Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Class #5: Let's try something else...

Before I start going on and on about what I did (or, rather, did not do) in class last night, I'd like to thank my friends for moving my car.  While I was out, Hubby hosted the weekly poker game.  Our kick ass friends came over a little early to push the beast from the front of the house, to the side of the house.  Now, I can get her up on jacks, take the wheels off, and bring them to class next week to clean the rims.  I may even bite the bullet and get new tires.  How much could I save just paying for tires and putting them on the rims myself!!?  Probably at least a little.
Finally where I wanted her!
Getting to the business at hand...
Last night's class

Class is turning into the on-going saga of the Saturn Vue.  I don't mind, really.  I get to learn some stuff without risking that 'one false move' on my own car!  
I've already had my bearings, back breaks, and oil changed recently.  Not long ago, I was also having some starting issues, so I have a fairly new starter and battery, as well.  As we know, I changed my front brakes in class last week.  So there's really nothing left to do on my car.  What I'm hoping to get out of class now is more of a 'car tour'.  I'd like to learn about the battery, the spark plugs, the belts and hoses.  Stuff that will come in handy when I open the hood of the Barracuda.  
But for now, we are also still trying to get this Saturn in order.  Maybe you remember the third class when we were attempting the passenger side bearing on the Saturn, and the back drum brakes on the F150.  Neither of those projects ended in success.  The truck drove home on iffy brakes...I drove the owner of the Saturn to where his mom could get him home, while his car stayed at school.
Last night, was a bit of a flashback.  Only this time, I was helping with the bearing and only catching bits of the U-joint replacement on the F150.  
So what's the big deal?  We had 3 hours to fix this, so why did it not get done again?
Well, I'll tell you...corrosion.
It was the issue with the first one, but this time we thought we were ready.  We were not.  Normally, to fix this bit, you take off the tire, the brake caliper/pads, and the rotor.  Then you take off the hub/bearing assembly.  Then, obviously, put it all back together in opposite order.  Done and done.
Well, if you can't get the hub assembly have to try a series of other procedures until you find the one that works.
First, we used some spray lube to try to free the bolts.  Then we tried an air chisel, in hopes that the vibrations would break up the rust.  Unfortunately we were going to have to take the whole steering knuckle/hub off to put some pressure on them to 'un-fuse' them. 
Easier said than done, as we've come to learn is how it works with this particular vehicle.
We could not get the pin out of the bolt holding the ball joint on.  We had already removed the assembly from the tie rod and the axle, but no matter what angle we went from, that damn pin wouldn't budge!

here's another little side note/conversation:  
Me: Oh, so that's the tie rod, right?
Ricky: What's a tie rod?
(My dad would be so proud!)

At any rate, we finally resorted to using a tiny drill bit to loosen the pin from the ball joint, and eventually got the hub/knuckle combo free from the car.  
T-Minus 30 minutes till the end of class!
Over to a machine I can't remember the name of to apply some pressure to get these two parts unstuck.  I believe we were at 8000 pounds of pressure when Dan calls the other teacher to let him know this car will still be there in the morning.  'Let me just apply a little more...' 
BANG! the hub hits the ground!
At this point we have 20 minutes of class left.  I'm putting tools away in the hopes that Dan will let us try to get this shit put back together.  But he thinks there's not enough time.  So there it sat.  All sad, with it's entire driver's side wheel bearing bits piled up in the rear storage, waiting for someone to put it back together in the morning.  Ricky on the phone, calling for a ride.

In hindsight, I wish I'd spent more time watching the truck repair.  I have seen quite a lot of 'what can go wrong' in this class.  But, as everyone keeps reminding me, this is part of the learning process, too.  I can only hope that these things will help me to remain calm when bits start falling apart in my hands when I get to the Barracuda.

For Reference Purposes
(here's a generic, exploded view of the bearing assembly)
Next week:  well, I think we're going to do what we were originally supposed to do this week...learn about batteries, belts, spark plugs, etc.  We'll see.  I'm also, again, hoping to start bringing in my rims/tires to get those ready!


  1. When are you gonna get to the part where you explain how to pump your own gas??? That's what I really need to know!

    1. Rich...just keep throwing your head back and giggling. you don't need to pump your own gas.