Thursday, January 19, 2012

Prepare Your Workspace

Before you start any project, you need to prepare your workspace for the task at hand. 

This article goes thru some tips and tricks to help make your life easier when  you work on your engine. 

For starters, make sure your work area is big enough to handle what you are trying to do. 
Keep in mind, there will be a lot of old parts coming off of the Explorer engine and also when it is time to remove your old engine, there will be a lot of parts coming from your car.  You will need adequate space for your car, engine hoist to be able to lift engine out of the car, 2 engines outside of the car, as well as all the parts that come out of your car and off of the old engine.  This all needs to be in an orderly area so that you are able to work on this stuff. 

Be clean and organized.  I cannot say it enough.  The key to having a successful project is to make sure that your work area is clean and organized. 

So you are probably asking yourself, what do you mean by clean and organized?  It's a garage, that's good enough right?  No, it's not. 

Make sure you have wiped down all work areas.  This includes any work bench  or shelves that you plan to use.  There is nothing worse than trying to work with parts and getting sand or other stuff that you have on your bench on your new parts or gaskets.  Not to mention it could cause problems with leaks.

Make sure your floor is swept well.  You are going to be laying on that.  Even if you have a creeper to lay on, you want your floor to be as object free as possible so you can roll around well.

Did I mention to be organized?  Just in case I forgot.  Be organized....  No be very organized. 

What does this mean?  It means you want to have all of your tools put in a place where they are easy to access.  Make sure they are wiped down and not dirty.  Make sure all  your sockets are in order and are arranged by the drive size that they are.  You don't want 1/2 inch drive sockets in your 3/8 inch drive sockets.  It is really annoying when you grab the wrong one. 

You want to do the same thing with your wrenches.  Put them in order by type (metric and american) and also by size.  This makes them easy to find. 

Place all of your new parts near the bench organize them by the order you should be using them on the engine.  Put the parts you will be installing first closest to the engine. 

Have a trash can ready for stuff that you are going to discard.  There are lots of garbage clean up type stuff that you will need to do.

Have a receptical ready for the stuff that can be recycled or resold.  This is where you will put all of your metal parts you will not use.  Believe it or not, your old brackets and pieces can be recycled and you can get some of your money back.  If you want to check this out, research how much alumninum is going for.  Not to mention the parts that can be sold.

Now that your work area is clean and your new parts and tools are organized, you are ready to get started.  Remember to put your tools back where they belong when you are done with them.  This will help you be able to find them when it is time to reuse them again.  A good chunk of time loss can be attributed to looking for tools that are not where they are supposed to be.  If you keep a shop rag in your pocket, you might what to wipe them off real quick prior to putting them away.

The last item I want to bring to your attention are other items to keep your stuff organized.  Remember, we are going to be reusing bolts as well as taking parts off of your car.  You don't want to have any extra bolts that you don't know what they are for. 

To help with this I suggest that you make sure you have a sharpie marker as well as some ziploc bags.  You will be using the bags to hold your bolts as you disassemble items, and you will be using the marker to mark the bag so you know where those bolts came from.  This helps ensure that you are using the right bolts for each part also.  When you finish with a bag of bolts, place it in your designated area for your parts that are coming off your vehicle.  Make sure it is labeled so you can find it when the time comes to put it back together.

Like I said, organization is key to a successful project.  I know it is hard to stick to all of the items that I have pointed out, but the better you do, the easier things will go.

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