Slow weekend in Dartville

I have often made the mistake of assuming that if a replacement part for a car is cheap, then the repair itself is going to be a breeze. It’s a prejudice that makes no sense, unless you consider it in terms of major repairs: New transmission= very expensive part= very difficult replacement job. New motor? Same thing. Headlight? Cheap and fast.

Meet the paradigm smasher:

Motor mount for a 1972 Dodge Dart? $3.64. No big deal, right? It’s just a piece of rubber with two pieces of steel bonded to it that bolts into a bracket on the engine… which rests on it, so… yeah. I don’t know what I was thinking.

I spent the better part of Saturday driving from parts place to parts place LOOKING for a motor mount. I finally found ONE at AutoZone. By then, I was starving, so I stopped at my favorite taqueria and got a plate of roast chicken, beans and rice. Then I went to Don’s shop.

I pulled the Dart up onto the ramps and borrowed Don’s motorcycle jack (which cradled the oil pan perfectly) and jacked up the motor. Everything went swimmingly until I made the novice error of novice errors: I put the socket INSIDE the bracket and then backed the bolt right into it, which captured it there. I couldn’t go forward and I couldn’t go back.

Don was in his shop working on something or other.

“Hey…. uh, Don? You got a second?”

We both hacked at it for about 30 minutes before I jammed a screwdriver in there, reversed the direction on the socket and made enough slack to get it loose. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

After that, getting the holes on the bracket to line up seemed pretty easy, though a lot of crap fell off of the engine and into my eyes while I was doing it. (My kingdom for a lift.)

Don’s corgi, T.S., likes to come and see what you’re doing when you’re lying under a car, by the way. He likes to get right on top of your head and then look up. He’s a very cute dog. That’s what saved his life.

The old motor mount came out in two pieces. It had been destroyed by the constant dripping of power steering fluid from the leaky pump that I replaced. Once I had the old one in, we tested it by doing a couple of burnouts in the parking lot. So far, so good.

I still have a freshly dipped intake manifold waiting to be installed. It’s so clean you could eat off of it and I am going to paint it this week, but I didn’t want to get into pulling off the old manifold, the valve covers and all of that without nine hours of daylight to play with, in case I broke a fastener or something.

I spent Sunday running the tiller in our garden plot. We are already planting tomatoes and basil down here. More on that later.

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