Sunday, September 09, 2007

Reluctantly earning my engineer's stripes

I arrived in City of Champions, somewhat flummoxed. As I was about halfway there, Leni seemed to loose power; like she wasn't getting fuel. It was intermittent and particularly aggravating when trying to pass the slow pokes, like the tin boxes/RVs Rob describes over in Jolly Ole'. (Except ours our usually fibreglass in these parts).

Is my turbo charger going? It was like it was sputtering for fuel. All fluids look fine and the new rad is holding....nothing leaking so far. What could it be? Geez, I feel like such a girl...

Later that night I spoke with Greig about it and he suggested it may be the fuel filters and gave me the run down on how to switch them out myself (in the parking lot of the Trail Hospital). What tools I would need to buy; how to do it; how to manually pump the engine to re-prime after I change the filter. "Time I learned how," he said.

Yes, AND with my father in hospital, could there ever be a MORE PERFECT time for me to actually LEARN one of these necessary life lessons? Sorry it took me a week to get here Dad. And sorry I don't have time to sit with you but my car is having issues and well, I've a life lesson to learn and you'll have to keep waiting.

I had left Leni at the hospital over night and the following morning upon inspection, also noticed there was coolant on the ground beside it. More lovely. I left Mum at the breakfast spot as the local Lordco was just next door. One filter was there but the other would be there by 2pm that afternoon. I have so impressed my mother so by all of this that I can actually recognize coolant from say oil or transmission fluid.

I wandered aimlessly though the store, wondering what tools I should buy and would they be cheaper at Canadian Tire? I opted to wait to buy the tools when the parts actually got in. I took Mum back up to see Dad and off went to deal with my car. I stopped back at Lordco and the part that was supposed to come in the afternoon was already there (11am). YEA!! I asked for them to recommend a shop in town and they said any were just fine.

Finding a mechanic on duty, or a shop open on a Saturday in Trail, was the challenge. I found a fellow who would do it and he also reconnected a vacuum hose that had come off my rad. Coolant leak solved too. Forty bucks and that would be a far sight cheaper than the money I would have spent on tools PLUS trying to figure out how to do it 'cos I didn't write down Greig's directions. Immediately I noticed driving away from the shop it was better.

With Dad on the improve and seeing his determination to get out of there, I left this morning and the trip was mostly fine.

Until I hit Chilliwack. I heard something thunk as I was booting down the highway. Sounded like in the rear end. Maybe I just hit something on the road. Feels fine. Then a half hour later, I could smell diesel fuel. "Is it me?" I wondered, booking along at 140km with the rest of the bunch.

I noticed my fuel gauge was dropping awfully fast and a fine mist/smoke inside the car. OH CRAP!! I better pull over! IT IS ME!

I opened the hood to see diesel fuel spraying everywhere! I noticed the disconnected hose clamp coming down from the new fuel filter. Kill the switch! Gee that hose looks new too. Luckily, I had purchased a new screwdriver. (my trusty red one was left in the Suburban from the previous sojourn.) Ooh...what the hell is this big lag bolt doing right there? That looks out of place.

It was about 3.25" long, I couldn't see if it came out of anything on my engine though it certainly could of for all I know. I'll keep it just in case. Maybe I picked it up and it just "happened" to knock off the line to my new fuel filter. Hmm...unlikely coincidence. Buddy may have not entirely tighted it up but he seemed a bit to particular to overlook such a thing. On the other hand...where did this bolt come from?

A bit of a twist to the hose clap and a check to the other end seemed OK and I started it up and nothing was leaking anymore.

Whew! I did it! Yea me Girlie-princess!

Oh MY...running on empty! Off to re-fuel. I lost quite a bit of fuel before cluing in about it. Now I know better.

I refueled in Chilliwack and back onto the Highway 1 went, pulling over again just to check it was still holding and it was.

Almost home - should be there in an hour I thought and I was another 15 minutes down the road when I smelled diesel AGAIN!!

I pulled off as soon as I was able and pooped the hood and lo and behold...THE OTHER CLAMP CAME LOOSE!! Didn't I tighten that for good measure too? I can't remember. Surely I would have... friggdy-frig-frig-frig....I have to steam clean this engine now! Oh the underside of the hood covering is soaked with diesel too!

Tighten clamp. Start engine. No leaky-leaky!! I finally made it home and as far as I could tell nothing else has come apart.

I think.

Dad is on the mend but Mum has nabbed herself a nasty cold in the process. I still don't like Trail very much though. The people are lovely. It's just a bit of a vortex to me. That is for another post.


rob said...

Wow! I think you can be very proud of yourself and what you achieved. give the bolt to Greg, I bet he will find out where it came from! it may have lain there for ages and be nothing to do with your "Tin Tent" :o))
Take care! ( Its great that your dad is getting better)

Tim Zim said...

A great post. Thanks for sharing.

There is nothing like learning when you HAVE to know.

Jamie said...

Oh, darling girl, lookit you go! You are a kindred spirit of mine, figuring out what you have to when you have to ~ the adventures we have when we're off on our own, eh? Good job!