Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Series of Unfortunate Events

No, it's not Lemony Snickett. It's ME!

I pulled out of my driveway this morning to take my son to school some 30-ish miles away. I had just adjusted my seat, so my "feel" of the clutch was off. I popped the clutch.

I heard a noise, and the car decided it wasn't gonna run anymore. I opened the hood and found the distributor cap loose, and the rotor in pieces:

Shattered distributor rotor.

I looked further and found both flanges on the front motor mount were broken:

Left side flange on the front motor mount.

Right side flange on the front motor mount.

I had my old distributor with a good rotor in the garage, so I ran in and grabbed it. Did a quick swap and timing, and we were running again. My son ended up being only 20 minutes late.

As I pulled out of his school's parking lot, I heard a new buzzing noise. I had no idea what it was, but the car stopped again two blocks away. I managed to get it into a parking space in a gas station.

When I got out I found this bulge in the hood that wasn't there before:

I opened the hood and was presented with a window where one shouldn't be:

Through that window I could see:

I called my wife to come haul my butt to the parts store to get a new cap and rotor so I could get home. This was after I tried to call AAA and they said my account was expired for non-payment. GAH! The wife is repsonsible for the bills... Grrr... Anyway...

I still had the good distributor in the car from the earlier swap. I installed the rotor on that one and swapped the distributors again. New cap installed and wires swapped. I discovered the reason for the grenading distributor cap... I failed to hook up the ground wire when I swapped the distributor. My own !@#% fault.

I'm still not clear on how popping the clutch shattered the first rotor. Maybe the combination of the shock of popping the clutch and the shock of the motor mount flanges snapping was enough to shatter that rapidly spinning hunk of plastic.

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