I’m a fairly mechanically inclined person. Or so I like to think. Our Pilot has been making some noise for a while. It seems to be the wheel bearings. Or so it has been diagnosed by me and my non-mechanic friend. After looking up replacing the wheel bearings online, we determined that it was a job we could tackle.
“I’m Brian, the Smiley-Mustachioed Canadian, eh.”
Unfortunately, on the day I was planning to do said repair, my friend was otherwise engaged. No worries. I had found a YouTube video that was both informative and entertaining. It looks like a piece of cake. Plus, the guy had a smiley mustache. And was Canadian. If he says it’s easy, I believe him.
I went to the auto parts store and picked up the parts I needed. Luckily, they also have “free” tool rental. It is free in the sense that you pay for the tools and get the money back when you return them. Much like what a lot of people actually do, only this is sanctioned by the store. I took my part and tools (not euphemisms) and went home to tackle the task.
The tire came off easily, of course. The brakes, too. The drum/rotor/wheelie thing that the brake pads hit came off with a little coaxing. By coaxing, I mean the two screws that hold it on that I didn’t realize were there at first.
Finally, I was down to the hub. The core, or hub, if you will, of where my repairs would happen. According to my Canadian, smiley-mustachioed friend, the hub comes out relatively easily. There is a large nut you have to take off. It is tapped in, so it doesn’t spin off. No worries. “You just knock it up, eh. Don’t get it pregnant, though. That could be horribly embarrassing for some people.” I knocked it up with a screwdriver. (Don’t worry, I used protection.) Easy peasy, as my 4-year-old would say.
The next step is to remove the hub, itself. Again, according to my Canadian friend, this part is easy. You just give it a “tap-tap-tap” with a hammer. I gave it a tap-tap-tap. The hub wouldn’t budge. I turned the hub and gave it another tap-tap-tap. Still wouldn’t budge. I continued turning and tap-tap-tapping. The hub refused to succumb to my tapping. Maybe I was missing something. Maybe I was too gentle. This time, I gave the hub a whack-whack-whack with the hammer. Nothing.
Ok, maybe I’m just not pulling hard enough. Sure, Smiley Mustache said you just had to push in the middle with your thumb. But, he’s obviously got superhuman strength. He is Canadian, eh. I am but a weak American. I started yanking on the hub. Hard. The truck started rocking back and forth on the jack, but the hub would not loosen it’s grip.
At this point, there was some mild swearing. I’m not Canadian, after all.
“Eff it,” I said, resigning to the fact that this wasn’t going to happen today. (I didn’t say “eff it.” I said the actual “F word.” Multiple times, possibly.) “Whatever, a-hole,” I said to the truck. (I didn’t say “A-hole.” I said the actual word. Multiple times, possibly.)
I gave the hub a tap-tap-tap to knock it back into place. You know, just in case I had actually moved it a fraction of a millimeter. (I really don’t think I had.) I put the nut back on and knocked it up again. (Don’t worry, I used protection.)
Then I went to put the drum/rotor/wheelie thing that the brake pads hit back on the assembly. It wouldn’t fit. There was a spring mechanism attached to this round arm thing that was in the way. It looked like it should close further than it was. So I tried pushing it closed. Nothing. I gave it a tap-tap-tap. Nothing. WTF is this stupid ring and why can I not get the stupid drum back over it? It slid off easy enough. It should slide back on.
Somehow, don’t ask me how, I was about at my wit’s end and swearing like a sailor at this point, but I figured out this ring was the parking brake. The parking brake I had put on to keep the hub from spinning as I was yanking loose the knocked up nut. I released the parking brake and the ring closed. Back to putting the drum on.
It still wouldn’t fit! I tried working it on from one side and trying to squeeze the other side of the drum on. Nothing. I tried forcing the top on. Nothing. I gave it a tap-tap-tap. Nothing. I gave it a whack-whack-whack. Nothing. Sliding it back and forth. Nothing. Calling it a no-good-piece-of-stuff-mother-loving-son-of-a-boat-go-to-freezing-hell-ash-hole. Nothing.
I may have been freaking out a little bit at this point. I took a short break.
Back to work. I tried all the above methods again, including the swearing. It was just as effective as before. In that it wasn’t helpful at all. I was at the point of just pushing the stupid truck sideways off the jack and leaving it lie there in the garage to think about what it had done.
My hands were battered and bloody from the battle. I opted to use my “Phone a Friend” lifeline. (Is that still a relevant reference?) I had sent a picture to my non-mechanic friend who was going to help. I think he was going to stop by to help put the mess back together when he was done with his stuff. Nothing was confirmed, though.
I also sent a pic to my brother. He has done similar type repairs before. I figured he was one of my best chances at getting this mess cleaned up before I called a tow truck and spent way more money than what I was trying to save by doing it myself. Plus, he tends to have similar luck to me, so if anyone had found themselves in this situation before, it would be him.
He called back and was all, “There’s usually a little thing you can hit to make it shrink back down to…” As he was talking, I went back out to the garage. Something in my brain clicked as he said this. I don’t know why. I don’t know how. But something inside me knew exactly what the problem was. There is a little pin-thing that is on the bottom part of the parking brake assembly. As he was talking, I took my knocking up screwdriver and tapped the pin-thing. Click! That was probably the sweetest sound I have ever heard. The assembly snapped down to its normal size. The drum slid right on. “Hah! You stupid mother lover!” (Again, not my actual words.)
In short, I’m no further ahead in my repairs than I was before. On the positive side, I’m no further behind on my repairs, either. Plus, I gained a little bit of knowledge:
Don’t trust Smiley-Mustachioed Canadians.