished the blue prints were finished in three days.
Wanna here something really stupid? I paid him three hundred dollars because I felt he didn't ask for enough for his work. Then the thing that really pissed me off is that he had lost one of my original drawings and I happened to have liked my own drawings better than the ones he drew for me. Hind-sight tells me he might have been threatened by the city or paid to dog me, but I also have to wonder if the city stole my drawing from him in an effort to delay the progress.
Another strange thing: When I got my blue prints back from the city, the plans for the house were approved but the garage wasn't. The garage was crossed out and omitted. A few years later after I had sold the house and living at the shop in Parkland, I came across the blue prints and decided to take a look at them for the hell of it. To my surprise, the garage wasn't crossed-out and it was approved just as the house was. Somehow the blue prints were replaced while in my possession. Do you think the omitted garage was an effort to get me to sell my house? I also have to wonder if they switched the blue prints to cover up evidence of the conspiracy.
The day the city turned my electricity off, I saw the old man next door in his back yard. I said to him, I can't see how people can find any enjoyment out of making other people’s life more difficult than life can be already.
As darkness fell that night, I could hear his son in their front yard laughing and making fun about the fact that I just had my electricity turned off.
The next day I saw both the old man and his son in their backyard. As you may imagine; I had something to say to them.
I said, “Remember what I said to you yesterday about people making other people’s lives harder than it is already? Well, I heard your son last night making fun about me getting my electricity turned off. I guess he thinks God has blessed him more than me. But guess what? God has blessed me with a generator.” I dragged my generator over to the tree located between our two houses spaced only twenty feet apart and I chained the generator to the tree. That's where it stayed and you can imagine the noise they had to listen to thereafter. They ended up listening to the engine run for two to four hours every day for over least six months.
In April of 95, I was living without electricity. Though I had managed to complete the framework for my rear fenders while I still had electricity, I had the problem of getting the aluminium fender skins welded together so I loaded up my welding equipment and took it over to my buddy Ramjet's house to see if he would let me patch into the fuse box in his garage. He said he didn't what to help me with it because after working all week as a welder, he doesn't even like to weld his own exhaust pipes. He referred me to a welder in the Milton area and said the guy would probably do the welding for about fifty bucks.
The next day I met up with the welder and he was in need of some aluminium wire so I had to make a trip to the welding supply store to purchase a small spool of wire for a hand held feeder. When I returned I found that the guy had blown all my prep work. He only used one clamp to hold the parts together as he welded them and the pre cut angles of 22 & 1/2 degrees to make 45 degree corners were ruined. My fenders ended up with corners running about 42 to 44 degrees. Times four per fender, I ended up with fenders looking as if someone had run into them.
The guy tried to sell me the idea that they were better that way. Get this: He told me he would only charge me wholesale price at $40 per hour if I would pay him in cash. I don't know how he managed to take three hours to weld them, but it added up to $120. He bragged how he did such great work because he had been welding for twenty years.
Well I've got news for him; I wouldn't let him weld my wheel barrel. I paid him and acted as if I was a sucker that would come back for more. I went home and took a reciprocating saw and cut the forty three degree corner welds out so my fenders would bend out enough to at least look square. I'm sure you can imagine of how I chewed Ramjet out the next time I saw him.
I still wonder what makes people so self centered that they don't want to step on the band wagon and help things along. I became frustrated and anxious to see my truck operate and the only financial support was the word to mouth customer base I had built up over the years of painting, but I had to work for each dollar that supported the project.
Although my customers helped out by hiring me for their painting projects, I wasn't aware that my customer base was dwindling as time went on. If I would have known what the conspiracy was doing to my business, I would not have passed up a couple of jobs I could have had.
The insurance money was gone and I worked hard at paint-ing to pay off my credit card enough so that I could charge for the all the hydraulic components, fittings, and hose assemblies for the operating system. Just the mounting kit for the hydraulic clutch pump under the hood alone cost over $500.00, but if you have to have it -- you have to have it.
As far as having no help with my project I would say my friend Ken was an exception because when I had a hard time finding a place to weld the strait pipe for the exhaust on the truck, he was the one to come through. Ken let me run a power cord through his kitchen window so I could plug into his 50 amp range outlet. The strait pipe allowed room for the operating system's hydraulic components which I installed on aluminium racks between the frame rails of my truck.
