Sunday, May 20, 2018

Honda Odyssey sway bar bushings and moments of sheer panic

The other item that failed the van inspection was the worn out sway bar bushings .
From a quick check on you tube I knew they would be a royal pain in the ass as the rear bolt on the strap that holds the passenger side of the sway bar is impossible to access and is typically rusted out from the AC condenser drain that sits right above it .
However while contemplating the problem, I find this absolute catastrophe .  And that shot is taken after some cleaning . That is the support bracket for the right side of the steering rack , it is completely gone . As in rusted out through and through . That will condemn this car permanently . OHH CRAP!!!
The dreadful pit in my stomach grows . . . .
I try cleaning things up a bit in there to assess it better and can't seem to get to it with tools as it is way inside of the suspension and hard to reach . So I come up with a pipe inside a pipe that can hold a cold chisel , so I can knock off the rusted pieces of the lower part of the bracket from the chassis . A  plan slowly develops . . .
Once I manage to knock off the lower shreds of steel from the chassis and have clear mating surface , I make a pattern out of cardboard of the needed patch .
And fabricate a patch out of thin gauge steel . Enough fretting for one day , it is half past beer time . Need to take a breather and contemplate the situation before I make a bigger mess of it than it already is .
After sleeping on it I reconsider and figure the sheet metal I used was too thin . Found some heavier gauge 4130 steel I had in my pile of junk . So I make a new and improved pattern .
Mark out the piece . . .
And cut out the piece with my angle grinder .
It results in something that looks close enough after a couple trashed cutting disks .
A bit of grinding, and some heavy persuading with a portable , manually operated , optically guided , inertial impact delivery device  . . . never hit it harder , get a bigger hammer . . .
. . . . and some drilling , we arrive at this random art form .
Seems to fit the spot reasonably well .
The split where I bent and flared it needs to be filled , so I cut and fit a tiny wedge .
Then hit it with the MIG welder and fill it in .
And some work on the grinding wheel gets me close enough .
Not bad for a hack .
Some contortions with the MIG welder , and some heavy clamping in order to overcome the warping as I weld  . . .
Yea , if that rack ever has to come out I will need to cut the spot weld on the strap that holds it .
Not pretty but it is strong enough and will have to do .
Now back to the original task of replacing the sway bar bushings .
Back bolt on the strap was totally roached out and the fourteen millimeter socket would just spin on it .  No room to work . After a visit with my friend Gregg Allen for some moral support and encouragement he provides just the tool need to extract the offending bolts . These sockets have counter clockwise spiral cuts so they dig in to the bolt head as you ratchet out the bolts . This will be my next purchase . They truly saved the day .
Had to use every extension in my box , probably twenty six inches in total , and reach in from the top behind the engine using a swivel to get it to break loose . All the videos about this repair on you-tube  show them coming in from underneath . I just don't know how they did it as there is no room to fit a socket and ratchet over the bolt down there . This seemed to work much better .
The damaged bushing now replaced , this shot shows the tangled deep location we are operating in .
I installed the new bushing and using a new bolt with a seventeen millimeter head only in the front as it won't fit in the back . I simply could not make the seventeen millimeter socket fit between the strap and the fire wall . I find one reasonably good fourteen millimeter , one and a quarter pitch bolt in my collection of saved bolts that allows me to tighten it with the corresponding socket in the back .
Hit my patch with some undercoating to extend its life a bit and hide my ugly welding .
And proceed to the driver side where we have a lot more room to work and can actually get a ratchet in . The Steering rack mount on this side appears intact .
Twenty minutes later, success.
The appearance of competence is intoxicating .

Friday, May 11, 2018

Honda Odyssey engine mount

One of the other failures on the state inspection was the front engine mount on the van .
Supposed to look like this . . .
Only after I ordered a new one, the mailman delivers this. . . . that don't look eve close to the right part .
Seems the warehouse monkey can't read English and slapped the wrong shipping label on the wrong part he picked from the shelf .
Three weeks later after a lot of Flea-bay back and forth I finally get my money back , order and receive the right part from a different vendor . 
 And processed to extract the broken mount .
The part supports the side of the transmission that faces the backside of the radiator. Here we are looking at it from the top . The camera makes the space look big , In reality there is hardly more then four inches space . Lots of expletives , skinned knuckles and forearm , and extraordinary perseverance allows me to take the old one out and get the new one in place . Using some drift pins to align everything and every extension in my tool box to reach the fourteen mm bolts .
 The lower bolts that hold that top aluminum bracket are best accessed from underneath the car. Ratcheting box end wrenches saved the day
Got it done. Major Pain in the A** .  Next chapter the Sway-Bar bushings . . .

