When You Forget How To Put It Back Together
Jun 24, 2018
The question recently came up, "What do you do when you can't remember how to put something back together?" Personally, after a few minutes of gnashing my teeth and rending my clothes, I calm down and use one--or several--ways to make things right.
For repairs to visible components, I take advantage of working at a dealership, and go look at other machines in the shop or on the lot. Back in the day, I wasn't shy about going to the neighbor's and looking at similar machines in their shed. I never let pride or ego interfere with fixing things right.
If I'm dealing with internal repairs, like gears in a gearbox, I'll grab a tech manual. If a tech manual isn't available, I've discovered I can find amazingly detailed technical information on the internet. Sometimes I find the same dealership manuals we use at the dealership. I've also learned to be skeptical of some of the videos and "fixes" offered on the internet. Most are reliable, but I've run across a few that left me wondering, "What was that guy smoking when he posted THAT explanation?"
A third option is to go to your local dealership and politely ask for advice. Most mechanics will take a few minutes to explain simple stuff. Don't expect step-by-step tutorials, and don't call and expect them to describe detailed assembly instructions over the phone. There have been instances where customers who called and tied up a mechanic for a half hour on the phone eventually received a bill for that time. Wasn't my idea, but...I'm not the boss.
Better yet, take steps BEFORE and DURING disassembly to help with reassembly questions. Machines I've worked on often end up with multiple marks from felt tip markers designating "up," "down," "left" and "right" to ensure I get things right. When I disassemble gear cases I always use a punch or scratch awl to make marks in the metal on both sides of gear case housings/castings so I can orient them correctly during re-assembly (felt tip markers don't work well when you're dealing with oily components...)
And...this is no news flash to you youngsters, but taking photos with a smartphone is a really great way to ensure correct reassembly. As long as you remember to snap the pictures BEFORE you take things apart.