Call in the Cavalry · 6 August 2016

Photo courtesy Matthew

We all like to think of ourselves as independent. But sometimes you just need to call in the cavalry. Or at least I do.

I have been working on a project for about three years and have not been able to complete it. Actually, that is not exactly true. I broke my truck three years ago. I thought I could run it with no cooling fluid. I did manage to get the truck home and put it into the garage after I broke it. My plan was to fix it when I had the time. Which is what I did. Or at least tried to do.

When that school year was over, I took the truck apart and put it back together. That was two years ago. I worked on it all summer. I found out the reason it lost fluid was because the head was warped. Like mine. Then, a friend said I should change the timing chain since I had to have the head off anyway. So I had to take off the oil pan and essentially take the whole engine apart to do it right. I did all the fixes and put it back together.

But the fix I made was not all that I needed to do. When I started the truck up, there was cooling fluid in the oil. Some call the mixture chocolate milk. Frothy and gross. Needless to say, I was disappointed. My friend had told me I ought to trust that I did everything right (it did start after all), and think deeper about what could have caused the leak.

As I thought, I remembered that the timing chain cover had a couple grooves in it from the timing chain. They had to be the culprit. So I had to take the engine apart again. I figured it would be easy to change out the timing chain cover since I had done it before. Unfortunately, I could not get one certain bolt undone. The bolt that goes into the drive shaft and holds on a couple pulleys would not come off. I tried and tried and tried. I did everything all my mechanical friends said I should try. A mechanic neighbor even brought over his impact wrench and large compressor. But nothing worked.

So the truck sat. And sat. And sat.

Every once in a while I would try to crank on the bolt. No luck. It was stuck, but good.

Well, to make a short story a little longer, I let the truck sit for quite a while. My wife, The Mindboggling (and patient) Mrs. Miyoshi, was getting tired of having half a garage filled with a worthless truck. She was tired of not being able to have access to that half of the garage either. Frankly, so was I. But for some reason, I thought I could still fix the beast.

I had finally given up after cranking on the bolt with a long breaker bar over and over and over. It was not going to come off. The truck had defeated me.

It is funny, but my wife was the one who asked me if I was really ready to give up on the truck. She knew I was sentimental about it. After all, we went on our first date because I would not lend her that very truck. She tried to reassure me that it was okay to fail once in a while and that the truck was just a thing after all. So I was ready to get rid of it.

Photo courtesy Miles

But I could not get rid of it to just anybody.

I decided that if I was going to get rid of my truck, I would need to get it to somebody who would fix it up and give it a nice home. After all, it has been with me for over twenty years. Even if three of them have been just sitting. So I sent a message to a friend and former student. I knew he and his buddy fixed up cars and sold them. Or at least used to. I asked if they would like first dibs on the truck. Instead of just jumping on the deal, they said they would like to try and help get the bolt off.

I was flabbergasted by the offer. I really had given up and was ready for somebody to take the truck away. Hopefully for resurrection. Just not by me. Instead, my friends gave me hope. It ended up that instead of calling the undertaker, I had called the cavalry.

The nice thing about the cavalry is that they have big guns. And my friends brought the biggest. Where most people’s impact wrenches look like small arms, their impact wrench looked like a bazooka. We, meaning they, had to do some other prep work, but when all was said and done, they got the bolt off. They told me that they probably used about 2000 ft.-lbs. of torque, which is almost double what my neighbor was able to bring with his normal impact wrench. At any rate, the cavalry got the troublesome bolt off.

Of course, now the real work begins. It should not be too difficult. After all, I have done it before. But it is nice knowing that I have friends to call on. For help or advice. And I know that if I ever need the big guns again, I can always call the cavalry. Thanks Miles and Matthew. Charge!

© 2016 Michael T. Miyoshi

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