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Food and Fire

Just some neat pictures I took while cooking last night's diner . . .
. . . on a Swedish Candle
a twelve inch log with five chainsaw cuts run lengthwise
I was rushing things . . .
. . . but it was getting late and we were hungry .
 The thing really puts out some serious heat .
if I were to guess the pan was probably around 700 deg F
here is what it all looks like with flash
The smoke is from the pan , not the fire .
This was what it looked like when I started . An eighteen inch long log , twelve inches in diameter . Five chainsaw cuts run lengthwise three quarters of the way down . Drove three spikes in it to set the pan on . Stuffed some newspaper in the cuts and lit it with my propane torch . This was my first try at doing one and there is a learning curve. Should have given myself more time and started earlier. As I was in a bit of a rush and was less than careful, got smoke in my eyes at just the wrong moment and did manage to splash myself with some grease when I dropped the second steak in . Spent the night holding an ice bag . Lessons learned . Start the thing an hour before you want to cook so the flames have a chance to die down a bit before putting the pan on . A twelve inch diameter log is probably more than needed . Eight inch would be more than plenty .

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Odyssey rear brake line replacement

The Honda van failed the state motor vehicle inspection on several counts . 
 So I figured I might as well start with the easy bit . Light my home built wood stove and back the car in the garage .
Seems the rear brake lines have succumbed to seventeen years of  winter road salt and calcium chloride. These are the short hard lines that goes from the flex line along the rear swing arm to the brake cylinder .
Easiest way to get them off is just snip them with a pair of dykes . That way you can get most of the rust off the fitting with a steel brush , as well as crimp the line shut so it don't leak all over the place and . . .
. . .  get your ten millimeter socket to fit . If you try removing it without cutting the line you can only use an open end wrench and that will usually mangle the fitting and then it will never come off . A bit of PB Blaster helped loosen things .
Once I had the offending piece on the bench I taped the fittings back on just to have an example of what I needed . Purchased some new 3/16 line but of course the offering from NAPA was too long .
After some measuring with a piece of wire, I determined the necessary length and cut the new pipe .
And deburred the inside edge of the cut pipe .
Then we need to add the flare back on the cut end . Traditionally we use one of these tools to do the job .
But for once I got lucky and found this splendid and rather expensive looking, Eastwood brand pipe flaring tool, among dad's arsenal . Truth be told it was a bit puzzling as I had never seen such a device ever . Hmmm , I think I can figure this one out .
After a bit of head scratching I selected the right size mandrel to fit the 3/16 pipe .
And setting the mandrel in the tool affixed in my bench vice , I set the pipe to the appropriate depth .
And clamped it all down tight . The idea here is to do a double flare. The first step should crush the pipe down on itself and effectively fatten up the end so it has a shoulder around the outside perimeter. So you select the correct mandrel from the rotating turret, and swage the captive pipe back on itself .
So that it looks something like this .
Then you rotate the turret and select the mandrel to swage the inner bevel on the pipe .
End result is something like this on the outside of the pipe .
And the conical bevel on the inside of the pipe . So far so good .
Then using this handy pipe bending tool I bought for fifteen dollars . . .
. . . we need to bend the pipe into some semblance of the original .
Kinda , sorta , like that ????
Hey that's not so bad , and it might just work .
After some further persuasion and a few choice words, it looks like it might do the job . Note this is the left side of the car . So this is the first side I actually did and the learning curve was a bit steep , thus the brake fluid over the back side of the backing plate .
As the brake shoes were a bit worn . . .
. . . I replaced those as well while I was at it .
I taught myself the easiest way to deal with those pesky springs is to put them on the shoes and then fit the shoes to the hub .
Not bad for a hack . I even remembered to take photos before I dismantled the brakes so I had evidence of how it all was supposed to go back together .
Then you bleed the brakes to get the air out of the line . Real handy with the one man brake bleed device . A bit of fiddly work to adjust the shoes so they are tight and the emergency brake actually works .  But I got it sorted after a couple tries . Next chapter we deal with replacing a broken engine mount , worn sway bar bushings , and a minor patch on an otherwise solid exhaust system .