Fixing my own car

Fixing my own car

A few weeks back we were on the way home and the muffler fell off the car. It decided to hang on by the barest of thread and so it dragged all the way home and made a hell of a racket.

I consider myself a do-it-yourself guy. Sort of like a modern day cave man: Even if I can’t do it well, shouldn’t do it; been warned not to do it, I’m doing it. So I got on-line found the parts locally: Muffler and tail-pipe turn down piece and after nearly having to take a nitro over the price I looked on Amazon, where I buy everything, and found the same parts for less than a third of the local discount auto bargain fix-it-yourself guys price. I determined that since I have Prime and free shipping I could get the parts in two days and so I ordered them.

The parts came after much finger clicking and tapping and cat petting (I didn’t have to pet the cat the cat just wanted to be petted). I spent two hours on a piece of cardboard from a shipping box wrestling the parts into submission. Ye-Haw, I thought. I know, not very caveman like, but I am not sure exactly what a caveman would say since they didn’t have Chevy’s to work on. I believe back then all they had was Fords.

Mom drove the car into town… Well toward town… She made it a mile and then I heard one hell of a racket out front. I was in the back in my office. It sounded like someone started a lawn mower: One of those old ones that the muffler had rotted off of. Well, I was half right, it did have something to do with mufflers. Curiosity lead me to the front of the house where mom informed me the muffler had fallen off.

If you are a caveman you do not believe in this. Things you fix stay fixed. Bears sleep through winter. Naked bodies should have hair on them… So, I refused to believe this. I went outside and looked under the car and sure enough the muffler had fallen off. Impossible I said, yet there was the evidence in front of me. A new muffler all scraped up from being dragged home by the tailpipe hanger.

This is the part where I said some cuss words we have all never used and then I got out my trusty cardboard and crawled back under the car. Hmmm, I said. And hmmm again, and then I looked forward to see why the muffler had fallen off as it was obvious the muffler had been torn loose as the clamp was still attached. That was when I noticed that the entire exhaust was on the ground. All of it… All the way to the front of the car at the catalytic convertor.

They pay almost $550.00 scrap for a junk car now and I thought, well, ol’ Chevy you are dead meat. I had visions of Breaking Bad and Walter and Jessie crushing up the Bounder. Sigh. But then I went back on-line, skipped the local’s this time and priced that front section of pipe to the header pipe. I assumed it was two pieces, maybe three. In the old days it would be, but it was all one piece. I found the same pipe, called the Resonator pipe because it has a built in resonator and a long pipe that joins to the catalytic converter and then extends to the wheel well and then all the way to the back of the car, for wide variances in the prices: From a few hundred to fifty bucks. I used a few more carefully chosen expletives having to do with things I use expletives for and then bought the pipe, a pair of ramps to drive the car up onto so my fat butt could crawl under the car, some clamps and some cat treats because the cat was right there and had seen the treats on my frequently ordered list and meowed. No stupid cat is my Houdini.

Yesterday I am editing a story and the last parts arrived and so I went out at noon and dragged out my now crumpled and smelly cardboard (It was rained on, and I think a neighborhood dog wizzed on it too) and went to work. Two things here: One; I am out of shape barely getting back on my feet, so I told myself I would go slowly, ha ha ha. Two, rotted, rusty pieces of metal are not having any happy thoughts at all, and this pipe system was no exception. I ended up having to cut the bolts off of the Catalytic convertor where the resonator pipe joins to get it loose, that was after an hour of prep work, um, crawling around looking at this and that and wishing it would fall off. After I cut the pipe loose I realized there is a reason they do these things in a garage on a lift. How to get the pipe out? So I jacked one side of the car up and gained enough room to get the old pipe out and the new pipe in. I called that car so many names it turned from silver to red.

Anyway, in with the new pipe, back on with the muffler, all new hangers, bolts, clamps and voila a new system was in place. I went back into my cave with the other cave men and grunted with satisfaction. Tomorrow we are going hunting… er editing…

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