The photos don't show many of the problems. No the covers were not removed in the eBay ad so I asked the seller the question more than once if the unit was restored and function/working fine, in writing he lied saying it was more than once, said he hooked it up to air and tested it, though he admitted he didn't have an air hose for it and the air input threads on the unit had clearly not seen anything threaded onto them for at least 15 years. When I later asked him how he tested it with what I had found upon the unit arriving he refused to even respond. His own answers in writing to my original questions were what made my case and the fact that in those questions, I told him I'd only bid on it if it was working which he repeatedly assured me it was.
If you look at the before photo of the front, the number wheels didn't have numbers going all the way around them (they should). The mechanism was frozen so if you turned the adjustment handle, you'd get maybe a turn and a half before it would bind up and stop. What movement it would give, the numbers that were present did not go up or down in sequence so someone had applied a few numbers to the wheels in the area they could get to so it would look good from the outside.
It was missing the spring for the air hose hook ($6.00), motor lever spring was broken ($31.25), the clapper bell and screw was missing ($12.50), the rubber diaphragm no longer represented anything that was ever originally rubber and was perforated and stretched ($6.00), it needed a new vinyl numbers decal set ($6.00), and it needed a new strainer gasket ($3.00) which I purchased but it was accidentally not shipped with the rest of the parts order so I cut my own to keep the project moving ahead. I purchased all my parts from a gentleman named Ron Scobie of Ron Scobie Enterprises and I was very satisfied with all our interactions. Real nice guy, if you are interested in doing one of these his information is;
Ron Scobie Enterprises
7676 - 120th Street North
Hugo, MN 55038-9426
Phone - 651-653-6503
Website - http://www.gaspump.com
So that was a list of damaged and/or missing parts except for the following, if you look at the before photo of the rear of the mechanism, that is where everything was frozen and rusted solid UNDER the coat of silver spray paint someone had gone over it with and they didn't even attempt to clean anything first. Once I got it disassembled with the aid of P Blaster and some heat from a torch, I found the one way check valve in the main housing was rusted/frozen solid and this was an early unit before the check valve was manufactured to be replaced so removal wasn't an option. The main housing is cast iron so it was loaded with rust and scale. The strainer cover and screen I was able to clean up and re-use.
Getting that rusted/frozen check valve freed up and operational was the greatest challenge seeing as I had to work on it from the outside. Eventually I won the battle, the rest of the rebuild was cleaning all the parts, polishing the brass and copper items, painting the ferrous metal items with POR15 and a topcoat to prevent further rust issues and then reassembling with some lube and new hardware such as screws and e-clips.
If I remember correctly I paid $1,246.50 for the item plus another $45.00 shipping. I gambled and estimated about $150.00 in parts and materials to make the unit the way the seller originally represented it in writing more than once. Ebay felt I was being more than reasonable and professional, the seller didn't want to give anything up and refused to admit any wrong doing but reluctantly agreed to the $150.00 partial refund after eBay froze his PayPal account until he would resolve the issue with me, that was what finally got things moving again.
I spent $64.75 on the parts from Ron, another $35.00 on an hose and chuck, and probably another $30.00 or so on miscellaneous hardware and materials. Hours of time with the eBay fraud department on the phone and time attempting to communicate with a seller that was as dishonest as they come. I didn't ask for or receive anything from the seller for my time, effort, or frustration and I thought I was being pretty reasonable. I could have taken a full refund and shipped the item back, but then I'd have to begin the entire process of finding and bidding on another and in the time this process was playing out two others (really nice ones for just a few dollars more) had come and gone already so decided to just try and make this one work out for me.
Hope that helps explain the situation a bit, part of the agreement with the partial refund was that I could not leave the seller negative feedback, I demanded the same. What I did do was leave positive feedback BUT added in the feedback comment section that "the item was not as described, had missing and broken parts and didn't work, but that I received a partial refund" so hopefully any future potential customers of this seller that checked him out would read the comment and at least see this wasn't a perfect transaction, it was the best I could do under the circumstances. I've done plenty of eBaying and had only one previous problem with a buyer and one other with a seller but this one took the prize!
eBay doesn't do much for either the buyer or the seller other than "steer" things a bit if they can. There are dishonest individuals out there that sadly we every so often end up having to deal with, negative feedback is the best you can do and then sell to another party. Not perfect but it is what it is.
Very cool ! I've always wanted one but they are too rich for my wallet. One question though. The "before" picture dosn't look all that bad. Not at all what I expected to see after reading your description of "rusted and frozen solid" at least. Were there any pics posted on the Ebay auction of it with the covers removed ? What parts HAD to be replaced to get it working and what did you pay for it on Ebay ? You got a partial refund AND got to keep it ? I'm not sure I understand what the problem was. My apologies for all the questions, I'm just pissed at the moment over some Ebay auctions where deadbeat bidders are refusing to pay me for stuff they bid on and Ebay dosn't do jack anymore to protect the sellers. You know, those of us who pay the bills... I even had a Canadian bidder refuse to pay the shipping and import fees that EBAY added on to his invoice after he chose their "global shipping" option and was trying to accuse ME of trying to screw him over charges I had no control over. Took me 2 weeks to even get the Ebay seller fees reversed and I had to relist the item at a lower price to get it sold to someone else.