Author Topic: When it rains it pours...  (Read 5692 times)

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Offline Cloudee1

When it rains it pours...
« on: January 23, 2016, 04:04:09 PM »
I must say this has been a rough week. I am ready to just crawl into bed and try again next year.

It started last weekend when I headed up to Michigan City to the casino, it's about a couple of hours away. After losing my shirt, I get ready to leave but the car won't start. Assuming I left the lights on or something stupid, I head back inside and hit security up about giving me a jump. After standing outside by the car for about a half an hour freezing my ass off, the winter wind blowing off of lake Michigan can really be something, the security guy finally showed up and I got the car jumped and started. During the two hour drive home, the car heater never did blow anything but freezing air. It was so bad that at one point I pulled into a gas station, went into the bathroom, and just ran hot water over my hands for several minutes. Finally though, I made it home and crawled into bed. The next day, I get up and once again I can't get the car to turn over. Attempting to jump it with the wife's car accomplished nothing, I was never even able to get the headlights to come on. The time comes that the wife has to leave for work, so I go ahead and call in and let them know that I am not coming. The wife and I work about 50 miles apart in opposite directions so there is no way to do any car pooling. Assuming that the battery gave out on me I don't worry about it too much and just go inside and crawl back into bed and just enjoy a lazy day off. Finally the wife gets home from work so I head into town and get a new battery. Get home and hook it up and absolutely no difference. The door alarm would ding, but none of the other electronics showed any signs of life. First thing I do is start pulling fuses, looking for something to be blown. After about 50 of them, all good, I am starting to get a bit worried. Assuming that it may be a bad ground or something, I start tracing the main lines running from the battery. After freezing my ass off for the second night in a row, crawling around in the snow I am ready to throw in the towel cause I am just not finding anything wrong. Then I notice that the connector for the positive battery terminal is showing some corrosion where it bolts on to the cable. I go ahead and take it off, use a bit of steel wool on the cable and a screwdriver on the connector to scrape off all of the corrosion, making it all nice and shiny. Heading back out, I hook everything back up and the car fires right up.

The next day at work, I do leave my headlights on, and drain the battery. I convince one of the office girls who was still there to give me a jump. Luckily I carry cables in my car because most people don't seem to. I get the car started and head for home. On the way home, I blow a tire. I don't mean that I had a flat, I mean it literally imploded. So I pull off along side the highway. After dodging traffic for a while trying to get the tire off, I spot a spot where the farmer has a little drive for pulling into the field, so I tighten the lugnuts back up that I had managed to get loose, and go ahead and pull into the drive where I can work without having to worry about getting ran over. Here's the best part, there is no spare tire. Calling the wife to come save me, I have to get the tire into someplace to get it replaced. So the whole time, the car is running but just like the drive the day before, the heater is not producing a bit of heat. So there I am for the third time, freezing my ass off. Once the wife gets there we head towards town to find a tire place, currently it was about ten till seven and they all seem to close at seven. After getting turned down for service at two different places, I am ready to give up. Instead, I jump on the phone and start calling around. It turns out that Pep Boys is open till eight so off we go. Finally get the tire replaced and head back out to the car where I get it put back on, and home I go.

The next day after another cold drive to work, cause the heater is still blowing freezing cold air, I decide to go ahead and replace the thermostat. I got home, swapped out the part in about ten minutes and felt pretty good about myself for having it go so well. I top off the antifreeze and head inside glad that I didn't have to freeze outside for very long.

The next day, while driving home from work, I notice the smell of antifreeze. In my head, I dismiss it figuring that it was just that I had spilled some when I refilled it and it was burning off of the hot engine. The next morning, the smell of antifreeze is just as strong and now the car is acting like it's misfiring and about to die at any second. I manage to make it to work and during my lunch break I decide to pop the hood and stick my head under there. There was antifreeze everywhere. Assuming that didn't get the thermostat housing tight enough when I changed it, I go ahead and fire up the car and stand there watching it waiting to see where all of this antifreeze is coming from.  Then it happens, a bunch of antifreeze came out of the top of the radiator itself. There was about a foot long crack that ran straight down the center of the top of the radiator. Once I head back into work, I start calling around looking for a new radiator. They have one in stock at the local auto parts store so on my way home, I stop in and get it. Staring at the temperature gauge the whole way, I make it home with the new radiator. After another couple of hours of crawling around out in the snow freezing my ass off I manage to replace the radiator, finishing up just as it starts to get dark.

