I almost avoided doing really stupid things while making minor modifications to my car

At first, I admit I wasn’t sure if I should write this post. This is because the thinking process is so prominent, irreparably stupid and lazy that it’s hard to admit that I’ve considered it later. But I think it’s worth it if my approaching dancer’s help the other one avoid the same fate. It has to do with my consideration of minor repairs on my Nissan Pao and shortcuts that would have bit me in the ass.

Restoration is not a big deal and the consequences are not so disastrous, but the thinking process here is easy to fall into and can be applied to other situations with more serious consequences. In my case it was replacing the alternator belt.

The belt sometimes squeaks when there is some demand for the alternator, such as when the lights are on, so when I checked the belt, it looked frayed and shabby like a new zombie outfit. I had to replace it.

Well, the job of exchange is not exotic. It’s almost the same as most cars. Loosen the bolts on the alternator bracket and slide the alternator to release the belt. The trouble is that the other end of the belt wraps around the pulley of the air conditioner compressor and is behind the compressor belt, so you need to remove the compressor belt first.

Graphic: Jason Tochinsky

Again, this is neither strange nor unheard of — it’s completely normal shit. Looking at the compressor, it looked like it was on an adjustable bracket similar to the one used by the alternator, so make enough adjustments to loosen the bolts and remove the belt before removing the old alternator belt. I thought I could wear it. Replace the new one, the compressor belt, apply tension and bring everyone back to normal. That’s it.

But then I ran into literally the most common cause of difficulty in any car repair: it’s hard to clog your hands in place.

Graphic: Jason Tochinsky

Yes, not surprisingly, the Nissan Pao engine bay was cramped and tight, and the air conditioner compressor mounting bolts weren’t playing the ball. Finally, I struggled to hit the knuckle, pinched my finger between the sharp bracket and the handle of the socket wrench, and then took out what I thought was the necessary bolt, but nothing came out.

I lost sunlight, was frustrated by the difficulty of what should be a simple task, frustrated by hand pain, and didn’t feel like having this simple belt replaced entirely.

That’s when I started thinking foolishly wisely.

I started thinking it was an air conditioner compressor belt, and I hate using air conditioners in this car! With my little 52 hp engine, turning on the air is like releasing a draw chute, and I hate to think about how much it puts a strain on everything. And, at least technically, it’s almost winter! So why do I experience all of this for a stupid air conditioner that I never use?

Plus, the engine has much less parasitic resistance, so you’ll probably get an insane power boost such as 52.6 HP!

My heart continued to move forward, delighted with the simplicity and benefits of the idea. Just cut that belt! I think I’ll pick up a new belt when summer comes, but for now I’ll cut the belt and flip the new alternator belt, freeing me from the decadent resistance of the air conditioner and zooming out far away!

So my genius solution would have been this:

Graphic: Jason Tochinsky

I think most of you see the flaws in my great plan.

In other words, I’ve confirmed that the idler pulley below isn’t connected to something important, so what could go wrong?

Of course, I know exactly what went wrong. In a lazy, frustrated and hasty rush to put on the new alternator belt, the air conditioner compressor was spun by the crank pulley and then the alternator, eliminating all the ability the engine had to spin the belt. If I lose my air conditioning belt, the alternator just sits there and becomes an immovable monument of stupid and lazy frustrated thoughts.

I feel embarrassed how far the thinking process has progressed before I notice the huge and obvious flaws. And if the belt is broken and you’re doing this repair on the side of the road, you’re plagued by the idea that cutting the air conditioner belt is a solution you might have actually tried.

Thankfully, I hesitated. Thankfully, it got dark before I pulled out the knife, so I set aside repairs for a few days. Thankfully, I actually thought a little before doing anything stupid.

Now I realized that I need to loosen the idler pulley instead of the compressor mount. I will do it tomorrow and take care of this, and I hope you remember the lesson of taking moments that are not frustrating or frustrating to think about shit.

Even something as simple as this. Sometimes your brain calls it, and when you work in your car, this is not a bad lesson to remember.

I almost avoided doing really stupid things while making minor modifications to my car

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