That’s the car’s new name. She’s been upgraded from J’Lo. Because she’s just THAT demanding.
Now that I am a little over $900 poorer the car seems to be running well. The mechanic is so convinced his work is going to hold (he refused to say one way or the other before it was done) that he’ll still honour his 1 year parts and labour warranty, and he hopes he doesn’t see me for a long time.
For the car geeks out there: the crankshaft was a little damaged, the main sprocket was a lot damaged and cracked, and the key-way was all but destroyed. The bulk of the damage to these parts is because (thanks to a home-mechanic somewhere) a washer in the sprocket was missing. In order to mask these issues, the harmonic balancer and timing belt were installed incorrectly, and the ignition timing was set way off. The fix (once it was found) was to get a new key-way and sprocket, and manufacture a custom washer for inside the sprocket. The crankshaft is still in good enough condition that those are holding well. After that it was a matter of re-setting the timing belt, and re-installing all of the pulleys in correct alignment (which had been impossible with the damaged sprocket).
Overall I’m pretty pleased with the work and service. Yes, I paid for 6 hours of labour, and most of that was diagnostic time. The car had a few more hours of labour put into her while they dug out the problem, got some new parts, machined the custom washer, and put it all back together again that I wasn’t charged for.
The belt noises that I’ve been complaining about to several different mechanics (some of whom were happy to take my $200, do something to the car, and claim that the noise was “harmless” but wouldn’t go away) is finally gone. The gutless wonder actually has power again, and I don’t wonder if it’ll climb hills or not.
I’m honestly still pretty gun-shy about taking her out on the freeway or any further than the reaches of transit, just in case she decides to throw a tantrum again, so I can at least get home.
The plan going forward is still up in the air. I do still plan on selling this car, but the prospect of buying a new car right now was going to put some serious financial stresses on. So I’m holding off on that. I’m going to drive her around for a few weeks, and see how she treats me. Any further major work required will mean I park her and go carless for the forseeable future.
In the meantime, I’m going to put my faith in Car-ma, make an offering to Tarmack, God of good driving, and hope this was the end of that particular repair road.