Do you ever find yourself working on something that you just hate to work on and you know you're not going to make any money from it? That is where I found myself today.
It was an older machine that someone else started working on and could not finish. I usually have a rule about these kinds of jobs but it is a good customer and he played the "I really need some help here!" card on me. He told me that the fan came off and hit the radiator. That is not too hard to fix normally, so I told him I would do it. When I went to his shop and saw the machine I knew I was in trouble.
The part of the story that he left out was that it was on the road when the fan came off and they towed it without disengaging the wheel hubs. This is a hydrostatic transmission and it blew the seals out of a wheel motor. As if this was not bad enough the wheel motor was worn out and there were no parts to repair it. A new wheel motor was very expensive and would take several weeks to get.
Now the machine is torn down in the middle of the shop for what seemed like forever! Fast forward to today. The parts are here and I have to put it all back together. The new motor doesn't fit because the flange is machined wrong. The good news is that the machinist says he can fix it....for a price.
The fan pulley doesn't line up either. The engine was a fresh rebuild and the water pump shaft is not long enough for this application. Now we know why the pulley came off in the first place. The rebuilder pressed the pulley on enough to align the belts but that was only about 1/2" onto the shaft. The machine was on a test drive when the pulley originally came off.
That would have been a handy piece of information to have when he asked me to take on the job. I guess that is why he didn't tell me. He knew I would never take a job like this if I knew up front what I was getting into.
Did I mention that the machine is torn down in a shop an hour away from my shop.