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Auto Repairs Are Easy…It’s What Comes Before And After That’s Hard

November 26, 2018

I spent a good part of my Thanksgiving week with my head tucked under the hood of a car or the bed of a truck. As is often the case, I’m actually working on two repairs at the same time. I was working on reconstructing the front end of my daughter’s 2001 Honda Civic when the differential on my truck started making scary noises.

The Honda was the more extensive repair, a new AC condenser, remove and replace the radiator, new top radiator support (new as in salvaged from a junk yard), new hood and two new headlights.

The truck just needed a new differential. Still, not an easy repair and one I haven’t done before.

I was half way through the Honda repair when the truck started. I switched gears, but it became obvious the truck was going to take a while. I had to learn to do some of the stuff that was needed, like using a cutting blade on a grinder to cut off the bearings. Or, using a bearing puller. Or, needing to weld a 9/16″ socket into a 36mm hex nut to adjust the caps.

The Honda on the other hand was easy by comparison. I only needed to reinstall the AC compressor and condenser, repressurize the AC system, reinstall the radiator, refill it with coolant, reattach the fenders, and then the bumper. Then remove the bumper and reattach the headlights, because I forgot the order. Reattach the bumper and the cowling. Then, remount both wheels, top off the brake fluid and then literally tie up some loose ends of wires.

Okay, that probably sounds involved. Sure, it’s an involved list, but really, it’s not what I would call actual “repair” tasks. In fact, they are step three in the repair process.

Every repair job has three steps. In chronological order they are:

  1. Disassembly
  2. Repair
  3. Reassembly

However, in the length of time each task takes the steps are:

  1. Disassembly
  2. Reassembly
  3. Repair

In fact, the repair is typically a short process. In terms of my daughter’s Honda, the only real “repair” tasks was to weld the new top radiator support in place. The rest was taking it apart and putting it back together.

I removed the old hood and put on a new one.

I removed the old broken headlights and installed new ones.

I removed the old compressor and installed a new one.

I removed the radiator and reinstalled it.

I removed the wheels and remounted them.

I removed the fenders and reinstalled them.

I removed the bumper and cowling and reinstalled them.

The only real repair work I did was welding the radiator support in place. It wasn’t even me. My neighbor is the welder. I did use a grinder to cut one out of a car at a junk yard, and then grind all the welds down on the one in my daughter’s car. And we spent a fair amount of time making sure we got the spacing just right. If the top radiator support is too high, the hood won’t close.

But, the actual repair? That was easy. It was the steps leading up to it and the steps after it that took the time.

I’m now working on the differential for my truck. The repair? The fact is, the entire process is all disassembly and reassembly. Should be a super easy repair.

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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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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