August 28, 2006

And so--

Up Saturday, put on clothes, go downstairs, go outside, see that no one has dared touch my precious rear wheelless heap, survey what must be done during the day.

Set in to work.

Finish getting rear calipers bolted on, install new pads, put wheels back on, remove jackstands, lower car. It all sounds so very easy--and when you get right down to it, each of the individual tasks IS easy. However, when you have all of them to do in sequence, and you keep having to interrupt the flow of work when you realize you left your 14mm wrench on the other side of the car, and you have to get up and go around and get it and then come back and then you realize you also need your hammer and you have to go get that, well, all of that combined gets to be somewhat fatiguing.

I need a monkey.

Nice little beast to go get me stuff that I forget. Of course, monkeys tend to poop on things. And I don't know how you'd train one to get you a pair of slip joint pliers instead of a pair of wire pliers. And they'd be screeching and chittering when they weren't doing something. And they'd probably want to lick up antifreeze. Maybe I just need an assistant. Boy would do, except he isn't at the age where cars are interesting. None of the girls want to help, except for Rebecca, and then only for about five minutes. They will get me ice water, though, which is nice.

Maybe I need a robot. Who looks like Catherine Zeta Jones.

Nah, then I'd never get anything done. Unless--unless I program the robot to do car repair! Hmmm. I think I might be on to something...

Either that, or I have breathed too many petroleum distillates.

ANYway--back on with the wheels, and lower it down, and move on to the fronts.

Jack up one side, jackstand, jack up other side, jackstand, wheels off, pads out, calipers off, rotors off, rotors on, calipers on, pads in. It sounds so simple in retrospect, but all of the grunting and hammering and torquing and sweating and getting up to go get stuff I forgot wore me out.

As for the front rotors, they were worn slap out, too. They'd gotten a goodly amount of warp in them, so the pedal vibrated violently every time I put on the brakes hard, and they were 2mm too thin as well. Apparently all four rotors were the original ones, so I guess that's pretty good for 225,000 miles.

So, I had everything put back together by about 12:30 or so--EXCEPT. Seems that a while back I had bought some lower braces from an old GT model for the subframe (makes the structure a bit stiffer), and I had not gotten a chance to put them on. But, here it was, all jacked up with no wheels. If I was going to put them on, this was the time.

Obviously, however, they can't go on easily.

And by now, I was feeling woozy. 90 degrees, humidity like breathing though a wet blanket, no breakfast, and lots of exertion.

Anywho--the braces are simple thick bars with flattened ends and bolt holes. There is already one set of holes in the frame on the front side, but the rear mount holes have to be drilled. Which is difficult under the best of circumstances, but much harder when you find you haven't got the car jack up quite high enough, and the stuff you're drilling into is so hard you can barely even dent it with a center punch, and when you DO get the drill started, little hot shards of metal shavings rain down onto your arm, and then later lodge themselves in your scalp. Luckily, after cooling down.

But, despite the travails, I did manage to get two holes drilled in the appropriate spots underneath the car. Then, there was the bolting on. Which was made difficult by the lack of access. I wound up removing the bones from three of my fingers so they could wiggle into the space so I could hold a wrench on the top and bottom of the nut-bolt combo, but by gum, I did get those silly things installed. Even better is the fact that I actually CAN feel a slight difference in the ride and handling!

Or maybe it's just wishful thinking of a highly delusional variety.

Or maybe I'm just a moron.

No matter which, the wheels were reinstalled, the jackstands removed, the tools put away, and it was time to go test the brakes and make sure I didn't kill myself.

OH! And I installed my cupholder!

Off down to the foot of the hill. Soft, slow. Easy--not too hard--don't want to glaze them over!


Not a squeal, not a squeak, not a groan, not a grind, not a wobble, not a wiggle.

Volvos are notorious for loud squeaky brakes, and yet, despite everything, I had managed to get everything stuck back together and lubed just right so that I was spared that distress. ::shakes fist at Murphy::

I drove up to Target and turned around, then figured I would go back to Winn-Dixie and treat myself to a can of Coke, which I would put in my brand new cupholder. Got there, pulled up to the curb, hopped out with my crisp dollar bill, stuck it in the machine and it spit it back out. Five times. ::Murphy smiles:: I did have a quarter in the car, so I went back and got it and bought a cheapo Diet Chek, which is just as good as a Diet Coke.

Cupholder works just fine.

On back to home, feeling quite satisfied, but still, there was one thing left to do.


My pretty little shiny trim rings were dirty, and most especially the one on the rear where the pad had worn away. The dust that came off was full of iron shavings, which had coated the trim ring with a fine layer of rusty stuff. Can't have that.

SO, as I teetered on the brink of passing out from fatigue and heat and foodlessness, I got the tires and wheels all sparkly again. Finally got completely done around 3.

Then it was time to get ready to go TO THE MOVIES!!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at August 28, 2006 10:34 AM

The next time my car needs a brake job, can I bring it to you?

I'll even bake a cake.

Posted by: Sarah G. at August 28, 2006 12:02 PM

Of course! But just remember to also bring along a monkey or a robot or something too, so it won't take so long.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at August 28, 2006 12:27 PM

Diet Chek - the victory drink of mechanics everywhere! It cuts the old oil and flaked-off rust taste one tends to get from overhauling old vehicles.

And you don't know - Sarah G. could resemble Ms. CZJones so she would not need to bring the monkey or robot.

Posted by: Marc V at August 28, 2006 01:59 PM

And to make it even better, Sarah's not one of those to be carrying around vials of blood around her neck or displaying lots of body ink.

That we know of...

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at August 28, 2006 02:04 PM

How about I bring a cake, cold drinks and I have my boys fetch tools/entertain the neighborhood.

Posted by: Sarah G. at August 28, 2006 02:06 PM

As long as there is no poop-flinging or lice-picking, it sounds fine by me.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at August 28, 2006 02:21 PM

No tattoos here, just the bumps and bruises from living with four kids and three dogs.

Posted by: Sarah G. at August 28, 2006 10:33 PM