Yesterday’s Activities

Yeah, no post yesterday because I was kind of busy.

We are supposed to go on “vacation” here in a few weeks so we have been going over the Wifely Unit’s vehicle getting it ready.

I had her take it up to a tire shop last week because I think the front struts are weak.

They said they couldn’t find anything wrong with those but…….

Needed two back tires.

So while we were having a little text fest about that I told her to have them check the brakes.

That turned into a fiasco too of course.

They wanted $75 just to do that because of the wheel bearing nuts that they claim need to be replaced if you take them off blah blah blah.

I told her to just fucking do it.

So then they tell her the bearings look rusty and that there is less than 1 mm of brake material so more bullshit ensues.

I told her, to tell them, to put the fucker back together and I would do the fucking brakes.

Me and my big mouth.

I had to use a fucking breaker bar finally to get those wheel bearing nuts loose and then the drums wouldn’t fucking budge.


I used to do a lot of brake jobs back in the day when I worked at the Lincoln/Mercury dealership so I have all kinds of special brake tools for those fucking Ford products.

It’s been a while but I dug around and finally found this bad ass motherfucker.



Yeah, Homie been to Granny’s house before.

A few good smacks with that bad boy and they popped right off.

Fuck you Ford.


This is where I love cell phones with cameras.

Ever took a set of brake shoes off and then couldn’t quite remember how the springs were oriented?

I have.

This set up was one I hadn’t run into and had a weird ratcheting wedge adjuster underneath the spreader bar and the first one I did took me a whole bunch of fucking around and many trips back into the garage for more special tools.

That E brake cable spring is a real motherfucker if you don’t have the special pliers I do that are just for that but since I do that part wasn’t too bad.

I did find one trailing shoe that had a crack in it the whole length of the shoe besides being flat wore out.

After I got the shoes on I cleaned the rust off the spindles and wiped out the bearings.

It took some fucking around but eventually they slid right back on.

Then came these little fuckers.


Take a look at this spindle, this was a new one on me.


It’s not tapered.

The bearing races jam up against each other.

So after another cell phone search of the internet I discover that fucking nut is supposed to be torqued down to 173 Ft.Lbs.!

No wonder I had to get the breaker bar out to get them loose.

Back into the garage for more drawer opening.


One of my most sacred tools, that Snappy Torque wrench was one expensive cock sucker even when I bought it fifteen years ago.

As you can see, it still looks brand new because I clean that bitch like  a religious icon every time I use it.

You can see those brake cable spring pliers I was talking about earlier laying on top of the little crescent wrench.

So, torqued the damn nuts to 173 foot pounds, put everything back together, put all the fucking tools back and took it for a test spin.

By the time I got done torture testing them I am going to say I believe they work.

2 and 1/2 hours to do that little project.

I also got that generator to run. It started after cranking over 3 times and ran good.

Until you let off the start/run button.

It didn’t appear to be putting out any juice either.

As I recall I had issues with this years ago and it had something to do with having to wire in the remote start harness.

More fuckery to deal with later.

After dicking around with the brakes my lower back was screaming at me to remind me why I quit working on fucking cars for a living many moons ago.

Today I have other chores to do but hopefully wrenching on cars ain’t on that list.

19 thoughts on “Yesterday’s Activities

  1. Kudos to you WD. I used to do all my own wrenching. Sometimes with the help of my twin. He blew out his back as a mechanic like you. These days I don’t even change my own oil. With the Hemi Ram it costs 50 bucks to have it done. Seems like a bargain. I have it done on my lunch break. 20 Minutes and I’m out. Doing it myself takes much longer, figure an hour , or $25 plus the cost of the oil and filter and then having to dispose of th e oil. I do however still do all my own work on my Harley. Never could do drum brakes.


  2. Great job! I haven’t seen a drum-removal slide hammer in quite a few years. I never had one because…DISC BRAKES! And I had buddies who owned them if I needed to borrow one. That brake adjuster is a lot different than anything I’ve come across; I’m used to the “star wheel” type. Do you have to stake the new nuts on, or is the torque considered enough? Only thing I ever came across was on a Citroen. The nuts were torqued to NINE HUNDRED foot pounds! We called to dealer to confirm it (shop manuals have errors sometimes) and they laughed and told us to come in and they’d rent us this little 9:1 torque multiplier gearbox to put between the wrench and the socket.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Holy crap.
      At nine hundred foot pounds, depending on what side of the car you were working on, with a big enough cheater bar, you could either pick the fucking thing up off the ground or bend the fucking spindle.
      Shit like THIS, is why I despise automotive engineers.


