For the Tuner Handbook issue, I thought I’d share a couple of what my son calls “old guy tricks.” These tips come from years of skinned knuckles and the addition of a few curse words in my vocabulary.
The first is a common mistake that everyone has done at one time or another. You just installed some sort of electronic device with a complex wiring harness that got run through the firewall, bulkhead or door jamb. You have made all the connections, and everything is connected and zip-tied into place. You have tested it, and it all works perfect - but, just as you are ready to crack open that celebratory cold beverage, you realize you forgot to install the rubber grommet in the hole in the sheetmetal. You know you can’t leave it like it is because the sharp metal will cut through the wire insulation in days, if not hours. When that happens, not only will your new gadget stop working, but it could potentially burn your car to the ground as well. So, you have to protect those wires but don’t want to tear it all out, just to install the grommet.
The solution is simple! Just take the proper sized grommet and cut it so you create a split section to pass the wires through. Now with the grommet around the harness, coat it with WD-40 or a similar lubricant, and starting with one side of the split, work it into the hole in the firewall all the way around.
Now the grommet is protecting the wires and the cold beverage can be enjoyed!
Here’s another quick and easy tip that can prevent your vocabulary of curse words from growing. Anyone who has worked on almost anything has experienced trying to remove a stuck Phillips screw. This can be frustrating as well as expensive if you completely round off the screw head attempting to remove it. Here’s what I do to prevent the problem. At the first sign of the screwdriver tip slipping in the screw head, I don’t try to force it. I simply dip the tip of the screwdriver into some valve grinding compound, (available at any auto parts store) and try it again.
The compound provides some “traction” for the screwdriver and, more often than not, allows the screw to be removed. If it’s still too tight, I resort to an impact driver. This can be an electric drill type or a simple handheld one that turns the bit as you strike it with a hammer. In all but the most extreme cases, the screw will come right out.
One last tip, whenever you have to resort to these measures to remove a screw, for goodness sakes don’t use it again! Replace the screw with a new one, so you have a fighting chance next time it has to come apart.
Contributors: Garry Springgay