Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A 24-Hour Bug

I got the car back yesterday, with its new diesel engine. It was idling when I got there to pick it up and let me tell you. That's a sound that'll have you asking, "shouldn't this thing have like 14 more wheels?"

Anyway, Marvin explained a few things - there's a funny little pre-start button you have to hold in for 15 seconds before turning the ignition on in the morning. Oil changes are at the same intervals as a gasoline engine, although the oil is different. You can get stickers that say "Diesel" at the gas station to remind the driver (& gas station attendants) not to pump gasoline into the vehicle.

Marvin said to bring it back in two weeks so he can give it a final going-over before the one-month warranty expires. It actually started to overheat before I had driven a full mile, so I went right back and it turned out that there was a thing with the new thermostat - something like, the first time the thermostat operated as part of the system, it had to fill with water, which left the overall water level lower. Maybe that wasn't it, but anyway it was a one-time thing and easily fixed. Marvin came with me for a good, demanding test drive (even farther up the mountain than my street) and the temperature remained steady.

It seemed to climb the hill okay when I drove it home that evening. I drove it around town a bit today, going to PriceSmart for a 50-pound bag of dog food, since the little 17-pound bag I had had to make do with when I was traveling by bus is about gone. I took myself out for a cappuccino and a salad at the mall.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring the DVDs that are due today, so I had to go back home before picking up the kids. At the foot of the two-mile hill up to my place, there was a large gravel truck going about 15 miles an hour, so I waited for an opportunity and passed it. It was harder to pass than I thought, but then, I'm still getting used to the new engine and all.

I've been told that if you have some momentum going uphill, the diesel engine will do really well, but that if you have to go slowly, it'll seem kind of sluggish compared to the gasoline. It was sluggish, all right.

I got up into second gear, but it just wouldn't regain the momentum. I, of course, don't yet know what's normal for this engine, but I was beginning to feel that, whatever "normal" is, it's probably not this. I got about a mile up the hill, driving slow, slow, slowly, before it died. I sat for a minute or so then tried to restart the car. It made a Very Bad Sound, so I got out and called the mechanic first, then Yolanda (to ask her to pick up the kids).

Aside: I do NOT understand you anti-cell phone people (you know who you are). Cell phones are next to godliness.

Marvin wasn't there when I called, but when I described what had happened to Cristian (one of the other mechanics), he said he'd try to get hold of Marvin and have him come out to where I was. I waited a while then called back, but they hadn't been able to get in touch with him.

A few minutes later, Marvin happened by, recognized the car and stopped to see what was wrong. I loves me a small country.

He tried to start it and heard the Very Bad Sound. He looked under the hood, tried to start it again, and decided it was a broken belt in the engine. So he drove down to his shop and picked up Cristian. When they got back I rode with Marvin and, once they got my car turned around, Cristian was able to coast it all the way down to the shop - they only had to push it from the street into the garage. Hills are nice. Every mechanic should be at the bottom of one.

They took off a cover to check the belt Marvin suspected and found it in perfect condition - obviously new and not slipped or broken at all. They conferred for a few minutes and came to the conclusion that the problem was nothing that couldn't be fixed by replacing the engine.

I had the car from 3:00 yesterday afternoon until 3:00 today. I guess you could call this the ebola of 24-hour bugs.


Dot May 11, 2006 6:00 AM  

Great Blog! But am so sorry to hear about the car but it really did make a good story.

As for cell phones: Girl, I am with you all the way. I so not use mine that much but it certainly is security for me.

Sending positive thoughts your way for a "fixed" engine, this time.

Laylabean May 11, 2006 8:55 PM  

Aaaaahhh! Your poor car - and poor you! *sending wishes for a fast repair*

I'm with you and Dot on the cell phone thing as well. I just got one last year and now I don't know how I functioned without it.

Dad May 11, 2006 10:17 PM  

Maybe it'll encourage you (and Lisa) to know that today we paid twelve HUNDRED dollars for repairs/maintenance/upkeep on the Honda Accord. Of course it does have 160,000 miles on it.

Just so you don't feel like you're being picked on.


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