Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Car runs Great, but really, it's Dead Jim

I loved my 1999 Ford Taurus SE. Served me well for many years (bought it used about 2004), took many fun trips, the last major ones in September to Massachusetts (the trip I never did finish posting about) and then the Leelanau Peninsula here in MI in October. Little did I know I was driving about in a death trap.

At the end of March this year my fuel pump failed while driving home from Alpena. Had it towed to the nearest garage we've used before. Was told the filler neck had broken allowing crud into the tank, then into the pump which destroyed it. So $804 later it ran great again, was even told it ought to work great for me for another 2 years. Then I tried to fill the tank with gasoline. I discovered the  pump handle and filler nozzle wouldn't make a good seal, so the pump kept shutting off. I had to squeeze the handle just barely to trickle a few gallons in over a long period of time. Then when I parked it in the garage the smell of gas was so horrible it permeated the house.

So back it went to the same garage, 3 weeks after getting it fixed. There I was, with a 'good for another 2 years' vehicle with some sort of leak and was told the gas tank had to be replaced, and probably leaked from dropping it 3 weeks earlier to replace the fuel pump which sits on top. BUT, he wouldn't recommend doing it because the frame holding the engine was rotted from rust and the engine could fall out any time. Just roll right on out of the car

Hal was the one to receive this information over the phone. When he asked why they didn't tell us this 3 weeks earlier before they did the work, the reply was along the lines of "that was only 3 weeks ago?" and "we didn't notice".

Uh huh.

We are a bit put out by these comments to say the least. Had no choice but to call the insurance company who sent out an adjuster and a week later we were told it's not covered. We figured that but it was worth a shot.

Two days ago we drove it home, slowly and left it at Uncle Butch's house since we didn't want to risk driving it down our lumpy driveway. So there it sits while we try to figure out what to do with it now. In the meantime Hal has acquired a 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 from his dad's business. Been sitting at the farm unused for at least a year. He fixed the non-existent brakes and then took it into a different shop to repair the very sloppy, (to the point of not knowing if we can avoid the ditch), steering to the tune of $450. (That included a used tire to replace the undersized one it was sporting.)

Yesterday I noticed a leak. Hal determined the transmission fluid was leaking, it had practically none left. That probably explains the lousy gear shifting the last couple of times we drove it. I have my fingers crossed it's just a leaky pan gasket and filter. Hopefully, by the end of this week the truck will be operational.

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