Monday, May 30, 2011

Sagging bottom panel on 2004 Toyota Camry: SUCCESS!!

--adventure by Tones--

For years, my wife has been complaining that something has been hanging low on her Camry's underbelly causing a scraping sound every time she drives up and down our driveway.  I've put this off for other projects over the years, but I finally had some blog-inspired motivation (and a new garage) to tinker around and see what's up.

My maw has a jack at her house that is coming my way now that I have a new garage, but I'll have to make due with these ramps in the meantime.  They always make me nervous driving up them, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, right?

Car on ramps: SUCCESS!  Now it's time to take a peek and see what's going on underneath the car.  I've been holding on to my Dad's old Jeeper's Creeper for a decade, waiting for a cool garage in which to scoot around.  Finally, I get a chance to scoot under the car in old-school style.
The Jeeper's Creeper.  Sweet.
I took the creeper for a test scoot, but I was a bit disappointed in the performance.  It rode kind of like that one cart you get at the grocery store that pulls to the left.  I put the Camry project on hold for a while to investigate.

Turns out that my dad must have run over some shag carpeting back in the day.  I attacked this wound-up string with a needle nose and removed it with relative ease.  After a quick shot of WD-40, and the Jeeper's Creeper rode like a dream!  SUCCESS!!

Whew!  It's getting to be about noon at this point so I reckon it's time for a quick Coffee Break. 

Starbucks French Roast.
Okay, where was I?  Oh yeah, the Camry.  I scooted under the car with my sweet new ride and found that the plastic panels were sagging as they dropped two of those plastic pushy-things (grommets?). 
Metal housing above, plastic cover below.  They need to meet.

One of the two sagging panels.

One of the grommets still intact.

I need a grommet here...

...and here.
Knowing that I would never find a grommet in the garage, I found myself looking for an alternative.  Maybe I'd find a self-tapping screw or something, who knows.  Duct Tape is a no-go: no style points there.  ZipTies, on the other hand, are not only acceptable, they are encouraged.  If I could fish the ZipTies through the grommet holes in the metal beam, I could be in business!

The first panel was an easy fix as the grommet hole was drilled out in an open-ended metal housing. Threading the ZipTie was simple and I was halfway to SUCCESS.


Unfortunately, the second grommet hole was a bugger.  It was drilled out of an enclosed metal beam, so making the necessary "loop" for the ZipTie would be tricky indeed.   Noticing another hole drilled out of the beam a few inches away, I found a possible "loop," but how would I finagle the ZipTie in and out of the beam?

I'm pointing to the Grommet hole.  Note the secondary hole an inch or so downward.  How do I get a ZipTie threaded in that?

Fortunately, I have years of ZipTie experience and I'm quite adept at pulling off the impossible with these things. With a trademark move called, "The Selby Hook," I bent the very tip of the ZipTie and made a secondary bend a few millimeters upstream.  This made this potential boondoggle almost laughable.  Man, I'm good with these ZipTies.

The "Selby Hook."  (Pat. Pend.)
Amazing, aren't I?
With the ZipTie threaded, all that was left was pulling things tight and snipping off the ends.


With everything holding tight, I took my wife's car for a test drive up and down the driveway a few times.  I didn't hear any scraping sounds, so I'm calling this a SUCCESS!!!  I also found a half-bag of peanut M&M's in the car... BONUS POINTS!

Payment for my labor.

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