I Should Sell Tickets To This Shit Show

I swear to you, if reincarnation is a thing, then I was Genghis Fucking Kahn in a previous life and Karma has my little ass on speed dial and an installment plan because of it.

It just never ends.

Because I have been on vacation all week, the weather is nice and I have the time, I decided to move that rear brake job up on the Bronco to today instead of next month.

Shut up Karma, I can hear you snickering back there bitch.

I mean I have been turning wrenches for forty fucking years, was a Ford certified technician for ten years and have done over a hundred brake jobs if I have done one in that time

This should be rather simple, right?

You would think so.

You would also be wrong, just like me.

I get the brake shoes, $28.00, a Spring Kit for another $7.00 and four cans of Brake Clean because I use that shit by the gallon.

I get home, throw down a tarp in the driveway, run up over it backwards and get out. I go in the garage, get out all the shit I think I might need, fire up the air compressor, jack the thing up and set the rear axle on some jack stands.

Yank the rear wheels, put down a drip pan and lay some absorbent pads on it under the drivers side brake drum and start in.

Yank the drum and the very first thing I see is that the rivets have juuust started kissing the drum.

Good timing I think and congratulate myself for not waiting after all.

I told you to shut up Karma.

I hose down the shoes and backing plate with the brake clean and see something odd.

A little closer inspection reveals the little cable for the automatic adjuster had broken in half.



Now back in the day, I used to have all kinds of Ford parts laying around and I know damn good and well I had at least one of those, at one time.

Over the years and moving God knows how many times, all that shit got tossed out so it’s call the fucking parts house again and go get a hardware kit. Of course there isn’t one in the Spring Kit.

Another $15.00.

This is were it all went to shit.

I fought those brake shoes and the springs. I bet I spent over an hour messing with them and had them off at least three times because the drum wouldn’t go over them straight.

The new adjuster didn’t want to thread in all the way so I had the new one and the old one apart, cleaned up, Never Seized and it was still too damn tight so I mixed and matched parts until it worked smoothly.

Every time I would go to put the drum on it was like the shoes needed to rotate because the holes in the drum would only go in on one side of the studs and the rest of them were up against the edge of the holes. That’s where it would stop. Brute force and ignorance only beyond this point.

I finally got pissed off, took the whole motherfucker back apart, set the shoes up against the old ones edge to edge and started looking to see if  there was some glaring difference or if they were arced wrong.

I thought maybe there was a slight difference where the spreader bar hooked into the primary shoe so I took it in the garage threw it in the vise and filed down what appeared to be a slight difference. Then I put the fucker all back together again. By this time, I had been fighting the springs so much that I had raised and blew out a quarter inch blister in the middle of my left palm.

The Aggravation Meter was in the red by now.

I started fighting the drum again and stopped to catch my breath when I saw it.

A drip.

Right out of one end of the wheel cylinder.

Please God, let it be just some extra Brake Clean.

Karma busted out laughing.

Of course not

Now I am unhappy.

I have already had this apart FOUR FUCKING TIMES!

Trust me when the thought of just saying Fuck It crossed my mind several times.

But no.

I already have this much time and money in the fucker and getting by on the cheap apparently just ain’t gonna happen.

Call the parts house, again.

Talked to another guy named Phil I have seen several times. I am on a first name basis with almost all of the counter people by now anyway.

Whaddaya know, the wheel cylinders are dirt fucking cheap!

$8.00 and some change apiece.

At this point I told him to throw in another hardware kit for the other side so I can just be done with this sonofabitch.

The budget’s done been blown apart by now anyway so I might as well just do it all and be done with it.

Ol’ Phil says on the phone, us Phil’s need to stick together, come ask for me and I’ll hook ya up.

I get there and had to wait for some dumbass Chinese woman buying a bunch of shit some damn Jiffy Lube told her she needed yet had absolutely no idea what to do with any of it.

I let three people go ahead of me while I waited for Phil to get done with her stupid ass.

It was worth the wait. He knocked the prices down on all of it and I paid about 40% less than I would have with anyone else.

One small bright spot in this whole ordeal.

I get back home, swap that out, put the fucking shoes and springs back on it and the drum still don’t want to fit right. I double and triple checked everything and could see no reason for it.

