Saturday, August 6, 2016

The longest brake conversion story...EVER

One of the two days I am able to just get out and do what I can with the car, without any other obligations.
Three hours seems to be the maximum time I can manage without having a breakdown.
Now, I don't mean in the intense 'losing all control' sense of the term...just a mild 'okay...get out while you still have your wits about you' sense of the term.
So today's 3 hours of work got me a little further in the conversion process, but I'm still stuck on the driver's side. Still not able to move onto drilling the hole for the fuel tank strap bolt. Still not able to finish hooking up the brake lines (and then the brake bleeding process...ugh). Still not able to concentrate on running the fuel line.
Still stuck on getting the old suspension parts off and replacing bushings and boots.
But, I still made some progress!
I bought this tool at Harbor Freight. It costs a mere $22.
And it worked wonders on the tie rod end!! I could feel the 'pop' up into my teeth when it finally came apart, but I was overcome with excitement and couldn't wait to just get all that stuff unstuck!
 so much pressure and nothing that should be moving was moving ...then...POP!... Yeah, it...wait a's all.still.together...and ...where's the other part of the tool????
Now seems like a great time to let you all know: I am always wearing gloves and glasses. And, if I'm being perfectly honest, knowing that this is a violent kind of prying apart of, I actually propped my rubber floor mat up in front of me, so that if anything DID come flying off at me, it hit that instead of my person. I don't mind bruises and cuts and scars and things like that (honestly sort of like them)...but I don't need to maim myself!
After that I pounded on my pickle fork. I tried the pitman arm tool... was too wide. I ended up gouging the end of the lower control arm because i didn't realize it wasn't doing what it was supposed to be doing.
I got on the ol' facebook and posted some some solid advice and virtual high fives from my car guys...
I released the jack I was using to support the lower control arm, hoping the problem I was having was simply a matter of pressure being applied in the wrong place.
After all the struggle I could handle for the day...
I decided to see if I could get the rusted nuts off the upper shock bolts.
More spraying of rust stuff...more clamping of deteriorating shocks...more spinning of bolts...
 And then FINALLY....
...something went right.
And if you're counting...that's TWO things that went right for me today!
I wiiiiiiiinnnnn!!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

same story, different day

This exciting project...this 'step outside my comfort zone' experiment...this test of patience...this 'I said I'll do it, so I'll do it' game I'm playing is really starting to feel a little 'Groundhog's Day'-ish. If Bill Murray showed up at some point, for some comic relief, it might make the adventure a little less tearful. On the upside, there's no one around to witness the meltdowns I have EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I work on the car.
Today's awesome fun time task: start taking those shocks and front brakes apart!
Well, after probably 30 minutes of 'how the hell am I going to get these damn shocks out!' Crying. Whimpering. Begging for some sort of 'ah-ha' moment to hit me. Hammer, mallet, screwdrivers, clamps, lots and lots of PB Blaster...and only my breaker bar to help with the shock nut because I don't have deep sockets for my impact wrench. whomp whomp.
This is what I ended up with before I gave up and moved onto the bottom bolt (hoping maybe somehow that would help with the top one, though, truly I knew it wouldn't)...
...all I managed to do was bend and mangle the shock! Vice own hand...nothing would hold the shock still while I worked on getting the nut off.
I managed to hold the bolt with one hand and use the impact wrench with my LEFT hand to get the lower shock bolt out...but, still could not manage to get the upper bolt off.
So, onto the next phase.

I actually started to make some real progress with the brake parts! With the exception of a few whiny 'why won't you just come off!?' and 'how am I gonna get the impact wrench in that tight space?!' I was taking cotter pins out and nuts off and bolts out...
Things were starting to turn for me!
I managed to get the steering knuckle out of the way so that I could get the knuckle arm off...

...except, I still haven't gotten that done. I can't seem to get the arm off the tie rod end (nut is off...the bolt just doesn't want to come out). I've tried banging it through with a mallet. I've tried my pickle fork. I was going to try the pitman arm tool, but it's too big to fit around the end.
So I moved on to the seal at the top of the arm...same deal!
Here, I could actually use the pitman arm tool, but it did nothing. Perhaps I have to take the jack out from under the lower control arm? Maybe I'm not getting the proper leverage?
At any rate, as with every 'go' at the car, the day has ended with another shopping list.
I should already have a set, but I don't...and I think it would've made the day go much more smoothly if I had a set of deep impact sockets. Both for this bolt holding the steering knuckle to the upper ball joint, and for that wretched shock bolt.
I think the most frustrating part of this project is that the little things that I think are going to be quick and easy 'and I can just move right on to the next thing' end up being the worst!! Nothing ruins my day like a stuck bolt! (okay, there are a ton of worse scenarios that can ruin my day.) Such a simple little thing, stuck, and putting the whole rest of the day's list on hold!
Stupid rusty bolts. to do some shopping...