July '14 Update - Total Mechanical Failure

Posted on 7/22/2014 by Lance Keene

My schedule has been altered due to persistent mechanical failure.

I’ve been plagued by nothing but equipment failure this building season so the going is slow but I’m staying busy. I’m about $6200 so far this year in repairs. At the beginning of the season I had my mechanic change the seals in my excavator track motor. They got that fixed but then killed the hydraulics to the boom so nothing to do with the bucket worked. They said it would cost $5k-$7k to replace the hydraulic motor. After much head scratching we called in a mechanic from the dealership for a second opinion. He found a simple pressure setting was down to 220 psi and should have been up to 700 psi. He adjusted that and it’s like brand new now with lots of power. Yee-Ha, back in business for only $676! But the increased pressure popped a few older hoses so I’m down again until another part comes in this week.

The dump truck had a flat tire then a dead battery. Once I got that fixed I heard this god awful grinding noise. Turned out to be a broken drive shaft. That should get fixed this week too.

So with the truck & excavator down I set my sights to other things. Was going to use the ATV & Trailer to move rocks to the building site. But it had 2 flat tires and a dead battery. Fixed the tires and charged the battery but now the electrical system is dead. Arrg!

So I changed gears again and used the backhoe to move some stone from blasting site but it sprung a leak inside the boom and I just don’t want to deal with that right now.

Changed gears again and tried to move a brush pile but my pitch fork broke in half. I was so goddamn pissed off! EVERYTHING IS BROKEN!!!!!! AAAARRRRGGGG!!!! Sometimes a just can’t catch a break.

Changed gears again last weekend and cleaned up the terrace floor (with a broom & broken shovel) and prepped it to seal where the wall meets the floor and lay down the drain pipes. I want a nice curve there at the transition instead of 90 degree angle. A 90 degree angle will always have a crack in it that lets water seep into the wall. This curve will allow me to seal it well with concrete sealer and run the drain pipe along the wall. The wall then acts like a big tub. Up here in North Country water is the enemy, especially in the winter. If water gets inside the concrete wall and freezes then it will weaken the wall as the ice expands. So you have to prevent it from entering the wall and have really good drainage.

In other work, I chopped down the remaining trees from the cliff face where I’ll be putting the castle and pulled the stumps. I used the excavator to take all of the vegetation off the terrace. I drove the excavator right out onto the cliff! I’m building directly on top of the granite ledge so it has to be completely cleaned off. That’s another dirty back breaking job that has to be done by hand. I’ll clean it off as best I can then the rain will do the rest.

I hope to be up and running again this weekend with the dump truck and the excavator. My #1 goal at the moment is to finish the road. I have 1 little 100 yard stretch of old road that was built with good fill. I need to take that apart and use that fill in other parts of the new road. Then it’ll be in really nice shape and I can have full size dump trucks deliver fill to the top so I can back fill the terrace.

Been teaching my 5-year-old daughter how to run the excavator. She’s having a blast with it!
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