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OT- Slightly, saving big bucks and car repair issues by being a machinist

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  • OT- Slightly, saving big bucks and car repair issues by being a machinist

    here is the general gist of it all. My "check engine" light on my 1997 Ranger keeps flashing on. Finally tired of it all, get it checked out, find out that the EGR pressure/position sensor is junk - so they say. Buy a new one, it is a very quick fix, unbolt, pull two vac tubes an electrical connection and replace - five minutes if you take time to open a beer and 15 minutes if you spend time drinking the beer first. OK, sounds way too easy as things in my life never go that way. I go to pull vac tube one, it comes off fine. tube two, I reach in to pull it, the opposite end comes up in mh nade, the little copper tube that it attaches to is in the end, used to be attached to an EGR tube. This little 1/4 inch tube attaches by solder or a weld to a 3/4 dia tube that goes from the manifold to the EGR valve.

    %$#@ I yell, suddenly seeing a $69.00 job turn into a $250.00 buy a part and a one hour ordeal of twisting, contortion and trying to remove bolts from a manifold that have been heated and rusted in. All the more %^&* when I try the bolt on the manifold and find it is some type of flared rig that fits no socket or wrench I own. I notice the hold where the little vac tube attached to has quite a build up of weld, and measuring the hole it matches a #7 drill almost perfectly. The tube is .251,and the hole inside is .142 or a number (heck, forgot it, but I had the drill). I figure it out. Tap the hole with a 1/4-20 about three threads deep, die thread the tube. This does not quite work - die threading the tube, but tapping the hole works out fine, especially using a spiral tap that drives the chips up and out (with a shop vac to prevent any fall in of chips). I them get out an old steel 1/4-20 bolt and drill it out, leaving it 1" long with three threads on the end so the part does not go deep into the 3/4 main EGR tube. I set this in ans swedge it a bit, for I am not going to make thes forever permanent yet.

    By now, the cost of repair is probably about $0.20 and one hour. Add the price of a new rubber vac tube at $.060 and then buying another foot to replace the other end for good measure, the job is finished at $1.67 total.

    Running the car today, things ran great. The slight hesitation I had been fighting with for two months is gone but for a known issue (one used and tired plug wire - this is another story involving a stupid almost but now former son -in law to be who nicked the insulation on a brand freaking new wire and i have yet to bring myself to buy an entire new set for the one wire, so I am running with the tired wire until I get over my silly pride or until I can somehow find a single wire on ebone).

    Once I am real happy with it all, i will solder the piece in place forever. Good day to be a home machinist

    I think the point is this. Doing a real repair on a vehicle that will last. Not bailing wire or "filling a panel with expanding foam", but making something that saves money and works as well as the original on a car in a crunch. I would like to hear stories about this type of work that others do.

  • #2
    As a retired auto mechanic, I always love making my own parts and coming up with ingenious ways to outdo the doers.
    Congrats on a well job done. A few years back I had to do intake gaskets on my Ford van, 302 injected engine.
    Of course one of the intake bolts snapped off from corrosion etc, after getting the manifold off, stub of bolt was not coming out of engine, no way no how.
    pull the head? machine it out?
    Turns out it's hardened steel alloy, no drilling. machine shop says $80.00 if I bring them the head. Screw that, I carefully welded on a stud to the nub sticking out of the head, never even pulled the head, worked just peachy.
    As far as the plug wire goes, make your own. I do it for a semi living.
    find a real auto parts store that will sell you the right plug wire by the foot, buy the ends, crimp'em on. I suggest a NAPA store.
    If you don't have the right crimping pliers, NAPA also sells separate plug wires by length, wire type and end type. One of the last true auto parts chain/stores.
    Also depends on the owner, if he's a gearhead or not.
    Good Luck,
    Last edited by wirewrkr; 05-01-2008, 11:44 PM.
    grumpy old fart


    • #3
      Did the windshield wiper balls in my Ranger a few years ago.They used a chromed steel ball for the pivot points in the linkage with an acetal bushing for the socket.Well the ball rusts and the chrome comes off and that wears out the plastic.New linkage is $95,no not me.I turn up two new ball studs out of 316 stainless and make new plastic bushings out of MDS filled nylon and replaced the old ones.Cost all of $3.00 in scrap materials and it's now better than factory.
      I just need one more tool,just one!