Monday, August 23, 2010

"Daddy, why are you hans all byack?"

For those who don't speak Catalina, here is a translation: "Daddy, why are your hands all black?"

This is the question my 3-year old posed to me as she helped mommy carry groceries (grapes that she nearly dropped because she was scared at the sight of my hands) into the house.  She also said to Grandpa Don when he offered her a hug "Don' git you byack on me!  I pwetty in my dwess!  See?!" (and then she twirled for us to watch how pretty she was without black messiness all over her).

My hands were all different shades of black and gray because I had spent the morning working on my car.  My baby Jazzmine.  I'll have to tell you about all her ailments another day, but today is for celebration because she is running fine again!  After way more work than we anticipated (isn't that ALWAYS the case?!) she is the opposite of Humpty Dumpty (we DID get her all back together again!)  If you're interested in the mostly full story read on, if not ... catch you tomorrow or something.  :)

Problem: The power steering pump seized, which snapped
the pulley (wheel) that holds the serpentine belt.
Solution #1: Remove the power steering pump & pulley from
the equation and just use a shorter serpentine belt.
Answer: Unacceptable as the belt will rub against itself without that pulley.
Solution #2: Install a pulley without a power steering pump for the serpentine belt.
Answer: Unacceptable as they do not make cars
without power steering any more.
Seriously we are so lazy in society now ...
that's why our forearms look nothing like Popeye.
Solution #3: Replace the power steering pump including pulley ...
which will also require a new power steering fluid reservior
(because I just threw the broken one away from my accident back in Oct 2009).
Answer: Acceptable solution ... but it's going to require a LOT of work
and a fun field trip to the Pull and Pay junkyard.

So now that the solution had been identified (this was last Thursday, with the Monday prior being the day we disproved the first two solutions), my father-in-law and I had the opportunity to enjoy a new experience together.  Neither of us have been to a junkyard for car parts, let alone to a Pull and Pay setup like we went to this morning.  As a totally non-knowlegeable car person (this blog may confuse you but I knew absolutely nothing about cars before this experience, and still know very little) I have to say the experience was really cool!
 - You pay $2 per person to go in and there are hundreds of cars propped up on old rims.
 - They have them inventoried by year, make, and model so they can tell you where in the massive yard to find your replacement parts.

I'll save the lengthy explanation and just say that we took parts (reservior, hoses, and cap to the reservior) from three different cars similar to mine in order to complete the system we needed to put power steering back in my car.  It was interesting to look at other "parts" and contemplate replacing my seats, etc. but that will just have to be another trip for another day.  All told we spent like $15 (Dad was quicker with 4 singles to get us in ... I need to remember to pay him back 'cause he drove too) and now had everything we needed to get my baby running again.

After a quick stop at an auto parts store to get a brand new serpentine belt (on the theory that replacing it would be better than waiting for it to break and then getting all dirty again) we came to my house and jumped right in.  To keep this brief I will simply say we demonstrated our lack of know-how related to cars by just doing things instead of assessing the proper order of the process.  We installed, took apart, installed again, removed pieces, shifted other pieces, removed whole portions of the unit, replaced other parts, installed again, jerry-rigged a few things ... and then finally screwed everything into place.  Once fluid was added (radiator, power steering, etc.) I started her up and she hummed beautifully.  A little more fluid to top her off and she could finally come down off her jack stands.

Clean up was a chore, but some Boraxo mixed with dishwashing soap gets everything but the under-the-nails gunk off.  Tomorrow morning I'll drive her off into the sunrise and hopefully she will live many more years (at least until Josh Jr, Ben and I can make her into a convertible like I did with my dad when I was 16 years old).

Some important Shout-Outs in the version of Thank You's
Thanks to Grandpa Don for ALL the hard work, driving time, and ingenuity that made it possible.
Thanks to Bill C from work for letting me hitch a ride many days over the past two weeks.
Thanks to Kipp and Andy @ Checker O'Reilly for helping us devise the solution (and for referring us to the Pull and Pay junkyard).
Thanks mostly to our Heavenly Father for watching over us "fools" so we didn't kill ourselves while working on something way above our knowledge-level.  Thanks for the brain-power/inspiration to work around the problems, and thanks for the strong (that's debatable) hands and inquisitive mind that physically got it all done ... eventually.  :)


  1. Which car of ours didn't have power steering? I remember driving one... cranking the steering wheel so hard... can't remember... I'm so glad your car is back running again. You are amazing and so is Grandpa Don!

  2. About time! I have been with out MY car way too long! j/k... I am so happy that your Jazzmine was able to be fixed. I know how you love that car! :)

  3. You took my freakin' Trans Am for your dumb minivan ... dangit woman I deserve a truck I can throw rocks at ... and this is the closest it's gonna get! Leave me be! :)