Friday, May 30, 2008

Blessings, and My Favorite Auto Technician

My sissypoo and I had a fun day out today, which I will blog about in another post, but on the way home, my van decided that it needed some attention too. As we were heading down Edgewood road in Cedar Rapids, heading for the highway, my van performed this great 'thunk' and hesitation, then 'thunk' and high RPM's. Ok, being an Auto Technician/Service Manager's wife, and just a little common sense, I know something is not right! (Keep in mind, I do know a few people who would have just turned up the radio and kept going, until wheels would no longer turn, or the car just coughed, spit, and quit.) I kept rolling, got on the 'On Ramp', and hit the gas. My transmission was not shifting, and although I was in second gear, third gear was not to be had. My tachometer was at 4,000 RPM's which is about 1500 to 2000 too many for the speed I was going, and wanted to go. THANK THE LORD FOR CELLPHONES! I called Louie, who did not answer. I left a frantic message, which he has yet to listen to. Next, I dialed my brother's cellphone, who lives about 15 miles from where I was. NO ANSWER! Next, I called his home phone, as my Sissypoo dialed my brother's wife's cellphone. My brother answered the phone, and I told him my situation. I asked him if it was ok to keep driving, at least to his house, and he thought if I took it easy, it would be ok, but to call if I needed further assistance. At this point, I am on a 65mph highway, and of course, people are passing me left and right, but all I cared about was to keep rolling. I stopped at the stop sign in the next town, which by this time, was only about a mile from my brother's house, and wondered if I would be able to proceed from the stop sign, or if I did, wondered if would it just STOP in the middle of the intersection. I proceeded forward, and my tachometer headed for 5000 rpm's, and it was doing it's version of screaming, before it finally 'thunked' into second gear. (All this time, I am wondering, if the transmission is going to melt and 'drop' onto the pavement.) Just about a mile later, I pulled up against the curb at my brother's house, and thanked the Lord for delivering me to a safe haven.

I visited with, and relayed my woes and story to my brother and wife, and Louie called me back. He was tired, and not happy with the situation I was in, but concerned for me, and eventually, we devised a plan to diagnose and 'hopefully' resolve my problem. Now, as his wife, I always think he should be able to diagnose problems just by symptoms, over the phone, but it's not that easy. I had a million questions for him. 'What do you think it is?' (The most important question: 'What's this gonna cost me!????') 'Are you going to have to take the transmission apart?' His biggest concern was, he was tired, didn't want to work on cars anymore, as we are on vacation this coming week, it was time to rest, not work on cars!

He works for very nice people, and he borrowed the diagnostic tool he needed, and a vehicle to come to my rescue. Isn't technology wonderful? He hooked up the computer, did a series of tests, and in a matter of a few minutes, he knew what the problem was. It was what he suspected, but could not confirm, without looking and testing. What a blessing! The problem part was under the hood, not inside the transmission, and relatively easy to get to! PRAISE THE LORD!!!The culprit of my 'disorderly' van, was a part called a speed sensor. It basically tells the transmission when to shift. Well, it wasn't talking, and no one was going to make it talk! By this time, it is about 8:30 Friday night. Thank the Lord for late night auto stores! Louie made a phone call inquiring of the part number we needed, was assured there was one to purchase, and we all jumped in the other van to go pick it up. Another blessing...the part was only about $35! We were at the parts store in less than 30 minutes, picked up the part and headed for somewhere to eat supper!

