Do It Yourself, And Use The Right Tools !!

Fun side story about finding the right tools for a do-it-yourself (with a friend) in automotive repair. This story is not about building great new Do It Yourself projects, but it illustrates the need to have (borrow, or rent) the right tools for the job.  And, though it was a bit frustrating at the time, the story is funny in a warped sort of way.  The right tools are definitely the key to easy success.

A Tools Story From the Mechanic

The other day a friend called about a crankshaft bolt he was trying to remove.  He was fixing his wife’s Toyota Sienna, but couldn’t remove the bolt from the end of the crankshaft.  (The bolt that holds the belt pulley on.)  He said he had tried everything including his electric impact wrench.

Of course, I’m always up for helping a friend, so over I went with some big tools:  a large wrench, a longer cheater, and an even longer pry bar.  Well, it wasn’t that simple.  After some huffing and puffing all we did was snap the timing belt.  Well, that’s certainly one way to make the problem bigger.  So we stopped to think a little.

The bolt really requires an impact wrench because the engine turns if you apply a big torque.  His electric impact wrench is capable of 400 ft-lbs.  We checked the bolt and specification.  This bolt supposedly requires 550 ft-lbs to remove.  Well, no wonder it didn’t come out with the electric impact wrench.  (Though, I’m pretty sure we put more torque than that during the process that broke the timing belt.)  Oh well.

Bigger, Badder Tools

“Well, that’s not a problem” I say with confidence.  It was a little inconvenient, but we loaded the air compressor into the truck, then returned to his place to attack it with air.  My pneumatic impact wrench says it is good for 650 ft-lbs, so we were confident as we ran the big extension cord into his house, behind the electric range to tap into the 220VAC to run the compressor.  Yeah, that’s a bit of a hassle, but you gotta do whacha gotta do.  When you do it yourself, sometimes you’ve got to think a little different.

Do It Yourself With The Right Tools

Applying force with pneumatics (air) is definitely different than by hand with wrenches and pry bars.  It’s force is via impact rather than force without regard to displacement.

After hammering with the impact wrench for several minutes (and waiting for the air compressor to refill a couple times) we jacked the air pressure up from 100 psi to 120 psi.  Theoretically, that should give an additional 20% torque, but STILL nothing.  Ouch!  The torque spec is obviously not correct.

OK, I’ve gone through my essential tools and then some, so what’s next?

Call Out The Big Guns

Have you ever tried to rent a big impact wrench?  I think I called every tools rental shop in Colorado Springs, but nobody had one.  All I wanted was a 3/4″ monster!  (Think Tim Taylor with his deep Huh, Huh, Huh!)  You see these big impact wrenches all the time, but apparently there’s not enough demand to have one in the rental inventory.  Or, maybe folks just don’t need to rent them, because there was nothing in town.

I’m not one to give up easily, especially when I know there are tools available to solve the problem.  This little bolt is a stubborn enemy, but it has got to go.  Finally, after digging some more, one fellow commented in a half conscience way “I wonder if our Denver store would have one?”

He’s the hero of this story.  Turns out the Denver store has one.  Just one.  So, they promised on the next trip to Colorado Springs they would have the runner bring it down.  Chalk one up for United Rentals.  A big THANK YOU for that!

That was probably the most expensive 3 seconds I’ve ever lived.  After swapping fittings, we hooked it up to the air compressor, then one blurp later the bolt was sitting on the floor.  With tax, the rental was $79.18, and it was only needed for 3 seconds — maybe not even that.  There’s always something new to learn when you do it yourself.

Conclusion

Yup!  Confirmed again.  The right tools make all the difference.  Put this one down in the Wanda Hickey Book of Golden Memories under “Don’t remind me“.  Oh well, it’s the price of success sometimes, and when you stubbornly set out to accomplish something, sometimes it takes more than just will power.

With that said, one of our concerns was bolt breakage.  When I think about what a problem breaking that bolt off in the pulley would have caused, I’m super glad it turned out the way it did.  Makes the $79 look cheap!

Ain’t DIY fun!  Yeah, it’s frustrating in the middle of it, but it makes us smile when the job is done.  Now the questions:  I wonder if I’ll ever need one of these again?  Should I go buy one just in case?  Or, if I do, will it just sit in the tool chest collecting dust?  Such a dilemma!  Well, if I did buy one, I’d also have to buy a bunch of super sized sockets to go with it.  Probably better not do that right now.

