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Maaannn, I tell ya! The last couple of days....

Maaannn, I tell ya! The last couple of days....

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Old 10-22-2010, 07:02 PM
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Talking Maaannn, I tell ya! The last couple of days....

I spent the majority of the last two days working on my truck---AGAIN!!! Vehicle problems have been having me scramble around like a mechanic lately like crazy!

This time, I had to fix an exhaust leak that was going tick tick tick around the exhaust manifold. I prolly could've just ignored it, but here in Missery---oh, I mean Missouri, they have a bi-annual vehicle inspection that you have to have done before you can renew your plates.

There are two things that irritate me about this!

The first one is that it has to be done every other year. And secondly, I see some of the biggest pieces of crap, redneck, (forgive me my redneck friends), rolling jalopies on the road down here, and for the life of me, I can't understand HOW in the world THEY cold EVER pass the inspection!!! Well, I know how---it's not what you know, but who.

And yet, we have a pretty decent truck, and the ONLY thing that kept it from passing was the tick tick tick exhaust leak. You gotta be kidding me! Hmmmm.....

So, I took off the front wheel, the inner fender, and the exhaust heat-shield to have a look and see what was up. I quickly seen the problem and noticed something strange. The upper back bolt in the manifold wasn't even tight. I'm thinking SAAAWEEET, here's an easy fix, right??? NOT!!!

I go grab some of my trusty tools and manuever myself into position to get to the bolt to tighten it. So I start workin the ratchet and after a few turns I notice something very disturbing. I notice that the more I turn the bolt, the more it stays the same!! Some chucklehead had been there before me (prolly the dealer that I bought it from a few years ago) and had tried to fix this problem. However, the morons had tried to tighten the bolt and apparently forgotten that the HEADS ARE ALUMINUM!!! So, much to my distress, I have now learned that the bolt hole in the head is stripped---

So I finagle(sp?) my way out of the very uncomfortable spot and stand up. And after several minutes of walking around in a dazed state of existence, all while contemplating just going out and laying in the highway in front of my house, I regather my thoughts and realize that I am going to have to go and blow up the dealership!!! JUST KIDDING...sorta!

Now, I know I am nearing the end of my mechanical abilities to be able to fix this problem. So I start pricing it to be fixed by a real mechanic! *insert throwing up sounds here!*

The going rate was approximately 600.00, and that's if NO other bolts break off in the process!! WHAT!?!?!? SERIOUSLY?!?!? I'd have to sell the wife and cat to be able to come with that kind of money right now!

So, after much inner debate, I decide that I HAVE to get this done myself. Not sure how, but if we want to be able to drive the truck, it's gonna be in my hands to fix it.

So, I start taking out the rest of the bolts in the manifold. One by one they come out without breaking off, and I am thinking---THANK YOU JESUS!
Then, I get to the last one (it's always the last one, right?) and it won't loosen. So get a half inch drive socket and wrench and get to it! Nope, nada---it's not moving! So, I get a few more extensions and a swivel and hook 'er up to the 'ol impact wrench! This was NOT easy, lemme tell ya. But at this point, I'm fixin to fix it's little red wagon! Won't even budge! You gotta be kidding me!!

So, I grab the 1/2 inch impact---750 POUNDS OF RAW THUMPING POWER!!! I get the right extensions and swivel, get myself back into my little cubby hole in the fender, and let 'er rip! After a few mighty blows from the BIG impact she breaks loose! AH HA!!! Mess with me Mr bolt, and you get the horns! So I smile to myself and remove the impact so I can spin her the rest of the way out.

Uhhhh, no. The bolt head rounded off!

So, after crawling out of my cubby hole and contemplating that trip to the highway again, I gather myself and start thinking about how I am going to get that stiinkin bolt out.

I go and grab some visegrips---no go. I grab bigger visegrips---no go. I grab a special socket with the pins in it that recess to form around the bolt---no go, AND the socket breaks. Piece of junk! I go to the parts store to get whatever magic tool they sell to get these bolts out. I buy a special socket that is fluted in reverse to grab the head---no go. I've already damaged the head too much, not enough meat left. Uggh...

So, I grab the trusty dermel with a cutting wheel! I'll teach it a lesson here with this! So I start cutting a groove for the screwdriver I'm gonna use to get it out! Take that!
About and hour and two cutting wheels later, I am ready for the screwdriver. Gotta have a short one though. This should work!---uhhh, no. I grab some channelocks to get a grip on the pliers, that should do it!---uhhh, no.

So, I find a short bit and the right socket to put on the ratchet and prepare for victory!---uhhh, no, twisted the bit. I grab another higher quality bit!---Uhhh, no, broke the bit! So I dremel out the slot and come back at it with a bit from an impact driver!!! Muwahahaha!---uh no...won't fit the groove far enough. So I grab the short Craftsman screwdriver and pliers again!--uh, no, broke the screwdriver tip! See ya the next time I am town, Sears.

After about 3 hours of climbing in and out of my cubby hole, I am starting to get a little testy! I again contemplate the bomb for the dealership and the trip to the highway for a nap. But I gather myself and realize that I am gonna have to just grind the head of the bolt off and pull the manifold over it and then try and get the stud out. UGHH!

After another hour and half, three sanding drums and two broken dremel bits, the head is gone and the manifold is off!!
Once the head was gone, thank the good Lord that the rest of the bolt turned out with my fingers. WOO HOOO!

At this point, I am hoping that I can just get some new bolts and gaskets and put it back together and have it seal good enough to pass inspection. So I put it back together missing the one bolt. I move some things, grab the keys and give it a whirl---uhhh, no, still leaking terribly!