I finally got all five of the studs started through the holes in the drum and once again one side doesn’t want to go on easy. Banged it a couple of times and it went on a little bit. Went in the garage, got a dead blow hammer and said Fuck You Motherfucker, YOU WILL GO ON!

Bigger than shit, it finally did.

Some times brute force and ignorance are the only methods that work after all.

I’m thinking there must be a lip on the outer edge of that drum. It was still a bit tight but it went on.

Clean up a bunch of shit and move to the other side.

Got the shoes and the new wheel cylinder on and was fighting one of the springs with a spring tool. Fucked around and got my left thumb a little too close and just as I was thinking I needed to move it, the spring tool slipped off, the spring, now under high tension, slipped off also and just CLOBBERED my thumb.

Then it disappeared. Of course this all happened in a tenth of a nanosecond

There is a chunk missing below the nail and it is bleeding from behind the nail too.

Furious at myself, I got up off the ground and started looking for that spring. It took me about four or five minutes but I finally found it about ten feet away in the grass.

I was almost to the point of saying piss on it and reusing an old one when I spied it. It’s painted brown so it blends in real good with all the dead shit around here after I Round Upped the shit out of the weeds a couple of weeks ago.

It slipped off two more times but I finally got the cocksucker on there. Then I ran into the same problem with the new adjuster wheel on this side. Fucker wouldn’t screw all the way in.

Can you say Chinesium?

I wound up doing the mix and match bullshit with that one too because the old one had a flat spot worn in the wheel from being froze up.

I fought that side too but it finally went back together and when I put the drum on it slipped right on and was pretty loose. Like it should be when the adjuster is backed all the way off. I pulled it back off and played with it until I felt that it was close enough.

Cleaned up a huge mess and then slid under the fucker to replace the rear ABS sensor. It gave me some trouble at first but as soon as I got some light on the subject it came out and the new one went in.

Crawled out, bled the wheel cylinders as best I could and threw the wheels back on it.

Finished putting everything away, topped off the master cylinder and checked the oil .

A quart low.


Fired the old bitch up, went up and got two quarts of oil. Dumped one in and while I was there, backed up and stopped several times, pulled up and did it a few more times, to let the automatic adjusters do their thing.

I also noticed the rear ABS light is still on. Back to the drawing board on that one. I’m sure a large amount of money, a whole bunch of time plus another Blood Sacrifice is all it’s gonna take to fix.

The brake pedal feels WAY better now though so I am thinking that I have probably been driving around with only front brakes mostly.

I think it was close to six fucking hours from start to finish, one blister, one Blood Sacrifice and at least triple the amount of money I originally thought I was going to get away with.

I would buy a camera and film all this kind of shit to put on Youtube but them sonsabitches would censor my ass out of existence in about fifteen seconds.

I tend to curse.


You can probably see why now too.

If you ever get bored and are in the neighborhood you should stop by.

Every damn thing I try to work on seems to turn out just like this, every single time.

I won’t even charge ya for the entertainment.


39 thoughts on “I Should Sell Tickets To This Shit Show

  1. Can we laugh at you when your face contorts and vulgar epitaphs spew forth? Gotta ask, Do you have to clear the ABS codes from either the computer or a ABS module? I know how to clear ABS codes from a Chevy but not sure on a Ferd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haven’t got that far yet, still nursing my wounds and trying to get the knots unwound.
      The Wifely Unit came back from a nail appointment when I was about 3/4’s done with this and told me I should have just taken it up to Les Schwab because I’m getting too old for this shit. I asked her if she had a spare $750 laying around because I don’t and besides I should absolutely be able to do this.
      I hate to admit it kicks my ass anymore because I am one stubborn asshole.


  2. That’s how I feel these days. I drop shit and have to pick it up, find other busted parts once I start fixing the original problem, and wind up breaking something else while I’m in there.

    Don’t matter if it’s car stuff, radio stuff, or house stuff…..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just to fuck with you:

    Ya think you might have gotten 2 primary shoes on one side and 2 secondaries on the other?

    And yes, I’ve had evolutions like that, only in Chevy instead of Ford.


