April 2011

Another blog. About Portland. And other stuff too.

about | archives | twitter | flickr | potma | iphone snapshots | facebook | yelp
rss feed | youtube | links | the burning log

Questions? Comments? Reservations?

Another Portland Blog

Tuesday, February 24, 2004


Blog's Salute to the Automobile - part 1

Ah, the automobile. Those delightful little money-sucking hell boxes. How I love them!

Take a look at the picture above. This the vehicle I drive. Go ahead. Laugh, if you must. While it may look like your average '80s engineering nightmare, looks can be deceiving. This little Toyota could be the mini-van equivalent of a folk hero. It has torn through the icy slopes of Mount Washburn and through the blazing fires of the Mohave. It has been stolen twice and has lived to tell the tale both times. It has seen fire and it has seen rain. It has even dueled with buffalo.

Alas, the van has just entered its second decade, which makes 55 billion years old in Toyota years. Remarkably, it still runs, or at least it did until last week.

Two weeks ago, the van began screeching like a demon with irritable bowel syndrome. At stop lights, going into turns, etc. The van loved its new found "voice" and lived to torture other
motorists with its shrill cries. I diagnosed the problem as a loose fan belt and promptly adopted a policy of turning up the volume on the stereo.

Sometime later, the transmission began acting strangely. I thought back to my last trip to Jiffy Lube and the black doom warnings of one employee: "If you don't change the transmission fluid in this vehicle, it's going to explode and/or kill you in your sleep." At the time, I balked at the price and decided to take my chances.

The van dropped a few subtle hints on more than one rain-soaked freeway. I finally relented last week. An attendant was guiding me in over an oil pit when his eyes suddenly popped out of his head. He frantically began waving in the other direction. But it was too late. I had just committed the ultimate Jiffy Lube faux pas. The van had jumped a tiny safety barrier and landed in the pit.

Fortunately, there was a rubber net that prevented the vehicle from falling too far. Unfortunately, it was straining under the weight and looked like it was about to snap. Four employees rushed to the scene...and promptly broke out a can of sarcasm. "Wooo!!! How'd that thing jump the gap?" "I didn't know these things were still on the road..."

...etc, etc. This is the sort of shit I get every time I get the van near a mechanic.

Eventually, it dawned on them that the van was about to become a permanent addition to their Jiffy Lube. One of them rushed down a flight of stares with a industrial-sized jack. After hoisting up its flabby, metal torso, another jumped in the driver's seat. As the rest of us watched on, the van was pulled to safety.

Victory....or was it?

"That thing is losing coolant fast. It's all over the place down there." The fan belts were fine. A damaged water pump was leaking water and the cause of the screeching. The jury was still out on the transmission.

The rest of the Jiffy Lube crew took a step back. Had the fall further ruptured the pump? Would I sue? Whose fault was this? Did it matter? I had no access to legal council. Yes, I was fucked.

I bit the bullet and drove to the nearest Toyota mechanic. They were closed. Despite the van's mortal wound, it would have to get through the next 24-hours. The van "bled" all the way home. I made it as comfortable as possible in the driveway. Would it survive the night?

To be continued...

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home




  • October 2003
  • November 2003
  • December 2003
  • January 2004
  • February 2004
  • March 2004
  • April 2004
  • May 2004
  • June 2004
  • July 2004
  • August 2004
  • September 2004
  • October 2004
  • November 2004
  • December 2004
  • January 2005
  • February 2005
  • March 2005
  • April 2005
  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011

  • Clicky Web Analytics

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?