It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining, birds are singing, yet you are willing to forgo conventional recreation by being elbow deep in grease, examining the front end to work out where that clunk is coming from. I tip my hat to you my friend, and give you these tips to help make the experience more enjoyable.
1. Don’t lose your sh*t. This is a simple yet sound idea, that will ensure you don’t get back to the point of reassembly and realise that you are missing an important fastener, or that the fastener you have isn’t the right one. Take a piece of cardboard, punch any bolts you take out through it, and put the the nut on the other side. Using a permanent marker, run a line around groups of bolts and write a description, so you can differentiate the assemblies the bolts came out of.
2. Cleanliness isn’t always a virtue. When you are working on pulling something apart, and have to go do something else (from my experience, most likely to be washing up), don’t pack everything up that you have used so far. Having to dig through the toolbox for tools you already had out can be a pain in the butt, so whatever you use keep separate until the job is all done.
3. A different kind of dirtiness on your Iphone. While pulling something apart, take pictures before, while and after you do it, for later reference. This can save alot of time, by saving you from pulling a component apart again after you realise you still have a circlip left over from somewhere. Utilise technology, and realise how lucky we are to have smartphones, that 50 years ago to do the same would have taken a hell of a lot more effort.
4. Take this down. Get an exercise book, and a thick tip pen, and write down everything that needs to be replaced as you go along. This is a timesaver, as having to go to the spare parts shop multiple times, while covered in grease, is not conducive to high spirits. On top of this, write down anything that you may think could be of use on reassembl. For example, this may be that something has reverse thread, or that it was circlip, washer, circlip, circlip not circlip, circlip, washer, circlip. It’s the little things that add up, and unfortunately the little things that seem to let go, causing the most damage.
5. Don’t touch that! If you don’t know what you are doing, don’t touch it. There is no excuse for laziness causing problems further down the track. Find a forum on the net, download a workshop manual, ask someone who would know. Just don’t walk into a workshop or garage, tell them what problem you are having and hope they can give you the correct answer, and a quick way to fix it. It doesn’t work like that. Knowledge is power, and the more you know the better off you will be. Hell, next time it might be someone asking you for your help in a certain area.
So spin those spanners, and let yourself enjoy the feeling of the sun on your face without the frustration of having to do anything more than you have to. You will be able to find that clunking noise more easily without anything distracting you.
Thanks to Mark Smolik for a few pointers, and my beautiful wife, who wasn’t at all daunted by the prospect of changing over the whole front end of an XR8.