Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fuck You Mr. Murphy, I Win Again

Oh yeah, I got an extended visit from that cocksucker today.

My one day off, the weather is supposed to turn to shit tomorrow and I have some vehicle maintenance I want to get out of the way.

I figured I would start out simple, a thermostat swap out on my GM product.

The 83 GMC Caballero with the MONSTER 229 cubic inch V6 engine.

Alias a 3.8 liter.

Of course, I had to deal with this Murphy asshole a while back too.

For reasons only known to God and the hopefully long dead motherfuckers at General Motors, the 1983 model year had a choice of TWO 3.8 liter V6's. One, the 231 Cubic inch model, has the distributor in the front and mine, the distributor in the back.
Various other non interchangeable items like valve covers and shit also.

Stupid sonsabitches anyway.

The reason I know this is because Mr. Murphy was behind the counter at the local auto parts store a while back when I was trying to get some parts.

Anyways, the thermostat on a Chevy is right up front, two fucking bolts, a couple of hose clamps, BOOM, yer done.

Uhm, no.
Not today.

This thing has smog equipment completely covering the engine.

Hoses, vacuum switches , valves and wires everywhere.

So I take a bunch of this shit off and there it is.
I had everything right there and realistically this should have taken about twenty minutes.

Try eight motherfucking hours.

Two bolts.

The very first motherfucking bolt I laid a wrench on snapped off. An aluminum thermostat housing and intake manifold and steel bolts.

Well Hello there Mr. Murphy, you dick head.

Aluminum and steel when in close contact become a battery of sorts and electrolysis starts in.
I have no idea how long it's been since that thermostat was changed but those bolts were corroded so badly they were basically welded in.

After a few good tugs with a normal ratchet and socket, Mr. Murphy whispers in my ear and tells me a bigger ratchet will give me more torque and those stubborn bolts will just break right loose then.

Sure did, break that is.

As I whipped around cussing I swear I heard some maniacal laughter fading off into the distance.

I finally got the other one loose but now the fun starts.

I had planned on doing a whole bunch of maintenance on my and my wifes car today and every bit of that flew right the fuck out the window.

Of course I am out of penetrating oil too.
I used that up on my firearms last week.

Back to the fucking parts house. Ran into a paving project about two miles long that wouldn't let me turn left where I wanted to and wound up going straight fucking past the joint on the other side for a fucking mile in bumper to bumper traffic.

Finally got there and started ordering more parts while I was getting the penetrating oil.
Air filter, I found out the fuel filter was missing when I had to take the fuel line off the carb to get to one of the bolts so one of those, a motor mount for the wifes POS and a new temp sensor while I was doing the T-stat.

This is when my worst suspicions were confirmed about my car.

The fucking cocksucker has a computer in it!!

I almost cried.
It must have been the first year they came out with the damn things, clear back in '83.

I had been thinking with all the weird shit I kept finding on that engine that it probably had one.


Back to the house.

I soaked the bolt in penetrating oil and started in.

For those who have never had the distinct pleasure of removing a broken bolt in an engine, there is an art/science to it and you learn cuss words that haven't even been invented yet.

It didn't break off flush with the manifold, it is sticking up a good inch after I got the housing off.
I tried the vise grips, no luck. I tried the broken stud removers, no luck.
The fucking thing is right there in front of me but there are brackets and hoses kinda in the way and I don't feel like taking the front of the engine apart to get to this fucking thing. I tried every trick I know to get that bolt out but no.

Out comes the drill.

You would think it would be a fairly straight up task to just center punch the bolt in the middle and starting with a small drill bit, just work your way up until you can either get an easy out in it or far enough to just re tap the hole, wouldn't ya?

You would be so, so, very wrong though.
I have been a mechanic for thirty odd years now and I have run across lots and lots of broken bolts in my day and each and every one of the motherfuckers presents it's own unique challenges.

The very first and MOST IMPORTANT THING you do is make ABSOLUTELY SURE that when you center punch that bolt that you are EXACTLY in the center!

If you are off by the distance of an electron orbiting the nucleus of a helium atom away from center and start drilling, you are completely fucked from there on out.

I am not joking because that is exactly what happened to me today, again.
I drilled one bolt so perfectly a few years ago that when I was done, the only thing left were the threads.
It looked like a tiny, stretched out Slinky when I pulled the drill bit out.

Today, no such luck.

I started with a 1/16th drill bit, the smallest one in the index. I figured if it was off a little bit I could manipulate the hole with the next size up before I got real deep.
Fuck no.
The bigger the drill bits got the father away from one edge the hole got and the closer to the aluminum manifold it went.
I finally got a hole drilled all the way to the bottom, about a third of the diameter off.

Did I mention it was hotter than a half fucked fox in a fire today?
The humidity was outrageous too and I had sweat running off my bald head right into my eyes and dripping off the end of my nose all fucking day.
It was flat out fucking miserable.

As a parting shot, Mr. Murphy reminded me that I had told my daughter to bring her fucking car over today too.
She showed up right on schedule while I was in the middle of this fucking nightmare and I had to drop what I was doing and proceed to cuss her fucking car for an hour. The check engine light has been on and I hooked up my scanner and see that the oxygen sensor at the exhaust manifold isn't working at all.
That cost me a hundred and fifty bucks for a God Damn front oxygen sensor and of course I had to take a bunch of shit off to get to it.
Oh yeah, hers has all metric fasteners so out came a completely different set of tools .


After I got done messing with her car I had to stop and BBQ some steaks for dinner and then went back to my car.
I ended up with a fucking die grinder and a burr bit to move the fucking hole sideways enough to get another shot at a bigger drill bit and finally got the sonofabitch centered again. That was like brain surgery because those damn burr bits like to grab and rattle around in the hole at high speed and make it way bigger than what you want, real fast.
They eat aluminum at an alarming rate.
Then I had to re tap the fucking hole before finally putting the new thermostat in and tightening it up with new bolts.
Oh, you damn well know I put Never Seize on those fucking things! I think I had most of a complete tool box scattered all over the ground before I was done though.

But, Fuck You Murphy, ya fuckin' prick, I win.

I can hardly wait for next Saturday and the rematch that is surely going to take place.


  1. Ha! Ain't it funny how a twenty minute job turns into all day? Damn you, galvanic corrosion! I feel your pain.

  2. I've gotten to the point where I just dump the whole toolbox on the ground when I work on something. Most of it winds up there any way!

  3. I LOVE reading your posts concerning car repair. They always make my day seem a little brighter.

    I got a radiator needs replacing, mind if I bring it by?

    1. Depends on what it's in.
      Some of these newer rigs, the fucking thing has to come out the bottom!

      I do have an extensive collection of hammers though.

  4. Ah, yes, those days when you begin cursing the whole concept of automotive technology. "You know, if it were a horse, I could just shoot the fuckin' thing...!!" I feel your pain.

  5. Sorry, man. You should have just taken out your magnum and ended the motor's misery.:)

  6. Because I am an inept klutz and because a black cloud follows me that rains Murphy piss onto me, I go to mechanics to fix my cars. Got a good one too, and amazingly honest at that. Yep, I could use the money but not at the cost of those headaches.

    Hope it goes better for you next week.

    All the best,
    Glenn B

  7. Fookin hell, that is one of my greatest fears in this world, tinkering with something under the hood and snapping the head off a bolt. I know the pain of of having to drill one out and tap it. Rather chew glass and chase it with paint thinner. Sorry for your run of bad luck.


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