 

Impact Wrench Comparison

 

Here’s to hoping your next big wrench DIY project goes well.  Good luck.

guest
0 Thoughts
Inline Feedbacks
View All Thoughts

We Found These For You . . .

Article
Analysis of Trailer Frame Material in Main Beam
What materials should I use for building my trailer frame?  It’s a common question with strong biases for Rectangular Tube or I-Beam or C-Channel.  Also, choices of Aluminum versus Steel. 

Read The Article

Product

An excellent DIY small trailer project.  These 4 x 8 Utility Trailer Plans sport 2000 lbs. capacity.  The trailer will work hard, yet always be nice to work with.  And, tow it with a smaller car.

Article
Custom Changes To The Plans
I can’t find quite the right plans for the trailer I want to build.  Can I make changes to the plans at Mechanical Elements to fit my needs?

Read The Article

Article
Aligning Misaligned Holes
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, holes you drill for a project don’t quite align with those in the mating parts.  It’s maddening, and sometimes you feel dumb because it’s messed up, but there are ways to fix

Read The Article

Article
Your DIY Project Story
What is your DIY project story? We’re interested in your DIY project.  If you purchased plans at MechanicalElements.com, then we would love to see what you built.

Read The Article

Article
Spiraling the DIY Project Plans Back Online
January 7, 2016.  Mechanical Elements is back online with a new look, a new logo, new functionality, and a better shopping experience. — With — an expanded offering of the Same Great DIY Project Plans and so much more.

Read The Article

Article
Learn To Calculate the Axle Position
Trailer axle position?  This is a good question.  Unfortunately, there is some popular, but misleading information around.  So, how do you know proper trailer axle position?  Here’s the whole answer,

Read The Article

Product
Canoe Trailer Plans

Specialty trailer for carrying up to12 full size canoes or kayaks.  Designed originally for a Boy Scout Canoe Base, so it includes easy on/off, and options for on-board life jacket and paddle storage.

Article
Good Trailer Design Article Updates
The most popular pages on Synthesis about Trailer Design now have a fresh revision.  May, 2017.  They include more content, more pictures, and a mobile friendly web design.

Read The Article

Article
Wide and Wider Tiny House Trailer Plans
What if . . . You want to live Tiny, but not “that” tiny?  Sure, there are a lot of attractive elements with living Tiny, but to some, the 8 foot width is just too tight.  If that’s you, go…

Read The Article

Article
Trailer Tire Comparison
The topic of trailer tires has come up a hundred times.  Why can’t I use automotive tires on my trailer?  That’s a fair question, so let’s explore it.

Read The Article

Article
Spring Foot for Gantry Crane Safety
Nothing ruins a pleasant day quite like a goose egg on your head, or a throbbing finger pinch.  Avoiding those things (and, of course, the much more disastrous potential events) is the context of this gantry crane safety article. 

Read The Article

Article
There's More To Just Mounting Trailer Axle Springs
As with many things, there’s a lot more to mounting trailer axle springs than first meets the eye.  Here are 2 tips to make your trailer frame stronger.

Read The Article

Article
Finishing or Trailer Frame Painting
(And finishing other DIY Projects.) Now you’ve invested all that time and effort into building an awesome trailer, how should you finish it?   Of course we don’t want it to rust.  And, we want it to last. 

Read The Article

Product
Water Barrel Storage Center

Store water for emergencies in a system that’s easy to use, and more important, easy to replenish the water -- so it’s always fresh when you need it.  Uses plastic 55 gallon barrels for an easy build.

Article
Attach Safety Chain With One Bolt
What are the best ways to attach safety chains on a trailer?  That’s a simple question without a single best answer.  Don’t you hate it when the answer starts with “It depends . . . “?  Unfortunately, it does depend…

Read The Article

Article
Replace Trailer Tires
Don’t mess around with your safety or unexpected trip interruptions.  The Best Reason to replace old or worn trailer tires is personal sanity, because who wants to deal with it on the side of the road?

Read The Article

Article
Metal Working Files In Action
Often misused and not very well understood — so goes the life of many metalworking files.  Yet, they still do things other tools can’t.  That makes them a tool worth knowing!

Read The Article

Article
Welding Trailer Spring Brackets
There is some disagreement in trailer building about how to weld-on trailer spring brackets (also known as spring hangers).   Some of you have sent questions about which techniques are best, especially

Read The Article

Article
Should I Build A Trailer Or Buy One?
Interested in a new utility trailer?  Or ATV Hauler?  We have plans for those, but when should you build a trailer?  And, when should you just go out and buy one?

Read The Article