I know this column will seem a little simple to most of you, but I felt it was a subject that was worth revisiting. Besides, it gave me a reason to update all of you on my little project. But before I go any further, I want to wish all of you a happy and joyous holiday. We at BodyShop Business appreciate you, our loyal readers, and wish you all a happy season.
Back to the tool issue. Many of you may remember that my son convinced me about a year ago to bring home a 1962 Oldsmobile that I had had in storage since I was in high school. The pictures you see in this column should give you a good idea of what we were up against. Needless to say, it was a mess! Everything was there and very solid, but it all had this strange orange dust covering it. Surface rust had moved in and was very content with its new home.
Since this was a low-budget father-son “rust-oration,” we decided to first get the mechanics up to an acceptable level and then address the cosmetics. It was obvious that every system on the car would need attention. Disassembly commenced, and we got down to where we could start rebuilding most things.
Brakes were the most important item on the list, so we started there…and stopped there. We installed a new system, and the parts from the supplier were quite good. Unfortunately, the devil was on the labor side. While I have fairly competent mechanical skills and my son has the kind of enthusiasm only a 16-year-old can muster, we still hit the proverbial “wall” about three months ago.
It seems that my ability to properly execute an acceptable “double flare” the required 14 times was beyond my capability. I reached out to countless experts on the subject and tried every basic trick and tool around. I simply lacked the skills to execute this on a consistent basis.
One day, a flyer appeared on my desk for the tool you see pictured above. While it did the flares perfectly every time, it cost a lot – about 10 times that of other basic flaring tools. So we fooled around forever trying every possible option, but it continued to rain brake fluid under the ’62.
Finally, at NACE, I got the ol’ tool buying bug and manned up. The tool was delivered, and within two hours we had the brake lines done and were able to move on to the next step: putting the engine back together. After that, we’ll be able to get the Olds back on the ground and start the cosmetics.
The lesson here is one we all know but sometimes forget: get the right tool. Having the right tool for the job is what separates the professional from the casual repairer. With the New Year approaching, now is the time to put that plan together for the upgrades and improvements that you’ll need to make your shop more efficient in 2011. Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish! Get the tools you need.
My best to you and all of your families.