Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

The day of fun and hell.  I wake up at 7am to see the girls off to school.  I hit my smart phone and snooze for an extra hour.  The alarm goes off and I snap out of bed, throw on some work clothes and hit the garage to change out the alternator in the TA.  The shop calls.  They found the air deflector.  My father is coming over to help me work on the house some today so he's going to stop by the shop on his way and bring me the air deflector.  The girls have a 60% day which means that I have to pick them up by 12:30 and 12:50.   The struts on the hood failed a while ago so I prop the hood open with a stick (if you have a third gen F-body, you have a "hood stick" ... you may not use it, but you have one just in case and for when you do have to change hood lift struts ...).   I prop the hood and change out the hood lift struts ... 5 minutes, no sweat. 

Sometime about 8:30 I've got my Ipod rocking and I've taken the alternator off of the TA.  Right below the alternator is the smog / AIR pump that hasn't worked in 5 years (mainly because I cut the belt that drives it because it was locked up or screaming or whatever else goes wrong with that piece of equipment).  The entry on the smog pump failing is dated 09/06/2007 ... it's been dead a long time under the hood.   I go over to the parts shelf and find the replacement AIR pump and the belt that goes with it.

Looking at my watch and judging my time and logically thinking like a wrench swinging set of testicles bearing guy ("hey!  It's just another layer down in the motor ... a few more bolts to loosen, a hose or two to hook up, no problem!") I decide that with about three and a half hours before I need to be finished I am going to replace both the alternator and the AIR pump ... if I don't then I've got to remove the alternator again, later, to get back to the AIR pump.  It's now or later and even though I'm strapped for time I choose now with humorous results.  Everything comes off pretty easy, the stuff that doesn't gets hit with PB Blaster and it comes off.  I break off an adaptor for my ratchet but manage not to strip any bolts, round off any heads or bust any knuckles.  I've got blankets and towels covering the nose of the TA and my back is killing me bent over in what can only be assumed the "party position" if I swung the opposite way that I do.  I'm sure it made a pretty funny sight, me spread eagled and buried up to my elbows in the guts of the TA's hood while people jogged past or drove past.  And then I've got the AIR pump on and ...

How the hell do I ... ?  What are these extra parts for and OMG why didn't I take a picture of this as I went.  Doh (said in best Homer Simpson voice).  I take a break, drink some tea, pull up a folding chair and sit and think.  My mind has suddenly gone blank ... I've got brackets and adaptors and bolts and I can't remember how they go back on.  After a two minute self-pity / man panic period where I listened to Shotgun Messiah's "Heartbreak Boulevard" all the way through I take a deep breath, go into my study and grab two books off of the shelf ... the 1986 Pontiac F-body Shop Manual and the 1986 parts catalog ... both with lots of pictures, exploded diagrams, and basic instructions on how to take #$#I& apart on these cars and put that #$#I& back together again.  


If you don't have these two books when you start to work on one of these cars you're probably screwed ... like that first night at county lock-up kind of screwed.  I take the two manuals back outside, flip through them, find the appropriate diagrams and then in a flurry of wrench swinging I reinstall the alternator and supporting hardware.  I literally shut the hood, crank the car, it starts and idles normally, then Fast Orange my hands and arms, run inside, throw on a fresh shirt, spritz some cologne on, hop in the TA, power out of the garage and tap the garage opener closed as I leave.  I pick up the girls in time and notice that the TA is running hot ... again.  I've still got the air deflector at home but didn't have time to put it on.  Also, later in the day the electrical problem returns, even with the new alternator so I figure it's the battery.  The old alternator probably killed the battery.  

My girls go spend the weekend with my parents so Cindy and I have a night to ourselves.  We go out for dinner with my parents and our girls then head back home and I'm convinced that the way the lights of the TA are acting it has to be the battery.

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