Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Importance of Having a Mechanic You Can Trust

The Corvette has been intermittently turning on three different complaints: "SERVICE ABS" "SERVICE ACTIVE HNDLG" and "SERVICE TRACTION" for a year or so--but the problem always went away when I restarted the car.  This set of complaints came on solidly a few days ago, so I took it into All Things Automotive in Meridian.  One of the error codes involves the sensor on the steering column, which feeds data into the ABS, active handling, and traction control systems.  As I suspected it might be, my mechanic found that the wires from that sensor had been damaged by a rock (probably because of the crummy road between our driveway and the old highway).  He is seeing about armoring the replacement wires.

I'm still waiting on the other error code, which is a complaint about low voltage from the ABS pump, but I am hoping this also turns out to be something as simple as a broken wire caused by bad roads.

UPDATE: No such luck.  I'm afraid that my good and faithful companion is about to leave.  The ABS pump electronics part is $1700 alone--and there's another part needed to get that operational.  There comes a point where you have to own your possessions, not the other way around.  I'm going to miss it, but unless the mechanic finds evidence that the rock collision that knocked out the steering sensor caused this other failure, I'm not getting it fixed.  Without ABS, it is still safe to drive.  I'm sure the Chevy dealer will be able to repair at a reasonable price and resell it.

I'm going to miss this car, but it was a hangover from the days when I worked in the private sector, and could afford silly luxuries like this.

UPDATE 2: I just put it up on Boise Craig's List for $15,500.  If no one bites in a week, I'll probably let the dealer take it.  They will detail it, fix the ABS system a lot cheaper than I can, and probably offer it for more like $17,000.

UPDATE 3: Praise God!  I paid $147.10 this morning--and all the complaints are gone!  The ABS system and Traction Control System idiot lights?  Gone.  As near as I can tell, whatever is throwing codes C1217 and C1243 was intermittent, and once my mechanic repaired the problem with the wires to the steering column sensor, the other problems stopped complaining.  How will I know if there is still a real problem there?  I've had this car 55,000 miles so far, and I have yet to feel the ABS system pulsing back at me through the brakes--because I don't tend to get myself into situations that require extreme braking, and let's face it, the Corvette's brakes and tires create an entirely new definition of "extreme braking."  In any case, it's happy, I'm happy, and I'm glad that I didn't have to put out any real money to get this fixed.

UPDATE 4: No, it's intermittent because the relay in the EBTCM is intermittently failing--and I should expect continued decline until it gives out altogether.  Oh well.  When I worked at HP, I would get together at lunch with some fellow Christians.  Tom reminded me, shortly after I bought the Corvette, "It's all going to burn."  Yet another reason why we own possessions--but don't let them own us--and above all, we don't let things don't precedence over stuff that matters.


  1. I discovered much the same thing about Porsche at an earlier age. I rebuilt a 911 out of a couple of badly deteriorated ones in a friend's barn for very cheap. But the maintenance was a killer and I had to sell it or go into debt and I wasn't willing to go into debt on a grad student's salary. The guy got a great car at a very reasonable price and I got to keep my fiscal sanity, but my id still screams about it to this day.

  2. The two happiest times for toys like a Corvette are the day you buy it and the day you sell it.