Car Corner
Dumb luck has me repairing my car and garage door opener

May 1, 1998
By Scott Lewis

A couple of set backs this month. If you read last months column, you read the note at the end in which I told you that my car was developing an unusual buckling sound. Add to this, my garage door opener couldn't open my garage door.

One month after paying off my Camaro it seems like I have a major repair to tackle, and a new garage door opener to buy. Talk about dumb luck.

In steps the brother in law (actual my wife's brother in law... meaning no real relation to me). I borrowed my brother in law's floor jack and tried to find the problem with the Camaro. The only problem I found was a loose panhard bar. I tightened it, but the noise persisted. It was a little difficult to get a look under the entire car with just the rear in the air.

My brother in law's brother owns a transmission shop. (Talk about extended family, it actually goes like this... my wife's sister's husband's brother, or my sister in law's brother in law. Isn't this a great language.) He said I could bring the car by and he would take a look at it. After 15 minutes it was easy, for him, to determine that it was the transmission mount.

He didn't change me anything to tell me what was wrong with the car. In fact, he called the dealer to order the part for me. I just picked it up. He gets a 20% discount on parts, which worked out to $16.06 with tax for an $18.95 list price. Cool!

I jacked the car up again the next morning and had the part changed in about 40 minutes. The car is back to normal.

Back to the garage door opener. My father in law had a similar problem a few months ago. It cost him around $140 to get fixed. This worried me, so I called my brother in law again. He said it was probably the gears (without even seeing it). He came over and opened it up. We disconnected the chain, and had the gears out in about 30 to 40 minutes. I went down to Sears' parts department and for $19.95 they have a gear kit just for this problem. It took me about 45 - 50 minutes to reassemble the opener and re-adjust the chain.

Not bad. I was worried that these problems were going to set me back a long way. Instead, for less than 40 bucks I was able to take care of both problems. A lot of thanks to my brother in law for his expertise.

My brother in law is a fireman full time, and part time he is a contractor. He built his own house a long time ago, but has since moved out of that home when he got married. He does a lot of remodeling work, and is getting ready to start building houses. My wife and I are going to start looking for land. Then we will have him build us our next house. Hopefully we will be able to start the project some time in 1999. The beauty of it all is that I can help him to offset some costs. I have Fridays off, and can work with him. Also, he said that we would easily be able to put upgrades into a house on weekend for nothing more than me buying the materials.

That about does it for this month. I found a screw in one of my tires while looking into the transmission mount problem. I will let you know how that works out next month.