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Share how knowing skills saved your day

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--- Quote from: Cedar on July 01, 2014, 12:12:10 PM ---

It is your friends who are confusing to me. Can they change a tire? Or do they call AAA and wait for hours for them to show up? I used to be really good at changing a tire once a week and got really good at it. Would they feel helpless at not taking a Basic First Aid class or would they be taking pictures with their cell phone instead of helping the victim? Would they know how to turn off their water if they had an incident like yours. Can they survive if their car runs off the road in a snowstorm in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere? People like that boggle my brain.


--- End quote ---

They have learned some stuff over the years but are not as good as me, not that I am great by a long shot.  I consider myself trying to be classic-manly, meaning I can stop the immediate problem on most things and fix some things.  I put them as not boring but annoying if a prep-need comes up in even a small way.  The first prep in any situation is usually "assess the situation."  When I try to do that they will yap and yap.  My reply is I can fix it.  I can do magic, but I can't do miracles.

On cars, one replaced a car when it had life left because of a corroded battery.  His dad came to salvage it for sale (it was actually a good car so don't take "salvage" wrong.)  Says,"my dad put something on the battery to get rid of it."  So I say, "baking soda and water."  He says, "I don't know what it was."  I reply "baking soda and water."  This repeated a few times, I tried to tell him I was telling him what it was because I knew this at age 12 and you need to know basic home chemistry.

Maybe I will have more luck with the prep group I am trying to start here as soon as I set up a meeting, nice weather has me too busy to want to meet at Panera.

A year or two ago the radiator in my jeep failed in spectacular of the plastic tanks on the ends ruptured. I replaced the radiator with an aftermarket all metal unit to avoid that in the future, but I digress. A week or so after replacing the radiator I was on my way to the gym when I smelled coolant and saw steam coming from under the hood. Not good, but I was only a couple of blocks from an autoparts store so I drove to their parking lot. Turned out that the lower radiator hose had blown off of the water pump. Evidently I hadn't gotten the hose clamp tight enough. I had to buy a couple of gallons of antifreeze and a screwdriver. Thirty minutes later, arms covered with grease, grime and a couple minor burns, I was back on my way and haven't had any trouble since, other than it being time to replace the water pump again. Not really so much about skills as not being afraid to get dirty doing manual labor though I guess.

There's a different lesson in this one--- Same jeep began giving intermittent trouble about starting. Most times it would start just like normal, other times it would turn over very slowly, and occasionally it would not even crank, as if the battery was dead. The battery was good(had it tested), so I checked all the wiring and the connections. Could not find any problems there, so I came to the conclusion that the starter was going bad. I happened to have a spare starter, so I threw it in the back of the jeep figuring that if I got stranded I could just swap it out in a parking lot. As it turned out, that's pretty close to what happened, with the exception of me changing out the starter, LOL. Only three bolts hold the starter on, and there are only two wiring connections. The wiring connections and two of the bolts were loose in less than ten minutes. The third bolt though, well, I couldn't access it with the wrenches I had due to where it was located. A socket and ratchet is needed. Even though I had tools and the part, I didn't have the right tools, so I was stranded anyway.

We were on our way to Yellowstone National Park. Takes two days to get there for us so we stayed in Casper WY at the end of the first day. Next day, a SUNDAY, we left the motel. Got about a mile, and the car overheated.  I opened the hood and noticed the electric fan wasn't running at all even though it was clearly overheated. Had to wait for it to cool down. Poured all our drinking water in to refill the radiator. While waiting during the cool down, I noticed a truck stop on the hill about a mile distant. So we drove up there, and it got hot again.

Knowing it was Sunday and nobody would be working on cars.

Went into the truck stop and bought alligator clips and some insulated wire. Used my pocket knife to peel about 1/4" of the insulation from the wires near the fan (the peeled sections needed to be offset to prevent a short, and I taped around the clip on the red wire to prevent a short to ground). Clipped a jumper wire to the red wire which I expected to be the (+) side and another to the black wire (-).  Fed them in a safe route up to the battery and cut them to length, added another alligator clip to each. Then attached them to the battery terminals, and the fan started running. Obviously, a relay or something was preventing the fan from getting current. Fortunately, it was not the fan itself that was bad.

So I said to the wife, are you ready to continue on to Yellowstone (where we had reservations at the Old Faithful Inn).  She said, "Really?" We were delayed about 90 minutes in all.

A few miles down the road she said, "You're just magic!" 

We did spend the next week having to pop the hood and disconnect the fan at every stopover, but we got to finish our trip. When we got home, my regular mechanic replaced a relay for us, and taped the wires where they were stripped of insulation.

I did a stint at light duty auto mechanics while in college, afternoons and weekends. Learned some very valuable skills then.


On my honeymoon trip to Texas many years ago, I took along some tools since we were poor.  I ended up having to change the water pump on the car on the way to Texas (in the motel parking lot--there was an auto parts store close by).  And on the way back I had to replace the battery.

Not very difficult stuff, but it saved us money we didn't have. 


Good job has_been18



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