atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#3680: Jeep woes

So this evening I went up to Citrus Grove to tend to Lemonzen, who's laid up with a broken ankle. I went to the store for supplies, then drove to her place; and not five seconds after I'd shut off the Jeep's engine--


--and a big cloud of steam began billowing from under the hood, on the driver's side, by the windshield.

Lemonzen had just answered my call. "Are you downstairs?"

"I am...and the Jeep just overheated!"

I opened the hood but couldn't see anything by the light of the under-hood light. It sounded like the boiling noise was coming from the master cylinder--like, WTF, did I have a stuck brake or something? Wouldn't I smell that after I just got finished driving 45 miles at 70? --but it didn't smell like brake fluid, either....

It took me a few minutes to get the trouble light out of the utility box, and then I was able to see that no, it was most assuredly coolant which was spraying all over the master cylinder--because the lower radiator hose had about a 1/4" rupture in it and fluid was spraying out of it.

Many bad words were said.

So after we got back up to her apartment I went on-line to see if there were any auto parts stores within a reasonable distance that were actually open. Advance Auto in Naperville was a short drive away, and open until 8--I borrowed Lemonzen's car and GPS and headed out that way.

This particular Advance Auto location should have told the parent corporation that they have changed their Sunday hours, because they had closed at 6. It was now 7 PM.

In a fit of desperation I had Lemonzen's GPS (Tomtom) try to find auto parts stores in the area. Well, it suggested the Murray's Auto Parts which was on the opposite side of Lemonzen's home and about as far off I went.

Tomtom is stupid in how it deals with giving you directions. Despite the thing's best efforts I found an AutoZone which was still open, and there I was able to get:
A lower radiator hose
Two gallons of 50/50 antifreeze
A package of hose repair tape
It was a mere $54. Whee! Two gallons of coolant at $14 each--but there's no inflation, right?

I buzzed back to Lemonzen's, and then cooked dinner for us. After we'd eaten, I tried applying the hose repair tape to the hose, and mirabile visu it actually worked. The Jeep took most of a gallon of coolant, and when I started her up the patch held.

If it hadn't, I'd still be there, because without tools there's no way I could replace the hose--I probably would have ended up having the Jeep towed back to the Fungal Vale.

When it was time to leave, I left with some trepidation. I am pleased to say the Jeep made it all the way home--but I had no heat, which is not a good sign; still, the temperature gauge stayed at its normal place, so there was enough coolant in the system to keep the engine happy.

Got home, let Lemonzen know I was home safe, and then had a gander with a good flashlight. The patch had held, and not leaked. The radiator cap was cold--also not a good sign--but when I tried opening it, hot coolant came out, under pressure, so that was fine.

There's a wet spot under the thermostat housing, on top of the water pump.

Oh, no.

...but I looked it over a little more carefully, and realized that coolant seeped from the thermosat housing and dripped onto the water pump. There isn't a weep hole where the coolant had dripped onto the water pump, so unless coolant was spraying out at a weird angle I'd wager the thermostat gasket went bad.

So! Tomorrow, then, I get to play mechanic with my Jeep! I get to:
Replace the thermostat and gasket
Replace the upper and lower radiator hoses
Figure out if the water pump needs replacing, and if so, replace it
It's a never-ending cavalcade of fun! It's a cornucopia of laughs! It's a bottomless barrel of excitement and adventure!


* * * when I went to the store to pick stuff up for dinner, I went to the bread aisle because Lemonzen cannot resist my grilled cheese sandwiches...and to my shock I saw that the bread aisle was virtually bereft of bread.

Walt's corporation buys its generic goods from Centrella, and which major baking firm do you think was under contract to bake and package bread for Centrella?

So have a gander at how much the union babies have destroyed by bringing Hostess to its knees: not only has Hostess ceased operations, but their suppliers are being adversely affected by the sudden cessation of business and my frickin' supermarket can't even get any frickin' BREAD because the union babies thought they could get blood out of a turnip, and were tragically, tragically mistaken.

This is just one company going out of business because of union stupidity. It's going to get worse.

Meanwhile the union leaders are all acting like it's the fault of the board of directors. Everyone knows that big companies have endless supplies of money! They're just trying to screw over the working man in order to keep their stock options! In a fair world everyone would get paid what the CEOs make, but corporations are so greedy they do everything they can to screw their workers out of a living wage!

Why, do you realize that GM no longer pays new employees $28 an hour? If you just hired onto the assembly line and have no experience, they now only pay $14 an hour! This company that's worth billions of dollars won't even pay a high school graduate a measly living wage of $56,000 per year! Now, new unskilled employees have to suffer with a mere $28,000 per year! (Plus medical, dental, 401k, retirement, life insurance, yada yada.)

How can they justify that, when in this very country people have to pay for their own housing?

* * * just figures that--the one time the goddamned telephone doesn't wake me up!--it's my brother calling to suggest we do something fun.

See, for whatever reason his motorcycle was in Highland, Indiana. I gather he'd stored it at a friend's house or something, but he was picking it up today and called me asking if I'd like to go for a ride.

