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When your mechanic scares the heck out of you....

Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
11,337
Location
Arlington
First Name
Tim
Last Name
Shelfer
So I was having new tires put on my Honda today, at Discount Tire. About 5 minutes in, the mechanic came into the waiting room, looking for me.
Him: "Mr Shelfer, will you come with me, please?"
Me: "Uh, sure."
Him: "I need to show you something. Frankly, I've never seen anything like this before."

And by now, I'm imagining all sorts of horrors. A broken rotor? A badly bent wheel? Fluid streaming out of a McPherson strut? But I get out to the bay and he points to the front right wheel, and (check the picture if you haven't already) I see a pair of my own lock pliers bitten on to the backside of the upper brake caliper bolt. The mechanic is looking at me quizzically.
Me: "In case you were wondering, I changed the brake pads a couple of weeks ago. I guess I was wondering where those pliers were."
Him (looking relieved): "I was hoping that was all it was."

So, 2 1/2 weeks ago, I did a quick front brake pad change-out before taking my wife on a 10-day excursion to Taos. Those lock pliers held on for dear life for 1600 miles of Texas and New Mexico driving, at 80+ mph at times, over gravel roads, through construction zones, and over some humongous pot holes near Mora. Not sure what brand of lock pliers they are, but dang, they sure do what they're supposed to do.
 

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Joined
Jan 25, 2005
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Cypress Tx
First Name
David
Standard equipment harley davidson emergency shift leaver . Not a very good tool for installing brake caliper line up bolts but at least with vise grip safety locks the caliper bolt cant come loose and fall out .
 
Joined
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Tim
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Shelfer
Standard equipment harley davidson emergency shift leaver .
I was once riding with a buddy on a dirt road. He took a spill on his Buell & broke the shift lever off. We got him home with a pair of vice grips being very gingerly used to shift.

Tim those are Vise grip brand. Welcome back.
Thanks, Drew; glad to be back. I just checked and they are in fact Vice Grip brand. Dang, you know your tools!
 
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Drew
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Wright
I was once riding with a buddy on a dirt road. He took a spill on his Buell & broke the shift lever off. We got him home with a pair of vice grips being very gingerly used to shift.



Thanks, Drew; glad to be back. I just checked and they are in fact Vice Grip brand. Dang, you know your tools!
Sadly I do a lot of my own work when I can.
 

mitchntx

Follower of Rev. Doug
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Granbury
Why are you using vice grips on the bolt head in the first place?

That single Allen wrench or socket is a $5 toll at most.


FWIW ... after one of my brake jobs, a caliper bolt came out and rode against the inside of the wheel.
Scary stuff. That was the day I stopped playing around with brakes and got the proper tools to do a proper job.
 
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Joined
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It's not an allen, Mitch; GM uses those, but not Honda. It's a plain ol' hex nut back there. It's easy to line up a set of pliers to grab onto two flat sides without doing any damage.

Edit: the bolt is a standard hex bolt - 12mm, I think. The back side is one of those things with 2 flat sides and rounded on the ends.
 
Joined
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Dan
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I was going to ask the same question as Mitchntx. I hate it when manufacturers use weird fasteners and strange ways of doing things. But thank God for Vice Grips!

I tried to change the brake pads on my Subaru once, but could NOT get the caliper to open up. I used a massive C-clamp and still nothing. So I buttoned it back up and took it to a mechanic. When I picked up the car I asked how they managed to do it. "Oh, on a Subaru, the calipers screw in and out."
 
Joined
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Tim
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Shelfer
I was going to ask the same question as Mitchntx. I hate it when manufacturers use weird fasteners and strange ways of doing things. But thank God for Vice Grips!

