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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Poor Volvo

A few weeks ago on my way from Davis to Livermore, my car started having issues on the Altamont Pass. After some investigating, my dad, Dave, and I determined that one of the cylinder's exhaust valves was busted. A compression test showed absolutely no compression whatsoever in one cylinder (the others were about 180 psi).

So the guys spent about 17 hours this past weekend pulling the engine compartment apart (using the step-by-step instructions from a Volvo repair guide borrowed from the library).The good news is that they succeeded in pulling the head off the engine block and found the busted exhaust valve. It actually has a giant hole in it! No wonder there was no compression!

See the hole in the bottom left black circle? The bottom black circles are exhaust valves (upper ones are intake valves) and the hole is the root of the problem. Well, the original problem...read on for the new problem.The bad news is that one of the 12 head bolts snapped off while Dave was removing it. The worse news is that it broke off down inside the engine block and at an angle, so the top of the remaining bolt shaft isn't flat (which will make any removal attempt that much harder). The even worse news is that any removal attempt might or might not work. And it will be a LOT OF WORK to attempt to remove it. Bleh.

Since my mom is still in New York with my brother, I've had her new car to drive in the meantime. But she has to man the visitor's table at church on Sunday so she'll be back by the weekend but unfortunately my car certainly won't be fixed by then. I'm coming to terms with the idea that my car won't be fixed for several weeks or a few months, if ever.

Having one car between me and Dave will be tough since he has to use it to go up to Gualala for work. But at least we have a new baby seat whose base fits nicely on the side rear passenger seats so getting Eddie in and out is a breeze. Our old baby seat base only fit in the rear center seat and I about pulled my back out putting him in and out of the car!

Normally I'd be pretty upset about my car situation...but since working on it ourselves saves money and Dave has fun doing the work with my dad it doesn't bother me all that much. That bolt will either come out and we'll get a new head installed or the bolt won't come out and we'll see about buying a salvaged engine to install. Or we'll succumb to normal American tendancies and buy a new car. Only time will tell...

1 comment:

mu rye uh said...

I am rooting for fixing it and spay painting "survivor" on the rear of the car in lime green