Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I just left Gort when the water temperature light flashed. Tried to get some heat out of the system by turning on the heater. But surprise surprise - just cold air came out!
So I turned around trying to find a mechanic. First one I had in mind was the garage on church street close to SuperValue. Well seems they're not doing cars... more like a farm equipment fixer. He sent me to the mechanics next to the Garda station. Lucky me, he said he's all alone today and don't really know anything about cars. So I went to Roche's Garage opposite Supermac's. Irish people are different. They are very friendly as long as it has nothing to do with WORKING! It seemed to me as if they wanted me OUT of their shop instead of showing any interest in fixing the car! So he checked the engine and found that there's an airlock in the system preventing that the engine is getting cooled. So he opened a vent and the steam came out. Water refilled and the temperature went down. Diagnosis: blown head gasket! It will cost at least 500 € and takes about a week to fix it. Nice! I asked if he could fix it over the weekend since I'm not working friday. He said he has to send the head to a machine shop to get it skimmed if there's a crack in it and he doesn't knwo if they work saturday.

He tried to call them but they didn't answer the phone. I said I try to go to work and come back tomorrow. The car kinda worked OKish and I told him the next day (of course, he FORGOT to call the machine shop!) that I would like to try to make the NCT first to see if more things are wrong with the car. The NCT was already up but they were fully booked (!) and couldn't give me an appoinment! So I made it to work and back for the rest of the week. On Friday morning though, the engine didn't start. I was able to push it to the crossroad in front of the company where I let it roll downhill and it luckily started! Next day we wanted to go to the doctor (Ati's ear was hurting badly) and shopping but there was no way to push it this time. All the neighbors offered their help but the engine didn't turn at all. So that meant a lot of walking that day! First I went to the mechanic down by the Garda station. I think it was the same man I talked to before but this time he seemed to have more knowledge about cars! He was stil lalone and very busy but he said he will look at it in about an hour. Good - so I walked back and waited (while trying to get it started again). We then decided to walk to the doctor here in town. The hour was passed already and he didn't show up (didn't surprise me really - remember again: thisis Ireland!). Before we walked to the doc, the Roche mechanic obviously tested a car and stopped up there at the corner store where I parked my car. He told me that the water has gone into the engine so there's no way to get it started. I could bring it down to his garage and he can take a look at it then. Well after we came back from the doctor, I walked down to the Roche's Garage. I already opened the door but decided then to walk to the other shop again. Nobody was there and it didn't really bother me. I thought "The Roche's guy charged 15 € just to let the freakin steam out of the engine. IF this man drove up to take a look at my car and I wasn't there - he might charge for that, too!" Thinking thinking thinking... I went to the shop that sells all kinda equipment and got a spark plug key. I screwed out 3 Sspark plugs until I found the "bad cylinder" with water. I put it back together and tried starting the engine again. Of course, the battery was dead by now! I pushed it back and saw them Brazilians chatting outside their house. I asked them if they can give me a push. All the pushing didn't work. Then another friend of them showed up. They asked him (in portuguese) if he knew what we could try. Then he told me to remove the cap from the gas tank. I wondered why I should do it but I just did it. Then they figured out that he just made fun and we all had a good laugh. I said "I can also open the trunk if you think that would help". The one who speaked good english told me "They all have no clue about cars but they ALL say "Do this and try that" without giving a shit about it!". OK it was funny but I was still stranded!
I went home and later at night around 11 o'clock, I rolled downhill again trying for the last time to get this engine started. But it didn't. Now the car was down by Centra. The next morning I borrowed a starting kit from Roche's garage and finally cranked it up! It took a while though...
Now the head gasket was really GONE. It left me with maybe 10 HP. As long as the engine was cold it was kinda alright but after half the way to Galway it was just miserable. Seems 2 cylinders were connected and it just misfired internally all the time. I tried 2 additives that could fix leaks in the system but I didn't have much hope. I knew the gap must be pretty big by now and it just won't plug it up anymore. And it didn't do anything really. So that was it - I need a new (old) car!

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