Sunday, May 22, 2005

II consider myself a automotive enthusiast.

Just ask me. Any thing you want about any (most) car that have ever been on the road, I could tell you the engines that were available, transmission options, most standard equipment at the time, and a number of other things available.

I know all about all the cars my family has ever owned. From the multitude of Chevys, Fords, Mopars, Dodges, Chryslers, Nissans, and Toyotas. I can (for the most part) explain any problems that we have faced in the life of that auto. For example, my mothers Trailblazer has 13 recalls at the moment, but it has never had a mechanical hiccup (all the recalls deal with a stupid things; seatbelts, lights, windshield wipers, cup holders, front controlling arms, air conditioner selector switch, seatbelts (rear), transmission lock in park, you know stupid things).

Well, then we have my car, my Toyota Camry.

…and my sister’s Toyota Camry.

Apparently I know dick about either one of them.

Thursday of last week I had nothing to do. It was a beautiful day; 70 degrees, partly cloudy, light southerly breeze, perfect.

I decided to clean up and detail both of them.

Bad Idea.

Before I start cleaning any vehicle I check all the fluids and tire pressure. It is just something I have always done and will probably always do. So, I started with my car. I popped the hood and filth everywhere, I guess to be expected when the car hasn’t been cleaned since it started to get cold LAST YEAR. I have a reason, really I do.

Oil. Check.

Power Steering Fluid. Check

Brake Fluid. Check

Coolant. Check.

Transmission Fluid. Check. (Yes I know it has to be warm to check)

Windshield Washer Fluid. Also, Check.

Then I just look at the engine bay; road debris, oil, and who knows what else, is splattered everywhere. So I go get the engine degreaser, a plastic safe engine degreaser.
A degreaser that says on the label the engine should be at operating temperature when used on your engine.

I start the car.

Wait a few minutes…

Spray on the block and exhaust manifold.

Wait five minutes…

Spray water in short bursts on just what I have cleaned.

Wow, it worked! It’s looks like it did when it left the factory (10 years ago).

I clean the rest of the car and put it back in my parking spot.

My sister’s car is next. Her Camry is a little cleaner in the engine bay, but I went ahead with cleaning anyway. Same procedure taken and the car is started. Around the exhaust manifold shows the most crap. I give it a few bursts of degreaser and hit it with water. (Remember the car is still running and continues to run after it is hit with water) I clean the car and park in her spot.

Two days pass before either car is used.

Saturday morning we have to pick up one of our dogs from the vet. My sister opts to drive.

The car will not start.

They try again.


My father and I figure the distributor is wet and we pull it off and go in the Trailblazer.

A few hours later we come back to find it has dried. The car starts with no problem.

But there is a catch.

It has no power; it does not want to rev, and a rough idle.

I figure a fouled plug and pull one.

It won’t come out.

My father tries. Nothing.

So we break out the bigger wrench. We manage to break it lose.

Checking the threads it looks to have been cross-threaded.

We (gently) start a new plug. And it promptly hangs up and bends the first few threads on the plug.

Profanity is shouted.

#%&@! #&@%ing spark plugs!

It has been cross-threaded. The hole will have to be re-tapped.

@#%&! @#%&! @#%&!

One car down: one to go.

Sunday night: my sisters car being dead we (try) to go in mine. Everyone buckled?

@&$*! What the &$#@ was that &%$ing sound?

Is the oil dummy light on? No? Are their any warning lights? No?

I shut it off and we go in the recalled (13) Trailblazer. The same car I have ridiculed for two years about not being finished when it left the factory now they want to solve the problem(s).

I am to pissed to drive.

Everyone is pissed at me.


I have killed to cars in one weekend, two Camry’s’ at that.

Look forward to tomorrow (today) after I have had time to sleep on the problem(s).

If I find anything new I will be sure to tell.


Anonymous said...

Man, just reading your car expierence, I feel your frustration! That would drive me crazy! Be sure to let us know what happened.

Mae said...

Tyler, as soon as you mentioned engine cleaning I knew where it was going...LOL...been there, done that.

Tip I learned from my dad: When cleaning your engine using water, make sure you cover the distributor and other sensitive electronics with plastic and tape. Another idea is to do your engine cleaning at the same time you plan on changing cap, rotor, plugs, and plug wires (on engines that still have caps and rotors). Swap the old stuff out after cleaning the engine, and that way you can verify things are thoroughly dry. You will be very surprised at how much water gets in under the cap, rotor, and other places.