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February 26, 2010

Joy of car ownership...

As most of you might know, we lost our cars in a huge windstorm. A group of trees came down from the neighbor's yard and totaled all three of our cars. Only one was still salvageable for driving, which Spike needed for getting to school and back.

With the money we could spare, we picked up a Ford Explorer for $2,000 from a private seller. As it turned out, we think the guy lied by omission and didn't tell us about the transmission trouble. We found out when we were driving it home. By then, it was too late.

Recently, we were able to take it into a tranny shop and it turned out to be the transfer case, rather than the transmission. That's a $1,000 difference, although it's all car talk to me.

We recently brought it home and it's not making grinding noises. However, it started making a rattling noise in the engine compartment. Spike took a screwdriver to it to listen. He narrowed it down to the alternator region.

As it turned out, after pulling off the alternator, he realized the tensioner pulley was bad. We replaced it. Noise stopped. Took it in for an oil change and they found a socket knuckle somewhere in the oil pan region of the Beast. We think that might have been the rattling noise in conjunction with the bad pulley..

Rattling stopped, but the soft grinding noise started up again. We decided to take it back to the tranny shop for them to listen. We didn't know if this was normal for a new transfer case, so we wanted some reassurances. On the way, the grinding got louder and then a screeching noise. The battery started to die and we pulled over.

Popping the hood, we saw what was wrong. The serpentine belt was SHREDDED and the idler pulley was hanging at an angle and the metal beneath it (the bearing and some other thing) was stripped and fused.

Two hours in the rain and walking 8 blocks altogether, we found one auto parts place that had the idler pulley and another auto parts place that had a serpentine belt.

We get back to the Beast and Spike puts it all together. The serpentine belt was a bit loose...

Start up the Beast and it's squealing like a stuck pig and kept dieing. Spike realizes the Beast is running off the battery only, bypassing the alternator, so we drive the Beast to the parts place that sold us the belt. Turned out they gave us the wrong one. They gave us the dual overhead cam belt rather than the single overhead cam belt.

So, the belt was removed, exchanged, and the right one was installed. No noises.

Drove it home. No noise, no grinding, no fluctuating power.

By jove, I think we have a running vehicle!

Now, we just need to find out why the turn signal is shorting out and making an awful noise...



Ashley said...

I hate to be the one to say you got a lemon but you got a lemon LOL!!

Here is the thing with the turn signal I think. You might get away with buying another one but it could be a short in your wirering harness.

But at least all the bad noises stopped LOL!!!

Good Luck with the SUV.


Isobael Liu said...

Thanks. Yeah, and because it was less than $3,000, it's exempt from the lemon law.

We're thinking it's a short in the wiring harness but replacing the harness will be a time consuming we'll see how it goes. We changed out the fuse for it and it still made the noise.


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