Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Oil, Chains, and a Trip to the Mechanic for the ATV

A couple of weeks ago my awesome neighbour J! offered to help me change out the oil in the ATV.  I thought that sounded reasonable and much easier than me loading it onto the truck and running it down to KC Auto again as I've done every previous year.  As well, I imagined that it would be a bit cheaper to do it yourself.

While there, the much more knowledgeable and wise J! suggested that my tires were looking a little worn, but not yet ready to replace.  He said a big help with ploughing and skidding would be to invest in some chains.  This resonated with me - Grandpa always had chains on his tractor and I had entertained the thought previously, but this latest advice was the precipitating factor for me to order them up.

Two more weeks passed before they arrived, and I rushed out to install them.

It took a bit of head scratching, and watching some Youtube videos, but I think I got them on correctly.

On Saturday I decided to try to bring in a large windfall I had noted on Thursday or Friday when I was last in the bush.  I brought out the ATV and hooked up the log arch.  Of course, it refused to start.  I spent some time turning it over to no avail.  Choke, no choke, gas, no gas.  Sigh.  Next I removed the spark plug and lightly sanded it and cleaned it off.  No go.  Then I added petrol (hmmm, this was much easier to do, perhaps I should have done that before the much more challenging spark plug removal?).  Still no go.

As our car was down at KC Auto anyway and needed to be picked up, I decided to load up the ATV into the back of the truck and take it down to swap vehicles.

Everything lined up.
Ramps in place, and as always, safety first!  Strap those ramps so they can't slide off the gate - I've seen it happen in Youtube videos, as well as in real life!  Very unnerving!
I ended up removing the chains before approaching the ramp, as I figured they wouldn't be good on my aluminum ramps or the truck bed.

Cold work with bare hands!
Getting the front tires on the ramp.  I've also removed the power saw boot.  Note the cable hooked on the passenger side of the truck.
Decided to just guide it up, rather than ride it up.  I know, I'm a nervous Nelly.  (Apologies to the brave Nellys out there.)
Taking a load off the winch as it reaches the top of the ramp.
Pretty much done.  Just to get up and over the wheel wells.
It was a bit of a challenge getting the ATV loaded into the truck without being able to drive it up the ramps.  I first hooked up the winch and let the ATV pull itself up the ramp.  It was not a little exciting when the wire rope snapped just as the ATV reached the wheel wells, and I had to quickly switch to the brake and steering to lower it down the ramp again.

Even a well worn wire rope can break now and again.  Thankfully no one was injured!
I tied off a knot in the wire rope, and put two heavy duty straps across the bed of the truck.  The first time I had just put the winch hook on one side, but this time I was able to hook onto the centre of the straps so that I was pulling the ATV straight up into the back of the truck.

Lots of creaking and a straining winch, but it worked!

Worked this time!
And an extra strap at the back to make extra sure all was well.
Of course, now I get to let KC Auto look at the ATV again - and in hindsight, the time and cost of the oil change kit ended up costing me more than letting the pros look at it anyway.  That's something I've definitely learned here on the homestead - while it does give one a great sense of accomplishment to be able to do everything for one's self - it is often as not more expensive and inefficient, with results that can sometimes be better obtained from a professional.

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