Monthly Archives: October 2014

Time for Ms. J to sleep for the winter.

Well, Ms. Jenavieve is off the road for the winter. Last week I walked out in the garage and thought “ok, I am not going to realistically drive her any more this year… why am I putting it off?” I do have some work to do on her before spring, but I figure I’ll probably wait till March or so to get started since it’s not the sort of thing where I need her in the garage for months (new exhaust manifold, and I want to sand her down some and respray to fix a few issues with the paint job I did last spring). Plus now I can finally put my Expedition in the garage, just in time to not have to scrape ice and snow off the windows in the morning.

Of course this simple little task didn’t go without a few little glitches. And these are not serious, just amusing. Had to share.

So, last Thursday afternoon I decided “it’s time”. Hadn’t driven her in a couple weeks, so when I started her up I was dismayed, but not terribly surprised, to find that I had no brake pressure. I obviously have a leak somewhere, but I have never found it. Anyway, with the pedal to the floor she does stop, so I figured “I’ll deal with it next spring”. The storage facility is only about a block away from the house, so I wasn’t too concerned.

Drove her over to the storage facility, which is one of those “self-storage” places with lots of buildings (I rented a 10×30 stall) and a security fence… you punch in a keycode to open the fence gate to get in, and then you just drive up to the gate from the inside to open it to depart. This becomes important later in the story.

Being a LBC, of course she isn’t the neatest car in the world… a few drips here and there from various fluid reservoirs in the car. I had this bright idea to spread out a sheet of painter’s plastic under her to catch said drips. So, I pulled up to the storage stall, opened the overhead door, and drove in partway. Got out, got my roll of painter’s plastic, and unrolled about 20 feet of it and spread it out. The stuff is not much thicker than Saran Wrap, so it was an adventure to get it to lay down.

Having done all this, I got back in Ms. J, started her up… and as I slowly started to move forward the thought crossed my mind “I wonder if maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to drive…”

and at that moment there was a loud FOOMP

and the plastic was gone. Just disappeared. Already knowing what I was going to find, I shut her down, got out, and opened the bonnet, and of course found 20 feet of painters plastic wrapped around the fan and belt. Just like a big vacuum cleaner, that engine is…

(at this point I crossed myself and thanked the heavens for still having my cam belt cover installed, apparently I am like one of 12 people in the world who still has it). I don’t even want to think about how much of a mess that would have been if the plastic had gotten into there.

So, I made a couple of feeble attempts to pull the plastic out, realized that quite a bit was between the fan belt and pulley, and basically said “heck with it, I’ll deal with it next spring”. So, I pushed her back out a bit, put another piece of plastic down, and this time PUSHED her onto it. Which is what I should have done in the first place. I took the pieces that I had pulled out and wadded them up and shoved them into the steering wheel to remind me not to try to start her up again until I get the fan cleaned up.

Called it good enough, dragged her cover over her, walked out of the stall, closed it, locked it, and started the short walk home. Got to the security gate… and realized the flaw in my plan. If you remember, you need a key code to get in, and then you drive up to the gate to actuate a sensor to get back out. Well, that works very well IF YOU ARE DRIVING A CAR…

Shook my head, got out my cell phone, and called my son to come over and spring me from the outside. Sheesh. What a day.

Anyway, figured some of you could use a chuckle… and it’s all part of Ms. J’s story, so it’s now recorded here for posterity.