Saturday, July 23, 2011

Defeat to Victory to Defeat to Victory

Alllllrright...  The water pump in my car has been leaking for a while.  It's been leaking out of the little seephole that indicates the internal seal is failed.  That means the bearings are getting wet.  I knew the day would come...  The last few days it has been squealing like a banshee that just accidentally saw Barney Frank undressed.  So today, my weekend project was to swap out the water pump.

Water Pump.  Simple 'nuff.  Take off the belt, undo a couple bolts, no biggie, eh?  Well on a stupid frontwheel drive Japmobile it is a different story.  Had to take off the power steering pump and AC compressor just to SEE THE STUPID pump.  Then, in a bold example of revenge, the engineer who must still hold a grudge about losing WWII designed this thing decided that there should only be about an inch of clearance to the wheelwell.  Tricky but do-able, right?  OK, how about putting 3 of the 5 bolts BEHIND THE TIMING COVER!  So now the nasty plastic timing cover has to come off.  Seems simple, right?  No!  Some of the bolts that hold the timing cover on are BEHIND THE MAIN CRANK PULLEY.  There is no way in any 3-dimensional universe to get the timing cover off without ACTUALLY PULLING THE ENGINE.  Or destroying part of the plastic timing cover.  I opted for destroying part of the plastic cover with tin snips and some pliers.  I get 4 of the 5 bolts out when I realize the the fifth is BEHIND THE TIMING BELT TENSIONER.  So all of a sudden I am carless.  Plus, I dropped a socket down into an unreachable in what's left of the timing cover, so I couldn't even screw it all back together and hope it would run for a couple more days. 

My crap job is about 8 miles away.  My real job is about 3.  That's a lot of walking.

So.  Wife and I prayed about it.  Didn't know what to do.  Discussed going carless for the weekend and trying to fix it ourselves and/or haul it to a shop on Monday.  Discussed buying another car which we don't have the money for so that was a brief discussion.  Looked on a website for a local used car guy I've done some business with years ago.

Used Car Guy's store was going to close in 20 minutes.  We couldn't walk there fast enough.  We told him that 6 hours ago we weren't even in the market for another car and we don't have much money.  Used Car Guy dropped what he was doing and hurried over and picked us up at our house.  Used Car Guy's wife is receiving an award tonight for her work with Operation Homefront so we didn't have a lot of time.  Used Car Guy just says "Here's the keys to a 2002 Malibu.  Come back early next week and we'll try to get you in a car."  Zero dollars exchanged hands.  Just some ink on some paper and keys in my hand.

So I want to thank God for pulling me out of a major jam and thank Al Hutchinson the Used Car Guy for being so cool about this whole situation.  Nonbelievers may chalk this up to good karma or something if you prefer, but it really was a miracle.

But wait!  After we pushed the dead car a little further up the driveway, umm, "where are the keys to the new car?"  "Dunno you just had 'em a second ago."


Oh!  Here they are, mixed in with the dead parts of the dead car!  Phew!


  1. Glad to hear everything ended well.

  2. Cars still have timing belts?

    Good for Mrs. Hutchinson!

    And good on you -- what goes around comes around. You've been doing some good works yourself, doncha know. I think you're due a miracle or two. Finding those keys might qualify, too!

  3. How can I add to something like that ... Oh I know. Find a good mechanic.

  4. Al sounds like the exception to the rule when it comes to Used Car Guys.

    All's well that ends well. Or mebbe I should hold that thought until tomorrow afternoon...

  5. Now you understand why I never work on cars anymore - there's no room, and there's always some "special" tool needed that I don't have. Back when we had the '76 Dodge, now, that was a different story: I could climb into the engine compartment of that puppy and still have room to work. It was tres sweet! Ungfortunately, my Bride made the mistake of actually stopping at a traffic control device and was rear-ended by a Very Important Person who was in a Very Big Hurry. She pulled around the corner to avoid blocking traffic; he took off. The Dodge was toast - he had a honkin' big off-road truck with the "Deliverance" package.

    She did learn from the experience: if struck, stay put and start writing/photographing. Other folks will just have to wait a bit.

    As for your situation: if I lived down that way, Al would for sure get a look-see from me. That's some darn fine customer service! And you get to eat bacon with those eggs, now, since it appears that he saved yours.

  6. Well I'm glad that worked out. Temporarily at least.

    Unless you live in Manhattan like I do a car is a necessity. Here it's a luxury but if I lived outside this tiny island I'd sure hate to be without a car.

  7. I've noticed that if you do all you can things tend to work out, maybe not the way expected, but they do work out.

  8. There are still some good people out there. They're just harder and harder to find these days.

  9. Had a Used Car Guy grab my cookies out of the fire once in Vicksburg, MS. Didn't know me from Adam's Off Ox...transmission had blown in my pickup...came and picked me up at the motel, took me to his lot, sold me his personal pickup at a "deal...really, a deal." Set me on my way to finish my route with my promise I'd wire the money to him when I made it back home.

    It was a miracle...even though a minor one...but, it sure felt like a major one at the time.

    Glad y'all are up and running, Inno. God is good.

  10. Carlos Beltran to the Giants? Any thoughts?

  11. God is good, Inno. Glad to hear that your car snafoo ended well.


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