Jul. 18th, 2009

*sigh*

Jul. 18th, 2009 10:09 am
apocalypticbob: (Default)
Yesterday did not go as planned. I was supposed to head up to Broken Arrow around 5 o'clock with two kids in tow, stop by the grocery store to pick up some hot dogs, and head to [livejournal.com profile] tapestry01's house for a pool party. Instead, I was hurtling along the turnpike at 80 miles an hour when my check engine light came on, flashing first, then steady. There was nowhere to pull over, so I white knuckled and kept driving. Then, suddenly, my engine overheat light came on and my temperature gauge red lined. I prayerfully coasted into the QT at the edge of Tulsa, heater on full blast to pull as much heat as possible from my engine, and hazards flashing because I didn't dare stop at the stop signs. I popped the hood and listened to the sound of my engine boiling. I looked underneath the car and saw the streaming rivers of orange coolant. This, I decided, did not bode well. I called Mom and asked her to come up and help me, as I had all of 10 dollars to my name at the time, and took the boys inside Wendy's and fed them chicken sandwiches and soda. I attempted to call Squire Fred's mom, but she is ill and didn't hear the phone.

Mom arrived, and we purchased overpriced antifreeze so we could figure out where the car was leaking. Mom determined I had burst a hose, so we piled into her van to drop of Squire Fred, swing by the party with my regrets, and attempt to find hose replacements. Got the Squire safely delivered and went to the O'Reilley's Auto Parts store near his house, only to deal with the most mentally deficient, unhelpful clerk ever. Seriously, this man was straining all of his brain cells to stay upright and breathing...anything beyond that was a Herculean effort. Finally, we pounded into his Neanderthal skull what we needed and convinced him that it was in his best interest to drag his sluggish ass into the back room to fetch it for us before I came over the counter and throttled off the oxygen to what passed for his brain. We then dropped by the party, and hugs and sympathy were given and received, and we headed off into the (literal) sunset to tackle the hoses (two had to be replaced).

Now Mom, being an intelligent sort, had grabbed her tool kit when she came riding to the rescue. Unfortunately, her tool kit was one of those cheapy prefab things with the most useless pair of channel locks ever created. Still, with physical prowess that a professional wrestler would envy, we used those crappy channel locks and a box cutter to get the first hose off. The second one, on the other hand, was having none of it. I finally walked into the QT and asked the clerk if they, perchance, had a toolbox that might have a pair of channel locks I could borrow for a few minutes. He replied that he didn't know what channel locks were, but I could take the hall to the rear of the store and take a left and ask in there. I assumed he was sending me to the office, so imagine my shock and surprise when I rounded the corner into what appeared to be a miniature auto parts store. It was a holy and beautiful feeling. I'm certain I heard angels singing as I parted the small crew of semi-truck drivers loitering around the counter and found tools! Glorious tools! Tools stronger than a few sheets of aluminum foil folded together! A pair of needle nose pliers was quickly purchased and the other hose was removed with slightly less struggle than the first one.

By now, all semblance of daylight had disappeared from the sky. I looked at the spring clamps we had just wrenched free from the hoses and realized there was no way we were going to get them back on by the light of the cheap toy flashlight we were working with. I proposed a trip to the nearest Wal-mart to purchase screw hose clamps, which are so much easier to install. I grabbed my GPS unit and punched in Wal-mart, and it led us directly there. We then spent 15 minutes wandering around the automotive section searching for screw hose clamps. Finally, in desperation, I wandered over to the plumbing section and found exactly what I was looking for. We purchased them, and headed back to the car. By this point, it was ten o'clock. I was exhausted and frustrated, Mom was exhausted and frustrated, and Smog was exhausted and annoying. We decided that the best course of action was to abandon vehicle, shove some food in our faces, and live to fight another day. A wash-up, a drive through Arby's, and an hour drive home, and now we get to go back up in a few minutes and tackle it again.

Joy.
apocalypticbob: (Default)
Thanks for all your well wishes and congratulations on the previous post. Unfortunately, despite replacing the hoses, it is evident that the problem is much, much worse. It is looking like a blown head gasket, at least.

This is, obviously, not good.

To the tune of baseline $1000 not good. If the head is warped or cracked, mulitply that by 4 or 5 for a good estimate.

So, that's that.

Car is still at QT, for now. Got all valuables out of it, and promised to arrange towing on Monday. I will be without a car for the forseeable future. If I had made plans or started to make plans with you for the next couple of months, I'm afraid you'll need to consider them cancelled for now, until further notice.

To say that this sucks beyond the telling of it would be an understatement. For those playing along with the home game, my car is a 2005 Chevy Equinox that I purchased used a year and a half ago, and the extended warranty ran out in December.

I think I'm going to go take a nap or something. I have bruises up my left arm from wrestling those damn hoses last night, and it was all for nothing.

Bye, ya'll.
apocalypticbob: (Default)
Okay...so...a couple of glasses of wine and I'm a little more calm now. Mom called Dustin, and he said if we can get it to Cushing, he (and a handful of his friends, most likely) can do the labor and replace the head gasket, if the head isn't cracked or warped. I am pretty sure it is the head gasket, as white smoke was billowing out of the tailpipe and water was dripping steadily from the tail pipe when we started it up the last time. Since I stopped driving it as soon as possible, and turned the heater on as soon as it started overheating to pull the heat of the engine, I'm hopeful that it isn't cracked. Only getting into the engine will tell.

So, plan of action is as follows:

1) Talk to Allen and see if we can borrow his trailer and borrow a truck with a trailer hitch and go to Tulsa on Monday.

2)Load up Equinox onto trailer and tow it back to Mom's house.

3) Buy head gasket kit and Chilton's and let my brother tear into it and see if he can replace it.
a) Advantages: Far cheaper than mechanic.
b) Disadvantages: Must be done on brother's schedule and when weather permits

4) If head is warped or cracked, talk to local mechanic that Mom has had good luck with and see what he can do for us.

Contingency: Have had offer of short term loan of car should we be unable to get it operational before Mom goes back to work so I am not left here carless. Hopeful it won't come to that, but so nice to have a backup.

Failsafe: If is completely irreparable, tow it back to Tulsa, drop it off at the dealership where I bought it, give them a chance to make it right (which I frankly doubt they will do, as they have little incentive to do so). If they don't, tell them they can stick it up their arse and refuse to pay them another damn penny on the money sink.

So that's the plan.

Thoughts?

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