Sunday, July 30, 2017

Thin Cut-Off Wheels In 4 1/2" Angle Grinders

I picked up one of Princess Auto's 0.045" thick depressed centre cut-off wheels[1] for a 4 1/2" angle grinder recently. I had a couple of carriage bolt ends on a carport post repair that needed shortening. The cut-off wheel worked nicely.

But I ran into a little snag with the first angle grinder that I tried to use with the cut-off wheel. The wheel clamping arrangement on my old Black & Decker machine wouldn't close down on such a thin wheel. Here's a view of the Black & Decker's hub.

When assembled, the minimum space between the two hub halves is about 0.057". I'd say that that hub is meant for wheels no thinner than 1/16" (0.0625"). To use a 0.045" thick wheel with that hub, I'd have had to find or fabricate a suitable washer to take up the space.

I have another angle grinder, so I turned to it to see if it would accept a very thin wheel.

On the face of things, it appeared that that angle grinder wasn't meant to accept any wheel thinner than 1/8". But by flipping over the outer hub half, I was able to firmly clamp the very thin wheel, like so.

So, be aware that if you mean to use very thin cut-off wheels in your 4 1/2" angle grinder, you may be in for a spot of fiddling to get the tool to work for you.

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[1] Princess Auto P/N 8423030.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Replacing A Carport Post

In an earlier post, I outlined a method for reinforcing a rotted carport post. That article dealt with repair of a 4"x6" post, and mentions the existence of a similar problem with a 4"x4" post. The 4"x4" post had to be replaced entirely. I did a poor job of photographing that process, but here is a brief outline of what was involved, for whatever it's worth.

First off, here's a view of the rotten bottom of the subject post.

That post was poorly situated from the get go, by a stoop where it was surrounded by paving stones that really prevented moisture from evaporating. About twenty years of that existence, and the post is finished.

The key to replacing the post was to provide adequate support for one corner of the carport's roof while the rotten post was removed. I installed two temporary supports. The one in front was an adjustable jack-stand that I fabricated from a 4"x4" and a screw-type bottle jack, like so.

That worked out nicely, but it was only part of the solution. The front of the carport being supported by that jack-stand was not a true structural member of the carport's roof. I added fasteners to the inside corner of the carport's roof to improve the structure.

That helped. It improved the jack-stand's purchase on the entire roof structure at that corner, but I still needed to add a support for the sloping side of the carport's roof, in order to be certain of secure support when I removed the rotten post. For that, I rigged a 2"x6" prop attached with carriage bolts, like so.

And that successfully completed my support scheme for replacing the rotten post.

Removing the old post was not too difficult, and now I have a new, pressure-treated post installed in its place.

And here's the new post on its own.

Now it has to be primed and painted, and the downspout and house number put back in place.

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Carport Post Rot

Our home has a carport supported by four 4"x4" cedar posts, and one 4"x6" cedar post. One of the 4"x4" posts, and the 4"x6" post, are exhibiting severe dry rot at their bottom ends. Here are views of the 4"x6" post's problem.

That's what happens when a paint film fails and acquires little fissures that can admit rain water. Water wicks in readily, but the largely intact paint film prevents the water from evaporating readily. What you have is a situation where the paint is actually worse than useless. Naked cedar would at least dry out quickly after being wetted, and wouldn't be nearly as inclined to rot.

I wouldn't care to have to replace that entire post. The post is quite tall; jacking the peak of the carport's roof to accommodate post replacement would be problematic, to say the least.

So, I went with reinforcement of the post's base by way of 2' lengths of pressure-treated 2"x4" and carriage bolts. Here's a view of the the reinforcement applied to two sides.

And here it is with all four sides' reinforcements installed.

That still leaves me with exposed voids at the very bottom corners. I'll fill those with expanding foam, then prime and paint the whole repair.

- - -

And here it is filled and primed.

The primer is Behr No. 436, exterior primer & sealer.

The results I got from the expanding foam are not great. I was unable to trim the stuff nicely in those corners.

I wish I could have come up with a better scheme for dealing with the voids, but expanding foam was all I could think of. It will have to do.

Here's the first coat of green enamel.

That's Behr No.4300 deep base exterior flat tinted Mountain Spruce.

And here it is recoated and the masking tape removed.

I expect that to be a long-lasting repair, and it was far more economical of effort and material than post replacement would have been.

The other rotted post, a 4"x4", had to be replaced entirely, though. See this post for an outline of that procedure.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Brightening Up A Drab Dragonly

In nature, dragonflies are quite the colourful little creatures. This dragonfly garden ornament is anything but.

It's just begging for a paint job

Dragonflies have always struck me as having an almost metallic quality to their colours. I found a picture of a dragonfly that's a good example here.

I checked out the colours in Canadian Tire's rack of spray paints, and didn't find anything close. Then it dawned on me that the automotive touch-up paints might be the place to look. My wife and I looked those over together, and we found a colour called Brite Teal[1] that looked like it would do nicely. Here's how that turned out.

Not bad. (That's one coat of grey primer, with two coats of Dupli-Color's Brite Teal.) The eyes ought to be black, though. That's the missing finishing touch. I must attend to that.