I tried to change the brake pads on my Subaru once, but could NOT get the caliper to open up. I used a massive C-clamp and still nothing. So I buttoned it back up and took it to a mechanic. When I picked up the car I asked how they managed to do it. "Oh, on a Subaru, the calipers screw in and out."
Danny, that's pretty common on Japanese cars, particularly on rear discs. At Autozone, you can borrow a universal tool that serves both to compress calipers and, if necessary, screw them in. They'll charge the tool to your credit card. When you return it, they simply reverse the charge. I'll probably have to do that when my Honda rear brakes need replacing in 30K or so. For the fronts, my trusty C-clamp sufficed.

Tim you must have some mad vice grip skills.
I can't use them without leaving witness marks.
Mitch - I'm just amazing, that's all. Nah, seriously, there may be "witness marks" and that doesn't concern me. What's important of course is that you don't round off or strip the flat sides that are designed to catch a wrench head. That's the mistake people often make with lock pliers, and I'm careful about that. And I didn't actually bite them down with enormous locking force - I tightened them just enough to hold onto the backside while I broke the bolt loose from the front side. More's the miracle that 1600 miles of driving didn't cause the mechanism to pop loose.

There's actually a reason why I used the vices instead of an open end wrench. You had to be there, but in short, it was a combination of a very restricted space and reduced strength in my 68 y/o wrists. We get older; we adapt.
 

mitchntx

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I was going to ask the same question as Mitchntx. I hate it when manufacturers use weird fasteners and strange ways of doing things. But thank God for Vice Grips!

I tried to change the brake pads on my Subaru once, but could NOT get the caliper to open up. I used a massive C-clamp and still nothing. So I buttoned it back up and took it to a mechanic. When I picked up the car I asked how they managed to do it. "Oh, on a Subaru, the calipers screw in and out."
Screw in vs press in pistons are typically identified by a "cross". Press in pistons are typically smooth-faced.
Screw in style are typically used on the rear and for the parking brake.
It's not a Subaru specific thing.

Tim, I didn't mean for you to think I was criticizing, but rather to call attention that this is not the recommended tool for the job.
I mean folks pull motors with an oak tree, length of rope and a come-along. It'll work, but not the best tools for the job.
 
Joined
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Tim
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The title of this seems backwards. Shouldn't it be "when you scare the heck out of your mechanic"? :p
Bumfuzzled him for sure. :doh:I think the reason he showed it to me was just to be sure the grips weren't holding something together.

Years ago, I had a Datsun that had this little clip on the caliper. I lost a clip. The dealership wouldn't sell me a clip, only a new caliper at $$$$$$$$. So I improvised with a piece of duck tape. Then came the day a new Nissan dealership contacted me & offered me a free 100-point checkup. So I took my Datsun to them. Presently the service guy came to me with a list of suggestions. Then he looked at me puzzled and said "and your brakes.......", and I replied "Oh crum, you found the duck tape!" They put a new clip on for me for free. It actually made no difference, so no safety issue; worst case, it kept the pad from having a tiny amount of play within its slot.

Tim, I didn't mean for you to think I was criticizing, but rather to call attention that this is not the recommended tool for the job.
I mean folks pull motors with an oak tree, length of rope and a come-along. It'll work, but not the best tools for the job.
I didn't, Mitch. No harm, no foul.
 
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Screw in vs press in pistons are typically identified by a "cross". Press in pistons are typically smooth-faced.
Screw in style are typically used on the rear and for the parking brake.
It's not a Subaru specific thing.

Tim, I didn't mean for you to think I was criticizing, but rather to call attention that this is not the recommended tool for the job.
I mean folks pull motors with an oak tree, length of rope and a come-along. It'll work, but not the best tools for the job.
I know that NOW.
 

Tracker

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Dec 25, 2005
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down in a holler, Catawba County, NC
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Gary
Holy cow....what were you doing to that bottom bracket that required that much torque?
Not my BB, just used the pic for illustration. I've used the method on oil drain plugs that some previous gorilla tightened, and probably caliper bolts, among other things. I don't ever think I've used it to tighten bolts/nuts, just loosen.
Disclaimer: I've also broken cheap wrenches that way, too.
 
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