Tuesday, 17 August, 2004

Car Trouble

My truck died Thursday morning while I was on my way to work.  I turned a corner and the engine died.  I had just enough momentum to coast into a parking lot, where I called a tow truck and had it hauled to the shop.  I figured it was something simple like the fuel pump, or maybe the computer that controls everything got fried.

No such luck.

I won't go into the reasons why it took the shop four days to diagnose the problem, but it turns out that the timing chain broke.  That's easy enough to replace, it seems, but there's no guarantee that the engine will run well once everything's put back together.  The reason?  In many engines, mine being one such, when the timing chain breaks it's possible for a piston to hit a valve which can bend the valve or crack the piston.  There are two ways to determine if that happened:  tear the engine apart and look, or replace the timing belt and try to start the engine.  People I trust and know a lot about cars (none of whom live in the area, unfortunately) tell me that replacing the timing belt takes less time and effort.

So I find myself in the uncomfortable situation of spending a whole lot of money in order to determine if I need to spend more.  It's either that or write the truck off and get a new one.  As much as I'd like a new truck, I'm not really excited about paying for one.  So I'll take the gamble and go from there.

Car trouble ranks right up there with toothaches on my list of aggravating things.