Dissection of a different sort

We in this household aren't very good at fixing things. Sure, I can sew up a rip in a seam or turn a pair of pants with holey knees into shorts quicker than you can say, "These pants have holes in them. Where are the scissors?" But that doesn't help much when a car isn't working properly. We spend way too much money on gimpy automobiles because none of us really know how to fix them. (All I know how to do is fill the gas tank. Most of the time I'm not even aware of the strange noises that signal vehicular ailments, although I can recognize when the a/c is broken and even then, no one believes me)

And lately, we have had quite a bit of car trouble. Since May, my car has been in to the shop twice, (three times if you count the time that they didn't find anything--took it back a week later and told them where to look--not where to stick it), Jim's Little Red Rider has been in twice, and Other Jim's car once. It has not been a good summer for Evans' vehicles.

Other Jim's car (a white Chevy Lumina) started acting up again over the weekend. OJ said that it would die in the middle of driving it on occasion. He had to coast into an impromptu parking spot Saturday night. Fortunately he was close to home (like around the corner) and he and Jim were able to get it started again and get it the rest of the way home.

I was despairing--more money poured into a less-then-stellar car? We need that money for less-than-stellar teeth! We have braces starting up for Paul in August and hopefully (?) for Hayley in January.

But Other Jim has a friend who works on his own car with the help of his dad and told OJ that he knew how to put in a new alternator (for that is what Jim thought the trouble might be with the ol' Lumina). So OJ and his friend spent Monday working on the car.

Here is the proud installer of a new alternator with his project:
Look at that bright shiny alternator! Isn't it pretty? OJ learned how to take off some of the belts, disconnent the old alternator, and install the new one. His mother is so proud!
And while they were fixing the alternator, they came across another problem: rough idling. They discovered that a green plug wouldn't stay plugged in to whatever it was supposed to plug into. Some clip holding the plug in was broken. So they got some industrial strength plastic ties and jerry-rigged the plug so that it stays where it is supposed to stay. Other Jim is pointing to the plastic ties. You can't see the green plug because it is underneath the thing that the ties are on. You can see, however, the dirt and grease OJ collected on his hands from doing car repair. I was so happy that he learned how to install a new alternator in his car, and he saved us over a hundred dollars that we would have had to pay a mechanic to work on it. Yay for Other Jim! And a big ol' thank you to Dan and his dad Mark for helping Other Jim. Today OJ is going to bake them some brownies to express our gratitude.


Karie said…
That's an excellent thing, learning to replace your own alternator. The EQP in our ward has offered to help my husband replace the brakes on our van (oh how they grind!), but said husband isn't so sure he wants to do that on his own. I think I need to wave our budget sheet at him again.
Jen said…
Way to go, Other Jim!

Definitely encourage O.J. (hee, hee) to learn more about fixing cars. Mike can fix most anything on our cars but it's just sometimes a matter of having the right tools/equipment to fix that keep him from repairing all problems with our vehicles. And his knowledge doesn't stop at just cars. I thank heavens I have a man who is so handy.
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Karie--encourage away! I would LOVE for my husband to be more car-handy, although he does do other things to earn his keep around here.

Jen--yes, you are lucky. I wish Mike could pass along some of his knowledge to various people in our family. I hate broken things (but apparently not enough to fix them myself). I really should learn some fix it skills.
froggybaby said…
Young Jim (they use that term here sometimes and it grates me like crazy) seems very pleased with his newly acquired car working abilities. That is so very teenage boy. So many of my students like to work on cars. He looked really proud.
I don't think I could call Other Jim "Young Jim." Ack.

Yes he was quite pleased with himself. Jim wasn't sure he wanted Other Jim working on the car, but I was all "YES. Do some work on the car! Save us some money!"
Good for OJ. I try to avoid all things mechanical. I was quite proud of myself when I actually took the van in by myself to get a flat tire repaired and an oil change. I acted all confident like I knew exactly what I wanted them to do.
Shantel said…
The OJ name is awesome! Also, I am very proud of him. Car skills like that are hard, and so good to have. That rigging with plastic ties is such a guy thing. But it works.