I slept right through that call. Of course.

This would have been the first time I actually got to go riding with someone, rather than just putter around by myself. Naturally the phone didn't wake me up.

But considering how machinery has treated me today, it's probably just as well. Not only did my Jeep blow a radiator hose, you see. I had laptop woes, too.

See, I figured Lemonzen's injury would keep her from wanting to...y'know...and considering the problems we've had trying to watch DVDs at her place (her PS3 overheats and shuts down when playing movies--WTF) I thought it'd be good to bring the LT and patch it into the TV.

Well, using the HDMI port went smooth as silk--the TV dutifully displayed my laptop's desktop; and when I put in the El Hazard DVD it played flawlessly...but there wasn't any sound.

Lemonzen's TV lacks speakers of its own--of course! why would a TV need speakers?--but there's a sound bar hooked up to the system. In theory the HDMI connection from laptop to TV should carry the audio as well, but the sound bar would only play the audio from the cable box.

But, fine--maybe the laptop doesn't auto-route the sound to the HDMI port, so I'll just try putting the DVD into the PS3 and expect to have to reset the thing.

Now, look: when we watched Mimi wo Sumaseba over there, lo these many months ago, I plugged her PS3 into one of the TV's HDMI ports and we watched the movie without any trouble whatsoever--except for that whole "overheating and crapping out 3/4 of the way through the movie, requiring a hard reset" thing. The point is, the movie's sound came out of the sound bar without my having to do anything.

Not so this time! Oh, no. The PS3 played the video just fine--but the audio was still whatever the cable box had on.

I spent 15 minutes dicking around with it, trying to figure out what had happened, and finally I gave up and decided I'd simply patch the laptop's audio out to the sound bar directly.

Naturally, then, the laptop refused to send video to the TV. The first time I plugged it into the TV, it auto-configured the multi-screen setting and duplicated the desktop onto the TV without a hitch; but now that I was in danger of actually being able to watch a DVD with SOUND the laptop decided it had better save me from this madness by refusing to recognize that the TV was plugged into it. I plugged in the HDMI cable and the laptop played the little "device connected" sound, but the TV didn't show anything but "NO SIGNAL". Unplug the TV, "device disconnected" sound; plugged back in--sound, but nothing else. Rebooting didn't help, either.

Now, that sound bar used to play the audio from whatever source the TV was watching; if it was on HDMI3 (into which the cable box is plugged) it played audio from there, and if it was on HDMI2 (PS3) the audio came from there.

But then Sailor V tried to connect a DVD player to it. His big idea was to give Lemonzen a (secondhand) DVD player so he can bring movies over there and watch them. (Sailor V and Lemonzen have been friends for about 8 years. He introduced us in December of last year, and she and I were pretty well gone on each other just about from the get-go.) I don't know what he did, but in the process of trying to hook that DVD player up to the TV he somehow bolluxed up the audio system.

"Why didn't you just use that DVD player, then?"

I would have been glad to if he'd actually connected it. Problem is, this TV has a weird input plug--1/8" phono--for composite video, and the DVD player he brought doesn't have an HDMI output. Why the stupid TV doesn't just have a simple f-ing RCA connector for composite video in like every other goddamned monitor in existence that accepts NTSC composite video, I don't know. I mean, my $500 Dynex TV has fucking RCA connectors for composite video. Lemonzen's TV is a high-zoot Toshiba. WTF.

Whatever else Sailor V did, he hard-wired the sound bar directly to the cable box. So now the sound bar will only play audio from the cable box, and not from any other source. In other words, he took an entertainment system which could play DVDs (however unreliably) and converted it into an entertainment system which can only be used for watching cable TV.

Way to go.

* * *

But other than the mechanical woes, it was a pretty nice visit. I vulcanized the first grilled cheese sandwich because I'm not used to her stove--I had the heat up too high--and also because I neglected to look for a spatula until the sandwich was already cooking. The next two came out fine.

After dinner, then, I cleaned her kitchen. There were dirty dishes left over from yesterday, so I got them into the dishwasher--along with the dirty dishes I'd generated--and cleaned out the sink. Got the dishwasher started and the trash taken out; and I left all the leftovers with her so she's got a couple servings of chicken stuff to see her through the day tomorrow.

* * *

As for me, my jaw was fine all day without any pain meds. It was a bit sore after breakfast (as noted in the previous entry) but the soreness went away and I had a nice nap this afternoon.

As I was leaving Lemonzen's place, though, my gums in back were bothering me a bit; so after I got home and had my gander at the Jeep, I took a Vicodin--the first one in more than 24 hours. Now I feel fine; and I suppose I'd better get my butt to bed soon, because I've got a very busy day ahead of me.

On the plus side? The Jeep's radiator hose didn't let go until I had parked it and shut off the engine. How's that for luck? If it was going to go it could have gone while I was on I-80 or I-355, and I would have been screwed--but instead it blew after I had safely arrived at my destination.

So I can't be too mad at the Jeep. She's lookin' out for me.

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