Fixed the Renault 12 again today. As I was working on the starter motor I saw the engine mount had let go completely. So after buying all of the missing bolts, nuts, and washers, today was spent putting it all back together again. Never has the engine sat so perfectly now!
While the engine protection plate underneath was still off, I took advantage of the access, and sealed up the leaking exhaust flange gasket. This time I think it will work.
Finally, after all of this, and changing over our front wheel for one without snow tyres, it was time to fix the starter motor — the main and primary reason for which I started working today.
The problem here was that there was a piece missing from the motor. An important piece. It was the part that caused the gear to engage and, more importantly, to disengage. Acting like a hinge, it was only a piece of hard rubber, but without it nothing worked.
So I made it out of wood. Taking a piece of wood, an electric saw, grinder, chisels, and vernier calipers, I set to work to create something I had never seen so it would do something very precise.
The end result was two pieces of wood carefully crafted to have a gap between them, yet to interlock in place so as to not move or dislodge in use. It worked.
Now I have the starter motor back in the car working perfectly. One more thing fixed. The Renault 12 is ready to roll again.
It is now almost 20 years since I was officially a motor mechanic, and most times I keep this news quiet. But somehow the information gets out and before long my skills are called upon to help somebody out who is in need. Since on our base we only have one car this is not very often.
Today however, there was a serious problem with Jorge’s car as the speedometer suddenly stopped working and he was about to embark on a 6 hour journey early the next day. A quick look at it revealed the most common problem – the speedo cable had broken. So we headed down to the local shop and for 10 pesos had a new cable in our hands. I tried to fit it on the car while it was parked in the street, but without the tools and better access it was impossible.
No problem for Jorge. Within minutes we had arrived at the home of one of his friends – a pastor and also a mechanic. Although this guy had no available time to help fit the cable, he loaned us his workshop with a pit in the floor so we could fix it up. It only took 10 minutes once we were in to have it all sorted out and fixed, although the oil leaks managed to stain all of Jorge’s and my clothes in the process. Good thing they were all old.
The only photo I remembered to take. The workshop.
Returning home, Jorge and I were very happy as the speedometer was now working again. Being a mechanic is both a blessing and a distraction, but if it can help people out when in need I am happy to help out every now and then.