Thursday, July 9, 2009

No more

I had a fairly horrible night last night, as did Lori and the dogs, and all completely my fault. It all began with Lori thinking it was a cute idea for the wedding to have vintage hubcaps as table setting pieces for the reception. I found a guy on Craigslist selling a bunch, so we made plans to go after I picked her up from work. I decided to drive the Desoto, because, hey, a guy selling old hubcaps could appreciate that. I actually drove the Desoto to work that day. I booked home, let the dogs pee, and packed them up and we headed to pick up Lori. After that we went south to pick up the groomsman outfits from Banana Republic.

I called the hubcap guy and let him know we'd be there in 15 minutes. We went south on El Camino Real and then, the engine just cut out and I coasted to the right. Oh silly Desoto. You see, the battery doesn't charge. Even though I rebuilt the generator, the battery doesn't charge. Maybe it's the generator, maybe it's the voltage regulator. I'm not sure, I'm apparently too stupid to figure it out myself and took cheap (broke) to have a professional. So,, the battery goes dead after driving it so many days without a charge. No big deal, I carry a spare.

I yanked the dead battery out, and put in the spare. Nothing. Dead. The battery was shitty, but I had just recently charged it. It apparently wasn't holding a charge anymore. Great. But I was within walking distance of Autozone. I went in and asked for a 6 Volt, they had just sold both of theirs. I walked back to the car murmoring "fuck" under my breath. I didn't know what to do. I now have an upset fiance and a hub cap guy waiting on me. Out of desperation I put in the original battery. Car fired right up.

I took off and drove like a madman to get to the guy's yard. We pull in, Lori picks out 4 hubcaps she liked. $50. We had $30. See, part of the plan was stopping at a bank on the way there to get cash, but the car problems threw a wrench in that plan. We asked the guy if there was a bank nearby and he said there was one by his house. So we followed him out and up towards his place.

Engine cut out again.

He comes back and tows us to out of the way. And we begin a frantic phone search for a 6 volt battery. We find one at Pep Boys and he (reluctantly) agrees to drive me there. Lori stays with the dogs and the car. I make some small talk, apologize profusely, and ask him if he had any plans for the evening. "Yeh, our dinner is waiting for us at home." Yikes.

So I get the battery, car starts right up, we get the money, I give him $10 extra bucks, and he leaves grumpy. I hop in the Desoto and we zoom home. I'm informed that Lori has called her parents and they aren't too happy either. We pull off the freeway, just beating the sunset. We pull up to the light for the final stretch home.

Engine cuts out. Car turns over. Doesn't start. Gas?

I push the Desoto through the intersection, with the help of Lori steering and a bum's extra hands and into a gas station. I put in some gas. This is going to work, right? It turns over. And over. Ok, it's just priming the carb, right? More turning over, no starting. It's now dark, it's cold cold, and the wind is blowing like crazy. I pull off the oil bath air cleaner and yank off the fuel hose; gas splurts all over. So it's getting gas. Is the carb clogged? Spark plugs fouled? Coil bad? Distributor fucked? Out of shear desperation I begin disassembling the carb, in the dark, cold, windy night while Lori sits hating her life. The Dogs are passed out in the back seat. I have a flat head screw driver, a wire snips, and a plastic cup as my only tools. I get the carb apart and look for anything blocking anything. Of course I can't see a damn thing.

Lori comes out of the car and informs me she called a cab, I tell her I'm staying with the car, and she goes home. She comes back just as I got the carb back together. It still didn't start. I have her take the dogs home and tell her to get some food. I sit there for a moment defeated.

So I walk into the gas station and try to communicate with mexican lady behind the counter. She hands me a number for a tow truck, and I wait 45 more minutes for them to come. Cost of $60. Guess I picked a bad time to let my AAA membership lapse. As I'm sitting in the car waiting the fuel tanker for the gas station arrives and immediately starts yelling at me to move the car. Didn't even ask me nicely. I just ignore Pancho and wait for the flatbed tow truck.

So, having been in this situation many times before, I help them load it up and we go home and drop the Desoto off into it's spot by the house. One horrible night has ended. It's about 11 PM. I am defeated.

My guess it's ignition related. I haven't had time to dig in yet. But I have made my mind up that once it's running, I'm through with it. And I'm through with old cars in general. Yes, they are cool. And I do enjoy them. But they are not worth the aggrivation I have to deal with when they do break down. They are money pits, relationships stranglers, and nothing more than giant boulders when they don't run. At least with motorcycles I can push them out of the way. So, Desoto, it's been fun, but it's time to. No more.


JessX said...

but if you give up on old cars, what would be my reason for ever visiting you again?

(i kid, i kid....maybe ^_^ )

Michael in LA said...

20 years from now you'll be telling that story to your kids and laughing. Life would be boring if everything went exactly to plan...