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About turning a wrench, the other part of the learning besides studying the books is how to turn a wrench so that you do not bang your knuckles and take some skin off. Just think about where the wrench is going to go when you turn it. Better yet, have sockets with extensions and ratchets to drive it that put you above anything you can run into with your hands. Sometimes a nice jerk will get things moving. Of course when doing assembly, use a torque wrench because getting it correct is very important, too tight and you break it, not enough and it can come loose. Generally a mechanic gets large bolts not tight enough and small ones too tight. When using a screwdriver, it the screw is tight, put the screwdriver on the screw and just as you start to turn the screw, push yourself away using the screwdriver to do so. This momentum puts more pressure downwards on the screw than you can do by just pushing down on it. All you have to do is turn the screw a very little bit to break it loose so once you get it started, you can just turn it in the ordinary way.
Buy decent tools. It does not have to be Mac or Snap On, the really expensive tools. No need for the absolute best. If you look in a mechanics toolbox, you will mostly see Craftsman. I like twelve point sockets, but sometimes six point is what will turn the bolt that has rusted down to a smaller size, or even tap a metric socket onto a fractional socket. When it comes to rusty bolts that do not want to come loose, there are penetrating oils that will soak into the rust in a few hours and the bolt will come loose. Heating the bolt or nut up with a torch will also loosen it. There is also a tool called a nutcracker that tightens down on a nut that splits it down the side with a chisel like wedge driven into the side of the nut. Usually rusty fasteners are not a problem for the average mechanic but in a marine environment it can be more of a problem so I mention it here.
Get the shop manual read the manual very carefully. Have it there in front of you as you work. I copy the pages from the manual I am interested in and get thos greasy rather than the book. Usually an engine manual is an instruction book intended for the mechanic that is not familiar at all with the engine, or I should say someone learning to be a mechanic. Instruction covers things you would think would be in a general manual on engine repair, general knowledge, but there it is in a good shop manual, a self contained book telling you how to become a mechanic.
Last edited by LakeSuperiorGeezer; 02-28-2011 at 08:48 AM.