Thursday, November 30, 2006

Heater Woes

The heater in my car is seriously pissing me off. First, it was working erratically. It was like a lottery, with a 30-40% chance of winning. On days that I'd lose, I'd have to scrape the window and run the car about 10 minutes before actually driving it. Warm air would lazily waft up the defroster vent and lightly graze the windshield creating a wavy ribbon of clarity, from which I could rub and warm a path to the center of my sightline and safely (somewhat) make it to work. Then, it stopped working altogether. I accepted this and made the window-rubbing routine a regular part of my morning.

An attempt at maintenance proved fruitless. I checked the relays, the breakers, and fuses; I dismantled the blower motor while laying upside-down on my back, feet in the air, on the half-reclined passenger seat; I jimmied a tool to remove the oval radio-heater cluster (why can't Ford just have screws like everyone else??) only to yank the guts out from behind the warm-cool control knob due to the insufficient length of the attached cable. I *think* the problem is the high-low knob, a four-way switch of some sorts, but darn if I can't pull the cluster far enough away from the dashboard to remove the mechanism. And how, then, will I be able to test it?

After several days of making peace with my car and the many processes necessary to make it happy, the heater started running again halfway into my morning commute today. It irked me in a big way. I have to give kudos to my father in law, who helped every way he could, including checking out the service manual from the library which included a picture of the official radio cluster removal tool that I managed to recreate from a clothes hanger.

No, I can't take it to the dealer. Who has that kind of money? But as winter moves on, I am sure I will be more and more willing to pay $200+ for a repair that might concievably cost me one day's lunch at Taco Bell if I could just figure out some minor details.

On another note, I have been on a string of futuristic conspiracy movies, and I'm not entirely happy with the catalog. I rented Aeon Flux and The Island, and I must say I'm not very impressed. The former, I'm sure, is a great animated series (as I understand its origin to be), but the big screen did not elevate it beyond two dimensions. The latter was better, deeper, but entirely too long. I was not surprised after watching it that the director is also responsible for the likes of The Rock and Armageddon. Maybe it makes me socially inept, but I really have no clue what anyone saw in these kitsch sensationalist over-dramas. But I digress. I'm sure there will be a few more movies of this genre before I'm done, just because I'm such a nerd, but I will relegate control of the DVD player tonight to my lovely wife, who has been hankering for some Pirates of the Caribbean 2. And who can blame her, really?

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