I was on a roll- First the TDI “on loan” from VW makes it back from Florida with all 4 tires wearing evenly and slowly. Then I get serious about tractor shopping, and the Deere dealer that wanted list last year for a loaded tractor is now happy to supply the economy model and knocks 10% off the price before the negotiating even begins. I hint that Kubotas are still cheaper and he knocks another thousand off, getting down into the price range normally reserved for government buying pool bids. So I signed on the dotted line, and in a couple weeks shipping time my tractor should appear at the local Deere dealer.

Of course, solutions always create… More problems. I go to move the Ranger ’bout a week ago and am greeted by a suspiciously soft brake pedal. Turns out a rusty front brake line has decided to fail. The POS little trailer Roger saved from the dead a few years back ain’t up to the job, sagged rather badly when I put a Mini atop it and the Deere is damn near as heavy. The big trailer can handle the weight, but it’s own weight is pushing my luck hooked to the old TDI.

So I gotta fix the Ranger… Attempting extrication of the rusted old break lines, I suspect the “Jaws of Life” is the proper tool… Looks like Ford installed the lines in the chassis, then plopped the engine atop. Had to cut one line into 3 pieces to get it out. Unlike VW, Ford lists no proper factory fit brake lines for a mere 2 decade old Ranger, suggesting they be “fabricated” from lengths of brake tubing. Gee Ford, I though “fabricating” was your job? This means I journey over to the small town internet free auto parts emporium where the old Ford partsman holds court… This is the guy that found the missing link to connect the Rangers english rear brakes with it’s metric front brakes a few years back. This time his young apprentice of the female persuasion found the parts quite efficiently and for only $17 for 3 lines and a union.

Of course Ford was not about to let it be so simple- Get a line all bent up and squirelled in place and turns out Ford is mixing british and really old british threads again. I’d specced one line too long too, so back to the parts store. And did I mention that the front wheels are rusted to the hubs too? Decide to knock off early, and resolve to retire the Ranger out back when I get the brakes fixed and buy a new small trailer. Knocked off early and had a long lunch and coffee while I mourned what is probably the end of the Ranger’s working life.

After moping around a while, figure I might as well work on the R80ST in the living room, the shop being rather drafty. Been hanging bits back onto the frame and decided it was time for the forks to rejoin the frame. Had just dug out the little plastic cups at the top of the fork lowers the other day and fitted fresh felts in them. Put ’em on, damn they stick with the uppers when I move them… Are the felts too thick? Take out the felts and they still won’t stay in place, probably worn out. Had another one and some old felts, where’d I put them? I give up, I’m veggin’ out front ‘O the TV rest of the day!

Maybe I need some motorvation to finish the ST rebuild… Maybe take it to north Florida Tech Daze?