The whole sordid affair is finally over.
It cost me a grand total of $1500, but my car is back from the dead.
I come bearing advice for young players.
Children of the class of 1997... service your car.
If you don't service your car, you will find yourself 160km from Perth, in the middle of shitcreeknowherefuckmasister with your bonnet up and a wisen, chain-smoking cock of a mechanic giving you a humiliating discertation.
"You've fucked this car," he will say, letting the smoke reel out his mouth.
"When's the last time you gave 'er a service? Sez 'ere due 97,000, you've got 105,000on the clock.
"You've fucken killed this car. Shame. You've only got 105,000 on the clock. You've probably shortened its life by about 250,000 kilometres."
You sir, are a douche. I know it is fucked, I am perfectly aware it is fucked, it has been rattling for the last 50km with the oil light on despite me putting litres of the stuff in it.
All I care about is whether you can fix the fucker enough for me to get home.
"You're kidding right? You ain't going fucken nowhere.
"You've killed this car.
"I can probably fix it for you by Tuesday. Have to get parts from Narrogin. I'll open 'er up for yeh and see 'ow she looked. Probably need a new engine. Probably be a couple of grand.
Well I might be a reporter and not much chop with cars but I do understand research, sir. So I got a second opinion. The RAC came from the next town (having pinched me for $46 for a membership upgrade to cover me for a 200km tow... only to then confirm I needed to be towed 210km, and therefore I was not covered) and towed it to Perth...
...whereupon the princely Gavin The Mechanic fixed my trusty steed. He was also unimpressed with the state of the motor but reckoned it could be fixed for about $500. I said to fix everything that needed doing upto about a grand.
And he told me killing a car was a rite of passage for a gay boy and not to worry. Apparently we all do it.
From now on though, I shall get my car serviced as regularly as I can. I suddenly drive it with a whole lot more pride and might even get it detailed so it feels like a new beast.
Oh, and I have one last word for that dodgy grease monkey who wanted to charge me for a whole new engine.
Here is the litany of charges from Gavin:
Source engine rattle. Remove tappet cover and check oil pressure - minimal oil getting to hydraulic lifters. Remove exhaust, sump, etc and inspect - oil pickup blocked, oil black and low.
Clean out pick up and check big end and main bearings for wear (OK). Refit sump, etc, reseal tappet cover and fill with 10W/30 oil. Add flush to engine oil and run engine - engine now running quieter.
Carried out service. Changed engine oil and filter and fit new spark plugs (worn). Fit new spark plug leads (engine misses under acceleration) and check all lights, brakes and fluid levels, etc - coolant gone off.
Flush cooling system, fill with coolant and fit new radiator cap. Blow out rear brakes and pump up tyres (spare flat). Remove belts, timing cover, etc and fit new timing belt, cam and crankshaft seals and belt idlers (noisy).
Refit covers, etc and fit new aircon, alternator and power steering belts. Wash down engine and underbody and fit new air filter. Fit new eye level stoplight and LH rego light globes. Check aircon operation, fit new front wiper blades and take vehicle for test run. Fit new aerial mast.
**Bring vehicle back at 106,000km for oil and filter change. Camshaft chain noisy - suspect tensioner full of gunk.
Ouch. My bad.