Thursday, October 8, 2015

When It's Best To Hire Something Out

I wished I could come up with a better title, and that my computer was set up, but the tablet will have to do. Tomorrow, the home office will be set up and I can type to my hearts content, or as long as my tendonitis holds off, but I digress. For those who follow this blog, we added a 2006 Pontiac Torrent to the Fixing Grace fleet in June of 2014. Thus far, we've replaced the alternator, battery, rear brakes, right rear bearing, a water pipe, and some bulbs. This is with 8000 miles of driving. We also had the car flood out due to a mafunctioning moonroof that let 3 or 4 inches of water inside. The insurance company replaced the pad, cleaned the carpet, while we paid to have the mechanism straightened out and deactivated. I also sealed the same with some clear silicone. Not one more leak since.
The one no that happened to the car in July was that a wheel bearing started calling it quits. I replaced the right rear after trying to use an old iPhone and zip ties to pin down the source of the noise.
The left front bearing was the one that had called it a day, and we got a "deal" on some new ones for the front.
The job was simple enough; one that I had done several times on other GM vehicles. There was a 34mm axle nut, four bolts holding the brake on, and three holding the bearing on the steering knuckle. Even though I broke a socket wrench, which was fortunately a Craftsman it took me less than 30 minutes to get these bolts undone. The problem was that the steel bearing had fused itself to the aluminum steering knuckle.
May I stop here for a minute? If you're an engineer, designer, metallurgist, or other decision maker for General Motors, may I pose this question? HOW, and why and WHAT don't you understand about galvanic corrosion? Was saving 40 pounds really worth making a scenario that even mechanics deem cringe worthy? While I agree that Ford's bearings are just as poorly serviceable, at least you can remove them with the proper tools without using a gas wrench.
I spent eight hours hammering, chiseling, hammering, pulling, spraying every anticorrosive known to man on this subhuman setup. I messed up my hands trying to get our car ready for the weekend. Instead, we drove my pickup to meet friends 85 miles away. All the while, the Torrent was propped on a jack stand with the spare tire on the three remaining studs.
I hit this so hard I damaged the brake shield and bent the flange, but the bearing would not budge. When I finally relented to take this to the neighborhood repair shop, I didn't even install the bolts into the bearing to drive this the block to same. It cost us about $100 to replace the beaten, worn and jacked up bearing with my provided replacement, but it was worth it in the end. The mechanic had to use a cutting torch to get this mess out of the steering knuckle. The result is that the car rides as quiet at the day we bought it.  
When two dissimilar metals are exposed to water or salt and water, they corrode. As I wear a brace on my wrist, and still feel the tingling in my hands, I've realized there are times it is much better to have someone else fix things. Even if you know what you're doing, there is a real savings in calling a professional. Time lost, damage to your body, lost tempers (mine was in check, but I was ticked) and the thought of having a vehicle propped up was costly enough. I'm all about d.i.y., but it's more than money at stake when repairs are involved. Make sure you can foot the bill when you do it yourself, because in many cases its best to call a pro who does is day in and day out. Even I don't fix cars that often. Maranatha!

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