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Some wrenching tips for the youngster's workin' on their first rig

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by MuddinManny, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. MuddinManny

    MuddinManny Banned

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    Hey Guys,

    I had a chat with Big Ben, BigBlaze433, and we got to talkin' about tips concerning working on our rigs. Some real good stuff came out and it dawned on me, that the young guys, starting out on their first rig, or even some of us old farts, could use some of these tips to build confidence, or get back to basic's. So I'll start with a few.

    Please add on. It's for everyone. No one tip is wrong, not all one's tips are right. This is how we learn from one another. Keep it to basic to intermediate stuff, not intense part specific, okay.

    I'll start:

    Tips:

    • When working on bolts, it's always best to shoot them with liquid wrench the day before and the morning of working on them. It can save you some real headaches of snapped bolts.

    • When replacing bolts, never replace dry. Always use a little white litheoum grease, or your favorite lubricant ( easy guys ) unless directions of the part tell you NEVER to lubricate the threads. The grease is harmless, but will help ease the bolts in.

    • Remember to always have a good set of rags around to wipe down parts, tools and your hands. Keeping grease off your tools and your hands makes things easier and you lower your risk of injury. carb cleaner is also good to have, or low grade inexpensive brake cleaner to clean parts off. Keep an oil drain pan handy to catch the spray. Makes easy for clean-up later. Cleaning your parts allow you to better examine for stress marks, thread wear, etc. When in doubt, replace the bolt/hardware.

    • Ask Mom, or your wife, for any old household towels that need to be replaced. When working on your rig and your disassembling parts, you can lay them out on the towel, especially in the order you took them off. When time to reassemble, reverse the order. Leaves no guessing. Cardboard can work too, but on windy days, the wind can catch it and blow your parts away.

    • While your working, try and do it in steps. Complete a step, walk away, observe, collect your thoughts for the next step, and repeat the process. By handling a big job, in smaller segments, you stay focused, don't get ahead of yourself, and you'd be surprised how faster the job goes.
    • Get a box of disposable rubber gloves, lightweight and heavy duty Kitchen stuff. Wearing gloves while spray painting, greasing up bearings, or cleaning parts, can really help save your hands from getting dry, cracked or even bleeding. You can usually get these at the dollar store for less than a $1



    Okay, that's a quick start. C'mon guys! Jump in and lend a hand with some of the tricks you've learned. Please keep it clean and focused on the purpose at hand. This is meant to encourage and help build confidence in those who feel they are limited by their mechancial know-how.

    Thanks for participating!

    Manny


     
  2. sandy78

    sandy78 Registered Member

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    Get the right tools for the job, otherwise you'll work too hard and break/ruin things that cost more than the tools. Out here Autozone has a lot of tools you can buy, use and return -- just ask them for the rentals. I've had the same experience with independant auto parts stores. If you can afford it, buy a high quality tool. When I was 17 I bought an impact socket and box end wrench set from the Mac man. I still use these tools with pleasure 27 years later. If you aren't pro and can't justify Mac, Snap-on, etc, then try a local industrial supply house like Grainger, etc. for Proto, Armstrong, Allen, Williams -- brands like that. Also, check the freight damage centers for deals. Boxes break open, but sockets rarely get damaged. I can pick up nice ratchets for 8 bucks or so, and good quality sockets for a couple bucks each.

    Don't ignore your own comfort: It makes the job safer and more pleasant. I waited far too many years to get a torpedo style heater ($50ish and up). Insulated coveralls are awesome ($40-60), and insulated boots ($25?).

    Get a real (2 1/4 or 2 1/2 Ton) floor jack ($50 ish) at Harbor Freight, Costco, etc. and at least one pair of jack stands.

    The local library usually has a nice assortment of truck-repair books you can check out and return, though the advice of the people on this forum is usually more practical.

    I know it sounds like an investment, especially when you are young and just starting out, but it is one that will pay you dividends for as long as you work on your own stuff.

    Hope this is helpful to someone.
     
  3. dhcomp

    dhcomp 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    I'd get at least a 3ton. I got a 3 ton craftsman SUV jack, w/ stands, for $99 on sale. Just cause your only lifting part of your truck doesn't mean a lesser jack is safe.
     
  4. noahrob

    noahrob 1/2 ton status Author

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    1) Safety safety safety, I know those giant goggles are lame, but trust me, it take a long time to get metal shavings out of your eye, time that could be spent working on your truck.

    2) Rear reread, and then read one more time any instructions that come with a part BEFORE you dive in and take something apart. First, it will cut down on the extra trips you have to make mid way through your project and secondly, it will avoid the frustration of undoing somethign you did because you weren't clear as to what you were doing in the first place.

    3) Measure twice (and then once more) cut once.



    This is a great idea for a thread, i am excited to see what I might learn.
     
  5. chevy wrangler

    chevy wrangler 1/2 ton status

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    once something breaks fix it ASAP or else youll be doing it later and in worse conditions :(
     
  6. jamber2541

    jamber2541 1/2 ton status

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    dont forget your ziploc bags and a sharpie to store and label bolts and nuts ..etc,
    also plan ahead and try and schedule a helping hand or two to be around,
    and the internet is tool that can be used for info and searching auto parts stores in your area for parts availability
     
  7. odoa3

    odoa3 1/2 ton status

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    Check pawn shops for tools. I was able to put together a trail tool box of all Craftsman stuff very cheap this way. Also, do the repairs to your truck out of your trail tool box, that way you know what tools you need (or need to buy).

