The joys of owning a car
One day, when I still drove to work, the front right brake on my car stopped working well. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I suspected the ABS, but I talked to a mechanic and a brake engineer. They thought it was a problem with the brakes. I knew the pads and rotors were good. I cleaned them to make sure there wasn’t any oil making them slip. I replaced the calipers and lines. The problem was still there. Eventually I noticed the ABS sensor on the right wheel looked broken. I took the left side apart again to compare. The bolt that holds the left ABS sensor was rusted and required drilling. In the process, the ball-joint boot was torn, so there was another project. I removed the ABS fuse, and the brakes worked again. I replaced the right ABS sensor. As soon as I pulled out of the garage, there was a strange sound. The new ABS sensor had snapped. After ordering a new one, I didn’t have time to work on it for a while, but now I had brand new brakes.
I bought a new left ball-joint. The old one was still in good shape, but it is better to replace it as maintenance instead of repair. Unfortunately, the easy one hour job wasn’t. The pinch bolt on the steering knuckle was rusted, and its head immediately snapped of. Yes, I did soak it in PBlaster before trying to remove it. With lots of help–and sixty dollars of worn out bits–the bolt was eventually drilled out. The bolt was an odd size, so I had to order the replacement through Subaru. In the process, I decided to replace the outer tie-rod end.
Last week I finally got around to working on the ABS again. I was expecting to remove the right axle to replace the over-priced ABS tone rotor. Once the brakes were apart again, but before I pulled the axle out, I realized that the tone rotor bolts were loose. This was causing the tone rotor to wobble. Shortly after I bought the car, it was hit by an unlicensed driver making a blind left turn. After weeks without a car, my insurance company finally agreed to fix it. As far as I can tell, the mechanic at the big-name shop in town didn’t completely tighten the tone rotor when he repaired my car. The bolts came loose and the rotor wobbled enough to break the ABS sensor. I applied Permatex Blue and tightened the bolts. I installed the new sensor and replaced the fuse. Tada! I now have ABS again.
I then decided to work on my rear windshield wiper. It had been working intermittently. I took it apart and tested every component. They all seem to work. It works better now, but not all the time. I’m still not sure where the problem is.
To test the wiper switch, I had to remove several parts of the dashboard. This was much easier than on other cars. Another example of Subaru engineering being much better than say Ford or Chrysler. Since the dashboard was already out of the way, I decided to remove the remote entry system. When I bought the car, it had an aftermarket keyless entry system installed. As convenient as these can be, I don’t like this one. It seems to be a fairly common model, because I would occasionally find my car unlocked when I knew I had locked it. I was able to find the control box and trace the wires. I now have a car that won’t mysteriously unlock itself.
After owning my car for two years, it is in much better shape than when I bought it. I regularly get better mileage than the EPA estimates. I still want to replace a few parts, such as the timing belt…