Scrounging

ATV plow, first use. 


Got 4″ of powder last Thursday night, finally enough to try out the ATV plow! 

 I built the mount, and had it all ready in early October of 2016. But the night I finished it, and went to test ride with it mounted, is the night the clutch went out. I didn’t know what to do with the clutch until spring of 2017, so the wheeler and plow sat unused all winter. I never got to try the plow until this weekend!

SO, Anyway, I used the Prairie to plow my yard and driveway Friday. Works great!  

One small section of drive plowed;

Took about the same amount of time as it does with my truck… Truck moves more in one pass, but takes more time to maneuver… The wheeler is smaller, easier to turn and has better visibility. But not as much power or blade size to move a lot at once. 50/50-90 kinda thing.  I’ll break it up from now on, truck for large bulk areas, wheeler for the tight spaces, trimming up. 

Did have one problem. The plow doesn’t have an upward stop for lifting the blade… Just where you stop the winch. So if you go too far, it just keeps pulling. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you have it all the way up or not. 

Broke some welds on the mount pulling it up too far.  Will need to re-weld that, and make some sort of positive stop that hits the bumper or something, so I can tell for sure when to stop the winch.. 

I’m thinking just a upward angled bar braced off the plow, that would hit the bumper, and be a solid stop I’d feel. Maybe have it high enough that I could see it… Something like that. 

Got the main mount piece with the breaks inside melting/drying out now, will get it done and back on in the morning,  so I can plow the new 2″ or 3″ tomorrow afternoon. 

I’m really not surprised it broke… I’m only semi professionally trained at welding, still not real good at it, and this was done with a rather light welder for steal this heavy… 

 And it was being torqued at this area by a 2000# winch, with about 3′ of leverage added… It simply tried to hinge on the welds and sheared them, and is now hinging/flexing others.

 Looks like I missed welding straight across the back edges too, which would be a lot of loss of strength against pull in this direction.. Whoops.  

I’m actually happy it broke where it did. This piece is a 2″ receiver hitch mount, that goes into a 2″ receiver tube mounted on the wheeler. Breaking at the female side on the wheeler would have been a Lot bigger of a pain to fix! 

And the plow itself hinges onto this piece. Breaking the plow side would have been worse too, mainly for being able to get it into my heated shop where the bigger welder is set up, and I’d probably have gad to do a lot more re-engineering if part of that broke.

All in all, if it was going to break, it’s the best area for it.

This time I’ll full box all 4 edges where the two pieces stack,  maybe drill a couple holes in one and plug weld it down to the 2″ square tube… Maybe add a cross plate above the tube. And use a much bigger welder for more penetrating heat.

Yeah, apparently forgot to paint it against rusting before I parked it last year too… 

Anyway, onward to custom plow mounting 2.0!

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Categories: Adventure Metal Works, Alaska-Life, ATV, ATV Accessories, ATVing, Automotive Work, Custom, custom-made-tools, Damages, Fabrication, GetOutdoors, Modifications, Outdoors, Scrounging, Vehicles, Welding, Winter | Leave a comment

ATV Rear bumper/brush guard

After I got the front guard on, on my trail ride test run, the day I posted about, I also did some brush busting. Going forward was great, a lot less worry with that push bar, I was plowing over sma 2″ to 3″ diameter trees! 

But when I couldn’t get through where I was trying to make a trail, turning around meant a 12(more like 20!) point turn in narrow quarters, pushing against/over what I had to… And it was a lot of pushing against the rear rack, rack walls, and fenders. 

Decided then that I need a rear bumper/guard. 

Lots of research later, I decided on the simple tube bumper style, and preferably one big tube. Hoping I could get curved ends.. 

To the scrap pile we go!

Bunk bed frame ends, just happened to be wider than the racks and plastic, but narrow enough to match overall… 

Some creative cutting, and more cutting… 

Amazed me, those 3/8″ cross bars were solid, not tubing! 

Mock up of Mount positioning…

Simple brackets, angle irons welded into slits cut in the tube. 

Getting it all squared and oriented right, those slits aligned, and the brackets squared in to get the curved bumper ends level/square was a pain… But worth it.  

And some welding, which I didn’t get pics of.  Worked out perfect… Ran everything together, got it all. Then decided to touch up a spot, ran about 1/4″ of bead, and the wire stopped… Ran out of welding wire right there! (Man, that roll went FAST!!)
Had to move the winch fairlead down about 3/4″ to clear. Was easier to do that than notch the tube. 😉

 Voila, crooked bumper mounted. 😉 

I’d squared and leveled it to my accessory receivers… Forgot that the left side of the rack is still tweeked down a little, thus that tube is low on that side as well.  

Adjusted the mount holes, little bigger for some tilt, and thus a level bumper!  

