Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Grease Monkey

The guys in the shop at work need help getting our fleet ready to roll for the upcoming semester. They're going to focus on large fixes and asked for helpers for the small stuff that often gets pushed to the back burner. Stuff like windshield wipers, volume knobs, and interior light bulbs.

The other part of this equation is that my schedule is greatly reduced during the university's break. So yesterday, I signed up and jumped in. Got some time on the clock and some grease on my hands...

I ended up working on a single bus for about six hours. After a thorough inspection and an hour-long test drive, I broke into the tool cabinet. I changed light bulbs in the passenger area; I installed a couple knobs with a minuscule Allen wrench; with some help from our lead tech, I replaced a DC power outlet on the dashboard; I adjusted the swing of an overzealous windshield wiper and learned the hard way about over-torquing acorn nuts; and I tightened a loose stop request cord. Then, I set about correcting my broken acorn nut and wiper assembly.

I showed another tech the sheered-off bit and asked him what I should do. He told me that I'd have to replace the whole bracket. When he returned from the parts room, he handed me a new bracket and, without a word, walked away. I stared at the hunk of metal in my hands for a good five minutes, thinking, "What have I gotten myself into? I'm not qualified for this! What have I gotten myself into? I'm not qualified for this! What have I...?" After convincing myself that I could do it, I did it. It took me a while, but I finally puzzled the entire wiper assembly apart and together again. Phew!

I'd love to learn more and will be doing so later in the week. I really enjoyed myself working as a temporary grease monkey! May be a new hobby developing here. We'll see...

Now. Where are my Lego blocks?

2 comments:

Marissa said...

Hm. . . didn't know about the acorn nut and the torque....Interesting....

sean said...

I posted a paper copy of this entry on the dry erase board in the shop, kind of a thank you to the mechanics, and it was taken down before any of them could read it. The reason? "Monkey" is derogatory.

I heartily disagree. Climbing in, on, under, and through a bus definitely makes one look and feel like a monkey. And the grease is just part of the job!