Saturday, January 30, 2016

One Month Down

It's hard to believe, but the first month of 2016 is almost behind us. So far, it's been a year of mixed emotions for all of us here at the Green Acres Garage. Our camping was GREAT, but things have been a bit weird since we've been home. Gary and I have been fine, but my buddy Dodge got sick unexpectedly, and Casper the cargo van suddenly lost his transmission. Both vehicles have high mileage, and both are always reliable, especially Dodge. Having any kind of mechanical problems simply doesn't happen. It really baffled us. Gary searched the internet and repeatedly read Dodge's service manual trying to figure out what was wrong with him. There were lots of possible things that could be wrong, but there were no definitive answers. All I could do was to try to remain positive and be supportive. A little bit of work was done on Dodge each day. With every part that got replaced or adjusted, there was hope that Dodge would recover from whatever illness had befallen him. He still ran, but very poorly. In addition to working on Dodge, other projects around here were getting done or getting started. Connie the conversion van, who sits on the driveway with my sisters Jackie, Caroline, and Bernadette, got a much-needed bath. Gary bought her as a non-running van, and he hasn't gotten around to working on her very much. Everything around here eventually gets mildew or mold on it, and Connie had more than her share. She's a pretty van, but she wasn't looking too good until Gary spent close to three hours cleaning her up. My sisters are equally dirty, but there hasn't been time yet to give them their baths. Casper was towed to American Transmission Center here in St. Augustine. Danny, the owner and rebuilder, gave Gary a reasonable price for fixing Casper's transmission. In less than three days, he was home and better than ever. I sure am glad that Danny knows what he's doing. All of those transmission parts look like a big jigsaw puzzle to me. Danny had a code scanner for diagnosing automotive problems, and checked out Dodge as well. The scanner said that Dodge's throttle position sensor was bad. Gary bought one and replaced it, but it didn't seem to make any difference. A re-scanning was done, and the code for the bad throttle position sensor was gone, so that was definitely one of the things that was ailing Dodge, but not the only thing. Danny recommended another nearby repair shop that might be able to find Dodge's problem, and within a few minutes, that's exactly what they did. One of the brand new spark plug wires that Gary had installed was defective. What a surprise! With the wire replaced, Dodge was back to normal, and running perfectly on all six of his cylinders. So, if Kryptonite can cripple SuperMAN, a bad sensor and a bad spark plug wire can cripple our SuperVAN. Gary and I are SO thankful that he is back to normal. A bunch of wood has been cut (some of it pictured here) for some shelves that Gary is planning to build. That is piled in front of me here in the garage. There is also wood being stored under me, and lots of other odds and ends are blocking me from being able to roll out of here. It doesn't look like I'll be going anywhere for awhile. Casper also got a REAL trailer hitch installed last night. He only had a wimpy bumper hitch before, and that wasn't sufficient to pull me or any of my siblings. While Gary had Casper's rather beat-up bumper off to install the new hitch, he did his best to straighten the bent-up bumper brackets. He didn't fully succeed, but the bumper is much more level than it used to be. The hitch looks REALLY good. February is just hours away, and it's my FAVORITE month of the year. Gary and I will celebrate our birthdays, and all the vehicle woes that happened in January will be over and done. I'm going to flip that calendar page RIGHT NOW!!!

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