Those 1 hours repairs that go wrong.

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Jun 3, 2002
Kestas, I DID put neversieze on the bolts.....with some more comments from the onlookers... you're being much more careful than a garage.....taking too long. Steel bolts in aluminum - yikes. With the salt in Michigan, long term ownership of a vehicle results in many problems other than the well lubed engine.
Usually my problem is that I can't find the tool to do the job. Or I somehow loose the bolt. [Duh!] -T
My wife KNOWS that usually happens when I haven't fully assesed the issue before starting. Small noise under car? Exhaust pipe completely broken.... Slight idle adjust? Jammed and stripped lock nut.... etc......
Funny you should start this thread! I am just now recovering from trying to get three universal joints and a carrier bearing changed on my Dakota yesterday. I started around 5:30 or so and figured it would take a few hours for sure. Unfortunately, the joints were the original ones from '94 and they were all well rusted into the yolks. I didn't really have the proper tools to do the job efficiently (just a hammer, screwdriver, and large bolt for punching out the cups -- which is what I've used before), so that didn't help! I ended up finishing up around 12:30 in the morning (after I cleaned up the tools and put them away)! I was almost to the point of bringing everything to a garage and trying to see if they could press them out and the new ones in, but I couldn't because I had the driveshaft out! [Duh!] The funny thing is that I had a vibration for a while that I could put up with. I figured one of the joints were getting bad, but didn't worry about it at the time. Then recently, I've been hearing more of a rattle-n-bang noise that was making me more concerned, which is why I decided to change the joints. Now, the original vibration is gone, but the rattle-n-bang noise is still there! [I dont know] I will have to crawl under again to see what is loose under there (might be doing that today -- at least it is sunny here today)!
According to Hoffstadter's law a job will take three times as long as you thought it would take, even if your first estimate took into consideration Hoffstadter's law.
I believe this one falls under your category: I was changing the tranny fluid/filter on my 2003 Sentra. While removing the last bolt holding the filter cartridge onto the valve body, I realize the last bolt is unlike any of the others. In fact a nut came down from the upper end of the valve body (where I couldn't possible get my hand up there to replace it). I had to get it towed to a local tranny shop. After my car gets to the tranny shop (well-known, national company - but independent) they go bankrupt. I lost the $125 that I spent to get it towed to this business. I had it towed to another tranny place (Aamco), costing me another $100. They state that the bolt was installed incorrectly at the factory. They said the nut should have been on the bottom side of the valve body to allow easy removal of the tranny filter. They charged me $500 to drop the valve body of the transmission and correctly install the bolt. Nissan Corporation would not reimburse me for any charges because I didn't tow it to a Nissan dealership (closest is 50 miles away) even though I have the receipt stating it was installed incorrectly. I called the Nissan dealership but they wouldn't be able to look at if for a couple weeks...they were that backed up. I couldn't wait that long. But hey, I got a tranny fluid/filter change for $725! Drank a beer or two that weekend. Even if my Nissan lasts to 400K miles, I don't know if I will buy another one just because of this experience. [ May 18, 2005, 03:56 PM: Message edited by: ryansride2017 ]
ryansride2017, You have some real stability to admit what a story! Not that it was your fault but many folks would have the Japanese president of Nissan trying to eat their car. I would have at least mailed him a pipe bomb. Thanks for sharing, Paco
I think it took me 20 hours to change an exhaust manifold gasket on my '87 E-150. The lowest moment in that ordeal was when a co-worker turned up and saw me hammering in the last exhaust manifold bolt because I didn't have a manifold spreader! Amazingly, Ford didn't even use an exhaust manifold gasket at all but the new gasket was a combination intake/exhaust gasket. Well, I had the engine completely unattached to the van so I decided to pull the oilpan and change that gasket too. Then I did the front crank seal. It's been 3 years since I did gaskets and I'm scared to death to try and R/R the tranny intake tube that I caused to leak. Steve
Back in 2000 I decided to tune up my 1947 Ford 2N tractor. Pulled it into the shop for what should have been a couple hours, and 4 months later pulled it back out with an overhauled engine, rebuilt hydraulics and a fresh coat of paint. I'm still not sure how I got from a tune up to a rebuild... [I dont know]
Originally posted by doitmyself: All was well, until one of the pan bolts snapped off during removal. How impossible is that?
