Thursday, October 15, 2009


That is what I heard –or something like that– last night on my way home from the University. It could have been a rip sound but whatever it was it was very quick and it brought with it very immediate consequences. The first thing that I noticed, as soon as I heard the noise, was that my battery light came on. Suddenly, my alternator was not working. I didn't know what had happened but my engine sounded good and I didn't want to stop on the freeway so I kept on driving. I noticed very quickly that my power steering was also gone and I was beginning to worry that there was something seriously wrong. I got off the freeway as soon as I could and I called Becky in case I would need to leave the vehicle and get a ride home. Just as I was telling her that the alternator had stopped working I noticed that the car was over heating as well. I was really not happy about this new development but as soon as it overheated it cooled off.

I had no idea what was going on – I was still in the period of data collection and I had not really thought about all of it. I got off the phone with Becky and called my friend Jason, who I woke up at almost mid-night, and started to tell him everything that was going wrong and just by telling him about it all I realized that my drive belt had failed. The splashing/ripping noise that I heard was the belt breaking, simultaneously getting wound up in several pulleys, and the various belt driven parts coming to a very sudden stop. I lost my alternator, A/C compressor, power steering, and cooling fan. But I was able to make it home, although it took me a bit longer than normal. I opened the hood and, sure enough, there was the shredded belt. I pulled it out of the pulleys it was wrapped around and then looked up information about replacing the belt; I decided that it was something that I could do (Jason assured me of this earlier) and I went to bed. This morning I drove Becky to work and took her vehicle to the local Auto Zone and I bought a new belt. About 90 minutes later I had it on and a little while after that I was on my way to work. Now, I really need to get to work on some last minute cramming for an exam that I have in one of my literature classes. The only comments that I want to make about the repair that I did are these – I do not own the right type of wrench to loosen the tensioner pulley and that made the job much more difficult than it might have otherwise been. Additionally, my hands are just about too big to do that sort of a job. There is very little clearance in front of the engine to do that sort of work and it wasn't easy to get my arms and hands in where they needed to be – but, once again, having the right type of wrench (with a longer handle than my little wrench has) would have made that problem less of an issue. While I had the hood up I noticed that something else has been under my hood doing work lately – some of my spark plug wires are seriously chewed up by a mouse. I guess that I will have to fix that next.

Anyway… I need to study.

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