Did I kill my car?

From April 2, 2004

Like a happy fool, I drove around in the rain today, driving through massive pools of water at ridiculous speeds which obliterated my vision. Fun, but fairly stupid.

I go out for lunch and the truck doesn’t start on the first try, but does on the second. Hmm. Same thing coming back from lunch. Must be the weather.

Time to go home. Same deal.

Driving down the road, I see this 2wd Jeep Liberty with a bunch of chrome stuff, so I start to follow her to see if there’s anything useful on there. She turns off and I keep going. I give it some throttle, because the wife is waiting to go to dinner. The truck bogs down like the timing is off. Let off and it picks up again. give it some more throttle and the same thing (bogging down) happens. But, the engine does not come back. the tach shows 1000, but the engine doesn’t sound like its still running. Hit the starter. Yup, it’s still running.

Then, it isn’t. I coast to a stop in the center lane. Nice busy street. Oil light comes on so I shut off the ignition right away.


Pop the hood – nothing loose. Oil? Yup. Gas? 1/4 tank.

Try to start. Nothing happens. Local police officers Ange and Barney (I call them that because they were so helpful) show up. Try to start and it just cranks. Not getting fuel? Not getting spark? Computer looks dry. Fuses are dry.

Ange pushes me to the frontage road while Barney blocks traffic. “It’s not safe in the middle of this street, people drive stupid and we have responded to a lot of crashes.” 10 minutes after my rig dies, a Ford Explorer gets totaled 20 feet from where I was stalled.

Call Mopar service. Tell them I am stuck on 40th St. Unfortunately, I am jiffing – it’s 24th St., in a part of town where I am not the most welcome ethnic or economic demographic, and I’m getting a little nervous. Call  the wife and tell her the same wrong address.

So, I have an hour before the tow truck, and 20 minutes before  the wife figures out I am an idiot and makes me tell her my actual location.

During this time, it hits me – water in the gas. So, when  the wife gets there, we run to autozone for a 2 gallon tank and Circle K for some fresh gas. While at Autozone, I remember 20 years of driving in Michigan and Colorado winters, and pick up a bottle of HEET (alcohol to take care of water from winter condensation).

Dump the gas and the drygas in the tank. Fires right up. WTF?! Cross fingers. Cancel tow truck. Tell the wife to follow me home. Start planning time for a dx of the problem at the stealership. Stop at the Texaco to fill it up the rest of the way – gotta diffuse the bad gas in there, right?Took 16.6 gallons (on top of the 2). D-ooh! It’s so clear to me now, since the listed capacity of the tank is 16 gallons and I just put in 18. (Gauge said I had 1/4 tank, honest).

So, in answer to my own question, no, I did not kill it. But I am a big fricken idiot to trust the gas gauge.

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