We can't properly describe the frustration involved in trying to figure out the proper order of parts when attempting to reassemble them on a shaft or some other multi-piece component. Oh sure, we told ourselves we'd remember the order and orientation of those transmission gears, alternator parts, rocker arm sets, etc., when we disassembled them and dropped them into the parts washer, but now it's not so easy...
We even took photos, but they don't quite show what we need to know. Did that gear face left or right? Did the spacer go in front of this piece or behind? Sound familiar? Well, we have a neat trick for preventing this situation, and all it takes is a piece of coat hanger or welding wire.
Yup, that's all you need! When you get ready to take an assembly apart for cleaning, thread each piece - in order - onto a stout piece of wire. Leave enough space between pieces for thorough cleaning and don't forget to tie or wrap the ends of the wire together. Now those parts can be cleaned and checked out in total confidence that you'll get them back together correctly.
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