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November/December 2008 (10,008PH)
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Articles from "Rick's Workbench"

Tale of interest No.12
The Nissan Pulsar from Hell (part 2) :

Here is the continuation of the car from hell from Rick’s Workbench No.11

... The car was left languishing for a couple of months as we had to save up the money to get it fixed, then a good friend of mine offered a loan of $1000 to get it fixed!
He wasn’t in any hurry to get the money back, nor did he want any interest … (Oh! I need more friends like that!)

(Oh, so do I - editor)
The beast was booked in at the local mechanics'.
June the 13th (Black Friday) was the nominated date.

The mechanic had it for just over 2 weeks.
When it was finally ready, the mechanic’s wife rang me with the old “good news and bad news” routine.
The good news was the car was ready, and the bad news was the cost … $1,150!
I was presented with the bill and it listed what was done.
The head had been planed and tested, new gaskets fitted, and the radiator was replaced as the core was rotting.
He had only filled the cooling system with water and told me to bring it back after 1,000 kilometers  .... He would then put proper coolant into it.
A prudent measure as things turned out.

We got the broken window replaced the day the car was ready …. Another $100!

I noticed that the car wouldn’t idle properly when cold.
It took about 10 minutes for it to “warm up”.
During this time it had to have a bit of extra juice otherwise it would stall.
I also noticed that it was using more fuel than normal.
I was nearly ready to take it back to the mechanic to have the coolant done (I’d tell him about the other problems when I took it to him).
The car had other ideas of course!

We had a run of bad luck that week!
The stove went “bang” as the dodgy perished wiring shorted out, the washing machine also went “bang” when the spin dry solenoid shorted out,             and one of the goldfish was sick!

We went on a little adventure to get the parts to repair the stove and washing machine.
I discovered that whitegoods parts are just as expensive as car parts!
We parked in a side street (another prudent measure!) and went off to get some medicine for the sick fish.
This was to be our last stop until home.
When we got back to the car there was a large pool of water under the front of the car and a stream of it running down the gutter!
I looked at the radiator …. Empty!
I tried putting some cheap coolant in the radiator.
I could see it dribbling out fairly quickly.
I called up RACT and they came out to have a look.
The man diagnosed a leaking water pump.
He also organized a tow truck.
The tow truck took our vehicle straight to the local mechanic.
The driver was good enough to give us a lift as well.
The mechanic did not look pleased when the car arrived in his yard! (I did phone him to tell him what had happened). He diagnosed the same problem as the RACT man.
I told him about the idling problem and excess fuel consumption.
He put it down to the water pump starting to seize.
(?? They usually get looser as the bearings wear larger - editor)

The mechanic had the car for another week.
The water pump had been replaced and proper coolant put into the beast.
All up another bill for $252.

We now have the car back.
It still seems to idle poorly when cold.
I am yet to determine what the fuel economy is like yet.
Do we dare use it anymore?
Well ... We are doing the grocery shopping tomorrow!
Luckily the mechanic is just down the road!
A friend told me to change the spark plugs and air filter … This may help the fuel economy.

The fuel gauge started playing up …
We couldn’t tell how much fuel we had left!
I took the instrument panel out, cleaned and tightened the connections to the fuel and temperature gauges.
I also took the opportunity to fix dry joints on the stepper motor that drives the oddometer, as this had been intermittent for a long time.
Then, soon after, the temperature gauge stopped working.
I could sometimes get it to work when I jiggled the connector on the sender.
The top contact on the sender was spinning around so I decided to replace the sender, get the new spark plugs and air filter.
$60 later, the new parts were installed.

The temperature gauge still doesn’t work!

The misfortune fairy was still playing up!
The stove went pop .. fizzle .. etc.
One of the hotplates had a hot spot and decided to expire.
We went to the shopping centre and my partner put her card in the ATM.
It gobbled up her card and then the whole machine went nuts and re-booted.
The card didn't come out!
She was without a card for a week and the bank slugged her $8 for a new one!
(?? Isn't that the banks responsibility - editor)

Each morning I wake up and think … What is going to go wrong next?

Until next time ….. Bye!
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