Wednesday, March 30, 2011

car fixin's

I know nothing about car repair.

So when my mechanic said I had some rust holes in my car, I gamely said, no problem, I'll fix them myself... with the help of a friend. Trouble was, neither one of us could figure out where the problems were listed on the work order, and the real gaping hole that was plainly visible was apparently not a problem [?!]. Well, we put a patch over the obvious hole, scraped off the rust we could find, laid down some rust inhibitor, and I was on my way - except that, backing out of the remarkably narrow driveway, my passenger mirror got caught on a chain link fence and snapped into 3 pieces. Yeah, I have one of those cars - specifically, a 98 Ford Taurus. No hatchback, and no breakaway mirrors :'( . Now what do I do?! The inspection being up... uhm, today... I still haven't found the holes the mechanic was talking about, and my mirror is dangling limply off the side of my car. Christe Eleison...

I don't like pulling the Damsel In Distress card. I can fix this because I can fix [almost] anything. Let's put a plug in for the friendly folk at the chain auto parts store that I frequent, a packet of adhesive Bondo patches, two different kinds of marine grade adhesive and a spackling tool. [I forgot the rust inhibiting primer and a wire brush... oops]. All this for about $16. Thanks guys, you rock. Now to go home and fix this thing!

Oh, did we mention it's barely 40 degrees Fahrenheit outside? I have no garage? Not ideal conditions to try to fix a problem like this, but the weather isn't going to get any warmer any time soon. In fact, they're calling for snow this afternoon. >:(

I do my best to mix the epoxy to it's proper uniform light blue consistence, watching as my hands turn a similar color.  Since I'm in no position to take the door of my car apart at all, and certainly not outdoors in temperatures around 38 degrees, the best approach to this problem seemed to involve gluing the three pieces of the mirror casing back together first, and then see what could be done about adhering it back to the car, if necessary. The biggest challenge in this is that the casing containing the mirror unit separated completely from the two other casing pieces. How then to keep that very heavy object stabilized - still attatched to the car - while the glue sets up on it's fracture, and the fracture between the other casing parts? Our good friend, Duct tape. I ended up ripping off a long piece of tape and adhered it to the passenger window and a less conspicuous place on the windshield, forming a fairly effective sling as it were to cradle the mirror unit in place, as well as adding strips of tape to the other pieces to keep them in place. I don't know how well this is going to work, and I also don't know where to find a junk yard in pittsburgh to buy a second hand mirror, since I'd rather not buy a new one. It's been half an hour since I mixed the glue and applied it to the car. The package said it would set up in an hour at temperatures in the low seventies... yes, thank you for laughing with me, since it's late March in Southwestern Pennsylvania, currently a balmy 38 degrees Fahrenheit. So I've got another hour and a half to go waiting for the glue to set. Hopefully, I'll have regained feeling in my hands by then.

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