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Well, hell.

I'm typing this post from my iPhone. The reason I'm typing this from my iPhone as opposed to my computer is I'm sitting in my car. The reason I'm sitting in my car as opposed to my office is my car is not working. The reason my car is not working is unknown at the present time.

I'm hoping it's bad gas. That may seem a strange thing to hope for ("gee, I sure hope I have a tankful of bad fuel in my car right now!"), but it beats the alternatives that present themselves to the mind of this humble scribe.

See, this car, whose legendary reliability I've remarked upon before, was low on gas this afternoon. So I pulled into a gas station, whereupon I proceeded to put 9.3 gallons of gas into a 10-gallon tank. At the completion of this relatively trivial exercise, the car refused to start.

Oh, it turned over just fine. And made enthusiastic "I'm going to start now" noises, but starting conspicuously failed to happen. So, in the spirit of post hoc, ergo propter hoc reasoning, I am thinking, or perhaps hoping, that the gas I put in the car was more like water, or breast milk from a bevy of Italian supermodels, or something.

And now the tow truck is here and I must be off.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 11th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
did you accidentally put diesel in it?
Nov. 11th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
I think this is prevented by nozzle designs.

But if not, then yeah, that would suck.

I THINK if he had loaded diesel, the engine would have turned over and started using the gasoline in the lines, and he might have gotten maybe half a block before the diesel hit the engine.
Nov. 11th, 2008 07:09 pm (UTC)
I think the pipes are different too, but sometimes you can encounter a car that doesn't restrict them.

Maybe his distributor cap chose just this moment to die...
Nov. 11th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
I would be surprised if there WAS a cap.
Nov. 11th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
I'm not a car guy, really. Sparkplugs? Starter? It's not the solenoid, or it would have just gone "clicky clicky clicky".
Nov. 11th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
Based on my experience -- which is old -- a lot depends on what happens when you turn the key:

Nothing: low level problem, possibly battery disconnected

Ticking: battery's hooked up but might be low, voltage regulator might have crapped out, starter might have crapped out, alternator might have crapped out and done one of those insta-drains on the battery (if you're driving normally and your car suddenly dims and stops, then usually, it's your alternator (or a fan belt running it)).

A clean sort of spinny sound (starter running, but not engaging with engine): possibly starter solenoid, could also be a little low voltage (enough juice to spin the starter, but not enough juice to kick it into the engine)

Engine turns over, but no start: Possibly something to do with the plug wires, perhaps one or more has come loose. Could also be the central line to the distributor cap come loose (happened to me, and probably what you were thinking of). Assuming your car HAS a distributor cap. Might not.

Engine tries to start, but dies: ignition system is probably fine. Fuel line might be clogged, or instead of gas, you might have received Liquid Brazilian Ear Wax Supplemental Growth Hormone.

Again, this is old data based on fixing cars that are not usually on the road anymore.

Because it's a newer car, it could be "Oh dude, your computer's fried and we had to replace it. $450." and there's not much you can do about that.
Nov. 12th, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC)
Interestingly, that was the very first thought that occurred to me, and I checked the pump to make sure it didn't have a diesel setting. (That pump didn't.) I even smelled the end of the gas nozzle, on the idea that it was possible for a fuel delivery driver to have accidentally filled the wrong underground tank with diesel.
Nov. 11th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
Oh man.

Here's hoping it's somthing as simple as an electrical connection come loose.

I once rebuilt practicaly the entire electrical system of an old Dart and as healthy as it wanted to start, it simply wuoldn't turn over. I went crazy all weekend (this was before the Internet) troubleshooting everything I had done and trying to learn more about the system, until finally I found the one wire I had inadvertently knocked free while working. One freakin' wire.

(so, now, I check before and after for random wires and cables, and I try very hard to not touch anything except the system I'm actually working on)

So, I'm hoping it's something simple like that.

On the plus side, failures that are sudden and catastrophic like that usually ARE simple things.

Did the engine actually turn over? How much do you know about ignition systems?
Nov. 11th, 2008 07:07 pm (UTC)

Oof. Let's hope the universal comet of suckage passes quickly leaving nothing behind bug fairly innocuous gas, as opposed to, you know, the more poisonous type.


::smacks the universe for you::
Nov. 11th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
Maybe it's time to invest in that date van! *snorf* But seriously, I hope it's something that's easily (and inexpensively) resolved.
Nov. 12th, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC)
Funny you should say that. The place that's fixing my car right now has a minivan (with seven seats!) out front with a "for sale" sign on it.
Nov. 11th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
I blame your post about it being a poly-unfriendly vehicle. Coupes are notoriously easy to upset.
Nov. 11th, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC)
If your 'bad gas' theory is correct, then a bottle of fuel additive might fix it. My car has had this problem from time to time, and the additive trick seems to work pretty well.
Nov. 11th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC)
Egads, the aggravations from such a necessary tool. Obviously you have gremlins. Feed the gremlins peanut butter and bologna.
Nov. 11th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC)
What do ya know, I am reading your lj from an iPhone! But I am not in a car. I am in a bed. The iPhone is not mine... But then again, neither is the bed ;)
Nov. 11th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
That post with that icon is ... disturbing ;)
Nov. 11th, 2008 11:08 pm (UTC)
Hehehehehe... totally didn't even notice what icon was my default when I posted.....
Nov. 12th, 2008 01:12 pm (UTC)
they forced me to learn Lating for 5 years at school...
think it's "propter" not "prompter" heh
Nov. 12th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC)
Re: they forced me to learn Lating for 5 years at school...
Right you are! I fact, I've fixed it now. :)
Nov. 13th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
bummer. hope it gets magically fixed...
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )