Automotive Confessions

From: Harry Rose

This confession comes at great risk to my otherwise unsullied reputation among my friends and family as "Tool Man."

Several years back I was standing in my driveway admiring my brand-new 20-year-old Porsche 912 (the four-cylinder version of the real thing). I had changed the oil, changed the plugs and wires, cleaned the metal mesh air cleaners and tightened everything in sight.

I was out of things to do, other than drive the car, which is nearly not as much fun as working on it. As I looked into the engine bay (which is in the back of the car), I noticed two disks the size of jar lids on each side of the engine, with rubber donuts sandwiched in between them, and a bolt running through the middle. The rubber donuts looked a bit worn and cracked.

My thought process went like this: "I'll take out the bolts, take out the rubber donuts, clean them and replace the bolts." Out came the ratchet (these were big bolts). I started on the right side. Out came the bolt. I went to the left side and was happily ratcheting away thinking pleasant thoughts on this lovely Saturday afternoon.

The left bolt came out as easy as the right, until the very end when it resisted. No problem. I stepped closer to the job, firmly planting my feet under the car for leverage and continued to turn. When the bolt finally gave way it stopped doing what it was supposed to do, which was to HOLD THE ENGINE IN THE CAR. The back of the engine fell onto the driveway and on my FIRMLY PLANTED FEET (see above).

Screaming was out of the question because of my reputation. Once free, I hobbled to the garage, retrieved my jack and performed the two-man job ... alone.

[ As Read on Car Talk]