    Collect articles that pertain to you truck out of the 4x4 mags you read. I put them all in a three ring binder. Looking back through them has given me ideas, as well as sources for parts.

    A shop manual for your truck comes in handy every now and then.
     
  8. jfaulk

    jfaulk Registered Member

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    this one goes with MuddinManny's point of laying out your parts in the order you remove them. if you have a digital camera, take pics of your project as you are taking things apart. it will give you something to look at when putting everything back together and it will also give you the chance to do a tech. write up in the future if you feel so inclined.
     
  9. fordeater

    fordeater 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I think organization and patience are HUGE for working on cars. I still can't get my brother to learn that. So, because he won't learn that lesson, we make many trips to track down parts or bolts.
     
  10. OffRoad

    OffRoad 1/2 ton status

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    you can never have too many ziploc baggies for bolts or too many rags.

    check carpet palces for carpet they're throwing out. put it down ont he ground/garage floor and lay on it. makes me feel like a millionare.

    a 2 liter pop bottle with the cap screwed on tight makes a nice pillow. put it under the back of your neck, not under your head. this way you don't have to hold your head up off the ground, and your neck muscles don't get tired.
     
  11. beater_k20

    beater_k20 Banned

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    listen to the guys who are more experienced than you are. their experiences are invaluable to you. when you are told something is not right, or not safe, they tell you that for a reason.
     
  12. BKinzey

    BKinzey 1/2 ton status

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    You are going to make mistakes:( Some are going to cost you $$$:mad: Just try not to make them twice:doah::haha:

    It doesn't matter what the job is or how much it should cost. It will always take you longer, you'll work harder, and it will cost more than somebody else.:D
     
  13. k204dr

    k204dr 1/2 ton status

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    Dont use cinderblocks! at least use some 6x6 wooden blocks at the least, if not the proper jackstands, and always use something other than just the jack, especially if you need to get under, even for a second.
    Wear Gloves, grinders hurt when they run across your knuckles!
     
  14. NEK5

    NEK5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    told ya Manny:wink1:
     
  15. Chrisblazzer89

    Chrisblazzer89 1/2 ton status

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    I think this thread should be a sticky !!

    What do u guys think?
     
  16. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    • Keep a fire extinguisher close by.....near the exit door is best. You don't want to have to run THROUGH a fire to get to the extinguisher.
    • If you live in a cold climate, be cognizant of your heat source. Bullet heaters are great, but not if you are spraying carb cleaners or paints....fumes need to be vented, and a heat source that doesn't create sparks or flame is safest.
    • Wear safety goggles when grinding your 14BFF
    • Use a small machinists vice when drilling holes on a drill press....this helps keep your fingers from wrapping around the bit in a bloody, chunky mess when the part spins on you.
    • Don't feed your friends burritos or BBQ ribs before inviting them over the help you work on the truck.....especially if you are underneath pulling a tranny together.
    • When you are underneath and a wrench slips and starts to fall.....don't watch to see where it will come out....turn your head QUICK. Trust me, the wrench only goes one of two places.....your forehead, or your eye.
     
  17. MuddinManny

    MuddinManny Banned

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    Pay particular attention to this one guys! The voice of experience at its finest! :haha:


    Keep up the great work everybody. This is exactly what I wanted to see! Great info, everybody. Keep it up! :bow:

    Greg, does this post qualify for a sticky as asked above?

    Manny
     
  18. gmc4cw

    gmc4cw 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    every bolt you work on should get either anti-seize or loc-tite. you will thank yourself down the road for using the anti-seize.

    When cutting something with a razor blade always cut away from yourself. this does not mean you must always point the knife at a 90 degree to your body. simply think about where the blade will end up if something slips.

    Your hand is not a hammer, neither is your foot. use anything you want to bang on stuff that is not made out of you.

    Leverage is your friend. Go buy yourself a real breaker bar. don't use a torque wrench cause the handles is longer. you will ruin it. Don't put a peice of pipe on a standard ratchet, you will break it. don't double up open ended wrenches, they can slip apart and hurt you.

    Gloves, goggles, safety glasses, long sleeves. some of the stuff may look stupid but can save you a trip to the E.R.

    don't run your grinder in shorts and sandals, your legs will look like you have chicken pox afterwards.
     
  19. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    Never do dangerous work alone, especially when a truck is not on its tires.

    Always use jackstands when a tire is in the air. HF has some 12 ton ones for 79.00 that go 33" high.

    Don't get in a hurry and forget eye and ear protection.

    And, as anyone that knows me will tell you, wear shoes. Steel toes are best.
     
  20. ZooMad75

    ZooMad75 1/2 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Great Idea!

    One of the best things I've learned over the years is to plan ahead when looking to do the next big change to my truck. Like when doing the lift, gather ALL the parts you need. Not just the ones that came with the kit. Hose every nut and bolt down the week before you do the job. This way when you do get started, things come apart somewhat easier, but also your need to leave and chase down parts is almost eliminated. If you got everything there, you can spend more time working and less time chasing. No more banzi runs to the part store 5 minutes before closing!

    Being Prepared is another good Idea. Both for working on the rig and when on the trail. KNOW your truck and how to fix it. If you don't know something ask, here or a buddy locally. If you know how to fix something in your driveway, you CAN do it on the trail. Scan ebay for a factory service manual for your year. THe chiltons and haynes manuals are OK, but nothing beats a FSM.

    One other word of advice, always pump the brakes back up after changing pads...Anything in the path of your truck will thank you the first time you pull out after the job....ask me how I know.
     

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