Park on a Hill

One of the joys of being a hands-on owner (or a cheapskate) is that there is always something new that needs worked on. Make that somethings new. I’m not completely insane, so I have my list of repairs organized by priority. I live in Morgantown. That means the emergency brake is at the top of the list. WAY at the top of the list.

And like many other things about my TR4A, the handy shop manual gave copious amounts of directions for all models but my car. For the TR4A (with independent rear suspension) I found the following note, “the TR4A is similar to the other models.” Seriously? What kind of directions are those?

So out I go to purchase a floor jack and 2 more jack stands.  Because I can’t fit under the car unless it is completely off the ground and I had no idea where exactly the adjustment nuts for the emergency brake cables were going to be located.

So up goes the car. I had forgotten what horrible noise that car makes as she leaves the ground. Creek, groan, rattle….and all I kept thinking was “I surely hope I put the jack under something that was structurally sound” (although my words may not have been quite so eloquent as I was muttering under my breath).

Upon up, I scrambled under the car and discovered…..I couldn’t see the brake cables. Which seemed to me rather odd, until I did a further inspection and found they were simply right behind the wheels. Sigh.

Back down she comes because no way was I going to hammer off the spinners with the car up in the air. I mean, I’m not a rocket scientist, but I do have a smidge of common sense.

So after doing the above (ok, true that’s me with the passenger side wheel)

I ended up with this (which is the driver side). Which is when the fun began. Well the fun began after I managed to get the wheel off me and back onto the ground. Note to self, that stuff that makes your tires all shiny…yeah, it’s gross and sticky. Ick.

So, wheels off it was time for my favorite tool – the bottle of PB  Blaster. Oh yeah. (don’t spray it in your eye!) Spray, wait. Spray, wait. Bang on rusted nut with random tool. Spray, wait. Bludgeon rusted nut into submission. Try out emergency brake. Repeat on other side.

In the midst of all this Chad (who is volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters) returned with his little brother. Who is seven. And wanted to know what I was doing. Oh yeah. Sometimes I wish I had a nice big garage with proper lighting so I could shut the door and carry on (in secret).

At any rate the emergency brake now works pretty well. I survived with only a few nicks and scratches (mostly due to the wrench slipping in my hand). A fine day’s work. Not to mention I had a legitimate reason to purchase my own floor jack.

[post script: while I was working on the car, the plumber was working on installing a claw foot bathtub in the 2nd floor. At one point the feet fell off the tub. Guess what? A small floor jack works really well on a claw foot bathtub. Yes, yes I did.]

chris on May 17th 2009 in Vehicles

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