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Author Topic: Vehicle problems?  (Read 13449 times)

Mdcastle

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Re: Vehicle problems?
« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2013, 11:09:46 PM »

From 2003, Originally posted on MTR:

My father was in Seattle for the weekend, so I decided to
borrow his car to take on a road trip since I'm currently between cars.
My plan is to drive up to Grand Rapids, veering over to the west on MN
371 to take pictures of some named highway and scenic byway signs, then
the next day drive to International Falls and back home, clinching MN
65, MN 217, and MN 332.

What actually happened:
Day One: I drive up to Grand Rapids without incident. Once I got there,
it was time to select a campground. One campground was totally empty,
and I don't like being alone in the woods at night, so I went to
another. Unfortunately I wound up next to some rowdy teens who were
yelling at each other about nothing in particular until 2:00 AM. I made
sure I was extra noisy when I packed up at 7:00

Day Two: I drive up to I-falls by way of MN 46, MN 1, MN 6, and US 71.
As I'm leaving town on US 53, the car quits. Noone is open in this town
at 6:00 Saturday night, so I get towed into town and check into the
Voyageur Motel. The tow truck driver assures me it's probably something
minor since it turns over, and they'll probably be able to fix it in the
morning.

Day Three: The mechanic calls me and says that my timing belt broke, and
they need to borrow a special tool to replace it from the Dodge dealer,
who of course is not open on Sunday. I spend the day resting and
watching TV in the motel

Day Four. The mechanic calls me and comes to pick me up, saying that
they had found the tensioner had frozen and sheared off, which is what
took out the timing belt. They come pick me up and drive me to the shop.
After waiting there four hours with nowhere to sit down, they finally
fire up the engine, and it sounds awful. Turns out the tensioner had
destroyed the pistons when it broke off. If it had happened three miles
sooner at city speeds, the engine would have been fine. I get an
estimate of $700 to rebuild the engine or $900 to replace it with a used
engine they happen to have available. After calling my father in
Seattle, we decide to replace the engine since there is 30,000 less
miles on it. The mechanic says he hopes it will be done tommorrow.
Meanwhile, my father will be back in town tomorrow and I have his only
townhouse key, so I mail it overnight at a cost of $14.

Day Five: The mechanic calls and says it will not be done today. Since I
have the whole day, I walk across the International Bridge into Fort
Francis. Among other things, I wanted to see the observation tower on
the point, which turned out to be closed. I know others here have had
different experiences, but I've always found going north is many times
easier than going south. This time was no exception.The Canadian customs
official didn't even bother to get up from her desk, just asked a few
questions and I was out of there four minutes. Going back was a
different story.

The Americans examined everything I was carrying in exacting detail
thought it was unusual that anyone would drive around just for the fun
of it. Here's part of the conversation.
Customs "So you were fishing around Grand Rapids, and drove up here. Why
would you do that"
Me "I wanted to do some fishing up here, and wanted to drive on some
roads I haven't been on before"
Customs "So what road are you planning to take home?"
Me: "Well, I've been on US 53 several times, so I was going to take MN
65"
Customs: "And where do you catch 65?"
Me: "Littlefork".
After I impressed them with my geographic knowlege, things started to go
better. Regardless of what they thought of me, I wasn't doing anything I
wasn't supposed to, so they had to let me go.

Day Six: I call the mechanic and he says the car will be done at 2:00.
The motel owner drives me there, and it's not, so he takes me on a tour
of the town, then we go back and chat in his office for a while. We get
started talking about roads, and he asks for my email and URL, and says
to visit him if I'm ever in the Falls again. Finally the mechanic calls
at 4:00. When we get there, the car is running, but barely. The mechanic
says he thinks it's a bad cam sensor, which of course he can't get it
off the old engine and no-one in town has the part in stock. He advises
me to drive straight home without stopping, and have the part replaced
in town. I set off. At 8:00 in Virginia, the car starts pouring smoke
out of the hood while idling at a fast food. Alarmed, I shut it off and
call my father. After a discussion, I agree to spend the night in town,
and he'll drive up the next day in the van he had rented (which didn't
have unlimited miles) to deal with the situation. I check into a motel,
ironically also called the Voyageur.

