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Friday, January 27, 2006


Something every gearhead would like to have

What is one thing that no car guy should be without? Great neighbors. Decent neighbors will let you know if they have any objections to your working on a car in the driveway to your face rather than going straight to a homeowners' association or other buttinskis. (Of course, sensible gearheads avoid homeowners' associations altogether, since they can make even more of a pain of themselves than changing the heater core in a Mustang.) Good neighbors don't mind your projects and congratulate you when you get a project car back on the road. And great neighbors will lend you a tool when you really need one. I'm glad to say I have great neighbors.

So it was probably a mistake to try popping in a fresh set of spark plugs first thing in the morning before driving off to work. I've dealt with spark plugs on pushrod and SOHC engines, and it's normally not a problem. Unfortunately, drop a spark plug on a Zetec and it can fall into the cam cover. The only fix is to pull the cam cover.

And right now, I'm in the process of moving. The Dart's still at my old, and not yet sold, house. So are most of the tools. I hadn't thought to bring over all the tools - after all, I need them for the Dart! So I've got a spark plug under the cam cover, it's 7:15 in the morning, I don't have a tool that can reach it, and I don't have the right wrench with me to take the cover off. And I need that Focus to get me to work.

In desparation, I knocked on the neighbor's door. Luckily, the guy next door is a professional electrician. His wife lent me the socket wrench I needed to pull the cam cover and retrieve my stray spark plug. While I did get to work late, at least I did get to work without having to call a taxi!

Dave and Melissa, I owe you a big thank you, and a big batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookie bars for being great neighbors.

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