Scratch That Off the Bucket List

Last weekend I replaced the rear brakes on my 2002 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup.

I’m living the dream!

I started Saturday around 9 and finished Sunday around 2.  Yes, it took a long time.

Even though I watched a ton of videos about changing brakes I had to learn some things.  The caliper mounting bolts were frozen and the brake pads threw me for a loop.

Brake Anti-Rattle Clips
A shiny new rotor and anti-rattle clips waiting for brake pads. It’s amazing how quickly shiny rotors turn to rust.

Sunday afternoon I felt an incredible sense of accomplishment and a touch of exhaustion.  Being hyper-focused on brakes for a day and a half takes a toll.

I learned two valuable lessons over the weekend.

Focus on one thing at a time.

You can do anything you set your mind to.

Please share your goals in the comments below.

One Thing at a Time

One of my lifelong goals is know how to do brakes.

You’re probably thinking what the guy at the auto parts store said, “You should set your goals higher.”

Power and status never meant much to me.  Some wealth would be nice.

Doing brakes is challenge.  Many people earn a living turning wrenches.  They can change brakes in their sleep.  I can’t.  Yet.

This week I read up on how to change brakes.  I’ve read the maintenance manual for my pickup,  skimmed the pages of my Haynes manual and watched a ton of YouTube videos about brakes.

I’ve talked to three different mechanics about the process.

I’m ready to go.

While reading about brakes I often grabbed a flashlight and went outside to inspect them.  I wanted to compare what I was reading to what’s on my truck.

Each time I went to my truck I found the answer I was looking for and something else that needed attention.

There’s a lot of rust on the frame, several brake lines need replacement sooner than later and the front splash guards are missing rivets.

That’s just the start of the list.

I’m feeling overwhelmed.

Last night I caught myself worrying and remembered a valuable life lesson.

One thing at a time

When we multi-task we get overwhelmed.  Our mind races from one thought to the next while never finishing any of them.

Motion forward stops.

It’s exhausting!

What’s the solution?

Today I took a good hard look at the truck to figure out my most pressing repair.  I want to focus on that one thing.

I jiggled the brake lines, their not as bad as I originally thought.

I made a list of fasteners needed to fix the splash guards.

Next I took off my rear tires to inspect the brakes.

When I took off the driver side tire I immediately knew what to do first.

The caliper seized.

That’s where I’ll start my brake project!

2002 Dodge Ram 2500 Worn Rear Rotor
If you look at the picture closely you can see the outside of the rotor has 1/2″ of metal left. The inside is almost cut to the vanes. I couldn’t even turn the rotor.  The caliper clamped to it.

The research phase of brake repairs, and life, is exhausting.  There are so many ways to go.

You’ll have better results if you focus on one thing at a time.

Pumpkins in the Landscape

Yesterday I visited a landscape planted last week.  While photographing the landscape I noticed the oddest site.

Nestled between a Siberian Carpet (Microbiota decussata) and PJM Rhododendron (Rhododendron ‘PJM’) was a thriving pumpkin seedling.

Pumpkins in the landscape far

How could this happen?

The compost used to prepare the soil was the composting spot of several years of Holden family pumpkins.  The moist soil and ample sun in the new landscape set the seed in motion.

Happy Halloween!