I recently found myself troubleshooting a creaking noise in Fezzik’s front end. Apparently, crossing a small river two weekends in a row back in early March either cleaned out or dirtied up the bouncy bits.

I crawled under and greased everything with a zerk fitting—and then some, but it was the damnedest thing. I’d bounce the bumper and rock the truck side to side as hard as I could and everything would be fine, but the minute I let off the brakes at a green light, the front right corner would creak and give me six or seven pops in a row as the front end unloaded.

After some three years or mostly city street driving, the cheap Mevotech units I’d installed when funds were tight were clearly blown out. Fortunately, I’d expected this and already had a set of chromoly jobbers on the shelf from Adventure Driven Design and ready to go.

I didn’t really want to do the job, though. So much so, in fact, I called my mechanic for a quote. Yes. I have a mechanic. He came highly recommended by Brother Keith, and he’s taken real good care of my in-laws and friends over the years.

I called and left a message with one of his guys 10 minutes before closing. He called me back an hour later to give me the news. $1,500 out the door, including a little padding to make the job worth their time without parts. (I’m completely cool with that, by the way.)

We laughed about how much easier it is to do the job yourself when you know you’re saving $1,500.

I spread the work out over several days—not like I’m driving to work right now.

Going out to start working on the truck at 9PM on a work night reconnected me to a side of gearhead life I’d forgotten.

For years, I’ve struggled with vehicle repair; like my vehicles always fight me. But if everyone you met at a party was an asshole, it’s more likely that you were the asshole. So maybe it’s my attitude. Thoughts words actions habit character destiny.

Urgency means pressure.

If there was one silver lining to all this pandemic madness, it was not having to absolutely get the truck back together so I could drive to work. I spent a week chipping away at a relatively challenging and thoroughly filthy project instead of my usual, crushing long hours in the heat to get it done in a single day.

Would I have preferred to work in a proper garage with a lift and clean tools? Sure, but I found myself enjoying sitting in the shade on the ground in the driveway on hot afternoons. And there was something special about working quietly in the dark after the kid went to bed, with only a couple cheap lights to supplement the streetlight on the curb.

In the end, it took me about 12 hours to do the job myself (for the first time). 7+ hours on the front right corner, and a hair over four hours on the driver’s side. Sadly, 12 hours of work didn’t solve the problem I’d set out to address. The loud creaking noise coming from the front right suspension is, indeed, the rear, lower control arm bushing pressed into the chassis.

As the front right corner was the main source of the noise, I started there. When I started jacking up the lower control arm to compress the strut and start the upper ball joint, the rear control arm bushing creaked the instant the jack leaned into the job.

It’s all going to have to come back out again this summer.

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

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