Day Seven. My father meets me in Virginia. He calls the Dodge dealer,
which is too busy to look at it. Ditto the Dodge dealer in Cloquet.
Taking a look at it himself, he finds a slow power steering fluid leak.
The fluid was being vaporized by hitting the hot engine, and until
Virginia it had been filtered by the air cleaner. There an air hose had
popped out, allowing it to escape. We drive home doing 60mph tops, and
the car almost quits in Forest Lake. Finally we drop it off at his
mechanic in south Minneapolis. The next day, the mechanic calls and says
it'll be after Memorial Day before he can look at it...
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bugo

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Re: Vehicle problems?
« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2013, 09:44:07 AM »

I drove to Mena last week.  I had no problems on the drive down.  I drove around town a bit, and noticed that something sounded odd underneath the hood.  I ignored it and drove around some more.  I was planning on driving across town to my mom's house and then leaving for Tulsa.  When I got there, the car was making an awful noise and smoke was coming from underneath the hood.  I raised the hood and the smoke appeared to be coming from the air conditioning compressor.  The smoke didn't last long, but a horrid odor wafted through the hot summer Arkansas air.  I was able to borrow a car and drive home but I'm hoping it doesn't cost a lot to fix the car.  I'm just glad it broke down where it did.

Post Merge: July 30, 2013, 05:40:24 PM
I was maybe 7 or 8 years old and my parents were taking me on a road trip from Berkeley to visit a college friend who had a cave in Missouri.  I got very well acquainted with the back seat of our VW bug.  We got as far as Oklahoma, then the Bug threw a rod.  Mom and I went ahead by Greyhound, while Dad stayed with the car until it was repaired a few days later.

When I was 2 or 3, my cousin and I rode to New Mexico in the wayback (the space behind the rear seat in the VW Beetles).  This was before child safety seat laws or even seat belt laws.  I also remember riding in the wayback of several station wagons we had.  Then there's the time that I was barely old enough to stand up riding from Arkansas to New Mexico via Colorado and back standing between the seats of a '66 Mustang. 

Post Merge: July 30, 2013, 05:40:21 PM
I changed a flat in my Mazda 323 in 5 minutes with a crank up jack.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2013, 05:40:24 PM by deathtopumpkins »
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hbelkins

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Re: Vehicle problems?
« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2013, 12:08:30 PM »

I drove to Mena last week.  I had no problems on the drive down.  I drove around town a bit, and noticed that something sounded odd underneath the hood.  I ignored it and drove around some more.  I was planning on driving across town to my mom's house and then leaving for Tulsa.  When I got there, the car was making an awful noise and smoke was coming from underneath the hood.  I raised the hood and the smoke appeared to be coming from the air conditioning compressor.  The smoke didn't last long, but a horrid odor wafted through the hot summer Arkansas air.  I was able to borrow a car and drive home but I'm hoping it doesn't cost a lot to fix the car.  I'm just glad it broke down where it did.

Might be something as simple as a locked-up belt tensioner. The AC belt in my old Toyota pickup truck broke and I had it replaced. It broke again the next day. Turns out the tensioner had locked up and needed to be replaced.
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Re: Vehicle problems?
« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2013, 12:25:59 PM »

I was maybe 7 or 8 years old and my parents were taking me on a road trip from Berkeley to visit a college friend who had a cave in Missouri.  I got very well acquainted with the back seat of our VW bug.  We got as far as Oklahoma, then the Bug threw a rod.  Mom and I went ahead by Greyhound, while Dad stayed with the car until it was repaired a few days later.

When I was 2 or 3, my cousin and I rode to New Mexico in the wayback (the space behind the rear seat in the VW Beetles).  This was before child safety seat laws or even seat belt laws.  I also remember riding in the wayback of several station wagons we had.  Then there's the time that I was barely old enough to stand up riding from Arkansas to New Mexico via Colorado and back standing between the seats of a '66 Mustang. 