Installing the hydraulic operating components and hose assemblies was a long drawn out task in its self. I bought assortments of fitting and hoses in bulk lengths so I could do the fitting at home. Every time I had to cut a hose, I had to start the generator to operate an electric chop saw. I remember thinking Honda should have given me an award for how many times a person can pull start a generator in a day. The temperature outside was in the nineties and I found the only way I could handle the heat comfortably was by warring only boxer shorts while laid on an old foam mattress pad underneath the truck. At night I found myself working with the use of a propane lantern at times. Another thing I didn't think about was the number of trips to William’s Oil Filter’s hose shop I’d have to make because I'd place the collars and press the fittings onto the hoses by clamping the fitting into a bench vice. Then I’d take small batches to the guys at the hose shop to have them crimp the collars with the use of a crimping machine. Over time I learned how to talk the language and became a regular at the shop.
Once I got the truck plumbed, it was time to try it out of course. My nerves were as tight as a string and it was time to smoke another bowl.
I fired that puppy up and hit the button.
The thing rose like it had been wakened from the dead.
Then I heard some noise from the rear. It sounded like I might have left a wrench where it shouldn't have been. Though I thought I had all the clearances down, a look and see was the only thing that was going to let me know for sure.
"Ah, shit! That's what I heard." The bumper moved farther than I thought it would and though the trailer hitch was a job in itself to design, and then I had to fabricate a taillight panel and bumper that would work alone with it, I had too many things going on in the same area and there was a problem with that.
I couldn't help but laugh at what I found. I figured that if I was going to mess up and destroy something; it might as well be something as simple and minor as the notch in the rear bumper where it needs to clear the trailer hitch.
Luckily it was no major damage, but when I tried to get the system to go back down, it won't move because of the lack of pressure supplied through the cushion valves. That was another mistake. The mistake was upon how I began operating the hydraulics for the first time. I’d backed off the pressure setting on all my relief valves and I thought it might be safer to operate with less power because it would be less likely to break something if something would have gone hay-wire. I learned that I should have left the cross port relief valves (cushion valves) within the operating system set at factory settings -- except for the cushion valve right after the solenoid valves which set the pressure limits in each of the up and down movements.
Like an idiot I decided to bleed the oil from the bottom of the cylinders to lower the carrier. As in: Stupid Rule Number 50, I learned one should make sure they have the doors of the truck closed when doing so because I found out what it's like to coat an interior door panel with hydraulic oil.
After I cleaned the oil off my door panel, I took the bent up tail light panel and bumper off. Cut out a bigger notch in the bumper and bent things back into shape. After I reinstalled the parts, turned up the pressure setting on the down stroke, and it was time to try the system again.
Wouldn't you know; I raised the carrier up; only to hear the same familiar sound. This time it wasn't as funny. It was more like work and work that only got in the way of progress. This time it was the bumper hitting the side plates. It was little embarrassing to say in the lease because I was pretty dam sure I was being watched. As you might imagine, it was one time I wished I had some privacy.
Then it wasn't just fixing the damage, but modifying the mounts to hold the bumper out more. It gave the taillight panel a slight tilt inward but it looked alright. I never cared much for the diamond plate panel with the stock taillights mounted to it anyway. It was one part of my truck that made it look like something out of a road warrior movie. A bit ruff and it gave it the presents that it had been pieced together. However I eventually did away with later down the road and built a smooth panel with pro-truck light fixtures which have Lexon ® lenses and bulbs suspended in rubber like most big trucks have.
I also had problems with chatter from a couple four-port lock valves I had within the operating system. After I took one out, the operation smoothed out a bit but the synchronization was still out some. As a solution to the problem I went down to the hydraulic supply shop and bought a couple flow check valves. I installed one on the up and the other on the down side of the front cylinders circuits to compensate for the faster stroke. They seemed to do the job of regulating the synchronization but I still had some chatter I needed to eliminate, so a second four port load lock found its way to the spare parts bend.
The next thing that I was interested in was finding out the distance the hook was from the ground to determine the height the bed and its loop would have to be from the ground.