Eyes Painted

Here we are with the dragonfly's eyes painted with Tremclad gloss black.

Much better. That detail brings the fly to life.

The Other Dragonfly

Our garden has one other dragonfly. It's a big one, with a wingspan of about one metre.

The fly is about the same colour as the tree trunk that it's perched on. I should have enough paint left to give that fly the same treatment as the smaller fly got.

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And voila.

Now that's a dragonfly if ever there was one.

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[1] Label reads: "CBGM0546 Brite Teal. Canadian Tire P/N 047-2420-8.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

A Viza Cruze Scooter

A garage sale find.

As you can see, it's in pieces, and whoever took it apart lost the fasteners, so this is going to be challenging.

Allegedly, the engine has no spark. I'm not even going to try to investigate that until I've come up with a bench-mount for the engine. I want to be able to work on the engine at a bench, not down on the scooter's chassis.

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 Here's the quick-and-dirty rig I came up with for a bench-mount.

It's just a steel flat attached to the engine by a single M6 screw underneath, then c-clamped to a small bench. It's adequate for spark testing, and that's all I'm concerned with right now.

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And the outcome of my spark test was to confirm that, yes, there's absolutely no spark. So. the next step will be to obtain a replacement coil module, and try that out.

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My son has ordered a coil from China. Here are two views of the original coil

Note that the coil is mounted such that it's inaccessible for air gap measurement. Installation of the replacement coil will be a trial-and-error affair to achieve a more-or-less correct air gap.

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While I'm waiting on the part's arrival, I suppose I should record some information about the scooter and its engine.


Made by VISA MOTORS LLC (Limited Liability Company). As best as I can make out the I.D. plate, the model is CZ-2BS, VIN is V60882 and Model Year is 2013. The I.D. plate is a cheesy affair, hand-written with a ballpoint pen, so some of those characters could be in error. There's a decent, embossed I.D. plate on the fork tube that has the scooter's serial number (V-60882) on it.

From what I can see on the internet, VISA MOTORS LLC is no longer with us, so factory support is out of the question.


A model KY171 from Keyang Electric Machinery Co. Ltd. of Korea. There's a rather odd entry on the I.D. plate -- "(MAX) 1.7PS/7000RPM". I don't know what to make of '1.7PS'. On the starter it says, "33cc ENGINE DESIGN BY MITSUBISHI".

There's a Keyang internet presence, but it looks like they no longer make two-stroke engines, so there'll be no help from them, either.

Spark Plug

The machine came with two spark plugs. The one that looks like it might be the original is an NGK BM6A. The other, that looks like a new equivalent replacement, is a Champion CJ8. They're gasketed, non-resistive types with a 3/4" hex.

A New Coil -- FRIDAY, AUGUST 4, 2017

The coil my son was able to obtain has arrived, and it's not an exact replacement. The poles' configuration is slightly different, and the frame can't be positioned far enough from the flywheel for there to be clearance between the poles and the flywheel.

Since we can't seem to find an exact match for the original, defective coil, we're going to have to go with the ill-fitting replacement. I filed out the mounting holes in the new coil, and so got it fit with clearance from the flywheel. Here's a photo of the new coil installed, alongside the original coil.

The new coil has an extraneous black wire lead that I'll delete, and the insulating sleeve on the high voltage lead may need to be cut back a bit, but the coil does work. I now have spark.

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Random Notes -- MONDAY, AUGUST 7, 2017

Following are some notes, in no particular order, on items that were attended to in order to rectify problems or make improvements.

Brake Lever Angles

The brake levers appear to be angled for a standing rider. I think I'd rather have them set for a seated rider.

A 5mm hex key is needed to loosen off the brake lever fasteners, and permit adjustment of the brake levers' angles. A small change in brake lever angle is all that's needed to make the angle more suitable for a seated rider.

Front Brake

The front brake is a single-pivot side-pull caliper type made by ALHONGA of Taiwan.

The front brake is operated by the left side lever.


The wheels are marked "TAMI", as are the fenders. Following is the data from the sidewalls of the tires:

250-4  N.H.S.
C-202S-3 [C-202S-5 on rear]

Here's a view of the front wheel/tire.

Note the valve stem. That's accessible with an air chuck. The one on the rear isn't.

The rear valve stem is blocked by the chain and sprocket. The rear tire is all but deflated, and there's no way to get an air supply connection onto it. It appears that you inflate the rear tire by first removing the wheel.

Rear Wheel Removal

An 8mm hex key and a 17mm open-end wrench are needed to undo the rear axle. And pulling out the rear axle (a 10mm x 140mm hex socket head cap screw) didn't get me very far; the wheel remains firmly in place between the frame members and the brake. I'll remove that chromed rear cross-bar, and see if I can spread the frame members a bit to allow the wheel to escape.

And it's still no go. That rear frame is a solid piece of construction that has a firm grip on the wheel and brake. Some sort of spreader arrangement is in order.

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It may be the iffiest arrangement that I've ever rigged. but it got the wheel freed.

Whether it's stable enough to work for getting the wheel back in place is anybody's guess, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, it's sufficient that I got the wheel out, and can maybe re-inflate the tire.

