Saturday, January 14, 2012

Major Car Repairs

So I think I have mentioned that Phil's car runs for about a week, then refuses to start for another week, then will start right up and run for another week? It has been like this for a while and it was no big deal since we didn't really need two cars before but my brother has decided to quit work (I will be nice and try not to go into it since it is my brother) and now Phil is left without a ride to work. Anyway after several parts changes the diagnosis turned out to be, after process of elimination, the fuel pump. Which happens to be in the gas tank; on top of the gas tank. In a Pontiac Bonneville there is no way to get to the top of the gas tank without.......dropping the gas tank and there is no way to drop the gas tank without dropping the exhaust.  I didn't have to help with that part. A few bolts to take off and things to unhook and hoses that refused to come off (on since 1997!) so had to be cut and the exhaust at least dropped down--hopefully out of the way....
then the lovely part of dropping the gas tank which I don't have picture of since I was under the car with Phil (in front of the wheel in the next picture). It involved having the gas tank held up by a jack with a board on top and slowly lowering it while I held one side and he tried to get the other side past a brake line which was stubbornly in the way, then past a metal piece that shields the exhaust on my side and then just plain past the exhaust on my side. The tank was fairly empty--or so it seemed-- but actually had several gallons of gas in it which made it much more heavy and then it decided to drop on the other side and I was struggling to keep it from doing that and hitting the ground hard or falling off the jack.
Anyway, it finally was down. Phil took a look at the pump but it looked fine--but who can tell from just looking?  Then he looked at the lines--intake, out, and air and all looked fine but one looked loose where it clipped on. We then went inside because our town has three auto parts stores and it is stupid to go to one for parts without checking it online. Good thing we did because one of them had a fuel pump for $74, the rest were $115 and $124! We went to the cheaper one (of course) and got the fuel pump (because even though we were not sure it was the problem, taking down the tank is such a big job at home that you just have to replace everything it might be while it is down), the filter, the hoses and some of the clips (we are missing one) for $123.00.
It was getting late by the time we got back. Phil got the gas drained (cause we aren't fooling ourselves into thinking I can maneuver that tank up in there while he jacks unless it is empty ----and even then it will be, to say the least, difficult), the fuel pump put on and back in the tank before it got too dark to see. We will be trying to get the tank back in and hoses back in tomorrow.
So that was today. Didn't get any sourdough bread made like I wanted or get to play with that candle kit that I got at the thrift store a few weeks ago but that is just the way it goes sometimes.


  1. Yet another self-sufficiency skill that you have, Becky. I have to admire you and Phil for undertaking something this ambitious. I'd never have the skill (or strength) to do that sort of work!

  2. I'm super embarrassed as I have to call the RACV (motor club) to change my tyre for me - I can never move the wheel nuts enough to get the damn things off and here you are pulling aprat a whole car.

  3. Oh I can't get the lug nuts off of my car either but if you put your 4-way wrench on it so that it sits sideways and then hold onto the car while you stand on it, putting all your weight on it, you can usually get them to budge, lol. However, I have never had to change my own tire. Everyone down this hwy knows me and if I break down, I just have to wait for someone to come along. We don't pass by people we know.
    Mark, Phil has change brakes, plugs, wires, heaters, radiators, starters, alternators, belts,etc. etc. etc. on our cars. This was a bit ambitious though and he has put it off for a long time, lol.

  4. Oh, I feel for you... car repairs are SO expensive. Hubby does as much of ours as he can, but it's not easy... such a steep learning curve. He finds You-Tube videos very helpful as well as forums that are specific to the type of car you have... often you can get some good tips for how to check certain things and stories of people who have done the repairs you are looking to do.

  5. I'm sorry for what happened to your car. If Phil can’t repair it anymore by himself, then it may be time to bring your car to a car repair shop and let the mechanics do the job. Anyway, how’s your car now?

    -Stelle Courney

    1. Yeah, in a perfect world we could all afford to do that but in my world we either fix it ourselves or it doesn't get fixed.

  6. Hi Becky! Well, that’s just how it works, I guess. But don’t fret, you’re not alone. It’s hard for us to shell out cash every time our car needs to be repaired. So, as long as possible, we really try our best to fix it by our self. For as long as we provide our car with the right solution, then we should be fine with it.

  7. That’s money well spent, if you ask me. Anyway, it’s been almost a year since you posted this, so I hope you didn’t experience more problems with the car. And yeah, because our resources are limited, we must do what we can to fix these kinds of problems without spending too much.