Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mechanics just don't trust women!

After the loss of my Camaro I needed to have something to drive. I was engaged at the time and my now ex-husband was on a Southpack deployment with the military. He had a pickup truck that was sitting around unused because he was gone and it needed a new water-pump. Since I needed a vehicle I figured that I would just replace it myself. I wasn't working at the time and we didn't have much money because the military pay at that time sucked!

So I consulted with my dad and asked him what I needed to start with first. He loved working on cars and I saw he was itching to get in there to help me. I said thanks but I wanted to do it by myself. So off I went to the parts store for a book on repairing that model truck. I researched it and figured out what I needed. I went back to the parts store and I went up to the desk and asked for the parts I needed. The guy looked at me like I had grown two heads. This was a theme that was to continue for the rest of the time.

I got all the parts and tools together and the next morning I had the truck parked in the parking lot behind the condo waiting to be torn apart. Well I discovered that old trucks have old rusty screws and bolts and they don't come off easy. With some manuvering and standing on the wrench a few times I got everything off. Dad came by that night to check out how I was doing and was impressed with what I had done so far.

Since I had the water-pump out I figured that I would get the radiator pressure tested and cleaned. I borrowed my dads truck and hauled it to a place in Oakland. When I walked into the place carrying a huge radiator everyone did a double take. At least the guy at the desk was nice to me after he stopped laughing. I told him what I needed and he showed surprise that I knew what I wanted done. Well, I am no dummy and if I don't know something then I research and learn about it until I can do it.

After the radiator was done I started assembling it back together and realized that the water-pump had this little hole in the bottom of it. Now I know that it is supposed to hold radiator fluid and with that hole, it won't work very well. So off I go to the dreaded parts store and ask about that hole. The guy looked at me like a child and said that there is a nut the goes into the hole. I said  "Well you may think I am stupid but why would you sell a water-pump with a hole and not include the nut for it?" He shut up real quick and grabbed what I needed.

During this process I decided to replace other stuff since I was there and had nothing better to do anyway. I replaced the hoses, belts, spark plugs, distributor cap, and wires. This required several trips to the parts store as I went along. Over time I did win over the guy there and he actually started talking to me about my project. When I got everything done my Dad and I went out to start it. I sat there with my fingers crossed and prayed for nothing to blow up. It fired up and purred.

I never told my ex what happened with my Camaro and what I had done because I wanted to surprise him. 2 months later he came home and was shocked I drove over with his truck to pick him up. After a quick welcome home he got in and tore out of the base. As soon as we left the base he pulled over into the parking lot of a warehouse. I looked at him weird and asked him what he was doing. He said nothing and got out and opened the hood. He had a worried look on his face and was checking it all out. I was a bit mad by then. I told him what had happened and that if I had done it wrong then it wouldn't have been running fine for the last 2 months. He didn't say anything at first and then after a while of checking it over said "It looks Ok. Thanks" That should have been the first red flag for me but as usual, love is blind.

Over time I learned how to do a lot of stuff on cars and can change a tire in 10 min. flat. Today guys still have a hard time believing that a girl can do automotive stuff. Last time I had to change a tire in the parking lot of my place, every guy driving by me just stared at me with a look like they were seeing an alien in drag. Oh, well. At least I won't be one of those people that will be sitting on the side of the road waiting 2 hours for AAA to show up.

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