    • I ave swapped them front to back before, bad things happen. That is one thing I love about these camera phones. Normally I will take a picture of how it is set up before I take anything apart so I can refer to the picture when my failing memory takes a shit. I failed to do that this time. However, the internet is my friend so I Google Imaged a picture of one and I had it right despite myself. For the life of me I don’t know why that fucker didn’t want to line up right. I swear it’s that cross over bar. It’s on there now, we shall see if it it works right or if it shits the bed here shortly. I did drive it and it din’t feel like it was dragging.
      Beats me.


  4. As to cussing while working, and throwing things that piss me off (of course, while cussing,) I have had projects go sideways so bad that the cussing and sounds of things flying were loud enough and long enough that the neighbors have called the sheriff on me.

    Three times.

    Made a weight bench for wifely unit. Bought some 2×4 pressure treated and that stuff was so punky soft that the damn carriage bolts I was using compressed the wood to 1″ thick. Thank you Home Depot for selling the finest wood available. Farthest piece of that crap ended up at the far edge of the lot just inside the fence line, at least 150′ away. What pissed me off really royally was my good Eswing hammer was attached. Fuck. Yay. Into the valley of yellow jacket goeth a fat, sweaty, swearing horse’s ass… Out comes screaming a rapidly becoming naked great white ape being farked over by a horde of yellow jackets. 3 Deputies showed up that time.

    Under the Chrysler Imperial (I dare you to find a worse piece of carp than a friggin late 90’s Chrysler Imperial. Couldn’t drive with the lights on because having the headlights on meant the wiring harness would start catching on fire. Not just the light component of the harness, the whole friggin harness on randomly chosen sections. So I’m under the damned thing, half in and half out of the engine compartment-ish screaming and hollering at that piece of carp car because the places I needed to put my big XXXL hands (yeah, try to find XXXL mechanic’s gloves for less than the adoption price of a royal kid) were too large for an undersized 2 year old’s hands. Apparently a neighbor thought I was trapped underneath as 1 deputy and an EMS truck and a full ladder truck from the Fire Department showed up. Fucking county tried to charge me for it, but had to call that off because I wasn’t the one who called it in.

    Third was when I was fighting the unibelt on my E150. Fucking Ford. Needed a wrench with a 6′ pole attached in order to get the tension off the belt. So, of course, just getting the tension off with one hand, trying to put the new belt on with the other, and tension hand slips and 6′ pole whacks me in my head. Screaming and blood occurs as I break about every branch and board in total frustration. If I could have beat that damned Econoline to death, I would have. 2 Deputies showed up with guns drawn, as one of my neighbors thought I was hacking someone apart.

    Yeah… not prone to violent histrionics, nope, not me…

    I feel your pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dayum!! I bet we would get along real good.
      I cuss a lot but I got cured of throwing shit, by someone else doing it and fucking up a fresh paint job on a vintage MGTD.
      The guy owned the shop and restored the things from the frame up. He painted them without a respirator and would hack up colors for a week. Then he put Volvo 4 cylinders in them using a custom rear engine plate. He was using a half inch impact on something at the back and it quit or something. He got pissed and threw the thing down on the concrete. It bounced and put a dent in the back fender, that he had just painted two days before. He had to knock the dent out, sand it and repaint it. Just because he lost his temper. It took him two days to get it done and it was supposed to get picked up that day.
      I have thrown a couple of things across a shop since but I made sure nothing important was in the line of fire first. Haven’t even done that in twenty years.
      You must really get into it if the fucking neighbors are calling the cops. Are they snowflakes or something? Do you sit out front where they can see you and clean your guns? I would.
      I feel your pain too man, some of the shit you were working on would push anyone over the edge, especially a fucking K car.
      Those things were garbage.


      • Wife bought that Imperial for me as a surprise so we’d both have a vehicle.

        Bought from an acquaintance of her mother’s boyfriend. Sight unseen, without a mechanic’s check.

        Within 1 week the a/c died, hard. Within 2 weeks two of the windows stopped working. Within a month the car started having heat issues and I had to leave the heater on. And I live in Florida.

