Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Boys Don't Cry

Its been a rough coupla weeks. The car is still immobile and I have been going through a break-up. The now ex BF was away on a trip, the very trip we broke up over. The details are long, sad and personal so I won't get into that here but needless to say I've have found myself suddenly operating solo in areas of the heart and auto repair. :-(

I put in a frustrating yet ultimately triumphant day's work on the wagon last Saturday (at least this story will have a happy ending). My Dad had a few clients scheduled for both Saturday & Sunday and could not be my wrenching partner. We had previously gotten the engine all put back together and what tasks remained were to re-assemble the rest of the stuff under the hood we had to take apart for the head removal. I aslo had my radiator rebuilt & flushed so that needed to be re-installed too.

I started with the new thermostat, remembering to put the copper pellet towards the engine & gooped the gasket only to put the housing on upside down. When I saw the connect for the radiator hose pointing down to the ground I said, "Hey, that aint right!" I flipped it and screwed it down proper. Then on to the fan assembly, I flipped to the pages in my trusty Mopar factory manual, which is totally covered in grease by now. I put it all in order and screwed in the bolts. After I admired my work, I gave it a spin only to hear "clank!"

It was hitting my formerly non existent crank case pully bolt. Apparently Fred told us all cars should have one of these and I not knowing any better was surprised that my car was lacking one. Turns out that Jeff says slant 6s' actually DON'T have crank case pully bolts but I found that out the day AFTER Fred had installed one for us. Jeff said since it was in there it was fine to leave it, so long as it wasn't in the way of anything. Dammit. I set off to remove the damn thing but it wouldn't let me get a turn on it without turning the damn engine (like a crank shaft pully bolt is supposed to do). I was sitting in the car ruminating on what to do. I was scared to forcefully prevent the engine from turning while wrenching the bolt the opposite way. I didn't want to bend any internal components. I had just rebuilt the top end of the motor there was no way I wanted to do the bottom end! I was alone, and undereducated on this issue. I decided I needed to call Fred. He put it in there, he would HAVE to be able to get it out right???

Getting a hold of Fred wasn't easy. The only person I knew who had his number was the xBF. I swallowed my pride and text messaged him. The chances of a speedy reply were slim since one, we had just broken up and two, he was in New Zealand. I tried every other person who I thought may know someone who knew Fred but I wasn't getting any response. I was feeling like an emotional & mechanical failure when I decided to call my BFF Robin. At the very least Robin could help me feel better and he may have some advice on the car too. I called him & told him the whole sorry tale and by this point I was pretty pitiful. He gave me his patented tough love, "Stop being a fucking baby! You can do this." were his exact words. God Bless him, he was right. I was being a big baby and feeling sorry for myself. I thanked him for the pep talk and went back down to the car.

I used my head, first I needed to get the car off the jack stand. One of my wheels was removed due to a serious flat, I filled the also flat spare with air, stuck it on the car and lowered it. Then I put the car in gear & chocked the wheels. I busted out the torque wrench that when we bought it I thought I would barely use. I set the tolerance & gave that bolt a good turn. Nuthin. I tried again, and yet again. Nada. I was crestfallen but I HAD to get that damn bolt out. I crouched down and leaned my head on the front of the car. With frustration of the bolt and my currently depleted emotional state I was.....about...to....cry. The thought of me shedding tears while wrenching on my car was a pitiful one. I took a deep breath and told myself "Just don't cry about it dammit!"

I stood up, picked up the torque wrench and raised the tolerance to 160 foot pounds. I put it on the fucking bolt and gave it a turn and just like that, it broke free. I reached in with my hands & loosened it after that. Once the bolt was out, I thanked every one. I thanked the car for holding still, the bolt for turning, the heavens for the fortitude bestowed upon me.

The whole thing went smoothly after that. I got the fan on, the radiator back in. The hoses hooked up, the engine block water channels re-filled. I had done it, on my own and best of all, I didn't cry. If you have ever seen the movie A League Of Their Own, you will know the quote "There's no crying in baseball!" Well, there's no crying in auto repair either, dammit.

Boy's don't cry, and really tough girls don't either. So there.

P.S. If you wanna get an idea of how I feel, watch this music video:

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