Gambled and Lost

When I played poker tounaments the first rule is posistion. By this I mean how you play a hand early in a tournament is not the same way you will play that hand late in a tournament. For example if it’s early in the tournament and someone jams and you have them covered with big slick you might call for a coin flip against what you presume is small pockets, and hopefully a lower ace combination. However, even if you think you have the best hand later in a tournament, you may fold if someone jams preflop because you could either miss the money or place much lower by taking that gamble without seeing the flop. End up being dominated by AA or KK.

Last night I took a gamble at a car auction that did not pay off. It was a bad play based on my posistion. I saved about $1500. Next week I should have $600 coming from my stimulus check and another $460 from work. This means I’d have about $1800 to spend on a car, and could probably wrestle a car from a seller asking 23 to 2500. Where I’d be able to inspect the car while it’s running, and test drive the car to ensure a good degree of reliability.

From the beginning of the auction there were a few cars that I was very interested in and most of those cars went above what I could afford. There was other cars that I was not interested in that impressed me with how quiet the engines were when they came around that sold for prices within my budget that I regretted not bidding on.

There was one car inparticular that I was interested in that was posted in the CL ad advertising the auction. When I arrived at the auction to preview all the cars it fell to about 4th or 5th in terms of interest but it still appealed to me none the less.

2012 Chevy Malibu. I knew someone who had an 09 or 10 that I drove a few years ago and I liked the car. This car had 190k on it but if I could get it within my price budget which was less 1200 and it lasted me 20,000 miles I’m good with that investment.

When they brought it around it was a little louder than I would have liked it to be but didn’t seem all that rough running from my vantage point. I bid and there was another person who was bidding against me. I won the car with an $1100 bid.

I was a little worried after I completed the purchase just because they had to jump it to get it started but I assumed they probably swap out the good batteries. Maybe they don’t because there was an older gentleman whose car was cranking but he couldn’t get it to start. Either way, a bad battery in itself isn’t a big deal.

The car idled a little bit rough and sounded as if it was a little low on oil. As I was driving I was paying attention to the temperature gauge. After a few miles I noticed it exceeded the half way point. Typically a car that doesn’t have a cooling problem will rest in the middle but I have known cars that rest a little above or a little below the half way point. I was hoping this was one of those cars. It isn’t.

When the temperature gauge reached about 3/4th of the way I knew there was a problem. I turned on the heat and it was blowing cold air, which means there is either little or no coolant, a problem with the thermostat, heater core, or water pump.

As the temperature kept climbing I sought to pull over. I also knew the battery wasn’t going to hold a charge so I needed to go to a gas station so I could get a jump.

There is an arco I think near Las Vegas Blvd and Charleston, maybe a little before or after that is accessible from the westbound lane and I was traveling east bound. I pulled into the turning lane to make a u turn to go to the gas station. Suddenly the heat began to blow hot and the temperature went down. I pulled out of the turning lane and proceeded home.

The car intermittently went from running hot to rapidly cooling off with the heat blowing cold to suddenly blowing hot.

I hoped it was just the thermostat sticking because that’s an easy $15 to $20 fix.

The next morning there were two factors that contributed to my optimism: 1, there were no stains on the concrete which indicated the car wasn’t leaking anything when I pulled up. And 2, the resevoir appeared empty.

Usually if a car is low on coolant it won’t over heat and then go down. The heat won’t blow completely cold and then blow hot it will just blow luke warm air. While my hope was still in the idea that the thermostat was bad since a bad thermostat will produce those symptoms, I also had a little hope that maybe this car would exibit those symptoms because of very low coolant. I was also well aware that a failing water pump will also produce those symptoms.

I also checked the oil and it appeared to be at the very bottom of the dip stick or not at all. The dip stick on that car is not traditional. It is a very poor design that makes it difficult to discern where the oil actually is.

