Home » What Is The Most Tedious Repair Job You’ve Ever Done?

What Is The Most Tedious Repair Job You’ve Ever Done?

Tedious Repair Aa Ts
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It’s Sunday, and I’m in a cheap motel in the middle of nowhere — Independence, California. I just spent all day yesterday off-roading the crap out of my 1991 Jeep Wrangler in the White Mountains/Eastern Sierras, and let me just say: My god was that place remote. We drove for 5 hours and never saw a single car on our trail. Anyway, in order to get here, I had to drop the Jeep’s fuel tank by myself, and let me just say: Don’t do that.

The Jeep Wrangler YJ’s fuel tank is held to the vehicle by its skid plate. Modern Wranglers are the same way — when you drop the skid plate, the fuel tank comes down with it. In the case of my old YJ, the gas tank is behind the axle, wedged between that axle at the front, the rear bumper at the rear, the driver’s side frame rail on the left, and the tailpipe on the right. It’s tight, and the fuel tank/skid plate assembly isn’t exactly lightweight, which is why this is a two-person repair job. I, unfortunately, was on my own.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

I’ve spent the last 15 wrenching, often by myself, so I’ve gotten used to it; a combination of strong arms and the right tools means I’ve removed engines, dropped transmissions and transfer cases, and even pulled axles all by myself. These jobs would not be just twice as efficient with a second person; I’d say they’d be four or five times quicker with another set of hands. But alas, I only had two the other day while yanking the leaky YJ fuel tank, so I broke out my trusty transmission jack and got to work.

You can see the transmission jack there on the bottom right of the image above. I drove the Jeep up onto some ramps to give me a bit more space to work, then placed the jack under the tank, and started removing fasteners and hose connections. The fuel tank skid plate, to which the fuel tank is held via some straps, is held to the bottom of the front bumper via some bolts:

Screen Shot 2024 05 26 At 8.33.03 Am

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There are four other bolts holding the front of the tank to a frame crossmember, but that’s all that holds the tank in place. Of course, the fuel lines themselves need to be detached first, because otherwise dropping the tank will put those into tension.

To get the fuel filler hoses off, I had to remove the license plate bracket and filler surround:

Screen Shot 2024 05 26 At 8.38.19 Am

Screen Shot 2024 05 26 At 8.38.35 Am

I also unhooked the fuel lines from the tank going to the front of the Jeep. I took photos to make sure I remembered what went where:

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Screen Shot 2024 05 26 At 8.35.52 Am

With the tank unbolted and the hoses disconnected (along with the electrical connector for the fuel pump), I had to unhook an exhaust hanger to move the tailpipe a bit more outboard, then I had to use a pry bar and literally pry the tank out of the Jeep. It was rough — not that difficult, but just tedious.

Screen Shot 2024 05 26 At 8.31.33 Am

Screen Shot 2024 05 26 At 8.20.52 Am

I wheelbarrowed the tank to a spigot in the Galpin parking lot, hosed off some of the dirt, and then installed a new fuel pump, new vents, and new hoses:

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Screen Shot 2024 05 26 At 8.46.08 Am

Screen Shot 2024 05 26 At 8.47.19 Am

Then I jacked the tank back up with the transmission jack, and pried it back into place.

Screen Shot 2024 05 26 At 8.47.30 Am

Things went back together reasonably easily, but it just required me to lay on my back, strain only muscles I otherwise never use, and lose precious time that I needed for work. But alas, it is done, and the Jeep no longer leaks. And it got me to the Sierras without issue:

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Screen Shot 2024 05 26 At 8.50.37 Am

So, dear reader: What’s the most tedious repair job you’ve ever done? Was it some behind-the-dash heater core job? Maybe a wiring job? Perhaps a transmission valve body rebuild (you poor bastard)?

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Robert Runyon
Robert Runyon
13 days ago

CV boots on my Audi 4000cs. Too much “spirited driving” on local dirt roads tore them fairly regularly. Pulling axles is not fun!!

Ted Fort
Ted Fort
24 days ago

Rear wheel bearings on my e39. It’s normally an incredible easy (and cheap) car to work on, but that job was stressful. The tolerance of the splines through the hubs was so tight that it wouldn’t just slide on, no matter how clean or lubricated it was. So I machined down an axle nut small enough that it could fit through the hubs, welded another nut to it as a puller, and then very carefully used a ratchet to pull the axles through. It was one of those situation where I didn’t really have a Plan B. That was a long day.

Hondaimpbmw 12
Hondaimpbmw 12
25 days ago

Anything on a BMW (particularly the N54). Pulling the turbos is frustrating, as it is nearly impossible to pull the oil and water tubes out of the block. There is no place to pry and even getting the bolts out of the hold downs is frustrating.

The only way I got it done was because I have a medium rise lift, so I could pull the front suspension crossmember. Pulling the fan and the coolers is likewise fiddley. The oil cooler hoses get in the way. To replace the oil filter housing gasket, you have to pull the intake manifold & the charge pipe, because there is a bolt that is under the manifold. Basically, anything you want to do, requires doing or removing something else.

Myk El
Myk El
25 days ago

Replaced the water pump on my 1966 Plymouth in the parking spot in front of my apartment on a cold, February night in Colorado. Something that needed at least some level of finger dexterity and meaning I couldn’t wear gloves. Having to go inside periodically to warm up the hands to keep working.

Or Some
Or Some
26 days ago

Changing the radio head unit on my 1996 Holden Commodore.

A head unit? How hard can it be, you ask?

I bought a new head unit and decided to fit it right there in the parking lot. I was very far from home so had no tools except for a screwdriver, but this is a DIN radio, how hard can it be? First, getting the surround out required the removal of some dashboard trim. The last screws holding that trim piece were covered by a further piece of trim. This required disconnecting switches unrelated to the radio, removing the lighter socket, I even had to open the glovebox to remove more screws, and go back into the store to buy more screwdrivers. A job that takes a minute in other cars took me nearly two hours. There was no YouTube in those days for help, I had to just figure it out through carefully pulling at the trim, finding the next clips and screws, doing a bit of swearing, and trying again.

Ben
Ben
26 days ago

Cleaning a mouse nest out of the heater core in my Corvette.You have to remove the blower motor, then reach up through the opening and around a corner to get anything into that area. I tried vacuuming it, but I couldn’t get the rubber hose I taped to the end of my shop vac to go everywhere I need it to, so I ended up reaching in with a bottle brush and snagging small pieces at a time. It’s a deeply uncomfortable position, requires an endoscope to see what you’re doing, and takes a long time. Getting the dead mouse itself out was loads of fun too.

Replacing the hybrid battery in my Prius was pretty tedious too. I had read it only takes about 4 hours the first time you do it, but I can tell you it was more like 6 for me. Admittedly, I made a few mistakes and had to redo things, but I feel like that’s part of the “first time” aspect and should have figured in to that number. Nothing’s terribly difficult, but there are a ton of nuts and bolts to remove and reinstall and it’s soul-crushing when you think you put everything back together and still have a pile of bolts because you missed reinstalling a bracket. 😀

DEcarTrouble
DEcarTrouble
26 days ago

2012 Ram 1500 (or really any model year Ram) AC evaporator. Job is certainly not hard, but having to take everything off to get to the point of replacement takes forever. Pro mechanic 4-5 hour job. Me only plays a mechanic on the weeks 8-10 hours. Happy to report the AC is still running cold and nothing has blown up.

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