Monday 26th June – Maybe It’s the Vacuum Hose?

Another late start to the day, we had our breakfast, then we were off to find some advice. I’d hit a roadblock yesterday after pulling the injector system apart and needed to seek advice. Dan knew of a place he’d been to before so he offered to drive me over there. We discovered the place had changed since Dan had last been there but we figured we’d ask anyway. I carried my injector system into the office and we spoke to the guy behind the front desk. He straight away was sceptical that it was the injectors and when I asked him to explain the pressure regulator, I didn’t really understand but he didn’t seem to think that was the problem either. He suggested doing exactly what I was thinking of – driving the car around with the air filter off so I could see the injectors and determine if it is a fuel problem. On top of that, he was leaning towards it being a computer problem since it was intermittent. When I said I didn’t have any codes, I was sceptical, but he explained that if a pressure sensor is sending the wrong information, it won’t know that it’s sending the wrong info and so won’t set a code. He also gave me a piece of useful information telling me that one injector feeds two cylinders on one bank and one on the other, probably so the engine doesn’t shake itself to pieces in the case of one injector failing.

All good information. I knew now that I wanted to put the injector assembly back together so I needed a gasket kit. We went over to Napa parts and asked there. The lady there showed me the kit I needed for $30 but they didn’t have any in stock so she sent me over to another store. Before I left I brainstormed with her a bit about my problem and her guess was that it could be a bad fuel pump. When I told her I’d recently replaced my pump with one from Napa, she said that they’d had trouble with a particular brand of pump and recently switched to a new brand. Hmmm. There was also two different pumps for the Astro, one for each VIN code and I had no idea whether I’d received the right one. I wrote down the information for the different pumps so that if I ended up pulling mine out again, I would know which one I had.

Next, we were off to the Napa store a few streets over. It felt like we were driving across a huge city the amount of time it took us to get there but I think it was just the intense heat making it feel like a long drive. When we got there, they had the part I needed and while we were browsing the shelves as we waited for them to retrieve the part, I spotted a 400W DC to AC inverter on sale for only $30. Since my inverter was on its way out thanks to the heat, I was keen to buy one and Dan was too since it was such a good bargain. They only had one left so I let Dan have it, thinking I’d pick one up later. I had my gasket kit at least so I was happy.

Home again, we needed to get inside for relief from the heat so it was MotoX time. Dan got it started while I got on the phone to Dave, the mechanic that had helped me diagnose and fix the fuel pump in Hanksville. He remembered me and we talked a while about my issue. He advised me to check the vacuum system and the MAP sensor because he’d had a similar issue before where the MAP sensor was sending bullshit information to the PCM. I wrote down everything he said so I could remember to check it.

We sat in the back TV room and I put a rag over my lap and worked away getting the old gaskets off the fuel injector assembly. It was slow work with a razor blade so it was nice to listen and partly watch the MotoX as I worked. I made a big mess in the process but it was all contained to the rag in my lap. One 250 race later, it was back to work. Dan went outside to fix his fuel tank leak. From all the driving around town, he’d run the fuel low enough that he could park on the hill in the driveway and stop the hole from leaking. Before he had chance to fix the hole though, he discovered that the metal putty he’d bought had completely hardened inside the container. That wasn’t going to work. I’d just finished putting the pressure regulator back together when he came in and told me so we were off again in his car to get replacement putty.

At Autozone, they were happy to replace the putty but we got different stuff this time that looked more legit. While we were there, I asked for a price on a MAP sensor and checked out their inverters but they couldn’t beat Napa’s offer. There was a Goodwill store next door so we stopped in there to have a look at a set of drawers for Dan’s van. Nothing much there on offer, but some things to get ideas from. Since we were in the area and already in errand mode, we figured we’d go to Discount Tire and see if Dan could get a replacement for the tyre damaged in Mexico. We found out that it happened to be the tyre he didn’t get insurance on so he was up to pay $50 for a replacement, so cheap because it was brand new. That was my fault since I’d been there when he bought the new tyre and to me, the insurance sounded like it covered manufacturer defects, not things like punctures. Anyway, Dan ordered the tyre that would be there in a few days. I owed him dinner for getting that one wrong.

Still in errand mode, we went back over to the original Napa store to get me an inverter. I asked for the price of a MAP sensor there too and it was $70 compared to Autozone’s $40. That was everything we needed so we head back home.

I was straight into the garage while Dan parked it on the hill to repair his tank. He had it done in five minutes. In that time, I was nearly done putting the injector assembly back together. He left me to it to join Emmi and Ava who were playing in the kitchen. Half an hour later, the fuel injector assembly was back together and installed. Before I put it on, I had a good look at the vacuum hoses. I’d had a Sarah look at these a few days earlier and deemed them ok, but upon closer inspection, the hose connected to the back of the throttle body looked like shit with cracks galore and hardly any grasp on the connector. Maybe that was it! I didn’t touch it, thinking I’d reproduce the problem, then replace the hose and see if it went away. After I’d put everything back together and started the car, I joined the rest of the gang in the kitchen.

It was nearly time for them to leave so we only played a little while before chaos turned to calm and we had the house to ourselves again. Dan and I were keen for pool and a test drive for the Astro so we drove over to our local, The Tavern Grille. It was five minutes before 7pm which meant it was still happy hour so Dan got himself a pitcher of beer. I was still playing sober so stuck with water. We struggled to get any service over at the pool table, having to ask three separate people for some water and chasing the waitress down to get some wings. Apart from that, we had a good time. The pool was frustrating for me at times, but we had some good games with some really nice shots. I surprised myself with a lot of them. A couple of cigarette breaks outside in the warmth and we were happy. Dan even managed to survive the Suicide hot sauce on his wings. We vowed never to return to the Grille because of the poor service, but it had been good while it lasted.

While we were at the bar, we’d discussed what to do about the vacuum hose and decided that my only option was to buy a new hose tonight, replace it first thing in the morning then go on a test drive. I wouldn’t be able to drive then install the hose because it would just be too hot inside the engine bay I would burn myself. We left the bar in time to hit Autozone and pick up a three foot length of hose to replace the crappy one. All set for tomorrow morning then.

At home, the Astro parked in the garage, we were on for another scary movie. Dan picked this time and found “Don’t Breathe”. The cover looked bloody scary but we went for it. It was scary, but brilliant. It had us in suspense the whole time and neither of us saw the twists coming. I kept comparing our heart rates throughout the film and found they were pretty similar but always high. We finished the movie around midnight but again, couldn’t fall asleep so we stayed up chatting for a good hour until we’d changed the subject enough to close our eyes.

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