Saturday, August 29, 2009

BOLT - How to install a car starter motor

I am a simple man. I am not an easy man. Nothing comes easy to me. I had to work for everything - maybe too hard.

Two weeks ago on Sunday - I went to Church.

Well, I own a few cars and a Honda shadow too. One of my cars is an old Mercury wagon with a LOT of miles. Well on this Sunday as I was driving - it started raining and then pouring and then "the buckets" . You know, flash flood kind of rain.

As I get a few blocks away, I am driving on river road and in 6 inches of flowing water - Car stops dead with buckets of rain still falling and - me in the middle of the road.

I get out in the pourin' rain - and push it about 50 yards onto dry road. So I am waiting there all soaked in my car - and say to myself- what the hey- may as well walk to church, already soaked whats the diff? Yeah, I talk to myself.

So I walk in at 10:10 to 10:00 mass. People look up and see me walkin' down the aisle with shoes squeakin' and water drippin' off my brow. They think I am just "late".

Yeah, I'm late alright. Drove thru a flood, pushed my car 50 yards- walked thru a storm and I am sittin' in church. I just look up at the cross and wonder - was it baptism - or just bad luck ? This debate runs in my mind - as the priest does the mass..

On the way out- the rain stops and the sun shines and I am thinkin' by the time I walk back - my car will dry out and I'll be on my way...

nope - not so easy there son.

So after a while of playing with the wires - I call the 3A and we're headed home on the truck. Plunk- it's dropped off in my front yard. Now I could have just let him take it to the auto shop. But nope- not this time. "I'm gonna fix it myself."

So "in theory" - the starter motor is an easy fix. There are just two heavy bolts to be wrenched out and a few electrical connections. But here's the catch - ya first gotta get to it. And then when ya do - the bolts can be locked up or frozen on. That's where you have to figure out how to use wrenches and the right combination of socket set, extenders and maybe a pipe to extend your socket to get leverage. Then the bolt heads? If they are stripped? double trouble.

So this starter motor has two bolts that gotta come off. I jack up the car and put the jack stands and proper rocks behind the wheels, etc-- it's 98 degrees and the bugs are bitin'. So I crawl under the car - It is really tight under there. But after awhile, I manage one of the bolts out. They use 14 MM- 6 sided sockets.

Now the bolt in the front -- is stripped with rounded edges. Perhaps until you try- you cannot know how frustrating it is to be fighting a locked bolt under a tight car that is hard to get to. It becomes a battle between man and machine. Many men would give up -not me, not today. I am gonna beat this thing or it is gonna beat me. mano or machine - who will win?

I tried prying and every tool I had from vise grips to hooly gigs. I was at home depot 3 X's buying different sockets and pipes to use as leverage. And it was HOT under that car. Why is that the horse flies know you are wrapped up under a car to find your legs and bite with no mercy? Those things are smarter than people know.

So I take a trip to Sears and find a socket set that is made for round- edged stripped bolts. After another round of battle the new socket catches just right and twists - I got IT! The motor drops and I unhook the electrical connections. I hold it up over my head and dance like Rocky after running up the steps in Philadelphia. I have sweat and grime all over me, my face and arms- and I am dancing and yipping like a happy dog. My family and neighbors ? forget it Rosy - nobody understands it.

So a few days later - I ride my shadow to my favorite junk yard. I wanted a better bolt. (This particular bolt is "special" - you can't buy one like it)

So here in the yard- there is a path you take where they have an open- ended trailer that you walk through - like a tunnel into the yard. It opens up into a panorama of forgotten history. On your first step - it is like a surreal quiet walk with relics of the past. There are car shells from the 1940's, old boats, even a train! and then the sections of fords, Chevy's, whatnot... If you listen quietly you may hear the spirits that once enjoyed it all as shimmering promise of better days. Why oh why do I feel so at home and at peace in a junkyard?

(incidentally, they have grown sensitive these days. They don't call themselves junkyards anymore- Now they are "automotive recycling centers".)

Each car tells a story - if only they could talk. Some still hold items saying that they were quickly discarded and just left for junk with clothes of their former owner still in the back seat. It's eerie. Then you look at some cars and wonder why are they here? A closer exam may show why.

How could that one over there be restored? Some people are like that. They feel like life events or others have placed them into the junkyard. Some just give up. They are not aware. Everyone can be restored. That is what the Prince of peace told us ...

Then there are people that although striking out many times - they never give up, no matter what. They just find a new way. They are like the junkyard dog that protects "the greens". A junkyard dog survives. If it storms, you can bet that ol' dog will just find shelter in a forgotten shell and come out just happy "to be" when the sun shines. They survive and when they have to - they fight . They take each day as it comes and don't worry . The junkyard dag type know that God takes care of the birds and they will be fine too. They have belief. They are happy to live in - the now. Here's somethin' - if you know a junkyard dag type -- never, never under estimate that one. They are some powerful people - in an understated way. Here is somethin' more - they make it by belief in God and themselves. The ones without - belief- they got nothin' over a junkyard dag.

So, it's 95 degrees again - I am wrestlin' in that yard with another bolt -and it's near closing time. Forget it! - I'll just reuse the lousy bolt and that's my decision!

Well - I installed the new motor - after jury rigging the switch connector. Turn the key: "cachig , cachig " , it says .... then the ol' wagon turns over and the engine seems to purr "thank you, sir".... Yep, it's back in action. Two weeks later.

So a few questions:

Was I punished for not going to church in awhile and that's why the rain came as some kind of a message from above ? If so, was it penance reached under that car in the heat?

Why was I so happy after pulling out that old starter motor? am I just a simple- minded fool to take pleasure in victory over machine ? With 188,000 miles- it can only be a battle won. The victory is to ride again.
The victory is - one less junker, still alive! The victory is accomplishment.

But why was I so happy to hold that old motor over my head and dance - sweated up with grease marks on my face, hands and arms?

Now here is a nagging question. Suppose I had not spent the time and effort to change that motor? What would I have been doing otherwise ? Yes, maybe having "fun" or maybe finding trouble? My town has a LOT of opportunity for that. What if God knew that I needed a diversion? what if instead of working under that car or wrestling a bolt in a junkyard - I had been walking in a parking lot and got caught between the cross fire of rival gangs?

You can see my post below about time travel. Maybe we all have a purpose and God works in mysterious ways to alter what would have been for the blessed people he wants to protect?

Well, these are questions that keep a junkyard dag wonderin' and maybe a little happy, even when it rains. Like I said- I am a simple man. Why? cause that's the way I like it.

maybe someday you may feel like you are almost beaten and are "walking the line" kind of like this ..

If so, remember belief - in God and yourself - will keep you strong and you can look "the man", any man - in the eye - from quiet strength. Remember the prince of peace who walked the line for everyone...

Here's a neat story from one of the greats - JT. I like the song.


Well, stay tuned. tomorrow I may post about something else.

If interested in more, scroll down.


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