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BangShift Question Of The Day: What Are The Roughest Conditions You Have Ever Wrenched In?

BangShift Question Of The Day: What Are The Roughest Conditions You Have Ever Wrenched In?

This one should be interesting! This question came to my mind as I talked to a guy yesterday who works outside repairing equipment. He was recently working in -20 weather and it made my cringe. I’d last about a minute before I decided to cancel that program and wait until it warmed up a little. Bag on me if you want, but that is insane. If the car had to be mended in order for me to get around or function as a normal human, it would be a different story and my frozen corpse would in the driveway for a day  or two before my family missed me. This whole Polar Vortex crap is getting old, but I know that it is small potatoes as compared to some of your stories out there.

I know we have a lot of ex-military readers who have probably been neck deep in sand or God knows what else performing their jobs. There are the Drag Week guys who has been on the sides of highways all across this great land in near hurricane conditions with their engines blown apart just trying to get their car to the next stop on the adventure. Of course there are the 4×4 enthusiasts who revel in trying to rebuild their stuff at the bottom of a ravine with sticks, gum, and beer cans and let us not forget about desert racers who are their own offshoot from the human evolutionary chart.

We want to hear your gnarliest story of human suffering and gearhead wrenching success or failure. Were you melting? Freezing? Sinking? Fighting off bears and wolves? What’s the most horrid and inhumane conditions you have ever found yourselves wrenching in?

BangShift Question Of The Day: What Are The Roughest Conditions You Have Ever Wrenched In?



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16 thoughts on “BangShift Question Of The Day: What Are The Roughest Conditions You Have Ever Wrenched In?

  1. Matt Cramer

    I once did an oil change on the side of the road when it was snowing. There wasn’t very much snow on the ground – yet – and I figured I might as well get this out of the way before the snow got a lot worse.

  2. Larry J Thornton

    Newly married, no garage, lime rock driveway, snow, ice, changing clutch on ’66 Chevelle. Muncie 4-sp. Wrestling by myself, not once, not twice but many times because I was too stupid to use a pilot shaft.

  3. Brett

    My very first SBC starter replacement, a ’79 G10. Four degrees and in a snowy supermarket parking lot. Had to make a return trip to the parts store after losing the nut that secures the power connection.

  4. Loren

    At 18 I split my Vega/Opel 4spd wide open right before a New Year’s Eve when I really wanted the car, did the replacement out in the dirt at night in the rain with a plastic tarp covering whatever of me that was sticking out from under. Dad’s drop-light was often my best buddy those days, but I’m glad I didn’t get electrocuted. At-least it was warm enough to be rain not snow like others have to deal with.

  5. chris hoff

    Nothing I have ever done to a car or truck in weather would compare to the Pictures above and what our Vet’s did in the war to survive !!!

  6. D A

    The above picture of the jack sinking in the dirt, is interesting as most tanks back in the day (world war 2), had a block of wood issued, to deal with this very thing? Wonder why he is not using it…

  7. Fred Lebbert

    Changing a dozer track on the side of a mountain, on the Arctic Circle in Alaska at -80 below wind chill.

  8. Abe Darling

    No comparison to active duty with a broken tank, but we broke the transmission in a large International Harvester combine in November in western NY. 18* with a steady 20 mph wind, with snow and mud. We pushed 6 railroad ties into the mud before the combine started to rise. No way to keep from freezing getting the trans out, or back in the next day. Never been colder in my life.

