Another post makes me post this, a male topic, I suspect, worth revisiting every now and then.
I bought a 10 year old car about 16 years ago. A '77 Buick Century, whom I named Proud Mary. She was the first car I ever owned while single. It had taken a divorce to get me there. All of my other cars had been jointly owned with my ex.
I did all maintenance and repair myself. And it kept me quite busy. When the original exhaust system got washed out in a street flood, I replaced it. When the charging system went south, I dismantled the alternator and replaced the voltage regulator and diodes. The last problem I had with it was a burnt out wiper motor, which I also replaced myself.
Each and every repair was a real pain. The hood on that model opened forward. To work under it, I had to reach tools around the sensitive hood prop to accomplish the required task. Quite difficult with my limited dexterity, but I got done what needed to be done. It was all a matter of knowing when to pray and when to swear.
Two years after buying the car, when my wife and I were merely dating, she made me get rid of it! All my hard work gone!--my exhaust system, my radiator, my carbeurator! My Chrisi just didn't care much for the language I used while under the hood, I guess. <L>. I ended up selling it to my ex for $100.00. The curses were all hers. How's that for revenge?
I haven't worked on a car since then because today's engine compartments are too cluttered and require special tools, for the most part. But a part of me enjoyed the aggravation of maintaining, troubleshooting and repairing the car. Nowadays, local ordinances won't even allow us to change our own oil. The shade tree mechanic has gone the way of the blacksmith. It makes me wonder how NAPA and Autozone stay in business.
Well thanks to "da Coot" having been in the automotive business all of our married life, I have never fixed a car. But you have heard of the shoemaker and his children's shoes, this is the story of 'da Coot and My Car'
Many years ago I had a huge 1956 Buick that was pretty old at the time of this story. I was traveling alone from Delaware to New York, it was night and starting to rain. I naturally reached to the dashboard and switched on my windshield wipers and much to my distress, the windshield wipers went to the extreme up position and stopped. Well this was long before 1-800-Auto was in style so I called 1-800-da Coot. Woke him out of a sound sleep and explained my dilemma. After a few minutes of some indistinguishable and very bad language, the following was his advice.
"Take some string out of the trunk, tie it to the drivers windshield wiper, run the string across the windshield and thru the small vent window on the passenger side of the car. Turn on the windshield wipers. When the wiper gets to the up position, pull the string and repeat as necessary." How's that for technical advice.
Needless to say I did this all the way from exit 7A on the NJ Turnpike to our home in Islip and did get home safely. Lucky for 'da Coot'
A guy i know was driving to work one day when it started raining. He turned on his wipers, and they wouldn't go far. He could hear the motor straining, along with another non-mechanical sound. He pulled over and popped the hood.
A groundhog (aka woodchuck) had gotten under his hood somehow. His head was stuck in the translator arm of the wiper. His legs were kicking trying to extract himself. Not knowing what else to do, he drove to a nearby firehouse to see if they had any ideas on how to get the animal out.
One of the firemen, got a pair of heavy gloves. He managed to stretch the translator just enough to free the little guy. He then carried the rodent out in back of the firehouse and released him in a field, shaken but unharmed.
As my friend left the firehouse, his wipers now in proper operation, he could hear the fireman being chewed out by his co-workers. He had released the animal where they planned to plant the firehouse's garden.
I would have though that an urban legend if it came from another source.
Well since I work on all our vehicles, boats, lawn mowers, etc. I am the first person Mrs. Thomas calls when she has a problem. One day a couple of years ago I was at the office and in a pretty foul mood when she called to tell me her car was not running right.
"What's wrong with it?" I asked. 'Don't know" was her response. Well, crap, that doesn't tell me anything. I mean, does it sputter when accelerating, knock when coasting, rattle when turning, but all she said was don't know.
Being a bit perturbed and in no way wanting to deal with an unknown problem I told her tartly, "If you can't drive it then park it."
When I got home from work and ready to investigate her problem the car was not there. I asked her where it was and she said the tow yard she guessed! What?!!?!!
"Well you told me that if I can't drive it to park it so I did. Right on the highway!"