Sunday, February 22, 2009

How many men does it take to change a pair of axles?

One. It only takes one, but it sure does take him a long time.I pushed on through and managed to get her done yesterday. The day before I completed the front axle. The front one took many one or two hour sessions. Armed with the learning curve of the front axle, I was ready to make the rear one move smoothly. I went out first thing in the morning and jumped right in on dropping the remaining axle. It took about 45 minutes to have the old axle out.

There are a few things beside the axle to consider. There are brake wires to disconnect and gas lines to move out of the way. But the important thing to remove is the shocks. Unfortunately the curb side stud decided to twist off as easy as unscrewing a nut.

So, Out comes the sawzall and off comes what remains of the stud. I cut a machine bolt to the proper length and prep both surfaces to weld a new one on. The next hurdle in about to pop up... the cord on the welder is about three feet long and the place I can plug into is about 12 feet from where I need to weld. Off to the orange box to get the proper plug ends and wire to make a super duty cord. Then back again to get the other proper plug ends. The plug has a horizontal blade on the left and because I was running down all the steps of installing the axles in my head, I did not realize I had picked up a horizontal flat blade on the right. Minor set back on the road to axle installation. After about six hours of elapsed time I had the job completed. All in all it was a giant pain in the ass. I have read about how so many guys sailed right through it. One guy claims he did it in an hour and a half. Not sure how that was possible, but I read it on the Internet, so it must be true.

One amasses a large pile of tools by the time the install is done. There is yet another similar pile on the other side of a drill and a pile of bits used to drill the holes. They all got dumped on the work bench to be dealt with today. It was time for a stiff bourbon.

So in reflection why was it such a pain in the ass? I think when you buy something and it arrives with holes pre driller an expectation is set that those holes are going to play a part in the process. When they do not line up with anything it creates disappointment. When I take on an axle swapping in the future I will order the brackets without any holes drilled in them. That way I can put the holes where I need them to be. The bracket also is shaped like an upside down "J" and the small leg limits where the drill bit can reach. Another serious pain is the fact that I am getting older. Crawling in and out from under the trailer, holding yourself at weird angles while drilling or cutting, and contorting ones self to tighten things down are better done by those with more flexibility.


TomW said...

I'm glad to read it is done.


Anonymous said...

Good news, but why no pictures of the "new" Anna or her underpinnings? Was the end result another disappointment?