Wrenching

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. 

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

Eco-Drive watch band fix.

Been almost a month (tomorrow! ), but I finally got around to finding my spare spring bars and tool for them, and fixing my EcoDrive Diver. 

Some re-bending the end piece,  take apart clasp to lay it flat, seat the pin, take it apart cause I had the band upside down lol, re seat it right, assemble clasp.

 5, maybe 8 minutes total. Easy peasy. Just wish getting and replacing the lost bezel ring could be that easy. 

Categories: EDC, Modifications, Watches, Wrenching

Here’s hoping the epoxy holds!

  I’ve done this trick about 3 times now, on three different vehicles. Taught to me by an old friend who’d done it several times himself. 

Leaking radiator tank? Go get some Devcon 2 ton epoxy, and seal it up. Stuff sticks great, and has a great heat tolerance.  

Couldn’t get the Devcon this time,  so I got good old JB Weld.  Famously good stick, and package said a 500Β°F rating…  

We shall see!

The engine; 


(early 90s Subaru)

The leak;



(Yes, that’s a plastic tank.  Man, do I miss the old aluminum or copper tanks! )

The fix (still wet/uncured);

Might take a little trim sanding to clear the radiator cap, but I think it’ll work. 

Categories: Alaska-Life, Automotive Work, Improviser, MacGyver, MacGyverism, Modifications, Vehicles, Wrenching

ATV Rear Winch InstallΒ 

I started with the concept of a rear reciever, and mounting the winch on a hitch insert. But it stuck out way too far to be practical. 

And, the reciever would have been a pain to work around to get into the trunk, even if trimmed.

So, I moved to above the trunk, behind the seat. Perfect open spot for it, just needed the tail light moved.

Had to scrounge a wider plate, to offset between the frame tails, and still have bolt realestate.

Made a mistake with the saw, cut too far. Twice. Erg.

The offset between the frame rails is to sit the winch and fairlead far enough back to clear the racks etc with the winch cable.

I LOVE this cutoff saw! Goes through 1/4″ plate like butter! Just gotta turn the lights off in the shop or it trips all the breakers. 

Squaring it all up, laying out for holes.

Drilled. 

I checked 3 times to make sure the winch cleared the bracket bolt heads. Oops. 

Found a bar with holes that matched, cut to length, made a spacer.

Test assembly;

You will note here that it’s only u-bolts holding the plate in. It was super tight, and if it slid backwards the plate would hit thr curved up frame rails, ride up the curve, and tighten the u-bolts. But I wasn’t 100% happy with it.  

So for the final install I drilled one hole on either side, through the plate and frame rail centers, and bolted it. Removed the two rear u-bolts in the process. 

Bonus there is not having to worry about gouging my hand on the U-boat tails when I reach in for the spool freewheeling release.

 Didn’t exactly like holes in the frame rails, but they’re small enough to not weaken it too much. While still big enough I think to keep the thing from going back under pull. 

Plate re welded at the cuts, welds dressed flat, corners clipped and rounded, drilled, and painted. One of the nicest install brackets I’ve ever made, if I do say so myself! 

I had to install the wiring twice. First time I got it all in, then tested the winch before bolt up… And it fried the relays.

 3 hours later, after some research on relays, and about 75 texts with a buddy that’s an electronics tech, I finally found where it was wired wrong. ( that’s how it was pre wired as it came too!) 

Had to take it all back out and lay it out, rewire it to match the existing wiring for the front winch. Works beautifully.

 5 minute fix. Ha!

Then reroute/reinstall it all. 

The relay bundle will almost fit in a small side area of the trunk.. This is a temporary setup to make sure I still don’t need to rewire again. Will fit it into its relay box it came with, and in turn into the side cubby hole later.

Wires out the side, gotta silicone the hole when I’m sure it’s setup permanently. 

One set of wires crosses and goes into a drain hole in the battery box, to the battery. The other set goes up, over the trunk.

And outcome the winch…

My mess of wires while trouble shooting 

The way someone wired it wrong…

Temporarily relocated the tail light. Need to build a bracket for it. (Cut the stock tabs off to clear the fairlead bracket)

Aaaannndd, two days, about 12 hours total work (amazing how long fabricating things can take!) It’s installed! 

Categories: ATV, Automotive Work, Custom, Fabrication, Modifications, Outdoors, Vehicles, Welding, Wiring, Wrenching

ATV 2″ front receiver, and plow mount.

Wanted to modify my snow plow from my ridding mower to fit the Prairie 360. The plow mount got partly crushed in storage in the yard a few winters ago, so it hadn’t been used, and couldn’t be used anyway… No loss to cut up what was left of the mounting. 

But I wanted an easy, fat quick disconnect from the ATV, that also didn’t reduce my ground clearance like most factory mounts do.

