Car Trouble.

New car, old car, please get me there car.

We own an older car and recently, it has been needing a little more attention. Attention whore. It is an 18 year old Camry, that has been very good to us for the past two years we have owned it. However, as with anything old, it is starting to fall apart at the seams. As we fix her, good old Lucy breaks. Betty, is the split personality my wife knows her as. This past week, with the help of my father in-law, we have replaced many items and spent approximately $200 bucks. Much better than thousands, but still a good chunk of change for a one income family of two kiddos.

So, lets go over all the nuts and bolts.

We first started working on Lucy, because she was leaking fluid that appeared to be oil. As you can see in the picture below, it appeared to be a murder scene with oil dripping from many orifices. Betty, the split personality must of stabbed herself in the middle of the night. Poor Lucy did not know what hit her, as she slept peacefully in her parking spot. We actually had a doctors mechanics opinion a week early saying, she was leaking some bodily fluids from the valve cover and it would have to be replaced. At the same time, she began to get weak. Like a marathon runner, she was slow to get up the hills and fast going down them. The father in-law recommended a transmission flush. A trip to the auto parts store later and a little lighter in the pocket, I came out with a valve cover gasket  and transmission filter kit.

Here, we are tearing her apart and preparing for surgery.

The transmission filter kit includes, a filter, along with a new gasket for the transmission pan. The old gasket was cork and very difficult to remove. We my father in-law, used a grinder on some and a putty knife with patience on the remainder.

The old trans filter and all the bolts for the pan. I think there were 16 bolts. 

Give her some IV's of trans fluid and watch her chug up those hills now.

The valve cover was next in line. While we had the cover off, we cleaned it up a bit. We also cleaned all the blood oil from around the engine compartment. The oil was caked on many parts, so we my father in-law used brake cleaner to remove most of it. You can see the oil on the lip, where the gasket was placed. You are not supposed to see oil there.



Using brake fluid to clean behind valve cover while it is off.

Finished, right? Wrong!

A day later, after washing the engine bay with engine degreaser, she began to sputter. This was not her thanking me for cleaning out the engine compartment. This was her way of saying, what the hell, I liked being a dirty little bitch girl. A call and a couple days later, the father in-law came to find out what was going on.

Houston, we have ignition failure. Scrub the launch.

This next project, would set us back lighter in the bank account and require several hours of scouring from store to store to find all the RIGHT parts. I say, RIGHT, because the first store I went to gave me several wrong parts for a car that needs California parts. Needles to say, we my wife stopped at a store on her way home from work and got the correct parts. As usual though,  nothing is quite that simple and they did not have one part we needed in stock even though it showed they had some online. So, after a trip to a third auto parts store, we had what we needed. A new distributor cap, distributor rotor, 4 spark plugs, and a set of wires is what we hoped would work. It did, but we had one more issue. We had discovered a brake line was leaking and needed immediate attention. Luckily, we saw this next challenge beforehand and had gotten the brake line hose on one of the three trips we made to the auto stores.     

All done. For now at least. We have several other items that need to be attended to in the near future. These items include, 4 engine mounts, engine coolant flush, radiator cap, fuel filter, belts, and a car handle on the driver side door (the wife will stop bitching).

Things have a way of falling apart one after the other when you start fixing a car. I am thankful to my father in-law for the help. As you may have noted, he did most of the work, while I supervised. It makes me wish my dad was here because I enjoyed working on cars with him, but Ron is a good substitute in his passing.  

1 comment:

  1. Dad would have,loved working with you on Lucy. Remember all the trips we had to make to the friendly auto part stores to find the stuff we needed. Why is it that auto stores can not be 1 stop shopping?