Wednesday, May 4, 2011

F550EXR – Changing my snow tires — Colossal Screw Up Leads to Bunnies

So there I was, enjoying a leisurely tire change. I got my little 3 gallon compressor pumped up and attached my air gun with the appropriate 13mm (IIRC) socket, grabbed my toy hydraulic jack and it’s little step to reach the bottom of my baby SUV and I was off.

But first I opened the windows and cranked up some tunes. I have a nice sub woofer and a decent deck with iPod connector so I was blasting some nice deep bass while I was working. I stopped after each tire to chat up one neighbor or another, they were out in the glorious sunshine.

By the time I reached the third tire, it had been pretty much two hours since I has started the job (did I mention leisurely?) And I started to hear my music stop and then restart. It did this three times before I got into the car to see what was going on. The whole unit was shutting off and coming back on, and that’s never a good thing.

To make a long story short(er), I had run the battery completely flat. So much so, that even after two hours of letting it soak in its own juices, it would not revive. Click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click …not good.

I popped into the garage to fetch the battery cables and then popped the hood and the hood of Nick’s old 98 Lumina, a very nice running car that has a nice big 6cyl engine and should do a great job.

Except the battery and terminals are hidden under a brace. Sh-t!

Plan B. Grab the battery out of the Honda (it was really old and past due for replacement anyway) and pop it into the back of the Lumina. Get the keys from the house and off we go.

Or maybe not. The car starts and runs great (first time in months) but it won’t budge. At all. I finally decide to see what a bit of gas will do and it starts to move, but under severe protest. The scraping sound tells me that only three tires are playing ball. The other is stubbornly refusing to turn. Again, sh-t!

Now this is getting a bit old. By performing my semiannual maintenance on my tires like a good soldier, I’ve managed to go from two happy cars to two broken cars and one of them has no battery and four open windows late on a Sunday afternoon. *sigh* …

I’ve been trying to think my way out of this, but there is nothing for it. I’ve rusted the brake drum all to heck. So now I grab the cross bar for the wheel nuts (not interested in getting the air gun all set up again) and grab the hydraulic toy without its step since this is a normal car, and just in case I feel the need to flip out on the car, I grab an axe.

Once the car is in the air and the wheel is on the ground, I grab the axe and hit the brake drum repeatedly with the back end of the head until the drum breaks loose and begins to turn. Once that happens I start hammering on it until I can get it off the bolts and expose the very rusty brake shoes.

After banging on the drum lying on the bricks to remove as much rust as possible, I put everything back together and again clean up the jack etc. Into the car and off we go. Lots of grinding and scraping as rust meets steel, but it moves without undue protest.

The brakes are awfully spongy though, so I stop at the local Home Depot lot, which is mostly empty on the side of the building and try to remember how to reset the rear brakes by driving in reverse and violently slamming on the parking break and then the real breaks. Somewhere in there, things tighten up a wee bit and off I go to Canadian Tire.

Which is closed. So I head off to Wal-Mart, which is reliably open even late Sunday evening. Except for the auto parts counter, which is closed. *sigh* …

I ponder total failure after all this hassle and while I am wiping the tears away (figuratively) I spot a great rack. Row upon row of fresh new batteries. Joy!

To make a tedious story finally end, I look in the book and find the battery that matches. They have exactly one. Grab it and carry it across the whole store (anyone who has ever carried one of these things knows that they are heavy.) Once home, my Honda is back up and running in minutes. And now I have two working cars again. Happy day …

Yes, that is an Energizer Bunny under my hood … the mystery title is finally resolved …

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