        Drove that turd until I couldn’t anymore, only during the day. Things changed with driving circumstances so I was able to park that turd. Finally sold it to one of those ‘Buyitsightunseen’ places for a cool grand. The only thing that pissed me off is I had stuff stuck in the trunk, but it was worth losing that stuff to get rid of the POS.

        As to the old neighbors, well, yeah. One of them, across the street, was a rental house, where at one time the renter was practicing for a barfight by beating his kitchen chairs against a punching bag hanging from the basketball hoop. Apparently the p-bag won, as later I saw him setting the thing on fire and then peeing on it from the roof.

        Another set of neighbors fed raccoons because they were leftist hippie turdballs. So when they went on vacation to some drugged out location, for all summer apparently, the raccoons attacked my house. After trying non-lethal methods, I got attacked by one, held him under water with a pool pole for 10 minutes, the limp body floated to the surface, and the mofo was still alive and now really peeved. Game On, Bitches. First lethal attempt was with mole poison in cat food. Big bull coon ate the whole bowl, was wandering around sick looking for three days, and then in front of me took a massive dump and was totally fine. Okay… Out comes the fearsome Remington 511 (single shot .22 Boy Scout rifle) and I ended up slabbing 31 trash-pandas that summer. I was using .22 shorts, but was pretty good 1-shotting (once I hit…) the critters but Mr. Bull took 14 shots from less than 5′ away to finally keel over. To make sure, I cut that motherfrucker’s head off with a shovel and ‘buried’ him in two separate trashcans so he wouldn’t reanimate and come back.

        It was a ‘nice’ neighborhood, so supposedly these neighbors were outliers. Nope. I had to choose to live in the most disfunctional yuppie hell of a subdivision ever.

        That’s okay. I got even. I stopped mowing my lawn. Fuckit. Was losing the house anyways…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s a good story Phil ! Good to see you’ve made some progress, I was a bit confused when u said the cable was broke in half from the automatic adjusters, I thought the cable was for the emergency brake back there. Oh well hopefully you’re ABS light goes away, did you try disconnecting the battery and letting the computer reset the codes?..sometimes that works for those pesky warning lights…

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is a bigger cable in that mess or the E Brake too. After I got it put together and got through messing around it was almost six in the evening and I hadn’t eaten anything all day so I bagged in and cam in the house to consume mass quantities. After that I was all done for the day. 😉


  6. I can feel your pain. I did the same job except in a Autozone parking lot 100 miles from home. Both wheel cylinders and the line from the body to the axle as well. The store loaned me the spring tools and I had the rest in the truck. Later the shoes started to grab at slow speeds so I took the drums back off got them turned and made sure I had everything installed correctly. Still had the sticking dragging. I had a friend at the local ford dealer and he got the brake guy to check my work, he said everything was installed correct, however he says to me, take the ‘Zone shoes back and install a Motorcraft set. I said what the hell and left the dealer with a Motorcraft set. Changed them out and never had another problem. The Autozone counter guy didn’t blink an eye, said they come back all the time and gave me my money back.
    And yes, I lost some skin and blood in the process. I did a lot of brake jobs when I worked (slaved?) in my fathers garage in the late seventies so I thought, hell I can do this, before it was said and done I should have called the wrecker and had it hauled to the shop. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the homeless dude sitting on the curb beside me chuckling when I busted out cussing, I was afraid he would steal my shit every time I had to walk back into the store and drop more cash. He had the balls to ask me for money when I was packing up. I gave him a look and he held up his hands and walked off.
    Love reading your stuff, wish I could be so articulate.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Speaking of brake stuff, back in the day, when it came time for new pads on my ’88 S-15 Jimmy, I went to the Chevy dealer to get the real thing. The parts guy looked around and said, softly, go to Autozone. These OEM pads will eat your rotors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have run into that with factory Ford rear brake shoes. Back in the 90’s they came out with these weird sintered metal brake shoes. You could hear them grinding the drums every time you hit the brakes. I once tried putting some fancy ceramic pads on the front of a half ton Dodge pickup, they literally polished the rotors to a mirror finish within a hundred miles and the thing wouldn’t stop with both feet on the pedal, pulling back on the steering wheel for more leverage.


