Friday, October 14, 2011

The Tube.

This post is mostly about car stuff. Feel free to ignore it.

When bicyclists think of having to replace a tube, they most likely think of the inner tube of a tire. Old school electronics junkies might think of an electron tube.

A while ago, my car's temperature gauge pegged the "hot" mark. I popped the hood and the cool, night air was instantly filled with fog. I grabbed a flashlight to determine the source of the coolant leak, only to find that every square inch under the hood was soaked in the sticky, steaming liquid.

The next afternoon, I surveyed the damage by daylight. I couldn't see anything obvious until I filled the coolant system back up a bit and started the car. Then, the source of the leak became obvious: An oddball part made of cheap fiberglass had cracked on a seam. I couldn't find this part in any of my service manuals, and two local parts stores had no clue, either.

I finally called the dealership. The conversation went like this:

Me: "I have a 2000 [Ford Focus] ZX3 with a nasty coolant leak. I found the leak, but I can't find the part in the service manual."

Ford: "Is it the tube that sits on top of the radiator?"

Me: "It is."

Ford: "We have them in stock. Let me look up the price. [Long pause] $32.70"

Me: "Well, that's not too bad, I suppose. Do you mind if I ask what that part is called?"

Ford: "It's 'The Tube.'"

Me: "The Tube?"

Ford: "Yep. We always keep a few around."

The Tube. Seriously. It's kind of a pointless part for what it needs to do. A small "Y" splitter would have made much more sense. It's held in with a pair of plastic rivets and three hose clamps. A trained monkey could swap it out in 10 minutes or less. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but it's almost like this thing was designed to break somewhere after 100,000 miles and prompt a $250 trip to the shop.

I have been blowing it off for the past few weeks, since there's not that much rush to fix it. This morning, I finally got around to paying the stealership a visit. For giggles, I simply asked for "The Tube for a 2000 ZX3" to see if they'd actually know what I was asking for. "That sits on top of the radiator?" the parts guy queried. "The same."



amidnightrider said...

I'll be in KC in Jan for three days. We should have coffee one morning. Is your coffee shop near the convention center?

Noah said...

There are at least 3 places in a 20 mile area that can be called "The Conference Center"

Downtown, there's the Bartle Hall Convention Center. If that's what you mean, that's about 15 miles out of my way. I'd probably have to drive, but I'd love to grab a coffee. You're probably the 2nd or 3rd person to ever have stumbled across me.

amidnightrider said...

It's the main convention center in downtown Kansas City MO.
This one

Anonymous said...

I like to go into car parts stors and say(I am well over 6") "hey I need parts for a black car"

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