The Great Repair is STILL underway. That means no vehicle. It’s guts are arranged in a plastic thing and on a patch of fabric covered dirt. It’s been one thing after another, and GM swears that the first opportunity we have to replace the van, dubbed “Bessie” by me long ago, the van will be history.
Economically speaking, that’s not happening immediately, or else the van could have just gone to a shop to begin with. The reality is that we all know that mechanical work isn’t GM’s forte, and this project, a major one, was only undertaken because there was no option–we simply could not afford the repair bill right now, and we could not afford to do without or replace the van either.
In terms of stress, however, it may have been a massive mistake. We all knew that working on this van is an exercise in aggravation. Minivans, especially those with front wheel drives, are notoriously cramped spaces to work in. The Chevy Venture has not been rated highly by owner-mechanics, and we’d read all of the blog entries, bulletin board statements, and anything else before the Great Repair began.
Ours is proving no different, and maybe a little worse. We’re now going to have to go get a bolt splitter tomorrow so that a rounded bolt that is also frozen in place can be cut & removed from the exhaust manifold. Hardly ideal. A replacement bolt is probably going to be needed too–we bought a new head bolt set, but I doubt that that one is included in the set.
We’ve had to borrow an air compressor and impact wrench already. Also the brushes to clean the various parts of gasket remnants before replacing and re-assembling them into a functional engine. This repair job has truly become a communal effort with friends, neighbors and family all coming together on the project, and we’re still not to the point of having removed everything that has to come off just to get to the head gasket.
Poor GM. It’s been a week’s worth of hard and aggravating work and so far, there have been no moments of joy and the thrill of things progressing with anything resembling haste. Instead, he’s feeling bad because I haven’t been able to go anywhere and if it wasn’t for our daughter coming to get us early Christmas morning, we’d not even be able to go see them for the holiday, as the likelihood of a miracle occurring in the next 48 hours resulting in a complete repair are slim.
The Great Repair has also put a hold on the property search, along with almost everything else. We can’t go anywhere or make any kind of plans until the Great Repair is completed. Our lives are literally hanging in limbo, depending on a box containing a Fel-Pro gasket set we ordered from Amazon.