The Broken Tap

September 18, 2013

Roz starts a post-doc at the University of British Columbia in a couple of weeks, so they’re moving to Vancouver.

I’ve been driving for three days: hauling Charlie and Roz’s stuff “home” from Kingston for storage (2 trips) and running in to Stittsville yesterday after a tap extractor.

Therein lies a tale.

A Porsche 996 will accept roof racks. They cost $350 US and they bolt into specific fittings in the roof which are hidden below tiny doors which fold open to accommodate them. The threads are kept fresh by the insertion of soft metal plugs in the holes, which of course corrode in place, and are so soft that three in four had to be drilled out on our son’s 1999 model.

So Charlie drilled away, tapping new threads in as he went. This is a fussy job because the headliner is right below the mechanism and tight to it. This eliminates the use of penetrating oil or any other lubricant as a strategy when the headliner is made of light brown leather.

Things went well until I came out to the shop to see how it was going. Charlie was talking to me at the time, and thus a bit distracted while removing the tap from the last hole. It bound a bit. He twisted and POP! The tap broke off in the hole.

Nothing worked. He took the car to a machinist in Kingston on the assumption they would have a tap extractor. They didn’t. The idiot made a mess of it until Charlie took the car away from him.

I googled until I found a firm in Stittsville, Newman Tools Inc., which keeps them in stock. 3 hours later I was back and Charlie had the broken tap out. Then he drilled and tapped the hole oversized for an insert left over from the thread-repair kit for the engine job on the 968 he sold to buy this one.

Order restored. Now Charlie can install the racks, load up the bikes, and drive to Vancouver with a carload of cutlery and bedding. The rest he’ll buy at Ikea in time for Roz’s arrival by airplane.

But first, a last weekend at Mosport with the new car (without racks).


Newman Tools Inc.

UPDATE, 2 October, 2012:

The bikes rode well on the new racks and Charlie arrived in Vancouver on schedule, quite pleased with the 996’s performance and the respect other drivers give it on the road. We’re still mailing boxes of essentials which wouldn’t fit into the car, but the epic journey across the northwestern states went well.


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