Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Thousand Dollar Day

"On The Road Again! Just Can't Wait To Get On The Road Again!"

It's not often I drop a grand in a single day. Kinda makes a tingle run up your spine, starting at your wallet and ending in the top your skull.

Oh, I know, there's probably a lot of you out there cutting checks every month for mortgage notes that run 4 figures. This is just a rare occurrence for me. Hell, it's remarkable that I even had that much in the bank account...

Before I get into details, let me just extend a warm "THANK YOU" to all the kind bloggers that offered assistance and referrals regarding my chronically-damaged pickup truck. I went with a local option just to reduce the overall PITA factor in trying to get a sputtering truck moved across town. I'm at the stage where expending a few many extra dollars is marginally preferable to spending all day working up a sweat and banging knuckles under a car hood.

So, the big news... Big Red, aka Atropos the Death Truck, is running again. I took it to a local auto shop that had the AAA Auto Club seal of approval, and they knocked out most of the major issues. Aside from the chronic engine sputter, I'd had my ABS dashboard warning light turn on, and one of my tailpipes had broken loose a couple of weeks ago and was balancing on the rear axle.

That ignition coil problem? Turned out to be bad coils AND a broken spark plug. They had to drill the bad plug out and then replace the coils & plugs on cylinders 7 & 8. Since my now-kicked-to-the-curb former mechanic had said he'd replaced all my old plugs (and I paid the tariff for the job), he & I are going to have a little chat in the near future.

Oh, yeah... they also found a cracked PCV valve hose. Their explanation? "Well, we can see where someone was trying to repair it. It looks like he got one side fixed, but cracked the other side in the process."

So, the tailpipe's rewelded, and I no longer have exhaust fumes creeping up into the cab and a huge steel pipe banging the ground every time I hit a bump. There's still a chance I'll need to replace the muffler, but it's OK for now. A hideously expensive gadget in the ABS system was replaced, so now I need no longer fear plowing into a herd of bicyclists that infest Memorial Park.

There's still a boatload of problems. An electrical short somewhere in the turn signal/emergency flasher circuit is still burning out $70 relays with depressing regularity. The cruise control has never worked. A steering wheel bearing race has ruptured, spilling dozens of tiny ball bearings onto the driver's side carpet. The driver's window motor is kaput. The plastic fascia over the HVAC controls and radio is falling off. It needs new shocks, wiper blades, front left turn signal bulb & lens, and a good wash & wax job.

Still, it runs. The new tires and alignment are nice. I took it out on the freeway, and at 60+ mph there was barely 12-15 inches of drift in about 1/4 of a mile.

So, watch out bloggers! El Capitan is back on the road (knocks LOUDLY on wood) and is heading to a blogmeet near you. It's way past time for another BBQ afternoon in Lockhart!

The final tab for yesterday?

$70 for new Rockport boat shoes
$9 for a book off of eBay
$49 for a tank of gas
$872.05 for truck repairs
$35 for congratulatory dinner at Boudreaux's Cajun Kitchen.

Having a truck that will reach highway speeds? PRICELESS!!