Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I am not a big fan of Christmas. Too many bad memories associated with the time around now. I manage to survive, but I always feel a lot better once Christmas itself is passed. I get the following week off, so I can pull the covers over my head and make the world go away for a couple of days.
We are headed out on Friday for Utah to see our new grand daughter. We won't straay too long, will be back on Monday. As the saying goes, relatives are like fish, they start to stink after a couple of days.
Tomorrow we have to get going early. Take the dogs off to the pet hotel, come back and pack, cook egg rolls, and go in an hour early to work. Promises to be a hectic morning. Then Friday finish packing and head out to the airport for a 1:30 flight.
Not looking forward to the security crap at the airport, but you do what you have to do.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Brakes II

Well, I have the Westy Back, and the brakes work just fine. They replaced the defective proportioning unit for free, so I guess I can't complain.........wait.........check that..........
Yes I can.
They screwed me out of $1000.00 doing a bunch of work that didn't need to be done, while not repairing what DID need to be done. I wanted all of the other stuff done eventually, but not right now. I mean, who wants to spend a grand on brakes right before Christmas?
I still need to get some other stuff done in my quest to get the Westfalia into better-than-new condition. For some reason, someone has removed the defroster fan switch. It is in the glove box, not connected to anything. I have a feeling that when I get around to checking out the situation, it will not be nice. Vanagons have a history of burning up defroster fan switches. I just hope the fan itself is OK. It is a kind of a pain in the butt keeping the windshield clean.
Then the stereo went all wonky. It keeps turning itself off and back on. You can hear an audible click in the computer somewhere, but I haven't had time to check it out. I had all of the 12 volt accessories wired to go through the secondary battery so that you can play the stereo without draining the primary battery. I think they must have screwed something up.
Well, maybe on Sunday I can get the time to go out and look at it. Only thing is, Sunday is the only day I have with Mrs A, and I hate to spend it out elbow deep in a car.
I still haven't put up the tree either, or strung any outside lights.
Bad Al, bad, bad.

Friday, December 03, 2010


I have been driving my truck instead of the Westy for the last couple weeks, just to drive it a little. When I went to switch back over, I got in brakes.
I am all in favor of brakes. Stopping is the second most important thing you do in the car. Stopping is secondary, because brakes mean nothing if you first can't get going. I got in the car, and the pedal went right to the floor. Since it was freezing butt cold out, I didn't want to work on it, so I took it to the local shop. They managed to wring a grand out of me by the time they were through. And that was with a 10% discount........about that discount: Firestone sent me an on-line coupon that said 10% discount if you spent over $500 and put it on your card. SO when I went in to pay my bill, I handed over the coupon. The guy behind the counter called over the manager, they looked at the coupon and said "This is only if you open a new credit account, and threw it in the trash. I asked them to dig it out of the trash and hand it to me. They reluctantly did.
I read it very carefully, even all of the small print. There was nothing that said anything about a new account, just if you charged over $500 on your Firestone credit card you got a 10% discount. That was over $100, so I confronted them, and asked them to show me where it said it was for new accounts only. They couldn't, so I got me my $100 discount.
Part two: I drove the Westy to work on Thursday. When I get out to the car and get in, the brake pedal goes clear to the floor. NO BRAKES. I spent over a thousand dollars and I HAVE NO BRAKES.
I managed to get the van home using the emergency brake. This morning I had a Dental appointment, and afterwards I stop in, drop the keys on the counter, and loudly announce "I just spent over $1000 for you to fix my brakes AND I HAVE NO BRAKES. I am extremely unhappy".
They asked me if I could bring it in, and I said "WERE YOU NOT LISTENING???? I HAVE NO BRAKES!!!"
So I insisted that they call a tow truck at their expense, and tow it down to the shop. Which they did.
I just got off of the phone with them. The Brake Proportioning unit was leaking, which was draining off the fluid. If they had done any testing, they would have seen it dripping. Before I could say anything they snuck in "We will replace the Proportioning Unit free, but it won't be in until Tuesday".
Here I was all worked up and ready to fight, and they pulled my soapbox out from under me.