Well, you see - if that happened to me, the whole transmission would have wound up in the drive-way. You did good.
I learned a long time ago to not put a time limit on a job. Something ALWAYS happens. I do remember one time, at an oil change place I worked at. I did office stuff mainly, but in a pinch I could do anything. This time it was 5 minutes to close, and we had a policy of accepting customers until close. Woman pulls in, wants an oil change and "Please check everything out, I'm making a 300 mile trip." I was not the typical, "lets see how much we can sell" kind of person you find in many of those places, but her belt was about to let go, I mean, there were chunks coming off. I show her, and she asks that we change it. As I'm pulling the tensioner lose from the belt, "SPRANG," it goes flying in all directions. It's now 15 minutes after close and, of course, we don't stock tensioners. Nearest parts store is 30 minutes away and does not deliver after 5... Almost an hour and a half later, we left...
My favorite recent 'fickle finger of fate thump on the back of the head' was adding some power steering fluid; Take the lid off of the pump, see that I need a bit of fluid, get the fluid, and when I take the cap off of the bottle of steering fluid the foil liner in the cap flutters down, down, down, into the pump. I couldn't get it out and eventually ended up taking the pump apart.
Thank you gentlemen!!! I feel much better now. You gave me some good laughs - especially the $725 dollar transmission fluid change. Talking to professional people in the trades, I know that this stuff happens to everyone, especially on older equipment. The difference is, they are experienced enough (usually) to know how to fix it good enough to hold (often jury-rigged and not 100% technically correct). Now, it's on to new plugs, coolant change, fuel filter, and a tie rod end. How hard could it be???
Last night, at about 1 am, I finished my tranny fluid change on my son's new '99 escort. I started at 4 pm, expecting to finish by 6pm. All was well, until one of the pan bolts snapped off during removal. How impossible is that? All others came off like butter. Long story short, a mechanic friend calmed me down and helped me get it out. My wife and son are almost talking to me again, and I have recovered from my visit with Jack Daniels. PLEASE, tell me some of your stories to make me feel better. Thanks
I went to change the fuel filter on my girlfriend's Escort ZX2. It should of been a 15-min job. Then the plastic connector on the end of the fuel line broke. It was one of those parts where the car was 'built around it'. I spent the next six hours of heavy labor fiddling with the fuel line under the vehicle, trying to fix the connector so it'll safely hold fuel pressure. I hope you put neversieze on those bolts. I had five stripped on my Chrysler A604 (bought used).
I have WAY too many of those to list. Seems like everything I try takes 10x longer than it should, and no matter how well I prepare, study up on the job, etc., something always gets in my way. Makes me feel more and more like NOT working on the car myself and taking it to the dealer. its just not worth the frustration a lot of the time. JMH
I too had a similar experience. I was topping up my ATF using a plastic funnel on the ATF dipstick tube. While trying to adjust the funnel, the tip of the funnel broke off and dropped into the tube. Attempts to fish it out using a straightened wire coat hanger seem to have caused it to go deeper into the innards of the transmission to the point where I can fully insert the dipstick without feeling any obstruction. I had the car towed to a workshop, thankfully the plastic piece was found lodged at the inner end of the dipstick tube and I did not have to drop the tranny.
I spent a week laying in the snow trying to figure out why I couldn't get my transmission to let go of the motor in a grand am so I could change the clutch. Turned out it was a single hidden bolt holding the sheet metal shield that kept trash out of the clutch/pp/flywheel. I felt like a fool.
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