Andrew Lambdin-Abraham (kd5mdk) wrote,
Andrew Lambdin-Abraham

I am such a guy.

Those of you who have seen jazz007 and I in the past couple months? have noticed that her truck had a problem. To be specific, a high pitched squeal from under the hood. Now, I had the feeling that it was a belt (what else could cause such a noise) but didn't really think we were up to fiddling around too much down there. So we just sort of chalked it up to "drives now, we'll fix it when we have jobs". About a week ago, a poster on the Ars Technica forums mentioned he had a squeal, and someone said "One of your belt's is slipping. It's an easy fix." This is why I read every car thread I come across know: to suck up knowledge like charcoal in a poisoning victim's stomach. Now, if some random person on the internet says it's easy, we know it is, right?
So Jazz and I page through her Haynes Guide to her truck, and eventually find the section on drivebelts. (It took a bit of looking.) On Friday we then went to go and tighten the belts and see if that fixed the problem. The other two belts certainly needed tightening, but Jazz noticed that the alternator belt looked funny. To be specific, it was missing its "teeth" in a section, and was worn smooth there. This, this called for a replacement. However, we didn't have the parts, didn't know how to do the replacement, and were already running late for our drive to Shreveport that day. So we decided to pray it would hold together, and carry on, promising the truck a replacement when we got back.

So, catch up to yesterday (Tuesday). jazz007 actually looks under the truck and observes that all the belts are from NAPA Auto Parts, and writes down the part numbers. Then she and eliset set off Wednesday for their trip to Dallas to be with tafnaj and bellaire. I was still in bed, but the suggestion that I make myself useful while they were away was distinctly made. So I looked up the part numbers on the NAPA website, and discovered they were in stock at the location nearest our apartment. Made the trip up there, obtained 2 of the belts I desired, and a budget version of the 3rd. Advice from the repair manual was to replace them all at once, since they tend to wear about the same. I then proceeded to my parents' house, because my family has accumulated tools over the years and our apartment has not. (We also did the belt tightening at the house.) While waiting for the engine to cool down, I mowed the back lawn, and then proceeded to get to work. Eventually I figured out the two key features: The alternator pivoted on a bolt, which needed to be loosened, and then the whole alternator rotated to give the belt slack to come off, and that I have to remove the front (AC) belt in order to get the middle one off. The back belt was the power steering belt, and I decided that after looking it over it appeared fine, so I would leave it be. We can just keep the budget belt in the truck in case it breaks, I suppose. Anyway, old and busted belt removed, new hotness installed. Since I already had the AC belt off, and I could see little cracks at the base of the teeth, I went ahead and replaced that as well. Put it all back together again, tightened up everything, and ran it for a few minutes to make sure it worked. Worked like a charm. Next time, however, I'm totally using the jackstands, as that truck as very little ground clearance compared to my stomach (or nose.)

Anyway, now for the less gritty parts. The truck I am certain used metric bolts, although because our socket sets are intermingled and the set of smaller stuff I was using (9mm through 7/16s) was pretty rusted. It was a set given to me for a birthday when I was 8 or 9, and I left it outside one night when it rained. I shall go back in time and correct myself for that carelessness someday. Anyhow, it really is just too nice to be able to use all the different tools we have at home. I am completely filled with tool lust, and know that when we own a house (or reasonable facsimile thereof) I am going to stock a workshop with tons of tools. For example, are not these Craftsman sockets just the neatest thing, with their easy to read labels? Of course, I want all my hand tools to be Craftsman, because lifetime warrenty owns.

Thinking about it, I'm really still realizing how much of an influence my dad has had on me. I really would be completely happy if I grow up to be exactly like him, and that's just great. Between all his great lessons about how to deal with people, and how to be a good person, and the whole teaching me to work with my hands part, I'm just really thankful.

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