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.

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View All Comments

We Found These For You . . .

Product
6'10" x 16' flatbed trailer plans

A large utility trailer, at full (legal) width and 16’ length -- with options for 12,000 lbs or 16,000 lbs capacity.  Trailer plans include many options for you to configure it to your specific needs.

Product
Deck-Over Truss Frame Trailer

A Truss Frame is a lighter, stronger way to build a long Deck-Over Trailer.  This design is 36' length, Tandem Axle, 10,400 lbs Capacity!  Options include 8' or 8.5' wide; flat deck or dovetail; plus more.

Article
Trailer Security
How many trailers are stolen each year?  That’s a question worth pondering, because if you put a lot of sweat and love into building a great trailer . . . . if it disappears, it’s heartbreaking.  We don’t like to…

Read The Article

Product
10x32 Wide Tiny House Trailer Plans

To meet the needs of a wider home, these 10 x 32 tiny house trailer blueprints include extra engineering and design.  Low, wide 10’ x 30’ or 32’ top deck.  Up to 18,000 lbs capacity.

Article
Winner of the Visa Gift Card
We have a winner of the $100 Visa Gift Card!  We sent out the Photo request, and you responded.  Now the drawing, and the winner.

Read The Article

Article
Attach Chains Free Plans
We often joke about safety — Yup, Safety 3rd.  While it’s fun to joke, there are a few things we do get quite serious about.  How to attach trailer safety chains is one.  Today we’re looking at connecting chains on…

Read The Article

Product
24 Foot Deck-Over Trailer

Complete Plans for an awesome 24 Foot, Tandem Axle, Deck-Over Trailer – 10,000 lbs Capacity!  At 8.5' wide x 24' deck length, the plans include plenty of options to build it the way you want it.

Article
Shop Utility Floor Cart
When there’s a need that doesn’t really fit with existing products, make your own.  That’s it with this new, tough Shop Floor & Utility Cart.  While it’s not monumental in design, it does have some great functionality for DIY’ers, with…

Read The Article

Product
5x10 2000 lb. Mini Camper Chassis

Build your dream Teardrop or Mini camper on this awesome 5 x 10, 2000# torsion axle trailer.  The chassis is lightweight, yet sturdy for all the places you will go.  And, it has a bunch of options to meet your…

Article
Wire Routing and Covering for Trailer Tandem Axle Brakes
It all rides on the trailer axles, so get them right.  Here are some common technologies (and misnomers) for tandem axles and other multi-axle trailers.

Read The Article