Saturday, July 26, 2008

Having nothing to do? Get a car...

24-25.07.2008

Thursday... It is wet. I am sitting in my car, driving back to home from work. Suddenly I notice the warning light telling there's something wrong with my ABS brakes. Damn. Occasionally I hate my life.

I have cranky old Nissan Primera SLX, with 2 litres engine. Well oldness is of course subjective matter, as is crankyness.. A few years ago I was driving Mazda 323 from 1985.. This one is done at 1999.

The ABS light itself did not really scare me. It had been acting up since last autumn, turning on when ever weather was humid. But the light had been silent almost a month, and I knew I had to drive my car for the compulsory annual inspection (is it MOT in english?) tomorrow...

Actually, I was terrified. I had started fixing my Nissan 2 months ago, when I changed the exhaust system since there were a leak. It's strange how each simple sounding task with car always turns out to be complicated. The exhaust system change involved totally jammed bolt, drilling it out under the car, replacing it with bigger bolt, and generally spending a whole summer day with my uncle cursing the car. (Thank's god I have my uncle, not only is he friendly and caring and funny person, but he also has the knowledge, tools and nerves for fixing cars).

Well, quite soon after changing the exhaust I tried to pass MOT (is it really called that??)... And naturally there were problems with everything else. Brake plates were too worn, handbrake did not work on other side, and the thing which is at the far end of the stick which turns the front wheels was loose... And naturally I had forgot to change pulbs so half of the lights were dark...

So a week ago I found myself being under my car with my uncle once again.. (Did I remember to thank him already? He's really my saver). We changed the brake plates, and that steering related thing. And of course there were unexpected problems, like jammed part in brakes... (The one which allows the brake to squeeze the plate, I mean that ~2 inch long stick which is kinda floating on vaseline). Replacing it was not that straightforward wither, it involved standing at the yard of closed spare part shop (in which I had called a few days before and ensured it was open on saturdays...), calling to the shop's owner's wife and asking her to call someone to sell us the missing part .... pleeeaseeee...

Well, I stared the ABS warning light shocked. Can't be I thought. I drove at home, did my daily things with kids, and get them to bed at 10.00 PM. Then I went out to take a look at the car. I started the engine, and after a little while the ABS light started burning... I shut down the engine and restarted.. No warning light. I decided to test the brakes just to be sure. Worked like charm. I decided to test the handbrake too, just to be sure... And right side did not work too well.

I was ready to take the biggest hammer I own (which actually is not too big, I only own one :D )..

Well, I took my jack, lifted the right rear and took the tire off. I checked the thing where the handbrake's wire is connected, and as I guessed, it was not moving too well... So oil and hammer, oil and hammer, oil and pulling and bushing the handbrake on and off like a maniac. Putting tyre back and lowering the car. Small test, and voila, handbrake worked...

At the friday morning I drove back at work once again. The ABS light was dead as it should. I had decided to drive my car for inspection after the workday was off. I was a bit excited my whole work day. I tried to think what kind of requirements supporting multiple processes in Linux would cause in SW, which was previously designer to be run on a system which does map the memory addresses similarly for each process. Somehow I however ended up just doing little this and that, amongst other things I swapped couple of my co-workers screensavers with the
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" one... It's their own fault to have holidays when I am working. And moreover it's their own fault to have their .xscreensaver file unprotected...

Finally it was time to leave from work. I walked down to the car, and started the engine... ABS light turned on instantly, and brakes locked when I tested them. I pumbed the brake, turned car on and off, turned all electrical devices off and on, and finally the ABS light turned off and did not turn on anymore.. I drowe to the inspection, and felt sick while waiting for the inspector to step in my car and drive it to brake tester... Finally a friendly man told me it was my car's turn, stepped in my car and drowe it to tester. I watched the meter when he tested the car, and thank god, the results looked good. The inspector drove out of the tester, and yelled me through the window that I had "excellent brakes". I was ready for bursting into hysterical laughter, but I managed to controll myself and just mumbled: "I have been working with them"...

Then quick check for rest of the car, and papers out of the printer with comforting PASSED printed on them...

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