Today I’m going to

talk about trucks and tractors, and being able to repair things when civilization goes to hell. The way the world is shaping up at the moment, it could happen. Someone wrote an account of life in Bosnia in the mid 90’s, when there was a war going on. Society almost instantly collapsed, and unless you had friends, weapons, ammunition and supplies, you probably weren’t going to make it. We’re not there yet, and I don’t think it will happen, but it doesn’t hurt to try and and be self sufficient, even if it’s only in a small way. When the gas pumps stop working, the power goes off, and the water supply shuts down, it’s going to be days, not weeks before someone comes along and fixes them. People who are unprepared will just perish. We take water coming out of the tap for granted, but if it’s not coming out, what then? This is the reality of life in a city. If society breaks down, you don’t want to be in a city.

You don’t want to be in the city with the Village People when SHTF

When I’m not in the city, I drive an old tractor. I bought it almost on a whim. I didn’t really need it, but I thought it would be cool to own one. It came with a mower attached, but I soon discovered it wasn’t much use in this hilly terrain so I removed it. That left me with a tractor with a primitive bucket on the front. It’s great for moving rocks and dirt, but it’s more of a glorified wheel barrow than anything else. One day it stopped working altogether, so I called a tractor expert to fix it. It cost me $250, and he got it working again, but it never ran as well as it had before. Finally it just broke down again, and sat outside for a year and a half, stubbornly refusing to work, no matter what I did. One day I was browsing an old tractor forum and someone described the problem I was having.

It wouldn’t start even though I’d done everything I could imagine to get it going again. This dude said that he replaced the distributor condenser. I had already replaced the distributor, but I hadn’t replaced the condenser. I still, to this day, don’t know what this little metal thing actually does, so I looked it up. “The distributor condenser is a capacitor designed to¬†hold a small amount of current inside the engine’s ignition system. It acts as a ground for the electric charge to prevent the two electrodes from sparking with each other.” The tractor expert should have replaced it. It’s an $8 part. I replaced it with the one from the distributor kit that I had, and the tractor started right up. That’s all it needed, but I didn’t know that, because I know nothing about engines. Now I know a bit more, which is why when the steering locked up two weeks ago I jacked up the tractor and tried to fix it myself.

Well dressed blokes fixing it themselves

After a lot of faffing about, I succeeded. I had to disconnect the wheels and then I freed up whatever was causing it to lock up. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. I drove it down the path and straight away careered off into the bushes, because I hadn’t secured the plate that holds the steering wheel in place. Luckily some Quaking Aspens stopped me from going into the lake. (no wonder they’re scared, a tractor could come at any time) Anyway, it drives and steers and it’s great now. Today I have to figure out why the transmission on the truck seems to be slipping. It might just need fluid, it might be on it’s way out, I don’t know. I do know I’m not dropping the tranny out if that’s the case. There are some things I that I can’t do. I don’t have a workshop, tools or the motivation. I fixed the water pump last year. That’s about as far as I’m prepared to go.

You can always ask a neighbor to help you

To sum up. It’s good to be able to fix things. Even if it seems impossible, you can at least try. The Youtube University of DIY Fixers is your greatest ally, just get a couple of opinions first. Some of these clowns do stuff the hard way, and the wrong way. It took me two years to find out what was wrong with my tractor, Youtube was most unhelpful in that respect, so sometimes the solution isn’t readily available. When yo do manage to repair something yourself, you’ll feel a rich sense of accomplishment and you will have saved a lot of money. That’s the best part.

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