I’m Not A Shadetree Mechanic But….

If you were to ask any of my neighbors who is the guy on our street who is most likely to be found, in his driveway, changing his own oil, lubing the outdrive on his boat or doing a complete brake job on his truck, they would all point at me. I do not necessarily take any insane pleasure out of doing these things myself. I just can’t stand paying someone else to do something that I know I can do quite easily (or maybe not so quite easily) myself.

Early on, it was really born out of necessity as I was putting myself through school and my ’79 Monte Carlo was your typical late 70’s GM bucket of bolts that I was lucky to keep running until after I graduated from college. Back then, I actually took pleasure in being able to work all day on a car project to replace ball joints, tie rod ends or to re-build my 4 barrel carburetor.  I was learning. I’m sure that a few of you reading had the same experience.

These days, I view automotive maintenance as more of a challenge. If I can get my 8 year old Camry over the 200,000 mile mark, I will consider that to be an achievement well worth pursuing with the benefit of not having a car payment for as long as I can manage. I’m hoping to shoot for 300,000 miles. Keeping my fingers crossed on that one. I could probably afford a car payment, but I just don’t WANT to.

The other day, my Camry needed a rear wheel bearing / hub assembly on the passenger side replaced. I had already changed the oil and filters.  I was only going to do some exploratory “surgery” to see what I was getting myself into for “next weekend”. Next thing I know, I’ve got that corner of the car torn down to where the backing plate and wheel hub fall off.

Needless to say, I had a good deal of difficulty separating the hub and the backing plate due to rust, lots of it.  This is the point in a project that I always seem to forget about; dealing with rusty bolts, nuts, seized up brake lines and bearings that always leave me wondering, what I have gotten myself into. I was at that point of no return. You know that point where you have to essentially break or destroy something to get it apart and hope that a replacement is available at the local auto parts store?

The next day, I was able to get what I needed and put the rear wheel assembly back together.  During this process, I ended up bleeding the rear brakes, cleaning the drums and adjusted the rear brakes so they were once again a useful part of the braking system.  This was a task that I was not intending to make part of this project but I’m now glad that I did. And the sense of confidence that I know for a fact that I’m riding on a job well done, really helps to reinforce the fact that the money that I did spend for the parts was well spent. Not just handing over five hundred bucks to a tire shop to do it for me and not really be sure if they did everything that I asked.

What does this have to do with a blog page about compressed air issues?  The fact of the matter is that many of you who we speak to and e-mail with on a daily basis are Do-It-Yourselfers. Many of you have the same attitudes toward problems, solving them and working toward a solution as we do. When it comes to problems in the realm of compressed air systems and energy savings, you don’t have to go it alone. We are here to assist you with trouble-shooting expertise, advice and the best products available to help you solve your industrial processing problems.

Neal Raker
Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com

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