  8. I prefer Ford trucks and have had many over the years. I have also had a couple of GM’s, a Dodge, and Toyota. I have done numerous rear brake drum rebuild and the Ford’s always seam to be the biggest PIA. For all future rear drum job on trucks will be disc conversion.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. No real job gets done without a blood sacrifice. If you complete a job without it then you are really screwed Karma wise on the next project. I sometimes feel like I should just take a knife across my palm and slap it on the bitch project I am working on just to get it over with. It hurts less than dropping an 8 inch lathe chuck and smashing your finger between the chuck and the ways on the lathe. (my last project) Pretty sure I sounded like one of those Pentecostal types speaking in tongues the way I was dancing around.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I come here for solace and encouragement as a driveway mechanic who only wrences on my own shit its comforting to see a professional with vastly more knowledge and experience shares my struggles.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. There is this slick little tool used to deburr sheet metal and castings, about 15 bucks online, get one and run it over the lip on the drums before re-assembly. Gets rid of the scale and protruding metal rim. The rusty drum will damage the cutting blade but not before it cleans up two drums.


    Failing this, a drum sander or stone in a drill will do the job too.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Your Bronco stories sure take me back to helping my now late father in the garage. You sound and act exactly like he did when shit did not go right. We were working on the brakes of a 67 mercury cougar and the damn show on the passenger side would not go on so he threw is across the garage and yelled god damn SOB. well he did NOT see his youngest daughter aged 2-3 standing behind him and she was in the parrot stage of learning to talk so she goes back in the house and walks up to mom and says God damn SOB. anyway i love reading these stories


  13. spent twenty five of the last few years working swedish built german designed paper machinery along with steam and electrical shit thrown in for good measure. mumbled words a lot. got counseled by a twit about using foul language at an inanimate machine and asked her what the hell she was prattling about. told her I was cursing the familial lineage of the designers and engineers who had a hand in creating those abominations of the mechanical arts. how bad could it be, you ask? how about a cover welded over the access for a replaceable bearing. I believe these are the people who created the “lifetime lubricated bearing unit”. they work great until they blow up. I swear, I see the fine hand of a former Mercedes designer in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • DUDE! I know EXACTLY what you are talking about!
      Most of our equipment is Swedish designed and German engineered with Austrian maintenance specialists thrown in for good measure. Stupid fuckers like to weld covers over bolts so you can’t get at them to get them out. Fucking stainless steel metric Allen head bolts for every damn thing too.
      Can’t use Never Seize on 90% of the shit either so they all gall coming back out.


      • Oh yeah, almost forgot.
        I have been called into the office for cussing too. The GM heard me clear through two doors down a hallway cussing about some idiot.
        One more reason I prefer swingshift. I get to avoid most of the politically correct SJW horse shit and the motherfuckers who live their lives by it.
        I have a bad reputation around the joint but they don’t fuck with me either. They know I won’t pull any punches. I speak what’s on my mind and I am the ANTITHESIS of Politically Correctness.
        Raised around a bunch of hard drinking heavy equipment operators, Pile Bucks, Teamsters and Iron Workers.
        I could make a Sailor blush when I was six years old.


    • BTDT, except it was “Minnesnowtan Squarehead Engineers making additions to a Japanese litho printing press”. SAE and metric fasteners scattered randomly through the machine, total-loss oiling system, etc.
      To this day, I will not allow a Ryobi anything in my house.


  14. My dad, a CCNY educated (5 year program) Mechanical Engineer, worked for American Defribrator in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s. He unF’d a bunch of Swedish designs that were built originally in Sweden and then in the great machine shops around Minneapolis and Milwaukee. Those guys could make anything. I was fortunate enough to work in one when I was getting my BSME. The old timers knew a thing or two on how to do it right.

    My dad was in charge of the spare parts division and would re-engineer the parts that broke and wore out to make them cheaper and last longer. Management raised hell when he did this until he pointed out that the company made just as much profit from selling one better part than two original parts. The customer only had to pay labor to put in the new better part once. As pure a Win-Win as there ever was.

    When the economy went in the toilet under Carter, it was the spare parts division that kept them afloat for 5 years. Nobody was building new paper mills. He got a heart attack out of it and retired. American Defibrator was sold to Sunds and slowly went in the crapper.



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