Getting the Squeakies Out June 15, 2002
Saturday June 15, 2002 23:23:08

This morning on our way to cross off the first list item on our collection of tasks and errands for the day, I began to hear a sound.

As we were sailing along at 60-ish miles per hour with the windows down, Ruth had to speak loudly to be heard over the rushing of the wind. Nevertheless a new high-pitched tone was intermittently, yet distinctly audible.

Now, I could go on at length describing how I puzzled over the source of the sound and I could offer a blow-by-blow retelling of the troubleshooting process I employed to analyse the situation and arrive at a definite and correct conclusion.

Or I could just cut to the chase and tell you that whether I liked it or not, today was the day I would finally replace the front brakes on the van.

It was snowy winter when I replaced the pads the first time and I only did it as part of troubleshooting a different unrelated problem. However, that day spent in the cold was just in time. There was no pad left on the driver's side. The remains of the rivets that held the pad material to the metal back was cutting grooves in the rotor. Due to a number of conditions (not the least of which were environmental and monetary), though, I did not replace the rotor.I simply installed the pads with the idea that they would be temporary and sacrificial. That is, I'd spend a little extra for the lifetime warranty pads, and simply get a new free set when it was finally time to replace the rotors.

Between that day and today there was actually another set of sacrificial pads. Since I'd had practice doing the pads on the van already, the job didn't take long. Well, actually, half the job didn't take long. The driver's side was a snap. The passenger's side was more of a twist. Two of the lug studs twisted off as I was trying to remove the lugnuts to get the wheel off. I don't remember exactly when I replaced the 1st set of sacrifical pads with 2nd, but I've probably been driving a vehicle with a marginally attached wheel for two or three months.

The weather today was marvelous. I'd wager weather doesn't get much better anywhere than it was here today. I'd also taken the extra preparational step to drag a long extension cord and my boombox down to the cement pad (the vestigal remains of the garage that was demolished before we bought the house) where I did the work.

I hadn't planned on doing this job today (like I had last Saturday), but since conditions were perfect and every single step went flawlessly, I really enjoyed this project. I know I'm a little wierd, but I am sure I'm not the only guy who thinks crankin'up some heavy tunes and doing some wrenchin' is a fine way to spend some time.

My favorite part of my maintenance time today was when Ruth and Isaiah came out to see how I was doing.

"What are you doing to the van, Daddo," Isaiah asked.

"He's fixing it so it doesn't make the noise it was making this morning," Ruth answered.

"Daddo, why are you taking the squeakies out?"

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