More Stuff, More Problems

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I’ve always been a “stuff” guy, I want stuff.  I want motorcycles, quads, trucks, sleds, boats…etc…I want stuff.  I dig on riding on these motorized contraptions.  I’d rather spend time riding these things around with buddies than I would going on a vacation or doing something else.  The main problem with “stuff” is that is all comes with hassle.  Even if everything runs perfectly all the time, there is still a certain amount of hassle.  You have to change oil, make sure you have gas…etc.  There is always going to be general maintenance that must be completed.

On top of that, the “stuff” that I can afford to buy isn’t new stuff…it’s used, generally well used.  For the most part I can fix it and make it work.  I lean heavily on youtube for directions, but I can do it.  I have the tools to work on things, and after a day off from school for an unexpected event, I have my garage to use as a work shop.  I don’t particularly like fixing things, I’d rather be using them.  I do like the feeling of accomplishment when I have finished fixing something and it works like it should.  I like how I feel when I talk to other buddies that play with these toys and I’m able to say “I did….” to my machines while they are hauling them in to the shop for whatever work they want done.  One guy hauled his in for a winch install, probably a $500-600 bill by the time he’s done.  The upside is it does save him time and he doesn’t have to get dirty doing it.  I bought a winch for the cat and installed it myself in a few hours.  It took longer because I was taking care to route the wires and mount the switch in a specific spot.  Total cost for me was $185 + 3hrs.  Obviously each of us value our time differently.  It was a very nice day when I did the work, so I could have potentially been riding the cat or one of the other machines.  The bottom line though is I couldn’t really afford to have this stuff if I couldn’t do the work myself.  I ordered tires for the cat and it’s going to cost me another $100 to have them mounted.  The kid asked me why I couldn’t do that myself.  It’s kind of an ego boost that she thinks that I can do “everything” but it’s also kind of a hassle that she expects I can do all that stuff.  FWIW, I don’t have spoons for the tires or an air compressor that has enough volume to seat the bead.  Tires are also kind of important and a pretty big safety feature, so I’d rather have a shop do them and get it right the first time instead of me f’n it up.

This last summer I spent a bit of time going through the various machines and getting everything running properly…or so I thought.  This past week god damn everything went to hell on me.  The kid worked both Sat and Sun.  She works on a ranch about 6 miles away, so she takes her quad.  30min past time for her to be there we got a call from her boss asking if she had trouble (she’s never late).  Turns out her quad died and she ended up walking up there.  I rolled up to the quad and gave it 2 pulls…no compression.  It’s a 250 2cycle so it’s not unusual for the top end to need to be redone…but I didn’t think it was close to going.  So I figured I would trailer the kodiak (my quad) up to the ranch for the kid to take home after work and then I’d haul hers back on the same trailer.  I get back to the farm, kodiak wouldn’t start.  It had a buzzing sound.  I connected the battery to the trickle charger for a bit (I have one installed on this quad because in the winter I use the winch for the blade to push snow.  I don’t let it run enough to fully charge the battery so I just plug in the battery maintainer when I’m done).  It charges for a couple hours, then goes “green”.  I tried to start it, buzzing.  I used the portable charger…same.  I used the car charger, same.  I jumped it with the cat…popped right off.  Clearly the battery is fucked.  This was a pretty spendy battery, a deep cycle setup for rigs that use their winches a lot.  It was only 3 years old.  The wife was in town, so I asked her to pick one up.  She gets home, battery won’t fit.  I measured wrong.  Now this alone isn’t a big deal, but with the kid’s quad down it’s just another pain in the ass.

On top of all this, the top end of her bike is tore down because that needed to be bored out and a new piston installed.  Due to some miscommunication with the shop that is boring it, I didn’t get the correct piston ordered.  I’m wasting more time waiting for the right one.  Then I have to haul it (or mail) the piston to minot so they can bore out the cylinder to match…then go down to get it and bolt things back together.  The piston is suppose to be here either friday or monday.  I’m going to tear the jug off the quad and haul that down when I take the piston for the bike…then they can measure that, get back to me and I can order the correct piston.

So, it’s easy to see how much fucking hassle it is to keep this shit running.  When they go, they are lots of fun.  And in all fairness, until now these machines have not needed any attention…so they were due.  But you know that sooner or later there is going to be a problem.  It’s expensive to buy new, but in the long run…it saves you time, which is easily converted to money.

If you follow techno, you’ll see an earlier post about me rebuilding the snowmobile motor this winter.  What are the odds that 3 motors go out within a few months of each other?  Talk about bad “luck”.

I’m also having a problem with a lawn mower…but that is common shit.  Unless you spend a good chunk of change on a riding mower, you’re going to have problems every couple years.  If I lived in town, I wouldn’t even have a lawn mower anymore.  I’d pay someone to do that shit.  They can use their own equipment, hassle with it themselves.  I hate lawn mowers, they are always having some kind of problem.  A decent push mower will usually give you 5-7 years…but those are throw away.  As soon as they don’t start like they should, toss ’em and get a new one.  Riders are a little too costly to do that shit.

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