Shadetree mechanic wisdom
Wolfgang Kohrn 1992

What is a shadetree mechanic?

A shadetree mechanic is a guy that has never worked on a car in detail until he found a Mustang and developped a special relation to his pony. Ponyrider are very peculiar in letting another guy work on their horse. So he becomes a shadetree mechanic. A shadetree mechanic has 2 left hands and makes lots of experiences with broken screws and nuts, damaged or misordered parts. He is the greatest source of "How not to Do" for other shadetree mechanics. Most of us have went through this stadium. So lets put things together. If you have a story, please e-mail and I post it here.

Drum "breaking"
The most common fault for shadetree mechanics appears, when working on your drum brakes. Remember exactly, how the springs are set into the openings. It is not good to just hang th end wire of the spring into the hole. The coils beginning must be exactly at the holes end. This requires special angling of the springs. Otherwise they will fall out upon your first brake and release test. That is what happened to me. The result: I did not notice it and after some hundred meters I heard something turning around in the drums. On my way back unfortunately I had to brake. One of the brake shoes broke apart. That costed me another drive to the parts shop and another afternoon to fix it. That is what I mean by shadetree experience

Strut rod "uncrimping"
When I tried to replace the strut rods bushings, I noted that the original 30 years old ones were still in. How? Well, those collars on both ends are welded or crimped, so you cannot get them apart. You have to "uncrimp" the collars outside and get those stubborn bushings out, which were hard as wood and did not fulfill anymore their function. If they have been one replaced, you will experience no problems. The new replacement items are of a separate shim/bushing/bushing/shim style. Be sure to get the right ones for 65/66 or 67/68 applications. Some parts houses make no difference, but believe me, there is one.

Rear leaf "cutting"
Replacing the rear leafsprings is usually in magazines an afternoons work. Believe me, it is not, if you deal with 30 years old mounting hardware. There was no way of loosening the front bolts. I had to cut them with a grinder wheel and iron saw to get those bolts out. Of course, I had not ordered new bolts with the springs, so I had to leave it all as it was and wait again for the parts suppliers delivery. So be prepared and order new bolts with your leafsprings and have good tools on hand.

Window regulator hassle
Have you ever taken off the interior panel to do some work on the window regulators? Then you certainly know about the problems of new adjustment of all kind of screws. Try to note the settings or write down the windings that you loosened the bolts for taking out or getting way to the glass or regulator. Be careful with the front vent window frame as well and notice the angle and bolts position. This will ease your adjustments later. However you will certainly end up with ongoing hassle with your windows later. That is a very common shadetree mechanics experience.

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