When I was less than a year old, my parents and I were on our way back from a weekend backpacking in the mountains.  All were tired, I was asleep, dad was asleep, mom was driving but then she fell asleep too.  Car drove aimlessly all over the freeway and ended up upside-down in the ditch in the median.  They were seatbelted and suffered only moderate injuries.  Back then there were no seatbelts in the back, but my parents were early adopters and got a third party safety harness and attached it to the body of the car somehow.  I could have been badly hurt, but as it was I slept through the whole thing.
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agentsteel53

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Re: Vehicle problems?
« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2013, 12:28:08 PM »

After that MEPS trip, my mom was taking us home from Shreveport and her car decided to overheat somewhere between Minden and Grambling. With no familiar repair shops available, we willed the car to Ruston with the temperature gauge reading somewhere off the end of its scale, where the car finally gave up the fight in the lot of the repair shop she knew. No catastrophic damage was done, but it also ended our planned vacation to north Minnesota before it began.


must've been an iron engine block.  aluminum blocks go bad faster.  I had my car temperature rise just a tiny bit, and I pulled over within a quarter-mile and get a tow, and that was enough to blow a head gasket.  didn't help that it was 106 degrees and I was going up a 6% hill.
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Re: Vehicle problems?
« Reply #30 on: July 30, 2013, 12:30:38 PM »

I changed a flat in my Mazda 323 in 5 minutes with a crank up jack.

I don't think I've changed a tire in faster than ~20 minutes... it's always a bit of puttering around, figuring out where everything is, because only once have I had to change more than one tire in the same vehicle.  the last one took me about 45 minutes, including the phone call to figure out how to use the hydraulic jack.
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Re: Vehicle problems?
« Reply #31 on: July 30, 2013, 12:33:39 PM »

the
Voyageur Motel.

Quote
The motel owner drives me there, and it's not, so he takes me on a tour
of the town, then we go back and chat in his office for a while. We get
started talking about roads, and he asks for my email and URL, and says
to visit him if I'm ever in the Falls again.

I've stayed in that motel, in December 2012.  I wonder if it's the same guy ... he was really nice to me as well; we chatted a bit while he ran my card and gave me my old-school key (not a key card).  was wondering what I was doing all the way up there in the middle of winter...

Quote
I get an
estimate of $700 to rebuild the engine or $900 to replace it with a used
engine they happen to have available.

that is extraordinarily inexpensive!  my head job cost 1100 bucks, and I have heard that that is on the reasonable end of things. 

how much more work goes into a full engine rebuild compared to just replacing the head gaskets? 
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Re: Vehicle problems?
« Reply #32 on: July 30, 2013, 12:38:38 PM »


must've been an iron engine block. 

Yep. GM 3800 V6.
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Re: Vehicle problems?
« Reply #33 on: July 30, 2013, 03:34:02 PM »

Columbus Day Weekend 1987 - Friday afternoon

While driving north along MA 24 for a 3-day weekend w/family in Marblehead, MA from Roger Williams College (Bristol, RI) in a well-worn 1976 Ford LTD, I heard a loud thunk underneath me just after passing Exit 15 (MA 104).  I drove a little further, just past Exit 16A-B (MA 106), when the sound got really loud and (through no effort of my own) I slowed to a complete stop.  Fortunately, when I first heard the sound, I moved into the right lane; so I was able to move into the breakdown lane/shoulder shortly thereafter.

I got out of the car and looked underneath and noticed that the front of my rear differential separated and dropped onto the pavement (which explained the noise).  I was able to flag down a passing motorist to see if they could drive me to the nearest pay phone so that I could call AAA.  At the time, the enhanced AAA Plus and AAA Premium memberships (with much more generous towing benefits) didn't yet exist; more on that later.

Since having my car towed home (roughly 40 miles) would've cost me an arm-and-a-leg; I called AAA to request a towing to the nearest garage.  After placing the call, the good samaritan drove me back to my car and I waited; fortunately, it was still light out and it wasn't cold or rainy.

The truck towed the vehicle to a place in Easton (along MA 123, Exit 17B off MA 24) and I called my brother to drive down and pick me up.

Needless to say, that adventure added about 3 hours to my overall travel time; I didn't get home (Marblehead) until roughly 9 PM that evening.  I believe that my brother drove me back to Bristol that Monday evening.

To make matters worse, I was without a car for about 2 weeks and since I lived in a school-run apartment complex that was a mile to a mile-and-half from campus; I either had to rely getting a ride from others and/or even walk to campus (that happened at least twice).

