Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Class #4: Halfway mark!

I'm gonna start by saying that I wish I had some way of getting photos during class.  There are times when my teacher is off helping with something else after he says, 'get that thing, do this and that, and I'll come check it out'.  But, one picture would certainly be of how dirty I get, and that is not good for cameras and I would most certainly ruin my phone!
So, you'll just have to use your imagination...and I will be testing my writing skills, for sure!

At any rate...
Class #4!
(I'll add a little excitement with centering and font sizes/colors, how about that!?)

At the end of last week's class, it was decided that I would get parts to fix my front brakes.  I searched online to get an idea of how much I would be spending on parts, and to make sure our local AutoZone would have what I needed.  Now, if you remember, I drive a 2000 Chevy Cavalier...probably not too hard to get parts for this little box on wheels, but I like to stress about every detail of my life.  Of course, they had the parts I needed.  The guy who helped me was very nice.  I asked if I could return the rotors if I ended up not needing them and he said, 'of course! why would you keep them if you don't need them?!'  Good point, I guess.

As we know from my last post ( you can read it here, if you missed it ), my trunk has some issues.  The new parts I had bought were in my leaky trunk...damp from the moisture!  I put them on the floor in the front, hoping they would dry, in case I needed to return the rotors.

Once again, I had major anxiety going to class.  That's just how I am, but I get over it once I'm doing what I'm there to do.
Game Time!
(Are the added flourishes getting annoying?)
The whole thing ended up being pretty uneventful!  I drove my car up, set up all the lift arms, and began to raise the beast.  'Wait, wait, wait!' I hear from the other side of the car...'something made a noise.'  I lower the car, I think everything's fine, but one of the other students thinks it's wrong.  The poor 70 year old teacher gets down on his knees to check...'no, it's fine'.  It's just so rusty and creaky.

Back up we go, and the fun begins.  I gather up all my tools, use the impact wrench to take off the tires, and then we begin to discuss.  I asked if I needed the new rotors, and Dan said, 'well, they'd be at the minimum width if you cleaned them, and you have new one's so you may as well put them on.'  I agreed...I had been smart enough to buy them...why would I not put them on!?

I'll make this story short...I know I tend to ramble on with unnecessary details...
With a little bit of struggle, I managed to remove the old pads from the passenger side.  This proved to be the easiest of the two sides.  As I was putting the new pads on, not quite getting it, Dan told another student to go grab a clamp or something to help push it into place.  Of course, I managed to use my own power to get it on, which resulted in another 'strong hands' comment from the boys.
All in all, I was pretty pleased with how smoothly the first side went.  So much so that I was not worried about working on the other side without much supervision.  Unfortunately, the other side proved to be a bit of a bitch, comparatively.

The driver's side...aargghhh!
I had issues getting the caliper off because the caliper bolts (not sure that's the right term?) were not moving correctly.  That is, they wouldn't come out far enough to clear the rotor.  So, after some force and the use of a hammer and some vice grips, we finally managed to remove and replace the old pads and rotor.
Here's a fun fact:  I hand tighten to approximately  35 foot pounds.
After everything was properly replaced and torqued, I took her for a test drive around the parking lot.  I had forgotten how nice it feels to have your car just stop...none of that jerky, seizure-type slowing down.

We also took a look under the hood.  Here's a question:  does anyone know where the oil filter in a 2000 Chevy Cavalier might be??  I have had my oil changed dozens of times, so I know there must be one...but none of us could find it!!  Not even the teacher!!  Oh, and let's check the tire pressure...sure, except that my awesome replacement door doesn't have the sticker to tell me the proper pressure.  And the owner's manual?  'See sticker on driver's side door for proper tire pressure.'  Thanks! That's helpful!

I didn't learn much else in class last night, since I spent a little over 2 hours doing the brakes, then about a half hour looking under the hood and stuff...and we pretty much ended 15 minutes early.  But that's okay.  I can now say that I, personally, have changed my front brake pads and rotors!  And I'm gonna be a girl right now and say that I am pretty damn proud of that!!


  1. I'm really enjoying your auto repair posts. It keeps reminding me that I need to get out to the garage and WORK.

    1. Thanks!
      every time i go to class and think 'man, I wish i had a garage!' And a lift, for that matter! haha