Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Primum non nocere
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Walmart parking lot, Hempstead, Texas.
Things have come to an abrupt halt due to multiple mechanical problems with the motor home. I suppose I am overdue for this, since until now everything has gone very smoothly, with the exception of the frozen water situation after Christmas.
Yesterday while I was coming back from having the propane tank filled in Waller, the brake pedal started going to the floor. My first thought was to add brake fluid, if only as a temporary fix, but for the life of me I can't find the master cylinder. I even had a "brake specialist" at the local Auto Zone try to find it, and he couldn't, either. He was very nice and friendly, and apologetic, concluding with, "Sorry I couldn't hep ya, Bubba." The problem is that there are so many extra systems in a motor home that something is probably covering it up. People say, "well it's got to be right there in front of the brake pedal somewhere." And I agree--so find it already.
But that's not the only thing. For some time the engine has been running rough and gas mileage going down, and yesterday I figured I'd try for the "cheap fix" on that, by putting in some tune-up parts myself. So I replaced the distributor cap, rotor, spark plugs, ignition wires, and for good measure the air filter. All afternoon I labored on the beast, cursing myself the whole time for having even untertaken the task, given how many years it's been since I've worked on a car. And even back when I did, my knowledge was limited. When I finally got the last plug and wire changed and started it up, it ran even rougher than before. The timing is off, or something. I had evidently violated a precept of the automotive version of the Hippocratic oath, primum non nocere--first, do no harm.
Then this morning as I was taking something to the car I noticed that hot water was spewing from the drain and pressure valve of the water heater, located on the outside of the motor home near the door. So that's shot, too, and must be replaced. For this job I have a guy making a house call this afternoon over here in the Walmart parking lot. (The above photo was taken east of Houston a few walks ago, and not here at Walmart.)
After several calls to local mechanics I found one who would work on the brakes and engine. It's Tommy, from TAT Automotive. But there's a problem. Tommy won't get to it until next Monday. He's not the only one I checked with who will be glad to work on it, but can't get to it right away. But he's the closest to Walmart. So unless I get lucky with another phone call or two, I may be looking at taking the motor home to Tommy.
All that leaves me with some new options. I've always planned to take a break and go to Michigan for a week or ten days for R&R and to do my taxes, but I'd figured that for mid-March. Looks like this might be the time. I don't see myself staying in Hempstead for another week.
That's all for now. As someone said, more will be revealed.