DIY Maintenance Rusted & Busted
I finally brought the brick in for service after giving up on diagnosing the emissions problem. Turns out I had a bad air mass meter and I had it replaced. I thought the diagnostics box was broken but it turns out that it just needed to be reset with a bunch of button holds and clicks. D-oh! Would have been good to know that before.
Once fixed the car doesn’t lag, gets good mileage and passed NJ inspection. I took the opportunity this weekend to replace the plugs, cap and rotor. Above are the old plugs. They didn’t look too bad after 36k miles.
Rusted & Busted
Back in November I had a problem starting the Brick. It had been tough to start for about a half year. I changed the plugs, rotor and distributor cap. When that didn’t help I replaced the spark plug wires but it still wouldn’t start. The car was towed and it turned out to be a broken ignition coil.
When I picked it up again it was noticeably louder than before. I looked underneath and it was leaking masive amounts of exhaust. I brought it back and was told that the whole exhaust system, cat back, would need to be replaced, and got an estimate of about $600. No way.
Last weekend I got a $120 Starla system from FCP and installed it at my parents house. It was a pretty easy job, about 3 hours. I wish I’d replaced the catalytic converter also, because it would have made the job a little easier, but would also have raised the price over $300. We’ll see if it passes inspection.
UPDATE April 2008: Didn’t pass inspection. I felt so stupid having to shell out a bunch of cash for the installation of a new cat after having been under the car a few weeks before. But I had no interest in going under there again, and I figured if i got the work done by the place that would redo the inspection I’d be better off.
I’m learning it’s better not to be too frugal. This is the second time I’ve tried to save money by going cheap, ended up getting burned and had to shell out a bunch MORE money to pull myself out of it.