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Use a pipe wrench to straighten bent metal parts

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A pipe wrench can come in handy if you are trying to straighten bent metal parts. 

 

I hit a root from a F#&(#$&ing Norway Maple in 5th gear with my lawn tractor.  My fault, I was in a hurry. As I’ve said before, friends don’t let friends plant Norway Maples. They are, simply put, weeds that think they are trees. They might also be evidence that dog crap can grow roots and a trunk while sprouting leaves. The surface roots are a pain when you are mowing. 

The net result was that I got a relatively immovable steering wheel in my gut and mangled the forward attachment points for my tractor. 

The first step was to safely and securely raise the tractor. That was too much trouble so I did this:

THe correct way to jack up a lawn tractor for maintenance ... is not this pic.

Don’t try this at home kids. I guess it was relatively secure. Note the professional use of the two floor jacks in addition to the rusty ramps and galvanized tub. Osha should award a medal for that. 

The problem I faced was that the metal bracket that holds the forward arms of the deck had been bent about 20 degrees. Whacking it with a small sledge hammer was satisfying, but it didn’t get the bracket back in position. 

Now, I could do it correctly, which would be to remove the bracket and put it in a vise.. nahhhhh

I found that a large pipe wrench worked. Simply set the jaws to a hair over the thickness of the metal. Then insert a pipe onto the handle for additional torque. That gave me the leverage to bend the brackets pretty much back to factory specs.. Well, within a couple of degrees either way. 

Using a pipe wrench to straighten a bent bracket
Fit a pipe to the pipe wrench handle for additional torque.

Summary – It works.   Also, I did not get pinned painfully under the tractor. 

Seriously though – Be careful with this as you can generate a lot of torque.

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