Friday, March 25, 2011

Ahhhh yesss.......

More fun with automobiles. Yesterday the UPS guy delivered all new steering components for the Jeep so I decided to tackle that job. Everything was moving along splendidly. There is a tube that is threaded on each end and into each end threads a tie rod. In an effort to save about 40 bucks I decided to not order said tube. That was a mistake. I bet it took me 2 hours of cursing and torching to get those ends off that tube. After that, it all went back on the Jeep quickly. The last step was to connect the trackbar at the axle. It's held on with one bolt.

This is kind of hard to describe but, the area around this nut is completely boxed in. It's kind of like that game we all had as toddlers where there was a sphere shaped thing with all kinds of different holes punched in it (stars, squares, triangles, etc.) and you had to put the different shapes through their appropriate hole. It's darn near impossible to get a wrench in the few access holes to this nut. Jeeps solution to this was to use what they call a flag bolt. This is a nut that is tack welded to a thin strip of metal. Once you get it in place and start tightening things, that strip of metal hits the axle tube and keeps the nut from spinning and lets things tighten up. Well...I broke all of the welds on that nut before it was even close to being tight enough. So now I'm laying in my garage staring at this mess trying to figure out how in the world I was going to get that nut off.

After several hours of trying different things I actually began to get mad. It would have been very easy to just cut out a big enough section in that box so I could get a wrench in there but that would weaken that area. To make things worse, a 15mm wrench was too big and a 14mm was too small. And yes, even though it is an American car, they did use a 15mm nut/bolt for that area. So in the end, this is what I came up with. I took a crappy 14mm wrench and went at it with a grinder. It was easier to get in with the open end of the wrench and I knew that nut wasn't that tight yet. Once I got it to where the wrench fit inside, then I carefully hand filed the opening of the wrench until it would fit snugly on that nut. This nut was more like a 14.5mm. Eventually it fit tightly and I got it out. I ended up replacing the nut with a standard one in 17mm size which was just easier for me to get in (I know that sounds weird that a bigger nut was actually easier to deal with in that tight space so just believe me). Here's the wrench after some modification.

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