      • Heh. The tappet brothers on NPR touched on this subject once in response to a caller who had struggled to replace the clutch on his Pinto. They said there is an entire class of people who k ow nothing about cars. They are called automotive engineers. LMAO.


    • Oh,BTW, we have torque multipliers at work. We had to rent a hydraulic one where I used to work once to do the leaf spring U bolts on a Mack drop box hauler. The Torque spec was 1,800 Ft. Lbs and it actually stretched a 1 1/4 spring steel U bolt.
      The ones we have where I work now are really cool. It is basically a 1/2 inch air gun like an impact with planetary gears in it and a bar for leveraging against things.
      We use it on 16, 2 inch nuts on a pump head.
      Big torque.


      • Yup. The thin we rented was a little 9:1 planetary gearbox. All you needed to do was keep pulling on it till your torque wrench either read “100” on the scale, or clicked if you had one of them fancy adjustable torque wrenches.

        I don’t have a Snap-On torque wrench, just a good Craftsman one from Sears, and an older S-K.


  3. The newer cars with the disk brakes on the back are a true joy as well. Ford uses a much softer compound on the rear pads so they don’t last as long. The caliper piston has to be compressed while screwing it in – there is a special tool.

    I have ceramic pads on the back now. I have done two of these and never want to do another rear pad change again.


    • Yeah, I have had a kit for doing those screw in pistons longer than I have had the torque wrench.
      I found out about those the hard way doing the FRONT brakes on a damn Subaru.
      They incorporate the emergency brake on the front.
      Dirty bastards, that took a long time to figure out, I thought the piston was seized until I grabbed it with some Channel Locks and it turned.


  4. Fun? You want fun? Try replacing the parking brake shoes on an old Mercedes: it’s a drum brake set behind the regular disk brake. We didn’t drop nearly enough bombs on them when we had the chance.


    • As I recall, Ford did that on some of their vehicles too. The retainer clips are especially entertaining as they are behind the axle flange. Ford put a hole in the flange to make it even more fun to try and fish them in and out of.
      It is readily apparent that the vast majority of automotive engineers need a severe beating with the 2X4 of Enlightenment on a weekly basis.
      You gotta know the educated idiots never have to repair what they design after it’s on the finished product.


  5. Brakes are completely out of my skill set. For some reason, even though John Muir’s book “How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive Forever, A Manual Of Step-by-step Procedures For The Compleat Idiot” covers everything a dope like me should be able to work on, I just don’t have the confidence to mess around with the brakes. This makes the local VW gurus laugh and take my money.

    Electricity is evil, wrong, and unnatural. Ask an electrician just what an electron is and it’ll soon become obvious that he really has no idea – even though herding electrons is his profession. Electricity is a bad thing that’s looking for an excuse to knock you on your ass. Rattlesnakes at least give you a warning. Vicious dogs let you know that they’re going to tear a chunk out of you. Electricity just sits there in unholy, gleeful, silent anticipation, waiting.

    Enjoy that vacation, Phil. Best regards to all.


    • Zen and the practice of Electricity Wizardry… Spud, used to be an auto electrician. I can look at a wire diagram or schematic and generally in 5 minutes tell you what is wrong. And Electron is the outermost charged particle of an atom. One that is knocked out of orbit by a force stronger then the force keeping it in orbit. Electricity is actually quite slow to move, it is the sheer amount of them moving at one time that you get current flow and what knocks you on your ass. Always remember, current flow is negative to positive, so stand on the ground and at any old time and God can strike your ass down at any old time…


  6. On the 24th you were explaining that you had to much stuff in the garage and telling the wife :Be glad I don’t have a bigger truck”, and here’s the reason for the garage. Not many people would be able to say I’ve got just the tool for this and go rummage through toolboxes till they found a specialized tool for a brand of car. I imagine that many of your readers have tools that have been sitting around in the garage for years waiting for their moment, I know I do.
    Please, take this in the lighthearted way I meant it.


  7. One reason the age of digital photos is so great. I was re-building a ’61 CJ from the ground up, When it came time to disassemble the brakes,I took photos of it all.Just hit print a few months later and put them back together no problem


  8. Instead of the puller, next time smack the drum with a large peen right between the lugs. This will deform the drum material just enough to make it pop loose.


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