Monday, October 13, 2008

And the astro limped into a parking lot...

I found it sort of funny as we pulled into a shell station in Lynwood Washington yesterday.  I remember waking up that morning and thinking to myself, the astro will probably die today.  I knew it would happen because my gut told me so.  So, there began the inevitable death of my 1992 astro with 193,000 miles on in.  I've known sense we bought the car that it's demise would either be the transmission or the alternator.

   I woke up yesterday and knew I needed to jump-start the van.  So, I jump started it with my Honda, waited for it to warm up, then checked the fluids and was on my way.  The car stalled out before we got out of the parking lot, which I knew was a sign to stop now, but I kept going anyway.  I left and we made it to the house to pick up the mattress (our goal for the day)... then I turned the car off when we loaded the mattress.  The people that Art bought the mattress from were nice enough to jump start the van, but that only got us to the end of the driveway.  Then, the guy we got the mattress from actually drove me to Wal-Mart so I could exchange my battery for a new one... and that got us down to Lynwood (a couple miles...)

   I felt like something was wrong with the astro when I was climbing a hill (not a steep one, only like a 2-3% grade), so I pulled off the road.  Upon coming the the end of the off-ramp, the car started to make a slight grinding noise.  I knew something was really wrong...  Still, I managed to get into a gas station parking lot (mainly because it was down hill from the off-ramp.)

   Once we had the car parked, I pulled the dip stick to check the transmission fluid, and this steam or smoke was in the tube.  I knew it was bad.  I had 2 quarts of transmission fluid in the car, and I tried just dumping that in there to see if that would work, but then when I was shifting the car through the gears, I realized that reverse wouldn't kick in... and the car made a grinding noise while idling in park or neutral.  I used the parking break to relieve the pressure on the transmission, and kept the car idling.  I saw that the transmission was now full, so I tried to put the car into drive so I would do a quick lap around the parking lot, and the car had almost no power... just enough to barely push it... and the whole time the transmission made this grinding noise.  I realized that we were not going to drive away in that car... and called AAA.

We waited about 45 minutes, and then the tow truck driver pulled up... it was one of those trucks that actually carries the car.  So the driver took the car down to Renton, only 2 or 3 blocks from my apartment, where the car currently sits.  Tonight, I plan to go empty the remaining junk out of the van, and drop the keys in the night drop box for the repair place, but I am almost certain the next stop for the car will be a junk yard.  I guess time will tell for certain...

Oh well, that's all for now.