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Parking brake fluid?

September 24, 2007

Like “blinker fluid” (the imaginary fluid required to make your turn signals work), or “muffler bearings” (no moving parts in those), I would have found Tim’s recent blog commentary on “park brake fluid” to have been indicative of some practical garage humor played out at the expense of the new guy.  I would have thought so, had it not been our waterloo a week ago.

We were traveling to Charlotte to pick up a salvage vehicle that will be the engine and transmission donor for a project Camaro, when disaster befell us a little over an hour into the journey.  Suddenly, there was that tell-tale grinding / scuffing noise of a bearing that has suddenly seized and declared that it will turn no more.  A cacophony of other sounds soon followed, letting us know that our plans for the day were being changed.   Through the miracles of modern technology, Google over a web browser enabled phone, we found the nearest dealership and limped in.  We sounded as though we were dragging dozens of empty soup cans behind us.

It was nearly closing times, so a small amount of cajoling produced a mechanic who slid under the truck with single wrench, a clear sign that they had seen or heard this many times before.   It turns out that this truck has another assembly bolted to the rear of the transmission, with a parking brake drum attached.  This I knew.   It seems this assembly (the shiny silver part to the left of the big rust colored drum) has it’s own oil supply, seperate from the transmission.  This, I did not know.   Having run dry, the bearings were now filing a formal protest concerning the matter.

Fast forward a thousand odd dollars and a week later, and it was time to try it again.  This time the proceeded trip smoothly, again thanks in part to navigation by phone.    GPS is a truly amazing thing.

Upon arriving at our destination, we were met by a young man, perhaps 20 years old, who showed us around the facility, highlighting some customer vehicles that were underway.  This particular shop specializes in Camaro and Firebird (F-body GM cars).  It was clear they did good work, and their customers had deep pockets and a desire for highly individualized vehicles.   Watching the young man, I could see that he truly delighted in working in a small shop, where his individual contributions so affected the reputation and clientele of the business.

We soon had  our questionable looking prize loaded up and were on our way.  Home again without a glitch.  

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 24, 2007 1:05 pm

    As always, thanks for the trip, the companionship, and the chance to even do this project.

    That reminds me, I need to get that steering wheel out of my trunk…

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