Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Monday, December 4, 2006

Breakage

The life cycle of numerous devices came to an end last week. We located the source of the squeak in the garage door, the bearings at the end of the main shaft were shot. The hot water dispenser in the kitchen sprung a leak, the electric motor that runs the driver's window in my truck gave out, and we finally decided to get the furnace fixed. The garage door man came on Wednesday and replaced the bearings. The furnace man came on Friday and replaced the ignitor in the furnace, which got it going. The plumber is due to come out some time this weak and replace the hot water dispenser.

The furnace died last winter, but the weather (as I recall) was fairly mild, and we have two gas fireplaces. I had just spent $500 getting a valve replaced in one of the fireplaces, and was not looking forward to spending more money on the furnace. So I just let it slide. Things got a little dicey this fall. Gas fireplaces work best if they have a fan to circulate the air around the firebox and blow hot air out into the room. The fan in the basement fireplace was rattling. It got cold and we turned on the furnace. After about a day, Anne notices that the house is not getting any warmer, and the furnace seems to be blowing cold air. Oh! That's right, it broke last winter and we never got it fixed! But wait, we have another gas fireplace, let's just fire it up. It lights up, it warms up, the thermostatic switch engages, the fan starts blowing warm air. All is well for about 30 seconds and then the fan starts screaming it's head off. Gads! Shut that thing off! A couple of hours of fooling around, a little epoxy, and the fans are running again. But the furnace is still broken and it is really cold outside.

I took my truck in to the Dodge Dealer in Beaverton to get the window fixed. They could not get it done. They did not have the part, they were busy, they did not have time. If I wanted, they could order the part for Monday. I declined, partly because they wanted $400 to fix the window. $400 is a stink load of money for one broken little do-dad. The garage door repair and the furnace repair were about $150 each, and they came to my house to do the work. I looked on the Internet and there are places that sell window regulators for about $80. The dealer wanted $160 for the part. The Internet part is risky. It might be perfectly good quality, but it might be shoddy, and that would mean another repair in a year or two. Reputation means a lot.

Anyway, after subtracting the cost of the parts, that means $240 for labor, which means about three hours of work, maybe two hours if the mechanic is really good at it. Which means it would probably take me all day. I thought I would open up the door this weekend and have a look, but between helping my kids, doing a few chores, and goofing off, all I managed was to pull the truck into the garage. I know my limits, I could pressure myself to fix it, but that would cut into my slack time, and that would make me grumpy, and nobody likes me when I am grumpy, so I am going to have the dealer perform the repair.

But I do not think I will be going back to the dealer in Beaverton. This is the third time they have disappointed me. First time they replaced an intake manifold gasket on warranty, which failed a month or so later, which necessitated a tow. The second time they did not have time to do an oil change when I showed up around noon. This was the last straw. So now I have to arrange to drop the truck at the dealer in Hillsboro. Probably do it on Christmas vacation.

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