Thursday, May 19, 2016

Adventures of me and my CR-V

I haven’t been able to drive my car since the end of February when it was acting up as I arrived to Disneyland and prior to leaving the parking lot. I ended up having  it towed home and my sister Denise picked up my friend and I from the park to get us home. My car is a little older (2004) and I know that she’s had better days. She’s got high mileage (over 215,000) which is incredible to think about. When I bought her, she was brand new, I drove off the lot with 37 miles. We’ve been through a lot together. She’s been to Northern Ca, to Utah, to family and friends houses, to church and work, to doctor appointments and to visit people in the hospital, and let’s not forget the numerous trips she’s made to Disneyland. The people close to me know my car, even from a distance as it’s very recognizable. There are numerous church stickers and lots of Disney ones too. It shows who I am and what I believe. I am always getting acknowledged for them.

At this time there are many reasons why it’s taken so long to drive her again. 1) after getting it towed home I knew I needed to troubleshoot and see what was going on. 2) I work full time, plus have my church and social life, so time is limited for troubleshooting 3) once I did get the chance to troubleshoot I had to figure out how all the repairs would be made. Some I was able to do myself and did when I could, and then there was also some issues, that I don’t personally have the knowledge or equipment to replace. 4) finances for parts and labor (since I couldn’t do the work myself) So finally I was able to fix some stuff myself and then get some assistance to be able to have the rest done by someone else. Sp then about a week ago it was done and I was ready to pick her up. As I was driving home my oil pressure light came on and was flickering. That was new, unusual and unrelated to the previous issues I had just repaired. I got to my mom’s house, waited a bit and checked the oil levels. Everything looked good and normal (one of the repairs I had made included an oil change) I needed to go to the bank and so I grabbed my stuff and left again.  I didn’t make it far before the oil pressure light came on and stayed, followed by the engine light L so I turned and headed back towards my mom’s house, not wanting to go too far with the lights on, since I didn’t know why they had come on in the first place (neither was on prior to any of the repairs or the Disneyland breakdown) As I was driving it back to my mom’s it started acting up too. It was sputtering and although it never died on me, it felt like it was going to. I was so frustrated. I got back, parked across the street and sat there crying.

A day or two later I borrowed a code scanner to see why the engine light was coming on and I did a lot of research online to see about the code as well as the oil pressure light. I learned about an oil pressure switch and so I cancelled my plans for Saturday so that I could replace the switch and try to get my car going. I actually started to work on it Fri night, but due to limited access tp the switch and not having the right size tools I was unable to remove the old switch. I continued Sat morning and even though I was going at it with different tools, and from different angles I couldn’t seem to get the switch to budge. Finally later in the afternoon with my mom’s help we were able to get it out, we put the new one in, I cleared the code and took it for a test drive… same dashboard lights, same code on the scanner and same issues when driving. Ugh! So I got online again and did some more research, a few people stated after changing their switch they also did an oil change and that seemed to work. I figured even though I had just done an oil change while I was working on the pan gasket I would go ahead and change it again, and then of course I had issues with removing the old filter first, because why should anything go easy for me?  Needless to say, that didn’t work either. So now I was covered in grease, frustrated, tired and sore. I had, and still have some scratches and bruising on my arm from getting it stuck trying to access the switch and was nowhere closer to solving the problem, nor being able to drive my car.

After cleaning up and getting showered etc. we went to get some dinner and I went home still frustrated and confused about it all. I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t able to resolve the issue and clear the code, and why my car still wasn’t running right. I knew it didn’t have anything to do with what I had done and I had talked to the auto technician from work and he said that the work I had done on the pan gasket wouldn’t have affected it. So that night I got online some more. I was still searching for answers relating to that code but I changed around my wording in the search in an attempt to find something I may have missed before. I also throughout this time was referring to a Haynes repair manual trying to find answers. I discovered late that night that although I had changed out the oil pressure switch, there is also a variable timing oil pressure switch…. So there was another switch! I purchased that switched and thankfully it was easier to access than the first one, although being short as I am, I did have to use a chair and basically lay across my engine to get to it. I changed out the new switch and still didn’t resolve the issue. I discussed with Scott (the auto tech from work) and it looks like there is also some screens behind the assembly for the switch that can become clogged and reduce the flow, which of course would make the switch think there was no pressure. So tonight I am back to work again. The assembly will require some more time on the chair reaching behind the engine block, but I am hoping that I can get to the bolts fairly easily since I know where I will be working and how to access them. I will switch out the screens and gaskets and I have my fingers crossed that this will be the solution!