Not sure I like the clearance I ended with. The rack wall corners stick out further than the bumper corners.

And everything else is only an inch, or two inside it…  The idea was a brush guard more than anything, and a push bar so I don’t push with plastic or rack, and it should accomplish that.

  Will run it for a while and see if I need it spaced out some (thinking 1″ max), but I *think* it’s ok. 

Also wasn’t thrilled about the winch roller fairlead being recessed slightly.. But it’d take an extreme upward cable angle for it to rub the bumper, so that too *should* be fine. I didn’t want to space the fairlead out very far, reducing it’s stiffness to its bracket (figure all the pull of the winch, and weight of the wheeler rides on this rollers when in use!).

Amyway, thar she be!

Categories: ATV, ATV Accessories, Custom, Fabrication, Modifications, Recycle, Repurpose, Scrounging, Vehicles, Welding

ATV Brush guard/bull bar/bumper. 

I wanted a brush guard for the Prairies headlight area. Not sure what Kawasaki was thinking when the guard loops ended up below the lights, with nothing really behind them, and Nothing in front of the lights… 

Also wanted a bumper, not just for protection but for pushing things.  Had planned it to probably be separate from the brush guard, but wasn’t adverse to one piece either..  

Not having a tubing bender, I went through Everything in my scrap piles with a bent tube or corner trying to find something I could make work, even if I had to weld it all up in a loop… Nothing. 

Then I remembered this set of chrome motorcycle engine guard bars that my Dad bought 20 years ago, but couldn’t use, that I knew I still had a couple years ago… somewhere.  Was easy to find, amazingly(my scrap piles are literally that; piles). 

 Perfect width for the headlights, and the brackets, when bent in a touch went between the existing uprights almost as if made for them. 

But, when swapped around, put on “backwards” from intended use direction it put the outer sweep toward the back as needed.  Only problem there was all the mounts were now useless… 

The downward taper angle fit the flow of the machine shape, and the fender cut angle really well too. 

But I wasn’t sure how I really liked it with my first couple mock ups…

Liked that it fit around the lights great, and even though it stuck out a lot, that’s what I was after for a push bumper (too close to the plastics and you still break plastic if you hit anything hard,  defeats the purpose of having a bumper!). 

It is still a bit more forward than I’d prefer, but it’s not Too far, in my opinion. 
 Anyway, didn’t have anything to lose,  wasn’t using the bars anyway, so I started cutting brackets off, and trimming to fit around the winch.

Have I mentioned how much I Really like my angle grinder? 😆

One side down, one to go..


The look improved, but still with a “But…”  Got it all mounted, and still a “But..” 

It seemed to frame and magnify the big square hole above the winch, like a gaping open mouth below the eyes(headlights). (No, couldn’t close off the hole,  radiator is there… although I do have a grill in mind)
Figured I’d live with it for a while.  Decided to go ahead and paint it.

 Bang! That did it! In black instead of chrome, it blends in and it just plain works!  ðŸ˜ŽðŸ‘âœŒðŸ‘Œ 

Love it when a plan comes together!





You will also note that I cut the front racks wall/upper front horizontal bar off. It was mangled beyond being worth the work of straightening it. MUCH cleaner look without it. And, the plan is a wall set for the front like I did on the rear,  anyway.

Now, the mounting bolts. I wanted to drill the new bar, and run the u-bolts through, and around the existing brush guard bars. 

I couldn’t get u-bolts the right width.  So I got what I could, a size bigger,  and did full crosses around both… it’s not perfect,  but it’s pretty damn solid, and working. 

 And like the bar itself, painted they blend in , and don’t look bad. 

  I *think* I can make my first plan work with u-bolts a half step in between these and what I wanted. Might try that in the near future, as I’m able to afford more hardware. 
Will also be interesting to see how well the headlights work through it, this fall when it actually gets dark enough to tell.  Of course by then I should have the new LED lights installed, but still, I’m hoping it works OK, and doesn’t shadow terribly.  

Categories: ATV, Custom, Fabrication, MacGyver, Modifications, Outdoors, Scrounging, Vehicles

Improvised mud flap, 2.0

The wheeler was missing the right side front of rear fender flap since I’ve had it.

Here is the factory left side one;

To get a factory one for the right side is a $40 or $50 proposition,  plus almost that to ship it to AK. uhuh.  Have you ever known me to buy anything I can possibly make? Lol.

 I replaced it… or Macgyvered it once before, but the plastic I used, an old Chevy floor mat, while flexible, was too stiff. It wouldn’t flex, and buckled into the tire, got tore out when the fenders flexed. And I’d only used zip ties to hold it in anyway.  