  9. Piston Pete

    Doing pre-flight inspections and deicing my B-52 in sub zero temps and mucho snow at Kincheloe AFB, Michigan. Coulda been any week night from late Sept.-April, but that plane had to fly every morning at 8 am. The titless WAFs who lived in the barracks had a duty roster where they’d come out and help us deice, each guy maybe once a month, so we had help every night. Invariably some guy would say, “Wow, you guys do this every night?, this is sooo cool!” Us, “Yeah, it’s cool, try doing it every night and see how cool it is.” But it was cool, at least cooler than the alternative; hospital or jail.
    On a less weatherly note, in 1981 I rebuilt the tranny of my 78 XLCH in an alcove of a no tell motel in Belle Chaise, Loisiana where it finally pitched the chain off cause the main shaft was wobbling so bad, after nursing it for 3 days from Tucson, Arizona. I had to hitchhike 30 miles to and from the nearest H-D shop to get the parts, not like today where there’s a Harley shop next to every mall in America. AND, they had every part I needed, which was a lot, I tore it up good. I doubt there’s a shop anywhere today that has the parts in stock to rebuild a 3 year old tranny. The good part is that Belle Chaise was my destination, meeting my brother to get a job on a pipe lay barge in the Gulf. I didn’t get the job but Jeff had been working a couple months and had the bucks to loan me to fix the tranny. There’s been several less extreme examples over the years, but I always chalked it up to paying the price for the freedom of life on the road.

  10. old guy

    ’75 helped change 60’s Ford van tranny in 10 deg or less in Vt
    I used my leg for power while the owned positioned the wrench on the
    t converter bolts – off and on

    2008-0F and below and blowing -lost a lower rad hose on a 93 G Cherokee on the way to drop kids at school and go to work –
    work was closer so I drove it there and parked
    borrowed a ride to take them to school -changed the hose the next day when it had warmed up to 5 deg F

  11. Scott Liggett

    My worst doesn’t compare to USAF ground crews that worked on the planes my father flew out of Eielson AFB near Fairbanks, Alaska. They worked on planes all day and all night in -50 degree temps in winter. My father was a navigator on RC-135’s then, and this is where in his career he gained a real respect for the guys that kept their planes flying in the worst of conditions.

    As a kid in HS, my dad wouldn’t give up his warm garage for me to fix my junk heaps. So, I fixed my junk either in the street or in the driveway in all kinds of weather. Changing the timing chain in winter of Nebraska really sucked. And, because my car was dead in the driveway and blocking my father’s car in the garage, I had no choice to finish before the next morning. A 4 hour job took all night because I had to keep coming in the house every couple hours to get my fingers unfrozen.

    The worst, where I hated my life, was having to repair a broken shock in the street when it started to poor. I had no jack stands so I put the passenger side tires up on the curb in order to get under the car. Being under the car meant I wasn’t getting rained on but the water running down the curb side began to run down my shirt and down my pants. It was the longest two hours of my life.

  12. geo815

    Shifting linkage failure on top of a 7300′ ASL mt. top radio site in a 70’s Imp, 3 ft of unpacked snow. Tossed a track at 10,000 ft, more than once, but that was like a NASCAR tire change to us. Our 60’s Tucker was worse.

  13. Casey

    I’ve got two.

    #1: Wrenching on Harrier jets in Western Iraq in August….thermometer so far past 120 the needle got stuck in the housing. 12 hour days and no booze, and making wayyy below minimum wage.

    #2: Fixing a 35,000 pound gearbox in a wind turbine, 300ft up, in North Dakota…in January. -35F windchill and nowhere to hide, and 14-16hr days to boot.

  14. thefatguy

    i dunno what was worse–changing a clutch on the side of the H2 freeway at 2am (we were supposed to do it that weekend so luckily had all the parts) on a 74 chevy luv, or changing the starter in moms 88 grand wagoneer at 9pm with so much rain it was flooding deep enough to go in both my ears as i was laying on the ground in a dark parking lot….

  15. BeaverMartin

    Mine by far was in the middle of the night on the side of route Michigan in Ramadi 05′. We were overwatching engineers emplacing obstacles when the EN groundguided my Bradley right through some triple strand. Broke track of course. Spent the next hour or so in stupid heat cutting c wire out and cussing. looked like a bear mauled us when we got back.

  16. Stickman

    Nothing close to some of the above but more times than needed, fixing or digging out dirt bikes and desert racing vehicles from the Nevada silt in August. Or silt in Mexico that at times seems to be at least 3 feet or more deep

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