The first problem with removing the gascolator (after getting the safety wire out of the way) is finding a place that a tool can grip it without harming it. Fortunately, with all the years in service, I only had to look for the part scarred by all the tool marks. This told me that something like vise grips had been used - but very, very narrow vise grips with a deep throat.
For every really frustrating problem, there is a nifty tool. In this case, needlenose vise grips!
Which led to this:
And then, back to the adjustable wrench to get the fuel filter out from the boost pump, too.
On to the airbox again! First, I found the right filter. The new filter is damp with "wettant", an oily substance that makes the foam perfect for trapping dust and dirt. This means everything gets both oily and sticky after handling or being near the filter. I found replacement hardware to hold a grate to the bracket - this is obviously for filter retention. The other bolts appeared to hold the bracket to the airbox.
The bolts to attach the filter bracket to the airbox are shorter than the airbox filter bracket is deep. Yes, this confused me, too.
As my IA was out of the shop, I biked over to Reeve Air Motive where the owner pulled out a brand new filter bracket, showed the hardware to me, and demonstrated how to install it. He rocks! I then bought brand new bolts for the bracket, and a new gasket for the gascolator, and we compared our trick or treater quantities and costumes.
This took an hour, because as I biked to Reeve's through three inches of slush past Captain Chuck's, I smelled the delicious food wafting from the restaurant. As I biked back, I saw a friend's vehicle in the parking lot, and my stomach urged me to go say hi. Right Now.
The cook and owner was making a spicy chicken soup that nearly gave me a foodgasm - it's awesome, possibly only bested by her incredible biscuits and gravy. Not your mother's chicken soup, this started with a jambalaya base, then had heavy cream added, and a fiery smoky kick with generous amounts of chipotle. Seriously, if you're in or coming through Anchorage, go to Captain Chucks. It's where the chef goes to play in the kitchen, and serves food that bests fifty-buck-a-plate places - at diner prices! (Caveat: if the chef's husband has left to pick up the kids or pick up supplies, you can darn well flag down the chef politely and ask her to ring you out, or give her your order yourself. Being a restaurant run by two people, the service is great for two people. It's not a hovering-waiter-per-table kind of place.)
Anyway, after finding her to pay and ending up in a wonderful conversation about the similarities in spice mixes of Italian and Cajun cooking, it was back through the slush to the salt mines... or at least, airbox assembly.
Those bolts are shorter than the length of the bracket because they go underneath the filter, and the holes on the outside are for putting the screwdriver into the bracket to hold the screws.
Cleaned up the valve cores & disassembled two of them. This involved a bath and scrubbing in the acid tank, as the "valve lube" had more in common with chewing gum, molasses, and tar than lubricant. Once disassembled, I scrubbed each part with brakekleen. Handy stuff!
The third valve core, upon refusing to come apart at my full strength after being cleaned as well as I could, is being given an overnight bath in Mouse Milk, a very effective penetrating oil. The tub with the oil is isolated on an absorbent paper towel inside an oil pan, because this stuff creeps and wicks like it's trying to take over the world.
Unfortunately, what I thought was just my lungs rebelling from avgas, brakekleen, and acid tank fumes turned out to be a harbinger of my host's sickness infesting my lungs. Fortunately, people are wonderful and kindhearted, and I neither had to bike through the slush home, nor bike to work in the morning. Overall, people are awesome and kind, and I am very grateful for that.