Friday, October 19, 2012

Vehicular Homicide - Or my Jeep Tries (unsuccessfully) To Kill Me - Part 1

Twice in a couple of weeks!

Last week I am happily on my way home, doing the usual gas, clutch, brake, shake head; gas, clutch, brake shake fist; gas, clutch, brake, middle finger pattern that I seem to fall into whenever I get stuck in rush hour traffic, when I notice an odd thing about the brake pedal. Each time I depress it, it goes a little further down before the friction kicks in and the jeep begins to slow. I am no Michael Schumacher in my driving habits, with all those skillful alternating braking and and accelerating moves. In an aging (no 'Classic') Jeep I don't need to be. A slight brush of the brake is usually sufficient to give it an idea about what needs to be done, and eventually it will get around to doing it. The only slamming of the accelerator I do is usually to get away from obnoxious low-riders with some stupid rap blaring out. The only slamming of my brakes is to avoid hitting text addled teenagers and mid-thirties hipsters obliviously chatting away as they wonder from lane to lane. So this behavior of my brake mechanism was particularly troubling. As I neared the center of Manassas, I slowed so if I lost control, I would only do minor damage and began to look for a Hummer to run into. Fortunately, my mechanic's location is right there, (Logan's Auto Emporium), so I didn't have to find a Hummer.

Logan is something of a character. He runs a great shop, hires honest mechanics, and is really a nice guy. My wife has nick-named him 'Yoda', which I think he knows about, but probably doesn't like. If you ever meet him, you'll get the reference. So here's how the drop-off went (in my head).

Me: “the space time continuum is no longer connected for this vessel”
Logan: <checking the brake>”The force is truly weak in this one”
Bob:”Don't get cocky kid – you'll be able to jump into hyperdrive in no time”
Weird Guy that used to work in the office: “You know I used to castrate horses for a living?”

Actual conversation:
Me: “The damn thing nearly killed me! The brakes barely work”
Logan:”no problem – Bob will take a look at it and figure it out”
Bob:”Seals are bad in the master cylinder, gotta replace it."
Logan: "Parts will be here in the morning”
Weird Guy that used to work in the office: “You know I used to castrate horses for a living?”

(Actually I haven't seen weird guy for a long time – I think Logan kicked him out when his daughter began working there in the office)

So actually, it was just a failure of an original part that really couldn't be helped. When I bought the Jeep last year, it had 65,000 miles on it. For a vehicle made in 1992, that was fantastic. Unfortunately, there's part that fail due to the wear and tear of miles, and parts that fail due to old age. The master cylinder was the latter. Something of a metaphor for life I guess. I probably should encourage it with words from the Buddha:

All compounded things are subject to decay. Strive with diligence!

P.S – I will write about it's second attempt another time. All is well and I and the jeep were not injured (not that it wasn't trying – i'm thinking I will retaliate by personalizing it's license plate to read “R-SHIRT” and paint a star trek chevron on it's hood)

Have a great weekend! Again, if I go anywhere of note, I will post a trail review. I think my review from last weekend of Bull Run Mountain was pretty good if I do say so myself. I think they are doing their 'haunted mountain' thing there tomorrow night if your interested. 

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