06 October 2008


Subtitle: "Step 7 Fabricate Tool"

Ok, By choice I drive old cars. They are cheap to buy, cheap to register and cheap to insure. The downside however is that they need more repairs than newer cars. But since I can handle nearly all of these repairs, it's a net gain to me which preserves hard earned $$$ for more interesting uses like flying and shooting.

Most of these jobs are not too terrible for someone with a modicum of mechanical skill. A water pump change on my old car (1977 280Z) was a 20 minute job. On my Truck it's an 18 hour job. I wasn't sure where the job on the "new car" would fall. Reading the manual all was well until it said "remove timing covers (Section 2A)". Referring to section 2A it says "Remove crankshaft pulley". Then step seven says "Fabricate tool".

There isn't room for the impact wrench, but the crankshaft pulley is slotted which allows for hooking a lever. That and a breaker bar might do it. Look around the garage. Hmmm.. this handle from an old floor jack looks like a good starting point (Once again vindication for a packrat). If I can run a few bolts through this to fit into the slots... Hmmm might work. Take a few measurements, diameter of the slots, width of the handle, include room for a bolt.. 1/4" x 1 1/2" should do it. It's late but Home Depot is still open. Yep this should work, .13 each. Wait.... Grade 8 bolts would be stronger. $0.48 for the pair.

Drill the holes, run the bolts and give it a try...

FAIL! One of the grade 8 bolts has sheared. I think the problem is the bending moment. Tomorrow I'll cut down the bolts (after I buy new ones) and give that a try.

Now I fault Mazda for making removal of the crankshaft pulley a requirement to change the water pump. But I fault both Mazda and Haynes for simply saying "Fabricate tool" without any guidance on how to do so. In the past, manuals have been known to say "Use special tool xyz123 to remove..." but at least they'd show a picture of "special tool xyz123" so as to give you an idea of how it was to work.

No such help here...

Update: Second time is a charm. Back to Home Depot today for more grade 8 bolts. This time shorten the length to move the stress more to shear and less to bending. Prop the lever against the frame and pull on the breaker bar. Success!

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