The next day I try and figure out what is going on with the misfiring. Because of the timing of when it started, I was convinced it had something to do with the excess antifreeze all over the engine. After stressing about it most of the day, I describe the scenario to the maintenance guy there at work, he is a bit of car guy. Before the car gets to normal operating temperature everything runs fine. As soon as the car warms up, while accelerating, in overdrive the car begins misfiring and shaking like it is about to die. Without even blinking, he says the mass air flow sensor. I then throw in the detail of the whole radiator and antifreeze and he says that it fits, the antifreeze managed to get sucked through the air intake where the sensor is located and got it fouled. Because it controls the amount of oxygen that the car has available to burn, with it fouled then the computer screws up in how much air it allows. Not really interested in spending more money on the car at this point than I need to, I go ahead and get a can of Mass Air Flow Sensor Cleaner instead of a new sensor. After spraying it off several times, I get it put back into the car and the problem seems to virtually solved. It has sputtered a couple of times since then, but literally just a couple of times instead of sputtering for a 15 mile stretch of road.

Either way, I have decided to start looking for a new car. If there is one thing I hate above anything else, it is working on cars and this one has no reached the end of my desire to keep it running. Unfortunately, that is not where my weeks adventure ended and no I haven't replaced the car yet.

I got home from work yesterday and noticed a weird humming sound in the laundry room. At first I assumed it was the freezer that was in there, but when I got closer I found that it was coming from the water softener (not really, but it was being transferred from the pump through the water lines). Right behind the water softener is where the water comes through the whole house filter before disappearing back into the flooring. I have a pressure gauge installed there and I noticed that the needle was pinned at the 100 psi mark. It doesn't go any higher than that, so who knows what the pressure actually was. Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that something is going on with my pump and that the humming sound I heard was it busily pumping away. Right away I flipped the circuit breaker to the pump and turned on a faucet to reduce the pressure in the system.

So I head outside and open up the crawl space to take a look at what is going on. The crawlspace is completely flooded. By my estimates, there was over 50,000 cubic feet of water down there. So I jump in the car and head to town to get a new sump pump, cause no matter what else is going on down there, one thing I am sure of is that the sump pump that is at the bottom of my new pool certainly isn't doing what it should be. So I get home, get the new sump pump plugged in and start draining.

I am guessing that this is what happened... at least with the pump. The sump pump went out who knows how long ago. The water level under the house finally rose high enough to submerge the pressure switch, because when I first looked, it was under water. Instead of tripping a breaker, the water completed the pressure switch circuit and hence the pump kept running. Once the the water level dropped to just 7 or 8 inches I braved turning the circuit breaker back on. There is still too much water down there to go crawling around in it. Anyway, I noticed when I flipped the circuit breaker that the pump started short cycling while water was running. Turning on for a second in which the pressure would jump to about 50 psi and then quickly shutting back off and likewise the pressure would drop back down to about 20 psi. I also stuck my head down in the crawl space to see if I could see any spraying water or even ripples on the pool to try and determine if any connections had given out or a pipe had busted, but everything looked nice and calm down there.

So I was able to get under the house this morning. There were still a few inches of standing water, but I managed to get the new sump pump moved into the pit. I went ahead and ran the cord out through one of the vents though and plugged it in outside. I wasn't interested in trying to plug it in under the house with sopping wet hands while lying in a couple inches of water, that just seemed like a bad idea. I didn't take the time to crawl over to the water tank to mess with the air pressure inside of it yet. That is the most common cause of short cycling the water pump from what I have read, not enough air pressure in the water tank. By the time I crawled the sump pump up to the front of the house and got everything all hooked up, I was absolutely freezing. I am trying to give the new sump pump a bit of time to hopefully get some more of that water out before I crawl back under there. Unfortunately there is a stupid liner on top of the gravel under the house so I doubt much more of the actual standing water is going to go anywhere anytime soon. It looks like I need to go to town and get a pressure gauge anyway, that would be far more accurate than a tire gauge lol. That and it would be really nice if I wasn't putting on wet coveralls, so I have those tossed in the dryer right now. Really not wanting to crawl back into a wet crawl space so I am procrastinating a bit right now.


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Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: When it rains it pours...
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2016, 04:46:05 PM »
.....geez. Sorry, man. That sounds awful.
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Offline Cloudee1

Re: When it rains it pours...
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2016, 05:37:06 PM »
Well dropping the sump pump into the pit and waiting most of the afternoon REALLY helped, I just got back out from under the house. Added some air pressure to the tank, no idea if it is either enough or too much though. But flipped the pump back on and nothing seems to have exploded and the pump is cycling a lot closer to how it should be.

