never deliberation, procrastination, patience
Wednesday, March 11 2009
When Gretchen sets her sights on a goal there is never deliberation, procrastination, patience, or obsessive thoroughness, all work habits that stand between me and my goals. When we share a particular goal, there is usually a certain amount of friction between our various approaches. Generally I view this as more of a feature than a bug: she helps me overcome my procrastination and excessive deliberation, and by the time I'm in the obsessive thoroughness phase of the project I just tune out her "oh you gotta be kidding" looks (the kind she shoots me when I'm applying a third coat of joint compound to a drywall repair).
Today's project was all about finishing up the fixing up of our accursed Honda Civic hatchback once and for all. Its check engine light had come on during the drive back from Woodbourne yesterday, and I needed to find out why. I also wanted to know if I could somehow turn off the SRS (supplemental restraint system) light. I eventually gave up on the SRS problem when I couldn't easily reset it and, over the phone, our mechanic told us that fixing it wasn't necessary to pass inspection. He did say, however, that the check engine light would surely lead to a failed inspection, and that simply resetting the error code with an OBD II scanner wasn't going to work; automotive computers log such resets and they always lead to failed inspections. This meant we'd have to somehow get to the bottom of the 0420 error (pass the bong!) being thrown by the computer, an error suggesting either exhaust leaks or a bad catalytic converter.
Gretchen had a meeting at Bard and took the car on the off-chance the check engine light would stay off once I'd reset it and she could get the car inspected. No such luck. On the way home from Bard, she stopped at a couple of car repair places to get opinions on what might be done. The first of these places quoted a $900 repair cost. At this point the car's starter began to fail, and Gretchen had increasing difficulty starting every time she needed to drive somewhere else. At the second repair place, a burly Russian guy banged the starter good with a hammer, and it worked perfectly from then on.
Aside from the starter, it's looking more and more as if the accursed Honda's problem is a bad catalytic converter, something that the new post-cat oxygen sensor has enabled the computer to diagnose. But now I'm wondering if perhaps there is a way to cheat the computer by screwing with the signal coming out of the new oxygen sensor. If the voltage it produced were to be sent through a voltage divider, well, it might save me the cost of a catalytic converter, thereby lowering demand for precious catalytic metals, the mines for which are destroying the environment and social fabric of South Africa. Of course, it would also mean that here in the USA the air would be a little less clean. Not only would Bambi have to die, on the shoulder of some busy highway, a tear would form on the cheek of some Indian wearing a traditional leather outfit.
In the meantime, it's looking like the accursed hatchback isn't going to get fixed on the schedule that Gretchen would prefer.
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