So this was the big weekend. The weekend Jen's been prepping and stressing over for approximately 6 months. The weekend that would forever convince Jen never to agree to being a bridesmaid again. The plan was Jen would take off Wednesday night for Ottawa and then spend the next 4 days worrying about schedules and flowers and how she was going to manage to breathe in her bridesmaid dress.
A key part of this plan was the ole CeR-Vix. We had gotten the trooper out of storage, put insurance on it, and made sure no rodents had gotten into the wiring. Yup, it all seemed good to go. One weekend was all we needed out of the greying soldier. Surely it could give us just this one weekend?
Of course not. Jen called me Thursday night from a restaurant to say she was pretty sure the transmission was going to blow up. I made a skilled diagnosis of "low transmission fluid" over the phone and Jen limped back to my parents.
Friday, I took the day off and headed up towards Ottawa. Jen called as she and my dad tried figuring out where the tranny dipstick was and how exactly to get more fluid into the tranny. They confirmed that there was definitely some fluid that had gone missing and they topped it up. A test drive confirmed the problem had been resolved.
So, on I drove. Happy that everything had been put right again. For two hours. Then Jen called again and said that the transmission was acting up again and this time there was a big puddle of transmission fluid in front of the bride's sister's house where she was parked. Back she limped to my parent's house to trade for my mom's car and then off to her rehearsal.
Finally I make it to Ottawa. I give the CeR-Vix a dirty look and head straight inside for a beer. Further automotive work would have to wait for Saturday. In the meantime I pondered all the possible leak points in an all-wheel drive, automatic transmission and the potential repair costs associated with each location. More often than not, I came up with an imaginary repair bill that exceeded the projected resale value of the car itself. I then started looking into automotive recycling options. 500 bucks was the limit. Anything that was going to cost more than that, meant the end of the line for my faithful old CeR-Vix.
Saturday morning, I grimly set about the task of determining the source of the transmission leak and, ultimately, the fate of my once trusty sidekick.
A quick peak around the underside showed fluid had managed to cover quite a large area of the lower surfaces. Thankfully, though, the areas around the drive shafts and flywheel joint were dry as could be. The leak might actually be in a location I could fix myself!
More snooping around and I found some external fluid lines running to a tranny cooler I didn't even know the car came with. And a filter. An old, rusted out, in-line filter between the cooler and the transmission. Son of a bitch. I could just pop that filter out and join the lines and I'd be done!
Now, I want to take a moment from this, already too long, story to point out that I am an engineer. And I am familiar with the design process and how critical compromise is when developing a new design. But this familiarity does little to appease the rage that consumes me when my knuckles run smack dab into one of those compromises.
When placing a filter in a fluid circuit, you have to think whether this is going to be a serviceable item or an item that will perform it's function capably over the projected life of the vehicle. If it's option 1, then the fucking thing should be accessible. If it's option 2, then the fucking thing should be shielded from road and salt spray. Honda made the curious decision to make this item both inaccessible for removal by any adult sized hands or tools and yet completely exposed to the road below.
Up until this point I have always spoken highly of Honda's vehicles. Even though their disc brakes are shit, I had always found everything else in the two Honda's I've owned to be clean and simple and well thought out. Until Saturday. Oh, how I fucking cursed the Honda name. I left litres of blood and yards of skin in and around the engine compartment of that fucking CR-V. No more clever name for this pile of crap. I spent almost the entire day getting that old filter out of there and had to go to Canadian Tire TWICE on the same Saturday that all of Ottawa decided to visit the Kanata Canadian Tire location.
I was pissed.
But I got it fixed. For a total of $30 in parts and fluid. Yes, the CR-V would live to see another day. And that day would be Sunday.
The original plan was that Jen was staying until Monday and I was driving back Sunday. With the CR-V fixed the plan could continue but, obviously, I would be driving back the Honda. This incident had painted the car with suspicion. What else had corroded under that hood?
Apparently, the A/C lines. No air conditioning. Brutal. And then a tractor trailer caught on fire and closed down the 401. Awesome.
By the time I got home, I was one grumpy critter. But, mechanically, the CR-V held together. Things definitely could have gone worse. Jen could have been stranded on the 401 on the way up to Ottawa. I eventually calmed down and was able to see these silver linings.
So, if anybody is curious, the CR-V is still kicking but I think it might connect with a bucket sooner rather than later.