Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Five "Damns," One "What the Hell"

About a week and a half ago, I posted that Laura's Jeep was running rough and that I, laughably, was going to take a look at it. The next day, on the way to work, the driveshaft fell off. It's been in the shop since, though our mechanic thinks it may be fixed today (he was waiting for a part). So for the past week, we've been a one-vehicle family and, for the most part, Laura has been taking the van to work. Last night, however, on the way back from picking up a few groceries, she drove through a puddle and immediately the power steering went out and the battery light came on.

She was able to make it back home since we only live a block or two from the store - mostly a straight shot.

It was a little worrisome, since it leaves us without a vehicle and without really any money to fix the vehicle. Today she called our mechanic and he said that it may just be that the drive belt was knocked off by the water and that I could put it back on myself.

I opened the hood, about the only thing I know how to do on a car, and checked it out. Check! The drive belt was off. I was able to re-route the belt by following the diagram under the hood, but I couldn't get the blasted thing around the last pulley. Frustration ensued. Called the mechanic. Oh, you have to get a 15mm wrench and loosen the drive belt tensioner? No problem, just as soon as I can find the drive belt tensioner. You do realize these things aren't labeled?

Looked for a wrench - none of mine are metric, of course. Walked, in the rain, to the auto store (it's a three-minute walk, no big deal) and bought a 15mm wrench. Walked, in the rain, back to the house. Pants too loose and kept falling off. I need a smaller belt for my pants, which is good news, just not today.

Found the tensioner bolt, reamed on it, belt magically loosened! But still can't get the damned thing around the last pulley. I can't ream and push at the same time and I've got giant man-size hands that make it difficult to navigate in the insanely tight spaces of under-the-hood. Damn, damn, damn.

Anyway, I've spent a good deal of time out in the cold (unbelievably 36F, only days ago it was in the 80s) and rain - though I am under the carport.

Anyone have any tips about getting the drive belt back on? We may have to just pull it into a shop down the street after lunch and see if the local mechanic can slip it on for us - I am praying he doesn't charge an arm and a leg for a five-minute, elbow-grease job. I'm willing to part with, say, $20. But any more and I'm likely to curl up into a fetal position, suck my thumb, and cry.

I wish I could get the damn belt on myself. What the hell, I'll just drive it to the shop - all this book-learnin' is useless. (Maybe I could leverage the wrench with a stack of books and then wrangle the belt . . .) Oh, Ack!


truevyne said...

Don't know anything about drive belts, but I loved the story.

Jamie Dawn said...

I know nothing.... nothing!

alison said...

When Paul and I first got married we chose to have only one car so that there would be two of us against it - that was our perspective.

Oh my, just glanced down and must type in about 50 characters for wv.

Please feel the love accordingly.

Scott said...

Truevyne and Jamie, you are free from any responsibility to fix my van.

Alison, excellent idea. If Laura didn't work 40 minutes from home, I may even consider it.

Oh, and I appreciate the sacrifice of love through all the strenuous typing.