Friday, January 11, 2008

The Power of Forsight

Or, "Get that AAA Membership Paid Up!"

I paid $51.37 for a tank of shitty gas and my car instantly ceased functioning here.

Called the friendly folks at AAA Chicago, and within an hour I was attached to a tow truck heading home. For nothing.

Now for the fuel filter autopsy to see what's wrong with the thing.

UPDATE: I bought a humidifier that looks like a penguin.

Wait, wrong topic. What I meant was that I got the car working. What had happened was that the fuel filter did indeed clog, which caused a resistor to overheat and pop. Which caused the fuel pump to not work correctly. You see, the fuel pump has two modes of operation- full speed and reduced speed. There is a relay that switches from high to low, and when it's on low speed it routes through a resistor to reduce the voltage available to the fuel pump. Now what makes this problem confounding is that normally when you first turn the key on, you get that little "beeeezt!" from the fuel tank area telling you that you now have fuel available at full pressure, ready to be burned for your driving excitement. In this particular car and in this particular failure-mode, the fuel pump does do that, but then when you start the car, it switches to the (now malfunctioning) low speed mode. So it will start and run for 10 seconds and then die. (And then, once dead, the car would sarcastically reprime the pump.)

The easy solution is to remove the hi/low relay, bend over one of the pins, and reinsert it. That solution requires that you know about it. Sadly, I did not.

What I theorize happened is that the shitty gas clogged the filter, causing the fuel pump to work really hard to maintain pressure. This causes the pump to draw more power, which causes the resistor to burn out.

3 Comments:

At Saturday, January 12, 2008 9:18:00 AM CST, Blogger gc said...

Forgot to mention that the tow truck driver (one of those "I knew everyone back in the day" guys) says that the gas station I used stinks. Thanks.

 
At Thursday, January 17, 2008 12:35:00 PM CST, Anonymous The Drizzle said...

Just how shitty was the fuel? Did you brew it in your bathtub b/f you put it in the tank?

 
At Thursday, January 17, 2008 9:01:00 PM CST, Blogger gc said...

I wish I knew, the yokel driving the two truck said that the tanks were 30 years old.

I'll tell you this. I couldn't even blow through the filter after I got it out. It was filled with something. On the other, other hand, the filter was possibly the original one on the car.

 

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