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Inspirational Reads

100% Chance of It Happening When You Least Want It To

February 24, 2016

As I've confessed here many a time, I'm a tinkerer.  I tinker.  I fuck around with stuff I probably would be better served to just hire someone who knows what the hell they're doing to do.  But, I don't.  I do it.  AND THEN I hire someone else to do it for me.  At ten times the cost.  At least.

The water heater being a prime example of this.

A couple of years ago, I bought a car.  It was not a new car.  I did that once, and then the car proceeded to destroy not one but TWO engines--the first before I even paid the bastard off.  Ah, life as an adult.  For the record, I didn't tinker with either of those blown engines.  I trusted OnStar a little too much with the life and quality of my oil, to be honest.  Screw you, OnStar.  You owe me an engine.

I digress.  I bought a car.  Not a new car.  It was after the aforementioned car destroyed its second engine (on the way to church, no less).  I bought a Subaru Outback, so that I could impress all the hipsters and MILFs in Durham (trust me, it's a hot car here).  More impressively, I bought a 1998 Subaru Outback.  For reference, that's the same year the I graduated from college.

A Panty-Dropper if ever I've seen one!

The best part?  It had fewer miles on it than the car that destroyed two engines. 

Everything was fine for the first four or five months.  Then, one day, while waiting in line at a drive thru, the car suddenly lurched and the check engine light came on.  Great.  Not only was I getting punished for eating shitty fast food by clogging my arteries and sending my sodium count through the roof, but I also now had a lovely amber light glowing at me from the depths of my dashboard.  Not cool, man.  Not cool at all.

The light went off, though, later that same day.  And then came back on a few days later.  And then off again.  And on.  And off.  It was a lot like my last relationship--hi-yo!!!!

This off-and-on was a pattern for a couple of months until I finally went to my mechanic (for an oil change) and I asked him what the hell was up with the light coming on and going off.  He hooked a monitor up to the car and the computer told him it was a "knock sensor error."

Shhh...pretend we're not here.
He's probably trying to sell us something!
If you're like me, then you might have been clueless as to what a knock sensor was up until the very point that you heard it was in error.  The knock sensor is kind of like a tuning fork for the engine; it basically makes sure that the engine is running okay and that the pistons are all firing at the desired rate and tempo.  Thank you, Google, for teaching me that.  I also learned that day that changing a knock sensor was easy.  Any boob could do it.

Well, buddy, I'm just the boob to try that out on!

Last summer, I also picked up a slow leak in one of my rear tires.  Fantastic.  Oh, and all the coolant ran out of my air conditioner.  No biggie.  Except that it's a black car.  With leather seats.  And summers are hot here in North By God Carolina.

So, I did what any sane, rational human being would do:  I parked the car.  I did nothing with it.  It wasn't going to pass inspection, it was hot, it needed an oil change, and I couldn't afford to get the knock sensor replaced or the tire fixed.  Instead, I drove a tiny, beat down, dilapidated 2002 Saturn SL.  You can imagine the chick magnet that dream machine is.

This past weekend, I decided that I needed to step away from the Saturn and fix the Subaru.  In addition to the tire and the knock sensor, the battery was run down and I couldn't get it to jump.  Add that to the list of things to fix.  But, hell, I had some great weather for working on the car!  It was a lovely weekend.  Beautiful.  Warm, highs in the low 70s, and not a chance of rain at all.

Well...except maybe Sunday there could be some sprinkles.

Or, you know, a pretty intense downpour to start shortly after you lift the hood on your car and begin working with the electrical systems!
Mind sharing that umbrella, ma'am?

Which is precisely what happened. 

Oh, and when I went to put the spare on the car, I discovered that the spare was flat, as well.  It was a thing of beauty, really.

So, after removing the tires and the battery, I loaded them all up in my other car and went off to replace them.  Just as I was about to pull away, the sky opened up and I had to scramble to get my tools put away (inside the car), and close the hood.  By the time I got home, the rain had stopped, and things were dry enough that I could finish the repairs.  As one more "Fuck you" from the Universe, the car's alarm was activated with the new battery, and so I about pissed my pants when I hooked the positive lead to the battery and the alarm system started blaring in my right ear.

ABOUT pissed my pants.  This isn't TMI Thursdays anymore.

With the battery switched, I turned to the knock sensor.  For the record, yes, a knock sensor is easy to replace.  However, what they didn't tell me was that a knock sensor is a real bitch to get to, especially if you have big, meaty claws like I do.  Or sausage fingers or however you want to describe the size of my hands.  *tips cap*  Ladies.

However, when everything was settled and done, I fired the car up and, after a very sluggish start (I suspect I need to put a new starter in the Black Beast soon


), the car turned over and ran rather smoothly.  Most importantly:  no amber lights on the dash.

Despite the rain and all the other stupid stuff that went on, I believe this was a job well done, and it totally makes up for me not being to free that bottom element from the water heater.

4 comments:

Lori said...

Classic example of Murphy's Law! You'd love my husband's license plate. It's YGODY. And not because he's religious.

Frank Irwin said...

It's always a good feeling when something that I fix actually works.

Just for the record, I have yet to own a car that was built in this century, and the car that I bought a few months ago had the Check Engine Light on, when I bought it, and drove it from NJ to TX. That turned out to be a much easier fix (vacuum line replacement) than I had thought. About $1k cheaper, too.

Frank Irwin said...

That took me a while, Lori, but I finally got it.

Scope said...

Every few months, my car likes to go visit the mechanic for an expensive night out. Last time was the master cylinder had a leak and the breaks were slightly on, burning them the hell up. It would be nice if they had a light for that.