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Repair horror stories

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Everyone has at least one, whether it is from the time when you were still learning to work on cars, or, things that slipped your mind, the "simple" things, that veterans sometimes overlook, that can cause that dreaded "duh" moment. I have a couple i would like to share, the first being, not something i did, but, that someone else did, that i heard about yesterday. I am redoing the engine in my 1994 Dakota, and took the heads to have them hot tanked at a local shop, that my family has dealt with for years. While i was there, i was talking to one of the guys, who told me that someone had brought in a set of heads to have checked, and were warped as much as .24 thousands, and spec on the heads was .07 thousandths, so, just being curious, i asked what would cause that much warpage, figuring, at worst, severe overheating, and, he said he was gonna ask the owner when he came to pick them up. Well, fast forward to today, i go to pick up my heads, and happened to ask if they found out how the other heads had gotten so warped, the guy looks at me with an odd look on his face, and bursts out laughing. The owner then proceeds to tell me, the guy who owned the heads tried to clean them with a variety of methods, including, a scotch brite pad, a plastic scraper, Roloc discs, soaking them overnight in hot water and dish detergent, and when all that failed to produce a mirror finish, he went at them with a 4 1/2 inch angle grinder until they shined, then, to clean up the scratches, he used different gits of sanding paper, until they were shiny and spotless. Needless to say, the heads weren't able to be ground down flat, because it would have removed too much material. One of my own personal stories doesn't involve a truck, but, instead a Subaru, but, it taught me the value of not ever rushing, no matter how many times you may have done something before. A common issue with the 1994 to 2002 Subaru's, is the clutches in the "transfer case", or, the more correct term, extension housing, wear out, and will cause the car to, for lack of a better description, hop, when turning a corner. The reason is, torque bind due to clutches in the housing wearing out. To replace these clutches, which are in a drum in a housing in the back of the transmission, you have to take off the housing on the rear of the transmission, remove a clip in the drum, and then swap out the 6 clutch disks, that have a steel spacer between each clutch, then, put the clip back in that holds the clutches into the drum. When you put that drum back onto the back of the transmission, the teeth on the clutches have to be in a straight line, or, the drum wont seat properly. Well, i was replacing the clutches in a 1998 Legacy, got in a hurry, didn't make sure the clutches were lined up, then, proceeded to put the rear housing back on, and, cracked the housing in 4 places trying to use the bolts to draw it in. I found out then, most salvage yards wont sell just the housing, and, from Subaru, it is almost $400, so, in not being patient, i ended up with a very costly mistake.

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  • 1 month later...

I had to add a new one to this, since, i cant seem to learn this one, even after all these years. I had to pressurize a cooling system, to check for leaks, and, when i was done, i forget to let the pressure off, before i removed the tester. I pulled the tester off, and, since the system was still under pressure, antifreeze shot at least 10 feet in the air, and, looked like a waterfall, and, in turn, covered me, the car, and pretty much everything around it. It was extremely fun cleaning up the mess, and, antifreeze tastes nasty, and iy is hard to get rid of the taste, as well.

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