Uber Alley – Marooned in Houston

On July 13, I had to drop a passenger at a Timewise (or some other sort of convenience store/gas station) and refund her partial fare.  I couldn’t very well charge her $4.80 for abandoning her to call another Uber  – while still 12 miles from her destination.

 I had somehow managed to vaporize most of the coolant and the remaining liquid boiled out the reservoir when I opened it.  I had to buy and pour in a $14 jug of overpriced coolant.  NOBODY has water at a gas station anymore – even for money.  Unless you count the drinking water they sell in bottles.  As it turns out, I should have bought that, because later, I managed to boil off the coolant again and be left dry and overheated.  The Culligan water bottles would have worked out be to less of a loss.

The problem is not the thermostat – as I had imagined – but the water pump.  Water pumps are typically mounted where they can be driven with a belt.  They are normally a half-hour (and under $100)  job to replace.  But this particular water pump is driven by the timing chain – not by a belt.  And the timing chain is sealed inside the lubrication system.  So, when the water pump begins to leak, it spills coolant directly into the engine oil.  That can quickly destroy an engine if not corrected.

Figure 1: Here, the timing chain cover (that seals the water pump inside the lubrication system) has been removed.

You may also notice that to get this image, the author had to photograph an engine that has been removed from the automobile.  I am told that it is possible to change the water pump without removing the engine – but that it might be easier to yank that sucker out!  In either case, it is expensive – very expensive.

You might ask yourself (as I did)  “What were they thinking?”

And see, now?  You have – as I did – assumed that the jackass Ford engineers – who thought this up – were actually thinking

This is an egregious imbecility that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to the vehicle owners.  Ford was being sued in a class-action that is currently dismissed.

 A quote from carcomplaints.com

February 15, 2020

— A Ford Duratec lawsuit has been dismissed, but the plaintiffs may have another shot to prove their allegations in court.

According to the Duratec engine lawsuit, millions of 2007-present Ford vehicles are equipped with the allegedly defective water pumps that cause engine damage.

The Duratec engines allegedly fail because coolant mixes with engine oil once the coolant leaks from the water pumps. The plaintiffs claim the engines may fail without drivers having any warning of the impending doom.

____________________.

Judge Laurie J. Michelson says she still finds the plaintiffs haven’t shown she made a mistake by dismissing the lawsuit, but the judge says she will reconsider her decision to dismiss the case with prejudice. Once all parties have presented their arguments, the judge will decide if the plaintiffs can file a second amended lawsuit.

carcomplaints.com

So, an expensive team of lawyers might be able to try again and see if they can come up with something the judge might like better.  You gonna pay for that?  Nope. Me, neither,

 Please notice that they have been building engines this way since 2007.  If you have ever in your life worked on a car engine, you know this is an irrational thing to do to an engine design and the fact that this happened in the first place is grievously irresponsible.  The fact that – once discovered – it was not corrected is unacceptable.

The result is that the Explorer that I depend on for my livelihood seven days a week is now sidelined for at least three days – probably more.  And the cost of replacing a water pump has gone from two figures to four. Tack on the lost Uber fairs and the cost will exceed a month’s revenue from the Ride-Sharing Business of which I am now the proprietor.  Revenue – not profit.  To clear enough profit to cover this setback will take so long that I prefer to drop the subject right now, rather than calculate same.

Hasta Luego,

Steve      

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