  Good time to build the front receiver hitch that I’d thought would be handy anyway!
5 evenings work, 4 or 5 hours each, and two designs later; 

Bought a couple more U bolts than what I had (and the 2 U bolts were all I had to buy, the rest was already on hand!) And mounted;

The plate is welded at an angle to the receiver  tube, and sits flat on the frame tubes, which the u bolts go around. The tube is also butted against a frame cross bar at its rear, with a tab at the top sitting on the frame cross bar.  The front also bolts through a cross bar of the bumper.

Thus inward push is directly on the frame in two areas, and it’s protected from twisting up and down, and side to side.  It’s terribly over built, 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick plates and tube… Heavier than most truck hitch mounts. 

And, recessed in the stock front skid plate;

The plow mount uses a inner receiver piece, welded to the mount plate for the plow, which then bolts as it did with the tractor, to the plow pivot plate, which the plow angle bracket, and plow itself pins to.   Before, the plate and pivot would stay on the tractor,  and you understand pin it at the vertical joint. 

I have it so that stays pinned, and the  rear half of the mount will just pull from the 2″ receiver.  

One bonus I gain on this setup, is the plow mount plate receiver piece, is bolted to the plow plate… I can make anything I want to mount to that plate, just match the bolt pattern. Gives a send level of interchangeable mounts if I need it. 

I still need to add a vertical “tower” just in front of the vertical pivot, run up higher than the winch, with a pulley for the cable, to be the angle of lift force correct, and minimize winch strain.  

But it works pretty good!  It’s a little light on the plow, I’ll be adding a heavier cutting edge for durability and added weight (4′ of 1/8″x4″ steel plate). 

The power angle system I’m building for it will also add some weight, should dig in nice with that on it. (More details on that later! ☺) 


As a side note, since it does look like a light setup, especially for our winters; I don’t figure to so all my plowing with it. 

I have a 3/4 ton truck and two heavy duty plows for my yard, driveway, and our road if needed.   But I also have areas around the yard, garage, etc that the truck doesn’t fit into, or where I can’t get it at an angle to push away from the buildings etc.   The ATV on the other hand will maneuver these areas.  

I plan to do those hard areas with the ATV, then in between big snowfalls where I’ll use the truck, I can maintain the walkways, and parking areas etc with the ATV. It’ll be easier for the light 3″ or 4″ max. snowfalls.  😎

Categories: Alaska-Life, ATV, Automotive Work, Custom, custom-made-tools, Fabrication, Improviser, Modifications, New Gear, Outdoors, tool mods, Vehicles, weather and seasons, Welding, Winter, Wrenching

ATV winch mount fabrication, and installation.

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So, the mounting holes on the winch are 4″ on center…. Yeah. My bigass huge piece of angle iron I was gonna use ain’t big enough.

Dug around and came up with a piece of square tube wide enough to cut wider angle iron from. 

Fits the frame perfect too, and I mean PERFECT, it’s 1/4″ shorter than the opening is wide, and 1/8″ for height and depth. Minimal cutting required!  Bonus, it’s 1/4″ stock instead of 3/8″, making cutting and drilling I do need Much nicer.

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What I planned to use for mounting; two 1/2″ grade 8 bolts, and one 5/8″ grade 8… But, with my apparent poor organization(poorer than I thought!) I couldn’t find a drill bit bigger than 1/2″ 😒:(😬 So, two bolts it is! πŸ˜‰

Honestly it’ll be fine, the factory supplied install bolts for the winch itself are grade 5 or lighter, and 5/16″. And there are only two of those…

Yeah, two 1/2″ grade 8 s for the bracket are fine. ;)😅

So. The design kept evolving as I went… got simpler in some ways, but more complex in others.

I was going to cut the square tube down to an  L angle, and stick with the initial style  I’d designed.

But,  then I figured I could cut it to an uneven U , the winch on the back taller arm, and bolt the fair lead(roller cable guide) on the front shorter one, saving me from having to fabricate another mount bracket for the fair lead. 

Then I realized that the tube fit the frame area so perfectly, and that the tube form would be less likely to twist/torque/bend under winch load.

And further, that when in place, the top front corner would hit the bumper cross bars back side… So if it did torque foreward, that would stop it, and stop it from twisting on the mount bolts.

PERFECT! Simpler form, less pieces, better function!

But… Then that meant I’d have to, do all the layout and alignment, drilling, setup on one piece, at once… making layout being more precise, more important. It also meant cutting a feed hole for the cable in the tube wall.
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Which is what you see here. πŸ˜‰ Actually turned out not to be as bad to cut as I thought it’d be.

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And, there it is. Drill 6 holes, two bottom for mounting,  two rear for the winch inside, and two front for the fair lead, plus the big hole cut for the cable.

At this point, I got tired of working bent over, and squatting… Dug out some wheel ramps, that coupled with the driveway being 8″ higher than the shop floor, got the whole wheeler up where I could save my back and legs some wear.

