Friday, June 11, 2004

My van

It's really hard to kill somebody when you're a carpenter. It takes gross incompetence to build something so bad that it threatens to fall down and squish the inhabitants. Mechanics, on the other hand ... If you leave one clamp undone, the hose could come off, spew burning hot radiator fluid everywhere, get stuck in the fan belt, jam everything and cause your engine to explode. Or something like that.

I'm taking baby steps in getting to know my van. I don't want to make a mistake and end up killing myself. When I told mom this last night, her comforting words to me were along the line of;

"Don't worry, it takes a lot to kill somebody in a car. Why, once I was driving around Syracuse New York, when my entire trans axle abruptly fell out and hit the pavement. Turns out the mechanic had left every bolt but one undone. What I found so amazing was how cheap it was to fix it, considering what a major thing it was"

Gotta love my mom's advice. Like when I called her from the Long Trail to say I had been shot at, and she told me not to worry, because she had been shot at while hiking lots of times and is still here. :-)

I spent a couple of hours tinkering under the hood and getting to know what all the parts are named. I found out I have a v8 350 engine with a turbo hydramatic transmission. I even found my power steering dipstick after a lot of searching. I have to put my entire arm down between the radiator and the frame to get to it.

When I called the parts store today to inquire about prices, he couldn't believe I had a 1975. He kept asking me to repeat the year. It should cost me under $100 to get all new belts, hoses and screw clamps. The hoses all seem to come off easily, but darned if I know how to take off and reinstall any of the belts.

I bought a new battery but have to install new battery cables first. I want to upgrade them into screw-in terminals instead of posts.

So much work to do, so little time! It's pretty cool to finally be learning mechanics. :-)

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