Well, yesterday I got in the car to go to the store and noticed it was running funny. I didn't fret too much though, and figured I'd worry about it later. I'm looking at spending about 800 bucks on this car for transmission and maintenance work soon, whats another couple hundred for a MAF sensor or a set of sparkplugs?
Today I get in the car and go off to a christmas party and find that not only is it running a little rough, but now the 'service engine soon' light is flashing at me. Ok. Suddenly I'm fretting. Flashing is bad. Past experience has taught me that flashing normally means something wrong with the ignition system, and typically you're supposed to pull over as soon as possible to avoid damaging the car worse.
But, being me, I dont listen to past experience or 'good advice' and finish my driving and dont look at it until I get back home. Hell, I almost dont look at the damn thing at all, even then!
The reason for this is that after 12 years of having to rebuild and wrestle with every vehicle I've ever owned I dread opening the hood now. Especially since I'm not driving the little GM or Toyota 4 cylinders right now. I'm driving a motherfucking 1996 Ford Taurus (V6) with the engine sitting at some strange fucking angle that makes even changing spark plugs an adventure I am willing to pay someone else for. What makes it even more aggravating is that I can almost afford to have other people work on my car (a novelty I didn't use to have) so I really have to argue with myself before I open the hood and look.
I didn't have this much dread when I was riding around in borrowed cars while trying to make a $100 Pontiac 6000 work by zip-tying a radiator (from a buick) and choke cable (from a lawn mower) into it.
Well anyway, my personal psychoses aside, I opened the hood while the engine was running and started to look for signs of bad plug wires (but there was no arcing) or water in a distributor cap (...and there were electronic coils instead of a rotor). Well, I'm still hung up on it being an ignition problem so I start considering ways to get at the back 3 spark plugs without hurting myself and even start to wonder if I can check the readings from the cam sensor with a multimeter.
Thats when I notice that a few of the visible wires dont look right.
In fact, as soon as I start to look at the wiring closely, I notice that an awful lot of wiring is just plain missing. (as in not there!)
More specifically, the wires for two of the fuel injectors seems to have gone away completely, and an awful lot of other wires show teeth marks, missing insulation, or signs of various other rodent related damage.
Great. Suddenly the cost of having the car fixed has skyrocketed to the point where it would behoove me to do the work myself. Of course, I dont have a replacement wiring harness available, or the correct color-coded wires, but I'm sure I can make something work with the supplies I have on hand. (a blowtorch, a bunch of automotive wire, and some heat-shrink tubing). My only hope is that the fuel injectors have enough wire left on them for me to connect to. :-(
Fucking squirrels. In the country I can park my car in a field for a week and not get anything worse than a bees nest in the grille and mice in my air filter. Living in the goddamned city I get my car eaten by rodents if I dont drive it every day.
What response do I get when I tell this story to others? "Thats what you get for not using your garage for your car". Right. I haven't HAD a garage for the last 12 years, but as soon as I have one I'm supposed to expect my car to start getting gnawed on like stale peanut butter unless I lock it up.