Yesterday was tiring and rewarding. Tiring in that we had to deal…well, let me back up a bit.
The truck needed a new tire last year. This was applied to the right front and since that time I have observed the right left and noticed that it was starting to wear on the outer tread. I put it off as long as I could, but finally decided time and finances were sufficient to get the job done. Our local alignment shop received a visit and appointment for the job. I missed the first one as patients are what they are, and I don’t leave a visit until I’m done. Can you picture, “Yes, I know you have this old dressing that needs to be replaced, but I have an appointment to get my alignment done on the truck. Hang in there until next time.” No, that wouldn’t work, so I missed my time and was told to report the next day an hour before the end of business. I performed this task and walked to the local Micky D’s to relax for a few minutes before picking up the completed unit. I thought. 20 min later – ring, ring.
“Hello, this is the alignment shop. We can’t finish your truck today. The lower ball joints need replacing and the truck doesn’t have a camber kit. All together, it will be about $800, and require close to 6 hours work.”
“So basically you need the truck for a day.”
“Yes. There is no charge for the exam, so you may come and pick up your truck and schedule the work.”
“Thanks. See you in a few minutes.”
They were nice and provided me with a printed out list of the parts and what they were planning to charge. I took the list, went to the local parts store, and bought the parts for just over half of what they were charging. Then I rented the balljoint press, and proceeded to change the joints myself yesterday. I had to make a sleeve to reinstall the lower joint as there was not enough space in the press for two sleeves which would be required in the configuration I had. This took a trip to the hardware store and a 2″ universal coupling which was cut in half. That piece went on top of the lower arm with the rest of the press set up as usual. The joint went where it was supposed to go. While apart, I noted the cover on the upper joint was also destroyed and decided to change it at the same time since the truck was pulled apart and, hey, why do this more than once? The second side took less than half the time as I now had the needed parts and experience to boot. Once done, I used the truck to drive back to the part store and return the press receiving my deposit. Add in the alignment cost, and this job will cost a total of about $300. That gives me $500 for the day. The expenditures were $500 less than planned. Given Washington speak, I took a 62.5% cut in my costs. After all, I had anticipated spending $800, and only paid $300 (once done. I still have to pay for the alignment before the total can actually be figured) so the difference must be used somewhere. That sounded like a good excuse to purchase a new impact wrench, but reality came into my thoughts and I had to note that I spent, and will spend $300 on the truck. That is $300 which cannot be used anywhere else. The $500 may now be used towards removing the old lady (Salliemae) and get us less out of debt than we were previously. Now that’s a form of thinking I would prefer adopted in government. Imagine how we would be doing if it was the job of those in government, who supposedly represent us, to control their spending and use any excess to reduce the debt load held.