My general technical knowledge pertaining cars is awful. Awful, I tell you. I am able to check oil and change tyres, that's about it. At the most, I am able to replace the battery, after letting the old one die because of neglect. This bugs me, because a car is not that complicated when compared, for example, to a PC. And if my PC dies, I usually don't rest until I drag it back into live, kicking and screaming and wielding a soldering iron (me that is, not the PC).
But the car? Case in point: Three weeks ago I visited my friends A&A (now extended to A&A&M&I - twins) in the French Jura. My car had already shown some intermittend reluctance to accelerate when I came back from the training camp, and I was planning to have it checked out Real Soon (tm).
Of course, right before we wanted to leave on what promised to be an excellent walk, the following conversation happened:
Car: Cough. Hrmph-cough.
Boris: Oh no you don't.
Car: Hrmph. Cough cough. Argl cough.
Boris: Don't you @#%@ dare...
Car: Hrrrrmpf. Argl. Arglgargl. Cough cough cough cough.
Needles to say, my car won that argument. So A&A&M&I left with a more compliant vehicle, while I popped the hood of my Colt, and - well. I checked that no cable had come loose. Then I called the towing service.
The guy knew what he was about, and also had a quick conversation with my car:
Mechanic: So, let's start you up.
Car: Argl arglargl cough argl.
Mechanic: What's that you are saying? (pushes accelerator).
Car: arglarglarglarglargl. Cough.
Clearly, my car speaks much better French than I do (or maybe a local dialect of the Jura?), because he understood without problems: my car was only running on three cylinders. He quickly demonstrated that to me (and this is how you can find out for yourself) by pulling out and replacing the high-voltage cables that go to the spark-plugs one after the other. The motor's coughing got much worse with three of them, but stayed the same with cylinder four: we had found our culprit. In fact, the cylinder was thankfully blameless - it was the high-voltage cable itself that was broken.
Unfortunately there didn't seem to be a cable like that to be had in the Jura, even though I tried three different mechanics. So the friendly guy replaced the broken cable with one that was much too short, but managed to establish an electrical connection from time to time, giving me short bursts of acceleration:
With that, I limped back to Lausanne (taking significantly longer than normally). But last week the replacement cables finally arrived
and over the weekend I "repaired" my car - if you can call unplugging one cable and replacing it repair. I can, obviously, but then I am a manly man.
Also, I really need to buy a repair manual for my car.
1 week ago