This time, I sit on my bucket in disbelief. Head in hands, just wanting a bottle warm milk and my blankie!

After many hours hanging out in a place where my armpits were nearly touching each other, where I barely had enough room to change my mind. After a day of piling up tools in the tool graveyard (rest in peace), severely wounding my dremel beyond repair, several bloody knuckles and mosquito bites, and terrible thoughts towards other humans-----failure was STILL straring me in the face---LAUGHING!!!! UNCONTROLLABLY!

So, I went BACK to the auto parts store to get a helicoil kit (another 40 bucks) and naturally, that was only one of two sizes they didn't have in stock!...lol. Wow, SHOCKER!

So tomorrow, I'll make my 8th trip back to the parts store and purchase what I am hoping is saving grace in a box! If not, the head will have to come off and be redrilled and tapped for a new size bolt---IF there is enough meat on the head to that. IF NOT, then it's a new head! When do I pass 'go' and get more money??!?!

That's my last few days in a nutshell---well, actually a fenderwell.

So why do I tell this story you ask? And what does this have to do with the RFC forum???

Well, I'll tell ya. For one----there is NO knuckle dents in my truck. What, you say? Why does that matter? Well, if you had known me years ago, you would've known that I was a decent mechanic, but not much of a body man! I couldn't work on things like this without having to have body work done on the fenders when I was done because of all the knuckle dents. Not good, huh?

But praise be to God that I didn't get mad even one time during all this. Frustrated? YES! Muttering? YES! Mad? NO! AS bad as it has been, it has been a real opportunity to praise God for His help in controlling me!

I am also grateful that I have the tools (most of them) to be able to even do the job. The Lord blessed me with the money in the past to buy some really good tools, and they sure came in handy the last couple of days. While it has been very testing, having the right tools to do the job is a REAL blessing! THANK YOU, LORD!

I am also grateful that this has come at a time in my life when I have the extra time to devote to it. While it has been frustrating, to say the least, it would've been much more frustrating to be under a time crunch to get it done! Thank you again, Lord!

So, the moral of the story is---God is growing me up. He helps me even in these situations when I could go back to my old ways. His provisions are there for us, even in frustrating times.

Hope you enjoyed my story---but I can't help but kinda wish it were just a fairytale...lol.

He is SO awesome!

Brad

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Old 10-23-2010, 10:32 AM
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so are we having fun today? Don't feel like a lone warrior w/your truck. I have a similiar story w/our brand new Malibu. "And did I learn "patience?" I can say for certain to never,ever, ever pray for "patience" (which will as on now be referred to as the "P" word) for if you do be prepared for an onslaught of "challenges." Yeah that's funny but this time is was no joke.
Be thankful the Lord gave you the gifts,talents, and a means to fix your truck amen. I've been through all the cylinder head stuff as I must've built thousands so my heart goes out to you.
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Old 10-23-2010, 11:51 AM
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God Bless you Brad~!

Where in Missouri are you, my parents live in Boonville.
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Old 10-24-2010, 03:53 PM
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Well...saturday was quite the day again...lol. I spent the majority of the day working on the truck...AGAIN!

First off, they ordered the wrong helicoil kit. Fortunately, they had the right one in stock so I could continue (wish I coulda just got it the day before!), but I quickly learned that getting the hole drilled out so it could be tapped to put in the helicoil, was going to be brutal!

There was barely enough room to blink both my eyes at the same time up in there, so there was NO way I was getting any kind of drill up in there to drill it out. So, I had to put vise grips on the drill bit and hand drill it out! UGGGHHH!!! You can only imagine how many hours this took! Not to mention trying to keep it perfectly straight! I also had to unbolt all of the steering linkage that was nicely rusted on...lol.

Then, I had to do the same with the tap. More hours of being in my little cubbyhole...lol. I was feeling like a peanut inside an M&M!

Once that was done (about 6 hours, and 4 more trips to the parts store later), I put the helicoil in and started reassembling the manifold. All while saying MANY little prayers along the way.

You want the good news, or the bad news? The bad news is---once I almost had it back together, I quickly realized that the other hole right below the one I had just fixed was stripped out too!!! Those boneheads had ruined them both!!!!

But, I said the heck with it, I'll put it back toether like it is and see if it will hold now that I can REALLY sinch this one I repaired, up.

By the GRACE OF GOD it worked!!! NO MORE EXHAUST LEAK! Thank you Lord!!!!

After driving it quite a while, it appears as though the one hole being stripped isn't going ot affect it, and when I have some more cash I'll dig back in and get it fixed too. But for now, it should pass the inspection so we can continue to drive it! Wooo Hooo!

Once again, The Lord helped me get through a VERY frustrating day saturday without losing my temper! HE is SOOO awesome!!!


Tim---I am in Chillicothe. Small world, huh?

God bless you, too!
Brad
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:54 PM
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The truck passed the inspection this morning...THANK YOU LORD!

Gaskets and helicoil kit?---65.00
Hours spent working on it?---17
The satisfaction of accomplishing something yourself, and knowing that the Lord was with you every step of the way??---PRICELESS!!


Brad
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Old 10-30-2010, 11:07 PM
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Wow what a story its one off the best I have heard in a long time. Thanx
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by superblackfoot View Post
Wow what a story its one off the best I have heard in a long time. Thanx

Thank you, Sir!

It was definitely frustrating, but I guess if we didn't have those times, we would never see the hand of God helping us through.
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