The Generator

I’ve mentioned elsewhere that when I first moved into this house, one of the first things I purchased was a generator.  And since I bought the thing, I’ve never had to use it.  Never.  The only time it was ever used was when the former homeowner, who is an electrician, offered to wire up a house feed, so I could power my whole house with the generator.  Actually, it would only power some of the house, but, I could turn circuit breakers on and off to direct the power where it was needed.

Anyway, the point is that I’ve only run the damn thing once.  And after that one time, I never drained out the gas.  And I have experience as to what that will do to an engine.  But we’re not talking about leaving gas sit for months or a year, we’re talking 12 years.  So, as hurricane Irma approached, I pulled out the generator and it failed to start, as expected.  I had a couple of days to fix this situation.  The fix would be similar to what was done to my motorcycle – remove and clean the carburetor.

I started by taking the gas tank off the top and doing a general cleaning of the unit.  Considering its disuse for 12 years, the generator was in good shape.  I sprayed seafoam and carb cleaner into the throttle body.  I somehow expected that would fix the issue.  The generator did not start after a bunch of tugs.  I rolled the sad unit back inside and let it go.

The next time, I actually disassembled the carb from the engine.  I sprayed more carb cleaner all over it.  But the one thing I couldn’t do is get the bowl off, which Youtube taught me is something that needs to be done.  The screws were seized and would not move at all.  I put the carb, twice cleaned, back on and tried to start it.  Many yanks later, it still has not made an improvement.  Back inside the pathetic unit went.

I gave a lot of thought of how to get those screws off.  I was beginning to strip the heads, so my options were becoming limited.  My next thought was to clamp the screw bit against the body so when I turned the driver, the bit would not come out from the head grooves.  So, on another day, I did just that – took the carb off, got a clamp and secured the bit to the head, then using a wrench, I turned the bit.  The end result was the clamp slipping and more head stripping.

In desperation, I grabbed a pair of vice-grip pliers and clamped them onto the screw head.  A careful turn and the bolt freed itself with a small “crack”.  With what was left of the head grooves, I was able to remove the screws and expose the carb bowl.  At last.  The liquid in the bowl was outrageous.  It was a dark brown, oily substance that resembled nothing like gasoline.

I went to work with the carb cleaner and got everything shiny clean.  Now to reassemble it.  And that’s where it all kind of fell apart.  The gasket, a complex-as-fuck o-ring that rested in grooves in the carb, didn’t fit in the grooves in the carb anymore.  I must’ve stretched the rubber when I pulled it apart.  And as far as know, there isn’t a way to unstretch the rubber.  After an extended attempt to fit it all back together, I decided I would just buy a new gasket.

The problem is, finding that gasket is no easy task.  I determined the engine was a Briggs and Stratton, which got me lots of replacement parts – way too many.  Then I found the part number of the carburetor and searched for that.  That’s when I found out a replacement carb was only $20 – shipped.  Why was I even bothering to try and clean this thing?  I mean, it’s not like a $300 used carb for my motorcycle.  In the end, it’s still the same fix I did with my motorcycle.

The part is ordered and I’ll be able to install it next week.  I could have done that right from the start if I’d known it was that cheap.  What a waste of time.

Garage Restore, Phase 2

The former house owners had converted the garage into a game room in 2003.  It is my plan to return the room to a garage.  The first step in getting to that point was to fix the ceiling.  The ceiling had damage from a period where the A/C unit in the attic was poorly sloped and leaking into the ceiling.  The drywall had sagged and eventually fell apart.  Phase 2 is painting and the final phase will be installation of the garage door.

With the total fiasco of the complete ceiling replacement, which also included removal of two HVAC ducts and a HVAC air return, now I was ready to depersonalize the walls.  The former owners had spent probably a significant amount on a mural artist to come in and paint the walls in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers theme.  Since sports are not my thing, I really have no interest in keeping it around.  Early on, I thought it would be a great selling point for the house, but to live with it until I’m ready to sell is just too much.  Anyway, things like murals are not selling points.

For reference, this is what the room looked like before any work was started.  The tube lights have since been replaced with LED flat lights and a lot of the furniture is gone as well.


The color scheme is going to be two-tone grey with a blue hue.  Since the outside of the house is going to be a stormy color of blue, the garage will carry that color in.  The laundry room is a bright aqua blue.

I began priming the upper part of the walls, since I also had the paint for the upper part.  Eliminating the bright red walls and artwork was more satisfying than I expected.  In one particular section, the names of the former homeowners were painted, along with the date the mural was completed.  Painting over that section felt the best, for many reasons.

See, I’m still more or less friends with the old homeowner.  I do computer work for him.  Recently, he got divorced.  Sometime later, he stopped by my house with his new girlfriend and wanted to show her my house (his old house).  It’s kind of hard to explain, and I just chalk it up to some southern thing where you can just walk through anyone’s house when you’re friends with them.  But he showed off the game room and talked about “how it was”.

Now that I have wiped all that away, he doesn’t have anything to show off.  He doesn’t have anything to remind him of his ex-wife or make his new GF think of his ex-wife.  I don’t have to think about him or his ex-wife or his family anymore either, or my previous life for that matter.  It’s a clean slate and a fresh start.

Garage Work

Or future garage, anyway.  It took a little time to decompress from the contractor work I previously discussed.  I had to slowly get back into the idea of getting started on a project.  And I had a couple of projects that were prioritized.  First, I was not going to install blinds in the garage, nor curtains.  My choice instead was mirror window tint.  The tint supposedly blocks out something like 80% of the light, plus UV protection, plus privacy.

I found the film I wanted to use and later purchased it for half price at my warehouse store where I purchased a lot of my Adorne pieces.  I also purchased the installation kit which had a squeegee, contact spray and a trimmer.  Because I don’t really prep for anything, I later had to go back and buy razor blades, because I wanted to scrape the windows completely clean before filming them.

I’ve had my car windows tinted so I kind of understand the process.  You wet the surface, float the film into position, then squeegee it down into place.  Sounds easy; is not.  My first attempts have creases in them which make the window look cracked from the outside.  My later attempts were better looking.  I ran out of film doing only one window even though the package says it’s good for three windows.  I guess I was leaving too much border that got trimmed off.

After getting completely frustrated with one window, I decided to begin priming the walls.  I didn’t really consider just how large a garage really is.  I used up over a gallon of primer doing half of one wall.  But, progress!

On my list of things to find is a outlet cover plate that has a hole for a doorbell transformer.  I bought a simple metal cover plate, but it is very narrow and will not cover the outlet opening completely.  I have time.  I have a few days of work already queued.