May 4, 2018 by phicks2012
When last we revisited the mercilessly ongoing Castle Elevator Saga, I had managed — despite what the price-gouging elevator repair company (here abbreviated – because I’m done with being tactful – as American Elevator Company) told me — to find an identical (and new) motor for my elevator. I also found it at half the price they would have charged me if they’d been willing to do “only that job” and not a multi-thousand-dollar overhaul. Imagine that.
After making that score. I really though we were just about done, and that as soon as the motors were swapped-out the elevator would again be functional — and I should have been right! The only problem was that swapping-out the motor wasn’t quite as simple as it ought to have been.
You see, there is a small part (or rather a 3-part assembly) called a “Jaw Coupler Assembly” that goes between the motor and the elevator wench. One end attaches to the drive shaft on the motor, and the other end to the drive shaft on the wench, and they interlock, with a small rubber gear-shaped insert (called a “spider”) between them. These parts allow the motor to turn the wench, and in a just world we would simply have removed the part of the existing assembly that was attached (with a simple set-screw) to the old motor, transferred it to the new motor, re-tightened the set-screw, and Bob’s Your Uncle! But that’s in a just world.
You know how they say “For want of a nail the shoe was lost — for want of a shoe the horse was lost — etc”? Well, apparently, when the elevator motor was first installed some brilliant technician decided it would be “a good idea” to secure that particular set-screw with “Lock-Tite”, meaning that the set-screw could not be removed. As a result, neither could that end of the Jaw Coupler Assembly.
Jason finally drilled out the old set-screw and got the part off, but unfortunately we then could not find another set-screw (one that would fit anyway) to secure the part onto the drive shaft of the new motor. So, in frustration, he sent me out with instructions to “drop by Tractor Supply” and “pick one up”. He said they had them in stock, because the same things were used on log-splitters, so I (naively) took his word for it, even though such errands have NEVER in my experience been anywhere NEAR that simple or straightforward.
Tractor Supply did indeed have “similar” Jaw Coupler parts and assemblies, but we needed a 7/8″ to 1 1/8″ Jaw Coupler Assembly, and Tractor Supply didn’t carry anything that large. Think about needing a 1″ plumbing pipe and the hardware store only carrying up to 3/4″ and you’ll get the picture. Nothing they had was going to work, but, they told me what the part was called — which I hadn’t known before — and suggested I try two other Tractor Companies.
Well, both of these companies were at some distance, so I thought it might be wise to call first before wasting gas and time, and I was right. When I phoned the closest place “Spaulding Tractor” I wound up on the phone with a total idiot who really had no interest in helping me, and claimed he didn’t know what I was talking about even after described it, told him what it did, gave him parts numbers, told him the name of the parts, and sent photos. Further, he kept insisting I “call an elevator company” even though the desired part was NOT actually an “elevator part”. Besides that, I knew AEC would NEVER agree to order one for me (they’d already made that abundantly clear) unless I agreed to paying for a LOT MORE. I finally gave up after ten minutes of total exasperation and removed “Spaulding Tractor” from my list of acceptable sources for — well, ANYthing.
Next I called an even more geographically distant company, called “Wade Tractor”, where a very helpful man named Phillip knew immediately what I needed. Unfortunately, he said that they didn’t have the size I needed either, and probably couldn’t order it. He looked on-line though, and gave me the URLs of two companies I could check, so “Wade Tractor” is still on my Phone List.
When I got home I went to those web sites and looked, but still couldn’t seem to find the right size jaw coupler assembly — and some of the similar parts I WAS seeing were imported from Japan and priced at $200-$300. I’m guessing the Japanese are really proud of their workmanship, but that was just not happening, especially since the similar parts at Tractor Supply had run around $20-$30.
It’s far too late, at this point, to make a long story short, right? However, what I did next, and totally on impulse, was to go to Amazon.com, and into the search bar type “7/8″ to 1 1/8″ Jaw Coupler Assembly” — and guess what!! All three pieces, including the rubber spider, in stock for $21.99 total.
Yes, I hit ORDER. I also called “Tractor Supply” and “Wade Tractor” both back to tell them (much to their evident delight) where to send other customers looking for the same thing. I didn’t call “Spaulding Tractor” back, because, well, I don’t believe in rewarding stuidity.
The parts arrived at the end of March, and were exactly what we needed! YES!!! Of course, they still had to be used! (to be continued) <– 😉