January 19, 2016

It Is Apparent That We Must Consider Cannibalism as an Option


Gaze upon the implacable power of winter and shudder in fear, for Ithaqua has come to smite Virginia. 

The aftermath to Sunday's snowstorm; part of a weekend that will not end.
Friday, on the way to school , in a dreadful downpour, the power steering on my vehicle went out. Inspection revealed that the serpentine belt had broken. This was...bad.
On a Dodge van, the serpentine belt, in addition to being a hateful and obnoxious thing to replace, runs the spools for the AC compressor, power steering, water pump, cooling fan and.....alternator.

This gave me a very limited amount of time to get to the other side of the tunnel I had just come out of.

Allow me to explain. 

Getting a tow-truck through the tunnel is a horridly expensive proposition. Thus I got turned around (with difficulty as that power steering pump is there for a reason) slowly crawled through the rush hour tunnel traffic while cutting my headlights and everything else hoping against hope that the fuel injection did not deplete the battery before I got to the other side (breaking down IN the tunnel is an even more expensive prospect). Happily, I made it through and while I was unwilling to push my luck with rush hour traffic and press on to the mechanics, I did make it to my parent's house. I brazenly commandeered their car and went to school only to discover that my class was cancelled. 

Saturday was spent purchasing the belt and charging the battery. As the weather was taking a turn for the worse I decided that instead of spending four hours or more changing the belt (It had taken me that long to change this vile hard to reach thing once before...and I had help for the last 2 hours) I would take it to a local service station, assuming that it should be a simple fix for someone with a lift and proper tools. In any event, I needed to get  the vehicle inspected, so I could do that as well.

For the few minutes that I was pulling in the battery charger, the snow changed to a downpour, so I was soaked. It then obligingly changed back to freezy woe once I was actually driving in it....with no power steering. Still the issue was not any great difficulty driving, but rather the terminal derpitude I encountered on the way.

Words are incapable of describing the pandemonium that a mere dusting of snow can cause on Virginia roads when combined with slush and idiot drivers. Seriously people, WTF?  I only drove 4 miles. Why are there 4 cars in the ditch and multiple wrecks with that?  I refer you, gentle reader, to the visual aid above. 

Anyhoo, I made it before the battery ran dead...barely. Of course, upon reflection these annoyances are quite trivial in comparison with all the other problems in the world...for instance the category other annoyances in the world include the fact that the quick repair and inspection turned out to be anything but.

1700 dollars later I still have no van, the last part (a brake cable for the inspection) is being shipped in from Charlotte. It turned out that the compressor had blown, the tensioner belt had been stripped of it's teeth and the spool for the alternator had been wrenched off. I should have the car back by noon today. 

On the other hand RWBY was really good this weekend...so there is that. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 04:53 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 590 words, total size 4 kb.

1 I once had a tensioner seize on a newly replaced camshaft belt, and the knotted remains bent the oil pump pulley. Interestingly, the Newly Replaced business came from the other belt breaking, but since a Subaru has two, I was able to limp along on half an engine to get off the highway.

Posted by: Mauser at Tue Jan 19 21:30:00 2016 (5Ktpu)

2 It's the first time I hear about the van. It was the F-250 and Cressida before.

You know, there was an article at The Truth About Cars entitled "Why Poor Cannot Have Junk Cars" or something about the privilege of driving a clunker that's liable to shed a serpentine belt.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Wed Jan 20 14:19:48 2016 (XOPVE)

3 The "Pickup of Peril" is a 1984 Isuzu Pup Diesel (it runs fine, but the wood holding it together did not pass the new stringent inspection process so it now has antique plates on order so it can be used as an emergency vehicle). 
The van is actually in pretty good shape. Aside from the safety brake cable it passed inspection with flying colors. It hasn't been driven much (except for that ONE trip to Nome...via the Grand Canyon....ahem). I read the article you referenced. It did not USED to be true but it certainly is now given that Cash for Clunkers massively depleted the stocks of spare parts for old cars and the electronics systems that are mandated make DIY maintenance increasingly impractical. I just need to last another 18-20 months, after which I expect to be in Japan teaching English. (I retire from UPS next August)

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Thu Jan 21 21:04:55 2016 (AaBUm)

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