So that’s what that adapter is for!

Another delay on the Saab- ran out of argon. D’oh! So, I started wrenching on this Corolla, now that the parts are in for it. Started with the halfshafts, which were surprisingly stubborn. The inner joint pulled apart instead of coming out of the transaxle in one piece.

Couldn’t get a good grip to pop it out with a pry bar, so I hopped on the YouTubes looking for tips & tricks. Found exactly what I was looking for here. HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS?

This adapter was already included with my slide-hammer kit, and threads perfectly into my locking pliers. Am I lucky for buying Irwin Vise-Grips, or do other brands use the same thread size? I dunno, but it worked like a charm. Wham bam thank ya ma’am!

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Got both axles changed, and put all back together with new brake pads & rotors. Fresh fluid, too, even to the rear drums, which were still in good shape. This car spent much of its early life in Tennessee, but despite several years in Michigan, all of the brake bleeder screws behaved.

Changing the water pump and timing covers will have to wait for another day, but I at least got the idler pulley re-secured so it won’t do any more damage. All four of the bracket bolts were loose, and one of the bottom ones was already missing. This lower one was worn the most from rattling around, and the holes in the block wouldn’t accept a new bolt anymore. I couldn’t even clean them with a thread chaser.

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So I used a cutting tap instead. I was afraid that it wouldn’t follow the original threads, but somehow I managed to bullseye the old thread path, removing a minimal amount of material. A quick rinse with brake cleaner, a blast of compressed air, a second rinse & blow, and the holes were ready to accept new clean bolts. And this time, they went in with threadlocker, so they won’t walk out again. (I’m still not sure how they loosened up in the first place. Maybe whoever changed the timing belt last forgot to tighten them?)

Next, the radiator had to be drained. But lo and behold, its leak turned out to be just a bad O-ring on the drain plug.

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Well that’s an easy fix. Always look before you fire the parts cannon, kids!