Saturday, February 16, 2013

I have the worst luck with cars, Part XI: You Had ONE Chance, Fancy

You know, I was really hoping that I could end the IHtWLwC series with Part X, partially because it's a lovely number but mainly because oh, dear God, I am just fucking sick and tired of crap cars.

To be fair, though, Fancy is actually a good car. She's solidly built, has leather seats, and we don't get pulled over in Franklin anymore for the crime of driving while poor. But it just so happens that, during the years of 1998 and 1999, the powers that be at Ford Motor Company decided to be frugal. And by frugal, I mean cheapskates.

I'm not a car person and don't know the technical terms for everything, although being married to a Car Guy has taught me more, but here's the basic rundown. The intake manifold, in all the years except for 1998 and 1999, was made out of metal and was a durable piece of machinery. Then, some bright person in a board room was like, "We need to figure out how to cut some of the costs down on manufacturing," so another highly intelligent individual was like, "Oh, I know! We'll make the intake manifold out of plastic! That sounds like a great idea! Send it to the board." I also don't know anything about business.

Now, this may all sound good on paper, but it really doesn't make sense to me to use plastic in anything that is constantly under the pressure of extreme heat. And I'd be right because they actually issued a recall for these model years and replaced the entire manifold for every single town car.

Except ours. Because the previous owner just didn't do it for whatever reason.
Fucking old people, not reading their mail.
About a month after we got Fancy, she started acting funny. It wasn't anything too bad at first. It would just jerk a bit once in a while. Three thought it might just need a fuel system clean since it seemed to resolve itself once he pushed down on the accelerator. But then, it just got progressively worse, and now, the car can just sit there and it's choking for air. There are little cracks everywhere in the manifold but because it's plastic, you can't just get some JB Weld and hope for the best. Three has spent so much money on coolant that we might as well just throw money at Prestone. At first, we thought that we might be able to go to Pull-a-Part* and find the part we needed, but then we found out that 1) it's not just one part - it's the entire fucking manifold thingy; 2) it's an incredibly time-consuming job that requires you to remove the entire engine; and 3) you need a specific tool that only registered mechanics can purchase. And then the kicker: it could cost us between $600 and $1500.
Upon discovering this, I might have had some type of mental breakdown.
Luckily, though, the guy from whom we bought Fancy is being incredibly helpful and put us in contact with a mechanic that's giving us a good deal on fixing this issue. And then my dad, being the wonderful creature that he is, let us borrow his truck while it's in the shop, so we've definitely had some good karma thrown our way. But shit if this isn't frustrating. I mean, I guess I should be thankful that I have a car, period, and that it seems to have avoided Chiquita's penchant for attracting nails to the tires, but all I can really do is just shrug and pout about it.

It's almost as if the universe wants me to follow up on my threat to buy that pony I've always wanted.

* Pull-a-Part and their ilk are some of the best business ideas ever, although I find it slightly creepy to walk down the aisles and aisles of essentially car corpses. It kind of reminds me of a scene out of "The Brave Little Toaster."
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