We're a little crazy, about science!

The art of fixing things

Me right now.

Well today has been one hell of a day. It’s a long story and we’ll get into it, but I had to once again do some car repairs. It got me thinking about others who may not have the skill to do that or other things that feel very necessary for living, but I’ve had a hard life and so you have to learn the skills that others may not have needed.

I lived on my own at an earlier age than most, but even then I had already accumulated a few very useful skills that made difficult times slightly easier. I’ve never been well off. I live fairly comfortably now, I mean I built a super fancy computer, own my own home (despite it falling apart every time I turn around) and have a car. So all in all, I’m doing okay, but it wasn’t always that way. When your car and home are the same thing it’s important to know how to keep everything running.

More importantly over the years I’ve learned how to find the information I needed to do any repairs I’ve needed to do. Before the internet was such a huge source of information (yes, there was a time!), most of what I learned came from books. Like instruction manuals, they were hard to follow and just very confusing. Things in that respect have gotten easier, I can basically learn how to do anything via google and even if I never have the chance to apply the skills, I do read from time to time on topics I find intersting.

Which brings me to the whole point of this post, which is I sometimes hate being so handy. It’s one thing to build something for fun, it’s another to have to fix something as work. It’s why I didn’t just become a mechanic or something, despite enjoying car building in my earlier years. Sometimes hobbies and jobs are two very distinct things. I’ve found a lot of overlap (almost complete overlap really) in the work I do now, but that’s the exception, not the rule.

So when I discovered I had a major car problem yesterday, I knew I was going to have to fix it myself. I guess I could tow it and pay for someone else to do the work, but 1) it’s the weekend so no one is open, 2) I needed the car for early Monday morning with the possible experiment happening, and 3) my budget just doesn’t allow for that kind of luxury. Paying for car repairs only happens when I can’t do it myself or I cannot do it very easily (ie – the problem takes too long to fix).

Yesterday out of nowhere my fuel line decided it had lived long enough and disintegrated, pretty spectacularly in fact. So spectacularly that all the fuel in my tank was now all over the parking lot. Literally, all of the fuel. So first order of business was to get it towed home. That is easier said than done since my car specifically needed a flatbed tow. The good news is my insurance covers all this so I was not going to have to pay for the service.

Once I got the car home I took a look and found the leak pretty much right away because I had identified it as a problem about a year ago when I replaced the high pressure fuel pump. A job that took me two days and a whole lot of effort. I was not looking forward to this repair, and I complained about it to the car the entire time I had to fix this by the way. Thankfully I could have the part I needed, a small length of hose needed to replace the length that had fallen apart, delivered to me overnight.

I was so annoyed about having to fix this, I didn’t take any photos this time around. However, I do have photos from when I replaced the fuel pump. Most of my morning was spent trying to replace the line without having to pull the high pressure fuel pump, but it turns out it was near impossible with the fuel pump on. So I stopped being lazy, took the fuel pump off, and got it all back together.

The good news is that even though the last time took days, because the bolts played nicely (not seized to the engine block again…) I managed to get it all done in a few hours. Since the car is lowered (I have never in my life owned a completely stock car) my back is killing me, my hands are bloodied, but the car is back up and running. I had to have roadside service bring gas to my house, which was slightly stressful, but thankfully when I started it, everything went smoothly and there was no gas leaks.

Side note, you may wonder why I didn’t replace the fuel line at the same time, well the answer is simple. I’m not a smart man. Plus I didn’t think to order it because I was focused on fixing a very specific issue. It’s always the details that get you in the end. Now, why was this job such a pain? Well let’s take a look at the photos from last year when I replaced the fuel pump.

Here’s the location of the high pressure fuel pump, buried under all this stuff, some of which cannot be removed.

The pump itself is only held on by two bolts, then there are two different fuel lines that run to it. Getting a wrench in that area is super hard, but after some work.

None of these shots clearly show where the line is that broke though. Thankfully because that line is such a huge problem to get to, I took some shots to help me remember how to access it.

In short, today was a total waste of time from a, “things I need to get done” perspective. At least all this is over now. Hopefully nothing else falls apart for awhile because car repair can be painful!

2 responses

  1. The line just up and disintegrated? Well that’s fun … not.

    One time my car’s serpentine belt broke while I was driving, and it ran out of power and died in a turn lane at an intersection. But that was partly my fault, because it had been making abnormal squealing noises for more than a week, and I ignored them. Sometimes I’m not very smart either.

    What kind of car have you got these days?

    I don’t do much work on mine — only little things, like changing light bulbs or replacing the battery. The pandemic shutdowns gave me increased time last year, and that might be the only reason I polished the badly frosted headlight covers. So I’m kinda impressed by your repairs, but at the same time I understand about wishing you could have just taken it to a mechanic. I wish you could too.

    I hope you have some time to rest your back before whatever the new madness is tomorrow. Feel better soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 5, 2021 at 6:02 pm

    • It really did, it only disintegrated around the clamp too so it made a very clear cut into the rubber. The only reason I know there was more to the hose is because there was fibers running through the length of the hose that were exposed and the inner lining was somehow still intact. I wish I would’ve taken a photo now, but I was soooo annoyed.

      Sorry to hear about the serpentine belt! That’s never fun, but I’m glad to hear it’s not just me.

      For awhile now I’ve driven a 2007 audi a4. It sounds fancier than it is and I get to say I have an audi. As long as we ignore the year, it’s fancy. I’ve taken good care of it for the most part, but the years are catching up to it. All the plastic is dried out and so things are starting to slowly fall apart. The other day the sunroof knob fell right into the cupholder, so it may be time to find a new car before this one gets really expensive to own.

      Thanks for the well wishes. Unfortunately for my back it was OR day, but I don’t mind so much. OR day is always a good day to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      December 6, 2021 at 2:32 pm

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