Monday, October 24, 2011


I had a thought over the weekend. Even though I'm tattooed myself, and ought to know that it didn't change me at all beyond making my arm slightly more interesting to look at, I still find myself pre-judging people with facial tattoos. Not that I ever really meet anyone with them, but it's something I should do less of. For those of you following me on Twitter, that was my thought that was too big for a tweet.

It was driven from my head over the weekend by an annoyance: one of my tyres picked up a screw. This was distinctly unhappy-making, since it could have proven expensive. Those tyres only have about 6500 miles on them. Fortunately, I'd sprung for the road hazard coverage, but that would merely have reduced the cost. I got lucky, though; it was a short screw, and didn't penetrate the tyre. However, having noticed it yesterday, my reaction was to give the LA a chance to observe as I swapped the wheel for the spare. Fortunately, I use a full-sized spare, rather than a donut spare, so I had no qualms about doing the swap. I was reminded while doing so that my car's passenger-side jacking points are what's technically known as "bollocksed", insofar as the provided jack can't latch onto them as it should. The LA noted my frustration, and when I explained that I could procure a 4000lb-capacity floor jack for the price of the big fuck-off set of mole grips and the unmolested jack that the alternative plan of un-bending the bent parts required, and for significantly less hassle than going to a pick-and-pull and finding the replacement jack, she approved the purchase. So, now I have a floor jack and a couple of chocks (since they're nicer to the garage floor than the bricks I had been using to chock the wheels) and, since I'd already had to perform step 1 of a tyre rotation (swap a random wheel with the spare), I decided to continue with the rest of the steps once I'd had the tyre repaired. As previously noted, that turned out unnecessary, but I pressed on with the rotation anyway. The right rear tyre I'd removed went over to the right front, the right front it replaced went to the left rear, which moved to left front, and so on until all four tyres were in their new spots, my torque wrench had been given its longest workout yet of torquing 20 nuts to 65 foot pounds each, and I was positively yearning for an impact wrench to break the blasted nuts and spin them off. As it was, I was using a spider-type wheelbrace, which had just enough leverage to take the nuts off. An impact wrench would have been quicker, but there's no doubt whatsoever that the greatest contribution to the ease of doing the job (and it was MUCH easier this time than it had been swapping to the alloy wheels in the first place) was the ability to use a good jack. Yes, I technically did have all the tools I needed last time around, but having the tools you WANT makes a heck of a difference.

I should start maintaining a "tools wishlist". Right now, an impact wrench of some description is at the top of the list, along with suitable sockets and a set of torque sticks. I made this job easier by getting a set of 1/2" drive extensions, which are impact-rated since that's what Harbor Fright had on special. Moving the torque wrench outboard by roughly 3 inches meant it was no longer fouling the bodywork, so I could get a clean reading on it. I got the beam type since that's a low-maintenance tool; so long as I store it correctly, in the original packaging, it's not got anything to go out of adjustment. The click-type torque wrenches are a lot more finicky, and I just don't want the hassle.

Of course, this does mean that I'm now feeling the hurt, since I spent the morning doing physical labour, but it's still an honest job that I can be proud of.

No comments:

Post a Comment

After some particularly vile spam showed up, I have disabled the ability to comment as a nonny-mouse.