How Would You Have Handled This One?

Sort of long, so don't read if you haven't the time...Nothing earth
shattering here.
Don't you love those "five minute jobs" that end up taking well over an
While driving home with SWMBO from a pleasant lunch out I stepped on the
brake pedal in our 2004 Lincoln and was blasted by an unpleasant beep
and a message popping up above the odometer display reading "Lamp Out".
I thought to myself, "Great, if you're so damn clever, why aren't you
smart enough to tell me which of the gadzillion bulbs in the stupid car
burned out?"
I figured since the alarm sounded just when I hit the brakes, it was
likely a brake lamp bulb, and confirmed that when we got home by having
my life mate get behind the wheel and tap the brakes with me looking.
It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, so I said, "I'll be up in about five
minutes hon, I've just got to stick in a new bulb."
After removing a couple of fasteners and peeling back the carpeting in
the trunk, I got to where I could reach three nuts on the studs holding
the left tailight assembly in place and grabbed an 11mm deep socket and
handle so I could spin them them off and pull assembly off to reach the
bulb sockets. The first two nuts came off fine, but the third one just
turned, but didn't back out, and it of course had to be the most
inaccessable one of the trio, sunk in a recess in the sheet metal.
a little fooling around with an end wrench showed that the stud on the
lamp housing was staying fixed, but the nut just turned around it.
Clearly the sod who'd put that part of the car together must have
tightened that nut until it stripped the stud and now the nut was just
rotating around the threadless area.
Another five minutes or so was wasted with a small pair of Vise Grips
clamped on the nut, twisting it CCW while pulling as hard as I could
outwards, trying to get it to pick up the threads on the 5/8" or so of
stud extending beyond it. That didn't work.
I couldn't bring myself to use brute force and crowbar the lamp housing
loose, 'cause with my luck it would shatter and I'd be looking at paying
an outragous price for a new one to help keep Ford out of bankcrupcy.
My nut cracker couldn't reach into the recess that nut was in, and it
probably wouldn't have worked well 'cause the nut was one of those with
a washer staked onto it.
I though of using a "flame wrench" on the stud and nut, hoping that the
stud would get hot enough melt through the back of the plastic tailight
housing and I could figure out how to rig a substitute later, but
figured the way things were going, that was just too hackish to attempt.
I finally resorted to using a carbide burr in my Dremel and picking away
at the side of the nut nut until I'd removed enough of it to wiggle it
off the stud and free the tailight housing. That nut was no work of art
by the time I got it off:
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Then, I found out that the failed bulb was one of those newer style
"wedge base" kind, and my box full of auto bulbs were all bayonet types,
necessitating an unplanned 15 minute round trip to the nearest parts
shop to buy a couple of new bulbs. (I always buy two, 'cause with my
luck if I buy one I'll fumble, drop it, and watch it break. Buying two
guarantees I won't break one and is the proximate reason why I have that
box full of brand new bayonet base bulbs which won't fit any future car
I get.)
Nothing else went wrong, thank G-d. I put a 5/16" stack of washers under
a new nut so it couldn't get down to the wiped out threads on the stud
and, "Bob's your Uncle", the job was done.
So guys, did I miss any other ways which might have shortened the job
without risking ruining the stud or the tailight housing?
Reply to
Jeff Wisnia
Loading thread data ...
Much pain snipped...
No, it would have probably taken me 2 hours and at least one beer.
Reply to
Jim Stewart
Jeff sez:
"> So guys, did I miss any other ways which might have shortened the job
Naw, Jeff ! You did it about right; except you missdescribed the factory slob that caused the problem when you said he was a "sod".
Bob Swinney
Reply to
Robert Swinney
> Sort of long, so don't read if you haven't the time...Nothing earth
Reply to
"Jeff Wisnia" wrote: (clip) (I always buy two, 'cause with my luck if I buy one I'll fumble, drop it, and watch it break. (clip) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I always buy two kuz that's the way Kragen packages them. I always thought they did that to increase sales. I didn't realize it was anti-fumble insurance. I guess I need to take back all the bad thoughts I have had over the years. I always put the spare in the glove compartment, and then forget it's there and go buy two more the next time.
Reply to
Leo Lichtman
Getting to this part w/o destroying something shows you are smarter than the the average bear.
The day after I buy a new car, I take the manual for it to the local parts place and buy a selection of bulbs that fit it and keep them in the trunk. Then when I need to replace one, I'm set assuming I put the right screw drivers in the trunk with the bulbs.
I wish my car would tell me a light is out. I hate having a LEO tell me.
Other than trade in the car on a new one, I think you did real good on this.