I found out that the dropping of the differential ripped the transmission in half in the process.  As a result, the cost of the repairs was over $600.  Fortunately, my father helped me paying a portion of the repair bill (credit cards weren't typically issued to college students back then) and someone from school was generous enough to give me a ride from Bristol to Easton so that I could retrieve the car.

About a year later, after I graduated college and the old car was retired and replaced w/a much newer '85 Mercury Grand Marquis; AAA introduced its then-new AAA Plus program that offered free towing up to 100 miles and offered its existing members the option to upgrade (at additional cost).  Applying the lessons learned principle, that upgrade was a no-brainer for me.  Had such an upgrade existed then, I would've had the car towed to Marblehead rather than take a gamble with an unknown/unfamiliar (to me) garage in an unfamiliar area.  My repair bill may have been either lower and/or I would've been able to stretch out the payments.

Since then & fortunately, most of my rare break-downs have occurred closer to home and did not involve an expensive repair bill.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2013, 03:38:57 PM by PHLBOS »
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bugo

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Re: Vehicle problems?
« Reply #34 on: July 31, 2013, 03:00:02 AM »

I changed a flat in my Mazda 323 in 5 minutes with a crank up jack.

I don't think I've changed a tire in faster than ~20 minutes... it's always a bit of puttering around, figuring out where everything is, because only once have I had to change more than one tire in the same vehicle.  the last one took me about 45 minutes, including the phone call to figure out how to use the hydraulic jack.

This was right after I-540 north of Mountainburg was opened.  I made it from Mena to Fayetteville in 2 hours 25 minutes including changing the flat.
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Re: Vehicle problems?
« Reply #35 on: July 31, 2013, 01:29:55 PM »

My boss and I were returning from Windows 95  seminar years ago. On the return drive to Baton Rouge from New Orleans one the rear tires on his Chevy S-10 "disintegrated". We were on the 12 mile causeway between Kenner and Laplace. He managed keep the vehicle in control and made to the shoulder ok. It was at dusk and of course his flashlight didn't work. Changing the tire by the light of 18 wheelers blasting by was entertaining!
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Re: Vehicle problems?
« Reply #36 on: August 15, 2013, 09:45:27 AM »

The closest I can think of with my car was having a blowout in the middle of Butt**** Nowhere, West Virginia on a trip to Cleveland. Unfortunately the spare had already been used a couple days earlier. I called AAA and had it towed about 20 minutes up the road to an exciting little town called Ripley and was only set back a couple hours.

Now, as a passenger, I had a far worse experience when the bus I was on for a high school trip to Washington D.C. started leaking fuel around Petersburg, VA on the return trip. The most convenient place to roll the bus to a stop right off the highway ended up being a mall parking lot, so we loitered around the mall for about 4 hours while another bus was dispatched for us. That got really boring after a while, but we weren't really allowed to do anything else.

Ended up not getting home until after midnight, much later than the original 3:30 ETA.
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SSOWorld

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Re: Vehicle problems?
« Reply #37 on: August 23, 2013, 03:31:28 PM »

Honestly I haven't had too many car problems recently - Few exceptions were the occasional tire repair.  It has seen its mileage and now it's caught up with an environment change... from a humid zone (Wisconsin) to a dry zone (California)
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Re: Vehicle problems?
« Reply #38 on: August 26, 2013, 03:15:44 AM »

I've had a few vehicle problems that should have been disabling enough to make me call it quits, but I forced my way through.

One such thing was the trip from Ridgway, CO back to greater New Orleans. Beforehand, I'd made sure to have the car fixed, paying to get the water pump changed, which I was assured was the only thing wrong with it.

Nope! As I'm getting to the first tall pass on US 50 east of Montrose, the engine is running hot. I had extra water in the car, I tossed it in, no problem. Attributed it to the mountain at the time. Got a little farther... big problem. Out of water again. And to make matters worse, the hood wouldn't open because the cable popped loose and lost tension on the inside.

Nothing like using a gasoline siphon to squeeze coolant into the radiator on the side of the road.

Every 120 miles.

The entire way back.

It turned out I blew the head gasket on that first mountain pass.

Compared to that, the recent trip from GNO to KCMO was a piece of cake, even considering we obliterated the rear brakes on a fully loaded '96 Explorer in Jackson, MS.

 


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