Sunday, July 21, 2013

Saturday's Story

I got out of bed at 5:30 AM on Saturday, although the storms and the weather radio kept me up most of the night.

I had a couple cups of coffee while I eased into the day. Then I left for my first stop: Home Depot for trailer bolts. Up at checkout counter, I discovered I had two different sizes, although I grabbed them all from the same bin! I went back and couldn’t find any more 2 1/2-inch long 3/8 bolts.  So, I ended up just buying five instead of the eight I wanted; along with the washers, lock washers and nuts (for eight).

From there, I went and got my haircut. Then I got a massage and, for the first time in a week, the small of my back didn’t hurt!

Next, I went to ACO and got the other three 2 1/2-inch long bolts I needed. Since I was in the same shopping area, I walked over to Leda’s Coney Island for a late breakfast. I got two eggs over easy with homemade corned beef hash and rye toast. They make their own corned beef, BTW, and their hash has green peppers and onions along with potatoes. It was excellent!

From there, I completed my Saturday shopping with a quick trip to Westborn. Then I went home.

I got there just before noon. I changed clothes and went back out in the garage. First order of business was to replace the dangerous (to the wiring harness, anyway) screws. I pulled them out and re-drilled the holes to 3/8 inch. Then I put in a bolt with a washer from the outside and added a washer, lock washer and nut on the inside. I repeated that six times. 

Screw Before
Bolt After
Why it was important!
The weather wasn’t nearly as hot as it has been and a lot less humid, too. So, I started working on the wiring job. I used my rolling garden seat to wrap the harness a little more comfortably than stooping, as I had been doing.

I finally got the right side done. I even remembered to leave two loops of excess wires on either side where the trailer could pivot in the middle. One of the reasons I bought this particular trailer was that it can (supposedly) fold up in half and be stored standing upright in the garage. I never tried it yet, but I left the wires available if I ever want to. So, I was feeling pretty cocky. You can probably guess how the left side turned out, LOL!

I got the wires wrapped and threaded across the front. I wired in the sidelight and then wrapped the harness back to the taillight assembly.

The first problem was that the wires coming from the stoplight were way too short (like less than an inch long). So, it was a big problem to get the wire nuts to work and join the existing fixture to the new wiring. But, I got ‘er done!

Then I went back to wire tie the excess wire to the frame and realized I had missed one damn hole in the frame! What to do? Should I really go back and disassemble the short wires that took forever to connect? I decided not to, and used wire ties to secure the bundle tight under the frame at that point. But, I was pissed! So much for cocky!

Then I finally put the plug onto the trailer wire bundle. To do that, I had to solder the four wires from the bundle to the plug wires.  It has been years (years) since I tried to solder wires, BTW, and I don’t recall being that good at it.

But, I heated up the new soldering iron (I bought one after I couldn’t find the one I know I own) and got to work. I also used the shrink wrap cover for the first time. I had learned that electrician’s tape is really not that effective for keeping moisture out and the wires will eventually corrode. I damn sure don’t want to have to do this again!

So, I soldered the first wire. When it cooled a bit, I slid the shrink wrap tube over the joint (I had previously put it on the wire and moved it way back). I held a lighter under it until it shrunk and then squished the ends for a good seal. Bingo!

New soldering iron and setup

Soldered joint and shrink wrap tubes

I repeated that three more times and then wrapped the bundle with electrician’s tape the last two feet (from the friction tape to the plug). 

Trailer plug complete

Then I backed the car out into the street and backed it back on the side the trailer was. I hooked up the car plug to the trailer plug and started testing it. Trailer sidelights working. Trailer taillights working. Trailer turn signals working. All that remained to test were the stop lights. I got a small mirror from the bathroom and set it up so I could see the lights from the car and stepped on the brakes. Eureka! I freaking did it!!!

I went inside and it was 6:10 PM. I had emails and text messages to answer, so I did that. I processed the pictures I had taken for the Blog and then (finally) I took my second shower of the day.

After I got cleaned up, I warmed up the last burger and ate that for dinner. I couldn’t find anything all that interesting on TV so I watched a comedy special Jake had recommended that was on Netflix: Tom Papa in New York. He was right, it was hilarious! I turned off the TV when it was finished and went to bed.

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