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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chrysler Paifica Noise

Between shootings at the local Christian College and the new looting and pillaging by the ‘Occupy’ idiots marching in Oakland where only a few small businesses still remain, the OPD have their hands full. Unfortunately for the poor small business owners in Oakland getting looted, the ‘Occupy’ morons’ march drew most of the thugs to their area, which might be the reason the gang-bangers haven’t returned to our East Oakland demilitarized zone. I have gotten a few mornings now without any overnight graffiti, and the scouting parties have not reappeared.
A funny incident happened yesterday with a first time couple of older customers. Being a bit long in the tooth myself, I’m always patient with my peers. They usually just want their vehicles fixed and they like not being talked to as if they were children. I do get an attitude adjustment occasionally when after listening politely to five minutes of unrelated trivia I stick in an actual question concerning their vehicular problem. I’m certain I’m not the only one that’s gone into a bank nowadays with one or two tellers, a line full of patrons, and two gray haired fossils relating their life stories to the only available tellers. Doctors’ offices, banks, and grocery clerks are hit hardest by the ‘Fossil Force’. Their own kids and relatives won’t listen to them. They then go wherever they have a captive audience to spew everything from their latest ailments to uncaring offspring stories. I already have a pact with my kids that when I start showing signs of joining the ‘Fossil Force’ it will be time to put me on the ice floe for the polar bears to eat.
These two new customers drove in with a very nice looking 2004 Chrysler Pacifica, not your usual ‘Fossil Force’ vehicle. I waited in front of their vehicle for a few minutes during the debarkation. It does take us oldsters a bit more time to exit our chariots. The older lady approached me from the passenger side, smiling and pointing her cane at me, while her husband was still doing an exiting ritual, someone with back trouble must do if they don’t want to end up in traction. They’ll be known as Eddie and Neddie Chrysler for the blog today.
“You’re all gray,” Neddie informed me. “How old are you?”
“I’ll be 62 at the end of the month, ma’am.” Yeah, I am all gray.
Neddie cackles, tapping her cane on the garage floor. “Hell… you’re just a teenager. I’m eighty-nine. Eddie there’s a year younger than me.”
Eddie has one of those work worn faces. He’s a bit bent and peers up at me affably. “Our neighbor recommended you.”
That’s when the story of a noise in the Pacifica begins to meander back and forth between the two for the next ten minutes. Only about forty-five seconds has anything at all to do with the problem. The rest of the time is filled with tales of mistreatment, misdiagnosis, and disappointment. Neddie pauses to catch her breath, and I jump in.
“I’m pretty good with noises. How about I start your Pacifica and open the hood. You two can point out the noise to me.”
Neddie’s lips purse into what I used to recognize on my old first grade teacher, Mrs. Shaffer, as the prelude to an upbraiding. I was not disappointed. “If you’d give us a second, Bennie, we’re trying to explain what’s wrong with it. We need you to replace the power steering pump.”
I glance down at my jacket name tag. Damn it! That smudge turning Bernie into Bennie was still there after two washings. Okay, it’s Bennie and the Jets again at your service.
“Before I give you a price on a power steering pump, would it be okay if I listen to it?” See, from what I’d gathered listening to their story, they’d had the pump and numerous other pieces installed without correcting their noise. One of their relatives, a former mechanic, had told them there’s no question about it being the pump, and they must have had a faulty one installed. I have found something else these 3.5L engines get in the way of a noise that sounds like a whining power steering pump.
“I told you…” Neddie began again, but Eddie stops her.
“Hold on Ned, let Bennie hear it.”
Eddie hands me the keys, I pop the hood, start it up, and sure enough it has a very strange yowl like sound. I look down the gullet of this beast with my mini-Maglite and find the culprit - the belt tensioner pulley is canted slightly. I shut off the engine.
“It’s the belt tensioner pulley assembly,” I inform them.
“But my-”
“Neddie,” Eddie waves her off. He’s made a decision. Eddie doesn’t seem to enjoy all the verbal sparring Neddie appears ready to embark on. “Write us up, Bennie. Can you do it now?”
“Probably not.” Most assuredly not. “What I can do is order the part and call you when it arrives. You can come back and wait in my office while I put it on.”
“That sounds great,” Eddie replies happily.
Neddie is not so enthusiastic, but she allows me to write up the invoice without further conversation. I get the VIN number too, because luckily my parts suppliers have an on-line presence where I can put in the VIN number and be assured to get the right part. They leave. I get the part and put it on upon their return. It’s quiet, and Neddie has enjoyed all my family pictures decorating my office walls. That costs me an extra half hour, but I had thankfully allowed for it, this being their first time in. Watching them leave I’m wondering if I’ll make it to their age without ending up a polar bear happy meal… probably not. Bennie out for now.  :)


Charles Gramlich said...

I wonder the same thing about myself. I wonder if Lana is already putting up with this from me.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

I'm safe, Charles. Joyce won't let anyone put me on the ice floe. She doesn't know how to work the TV remote or record her shows. :)

RJ Parker said...

Hey brother, I'm so glad I discovered your blog. It's like a diary lol. I have hundreds of posts I have to backtrack and read because I enjoy your humor.

Just posted a 5 star for Storm. Great book.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Welcome to the Twilight Zone of automotive repair, RJ. I am the gatekeeper. I do have some good ones in the archives, brother. :)

raine said...

Although I never want to get to the "ramblin'" aspect of old age, I realize it's a distinct possibility.
Think it's one of the reasons I try to be so tolerant of those who are.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

The best thing is, Raine... if it happens to you... you won't know it. :)