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A war story


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7 replies to this topic

#1 jb8103

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 05:42 AM

Featuring a vintage Nordyne/Miller gas furnace with standing pilot installed in a mobile home. The complaint was "can't get it to relight", meaning the pilot. Actually it would light but wouldn't stay lit, the classic thermocouple failure.

But in this case, the fitting on the valve taking the thermocouple had the threads stripped out. The last tech to fool with it solved the problem by jamming the thermocouple into it at an angle and cross-threading it, which held contact good enough for a while. That was no longer an option to fit the new thermocouple, it's the kind of thing you get one shot at and you have to be lucky too.

Gas valves are not field serviceable, you have to buy a new valve, just because of that cheap fitting with stripped threads. The fitting would not have been available to me anyway. It's galling, and besides these customers just could not afford a new valve (not after paying me).

These valve fittings always have a boss with a groove cut across, making the boss look like two semi-circles. The width of the groove was just right to accommodate a #8 hex head self tapping screw, and the head diameter of the screw was enough to catch the shoulder of the thermocouple fitting. As I drove the screw in, it forced the thermocouple fitting to go along, making a nice tight contact with the receiving feature in the valve.

It worked - furnace fired right up and cycles normally. A $200 problem fixed for the cost of a #8 screw and a visit from yours truly.
First, do no harm.

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#2 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 10:03 AM

run away !
:woot:
... and insurance liability
trailer burns down...
"Who worked on this Furnace last ?"
.

one of my video productions: “Easter Seals: Walk With Me”

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"A Child Is Waiting" . Burt Lancaster . Judy Garland . 1962

RegUS_PatOff > www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPAY2LsKVEw

#3 jb8103

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 11:52 AM

Nah - it's just a thermocouple. Worse that can happen is the thing shuts off.

Needless to say, though, there ain't no paperwork or stickers left behind. I was never there.
First, do no harm.

#4 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 12:02 PM

... Nah - it's just a thermocouple. Worse that can happen is the thing shuts off.

OR doesn't shut OFF should something happen to the Flame
.

one of my video productions: “Easter Seals: Walk With Me”

every day is Down Syndrome Awareness Day
"A Child Is Waiting" . Burt Lancaster . Judy Garland . 1962

RegUS_PatOff > www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPAY2LsKVEw

#5 Bullstok

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 10:15 PM

It doesn't matter what part fails if you rig something. Try to prove it after the mess is in a steaming burnt heap along with everything else. Doesn't matter if it was your repair or not, prove it wasn't, you touched it last. You were paid to fix it, you saw the problem. It becomes a case of the trusted repair man taking advantage of the helpless homeowner. Do not do this sort of stuff EVER. Fix it correctly to manufacturer specs or walk away. It is not worth your job, or your business. Lawyers &/or insurance companies love these sort of things.

I know it sounds harsh and helping someone out is usually a good thing. Remember though, it is business and not personal. Don't mix the two. Look at it like this: McDonald's throws away expired food. They could give it to needy people that are hungry. What if a old burger made someone sick? Jackpot. That's what. They knowingly gave out poor quality food.

Edited by Bullstok, 16 October 2012 - 10:34 PM.


#6 jb8103

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 06:04 AM

Guys, there is no elevated risk here, or I wouldn't have done it.

As for trial lawyers, they are a constant threat no matter what we do.
First, do no harm.

#7 telefunkenu47

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 09:35 AM

Its pretty much all oil country up here in maine, but that is why I DO NOT work on miller/ trailer/manufactured housing furnaces. period. Most of the time the tank is running on empty, the customers run #2 rather than K1 as its cheaper. They seldom perform PM service, and the dont have the money to pay ME, let alone keep the tank above 1/2 full.
Even root canal is easy...if you're a dentist...

#8 Daveb1972

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 02:07 PM

I've been known to discount a repair enough to keep a down on the luck family in heat. My suppliers are usually receptive, as is the boss. I'd've just replaced the gas valve and eaten the difference. Cob's scare me, and I'd end up there late at night bleary eyed doing it for free because i wouldnt sleep right. Just my 2 cents.
That which does not kill me only makes me stronger.....at this rate I'll be invincible by Tuesday!




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