Got a phone call Monday; "Dad, what do you think it means when my car has a huge puddle of antifreeze under the right side. I shut it off at the toll plaza and it looks like about a 1/2 gallon of Prestone on the ground?"
My brother-in-law was meeting him there to exchange something (it's a halfway between the houses thing) and ended up bringing him home. I told him a hose or a water pump, maybe a freeze plug. At worst, a head gasket.
Got up at 8 this morning, gathered tools and hoses, clamps, etc., and rode out with him to look and see if it was major or minor while he got something he needed for work out of it. (He's one of those lucky people who can work from home sometimes when he needs to!)
I put a pressure tester on it and even in my hearing reduced state, I could hear the biggest gurgle I'd ever heard from a car. It's a '98 Neon w/119,000 on it, so there's not much seeing since it's front wheel drive, but I knew there was no fixing it there! We got it towed in to my house (the first thing the old wrecker driver said was "water pump, huh?", rolled it down the driveway, then he went home to get his manual. He ended up working a bit, and came back about 2 hours later. I spent the time cleaning up the part of the winter clutter I hadn't gotten to yet. Since it was trash day, I just started pitching stuff! They were running late today, and by the time they got here I had quite a pile for them!
Somehow I just knew it had to be the water pump, so we went and got it and the timing belt and idler pulley and fan belt; might as well replace everything you could you were taking off anyway. We got back and started tearing it down and found a crack in the plastic timing cover I didnt understand. It worried me...never having torn down a front wheel drive like this, and seeing things I don't understand a bit...hoping it wasn't something really major!
He went home to get his kids and I had to go buy a special pulley puller to get the balancer off the crankshaft, none of the old ones I had would work on this new fangled critter. We ran by the grocery on the way home.
Finally getting it torn the rest of the way down, it turned out that when the water pump died, it locked up and pitched the belt off the front of the pulley and cracked the cover; it also went cockeyed enough to make an opening bigger than my thumb for the coolant to leak through, under pressure. No major damage; the timing cover is $34 from Chrysler and will take a few days to get; all told, by the time it's back together with parts and wrecker bill he'll be out just over $100.
His wife had to go to a graduation tonight, so while we worked on his car my wife grilled burgers and brats for the grandkids and us, and when we went to pick up buns we had grabbed a French Silk Chocolate pie for dessert (the first time the youngest grandson had had that pleasure, lol). The kids all loved it, eating in the backyard just before dusk like a picnic.
Needless to say, I got in from the garage about 10 and cleaned up, we watched a bit of TV and then she went to bed; I'm headed that way now!
The Marsala is waiting until the weekend...
Back to the gym and work tomorrow!
Hopefully I'm done with Murphy for a little while, anyway! And my garage is a whole lot cleaner than it started the day!