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When Your Kid Things, “My Dad Can Fix Anything”

September 29, 2020

I finished replacing the power steering pump on my son’s 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix. The pump went in much easier than it came out. Coming out required a literal 2×4 to pry the engine a fraction of an inch away from the firewall.

I still have some follow up work to do. I think I need to flush the power steering system and then bleed it.

Do you want to know a secret? I’ve never replaced the power steering pump on a 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix. I’ve also never flushed a power steering system, nor bled one.

My kids think I can fix anything.

When I was about 13 my brother, who was 15 had a remote control airplane. This was about 1978. Remote control airplanes weren’t controlled by a radio. At least not the ones that we could afford. Instead they were sort of fly-by-wire. You plane had two wires that came out of the left wingtip. These wires connected to a simple controller, like you’d use for a kite. You flew the plane by starting the gasoline engine, letting it get up to speed and then spinning around in a circle until the gas ran out, or you or it crashed. Three or four revolutions and the pilot was pretty loopy.

But, it had a real gas engine. The problem was it didn’t actually work. My brother’s plane. Try as he might, he couldn’t get the engine to start. If you’ve ever unsuccessfully tried to start a chainsaw, or lawnmower, or weedeater, or pretty much anything with a motor, you know how frustrating it can be.

My brother was going to throw it away. I convinced him to give it to me.

I didn’t know anything about airplane engines, large or small. But, I had a screwdriver and a pair of pliers. I disassembled the engine and laid it out on my bedroom floor. I didn’t notice anything obviously broken. So, after thoroughly cleaning each part, I put the entire thing back together and put it into the plane.

No one was more surprised than me when the engine started up. I had no idea what I did, but apparently I did it correctly. Ironically, the first time I flew it, I nosedived it into the pavement and cracked the fuselage. It never flew again.

The point though, was that one flight was enough. It worked.

That’s been my experience with cars. I don’t know how to do a lot of things. But, apparently it’s enough to know about things. Of course, we have the Internet now. I watched several Youtube videos on how to replace the power steering pump in a 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix. I watched a couple showing how to flush the power steering system and bleed it.

But, do you know what a Youtube video won’t show you? When the guy on the video says, “You have to twist the pump around, but eventually you can remove it.” Or when you are trying to replace the two bolts that hold the power steering pump to the engine and you have to thread them through the access holes in the power steering pulley and then blindly line them up with the bolt holes tucked away under the alternator.

Every time I look at a new car repair I remember that 13 year old boy staring at a disassembled airplane engine on my bedroom floor. And every time I complete a repair, I remember the excitement of that first flight.

That might be why I am always really nervous on that first test drive.

Stay safe

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.

Follow him on
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

From → car repairs

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