Monday, April 4, 2016

Quit While You're Ahead

"How come wherever you're involved, there's always a story?" - My father, asked of me on at least a weekly basis from the age of 12 until about 21

6:27 AM Friday 3/25/16

Van was loaded with dirt bike and gear, a weekend plan to leave work early and head to the training grounds, get in three days of practice before an approaching hare scrambles.  Cranking the engine, a strange sound emanated from underneath, but it started.  I wondered briefly if the starter was starting to go, and headed to work.

Stop for gas, engine off.  Go to restart, starter motor spins but does not engage.  Problem.  Crawling around under the van I can see one of the starter bolts has backed out.  Odd.  Upon further inspection the bolt is actually sheared off at the threads.  Son of a bitch.  Other bolt is holding fast.  I jam the starter back into position to mesh with the ring gear and pray to any god awake at this dark hour.  It lights, but I can feel a plan starting to go to hell.  Course deviation to Advance Auto for screw extractors, starter bolts and probably some more drill bits.  Leave van running, hope nobody steals it.

Six hours later I am in even deeper shit than when I started.  Fourteen broken drill bits, metal shavings in my eyes, strained neck and bleeding knuckles are nothing compared to the penultimate horror and final tragedy.  The screw extractor shears off in the hole and that familiar sinking feeling returns.

Pressing on, I drill around the extractor and snap another six drill bits.  When I finally finish what is turning into a colossal fuck up of my own design, there are no chunks of drill bit left, the screw extractor is out, but so are the threads.  Ok, no big deal, just run a bolt through the top and tighten it from the bottom.  I find an appropriate length bolt and while tightening it the death blow occurs.  The casting on the engine block cracks and two chunks of starter mounting pad fall to the ground.  Well, if you are gonna screw yourself, do it real good.

(ps: if anyone reading this can recommend a good welder of cast iron anywhere in Virginia, please contact me)

Seriously?  What kind of idiot makes this happen?  Me, apparently.

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