LINK is a three-week long internships for the juniors of Animas High School. It is an opportunity used so that we may develop knowledge in a chosen field.
Where I Interned
I interned at an automotive shop in Amarillo, Texas known as Fabwright. They specialize in fabrication, but work any sort of job, big or small. While they mostly work with Jeeps and pickups, they will also work with just about any other sensible vehicle you can think of.
The Process of Obtaining My Internship
Most of the people that obtained an internship had plenty of troubles in doing so, but I feel that I may have had it the easiest. My grandparents (the people I would be staying with) had searched for an internship for me in Amarillo, Texas. There were only a few people that said no. My grandpa went to Fabwright and asked the owner if he knew anyone I could intern for. The owner, Jackie Wright, had graciously volunteered to be my mentor. But when background checks were done for the mentors, we established that my grandpa would be my main mentor due to a cleaner record. It made sense because he was also the one overseeing my project. I was very eager to get started for a while, until I started having doubts for the last couple of weeks before my internship. But, I decided to continue on with it. As my internship grows nearer, I become more nervous, but more ready to learn. I hope to gain some mechanical experience for whenever I may need it later on in life.
LINK Project: A Day-To-Day Record
Step 1: Making the Vehicle Mobile and Cleaning the Interior First day of working on the beautiful, ever so magnificent and beaten up 1962 Chevrolet Impala. It's been standing in one spot, motionless, for a decade now. Not great on pretty much every part of the vehicle. Thankfully, we found the key to the doors and trunk, but we're hesitant to try them on the ignition. If it doesn't work, it could mess up this whole process. But today, we have finally installed new tires and wheels. The old tires were rotted and had become one with mother nature, so it was time that they be replaced. We found some that fit perfectly, and don't look to bad as well. Sadly, when it came time to move the vehicle from the patch of nothingness where it lay for years, the rear wheels decided that they would rather stay than rotate. Figures. We'll solve this situation another day.
Well today was fun. Figured out why the wheels wouldn't move. Of all the little things, the parking brake was on and we didn't think to actually look at that until just now. I promise, we're not COMPLETE idiots. We even figured out that the key is universal; thereby, working with the doors, trunk, and the ignition. After that, we were to attempt to move the whole car from the back yard to the front yard by pulling it with a chain attached to a Jeep. To get the car to move, I held down the clutch to allow the wheels to roll along, then released the clutch to stop the vehicle entirely. It did just that the first time we tried it. It was a great plan that should've worked. But, as my visual tone suggests, that wasn't the case later on. You see, the back yard is one big hill, and on three sides of that hill, is a 100-foot drop onto the canyon floor. We started to pull the car with me steering, and it was going great. Then the Jeep slowed down quite a bit, so I let go of the clutch. The car should've stopped, but it kept going. I even tried to engage the parking brake, but that didn't work either. After the fastest couple of seconds in my life, I ran into the rear bumper of the Jeep. At first, I thought I was in huge trouble. Thankfully, since it wasn't my fault, that didn't happen. So now the hood and the grill are dented, and one of the headlights is busted. So, we put it somewhere in the back yard where it was less likely to roll off the edge of the canyon. Then we laid down some 2x4's just to be safe. Since we couldn't really do much else, I just got the trunk cleaned out, during which I found some pretty cool stuff.
Took a break from the technical side of things today and went to see what it's like to get a loan for a brand new motorcycle. After doing so, I can officially say I'm not as excited to be an adult. We went to one place to get a loan, but we found out that they don't have very good offers because (his words, not mine) people don't pay off motorcycle payments very often and they get into wrecks more frequently. This would make sense, but my grandfather, whom I was with and has owned many motorcycles, has a near perfect credit score, and they wouldn't offer him anything better than they'd offer someone who doesn't pay off anything at all. We waited half an hour to hear THAT. So, we went to Harley-Davidson themselves to see what they could offer. Thankfully, we got what we wanted. It was slightly over what we were looking for, so we're still considering it, but it was far better than the previous offer.
The next day, I tore apart the inside of the vehicle and took out all of the interesting trash. That's right. I said the trash was interesting. What Taco Bell enthusiast wouldn't find it cool to discover a fifty year old Taco Bell cup? Aside from that, there wasn't too much else. Found a few maps of Borger, Texas, a Coors bottle opener, and a whopping thirteen cents! That's thirteen cents more than what I previously had. Although, the more interesting part was tearing the seats up. For years, I believed the actual seat covers in the car were blue. I was wrong. After tearing those off, I found the real seat covers underneath. The most beautiful red I've ever seen. If they weren't so grimy of course. The blue covers were put in because a small portion of the red was a little torn up, but it was still stunningly wonderful. After doing that, I did a few more simple things. Tearing the headliner off, vacuuming the interior, and covering the front bench seats with towels. Now it's finally looking pretty snazzy inside, and it's ready for the mechanical work to be done.
Step 2: Determining Our Next Steps 1. Replace or rebuild engine 2. Replace cooling system (radiator, water pump, thermostat, all hoses) 3. Replace fuel system (fuel tank, fuel pump, fuel filter, all line from tank to engine) 4. Replace brake system (master cylinder, wheel cylinders, shoes and drums, all brake lines and hoses) 5. Inspect transmission and replace if needed (along with clutch differential inspection and oil change)
A budget and a time frame will need to be determined when we begin. As we progress further into refurbishing, there may be other items added to the list.
My internship wasn't great in any sense, but it got better with time. While the first week was certainly rough, the second came to be quite decent, and the third was by far the best. I'd say I learned a lot about management more than anything else during the first week. When I worked with my side mentor's employee during the second week, I actually learned quite a lot about what I was really wanting to learn. The third week was spent with my grandpa, aka my actual mentor, and almost entirely devoted to my LINK project. This was certainly the most enjoyable week for sure. I was incredibly happy to come back home to Durango, but part of me missed a few aspects of my previous life in Texas. Overall, I learned that the automotive industry is not one that I wish to pursue in the future and plan to continue with my dreams of becoming a filmmaker.
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