August 12th, 2008

kill everybody

The world would be a better place if...

1) ...everyone did their own vehicle repairs. I've been bashing away at the Saab over the past few days, and spent most of today trying to remove some stupid-ass bolts that hold down the loose alternator (its shaking is likely what damaged the water pump, because they share drive belts and mounts). Sure, I got the new water pump installed, sealed it down nicely, let it cure overnight, refilled the coolant system, checked for leaks (none), reinstalled the pulley, and fixed a few other minor issues. But did I get a chance to test the new pump? Oh, no, that would be too simple.

See, the jerk-monkeys who last worked on the car - professional mechanics, I guarantee, which brings me back to the point - are responsible for my water pump dying because they either didn't reattach the alternator correctly or didn't pay any attention to the loose alternator. I know someone worked on it because one of the bolts doesn't match the other and is too short to engage the threads in the block. These frickin' "professionals" are responsible not only for my pump breaking but also for half the time I've spent trying to remove the bolts they either neglected or installed incorrectly.

If you work on your own car, you notice things like this. I've also discovered vacuum ports without hoses, missing nuts and bolts, and other assorted negligence, and fixed those things. When you work on your car, you fix things as you encounter them. You replace worn nuts and bolts. You put things back together according to the manual (or better). You don't make things worse. *sigh*

2) ...we only owned brand-new and vintage automobiles. It's these recent, fuel-injected, crammed-under-hood Crappisaurus Rexes that pose problems. They need to be fixed as much as vintage cars, but there's no room under the frickin' hood to reach anything. And companies like Saab do stupid-ass things like install the engine backwards, making all the regular-maintenance items (belts, alternator, and all the pumps, for example) virtually inaccessible.

On the other hand, my 2004 Crossfire with 10,000 miles is a joy to drive, and whenever it needs something fixed, I take it to the Chrysler place and they fix it on the warranty. Nice. My 1966 Newport is almost as easy to fix as if the engine parts were on the work bench, so no Saab-contortions and scraped-up wrists. Sweet.

I thought about taking the Saab to a mechanic to pull those inaccessible, stripped bolts sort-of holding down the alternator. Sure, the mechanics probably have the perfect tools to remove those bolts, but guess what? It's not their car, so they'd likely leave me with more problems after taking care of the thing they're supposed to deal with, just like the mechanics who screwed up the car in the first place.


Anyhow, tomorrow I resume the joy that is pulling stripped, inaccessible bolts in the hope that I can replace them with bolts that will prevent the alternator from wobbling once again.

Or perhaps I'll be like a "pro" and just slap it back together as-is. Hmph.