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(Supposed to work smarter not harder, right? 😆 )

And assemble. THAT was a pain, getting at the inner end of the winch mount bolts inside the tube.  Found out I didn’t leave enough room, the heads of the mount to frame bolts won’t fit under the winch.. :(😒

And realized that to get it mounted in the frame, even If the bolts fit, I’ll have to do the winch install IN position in the frame….

Thought I’d do it half assembled and put it in the frame… Nope! Won’t fit through the frame/bumper with the winch in the tube. :?😥😩

Took the bolts to the grinder and made the heads half as thick. Probably only grade 7 bolts now ;)😜.

That fixed that.

Over an hour later, of fit, re fit, etc later, it’s in and all hooked up! Had to install the cable to the motor… but couldn’t spool it on without the motor mounted, so I did the install with the cable hanging loose. Got the cable into the spool mount hole, crimped the wire nut… THEN realized that the cable needed to go through the tube side hole and fair lead.  Oh, yeah… cable go out the front. Right. I knew that.. 😒 πŸ˜‰

I finished the install, actually twice, because I pinched the cable behind the lowest mount bolt the first time… (probably what I get for not quitting at midnight… long days tend to breed little mistakes in groups at the end..)

Then fed all 50′ of cable up through the tube end and out the front… through the fair lead without one of its rollers so the hook would fit. 😆 (think outside the box!)

Gotta say, I was real glad I had it up on ramps for that… I did it sitting on the ground under the nose/axle etc, which wasn’t real comfortable,  but it put the winch etc at chest/face level and easy to see/reach most of it.

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And, it’s all in!  😎
Now, I was going to test fit everything,  take it back out and paint it, then reinstall… But even without all the little complications,  it really is a pain in the butt to get in there… Not happening now! 

I might.. MIGHT,  mask off the oil cooler behind it and the winch motor, and paint it in place later. Maybe.

A couple details.
With the wheels turned all the way to the left, it looks like the tire will hit the motor… It won’t. Got a couple inches clearance. 

And, it also looks like I covered part of the oil cooler, but it just covers the lower 1/2″ of the mounts and mesh for it… the cooler itself is even with the top of the tube,  or only about 1/8″ lower.

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

Channeling my inner MacGyver again.

There wad Only one casualty to the wiring project… The nut for the ignition switch wouldn’t budge to get it out of the fenders. At All. 😩:?😬

I had to Dremel notches in it, and take it off in pieces… but that left me with no nut to reinstall with…

It’s about a 1.125″ threaded shaft, and probably metric thread. I have a LOT of hardware on hand but nothing like that.

Macgyver would be proud! ;)😎  Biggest section of the old nut, and a tripled up rubber band works pretty solid for now, until I can get a more permanent solution. 😆

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Yeah, its jerryrigged and redneck bush Alaskan, but it works! πŸ˜‰

Gonna work for a while too, since the hardware store I hit (Lowe’s ) didn’t have anything bigger than 5/8″, or a rate 3/4″ nut… (Really?)

I’ll think of something… eventually. ;)😎

Categories: Alaska-Life, ATV, Custom, Improviser, MacGyver, MacGyverism, Modifications, Vehicles, Wrenching

So, a little ATV wiring…

What I gouged my hands up doing… installing winch control wiring on my ATV.

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From the switch on the handle bars, down to a keyed hot to actuate the switch relay; I got that on a accessory wire that was under the front fenders.

Then winch main switch wires back along the inside of the frame to the relay box I put at the battery.

And that relay box turned out to be too big to fit where I wanted it next to the battery… (ALWAYS check your plans before running the wires! LOL )

Took apart the box, and sure enough it’s a wired set of relays, all bundled up stuffed in a water tight box… with twice the air space wasted..

I chucked the box πŸ˜‰ and the bundle fit perfectly in the battery compartment. 

THEN did it all over again;
running the hot wires from the battery foreward along the same path to the front bumper for the winch motor.

Whole thing only took about 4.5 to 5 hours, including reassembling the fenders… Yeah. Plus 1 hour before hand just chasing the accessory wires to begin with..  

FUN. πŸ˜‰

Easiest part was taking apart the front and taking the fenders off… actually amazed me how easy it is to get the plastic off this quad! (2009 Kawasaki Prairie 360)

And it is amazing, the owners manual says there are accessory wires at the rear, under the fender by the tool box (actually great, two sets, one constant power, and one keyed power!) But doesn’t mention the front set of wires.

And the service manual doesn’t mention Either set!  Except on the wiring diagrams, the rear set is marked.

EDIT; ok, I found the front set on the wiring diagrams in the service manual… It’s either the provided wires for the non-USA model speedometer,  or the non-USA and non-Canada Horn. (Really? A stock horn on an ATV? That’d be cool! 😆😎)

Given the location, and that it lacked a green signal wire for the speedometer,  I think it’s the horn wires.

Categories: Alaska-Life, ATV, Automotive Work, Modifications, Vehicles, Wiring, Wrenching

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