So I drove Gen (that's the car's name, Generation) up the ramps, blocked her off and laid down some mats and slithered under. 1971 and newer this isn't very hard, but I fall into the newer category. The fat end of the dampener is buried deep under rusted metal--all important stuff like struts and stabilizers and what-not. This requires a crescent wrench, tiny hands and a rubber arm. I lack tiny hands and a rubber arm.
So, I'm down there under the front of the car, drop lamp hanging from the toe bar and a flashlight on my head, cursing, peering through the metal latticework and working the bolt from behind and under, turning it an 8th of an inch at a time thinking how the gods of German engineering must be furious at this stupid design.
The wench slips and the light giggles and pushes back the shadow the reveals a disk above the bolt I'm trying to wrestle out.
For an instant I think, can I assault this bolt from above? No, I counter think, I'd have to somehow get through the engine that's above me.
And the gods of German engineering fall out of their chairs, laughing.
And I feel like a dope.
I slither out from under the car, open the hood and peer down at the spare tire. I yank that out, peel up the rubber mat and lo-and-behold, there is a disk covered over with some kind of dried putty.
I scrape that crap off and pry up the disk with my fingers and I'm peering down at the bolt I was struggling with.
30 seconds later, a few twists of the ratchet, and it's off.
So you know a man is getting intimate with his car when he's breaking out the KY.
I pound out the bushing and save it. It looks good, but I have a new one. I slather KY jelly on it and stuff it back in using a channel lock to seat it in. Minutes later, the new steering dampener is in place. I put sealant on the disk, plug that, put the spare back in clean up and all is well.
I don't know if you're not supposed to use KY in auto mechanics, but I figure it won't frell up the rubber bushing and I won't trash the bushing pounding it in.
We shall see, won't we?