Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Car Hassles

Yesterday was the Day in Hell, in what so far has been the Month in Hell for me.

The Missus called around 9:30. "You better come home - we have a disaster. There's standing water in the furnace room." Turns out the tank on our aging gas-fired boiler had rusted through, and water was squirting out of some pin-prick size holes. DOH!! I haven't found anybody who knows my furnace, or seems very eager to work on it, so it's been "my baby" for 20 years. I ordered a replacement tank - from Boston. (Not many boilers, at least in houses, in these parts.)

Every time I start thinking I might see a big-screen TV on the horizon, the horizon gets pushed back a few months. I s'pose most TV watching is a waste of time, anyway. Sour grapes.

In between rounds with the boiler, I took a break and drove the Missus' car over to the emissions inspection guy. (When the car is broken, it's our car. When it's not broken, it's her car.)

Her car failed the test a number of months back; the mechanic put it on the scope, and diagnosed a bad catalytic converter. He said he could replace it with a factory original for right around $900.

By comparison... my bike doesn't have a catalytic converter (unless it's me, converting food into energy), I've NEVER hooked my bike to the scope, and $900 is more than I've spent on bike maintenance in 5 years, maybe 10.

Back to the car story... I opted for an aftermarket converter ($150) even though my mechanic said they don't last as long as the factory models... typically only 2 or 3 years. (The car is 11 years old; I don't know if we'll even have it for another 10 years, so I went cheap.) I installed it myself.

The light went off for a couple weeks... then came on again. (I didn't expect the converter to last for ten years... but expected it to last more than two weeks!)

I contacted the outfit I ordered it from; they said to send it in for a "warranty inspection." Which is bewildering; it looks beautiful! It just doesn't work. So I sent it in.

In the meantime... I put the original back on. Thank goodness I'd saved it, or the car would've been high and dry for the duration.

Now the story gets weird... the light went off!

I took the car over to the emissions guy, yesterday, and it passed the test! (I was all ready to tell him my sob story and show him the receipts for the work I'd had done, parts, etc., so I could get an exemption.)

1 comment:

RAC said...

Too bad they don't make a furnace you can pedal for an hour a day to keep your house warm. When it rains it pours. Chin up!