November 19th, 2004


Eris is unhappy

This time I mean my car. Yesterday on the way to work the engine sputtered a couple of times at idle and the check engine light flickered. Then on the way home it started to idle rough, and the light came on and stayed on. So I checked the fluids. I was down a quart so I topped it off, everything else seemed OK. Didn't see anything loose. I also put in fuel treatment, thinking maybe I got some bad gas, or water contamination, etc. And I topped off the tank with premium to raise the overall octane in case it was knocking. But today it was worse on the way in - and going to lunch it was very rough at a couple of lights, and it was surging under acceleration. So I called my dealer and left work early to drop the car off. Tomorrow I'll find out how hard I'm getting reamed. I don't believe there is any warranty left. I'll be working from home since I don't have a car. Hopefully I'll have it back tomorrow. We'll see.

You know, I was just hoping for a big, unplanned expense going into the holidays.
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Eris cost me $1576.04

OK. So some of it seems, at first pass, to be my fault. It appears I missed my 30k tune-up, which costs ~$550. Eris has about 35k miles on her now. Now, I *thought* I had the tune-up done at around 30k when I had the new tires put on. I know I had the oil changed and some other service, but maybe I screwed up and didn't ask to have the full service done. I'll have to dig up the old receipt. Anyway, no harm done there really - same cost then or now, no damage. The misfiring was reportedly do to worn/fouled plugs. And she's running fine now.

Since she was going under the knife I asked to have them check the increasingly *loud* rattles and thunks coming from the rear end any time I hit a bump. It has been getting worse, and is loud enough that people riding with me have commented on it. They replace the 'Link Trac', whatever that shorthand means, and she isn't thunking anymore. I'd also noticed the tracking has been a little loose lately - they reported both front lower control arms had way too much play, so those were replaced. I haven't had her on the highway yet, so we'll see. I suspect both of these are due to living on one of the worst roads in Worcester - it was bad when I moved in in June 2002, and it hasn't been *patched*, let alone paved, since then. So it is starting to become one big pothole in places. There are some *huge* frost heaves from the past two winters, and in places large junks of asphalt are just plain gone, so there are some mud pits at times. Yay, Worcester roads. Even trying to go very slow it beats the shit out of the suspension. And, as anyone around here knows, Worcester roads in general aren't the best. Around town I've nailed more than one pothole head on because I couldn't avoid it in time. A couple of times it was bad enough that I swore I must've blow the tire or bent my rim - but not yet.

There have been a couple of times I thought I might be leaking something, but could never be sure. I thought I might have a coolant leak because the reservoir has slowly drained - but then I couldn't be sure it wasn't just evaporation over time or something. Well, there was a leak on the thermostat. They thought it might be that and the pump, but fortunately replacing the thermostat fixed it, so the pump is OK.

And a couple of belts were replaced. But that was comparatively minor.

At least I get air miles.
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