Weld Meet Again [Ouch!]

Well, dear readers. On Wednesday night we left our hero seeking solace in a bottle of Guinness Export, after the disappointment of his mission to fit a new steering lock in Herman. [If I mention Guinness Export often enough will they sponsor this blog and send me some free booze? -It’s the beer you can drink between meals without ruining your appetite!]

During the intervening days I did a bit of research and found out two things:

  1. You cannae weld the steering lock housing. I experimented with the old one and found it’s [at least partly] cast aluminium, so impossible to weld - at least for someone so useless at welding as me
  2. There exists in the world a ‘metal welding’ glue which is apparently the dog’s bollox. It’s a yank product and - even allowing for the usual American hyperbole, most of the reviews I read on the intarweb raved about this stuff, saying it’s unbelievably strong. There were countless tales of people using it to repair all manner of mechanical objects, from radiators to fuel tanks and even engine blocks and saying that the repairs were as strong as the day they were made - even ten or twenty years later.

The abovementioned [allegedly] magical substance is known as J-B Weld and, as luck would have it, I found a bloke on eBay selling it. So I ordered a tube, which came on Friday morning.

Fast forward to Saturday morning and once again it was the old familiar routine involving removal of steering wheel, steering column switches, steering column casing and steering lock. I dinnae intend to bore you all yet again with pictures of the removal of these items, but let’s just have a quick snap as a reminder to show us where we’d got up to on Wednesday afternoon.

Boo! Hiss! -Nasty cheapo steering lock
Boo! Hiss! -Nasty cheapo steering lock

As any good DIY-er will tell you, preparation is half the battle. So after removing the cracked steering lock I roughened up the inside of its barrel with sandpaper and also sanded the steering column itself down to the bare metal. No excuse now for the miracle glue not to ‘bond like a bastard’.

Steering column sanded down to bare metal
Steering column sanded down to bare metal
Inside of steering lock roughened up with sandpaper
Inside of steering lock roughened up with sandpaper

Next I temporarily fitted the steering lock back over the steering column and marked out the shape of it, so I could apply the J-B Weld to the appropriate places.

Marking out the shape of the steering lock
Marking out the shape of the steering lock

Now, it was time to crack open the J-B Weld. Let’s hope this stuff turns out to be half as good as all the hagiographic prose I’ve read about it on the intarwebs says.

J-B Weld. Let's hope it lives up to the hype!
J-B Weld. Let's hope it lives up to the hype!

I mixed up some J-B Weld and carefully applied it around the steering column in the areas where the steering lock is in contact with it. I made sure not to get any J-B Weld inside the column, or anywhere it would interfere with the movement of the actual locking mechanism itself. If this stuff is as hardcore as they say it is, the last thing I want to do is weld my steering wheel in position, so I cannae go anywhere where there might be a corner to turn!

Steering column coated up in J-B Weld
Steering column coated up in J-B Weld

Next, I carefully refitted the steering lock again. Still keeping a weather eye on the J-B Weld to make sure it didnae get into anywhere it shouldnae. I tightened the steering lock into position and then pressed some more J-B Weld in and around the seams and edges, where it meets the steering column. Now all I have to do is leave it for fifteen hours to cure properly and - fingers crossed - the steering lock should be as solid as the proverbial rock.

A bit more J-B Weld pushed in around the edges and -Job done!
A bit more J-B Weld pushed in around the edges and -Job done!