I went to Walmart and purchased oil and coolant before I purchased a battery. The reason being is I didn’t have a wrench, socket, or even pliers to disconnect the terminals from the battery, and there is a core charge. I also purchased an adjustable wrench and 2 funnels.

I was initally going to purchase a battery from Walmart, but the only battery that was reasonably priced at $54 was 585 CCA, and the car requires 590CCA. While 5 cold cranking amps shouldn’t make a difference in starting the car, it could, and a refurbished battery is usually pretty near a new battery for about half the price. If it lasts a month saving $30 today is important to me at this time.

I was waiting for the bus with my walmart purchases. All the used battery places that were open on Sunday were opening at the time I was looking 9am. No one was answering the phone. I kept cycling through until Canos Used Batteries answered and told me they had a battery for $30.

When I returned home I put the contents of the Walmart bag in the back seat. Before completely disconnecting the battery I made sure there was no corrosion on the terminals and that the terminals were tight. Often times what appears to be a dead battery is actually just a loose connection. I didn’t think that was the case here but it doesn’t hurt to make sure.

Canos is pretty close to where I’m at, but it is close to a mile walking, and walking 2 miles with a battery is labor intensive.

When I returned I discovered the coolant level was not as low as I initally thought. There was barely any coolant in the resevoir but it only took about a half gallon to reach the fill line. Oil was more than a quart low maybe 2 (added oil from 5 quart jug) and it was awfully dirty even after adding the fresh oil.

The car turned over right away and idled a little rough, bit sounds pretty decent when you give it some gas. Who knows how old the gas is?

I opened up the hood and inspected the top side with the engine running. There was nothing notable visually or auditory. I crouched down to look beneath the vehicle and saw fluid leaking from towards the rear passenger side of the engine. I knew it was coming from the water pump. I reached under and put my fingers in the fluid to confirm and it was indeed coolant.

That was the worst possability to me but I’ve changed water pumps before. I changed a water pump on a dodge grand caravan in Balboa Park in SFV in LA, with 2 sissor jacks and a handful of basic hand tools, on a vehicle with a frozen belt tensioner. Fuck it, I’ll change it.

I went to youtube and watched a video. I knew there would be a lot to take off to get to it. I was waiting to find out if the tensioner was spring loaded or if it was bolt tensioned. There came a point in the video where the guy started talking about timing and took off a component that seemed unrelated. I went to a different video and discovered the water pump is on the timing chain (balancing chain) not on the belt. This is completely foreign to me and I’m more than a little bit intimidated by the prospect of the job. The video ive watched so far have not given me a very good conception of this tool I need to get to hold the chain in place while I remove the water pump.

The other problem is I have less than $100, waiting on my stimulus check which was supposed to have been sent on the 6th which is being sent to my daughter’s mothers house and I’m hoping I’ll be able to direct deposit it through a picture. I have to be out of where I’m staying at 8am Friday and I don’t get paid from work until Friday. If I had the money I would go buy the tools and the part and change it here but I don’t have the money.

When I returned from Walmart today there was a sticker that read violation no registration, that warned me the car could be towed within 48 hours. I was completely blown away because the car is parked on private property. I called the towing company listed on the sticker and explained that I purchased the car only hours before this sticker was placed on the car. He told me to schedule an appointment online with DMV and to put the appointment notice in the window of the car. I was still blown away by the idea that a car could be towed while parked on private property and I still am.

I purchased insurance with some help and went to the DMV. I can get a moving permit to drive the car for a limited time if I have insurance. When I arrived at the DMV there was a line outside to use thr kiosks. I found out this was not the line to access services. There was a roped off section with DMV employees. I was told you have to get there on Saturday before 5am to get a ticket, and during the week it is by appointment only. Since I already set an appointment, I also know that the soonest appointment is in April. Fortunately, he told me they do provide moving permits for walk ups during the week. He also told me that if I have everything together that they may do my registration and plates on that day. I can’t imagine passing smog testing with a bad water pump.

