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My car has really gotten a lot of love this week. Hitting 115,000 on the Odometer prompted me to change the oil. On my way to the autoparts store on a warm summer day I heard the front brakes screeching, a clear sign that they needed to be replaced. Conveniently the front tire needs to be removed to get to the oil filter, so I figured I'd do a two for one. I acquired new brake pads and 4 quarts of synthetic oil from the parts store and headed to my parents house where there are tools and workspace and few other parts such as oil filters. While loosening the wheel nuts I noticed one was a little tighter than the others, but though it could just be the weight of the car on the tire... Jacking the car so the wheel was off the ground I notice that the nut is actually seized. Needing to do the work regardless I pulled out a 5 food metal pipe and slid it onto the handle of my wrench, and turned. The bolt sheared off just short enough to be useless. I proceeded to do the rest of the work and worry about the lug later, as the wheel has four other lug bolts.

The next day I picked up parts from the auto store and went back to my parents house. This time my father was there and he's pretty much an expert at DIY auto repairs. We pulled the wheel off and hammered out the old lug, which is just pressed in from the back, and then attempted to insert the new lug... Just a 16th of an inch too long to fit. Having done a bit of web research I saw that some others had this problem and just ground down the side of the bolt to give it just enough space to slip in. No problem we've got a few grinders around. Grinding one side of the back of the bolt flat gave us a little more room, but not quite enough. A few taps with a hammer however encouraged the bolt to slip past the impediment and into the hole occupied but the old lug.

As I'm using a nut and wrench to pull the lug bolt through my father looks at the brake rotors. "Well these are all worn down! You need new ones!", "They're fine," I say, "they'll still last a while." "Here, I'll pay for them," he says. So I go back to the parts store in his truck and pick up a set of new brake rotors.

As I'm installing the rotors now too, he checks the old ones with a pair of calipers. There's a problem though as his calipers are in thousandths of an inch and the rotors are measured in millimeters. Turns out the old rotors were 18.8 or so millimeters, which it above the minimum, but he had read it out in thousandths of an inch and well... I dunno, compensated for it being totally wrong.

So now I have a backup set of rotors, but I don't think I'll be wearing the new ones down anytime soon. My car I think, is about as ready as it's going to be to go to Burningman, besides a spare air filter to put in once I'm off the playa, and some extra fluids and a new set of FUNCTIONAL jumper cables.


I fly kites off mountain tops.
One Seventy Three

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January 2010
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