Illustration for article titled Well sheeeeeeet!

Last month I found out what I had done messed up on the RallyMetro. The short version, for those who are not interested in clicking on the link, is one of the bolts holding the front left lower control arm backed out, causing the front end alignment to go radically wrong. I FUBARED the front left tire just towing it the 85 miles home.


I couldn’t just get another bolt and install it, because the threades were totally jacked up. After pondering for a while about what to do, I decided I should drill and tap the hole for a bigger bolt. I dug through my tools and found a 5/8"-18 tap in a small box of taps that had been given to me by the official self-appointed RallyMetro body-man, FryGuy.

I scared up a grade 8, 5/8"-18 x 1-1/2" bolt at my local Fastenal store, and ordered a 37/64" drill bit from the ultranets. Grand total for these was something like $11.


The drill bit arrived yesterday, and today my girls were at daycare, so I figured I’d spend the first hour or two of my morning knocking this repair out right quick. Drilling the hole out went nice and easy, because it really didn’t need to be much bigger. Then good ole’ Murphy starting kicking me right in the gentleman’s area.

My tap holder wasn’t big enough for a 5/8" tap, but I found a 3/8" 8-point socket that came from the first socket set I bought when I was 13-years old (tool collecting pays off!) that would work. I then put some thread cutting oil on the tap, and turned it in a few cranks ... maybe a turn and a half total, probably not even that much. Then the tap jammed, so I went to back it out. It backed out a little, then it jammed. I tried back and forth several times, but to no avail.


Thinking perhaps it was the slop in my driving mechanism that was causing me trouble, I hopped on my scooter and hit the local Ace hardware and NAPA trying to find a proper tap holder. No dice there. I headed home and called my buddy who teaches machining and asked his advice. He said I was almost certainly jammed on a chip, and was simply going to need more leverage to get it out. His suggestion, ‘Your 8-point socket is probably a 3/8" drive, so put a 1/2" adapter and a breaker bar on it, and give it a good yank.’

Well, my socket was a 1/4" drive, so I put a 3/8" adapter and my favorite socket wrench on it, and gave it a nice big pull. That’s when the Harbor Freight adapter snapped. At this point I was pissed off, so I put a socket adapter on my cordless impact gun and tried that. All that managed to do was put some wear marks in the socket itself.


I then headed to Lowes, as I’ve been happier with Kobalt than I have Craftsman tools recently. I wasn’t able to find a 3/8" drive 8-point socket, so I bought a set of adapters hoping for better luck with a quality adapter. I checked for a proper size tap holder while I was there, but again had no luck.

Immediately upon my return home, I broke that adapter too. At least that one I’ll be able to exchange for a new one. Then I headed for Sears, hoping for either a bigger drive 8-point socket, or a proper sized tap holder. No luck on the socket, but I did find the correct tap holder. Also, I got it for 20% off.


Sidenote for Chicago-area Oppos: The Oakbrook Sears is having a remodeling sale. Most tools are 20% off right now. They’re still pretty well stocked.

Genuinely happy to now have to correct tool, I put it on and cranked as hard as I could ... and made absolutely no progress. I tried a bunch of times back and forth and got nothin’.


By then it was time to pick up the girls, so that’s how it sits right now. The only thing I can think to try tomorrow, is slide some bits of electrical conduit over the handles to make them longer and get more leverage. Any suggestions are welcome.

The best laid plans ...

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