Thursday, September 23, 2010

Car Repair II - Thursday, September 23

So the brakes on my car started making enough noise that I couldn't ignore them anymore. I pulled it into the garage and started taking everything apart only to find that one of the slide pins was frozen in the bracket. After a lot of persuasion (first with a hammer, then a torch, then a vice grips, then some liquid wrench and a bigger hammer), it finally came out. Unfortunately the parts warehouse was closed for today so I won't get my parts until tomorrow. Now I know why most people pay to get this done.

After the brake job, I'll have to move replacing the exhaust system onto the to do list because the tailpipe broke off when I was jacking up the car to do the brakes! Although it was long overdue as my neighbor reminds me when I drive in.

Other news: Deck materials are to be delivered Friday. They can't unload in the alley and the forklift won't fit down the alley with 18' boards so they're going to drop it off in the front. We'll get to carry the boards either down the narrow side of the house or around the block to the alley ourselves. My sister volunteered to be at our place when it gets delivered since Megan and I will be at work. Oh and the reason we're getting it delivered is that when they put half of the load on top of my Volvo it sank 8" and the roof rack sagged!

We still have to figure out some spacers to compensate for our footings sinking different amounts. Lesson learned is to tamp the dirt on the bottom of the hole before you pour the concrete in.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Car Repair - Sept 4

So today's success story was fixing Megan's car. She'd been hearing some noises and took it in to the shop. They told her that the air conditioning compressor was going and would eventually seize up. The repair would be $1000 which was more than we wanted to spend right so we asked if we could just not fix it. No AC but that wouldn't be too bad right? Well yes but the same belt also runs the alternator so that would be a problem.

Given the mileage and age of the car we decided we still didn't want to spend that much money on the repair which meant spending even more on a new used car. We started looking online and even test drove a few from dealers to start figuring out what type of cars we could afford. It was starting to look like to get the age/mileage of car that we wanted was going to cost around $6000 unless we found a steal somewhere. Meanwhile the noises on Megan's car were getting worse so she was getting more anxious that it was going to seize up any day.

On a whim, we decided to call O'Reileys (car parts place) and see if they sold an idler pulley. Basically it would replace the compressor pulley to allow the belt to function but not be connected to anything. They didn't sell such a part for Megan's car but they suggested just getting a shorter belt and not going around the compressor. Genius, pure genius! Jason had thought about this idea but figured it must not be possible since the car mechanic that diagnosed the problem hadn't suggested it.

We got the old belt off with a bit of work and measured the length for the new one with a piece of string. Megan's little hands came in handy since there wasn't a lot of room to work. The new belt slipped in without any problems. We were a little nervous starting up the car afterward but it purred just great. Megan was elated that the grinding noise was gone. No AC but summer is mostly over anyway, right? Of course we still need to do a test drive but we don't expect any problems.

So with 2 hours and $11 we were able to postpone purchasing a new car! Now that's a good time.

Other news: We have our decking on order and today we marked where the footings will go. We're hoping the local gnomes will dig them while we sleep. Otherwise Jason will start them in the morning.