Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Urrrrrrrrrrrk, Urrrrrrrrrrrk, Urrrrrrrrrrrk

What goes urrrrrrrrrrrk, urrrrrrrrrrrk, urrrrrrrrrrrk?  I don’t know either but that was the noise that we heard when I put the key in the ignition and turned it a few times.  So I tried it again, urrrrrrrrrrrk, urrrrrrrrrrrk, urrrrrrrrrrrk is all we heard.  I’m hear to tell you that urrrrrrrrrrrk, urrrrrrrrrrrk, urrrrrrrrrrrk is not the sound that you want to hear the first thing in the morning when you’re heading out on your merry way.  What’s with this beast anyhow?  “Didn’t we just give you the day off yesterday?”  Sheesh, give a truck an inch and it wants a mile.

So, I shoved the missus behind the wheel to twist the key in the ignition while I crawled under the truck pretending that I knew what I was doing.  “Okay Dear, let her rip!!!”  Urrrrrrrrrrrk, urrrrrrrrrrrk, urrrrrrrrrrrk!!!  I know there’s a starter under here someplace; where is it?  “Umm, do it again!”  Urrrrrrrrrrrk, urrrrrrrrrrrk, urrrrrrrrrrrk!!!  I still couldn’t see any starter so I fetched a flashlight and crawled under the other side.  “Hit her again!!!”  Urrrrrrrrrrrk, urrrrrrrrrrrk, urrrrrrrrrrrk!!!  “Ahhh haa, there it is!”  Right there behind those rods that connect one thing-a-ma-dingy to another thing-a-ma-dingy.

I went to my tool box and got my 20 ounce framing hammer threatening bodily harm if I didn’t hear some other kind of noise coming out from under the hood pretty darned soon.  I crawled back under the truck with my trusty hammer in hand to give the starter an ever so gentle “tunk”.  “What Theeee Heck?”  While giving the starter a “tunk” with the handle of the hammer (that’s all I could get up between the rods connecting one thing-a-ma-dingy to another thing-a-ma-dingy) the whole starter assembly was “floating”.

Well now, an auto mechanic I’m not, but I’m pretty darned sure that the starter shouldn’t be “floating” unless it’s attached to an outboard motor which is not the case here.  So, I tried it again just to make sure my eyes were not deceiving me.  Nope, they weren’t, the whole damned starter is loose.  That pretty much gave me a clue as to just what the urrrrrrrrrrrk, urrrrrrrrrrrk, urrrrrrrrrrrk problem might be.

Oh well, what the hell!!!  “Give her another try!!!”  And the beast roared to life.  A quick phone call to my auto mechanic confirmed my suspicion that something wasn’t right about a starter that wiggles like a loose tooth.  “Are all the bolts still there?” he asked.  “I don’t know, I can hardly see the thing let alone the bolts.”  “It’s hidden behind some rods that connect one thing-a-ma-dingy to another thing-a-ma-dingy!!!”  “I can’t even get my hand up in there.”  (Not that I’d want to mind you, it’s all dirty up in there.)  “Bring her in, I can fix it!!!”

Now, when an auto mechanic tells you to “bring her in”, it can only mean one thing.  That money is about to be transferred from your wallet into his cash drawer.  Can you say, “cha-ching”?  The only question that remains is, “how much?”  Well the good news was that all the bolts were there and none of the threads were stripped.  The bad news was that only the bottom bolt was loose which allowed the starter to move when it was engaging and disengaging but, the bolt that held the top of the starter in place was tight causing that flange to break. 

“Translation please!!”  “Need to replace the entire starter, do you want a remanufactured starter for two hundred thirteen dollars and fifty nine cents or a brand new one for about sixty dollars more?”  “I’ll take the new one!”  “It will take me about two and a half hours to replace the starter.”  “Two and a half hours to replace a starter?”  “That’s because it is behind all those rods that connect one thing-a-ma-dingy to another thing-a-ma-dingy!”  Ugh!

“I’m telling you truck, one of these days, if you don’t stop acting up, I’m going to drop you off at the orphanage!”  Bottom line:  New starter – almost five hundred dollars.  Hearing the truck roar to life when we put the key in the ignition and turn it - Priceless!!


  1. And don't you always wonder if you really got the new starter or not?

  2. Oh, no! That truck sure has been high maintenance lately - and I do mean HIGH maintenance! So sorry you had to put more $$ into it. But, it's still cheaper than a new one. And now, you almost have a new one!!

  3. Well, Karen and Al, I don't really know if it's new or remanufactured, however, with a remanufactured starter you only get a one year warranty whereas they warranty the new one for as long as I own the truck.

    Randy and Terry, unfortunately we still have an old truck with new parts but, the good news is that there are still a lot of old parts left to break so we'll probably get to do it again, and again, and again, and again . . . . .

  4. That's a funny story. I recently replaced the alternator on DW's mustang. I remember doing this before on other cars for less than $100. The final bill? $290. Oh and it comes with a life time warranty. Great, next time it fails, I won't even be around this mechanic. Sheesh!