Feren (feren) wrote,
Feren
feren

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So, I did productive things today because I had little to no choice...

Last night the alternator on the Expedition took a dirt nap -- no more voltage for me! Lack of a constant feed of 13+ volts makes the Triton engine sad after about twenty minutes of driving... which leads to the engine stalling out once it has drained the battery to exhaustion. This lead to a series of costs:
  • For last night's tow, after the Expy stalled 4.5 miles from Z'ha'dum and left me blocking traffic during rush hour: $50
  • Diagnosing the alternator as failed: One 9v battery and fifteen minutes of time with the multimeter after getting home
  • The following day off from work to fix the problem: one vacation day
  • Ride to the auto parts store: One cup of coffee for Garry
  • One 130amp replacement alternator with a limited lifetime warranty: $157
  • Discovering that you don't have a 1/2" drive ratchet or breaker bar: Ten hairs off my head, three minutes of frustrated cursing, 30 minutes spent walking to Home Depot and back
  • One 1/2" drive ratchet so you can, you know, ACTUALLY TAKE THE SERPENTINE BELT OFF: $13.47
  • Coming to realize that (since the ratchet isn't a true breaker bar) without a pipe you can't apply enough force on the belt tensioner to get the serpentine belt off the pulley: five minutes of extremely creative cursing, curious looks from your neighbors
  • Making the pleasant discovery that while you have no pipe, the extension handle of your 2-ton floor jack will serve admirably: Giddy, not quite sane laughter
  • Doing all the work myself, thus saving the cost of a mechanic for diagnostics and replacement labor: three bloodied knuckles, two frozen hands, one runny nose, the financial costs listed above and (ultimately) 2.25 hours of my time this morning
I was just happy to see the multimeter display "14.85vDC" after all the work was completed and I started up the motor. Bitchiness about some of my obstacles aside, I did enjoy doing this by myself instead of farming it out to a mechanic. I think this is in part because there's a sense of pride in doing the work with my own two hands, but the fact that it gave me a chance to save some money probably didn't hurt either (Ra's medical bills pushed me grossly over budget this month). Mostly, though, I suspect it was because I got to pass the time by engaging in a hobby I really enjoy. Mechanics is one of those things I don't indulge in very much, but I do take pleasure in the work on a number of levels. I can't say exactly why it appeals to me because there are so many different factors. Perhaps it's because there's usually a logical process that I can follow to troubleshoot something and when it's fixed I have immediate satisfaction. On a less concrete level I find there's something that is just something soothing for me about wrenching away on a car -- I sort of hit this zone where I'm focused on my task but my mind blanks out so that time slides by. Maybe I'm daydreaming, maybe I'm thinking about other things, maybe I've found my Zen meditation method. I don't know exactly, but I do know I really like it and need to do it more often.

It was only 11:05 AM by the time I had the tools put away and was washed up, so I could have gone in to work and recovered my vacation day by trading it for a partial day off, but I opted against that. I decided I would rather stay at home and polish off some other chores around the house before I head up to Wheeling this evening to have dinner with roho, enveri and the birthday boy himself, duncandahusky. I might crash for the night up in Antioch, I might not. It will all depend on how late I stay up there.

i steal the light from heavens gates
Tags: expedition
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