…has no shoes.
By that token one could say I am the mechanic’s wife.
I have been asking nicely for months to get my
dyingcompletely dead rear shocks replaced, I even bought the parts. I got tired of asking for an oil change and did that a while back. Today it was about the brakes. Three days ago my front brakes began making a noise worse than an ice berg tearing through the side of the Titanic. In my mind I envisioned the Grand Canyon being carved into my rotors with each red light. It was time for new brake pads. I mentioned it and he said he’d do it but I’m not much of a believer.
On the way home from the office I stopped in at my favorite parts shop. Mike is the king of customer service and has become my go-to guy for parts. In three shakes of a lamb’s tail he had my pads, a case of brake clean (a peace offering/future bribe for Homer) and fresh wiper blades rung up and delivered to my car before I was done signing the receipt. Without even asking he installed the wipers for me and I was on my way – all in less than 10 minutes.
Homer called to let me know he was going to be out late working on a project with his boss. Perfect, the garage would be all mine. At home I supervised the completion of chores then let Bart invite some friends over while I donned my best garage attire and set my mind to replacing my brake pads.
About four years ago when I got my first ZJ, Homer had tried to show me how to do brakes. I remember him making it look really easy. But that was a long time ago and I was a little fuzzy on the details. I had every hope that once the wheel was off it would start to come back to me.
I remembered that the caliper bolts needed to come off and that was simple enough but the caliper didn’t just pull off like I expected. When Homer called me again I ‘fessed up to what I was doing and he told me there was a funky brake tool I was going to need. He described it and told me where to look but I wasn’t finding it. I could tell he was not only wudgity but tired and grouchy too. He was on his way home so I decide to go get dinner started and when he came home he could give me a refresher course.
Bart and I had already decided on steak for dinner. It is against the basic laws of grilling for the woman to play with the BBQ but lately I have been brave and I’m getting better at this manly way of cooking. While the grill came up to temp, I peeled potatoes and trimmed the asparagus. The London broil, brushed with a salty/spicy marinade, came off the flame done to perfection with an exquisite flavor. I mashed the ‘taters with dill, maple yogurt, butter, milk, and seasoning salt. The meal was fabulous but Bart and I ate it alone since Homer still was not home by 7:30. At 8:00 I tried to call him but his phone was out of range. Finally at 8:30 he came dragging in the door, a sorry sight. He was carrying three long-stem roses and laid them on the table but offered no explanation. I reheated his dinner and sat him down to get carbs in him quickly. After eating he watched a little of the news then disappeared to the bedroom.
At 9:30 I figured I’d better go out and put the truck back together. On a whim, I did a quick Google and found an article about a rotor upgrade. The pictures were enough to help me see what I needed to do and I resolved to give this another shot. With the help of a trusty BFH I was able to dislodge the caliper and remove the old pads. I was surprised to find no evidence of the hideous gouging I had expected.
caliper sans pads (piston still extended)
used up pad new pads
From the web article I learned that I could use a basic c-clamp in place of the brake tool Homer had recommended. Forcing the piston back to make room for both pads was not difficult. With the new pads in place I attempted to reposition the caliper but for the life of me I could not make all four arms on the ends of the pads slide into their proper places, not even with the help of my BFH. I took the wheel off the other side and examined the caliper and pads. It took me a while but I finally realized that the two pairs of pads are not identical. There is a right side pair and left side pair. I had mixed one piece from each – no wonder it was giving me grief.
With the right parts in the right places everything slid together smoothly.
When I tackled the other wheel I discovered that the caliper bolt heads had been completely masticated by the last attempt to remove them. I could have removed them forcibly but I didn’t have a new pair to replace them and it was quite late. I decided that I would complete the job this weekend. I put both wheels back on and pumped the brake a few times to ensure pressure. My brake fluid reservoir is a little low but working by myself I wouldn’t be able to bleed the lines (someone has to pump the pedal while I release the valves) so I left that for later too. I took the truck for a spin around the block, noting that it was still grinding furiously but that’s ok because at least now I know that I’m not scoring my rotors just yet and it’ll get me through the next two days.
Good lord, it’s 1:30am! Off to bed with me and my greasy hands.