Months ago I bought some new shocks and struts for my project car, a 1980 Toyota Tercel hatchback I got for free because it's basically rust chips holding hands.

Like some kind of incomplete moron I just took a wrench to the shock bolts going into the rear swing arms* and broke one. Then, like a complete moron I did exactly the same thing to the other.

I drove it on one rear shock for a while, the shocks having been so bad I barely noticed a difference, but I finally got some time in my friend's garage, and since I'm going to sell this thing soon, it was time for some work.


After a thorough douse and soak of PB blaster, I found Ryobi's backout kit to be absolutely no help. Maybe because I didn't have enough room under the car to properly swing a hammer. Plan B.

I went home for my Dremel. My Dremel was stolen with my sockets last year. I went to Ace Hardware for my new Dremel. And it actually worked. I used a cutoff wheel, ground a notch in each of the bolts, and turned out the first one with ease using a simple flathead. The second fought me until the very last thread, but it eventually succumbed to the torque.


Then I pulled out the other side, slowly and after a thorough torrent of PB, and this was the state of the threads:

The remaining shock shaft had fused to the body, and I had to hammer it loose.


I cleaned the threads in the swing arms and bolted home both shocks, complete with shiny new hardware.

Yesterday sucked. Top Gear is my favorite show, and like losing your heat in the dead of winter, its death hit me slowly. Throughout the day I counted off the things we may never see again: epic road trips, stars racing crappy cars, the cool wall, the news... It went on until I was freezing. But successfully doing a difficult repair job somehow made it all better, as if taking an ancient, oxidized heap of slow, carbureted scrap and patching it up was some kind of cosmic reminder that though our heroes have fallen, our cars will go on.


So in honor of Clarkson, I'VE MENDED SOMETHING!

TONIGHT: the front strut cartridges...


*lower control arms? I...I don't know.