Wednesday, May 5, 2010

pain in the neck and the art of auto maintenance

not a movie set
Alert! alert! I'm going to babble about car stuff. So don't bother reading this if constant velocity joint boots put you to sleep. If dirty black grease gets your blood flowing then read on...

Boy, life would be so much simpler right now if we had managed to talk Ford or Kia (or anybody) into making us a deal on a new vehicle. I spent all of the last two days well into the evening doing needed maintenance on Rodney, our old Toyota Rav4, and my neck is soooooo sore from craning up to look at Rodney's dirty underside. Rodney has over 120,000 miles on his odometer, but who's counting? Most of Rodney is in OK shape but in doing all the upkeep (including but not limited to: a new battery, new alternator belt and power steering belt, new front brake pads, caliper lube, and fresh brake fluid and bleed, engine oil and filter change, transmission fluid change, coolant flush and refill, and fresh power steering fluid.... oh, and new spark plugs and wire harness) I discovered some other things I had not noticed. First, Rodney's rear shocks are still working fine but they have lost some fluid. Gah! That means they may go bad during our trip. We'll have to run with it for now. More troubling is the hair line splits starting to creep into the CV joint boots. Double Gah! I don't have the time or resources to take care of that now. Fortunately, the boots are showing no cracks anywhere but on the small end of the outboard boots right where they join the drive shafts and those cracks don't show until the car is jacked up and the wheels hang at full extension of the suspension and the cracks are not through the rubber yet. Hmmm. I will have to do a little stop gap fix up. Perhaps a layer of orange RTV gasket goop will give the boots a little more life.

It's worth a try, but it won't stop me worrying about the boots and checking on them every day of the trip. Looks like I'll have this pain in my neck for a long while.


  1. Not a good sign, but I'm going to cross my fingers for you and hope Rodney and his older bits make it through. So where are you guys anyway? Be safe.

  2. That picture is from rout 166 between Santa Maria, CA and Cuyama. Right now we are in San Luis Obispo making the last of our travel preparations. We'll be on the raod again Friday moring and in Joshua Tree on Monday.



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