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I read where Al Powell is having one helluva time with the timing belt and
water pump and front seal on his 200.

Put the tools down, take a deep breath, then another, and relax a moment.

Al, you're right - there MUST be an easier way to do this!

Having been a hobbyist wrench twirler for probably 35 years, and having
worked on some of the damnedest junk you can imagine, and having actually
been paid to teach people how to do this stuff for money, let me say this:

When the vehicle becomes your enemy, you need a break. Stop whatever it is
that's making you nuts, back off, and come back later.

Generally, I'll try a procedure three times, and if I don't get the result I
want, I stop, think about it, and try a different approach/tool/angle, etc.

Sometimes you have a small victory - I had a leaky pan gasket on a Cessna
150 - oil pan is actually a kidney shaped tank bolted to the bottom of the
crankcase. Turned out a nut holding a mounting bracket had loosened, the
bracket vibrated, and it cut the stud in half - hence the leak.

Procedure: remove cowlings, remove exhaust bracket, remove carburetor
(aircraft carburetors are under the engine) and all linkages, tubing,
ducting, baffles, remove five remaining nylock nuts around flange of oil
tank (all virtually inaccessable - some not even visible, at 1/6 turn at a
time), remove a bunch of other stuff, drain oil tank, drop oil tank, and see
the remaining stub of the stud JUST protruding from the expensive aluminum

Did I mention this was done on the ramp, in the rain, under a tarpaulin, in
February? Working mostly upside-down?

Go home, get torch (to heat the aluminum), full selection of various size
vice grips, go back to airport, crawl back under tarp, take a deep breath.

Just for the heck of it, worm smallest vice grip up under the plumbing, get
a grip on the last .1 mm of the stud, and gently turn (optimist!) Sumbitch
came right out! Wahoo!!!!!

Al, just go slow, take it easy - it can be done. Agreed, these cars are
sometimes NOT the easiest cars in the world to work on - but at least we can
get parts, help, and moral support. Hang in there! At least when you are
done, you'll HAVE SOMETHING - can you imagine doing all this work on a Yugo
- and only having a Yugo when you were finished?

(Someday I'll tell you how to get the crankshaft out of a 1952 thru 1969 BMW
motorcycle . . . and back in again. I didn't know Monty Python was really

Best Regards,

Mike Arman