QOTD: What’s the Dirtiest, Messiest Car Repair You’ve Made?

If you’ve been a CC reader for any length of time, you’ve probably figured out my first car was a 1971 Vega. I got my start as a wrenchologist at an early age, in other words. Over the time I owned the Vega, I think I rebuilt every major, and most minor systems in the car, some while disabled along the side of the road. My latest vehicular repair project is turning out to be one of the messiest, dirtiest jobs I’ve ever had to deal with on a car (or truck in this case).

The rear fuel tank in my ’95 F150 started leaking back in the spring due to rust-through, and I’ve finally gotten around to pulling the bed to replace it, as well as repair the fuel sender on the front tank.

What’s making this such a bear of a job is that the truck is thoroughly rotted out underneath. Every whacking session leaves a hefty pile of rust flakes to be swept up and picked out of my eyes, and getting recalcitrant bolts loose without snapping them off has been an exercise in patience, perseverance, propane and prodigious amounts of penetrant.

After finally getting the lower straps off from the rear tank, I discovered that the highly coveted DMI bumper hitch has some substantial structure that blocks removal of the tank without at least partially dismounting the bumper, which led to another couple of fun- (and sweat-) filled evenings out in the machine shed (note the cheater pipe).

So what’s the messiest, grimiest repair job you’ve had to make over the years?