Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bonnie the Bitch

Bonnie, Pontiac Bonneville that is. . . , is being a bitch.

She's now twelve years old, and in car years that's 72 and everything is beginning to give out. She recently crapped out on me and after putting in new plugs I limped it down to the mechanic where they replaced the "upper intake plenum (manifold)". On a Bonnie this piece is plastic and is prone to cracking. It's the second time it's been replaced. Both times I've forgotten to ask to see the old part to see this mysterious crack that causes so much problems. Well $600 some dollars later I was driving again but still having several problems.

First there's the bucking and hesitation when accelerating. I haven't figure out what that is yet, but I'm currently leaning toward transmission and a shift switch of some sort hesitating or bouncing on and off.

Second there was the loss of coolant. The replacing of the manifold didn't change that, but yesterday I finally saw a significant puddle under the car and was able to see enough of a leak to determine that the water pump was giving out.

Well to save myself $600 dollars again I tackled the job myself. Napa Auto parts had a new pump for only $42 and after figuring a few things out which the "Chiltons" manual neglect to tell you I successfully replaced the pump and had everything put together. I started the car three times to circulate coolant and refill the radiator, but then things went downhill.

The belt was squeaking and either the tensioner pulley or alternater bearings were making some noise. I happen to have a can of spray "belt dressing" in the trunk from the fan belt episode of a couple years ago, so I sprayed that liberally on the belt as it was running. Ok so I may have over did it, but it shouldn't have hurt anything, though maybe some got sucked into the alternator. Anyway it was still running.

I came back to start it again a short while later and . . . nothing.

Nothing. Everything comes on, a relay under the dash clicks, but no solenoid click, no starter motor. I've charged the battery, rechecked the cables, checked the fuses, tapped on the solenoid, monitored the battery voltage while turning the key, nothing. She sits. She sits there being a bitch.

If the belt dressing ruined the alternator, it would still start, just not charge, or blow a fuse or something. The battery operates the power windows and everything else shows normal. The computer does it's turn on diagnostics and so on.

Unfortunately there's not a simple wire from the key to the starter solenoid on today's cars. There's computers and security crap and God knows what else to getting a car to start now days.

Today is Day Two . . . .

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