 **UPDATE: i removed the assmebly, there were a few tiny particles in the screen, I am not sure if they were enough to cause the codes/problems, but they were there. Also the gasket was cracked, so if nothing else that would cause some leaks and could have been the culprit. I was going to put her all back together but Scott said if I bring in the parts he would clean up the solenoid pin for me and that could potentially be a benefit as well. at least I know it'll go back on easily enough and I am still really hopeful that this is the solution!**

Aside from everything else mechanical with my car, my biggest frustration is that whenever I need to work on my car (or am doing so) people are constantly telling me “maybe it’s time for a new car?” or something along those lines. It is frustrating to me because I actually enjoy working on my car, despite times like now where it’s puzzling and that can cause some frustration. I also had used cars for so many years prior to getting my CR-V and so I am proud of my car, I worked hard to get it, to decide what I wanted and to purchase it. Buying a new car is a huge commitment. I worked on my car with my dad and it has always been an awesome feeling being able to work on it myself. It is humbling to know that I can do what it takes to keep it running. Yes I know it won’t go forever, but I also know that I am not ready to give up yet. I know that financially, I cannot afford a new car right now, and it’s not just car payments I would need to worry about, but there is also the change in insurance and other things that come up with purchasing a new car. Should I choose to buy a newer used car I still have the potential for automotive repairs being necessary and unlike my CRV it may be a car I am unfamiliar with. Aside from the fact that a lot of newer cars have a lot of electrical things going on that make it nearly impossible to work on at home anyway. There are many considerations that come with “getting a new car”. It’s not that easy. I have the connection with my car and the memories and it’s not dead yet. Plus I just put a lot of time and money into her, I am not giving up now!  

You know what I find most interesting about the situation? The times in the past where I have considered a new car, were never the times when mine was in need of a repair. It was always when things were going along normally, when just like with other things in my life I wanted a "change" I am the type of person who rearranges my furniture somewhat frequently, or will do something different. Those are the time I thought "maybe I should get a new car' it has never been because she was giving me trouble. I guess I really do enjoy the satisfaction of knowing I can fix the problem. I think it's also a memory I have with my dad that I am not ready to move on from either, I can remember him teaching me to do the brakes on my CR-V, and when he helped me to change the radiator when it had a hole, I can remember him being there to help me replace a lug nut on the front tire when one was stripped out. I can remember the times when he would be frustrated about having to help me, but would do it anyway, or when he was grumpy but I still learned so much. I feel like now he is still teaching me, mayb e it's through a little more trial and error than anything but in times of my frustration I am calling out to him for guidance, and sometimes I feel like maybe he is still giving it to me. There is hope for my little Cr-V yet. Scott is helping me out and Tim has helped me a bunch too. I am so blessed to have family and friends who are around and are a complete support system to me. I don't deserve it, but am so thankful they're there! It truly is a blessing to me to have them all around. I don't know where I would be without them! I know I get frustrated and emotional and that can make me be a little rude or otherwise and so I am sorry to those that i may have treated such, but it wasn't intentional. I just wish maybe despite the trial of needing automotive repairs, I wish those repairs weren't so tricky, or puzzling. Anyway it is late and I really should be getting to bed Hopefully by this time tomorrow my warning lights will be off, and my girl will be running again! 

Another update: got my assembly all cleaned up,  and reinstalled it.  Cleared the codes and the oil pressure light had gone off (yay). - engine light still on,  but sometimes you have to drive a few miles for it to go off.  Took her for a test drive and at first it was going well,  i thought maybe my luck had changed and it was repaired. .. then she started sputtering again.  Got home and checked the code scanner again,  code was back that it was stuck off, along with a second code saying it is stuck on .... hmmmm well I'm kinda stuck now not sure where to go from here.  Scott said he'd come over next week and help me out,  may be electrical at this point which is beyond my skill set. Guess it'll be a little longer before i get her back. 

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