The 6 hour brake job…

Now folks, I’m not a car whiz by any means, but I’ve done my share of brake jobs over the past few years, and tonight, good Lord tonight was by far the biggest PAIN IN THE ASS I’ve ever had with a brake job. When it comes to automotive maintenance, one of the easiest things to do is a brake job. The longest amount of time I’ve ever spent on a brake job has been maybe an hour, tops. I agreed to do the brakes on my buddy’s Jeep. It’s a brake job, not a big deal, right? Well, I started out at his place around 3pm, and right now it’s 11 and the job still isn’t done.

So I get to his house, and we’re missing two key ingredients to any brake job, brake cleaner (a strong solvent that degreases brake rotors), and extra brake fluid should I need to bleed the system. Not a big deal overall. So we head down to Advance Auto Parts about 20 minutes away, pick up brake cleaner and fluid. Get back to his house, its now around 4:30pm, and we start to take everything apart. Wheel comes off, caliper comes off, rotor won’t come off. Spent about an hour lubricating, hammering, and trying to pry the thing off. I reached the point where a blowtorch seemed a viable solution (heat the disc so it’ll expand and slide off). Then I noticed that I had not 1, but 2 hammers available. I hammered the claw of one in between the rotor and the mounting bracket, and slid the fucker off. I then proceeded to hurl it a good 30 feet. I clean the new parts, install them, bolt it all back up, and have him test it. The wheel spins freely, he brakes and it stops, and then it spins freely again. Not a problem. We take a food break around 6:00, chill for about an hour, then head back out. The second wheel takes all of 15 minutes to tear down and install the new hardware. We bolt it all back up, fire up the Jeep, and it seems we’re stuck in the mud. So he throws it into 4 high and we grudgingly go up the driveway. The front brakes are completely locked. To make a long story short, DaimlerChrysler in their infinite fucking wisdom decided halfway through a model year (1999) to swap the brakes in this model Jeep. So one year Jeep, two different types of brake discs, and they are NOT inter-compatible. Guess which ones we installed. So we call up Advance Auto Parts again, and they claim to have the correct brakes in… We get there, same damned wrong brakes. Right ones are in Newton, and we only had 25 minutes. Fuck that. So we told them to get the brakes, and then recall we know someone at another parts store who DOES have the right rotors. He comes in, opens up, sells us the parts, and then we mutually agree that there’s no fucking way its getting done tonight cos the mechanic (ME) is fucking shot.

Jeep’s out of commission at the moment, but I’ll be over there again tomorrow to finish it with the right parts. Gah. Now I’m gonna go play my videogames and drink beer.

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