Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Life comes at you fast when your brakes are shot...

My Chrysler Town & Country has been leaking lately. Kara and I knew about it, and suspected it was a semi-serious transmission fluid leak. There were drops of red liquid on the sawdust-covered garage floor under the van (see posts on the Adirondack chair for the source of the sawdust), and a funny burning plastic smell permeated the garage when the van was just pulled in.

So I took it to the dealer for a diagnosis. They said that the transmission fluid pan gasket, solenoid pack(?), and oil pan gasket were all leaking; the former two transmission fluid, the latter, oil. Repairs would set me back $1000+. Oh, and while they had the car up, they checked the brakes. The pads were paper thin, same with the rotors. Another $350 or so would get that straightened out.

Or, I could change the gaskets and brakes myself and save about $900. (No parts store that I called had the solenoids, and the one former mechanic I talked to said that it'd be a job I really couldn't--or wouldn't want to--do myself.) So I got the parts, (about $250, including a new hydraulic jack--those puny scissor jacks for changing spare tires scare me!) and a Haynes manual (if I have to take something off unexpectedly, I'd like to know what I'm getting into first!) and I'll get started on it this week!

Kara asked me if I'd changed gaskets before. (She knew I'd done brake pads and rotors, several times.) I told her that I hadn't, and that that hadn't ever stopped me before. Plumbing, tiling, felling trees, building furniture, making sourdough bread, knitting...all in the "I might as well give it a shot" category. And although I have called a knowledgeable friend a time or two, I've never had to pay a pro to help me out, knock on wood.

Wish me luck.

2 comments:

Teric said...

You are a brave soul, Brig. Though I'm certain that you will be able to do it--you've proven yourself very handy with other things, why not auto repair?

No advice from my end; you're years beyond my level of automotive knowledge.

Oh yeah, and because you asked for it:

Good Luck!

Brig said...

I had to work on my Nissan Pulsar a lot in college so I learned a bit there. But changing gaskets is a new one for me.