I walked away in disbelief, that a tow company can essentally steal your car from your property because you don’t have a plate displayed and their DMV is 3 months behind. Who the fuck are people electing to run such a shit show? I suppose when all your attention is directed towards race, gender, and sexuality nonsense rhetoric, it’s easy for incompetent and wealth serving people to neglect your interests right in front of your faces.

I went to office depot made copies of my bill of sale, insurance, and appointment with the DMV. Then I looked up the time the state provides for registering a newly purchased vehicle and found out it is 30 days. I displayed the doccuments in my window and wrote a note that I have 30 days to register vehicle.

This was a bad bet based on my posistion, because if I buy a bad car which I have done I am fucked. Yes, if I had the money I could fix the car but I do not and may not have the money until I have no place to take the car.


Maybe premature to say I didn’t lose but the water pump doesn’t seem as big a deal as I initially thought. Watched a few videos and I’m comfortable with my ability to change it. In fact I bought a few tools and I’m a face plate, a sprocket stablizer install and 5 bolts away from changing the water pump. I won’t have enough money for the parts until I’m paid on Friday.

I have to be out at 8am but the woman I am renting from agreed to allow me to finish fixing my car on her slab. I procured my moving permit from the DMV and it is valid for 4 months. I’m also changing the air filter, changing the oil, and changing the spark plugs. My hope is the the check engine light will go off and I can pass emissions. In that case I’ll be able to get my car registered and get my plates. If not, I’m confident I can leave with the moving permit.

As I mentioned the idle is a little rough and there is a tick at higher rpms. If I’m lucky, changing the air filter, oil, and plugs will straighten this out. If I’m not, I’m going to put about $200 more dollars into this car, have about $200 left, and have a car that barely runs. LOL. I need that laugh, my sense of humor has been slipping lately.

I will know in about 48 hours where I’m at with this gamble that I’m doubling down on.

It’s official I am fucked. On a positive note I successfully changed the water pump without dropping any bolts into the timing cover, a feat I attribute primarily to luck, but still a source of pride none the less given the circumstances. But, the problem still remains. I knew it as soon as the car began to warm up and the heater was blowing cold. It’s almost certainly the head gasket.

I’m living out of a car that I cannot drive far, and probably will not be able to sell. I have only myself to blame for the bad decision. I’m in a walmart parking lot where I will try to take a nap. There is a security truck so we’ll see how that plays out.

A car that is less than 8 years old for 1100 seemed like much too good a deal to pass up. I’d also saw cars go for low prices that I felt like I should have bid on. I probably should have. I’m disgusted with myself and I don’t know what I’m going to do.

The next morning I intended to drive to Walmart from the parking lot I slept in. As I drove the temperature increased and stopped about an 1\8th of the way below half. I decided to keep driving drove about 4 miles and it maintained this temperature.

I decided to take it on the I15 south and it maintained the temperature. However, I was going about 75 to 80mph and took my foot off of the accelerator. When I went to accelerate again it would not accelerate. I initially thought I lost compression, pulled to the shoulder with my hazards on and proceeded to the off ramp.

I was looking for a parking lot when a woman asked me if I was limited to a certain mph, she said miles but I knew what she meant. She followed me to a parking lot and explained she had a Malibu and it was a computer problem. She started talking about locking the doors with the key but I stopped her because my ignition key doesn’t work on the car doors.

When I restarted the car it functioned as it ususlly does. Other issues I have is it won’t start on the first try. I’ll turn the key and it will crank but won’t turn over. Like it isn’t getting fuel. After a few tries, sometimes after putting it in neutral, othertimes putting it in neutral and rolling it, then it will start up.

The cooling system seems as if it is mostly solved. When I drained the coolant there were metal specs in the pan as if the previous owners used a radiator stop leak product. Maybe I needed to drive the car with the new pump to clear it. Idk.

After driving about 15 miles in the city with the heat off I was at a stop light and temp started climbing but went down to 1\8th below half after I put the heat on. I should probably try to sell it.