Can't wait for tomorrows adventure
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Offline Collector

Re: When it rains it pours...
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2016, 09:17:39 PM »
This made me chuckle. Not for your misery, but because misery loves company. I have been going through a string of failures, too. After a number of appliance failures (dishwasher, oven and garbage disposal) my water heater started leaking very badly. I did not notice it at first since I still had some hot water at the faucet. I went down into the basement to do a load of laundry only to be greeted by a sauna so thick I could not see more than two or three feet in front of my face.

I shut the water off and thought that it would not be too bad, but found out that water heaters have gone up two or three fold since last I checked. I did without hot water for a while until I locate a more reasonably priced water heater. You do not appreciate hot water on tap until you do not have it. Cold showers in the summer are one thing, but this time of year is... painful. Washing dishes becomes a task. I did manage grab a much better deal on a water heater and showering is no longer heart attack time.

Then one evening I started to get cold in my living room. The thermostat was calling for heat, but the furnace was not coming on. After checking the furnace I noticed that the burner was firing up, but before the fan would kick in the shell would overheat and the limiter would kill the flame. I adjusted the limiter and got the fan to come on before before the flame would go out, however the only setting it would do this caused the fan to kick on too soon and only for a couple of seconds. It would kick in again a few seconds longer and shut off too soon again before it would run any reasonably length of time, but at least I had heat for the time being. After a day or so the fan decided that it was going to run full time, blowing cold air when the stat was not calling for heat. It is an older furnace so It will take some doing to track down a new limiter.

Then a couple of days ago I was out doing a couple of errands the low coolant light came on in my car and started to run ragged I managed to limp into a parking lot of a gun store of all places, but at least I was out of traffic. I did not see any bad hoses or any obvious damage to the radiator, but the reservoir had no coolant. I had a partial jug of antifreeze in the trunk. I dumped it in, but found a thin stream squirting out the side. There is a steel tube assembly at the bottom in the front of the engine that connects to the lower radiator hose. It had developed a small hole. Why they made it out of plain steel that can rust out is beyond me. That assembly alone cost about $150 dollars.

As with you I can't wait for tomorrow's adventure, either. At least my misery might make yours a little easier to take. You are not alone.
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Offline Cloudee1

Re: When it rains it pours...
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2016, 02:36:04 PM »
Yeah, apparently misery does love company and you reminded me of something that I had forgot to put in there. Thursday night, the Draft inducer fan on the furnace had started squealing. I am assuming that the bearings in the motor are about to go out. Friday while I was at work, I found the assembly that I needed online and got it ordered. I am just praying that the fan doesn't go out before the new one actually arrives, that would just suck. According to the tracking, It left Pensacola Florida yesterday about 4 pm.

I am pretty disappointed that I have had to learn about all this stuff that I have no business knowing about. Before last week, I had know idea what a draft inducer fan was, but now I can pretty much spot one on any furnace that I look at.  :P

Here's hoping that the rest of the year goes smoothly cause I have had enough, that and I am running out of money pretty quickly. Really, at this point I am just hoping for a smooth couple of weeks though.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2016, 02:37:36 PM by Cloudee1 »
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Offline Kawa

Re: When it rains it pours...
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2016, 02:53:06 PM »
When this is over, you could make a game about it. Teach us all what a draft inducer fan is.

Offline Cloudee1

Re: When it rains it pours...
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2016, 04:01:34 PM »
Yeah, no thanks. That doesn't sound like a game that I would even want to play, let alone make
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Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: When it rains it pours...
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2016, 02:31:13 AM »
Haha but think of all the people you could make go through that misery. Hardcore classic adventure gamers would eat it up!! Who knew and over-abundance of generic average yet colossal life problems would work so well for a P&C?
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Offline lskovlun

Re: When it rains it pours...
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2016, 06:01:05 AM »
Home Repair Quest, an interactive learning guide for home-owners. Y'know, it might just be popular.

Offline MusicallyInspired

Re: When it rains it pours...
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2016, 10:18:40 AM »
People love engaging in an over-abundance of menial time-wasting tasks that mirror real life, except that they reflect hyperbole. Just look at things like The Sims, MMOs, or casual mobile gaming. They eat it up.
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Offline Doan Sephim

Re: When it rains it pours...
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2016, 09:33:13 PM »
Sorry for your woes. Sounds supremely awful.

Hope things have gotten better.


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