September 7th, 2008

#1249: ARRRGHHH!!!!!! AAARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


...decided I wanted some "tacos tacos tacos" so I hopped in the Jeep and headed for the nearest Taco Bell.

On my way through the forest preserve, I was filled with trepidation, thinking about how much it would suck if some drunk fuck rammed into my Jeep, or something.

Then I saw flashing lights ahead as I proceeded west on Sauk Trail.

The cops had blocked off the road and--the officer informed me--were conducting a sobriety checkpoint, and they were checking every other car. Mine was that car.

"Oh," thought I. "I've got nothing to worry about; I'm sober. I've never seen one of these in action before." So I followed their instructions and pulled into the indicated parking lot, and handed over license and insurance card.

...waited 20 minutes, with increasing trepidation...

End result: a citation for EXPIRED FUCKING LICENSE PLATES


The Wednesday before I went to Maine, I took the Jeep over to get it smogged so I could renew the plates, but I never actually renewed the plates. And so--guess what!--I get my second traffic ticket this freaking year because I'm apparently a screeching fucking moron!


...he also cited me for a lack of a front plate. I have the plate; I just have no place to put it--but before the 23rd I'd better get one and get it on the thing so I can show the judge that I corrected the issues for which I was cited.

The cop was nice about it, I have to say, and wrote the ticket such that it won't go on my record if I take care of the issues. Believe me, I'll take care of them.

It just aggravates me to no end that I fucking forgot to renew the goddamned plates. I've got no one but myself to blame for this shit.

That's what hurts so much.

#1250: Car woes

Ford can't bring that 68 MPG Fiesta to the US; it costs too much. They say they'd have to charge $25,000 for it. Crud.

* * *

The Escort turned out to need a new alternator. Big surprise--115,000 miles, the occasional bit of abuse will take their toll--but I couldn't drive the Jeep since its plates are expired (ARRRRGH!!!) so I had to take the van.

After pumping up the RR tire and such, I happily drove over to Advance Auto, and I was almost there, except--wait a minute, what's that noise from the engine? Is that--oh FUCK there's NO FUCKING OIL PRESSURE--it's valvetrain noise, not rod bearing noise, so at least the bottom end is getting oil pressure; there just isn't enough oil to pressurize the valvetrain, and I think I can get to the auto parts store as long as I don't floor it or do anything else stupid....

Alternator: $155. With four quarts of oil and tax, $181. *sigh* With the ticket and all, this has been an expensive weekend....

The van took all four quarts to bring it up to "full". The dipstick was dry. Note to self: when starting a vehicle which has sat for several months, check the oil....

The oil pressure stayed at 0 just long enough to make me fear an oil pump failure; then it shot up to "normal" and the valves stopped making their abnormal noise. (That "your hydraulic lifters have collapsed due to oil starvation" noise. If you've ever heard it, you will recognize it instantly.)

So I drove myself home without further incident, and installed the new alternator; and the Escort's battery light went off when I started it, as it should. Score one for me.

But cripes, it sure cost enough....