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It had to be the 13th didn't it?

It's even unlucky when it's not on a Friday. At this point, I'd say there is a better than even shot that I won't be taking a vacation this week. On Sunday, I got the struts for the back of my car and changed them myself. Probably the last warm and even muggy day of the year. By the time I was finished, I was covered with road dust and grease but the car drove 100% better. Also, I learned there is a very fine line between the concepst of "You don't need a spring compressor for those back struts" and "it sure as hell would have been nice to have one." Just ask me about the cracked rib I now have.

But that's not why my vacation might be in peril. Anyone who knows me knows I wouldn't let a little thing like a cracked rib prevent me from taking a road trip.

I found someone local to change the timing belt for me and at a reasonable price. So I took the car in this morning, the plan being to pick it up tomorrow and leave tomorrow after work, getting to at least Toledo before stopping. But lady luck is not on my side on the 13th of November it seems.

You will remember that I changed engines in my Jetta back in July. And that I was VERY unhappy with the mechanic for not changing any of the belts or hoses he had promised to and indeed, he used the old spark plugs in the new engine. Come to find out, there was a timing belt on the new engine when it shipped. The same one that was on the new (used) engine when the car it came in was wrecked. Even though the engine was from a low mileage wreck, who knows how long it was sitting around the warehouse before I bought it. And given that it was a broken timing belt that killed the old engine and also given that a new one only costs $25, you think that said mechanic would have changed the damned thing. But no, he was one of those dishonest low life, scum sucking mofos who wants you to break down so you will come back and hand over more of you hard earned money.

The reason I found out about the timing belt not being changed was the serpentine belt broke back in October. I replaced it in an afternoon but I called the mechanic to ask him what else he hadn't changed and he admitted to not changing the timing belt. So last week, I called the place I bought the engine from. They are a very good supplier of only VW parts. I'd highly recommend them to anyone. I asked them if the belt on the engine was new and they told me it was the one that was on the engine when it was wrecked and that they told the mechanic this when he received the engine. They also assured me that the engine was still warranted for 100,000 miles despite not changing the timing belt, but highly recommended I get it done quickly.

So the new mechanic, Walt's Automotive Services in Crest Hill, IL by the way, who is a very well respected mechanic shop, gets the car in this morning. They pull the timing belt cover and the belt is very loose and worn. So they figure the problem with my rough idling is because the belt has jumped time. They replace the belt and go to hand crank the engine to test it. Walt said it was like the engine hitting a brick wall. It jsut stopped. So they call me for permission to pull the head. Very nice of them to call. I tell them to go ahead, realizing my $130 repair is rapidly becoming much more than that.

There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the cam but they notice a VALVE IS MISSING. It has slipped loose and slid down on top of the piston and is riding it up and down. Not a good thing at all because it may mean a piston is cracked. Which means VW Parts Place is going to get a call and give me a new engine for free. But still there would be the time and money involved to change an engine which won't get done by tomorrow night. I tell Walt to keep exploring and he finally calls me back around 3 to say the piston is fine, they replaced the valve but the head needs to be replaced. They have located a head locally and can probably do the job by tomorrow afternoon. But the head is $125 and this on top of the $130 for changing the timing belt. So I'm listening to the slow steady trickle of coins that marks the decline of my vacation funds. With a sigh, I tell Walt to go ahead and do it because really, what choice do I have?

Depending on what he charges me, I'll make the decision tomorrow about the vacation. But it's not looking too good right now. What I might be able to do is leave next week instead after I've paid my monthly bills and then when I'm getting back from the vacation, I'll be getting paid again. Maybe it's a sign I need to stay here and attend to more local needs. At this point, I'm not sure of anything anymore. I'll let the people expecting visit know tomorrow what is happening with all of this.




( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 14th, 2007 05:43 am (UTC)
Oh man! That sounds like hard times now and for a while to come.
I have a Mazda truck with 208,000 on it. Changed the tmimg belt at 60,000 when I was still married (uptight woman). I've been due for a change twice over. If I can make it to springtime I might change that myself. My tire guys say I need $1,200 of work on the front ball joints.
I want a new truck! Preferrably one that runs on sun and water.
Damn Detroit jackasses could have had one ready twenty years ago.
Nov. 14th, 2007 05:51 am (UTC)
Well my consolation is that when this is done, I pretty much have a new car. I had the exhaust system done in May. I've got 4 new tires, new front brakes, new back struts, new ignition system and a virtually new engine after tomorrow so I should get another 200,000 miles off this engine. This was, other than the rough idle, it was running fine even with that screwed up valve. So it's a tough little engine. I'll just have to bite the bullet on the finances for a while I guess.

Nov. 14th, 2007 01:42 pm (UTC)
Dude, That sucks. I will let E. know. Is there anything we can do to help out? T
Nov. 14th, 2007 03:22 pm (UTC)
This morning I found out it will ONLY (major sarcasm there) cost $400 for the repair. I'll get the car back tonight or tomorrow morning. So I'll probably still go but won't leave until the weekend. I want a day or two to drive it and make sure nothing else is amiss. I'll just put the two days I'm working this week on the back end of the trip. But I'll judge after I drive it some. I'll let you know what's up.

Nov. 14th, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC)
Ohhhhh, don't even get me started on cars. Mine = shit
I hate cars. I should get a horse and buggy
Wait. Knowing my luck the horse would die right in the middle of a run to the store and then a wheel on the buggy would fall off. lol
Nov. 14th, 2007 09:11 pm (UTC)
Mine should be fixed by now and I'm picking it up in the morning. I'll just leave on Saturday instead of tonight. So you are not lucky with cars or men eh?

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


Wander aka StoneBear
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