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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Auto da Fe

Stuff accumulates at FAR Manor — even cars. I have no idea how we’ve managed to amass a fleet of three small cars, two SUVs (The Barge and Barge Vader) plus a motorcycle… but there they are. Two of the cars are Civics: the red one with a stick that I drive (and have retrieved from the body shop after The Boy’s little mishap), and a green one with an automatic that will become Daughter Dearest’s once she gets her full license. I had to dink with both of them yesterday evening.

The green Civic wasn’t starting. Mrs. Fetched said something about the spark plugs, so I checked them: good guess, dear; the one I pulled was pretty worn. I got some new ones and got to work last night.

For whatever reason, Honda has to make this difficult — the plugs are recessed several inches down, and the long rubber caps are a bear to get off. In fact, two of them came apart as I tried to get them off. I figured I could do the plugs now, though, and replace the wires later.

Because the plugs are recessed so far down, you need a plug socket with a neoprene insert to get them out of their wells. But the insert holds so tightly, when you put the plugs back in you have to remove the insert… or the socket comes loose from the extension. So to save time and hassle, I decided to pull all four of the old plugs then put in the new ones. To prevent crossed wires, I stuck them back in their holes.

Onosecond: that brief but seemingly eternal moment of time between Something Bad happening and your reaction.
A piece of connector had fallen into the cylinder! I imagined having to tow the car to the mechanic, who would have to pull the head to get the pieces out. Then it occurred to me that he would probably just fish it out with a magnet… and I had one. It took a few minutes to find it, and a few more to get one end so I could pull it through the hole, but persistence paid off. I then noticed a piece of plastic propped at the rim of the hole, so I stuck a piece of fuel line on a vacuum cleaner nozzle and got that — then tried to make sure there wasn’t anything else lurking in there by sticking the hose down into the cylinder. Getting nothing but greasy carbon after a couple of tries, I figured no news was good news. I put the plugs in and figure to get the wires Saturday.

Since it was Car Night, I went to the red Civic. Daughter Dearest bought me a pair of speakers to replace the ones in the front doors, which had gotten fuzzy then quit working altogether. I pulled the first speaker out, and immediately realized why they had stopped working. Splat’s older brother had installed the speakers, but didn’t bother to solder the wires or crimp a lug to them. Renewing my vow to smack the kid next time I see him, I got my soldering iron and my new roll of solder, and got to work. Now I have two working speakers, plus two new ones. Mrs. Fetched suggested I put the new ones in the green Civic if they’re needed. Not a bad idea.

Now tonight, I’m sitting at a gas station waiting for help. Y’see, I had another flat tire this evening. While I have a jack this time, the lug wrench has disappeared. And it’s starting to rain. So I can relate to Family Man’s mood tonight…


  1. Hi FARfetched.

    Actuall you had a better reason for a bad mood than I did. You have far more patience than I do with mechanical stuff. When I changed the battery on our car a nut that connects to a long rod that hold the battery down fell and got under a place where I couldn't get to it. What should have been a 15 minute job, turned into a two hour job from taking things apart just to get to that nut.

    The speakers reminded me of my first music machine. I had an old portable cassette play and bought two cheap round car speakers. I cut a hole in two shoe boxes, taped the speakers in and figured out a way to connect them to the portable tape player. At that point and time I didn't know the difference, but it sounded great to me. :)

    Hope your day is better than yesterday.

  2. From: Solar (lost my password)

    Next time you change spark plugs, use a piece of rubber hose that will fit over the top of the new plug. Make it long enough and use that to insert the new spark plugs. Every spark plug socket I've bought has the rubber piece inside of it to keep the plug from falling back out when you remove it.

    Another flat tire? You're turning into the Dad from the Christmas Story Movie that could change a flat in 90 seconds. :)

  3. FM - that's the nice thing about having a little magnet on the end of a telescoping stick (sort of like a whip antenna). You just poke that down in the hard to reach area. I probably would have just gotten another nut to fit it and let the old one fall out where it pleased. :-)

    Solar - too bad about the password. I was going to tell you to try Keychain Access, but you don't have a Mac. I'm not sure I'm getting that quick at changing tires, although I did let out an "ohhhh (fudge)" when I realized the spinner wasn't in the car. I need to replace both front tires; they got flat-topped pretty good from The Boy's skid. (I checked the other one this evening.)


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