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Nothing goes right when you're pressed for time

Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 4:52 pm
by Mark D
When I was getting ready to go to the locomotive shop so I could choo choo fireman I fired up the car. But it quit about ten seconds later. I tried to start it, nothing. Well, this sucks, I just got done putting a new water pump in the thing. I did a quick test and found that the battery had gone dead. Dead? It's been on a battery maintainer for three years without interruptions.
Well, I had another battery in the garage sitting on the floor with a maintainer on it. I took out the old battery, put in the new.
Car started up instantly. By the way, this all started the day before I had to be there. I had to be there around 8:00 PM next day.

I'm sorely disappointed by Optima Batteries. Both batteries in this are Optima's. The battery that failed had a date and year that said December 1997. And it's already dead!!!
The 'new' one has a sticker November 1999. I guess I only have two years left on this one!
Having to switch batteries slowed me down getting to the locomotive shop, about 77 miles away, had worse problems. Once I got the thing started I took it or a test drive. I haven't driven this car for three years. It's just been sitting in the garage with a battery maintainer on it.

Everything seemed to be ok except there was a knocking sound I had to trace down. Also, the heater wasn't heatering. It was air conditioning instead. Basically, cold air from outside.
It didn't take me long to figure out it was the water pump. It was moving enough water to keep the engine happy, but wasn't going to last long. I called all around Litchfield to see if someone had a water pump for a 2000 Cadillac ETC. Northstar engine. Finally called the local GM dealership to see if THEY had one (probably for way too much money but I needed it. I'd been without wheels for two weeks, using my wife's car to do any errands.
Ok, Parts Department didn't have one. But they could have one there at 8:30 the next morning. That should work. I got there at 9:00 anyway.

I put the car inside and started ripping off all the junk that covers access to the water pump. That, and putting it all back in again, took most of the time of doing this water pump change. The water pump is inside a housing that is part of the water cross-over. Four 10mm screws hold the cover on. The cover is also the thermostat housing. It comes off easily ONCE YOU'VE GOTTEN ALL THE JUNK OUT OF THE WAY!

It takes a special tool to remove the bad pump and to install the new one. I do happen to have one. Snap On to the rescue once again. I've had it for years.
I snapped the new pump in, put everything back together the way it came out and put some coolant in it. Went for a test run. WOW! I had heat coming from the heater!!
I got back from said test drive. Looked under the car as a last check for leaks and noted that there was a lot of coolant dripping out from somewhere. I tracked it down to a heater hose end. GM, and some other brands, use a spring type clamp to keep a hose tight on a hose bib. But often they don't work on an old hose even if put back in the same pposition. Once the water got hot, the pressure built and it srarted to leak.
I could see that I can't get that spring clamp off that hose without taking out all the crap again. I didn't want to do that, so I grabbed a worm-gear hose clamp and spent about 15 to 20 minutes getting it around the hose and with the end of the band into the screw. Then I was able to tighten it and on hose bib fully.
After that, I had to clean up, pack the car and head out, picking up gas on the way. I didn't get to the locomotive shop until just about 10:00.
I hostled all night. I tried to sleep the next morning but couldn't. I was in my room in the grand canyon, which had the heat on, but it wasn't working. It was about 50 in my room.
So, I gave up on sleep and went around helping on stuff being done to get the Choo Choo and consist over to SPUD. Once that was done, I was on the engine again all night. The next morning I got ready to get home. I went into the tool car to change into my street clothes and grab my cooler and bag and was ready to leave. Just then Steve came in.

I have been having a problem finding someone to take over for me at SPUD because of too much bad stuff going on around the home front. Too much to tell.
I told him I had gotten someone else to do it. He looked a bit down and said, "do you know why I like you on overnight shifts?" I said, "no, I'm just another hostler." He said, "It's because you're the only one who gets it right."

I still can't go to SPUD this year. Probably next year, if there is another next year.

Mark D.