Friday, September 21, 2012

Success (At last)

This latest problem has been one of my most challenging. It was one of those situations where a simple job turned into a nightmare job in the tiny twist of a wrench.

Almost everybody who enjoys turning wrenches will, at one point or another, twist the head off a pesky little bolt. I know I've done it. Four times spring to mind without thinking too hard. This one was the fourth. This one, however, was the trickiest of them all. To be perfectly honest, I've never fixed these before. They were all in places that I could live with letting it slide. This one, on the other hand, crippled my motorcycle. One tiny little broken screw ensured that the motorcycle was garage bound.

The normal procedure in situations like this is to drill out the stuck screw. Sometimes the screw comes out when you do this, but if you're unlucky, like me, you'll just have to drill it out all the way and tap (rethread) the hole again.

Did I mention I was unlucky? It just happens that this little screw was in such a tight place that I had no hope of fitting a drill in there without taking the motor off the frame.

It's a good thing I work with a bunch of toolmakers.

I had about 1-1/4" of space to work with. If I was going to drill, I would have to drive the drill by hand. Fortunately I have this set of ratcheting box wrenches. So my buddy and I got together in his machine shop and he let me spend a little time on his lathe making some useful little tools. Some of the tools he just made for me due to his willingness to help with my project.

We had to take a bunch of standard hardware store tools and modify them for our purposes. Here they are.

As you can see, the wrench is the only tool more then 1-1/2 inch long.

As I said, things were very tight. This is an overall shot to illustrate how tight things were. If you can see the wrench, the problem is at the top end of it. Here's a close-up:

This is where I was drilling the hole (which is the first step prior to tapping). As I said, I was driving the drill with the wrench.

At length, the drill finally made it through the mess and I had a nice clean hole to deal with. The next step, of course, is to tap the hole. This gives it the threads that allow it to receive a screw.

Once again, I was working with specially modified tools, praying at every step that the tap would not break off in the hole. (That would have been very bad - worse even than the screw breaking off in the first place. This operation was very risky.)

Here is the tap all covered with little bits of metal that used to be in the motorcycle.

But, like I said in the beginning, I prevailed. Here it is with the new screw installed. It took more than two months of wrestling with this silly thing, but  now it's back on line. I can't wait to spend the next week riding before it gets to rainy.

 Thanks for reading!


At 7:46 PM, Blogger Chelsea said...

Even thought I only understood about half of that....good job babe!


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