In my Six-Fo' eight-nine to be exact. But hell it is a red Chevy so - six of one, half dozen of the other.

Today I began a full-scale tune up on my G20 Chevy van. I say "began" because it remains now in pieces and I have retired for the day. I started this project with a visit to Murray's. The man behind the counter had a sort-of permanent smile and upbeat attitude that seemed incredibly sincere, though extremely unlikely. I noticed myself being wooed by his smile, suggestions, and helpful demeanor. A half hour later I walked out with $75 worth of a tune-up. That guy will be President in 2012.

Seriously though, he was a great help and pointed me in some necessary and worthwhile directions I hadn't then considered. I walked into Murray's planning an oil and filter change, new air filter, and spark plug afternoon. I walked out planning an oil change, an air filter, spark plugs, plug wires, distributor cap, and distributor rotor. Or in other terms, every single act of vehicle maintenance I know how to do without a guiding hand.

The oil change went off smoothly; I even managed to drain the filter without splashing crude around. Then was the challenge. As an old-school cargo-style van, the engine is not so much under the hood as it is three inches to the right of the driver's right knee. Access to the engine is basically behind the ashtray on the dash, and it's a bitch to get behind.

On the contrary, once you've spent a good quarter hour prying the plastic back it's actually kind of nice to be able to sit in a captain's seat while you tinker with the engine. Though it does make a helluva mess.

With the engine exposed I first wrote down the orientation of the plug-wires to the distributor cap. Then I started pulling wires, and here's where I am especially indebted to the fellow at Murray's who told me I was going to need new wires once I got under there. For with each wire I pried back came a puff of blue dust; oxidized copper. A closer inspection of the plug ends thereafter would not have allowed me to, in good conscience, put them back on, feeble and broken as time had rendered them.

Then we pull the plugs. But wait, I don't have a socket deep enough. Back to Murray's. Cha-ching... Up to $80.00 now. I pull the plugs, install the new ones, and decide to tackle the distributor cap and rotor. A stripped and rusted screw eats up another fifteen minutes all on it's own, but I prevail and reach the rotor.

But the damned thing won't come off. A rotor basically just slides into place and this one won't pry off with a foot-long flathead. Fuck it: I break it off. Now we slide the new one on... We... We slide the new... Damnit... Get on there... Motherfucker won't go on. Maybe a little tap with the hammer. No. Pull it back off for a minute and let me look this over. Shit, I cracked the new rotor with the hammer.

What's happened is, the gear shaft on which the rotor sits has gathered some rust over the passed twenty years. No? Really? Sure has. And that has expanded it's foot print such that the old rotor couldn't release and the new one isn't really big enough to accommodate the extra millimeter of oxidized metal.

Sandpaper! I cleaned up the surface with some sandpaper, and the new rotor - though cracked - at least proves that it will now take the shaft. Now I'll just need another rotor... 'bout up to $90 with that, but I'm not going back to Murray's tonight. Evening is settling in and I'm getting hungry.

I finished running the new plug-wires and as I left it I need only slide on a new-new rotor, top that with the distributor, plug the wires back in according to my diagram, and reinstall the ashtray/firewall. All of which I shall complete tomorrow after work, having swung by Murray's yet again for my 2nd rotor in two days.

As of now I am sweaty and tired, covered in rust, grease, and electrolytic gel. So I'm off to shower, but don't worry, then I'll come right back here and regale you with all the details of how, where, and in what order I lathered.

Come to think of it I might just forgo the shower and have sex with your mom instead. Boosh! (See 'cause she's a dirty whore.)


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