September 30th, 2019

#6869: Of COURSE it did!!!

Got up at 7, had plenty of time to shave and everything and get out the door by 7:30. Actually, I think it was about 7:35, but since New Job is only about a 15-minute drive from the bunker, that was fine.

Got into the Jeep. She cranked a little slow, but started...and the belt was squealing. That's okay, it does that; when it's rained a hell of a lot or the temperatures have changed greatly, condensation forms on the pulleys and the belt squeals. A few revs of the engine and it quiets down.

Only it didn't. It kept going, and going, and soon I could see a thin pall of smoke in the cabin. Revved it again, and it went away, so I put 'er in reverse and...why the hell is the steering so hard?

Stopped halfway down the driveway, shut it off, popped the hood--and the belt was protruding from where it should have been. I grabbed it and it pulled right out of the engine compartment. BROKEN!!! WHAT THE FUCK!

Thought about the spare, realized I did not have time to put it in, so I went inside and got Mrs. Fungus up. With her riding along, I drove to work and--as I'd anticipated--had a bit of trouble finding the plant entrance. I had time for that--would have, that is, if the Jeep hadn't malfed--with the result that I found the entrance and was able to walk into the door exactly at 8 AM. (She was then, of course, able to get on with her day.)

Tried to sign in with the automated system but the guy I was reporting to doesn't actually work at that location. Tried calling both the computer and the server rooms (there was a directory handy) but no answer in either place. Finally another guy was coming in, a contractor, and he told the woman who came to get him, and it turned out she was able to help me as well. Later she gave me my safety training; meanwhile she let me into my office and showed me where the restroom was.

The office was a mess but I'd expected that. I dug in, sorting and stacking and cleaning; the woman (Lisa) came back and gave me my safety training and then left me alone again. I continued working it was almost 1, at which point I dialed into a teleconference for new employees and sat through that. Once that was done, I continued my work.

Sometime in there an HR person came down to get me a proper badge, but her camera was dead, so she gave me a temp one until the camera could be charged. She called me in the middle of the teleconference, and further my immediate supervisor sent me emails asking me to join the group chats, so I was listening to the teleconference and joining chats and answering my phone to talk to the HR lady (Rhonda) and all the while sweating my ass off because the AC in that part of the building isn't working. Of course.

Once that was all done I went up and got my picture taken, and then repaired to my lair for more work. A few minutes after that Rhonda came down with my badge, and looked incredulously at the office--specifically, how much cleaner it was.

A little while later, a woman who works a couple doors down from me observed that I'd gotten it cleaner in six hours than the previous tech had in six months.

Well, I can't work with all kinds of crap scattered all over the place. Boxes of random cables on the floor, laptops piled haphazardly, four monitors on the desk, two connected to the laptop (which is showing a "FAN ERROR PRESS F1 TO CONTINUE" boot error) and some kind of weird fountain thing.

I didn't even eat lunch. Lisa showed me where the break room was, and I was able to get diet Pepsi and Fritos there, so I ate chips and drank Pepsi and worked and sweated.

After that, I started going through the stacks of laptops, trying to sort out what was to be done with them. By quitting time I had gotten through about 2/3 of them, and sorted them into "End of Life", "Further Investigation Required", and "not started" stacks.

Being bereft of transport, I put the Uber app on my phone and used that service. Got driven home in pretty decent time, and after taking a much-needed dump, I hit the driveway.

First thing to do is to figure out what made the belt break. I thought I'd check the pulleys to see if anything was stuck, because there's no way the belt should have broken just from being wet; AC compressor okay (note to self: get system evacuated and charged), idler okay, water pump okay, power steering okay, altern--oof. Is that the alternator pulley? Yep, and it is definitely not turning. It should turn very easily, but it won't turn at all, not even if I grab it and try to twist it with everything I've got.

Looks like I'm replacing the alternator tonight, I thought.

Sighing with resignation, I started disassembly. It was pretty obvious that the AC compressor had to come out, but that's four bolts. That gave me some room, but then I realized that the AC compressor bracket also has to come out in order for the alternator to have a place to come out through. Thought it was three bolts holding it on, but it was four; got them all out and that came out easily enough.

Top bolt on the alternator naturally had a nut on the other side, so I needed two wrenches. With that bolt out, there was one other, under the thing. Put the wrench on it and tried to loosen it, actually going GRAAARRCH! loud enough to echo, but it didn't move.

Got the 24" breaker bar out, said, "I am not asking," and popped that bolt loose, easy-peasy.

Still could not get the alternator out.

Last thing: steel bracket that goes in front of the alternator, held on by some bolts; took off those bolts and then was able to maneuver the alternator free, disconnect it from the wiring harness, and get it out of the truck.

And yes, it's f-ing seized. I banged the pulley on the concrete but that didn't free it up. This thing is rusted solid.

...and it did it in six days. I last drove the truck on Tuesday the 24th; today is the 30th--six days from "working fine!" to "never turning again without hand grenades."

This truck is beginning to develop a very bad habit of breaking down when I start a new job.

But you know what? I can afford the parts. It did this in my driveway rather than somewhere else. I had the capacity and the wherewithal both to get to, and from, work. And I got the bad part out of the truck with nothing more than typical effort. I went online and ordered the parts, and they are now waiting for me to pick them up; and I need only for my wife to get home for me to be able to do that.

So I'm grateful. I'm grateful that it was something easy to fix, something I could repair in an evening, something that I can afford to do. Exactly the same way I was the last time this happened, as noted at that link, I have merely been inconvenienced.

And I'll say the same thing I said in that last post: "Thank you Lord; thank you Jesus."

#6870: But it's done

Ordered the wrong belt, had to take it back and exchange it, and of course the correct belt was $11 more...but once home with it, I got it put on, and tensioned correctly. Jeep starts and runs just like it ought to.

Not too bad considering I did it entirely by headlamp. No other lights. That little Ray-o-Vac LED headlamp I bought myself in December of 2017 really has helped me get some things done.

...looking at the service log, I've only just realized it's been a year since I last changed the oil in the Jeep. No, it can't have been that long--I just forgot to note it, is all. Right? Right??

I'm not going to pore over the blog posts to see when I might have done it, though.

* * *

The stainless steel rocket ship. Wow.

* * *

Anyway, fixing the Jeep consumed the entirety of my evening. I need to go to bed, and before I can do that I need to clean the cat box and get a shower, because both of us are perilously stinky.

Here's hoping tomorrow is easier.