Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Scrub Nurse for Van Surgery

After collecting the fuel pump, we headed back to my office to perform open-van surgery. The split coolant line was only a passing annoyance, because we needed to drain the coolant from the system anyway on account of the lower radiator line has to be removed to give access to the fuel pump. We bought a bucket to catch the coolant. We bought replacement hoses and clamps to repair the split coolant line later, plus more coolant.

The next several hours were no fun at all. Mostly Lisa was under the van swearing at it for various reasons while I fetched tools, paper towels -- lots of those, because of all the spilled coolant and fuel -- and similarly made myself useful. Lisa eventually got the old pump -- which she informs me was seven years old -- free, but much of the old gasket stayed behind. We then had to pack things up and head off on a second expedition to get gasket solvent, a scraper, and a container into which we could pour the old coolant until I take take it away for household hazardous waste disposal. (I certainly couldn't just keep it in an open bucket.)

This fuel pump is really difficult to reach. Much of the work has to be done blindly. Lisa was not enjoying herself any more than I was. She scraped away the old gasket and gingerly fitted the new fuel pump into place. This was not easy at all, as the screws holding in place are so awkward that she could only turn them about 1/6 turn at a time. It sounds slow, and it was. Around 4 or 5 PM -- we'd started working around Noon -- she finally pronounced the fuel pump probably in place.

Lisa put the lower radiator hose back together and made relatively short work of replacing the upper hose. Then we refilled the radiator with coolant and water. Finally, it was time to see if things worked.

The van started, and stayed running. That's good; it means the fuel pump was working at all. However, close examination showed that the fuel fittings on the pump were leaking. Lisa cursed some more as she struggled to tighten the fittings, the job now even harder by the presence of the lower radiator hose, which she couldn't easily remove lest we have to go buy yet more coolant. This time, there were no drips, and she was prepared for a road test.

With me following in my vehicle and us staying in touch by radio, she drove down CA-92 to El Camino Real and back. This gave her a chance to test the high-power acceleration climbing the 6% grade -- stalling on climbing hills was the initial symptom of the problem. Lisa radioed to tell me that she thinks that fixed the problem. She returned to my office to tie off loose ends, literally, as there were loose bits of the instrument panel that also needed fixing.

So we think the Big Orange Van is sort of fixed. At least it doesn't stall when you accelerate. There is still work that Lisa says she needs to do on the van, but it will run, and she thinks (knock wood) that she'll be able to leave for Oregon sometime tomorrow.
Tags: lisa

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