I assembled the trolley inside the carrier and drove my truck around to the front of my house. I parked it in the middle of the street where it’d be level enough to get the measurement for the loop height. There and then was when I took the first pictures of my truck with the carrier in the raised position. The picture always reminds me of the triumph of the hard work it took to get that far. In the picture the truck seems to have a powerful stance. As jittery as the system operated, I knew it was nothing to worry about because I knew that if the operating system didn't work out, I could always try another one and the option of operating it manually was a given at no extra expense because I already had more than enough parts.
The next day I had to re-adjust the flow controls. They seemed to have lost their settings. What I didn't notice was that one flow check valve was manipulating the control with the opposite effect upon what it was suppose to do. As a result both controls were restricting the fluid the same direction, but regulating from same direction from both the "A" and the "B" side of the cylinder ports.
Bang! The power of hydraulics is quite impressive and loud when something brakes. I was a little embarrassed and humiliated and didn't even get a chance to find out what broke without the old man from next door being there in my backyard looking to see what broke. He tried to tell me it must have been a flaw in the metal, but I knew better.
Thinking about it I'd bet he was waiting all morning to get a chance to watch me play with my new toy. I'd bet the city informed him that they had sent someone over in the middle of the night to sabotage my truck.
The system lifted the front of the carrier too fast and the ___ member clipped its self on its backside against the bottom trail end of the carrier. It over-extended past the stopping point of rotation engineered into the upper ____ point, binding the back-wards pivot of the carrier against the ____ member’s back side. Consequentially it tore the end of a piston rod off a cylinder in the rear assisting mechanical portion of the system. The sabotage effort turned my system into a big hydraulic lever and it used the compounded leverage to pull the top of a piston rod. (Funny how the manufacture of the hydraulic cylinders have since changed the ends of those piston rods on the newer models to ones’ consisting of a cross-top pipe, which happens to be stronger and exactly how I would have wanted them to customize them for me.)
I figure they probably sent some hydraulic mechanic over to turn a flow check around. It was something that could be done by just swapping a couple fittings from one side of a flow check valve to the other and reinstalling it to where a person unfamiliar with the fluid path wouldn't even notice anything had been done because it was in the same place but installed backwards. No doubt the dirty deed would result in screwing up the operating system.
While I was waiting for the new cylinder to arrive, I designed some front legs for the bed and pre-cut and fit the rear wheel assemblies. I had made the wheels while I still had electricity, but to weld the assemblies on the bed -- Ken’s kitchen window and driveway came to the rescue again.
It took a few days and about $140 including the air freight to get my baby up and running again. After taking the second four port load lock out of operating system, I discovered that the flow controls were not needed under normal use, but the system still needed a little tweaking.
The next part of the project was to install the chains and sprockets. Unlike the cylinder operated part of the system, starting out with the cushion relief valves pressures at the lowest set-ting was the best way to begin with on the motors. Reason being: I hadn't set-up the system with electric switches to stop the trolley at each end of the carrier yet. The intention was to increase the pressure to the motors only when I would find the system wouldn't pick up or move the load. For instance: One time I pushed the bed back without lifting the bed up and the legs ran into the fenders. When this happened, the relief valves within the cushion valve unloaded the pressure. The cushion valves didn't even supply enough power in the backward movement to damage the fenders.
Therefore it would be nice to know why the second day I had the hydraulic motors installed, chains, shafts and sprockets installed, and the trolley fully working; the force in the backward direction broke a pulley block mounted
to the rear bulkhead. It was a result of the pressure on the relief valve within the cross-port cushion valve was set too high.
Keep in mind that I'd only lifted the bed while empty onto the truck by that time and that’s only about 500 to 600 pounds of payload. It wasn't hard to figure out that some asshole stuck again. It was obvious that some guy was sent over during the night to turn up the pressure on the cushion relief valves.
For about two or three years I used my truck with certain chain links marked with safety yellow paint and I used the marks as a guide to tell me when to stop the motors before running the trolley into either bulkhead. Though I’d usually stop the trolley within a half inch of hitting the bulkheads quite easily; if it hit the bulkhead, it was no big deal because the strength of the chain is much stronger than needed and the pressure would always be released through the cushion valves. Whenever the trolley did
hit either one of the bulk-heads, I figured it was just a little more chain stretch than necessary; if that..
I've learned over the years that the chains don't stretch until the weight lifted has exceeded the previous maximum load capacity used.
The next chapter of Sunnyside's Lousy Book is:
Tell me who's crazy?
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What happened to my drawings?
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