atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#137: Adventures in Escort Repair 6


The repairs that I had hoped to effect this week are finished. As of this moment the car needs only license plates and insurance to be street-legal.

The power steering pump looked like it was going to be especially brutal. The procedure in the Haynes manual for removing the PS pump was just horrendous--remove a motor mount, pull the AC compressor, etc--but I managed to do it without touching the motor mounts or the AC compressor.

I first had to go find a strap wrench. This is an implement which consists of a strap attached to a handle; by applying pressure the correct way, the strap will act as a wrench and loosen or tighten whatever the strap is around. I had to go to three stores to find one. Without one, it is impossible to remove the PS pump in a 1995 Escort with the 1.9 liter engine. You need the strap wrench to hold the pulley while you loosen the pulley bolts, because the pump mounts through a bracket and you can't take it off without removing the pulley.

At least the pulley is held on with bolts, and not friction-fit like it is on many GM cars.

The next step was to work the pump out. And I discovered that about 1/8" of material on the bracket prevented removal of the pump. SO I got out the air tools and hacked that 1/8" of material the fuck OFF of there. Let me see: cut off a non-structural 1/8" stub of aluminum, taking about 2 minutes, or remove a motor mount and the AC compressor, taking at least an hour.

...hmm...let me think....

But in the process of pulling the pump out, I pulled on the wrong thing, and snapped the bung for the return line right fucking off the housing. I was mad.

Deciding just to get the one out of the red car and see what was actually leaking, I went ahead and started work on it...forgetting to pull the negative terminal off the battery and shorting the diode output to ground. Angry at myself for pulling such a stupid, basic fricking mistake, I tried starting the car, and the damn "charge" light was on. I said many bad words. Well, the alternator had to come out in order for me to get the PS pump out, anyway, so I'd just have to take it to have it checked.

As it turned out, the PS pump in the red car had a bad O-ring. This O-ring provides a seal between the pump body and the plastic housing, which also acts as a primary reservoir. I have no idea why it was bad, but it was; the plastic housing was loose on it. The one from the green car had taken some effort to get apart, so I think the O-ring just dried out and stopped sealing. Anyway, I took its housing and put it on the pump from the green car--problem solved. Good housing, good pump with good O-ring--put 'er back in.

I'd had to cut off the same 1/8" protrusion on the bracket on the red car's engine, too, by the way. But this method was vastly superior to the one in the Haynes manual, because all I had to remove was the alternator--and as I said, that had to come out anyway, in order for the PS pump to have an exit path.

I took the alternator over and had it checked; it was fine. So I came home and reassembled the car.

The radiator had been draining all day; I closed it up and refilled it with new antifreeze. The PS pump reservoir got filled with Type F automatic transmission fluid, as specified in the owner's manual. Car started and ran and there was PS fluid draining onto the driveway.

Then I realized that I had not tightened the PS pressure line all the way down--another bonehead mistake--so I shut the car off and tightened that. Restarted, no leaks. Yay! I buttoned down all the things I'd disassembled to get the car repaired, and buttoned up under the hood.

Finished reassembling the steering column next. Got all the fiddlybits put in, and put the air bag back in. Checked all lights and signals and horn; everything works.

Filled the left front tire (which has rim leaks) with Fix-a-Flat. We'll see how that does. I've had good results from using F-a-F to seal rim leaks, though. And I've got three more cans of that, just in case.

Finally, I decided that this car is now named


...because I had to combine so many parts to make functioning wholes. She's part Red and part Green, and as time goes on she'll get even more parts from the green one put in. So, "Chimera".

Tomorrow the shake-down begins.

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