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More baby steps, dealing with dealers 
2nd-Jan-2007 03:11 pm
I don't make new year's resolutions. If something is a Good Thing to do, then I'll start doing it as soon as I identify it. Why wait?

Getting rid of more junk:
I am still taking baby steps, doing things that normal people would never need to do, since they'd never have dug themselves this deep a hole, but on 12/31, while waiting around for it to be time to leave for our parties, I recycled all the newsletters I'd saved from YCUA (our water company) (although I didn't throw away the cool "I'm toxic" stickers we got a bunch of years ago) and I also tossed or recycled all the mail we'd gotten from 10-XXX phone companies (pay no more than 9.98 cents per minute!) in the last 10 years.

Some time soon I'll need to face things like my dorm-room telephone bills. Yeah, that was most of 30 years ago, but, but, but... I just know that as soon as I throw something away I'll discover a need for it. (And scanning is currently a fear-inducing (long story) and labor intensive project, so I'm not sure that is the right solution.)

Car problems:
The other week I started, intermittently, not having hot air inside the car. Took me a while (and a nudge from a friend) to do a physical check, because the gauge always read just fine. When I checked, I was indeed low on coolant, so I topped it up. Suddenly my gauge started reading between 25 and 80 percent of where I expected it to. Checked again, and discovered that I was leaking from the join between the top/big hose and the engine. Checked the hoses that had come off the last time I had them replaced (yes, I was an hour away from home... yes, I had them in my trunk) and noticed that the big hose was mostly-broken in roughly that location -- although the rubber on the outside appeared fine. But this told me that I didn't want to pull the current hose off figuring I had a quick back-up. (I'm very good at breaking things.) I pulled out a screwdriver (yes, even when this car was brand new I still carried my tool box with) and tried to tighten the hose clamp. No motion. I loosened it a little bit and it spurted fluid, so I tightened it again, confident that it wasn't just "stuck but loose".

One of the days I went in to work over the break, I drove my car by the shop that I like to deal with -- but they were closed until the 2nd. So I drove by the dealership, getting an appointment for last Friday. I am not what you would call pleased with the results. Yes, it cost less than they quoted me, yes, it cost more that I want to admit to, but no, they didn't do much of anything. Their solution was to tighten the hose clamp which they claimed was so loose it flopped. Uh-huh. They say they did a pressure check and everything looked fine. But currently the car takes 2 to 3 times longer than it used to to warm up to "normal" operating temperature on the gauge. Sometimes it never gets there. But sometimes it does. So I guess it's better than it was...

I figure I'll plan to drive my car normally, watching it carefully. Take the spouse's much newer car when I go to Canada. And later this year when I get a bit closer to 240,000 (I'm within 100 miles of 239,000) I'll get the 60,000 mile work done, and that should include changing the hoses. And if anything goes obviously wrong, I'll bring it back and say "you said you checked it out -- now make it right".
3rd-Jan-2007 12:48 am (UTC)
SO with you on the hanging-onto-documents thing. What finally broke the logjam for me was mentally tying everything into the income tax "you only need to keep it for 7 years" paradigm. I think I must have thrown away a dozen big boxes of bank statements and utility records the year I pared it down.
4th-Jan-2007 04:12 am (UTC)
If it's full of coolant, and it's not leaking, but it's sometimes or always slow to warm up, then it is (drum roll....) the thermostat. Inexpensive part and easy for you or any shadetree mechanic to put in. If it's 14 years old there is no harm in replacing it anyway.

If you are serious about keeping the car you might want to have somebody honest go through all the hoses belts etc and replace things that are suspicious. The whole job might be $100 in parts if it needs lots, and that's so much better than doing it beside the road on Sunday night.

4th-Jan-2007 05:11 pm (UTC)
It's full. I'm not yet sure if it's leaking. The thermostat was replaced a year or so ago by the guys at JAP -- Same symptoms -- I think the're the ones who removed the hose I'm carrying around. (I remember not being able to *find* the thermostat -- it's not the obvious lump it used to be.) I'm figuring most stuff will be replaced when I do the 240K maintenance in a few months (I've been early on the other 60K ones), so it might not make sense to do them early.

Although your "Sunday night" comment makes a lot of sense. Think... consider...

If I'm going to replace the car, the time to do it might be while C. is gone. It'll require communication, but there are certain cars that get SUPER deals for those left behind. Or, once back, there's the A (?) plan. At least to consider. But yeah, I think I want to keep her a while longer. As of 'Fusion I'll have made my first goal of 14 years.
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