We arrived back at my brother's house, and Louie removed the old part. As you can see by the clock, it is 10: 20 something at this point, and my 'auto tech' is tired, but has removed the 'evil' part.And here is what the part looked like that we replaced. Just a piece of plastic, with contacts and wires on the inside that control my transmission. We thanked our gracious hosts for the use of the garage, moral support, etc, etc, and by this time, it is 10:48pm, and remember, I NEED GAS! We hurried to the gas station that closes at 11pm, which is just a couple blocks away, and got our gas. WHEW! THAT WAS CLOSE! Louie was following Sissypoo and I, and I stopped the van, got out and told him my TRAC OFF light was on. He told me some codes probably still needed to be cleared out. I noticed smoke, or something behind the van, and in front of the van he was driving. I said to him, which I found out later he did not hear, 'What is that smoke from?' He didn't answer, and I knew he was tired and had endured just about all he needed for the day, stress-wise, so I just figured maybe it was exhaust (but warm weather?) and got in the van and headed back to the highway. We had driven a few miles and as we were heading up a hill, I noticed I had to kind of 'tromp' it to get it up to speed. I didn't feel like I had much power. I called Louie and asked him about it, and asked if he needed to adjust anything and he said no. I told him about the 'lack of power', and he didn't seem concerned so we just proceeded down the highway. It wasn't long, and I said to Sissypoo, 'This van is riding kind of weird....kind of like we're riding on a washboard road.' The van had a slight 'shimmy' to it. Now, I am wondering, 'How can the speed sensor and the shimmy have a connection?' I called Louie,(THANK GOD FOR CELLPHONES!!!) told him that I was pulling off the road, and he could drive our van, and I would drive the van he brought. He could decide if it needed further assistance. I was tired of diagnosing (but so was he!) He got out of 'borrowed' van, and smoke was rolling from the left rear tire! He asked me if the parking brake was disengaged. I said it was, and no light was on telling me any different. By this point, he as ready to park it and come back on Saturday to deal it, (he was at the end of his short rope)but he messed with the parking brake handle, and moved the van, and decided that he thought it was free. He drove a few blocks and reaffirmed the same decision, so we headed for the highway again. He said it felt like it was rolling ok, but we would stop in the next little town and recheck it. Eight miles later, we pulled over, it was ok, and we proceeded towards home. It was about midnight when we pulled into our driveway. PRAISE THE LORD for a safe return home.

PRAISE THE LORD for my husband's knowledge to repair our van, PRAISE THE LORD for my husbands wonderful employers and their generosity of lending a vehicle and diagnostic tools to get me 'help'. PRAISE THE LORD for 'His' protection, PRAISE THE LORD for my brother and his wife's hospitality, help and use of their garage and tools, PRAISE THE LORD for late evening parts stores, PRAISE THE LORD for my Sissypoo who kept me sane during this stressful time. PRAISE THE LORD, PRAISE THE LORD, PRAISE THE LORD!

I feel blessed.

Ps...Check out my friend, Jen's moving sale for quilt books, quilting goodies, and scrapbooking goodies!


Amelia said...

Oh Michelle, what an adventure you and your sister had...I bet sweet husband was at the end of his rope by the time the evening was over.

However, you got out great by not having to spend much money...just lots of fristrtion.

I had my car in shop for a gas sensor something else (can't remember at this time) earlier this week....cost was just under $800.00...then they said we need to have the brakes worked that means more money going out. But still cheaper than car payments.

Have a fun weekend!

Carla said...

How fortunate for you both in terms of cost and safety. Your husband is a doll! We just had some work done on my car to the tune of about $400...not fun.

Hazel said...

Oh what a trip you endured .I hate having car trouble and worry over every little sound .I have 5 brothers who are mechanics ,it does me know good I live to far from them but like you I can walk into a service center and at least have some clue as to what they are talking about .Louie sounds like a loving husband even when he is tired , poor fellow Glad all turned out well .

Cindy (aka Peony the House Elf) said...

Thank goodness everything turned out OK and Louie was able to come to your resque. I hate car problems all I'm good for is putting gas in and driving. Enjoy the vacation time.

Sharon said...

I rejoice with you that God was with you and you got to safety and that it was a small part and not the transmission. I, on the other hand, did not have such a happy ending! My story was almost identical, the RPMs were going gangbusters and my van was hardly moving. It died on the freeway and was soooo scary. My husband came to my rescue and it was a near $2000.00 repair job. They did something wrong when they put the new one in and I relived the same thing three more times. It was awful, but the mechanics finally replaced the whole thing again and it has worked great for the last year. Cars!!! Ugh!!! But God is so good and He is with us through good and bad!

Hugs, Sharon

Valerie said...

You have got to love days like this! I always say it is just a test! I have enjoyed my visit with you.


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