Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Harbor Freight Tools- Part 2

Actually, probably not as much about Harbor Freight Tools as about something I bought from them. I already mentioned my first order of disposable earplugs that took nine days to get here from Southern California.

A little over a week ago I ordered a trailer kit from Harbor Freight since I needed to replace my old work trailer that got wrecked. The one Harbor freight had available was the same kind of trailer I'd been using: A "kit" trailer. That's one you have to assemble. The one I'd been using, though, was one I'd bought from someone who'd already assembled it.

It just arrived yesterday, taking six business days to get here from SoCal. Better than my first order but not nearly as good as something I ordered from another company down south that made it here in three days.

The first disappointment was coming home and expecting to see a partially assembled trailer sitting in my driveway. There were just two medium size boxes sitting there. BUMMER!

For some reason I was under the impression that these things came at least partially assembled and all I'd probably have to deal with was adding a deck, sideboards and such to it. Where I got that impression I don't know. Maybe it's because every picture I'd seen of the trailer showed it pretty much assembled except for the deck and sideboards.

Also, the trailer I've been borrowing from the father- in- law was one he got partially assembled at Costco. All he had to do was but a deck and sideboards on his.

So, not only am I bumbed I'm going to spend a lot of time and effort putting this together, I'm worried how hard it will be. I'm sure we've all bought things we had to assemble and were amazed at how difficult the instructions for assembly are to follow. I wasn't to be surprised.

Taking a quick look at the instructions, it looked like they were doable, even for me. Opening the boxes gave me my first shocker: Not one part appeared to have any part number or id on them. The instructions are what you would expect: Attach part 1L to part 3B using the "3/8 bolt...., but none of the parts have any identification on them and many of them look similar. GREAT!

But, I was able to rise to the occasion. I spread the parts out as best I could on my driveway and finally got some vague idea as to how the thing goes together. Just as I started trying to put the thing together I got my next surprise- something I'd never seen before:

There were two plastic bags of nuts and bolts in the shipment, with no identifying marks. I finally figured those were the nuts and bolts that would connect most of the trailer parts. I figured they probably required a 5/8" wrench or ratchet. I was right, at least in part.

The bolt was indeed 5/8", but when I tried using a 5/8" wrench to secure the nut while attaching them the wrench didn't seem to fit the nut. I take a closer look and the nut is a different size than the bolt. I look at the other sizes of ratchets I have available and realize there's no way they're the right size. Then I thought to myself, "No way these nuts are metric are they..." only having a handful of metric ratchet heads in my tool kit.

I tried a few of my metrics to see if they fit and, sure enough, the nuts were 17mm as opposed to the 5/8" bolts. Unbelievable. Why would anyone do that? It's one thing, as I'm sure we've all seen more and more with cars, where you run into a certain part on a car that might use metric fasteners, while another uses standard size connectors, but to have a nut and bolt different sizes?

What is it with the Chinese (Like everything else, this trailer is Made in China)?

Once again just moved on and actually found it kind of nice that the 17mm ratchet works on the 3/8 bolt but not vice versa. Small consolation but consolation nonetheless.

Anyway, just started with this yesterday afternoon and got close to half way through the front part of the trailer in about an hour and a half, which included laying out all the parts to figure out how they fit together. Still, this is going to take a while.

What really gets me is the insurance company got one over on me as they really nitpicked their assesment of how much they would pay. I agreed at the start and then suggested I should get paid for time spent putting the trailer together. The insurance gal said she couldn't authorize that but I could talk to her supervisor about it. I decided not to make a fuss over it since how long would it really take to add a deck and sideboards to the trailer? I wasn't thinking about a couple of full days work.

Oh well...live and learn.

Depending on how much of a headache this ends up being, I was wondering if I could buy another one of these trailers, assemble it, and sell it for a profit? Think that would work?


At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like that insurance gal did a rock solid job.

At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being dumb, ignorant and impoverished isn't justification for getting pissed that you have put out some mental effort.

You could have bought an assembled trailer from a local store and supported a hardworking Humboldt resident. Oops, I forgot my first statement. Now, about the story of how the old trailer got wrecked? Oh yeah, now I understand how you might have done that.


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