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Broke a Nail - Hate It When That Happens

Miss K woke up late morning yesterday after I was already in the more inside than outside mode. I like to sit outside during the cool of a morning to alleviate to some teeny degree of the cabin fever and boredom that go hand in hand with the oil field gate guard job.  I think we are at 25 straight days of temps over 100 here in North Texas. As I write this at 4:13am, the outside temp is 87 degrees.  So the more inside time starts a little earlier each day. Tuco the Dog, being the above average dog she is, retreats inside by about 930am each morning.  I sit out under the shade and tell myself  ‘OK. I can make it 20 more minutes.’   Who is smarter?  Me or The Dog?   The longer I sit outside, the better Miss K sleeps.  The better Miss K sleeps, the better she is.  Think trickle down effect.

So she asked me ‘Why is the Suburban moved?  Did you go somewhere?’  Well, it was like this……..

Repairing the diesel generator

I was just sitting here running the traps about 5am like I always do and the generator shut off.  Tuco the Dog looks at me like WTF?  I say ‘WTF Tuco?   Grab a flashlight and off we go.  Opening the door to the generator, I smell hotness.  Hotness can only mean one thing.  The diesel generator overheated and shut off.  Most common cause?  Broken fan belt.  Sure nuff.  The fan belt is tattered and jammed up in the fan.  Being the super oil field boondocker par excellance that we are,  I was prepared.  Yes sirree, there was a spare fan belt on hand and I would just wait for prime time to fix it.  There is a small window of opportunity each morning after the sun comes up and the night cool yet lingers that a man can make repairs without baking his brain silly.

Yep, (mental pat on the back) gotcha covered.  No problemo.  I fired up the propane rv generator on the Old Girl and settled in to wait for the sun to be a peepin’ over the water oaks to the east just shortly.

Replacing a fan belt is easy peazy.  Take the fan shroud a-loose,  take the old fan belt out, release the tensioner that holds the belt tight, thread the new fan belt on, replace the shroud.  Done.   Tuco the Dog was digging it. A new and different dog adventure!  Hey, I do what I can do to keep her amused.   Uh oh! (dammit,cuss,cuss)  As with life in general, expectations most often exceed reality.

Crapped out diesel generator fan belt

This new fan belt was tighter than Dick’s hatband and an hour later I was still fighting it.  Pappy, the fuel truck driver, pulled over in the crinkly brown grass to see what was going on.   He felt obliged to do it since I had helped him before when he had a leaking fuel line on his truck.  I knew when he pulled in the gate he would stop.  That is the balance of life in the country.   He walked over and checked the situation. With the crook of a finger, he put half a can of Copenhagen in his lower lip and we got down to it.  Replacing a fan belt on a simple diesel engine is not rocket science and it is not hard.  Dismantling half the left side of the engine and two people sweating in the growing heat means something has gone south for sure.

The new belt was an inch too short.   I checked the part number on the blowed out belt and luckily the last 4 digits escaped destruction. 1004.  I looked at the new belt.  1034.   In utter disgust, I threw in the towel.  Pappy spit on the ground.  Time for a phone call 2 hrs to the south to our maintenance guy.  I can shade tree alot of different things to make ’em work but I can’t make a fan belt grow an inch.  Would if I could.  The maintenance guy said there were two different fan belts for that model diesel generator due to a different size pulley on the alternator.  So answer me this.  If a man knows there are 2 different belts, wouldn’t it be logical to provide the correct belt when I asked for a spare?  Hell fire, I was offering to do his job for him in the event of a break down and that day was right here on us. Mondays are busy days in the oilfield gate guard maintenance business and yet he had to drop everything and spend 5 hours round tripping for a 10 minute repair.  It is the old 80 per cent thing biting me in the butt yet again.

Oh well! If it doesn’t bother him, matters little to me either- so I just blew it off as every day incompetence. Looking on the bright side, I got to exercise the propane generator on the Old Girl for several hours. as a tune up for the West Texas Ramble to Terlingua which is less than a week away. Sounds like we need a road trip break, huh?

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