Brian Ho (brianho) wrote,
Brian Ho

Brian Ho: Grease Monkey?

Heath requested some help working on the Fiero that he's currently rebuilding. He was trying to remove the head from the engine, but it wasn't exactly cooperating. The bolts holding the exhaust manifold were basically frozen so he had decided to move back a step and disconnect the manifold from the rest of the exhaust system. Unfortunately the two bolts in that location were rusted good and solid also. However, there was a gap where they could simply be cut.

Heath had already cut through one by the time I got there, but the other was positioned in such a way that he couldn't get the grinding tool in a place to cut it without grinding on parts that he didn't want to damage.

I took a look at it myself and decided that it might work if the handle of the grinder was pointed downward toward the floor. I just wasn't going to be able to hold it like that without risking grinding through my own wrist...not to mention all the sparks that it would be throwing directly on me in that position. So up the car went on a jack and under I went. I'm built smaller than Heath, so there are some times that I can get to things that he can't.

There wasn't a lot of clearance from underneath anyway. I ended up having to wrap my arms around the catalytic converter and contort my hands into position. But I was able to get a small electric grinder onto the bolt and went to work. The only really bad news was that this engine has been badly neglected by its previous owner. The gaskets were sealing about as well as masking tape, so the underside of the car was a sess pool of greasified, oily dirt and crap. The vibrations of the grinder were dislodging all sorts of little chunks of crap that naturally ended up in my face.

Meanwhile, Heath was rigging up an air grinder (had to "adapt" a wheel to fit on it). After I had gotten about 1/3 of the way through the bolt with the electric I switched over to the air. Things started going much quicker that way. After the bolt was about 2/3 of the way through Heath suggested I put a socket and breaker bar on it and just twist it into submission. A little torque and a satisfying snap later--mission accomplished!

I crawled out from underneath the car to examine my shirt that was covered all sorts of little chunks, smears, and stains. My arms had a nice layer of grease and oil on them from my elbows to my fingertips. I tend to be a bit OCD about being clean, but I'm not afraid to dig right in if a project requires it.

We fought a bit with a grounding strap and then lifted the head out and onto his workbench. I'm sure he'll be having all kinds of fun with it. As for me, I was off to home for a shower and to go out with Lissa. Heath's observation was definitely correct. He said it's good to get really dirty makes you appreciate feeling clean. That shower was definitely nice in that respect.

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