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Huntington Beach Union High School District

Ocean View Principal...A Healthy Pause

The ball bearings should fit nicely into a retaining cage (you can see the broken cage pieces), and the whole thing should move and rotate in that giant metal donut you see there, which represents an in-tact one. What is it? It’s a constant velocity (CV) joint for my 1970 Volkswagen Squareback.

If your daily driver is 45 years old, expect to make repairs on it fairly often. Sometimes it’s a matter of tinkering with it to tune it, and other times, it’s a catastrophic failure that needs repair.

One Friday I was driving back to Ocean View from a meeting at the district office, and as I turned on Edinger from Springdale, I heard a loud “blam-o!” and then a grinding sound. I immediately pulled over, put the car in neutral. The engine ran fine. No forward gears! Oh no! Transaxle! I immediately went to the worst possible scenario. Dollar signs and towing costs and finding a ride home all swam around my head! It was also noon, and I needed a ride back to Ocean View. Coach Walsh to the rescue! I made it back to school.

After school, he gave me a ride to my car, where I waited for my father to pick me up. My dad 75 years old. A feisty 75…feisty. Not today. As soon as he saw me, he knew I was feeling stressed. He came up to me, patted me on the shoulder, looked under the rear of the car and said, “There’s CV joint grease coming out of the torn CV boot. That’s your problem, you disintegrated a CV joint. Let’s tow you home.”

What? My dad hadn’t towed me home since the many-high-school-side-of-the-road-break-downs of my teenage years. We were going on an adventure! Also, my dad hasn’t helped me on a big physical project in years--I have sons for that now. This time it was me and him, connected by a tow strap, using teamwork to get us home, safely. It was fantastic!

Hooray! CV joint repair on an old Volkswagen is a dirty job, but not a difficult one. The next day, all I had to do was buy one to replace the offending CV joint (I changed out all 4), grease them up, run the boot over the joint, and install them. I was back on the road by that afternoon, my 45 year old VW rolling smoothly!

During any day, we can get so busy that when something bad happens, we jump right to the worst possible scenario. My dad taught me to pause, look at the problem, ask for help, then spend some time to improve things. That usually works!

Thanks for the reminder and the help, pop.
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