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If You Don’t Have Time To Do It Right The First Time…

April 11, 2018

If you don’t have the time to do it right the first time when will you have time to do it over?

The next day, of course

I think I’m ready to talk about it. (Yesterday I stated: I Don’t Want To Talk About It)

Yes, I spent most of the yesterday working on my car replacing the water pump. (WordPress is having an issue uploading pictures, or I’d show you the installed pump.) Of course, I could also show you the puddle, like some puppy not yet housebroken, that the car left on my driveway.

Yep, after working on the water pump most of the day, I did it wrong!Coolant poured out of my car like a fountain. There was no way that I was going to be able to drive more than a couple of miles before the engine would be dry and hot.

So, today was another car day. But, today wasn’t like yesterday. In fact, I didn’t even start work on the car until 6:00pm. It gets dark around 7:30. I had plenty of time.

Yesterday was all about learning. Today was about executing. Do you know the steps to replace a water pump in a 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix with a six cylinder engine?

I do.

  1. Remove the coolant reservoir
  2. Loosen the bolts on the Water Pump pulley (important to do before you remove the serpentine belt, or you’ll never get the leverage to loosen them.
  3. Remove the serpentine belt. (Press the tensioner pulley <i>toward</i> the car to release tension
  4. Unbolt the power steering pump to expose the “hidden” water pump bolt
  5. Remove the water pump pulley
  6. Remove the 8 bolts that secure the water pump. Four of them are 13mm, the other four are 3/8″ (why they are the only standard sized bolts on the car, I never did learn)
  7. Pull off the water pump

Assembly is just the same in reverse

  1. Put plenty of gasket sealer on the gasket. (That’s not enough, probably should add some more. . .)
  2. Put the water pump back on the engine
  3. Secure the water pump using four 13mm bolts and four 3/8″ bolts (why they are the only standard. . .SNAP

That was not part of the process. I broke a bolt. It was a little one. And it was the last one I was putting on. I think yesterday’s problem was that I didn’t tighten the bolts enough. And I really didn’t want that to happen again. Well, little danger of that.

Before I get to the implications of breaking a freaking bolt! I want to talk about the idea of doing it twice because you didn’t do it right the first time. Don’t get me wrong, I really wish it had worked yesterday. I have stuff to do. But, I look at it like an athlete. The more baskets you attempt, the more you are going to miss. The more you miss the more you are going to learn about how not to miss a basket. Even once it goes in, you don’t stop. You keep practicing. . .the right way.

Today was practice. I’ve been putting off this water pump repair for over a month. I didn’t really know how to do it. And then yesterday I learned. Today, I wasn’t even phased by it. A couple of hours and I’m done.

Now, let’s talk about the broken bolt.

There’s a chance it won’t be an issue. I put A LOT of gasket sealer on that pump. And unlike yesterday, I’m letting it set overnight to cure a little before I test it. There’s a pretty good chance it will be just fine. Still, it has eight bolts because the designers thought it needed more than 7. If it leaks tomorrow, It will be pretty simple to fix. I pull the water pump and the broken portion of the bolt will be sticking out about 1/4″ from the engine block. A set of vice grips and a few turns and we will be right back to the “ready to install” step.

And having been through the installation process twice in two days, I’m not at all intimidated by the prospect of doing it again.

In fact, I was so confident today that I didn’t need my neighbor or my cousin who couldn’t come anyway because today’s his anniversary.

Happy anniversary Rory and Nick.

Tomorrow will be the test. Did I finally get it right, or will the third time (hopefully) be the charm?

Either way, if I didn’t do it right, I’ve learned enough to have the time to do it over.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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