Friday, March 25, 2016

Check Engine and Tired Tires

Since moving to California, I have had more nails, thorns, bolts in my tires that my whole previous life combined.  Just the last two or three years.  I had a slow leak due to a palm thorn, and I have had a nail-induced slow leak several times just this year.  Plus two tires this year which just failed. Something got the sidewall.  Last one was on the inside, the side facing the car.  How did that happen, I wonder.

I caught that one before it was totally in pieces, so they couldn't look at me as if I drove around on it flat, causing the destruction, like they did when the first tire blew.

There was a time in my life when these things would have seemed insurmountable.  I forget when, but I think most of the time that is how it has been.  I am one who finds the normal maintenance patterned aspects of life very difficult.  More than you would imagine.  It makes no sense.  I'm sure it is my glitch, and my glitch is probably either a distant cousin to autism, or just garden variety lunatic or mentally challenged special person.  Did I do that right?  No one offended?

So now, like the road trip two or three years ago, the check engine light is making trouble.  It idid it last summer and I replaced coil, wires, plugs.  Then I did the magic computer rest and all was good.  Now I am dangerous at idle.  I have one foot on gas and one on brake to prevent stalling.

The guy in Lakeside says the code it flagged was catalytic converter.  I tend to think he is right.  I also think one or more O2 sensors is defective as well.  Still works but not quite right.  This is expensive stuff.  I have reasoned it out and am pretty sure this is what I need.  There may be some way to double check.  But at 240K miles, one is likely to have a cat go bad.

So I limp through the weekend and see what Info I get on Monday.  Everything should have a manual back up.  And I always thought they rushed into forcing the catalytic converter on everyone pretty quick back in the day.  That is a red flag indicating crony capitalists used environmentalists so they could force a market for their goods which otherwise would not sell.

I'm sure there are better ways.  But for now. I hope this works out and I can have some peace of mind in the auto world.  I am 10 miles from any store of any kind.  I am a mile up a dirt road.  Others live up on this mountain too, but pretty much I am to myself.  So, transportation is primo.  I think I should have a spare vespa or small beater car, just for hard times.

The car has taught me, more than once, that I am more capable of meeting some challenges than I initially thought.  With only limited tools and work place, and limited experience with many aspects of automobile workings, the trick is knowing when to go for it and when to leave to those with the special tools and knowledge.

I must admit, I like it when I troubleshoot something successfully.  Drives me crazy not to have the answer, so once I start I keep going.  And I have a few reasons to think it is the old catalytic converter, which in no way enhances the actual life or performance of the vehicle.  It is an after thought piece of equipment.  But it can make the electronic control module wonder what it ought to do, and mayhem ensues, car dies at idle and may run rougher and rougher.

Action is the best repellant for depression.  One of the best.  So, I guess being on the edge with the car, having to work Sunday afternoon, stay the night, and work Monday morning, then out of there forces me to figure out what to do.  The initial setback kind of exacerbated existing depression, but then taking action, like replacing spark plugs, do this, do that; things that have been daunting at other times.  But not stuff I haven't done sometime in the last hundred years.  At least similar. I have replaced transmissions and clutches way long ago, and some other stuff.  Less sophisticated machinery, mostly.  The point is, most of the time such things seem too much in my mind.  So I have to figure out when I am right on that, and when I am not.  And when I force myself even though I doubt my competence, I have an extremely high rate of success.  But I still feel like I am messing it all up and I'll blow it and be homeless and hot and itching and having a bad time.

If I were the whatever I was supposed to be, such trivia would not even cast a shadow in my mind.  I would be too busy with my long time wife and our wild and crazy kids.  They'd be in college or somewhere probably.  They would not be seeking micro-aggressions and such.  I hope.  If they were, I would look to me and say, "what a lucky guy. He got it right.".

That is just bizarre.  I feel better

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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