I'm hoping that the tire's inner tube is ok, and that the deflation is just from normal, extremely slow air loss over a period of years. It's a safe bet that the tire's pressure was never checked or attended to since day one, given the inaccessibility of the valve stem. All I can do right now is re-inflate the tire and put the wheel back and see how it goes.

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And this may be the most perverse, ill-considered arrangement that I've ever come across on a piece of machinery.

With that sprocket in place, there's simply no way to get an air fitting of any kind onto that valve stem. The stem is rigid -- it can't be flexed over away from the sprocket. The sprocket is held on by a hub that requires a special spanner to remove. I appear to be stymied here.

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Not quite stymied after all.

I managed to loosen off the sprocket by hammering at one of the hub's spanner notches with a punch. Now I can re-inflate the tire.

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As long as I have the sprocket off the wheel, I may as well show the back side of it with the maker's name.

It's an 18-tooth sprocket that incorporates a free-wheeling clutch, similar to what's employed on bicycles.

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And a minor miracle -- my hideous, makeshift frame spreader stayed put securely enough to let me get the wheel back in place.

And all without disturbing the chain-tension/wheel-alignment adjustment.

On to other bits of work that the scooter needs to have done on it.

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Fuel Tank Cap Gasket

It's seen better days.

It's just shy of 1 1/2" in diameter. I'll make a new one out of some truck tire inner tube material that I have on hand.

There. The hole in the middle is for fuel tank ventilation, so the engine doesn't get fuel starved by an evacuating fuel tank. There's a tiny hole in the tank's cap for the same purpose.

That material I used may swell with exposure to fuel fumes. If it becomes too swollen to fit properly and work reliably, I have some cork gasket material to fall back on.

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Seat Post Anchor Clamp Screw

The original screw was missing. I found an M8x40mm hex socket head cap screw at Canadian Tire that's just long enough for the application.

That screw was a nice find. With the scooter's shroud in place, the screw's head is only accessible for seat post removal via a hole in the front of the shroud. The hole is only big enough to accept a hex key, not a socket wrench, so a hex socket head cap screw was just what was called for.

Transmission-To-Chassis Fasteners

I wasn't happy with the fit of the engine's cowl to the transmission's flange, so I wanted to get the transmission off the chassis, to facilitate correction of the problem. When I went to remove the transmission, three of the four screws snapped off.

They're M6x20mm screws. I had some slightly longer screws on hand that fit ok. They have T30 security Torx recesses instead of hex sockets, but they'll do fine for the job. I've installed them without threadlocker for the time being. For final assembly, I'll want to use blue threadlocker on them like the factory did with theirs. It's imperative that nothing on the scooter ever shake loose; nasty damage could ensue by the time a loose fastener or fasteners was/were discovered.

Engine Cowl To Transmission Flange Fit

The engine cowl's opening around the clutch is supposed to fit easily over the mating flange on the transmission, but what I had was an interference fit. I shaved the perimeter of the engine cowl's opening with an X-Acto knife blade, and got it to where I now have a nice no-slop/no-bind fit.

Fuel Tank Fasteners

The two M5 screws for mounting the fuel tank were missing. I came up with two M5x16mm screws that were ideal, along with appropriate washers, so that's now resolved.

Shroud Fastening

The shroud is fastened in place by three M5 screws. The rear screw holes aligned very poorly, so I drilled and tapped a new threaded hole in the chassis bracket that lines up properly with its mating hole in the shroud. Here's a view of that.

The upper threaded hole at the centre of the photo is the factory's; the lower threaded hole near it is mine. That original hole alignment wasn't just a little bit off; it was waaaay off.

The shroud now fits in place nicely.

I just have to get it some steel screws and washers. I don't care for the appearance of those brass screws.

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Lower Right Side Engine Strut -- THURSDAY, AUGUST 10, 2017

I'm not sure how much it's actually needed, but there's a strut at the lower right side that supports the starter end of the engine.

Kill Switch

I had nothing to go by for what the original kill switch consisted of, or where it was located. I just put together an arrangement that works.

Where I'm At Now

Except for the temperamental, balky engine, the scooter is in pretty nice condition.

I've left out a lot of work that I did to try to get the engine starting and running reliably. Nothing I've done has fixed it, and I've done a lot. It looks like outright engine replacement is the only thing that will get this scooter into fit condition for use.

Just for the sheer helluvit, and as a further exercise in futility, I could dismantle the engine far enough to examine it for the possibility of crankcase leakage. Crankcase leakage might explain a lot of the odd symptoms I'm seeing.

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Nah. Some other time.

Speaking of exercises in futility, suppose I try peeling the encapsulation off the dead coil to see what's inside.

At the end of the centre pole, there's one folded-ever leaf of the armature lamination that appears to be what holds the coil assembly onto the armature.

I'll see if I can straighten out that fold-over, and so free the coil assembly from its armature.

Here's the lamination leaf straightened.

And here's the coil assembly off of its armature.

What I'll do now is try to carefully cut through the coil's 'skin' and peel it away. Good flaming luck with that, eh? We'll see how this turns out.

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