Wes S
Reply to
[double packs]
It is always the same:
You need one and buy one: * the only one breaks * you need another one, the next day * you have overlooked that there is another $item that needs replacement
You need one and buy two: *
you never need the second one * should you need the second one, you have lost/broken it.
You need one and buy 10 * you regularly need them and are happy to have them on stock * you think you have the two more on stock that you need right now, but there is only one left
I tend to buy them in hundreds now ...
Reply to
Nick Müller
Jeff Wisnia wrote in news:g6CdnWqIGsFiML_YnZ2dnUVZ
You did fine, except for the lack of a nerve pill to ease the frustration.
Reply to
$ wtf OAMO OAMO: nothing appropriate
Reply to
Steve Ackman
I know how you feel.
Some decades ago my wife and I installed new kitchen counters and faucets; the sinks were OK.
The faucet box stated, in effect, 1/2 hour installation, no tools required other than adjustable wrench and tube cutter.....
Now then, I'm a pretty handy guy (if I say so myself!) and going by the package description it should have take me all of 15 minutes.
2 1/2 hours later with half my hand tools and torches under the sink, the job was done.
Afterwards my wife made me my favourite dinner to soothe the savage breast. I suppose my cursing and swearing were required to make the job go smoother.
Now I look at every replacement / improvement job with a jaundiced eye and allow much more time than I think is required. Ditto for car repairs since I dislike taking the sleds to the shop.
Jeff Wisnia wrote:
Reply to
[snip tale of woe regarding an over-wrenched nut]
Lucky you are, it was only a tail-light fitting. A good friend of mine had such a wrecked nut on a steering-arm end. The vehicle was brand new: the nut simply fell off as he drove, & the steering promptly collapsed, leaving the 2 front wheels splayed in opposite directions. The RAC (AAA) mechanic identified the nut (found in the road) & picked the problem. By the grace of G*d, he was doing no speed at the time, coasting up to a red light, on a quiet back street. The vehicle stopped, with no drama. 5 minutes before, he was barrelling through a freeway interchange. Guess the consequences if it had happened then.
Reply to
David R Brooks
I meant what I said....And that's all I said...
But, rethinking that, you're probably correct, I'd always thought that term was just a denigrator like "SOB", but now I find:
Per Webster:
Main Entry: (3) sod Function: noun Etymology: short for sodomite chiefly British : BUGGER
Reply to
Jeff Wisnia
Sometimes the nut can be made to 'walk' up the damaged stud- spin the nut with an air wrench while gently prying/pulling the housing away from the sheetmetal. The nut will engage the threads again. Maybe.
Reply to
Carl Byrns
On Tue, 03 Oct 2006 14:38:35 -0400, with neither quill nor qualm, Jeff Wisnia quickly quoth:
(See previous thread on Shaving Yaks.)
You almost had it. Use a socket on an air or electric driver while pulling out. It will create a new thread then unscrew itself nicely. Use 3 washers on the stud when you put it back together...gently.
Right. Buy insurance so you won't need it, double up on plumbing and such supplies so you'll never need 'em. I call that the Murphy Warranty. If you don't buy extras, Murphy's yer uncle.
Warshers? Ya done good, dude.
Power nutdrivers are where it's at for removing those stubborn ones, Jeff. I can't tell you how many of those I removed with my butterfly 3/8" impact wrench back in the day at the body shop.
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Moonshine cures all.
Reply to
Ken Davey
Several years ago second son was stopped for a burned out tail light and given a warning. Next night he was stopped again and instead of politely thanking the officer for the information, replied "I told Dad to fix that" - most expensive bulb he ever bought. Gerry :-)} London, Canada
Reply to
Gerald Miller
My solution is to park facing a large window and use it as a mirror while checking out my front lights, then a 180 and check out my rear lights.
Reply to
Nick Hull
Obviously that policeman is a father. :)
Wes S
Reply to
I was stopped one night by a deputy Sheriff who informed me that my driver's side tail light was out. I told the woman that i had just replaced the lamp that morning, and pointed to the package of bulbs and screwdriver in the seat. She started yelling at me, so I walked to the back of my truck to see that a light was out, on the passenger side. I pointed to it and said, Officer, that is not the driver's side, but it is out. She started yelling at me, telling me that she should arrest me, and that she didn't like my attitude because i was trying to make a fool out of her. I smiled and told her to do what she had to, but be ready for her day in court for false arrest, and incompetence. She jumped in her cruiser and peeled out. ;-)
Reply to
Michael A. Terrell
I back up to my garage, and its obvious that the lights are working when they light up the white paint on the doors. I also carry a box of each type of bulb and a screwdriver in the toolbox. If I'm stopped, I'll limp out with my cane and tell them thanks, that it has failed since I checked them on Saturday, and change it on the spot.
Reply to
Michael A. Terrell

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