I had an opportunity for a new job this week but let me tell you, everywhere I turned lady luck was dishing out bad luck.
My wife took the van to help a family friend buy a car. They made it to the local McDonald’s for I guess food and the Van stalled out and wouldn’t start again. We thought it was the battery because it was a cheap battery begin with from Wal-Mart and back when we had Alternator issues it was running on the battery only for a couple of days. A Mechanic from across the street brought over a battery to jump the Van with but do dice. He recommended the spark plug wires so I changed them out, no dice. So the next morning I changed out the Key Lock Cylinder thinking that has to be the issue since some times the key sticks or you have to fight the key. It started right up as if nothing had happen. I turned off the ignition and went to start putting the steering column back together. When I tried to start it again it would only turn over and not start like before. Since there was no trouble codes or check engine light, I was starting to get worried that I might have to take it into a shop. So I tried switching around relays and checking the fuses again and decided to have my brother take me on the other side of town for my Drug Screening for the new job and when we come back we’ll see if the van starts. If it starts we can quickly drive it home. Well sure enough that idea worked. I was able to drive it home with no problems.
After reading the Hanes manual for the Van I figured out it must be the fuel pump. I checked for spark and with most Dodge/Chryslers you can disconnect the Cam Shaft Positioning Sensor and see if it turns over. So instead of buying the whole pump assembly (pictured left) I bought just the pump (pictured right).
I had to “drop” the fuel tank to get to the pump. I also had to take apart the lower half of the pump assembly to get to the pump. After swapping it out and one of my sons and I were fighting the full tank back in the van worked fine. By time I finished and did a quick test drive I had to pick up my wife from work. After picking her up the van died in the middle of the street and we got it pushed into a gas station lot. By this time I was feeling lost and mad. We walked back to my Wife’s job and caught a ride home. That night I had the Van towed home. When the tow truck came the driver told me I have two days to fix it or it will be towed to impound because it is “immobile” and the property management will see to it.
While all this was happening we had not paid rent yet for the month. Since Friday was Veterans Day the property manager gave us a break and told us no later than 4PM Saturday. So my mother loaned me her truck and I went to NAPA Auto Parts and got the whole pump assembly. Got back home and with in an hour the Wife and I had the tank back out on the ground. I pulled the old pump assembly and what do you know… The hose to the pump I replaced the day before had disconnected (circled in red).
I could have just put it back on but with the luck we were having I would have been probably dropping the tank a third time. So, I replaced the whole unit and we got the tank back in the Van and now it runs like new. We got the rent paid and everything is now back to normal for the exception of my back. Since the first tank drop I have been having muscle spasms that literally make me fall to my knees. Last thing I need to happen is making my back worse at the new job that requires a lot of heavy lifting. So in other words I had to turn down the job even though I was thrilled about it and would have been a huge career change for me.
I want to thank my friends and family that were able to help my household on this endeavor. Also thank my Boss for letting me stay at the last-minute.
So my advice is on this, sometimes you can’t cheap out on car repairs. You’ll end up doing it again and end up spending the same amount that a shop would have charged. Most of the time I try my best to do things right the frist time but when finances make you avoid it than Murphy’s Law will cut in.