Go ahead and look at the picture closely, car guys/gals will get it right away, and the rest of y’all will have to wait until I explain it later. Anyhow, my hunt for a cheap mode of transportation has finally ended. Well, the hunt has ended since I have indeed purchased a vehicle as of yesterday, but the drama that has plagued me has yet to end. Hopefully by the time I’m done writing this post sometime later in the week, I can say it has all ended. As of now, it’s Wednesday night, I just wanted to start my story while I had some quiet time in my favorite room in the house.
Where to begin. Well, it actually started the Saturday before Thanksgiving when I was informed by my dad that he has located the perfect $2000.00 (my budget) car for me. He tells me it is a white 2001 Buick Park Avenue owned by a 93 year old man, he has been the only owner, and his immediate family wishes to sell it because he was placed in a nursing home last year at this time. In a round about way, through relatives I’ve never met, through marriages I never knew about, I’m told he is part of the collective family, which means he is the father of the cousin of my uncle’s wife. Yea, I don’t get it either, but just roll with it. But there’s a catch, it’s located 4 1/2 hours from my house, it hasn’t been inspected (safety/emissions) in over a year, and the exact location of the title has yet to be determined. By black Friday the title was located, it was signed by the old man, and was to be waiting for me when I picked up the car.
On Monday night, after work, I was delivered to my parent’s house since my dad felt obligated to go with me since it was his “deal”. Actually, I think he was bored and made the excuse to go with me. We got up early Tuesday morning and headed out. On our way, once we get to the county the car is registered in, we had to stop by the tax office for a temporary tag, so I would be legal to drive it back home. As we pull in the drive I see the car, remember I basically agreed to buy it sight unseen. We all spoke for a few minutes, I went and drove it a couple of miles, decided that I really liked the car, a lot. As I paid him he informed me he installed a new battery for me and that the title was not there. No worries tho, its being FedExed to me. We gas up on the way out of town and away we go. The car drives beautifully. After about 140 miles my ” Service Engine Soon” light comes on. Really! Motherfucker now somebody needs to die! What in the fuck mess did I just get myself into. Breath motherfucker, breath. Fuck you voice in my head, fuck you. I was, and remain, just a tad pissed. Y’all don’t need me to explain, again, why in the fuck I don’t trust people, do you? I didn’t think so. After a brief stop on the side of this busy fucking freeway and a few phonecalls, I was once again on my way.
For the first part of this trip I only wanted to listen to the car, see if she moaned and groaned at 120 mph, see if she rattled on the back country roads of East Texas, see if she is a thirsty bitch, but no, she purred like a kitten and just floated me around everything I offered her. I’m beginning to like driving a luxury car just a bit more than I should I think. However, after the service light came on I eased my foot out of her as just a wee bit, I have to remember that this car has sat, undriven and unthought about, for close to a year. Upon entering the city which I reside I pulled in to have the safety and emissions test completed so I can later get the title transfered so I can get new license plates. Bad news for me, the test shows a P0420 code, roughly translates into catalytic converter failure. Hence the check engine light, great, just fucking great. Pass or fail it is $25.50 paid. I was told I have 15 days to get my shit straight, bring it back, and they will reinspect it for free. After a few dozen phone calls, I found the place I was going, seemed fair over the phone and didn’t give me the ass rape price, average I was getting was $700+, so his $375 made me smile. It’s too late in the day now, I will have to go Wednesday morning.
Bright and early I was sitting at the muffler shop, well not really, my appointment was at 10:00 am, but I was there, I just wanted to get this shit done. Soon it was my turn, I get loaded into the computer, give him my keys, and take a seat while the diagnostics are being performed. By the time I was out of the men’s room he was there, waiting, to give me the news. He proceeds to tell me, “sir, I can’t replace your catalytic converter as discussed because you don’t have a catalytic converter to replace”. I must have had my best ” what in the fuck are you talking about” face on because I was led into the shop for show and tell time. Now, look at the picture above, I took that picture when standing under my car, as I was being shown a welded in patch of pipe where my catalytic converter should be located. WTF? Really? C’mon, your shitting me, right? Nope. He explained he will cut it out, reflange the exhaust pipe, and install a fancy new shiny catalytic converter. I was led back out ant told to give him about an hour and a half to get the job done. Fine. Still trying to wrap my head around this bullshit I realized that, of course, it would throw a code for a bad catalytic converter, no shit, because it doesn’t have one to begin with. But it all makes sense, it really does, because I bought it in a county which doesn’t require emissions testing. After some mega research, I found that the failure of the catalytic converter was common, very common, so common that after two years GM decided to do a design change, recommending to customers to get it switched out, not a recall, but at the customer’s expense. How nice. So, I guess that when it failed on the old guy he said fuck it and just took that shit out. However, I don’t have that luxury, I need it in the car, and when it was done it was $403.27 out of my pocket, I guess this was Merry Christmas to me early.
Upon completion, I was told to drive it 75 miles to reset the cycle, the sensors, and the computer module, so I did, and then I returned to the other shop to get it reinspected. Again, a failure of the test. One might guess that I’m getting pretty fucking pissed. I was told to drive it more, get over 150 miles on the new converter, then bring it back. So, Wednesday night I went joyriding for a while, I just drove out some 50 miles and turned around and drove back home. Now I have 180 miles on it. Thursday morning I went back, and I’ll be a son of a bitch, she passed with flying colors. Yay me! However, now its Friday morning, and I still don’t have a fucking title, so the rest of it goes on hold till next week sometime. Meanwhile, I’ve been cleaning her out, I have found $17.94 in change, an abandoned wasp nest, something dead that resembles a squirrel, and a trunk full of wet shit. But now it doesn’t smell like wet dog any longer. I’ll just keep trucking along, I’ll get done sooner or later, and meanwhile I’ll be cruising in my new used oldmanmobile and loving every minute of it. It’s still hard to believe that it all went down the rabbit hole this way, but now I am out, now I have my own ride again, yay me!