Nice soft flexible, but thick rubber this time. What was the rubber you ask? A fancy aftermarket truck floor mat! 
Actually the second thing these mats have been used for other than floor mats… I forget where I got them but they were cheap or free, with Built Ford Tough molded in the center. I used them as rear wheel mud flaps on my 78 Bronco for a year till they got tore off… 

Cutting to size;

Fitted and bolted;


Large washers under the bolt heads, and larger on the back side to prevent tear outs.  Even had some rubber backed washers I’d saved when taken off some fancy self tapping screws a while back. 
Used them to run a zip tie through to spread out the pull, also to prevent tear through(had to splice on a smaller piece to go all the way up the fender edge as far as the stock flap does).


The spliced on piece is also held under the upper most bolt for the main piece. 

Looks good even if I do say so myself! And more importantly my right foot shouldn’t be covered with mud all the time now!
Now, I finished it, and left it, but wasn’t sure about the attachment to the floor boards. The stock ones are only held with the two centered screws, but…. 5 minutes later I decided I Really didn’t like it, and added another further outward hole to the floorboard corner. 

Much better!

If I can find the other floor mat, I want to add extensions to both sides, to fill this gap between where these front flaps stop and the rear most flaps. 

Categories: ATV, Automotive Work, Custom, Fabrication, Improviser, MacGyver, Modifications, Outdoors, Scrounging, Vehicles, Wrenching

ATV Rack extension/retaining walls.

Got tired of having to strap/hold stuff down, especially for the fast 50 yard, or even 50 foot jaunts around the property. Thought it’d be nice to just trow something on and not worry about it sliding/bouncing off. 

Thought “oh yeah, they make those walls for the racks”  but I ain’t got, nor willing to pay $60 or more for one. 

$5 in welder wire, scrap scrounged steel, and 6 or 7 hours over a couple evenings is a lot cheaper and easier! And more fun too! 

Gotta be one of THE coolest tools I’ve bought. It’s astounding how handy a cordless angle grinder can be, especially with a cutting wheel! 

It’s amazing what you can do with 2 grinders , 2 cutters , and a welder, some old furniture, with a little imagination. 😎😉👍 

Needed some medium weight tubing, and finally saw an old futton/couch thingy frame in my scrap pile. 

Pulled a loose slat out, and it was sturdy but not too heavy, seemed heavy enough (both durable, and thick enough to weld).
Cutt all the slats out of one side,  got 12, 23″ pieces. 
Trimed, striped paint from ends for joints, measure, layout, bent some corners (2nd set of corners I did butt joints, for ease of layout/assembly, but it wasn’t as nice a finish).

Cut and welded it all up in two evenings. 

Those corner clamps are made for cabinetry & carpentry , but are a gift from God for layout and holding while welding too!  Makes me wonder why I never though to use them for this before.

It took about 11 of the pieces total.  10.5 really, but one piece I have left is 23″ worth of short chunks, not a whole piece. Have one whole one left. But I also have another 12 left to be cut from the other half of the couch frame!

Yes, it looks tall, but that’s only about 6″ which sounds short to hold things in place. But it’s what I found was average for the factory and aftermarket sets of these walls,  so that’s what I went with.  Still sounds short, but looks tall to me.. But I like it. 

Here, mostlt finished, painted and mounted, with the accessory mounters secret weapon(amazing what you can hold down with u-bolts, and also the strength/secureness they have).

 That might seem light duty for this, but you have to remember that the rear rack capacity is only about 130 pounds, and I’ll be strapping anything big/bulky/heavy to the rack itself, not the wall. 

Here you can see the contrast in the corner styles. 

It does get two more things before it’s really completely finished; 

Some holders/brackets at the front corners for a removable front cross bar.  And some mesh walls all the way around, IF I can scrounge some cheap or free mesh.

 I might go back and grind/smooth some of the rougher welds too. 🙂  

Really liked this one, it was a challenge,  needing to not only design and build, but keep everything true, straight, and square so it would all line up. Had to tweak it a couple times, even cut, bend and re weld the widened cut (sorta like a pleated spot?)once to take twist out.  

Was a fun challenge welding round tubing too, hadn’t done that before.  Also uphill/downhill, and upside down, sideways, and various angled welding, which I’ve not done a lot of. 

Categories: Adventure Metal Works, ATV, Custom, Fabrication, Improviser, MacGyver, Modifications, Outdoors, Scrounging, Vehicles, Welding

Exercise,  not as intended.

Needed some bolts for upcoming projects, my hardware bins are getting kinda sparse. So I took the free bow flex I hauled home last year the rest of the way apart.

Pretty good haul of steel stock, cables, and hardware! Some pieces of steel, and cables I’ve had plans for, for a while. The rest I’m sure I’ll find uses for soon. 
#freesteel #freehardware #scrounger #McGyver #fabrication 

Categories: Fabrication, Improviser, MacGyver, Materials, old tools, Scrounging, Welding

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