Problem found

What a lovely day we are having today!

As I write this, we are at -5C/23F, and are expected to get a bit warmer. After the deep freeze we just had, this is feeling downright tropical!

I meant to post this picture yesterday, but I just didn’t have the brain space to do a blog post, so I’m sharing it today!

Their matched, angry looking expressions make me giggle. 😀

There were lots of kitties out while I was doing their food and water this morning.

The Potato Beetle brought luggage.

This was attached to his tail! A whole lot of stuff, stuck to a couple of burrs, stuck to his tail. The blue is from the tarp covering the kibble house. It looks like there’s some jute cord in there, too, and I have no idea where that would be from. I haven’t used any outside, yet. You don’t get a real sense of perspective on the size in the photo. It was like he had a small birds nest stuck to him!

Nostrildamus was quite eager for attention this morning.

He was trying to climb onto me while I was taking is picture. I am so happy with this shot!

Butterscotch was out and about, too, and followed me around. She let me carry her back to the house, and I took advantage of the cat house roof. I put her down on it, then kept petting her, and was finally able to get a really good look at her wounded leg. The gash is completely closed and barely visible. If there were not a suture in the middle of it, I probably would not have been able to spot it, as she moved around.

The whole area is still nekkid. The fur is not really growing back at all, yet. Which means she’s cold, all on the inside of her thigh. Which is better than a gaping wound, of course, but I can tell she’s uncomfortable when she sits in the snow.


I took the van in to the garage yesterday. When I got there, I went over again with him about what the van was doing (he sees so many vehicles, I’m not going to assume he remembers everything I told him before! LOL), and he asked a few questions.

When I had come to the front door I saw, for the first time, a sign about masking. Most other places have them plastered all over, but he had just the one on the door. So I paused to put on my Mingle Mask before going in. There was no one else inside and, while he had his back to me when I came into the office, I could see he wasn’t wearing a mask, so I asked “can I take this thing off?” He said yes as he turned around, then saw the Mingle Mask. He had this “wtf is that?” look on his face, so I told him, I can’t wear a mask, but I can breathe with this.

As we were talking and I gave him the keys, I mentioned I was going to go to the grocery store across the street, but might have to come back. There’s no place else to go to wait. He told me to take my time at the grocery store, because he’s not allowed to have people wait in his office anymore. Which is ridiculous, considering how much space he’s got in there.

I did take my time with the groceries, but still ended up sitting outside and waiting. Thankfully, the grocery store has a picnic table in a sheltered corner, where the staff takes their smoke breaks. While I was there, a woman came by for a smoke and we chatted for a bit. After a while, I walked into the parking lot to check, and saw that my van was outside the garage door. I asked if it might be okay to bring the cart over there to unload it, but she saw I had two of the big water jug refills and said it would be really hard to get the cart through the snow. Instead, she helped me bring it into the vestibule, moving a divider for me, so I got get it nearer the exit doors. There was a staff member in charge of cleaning the carts, and she ended up keeping an eye on my groceries for me, while I went back to the garage. She even offered to help me load the water jugs when I came back with the van! They were so sweet. 🙂

As for the van…

The mechanic was outside when I came over – it turned out he had just tried phoning me, but I never heard my cell phone ring! As I came up, the first thing he asked me was, where do I buy my fuel?

We always but our fuel at either Costco (usually once a month, though we haven’t been to Costco for quite a while) or at a co-op. As members, we get a check at the end of the fiscal year, with the amount based on how much gas or groceries we buy, though I haven’t tried to shop at the local co-op grocery store since the restrictions went nuts.

As soon as I told him it was at the co-op, he just shook his head.

My EGR (exhaust gas re-circulation) valve needs to be replaced.

I had no idea what that was, so he explained it to me. It’s no wonder I didn’t know what it was. It’s been so long since I’ve tinkered with engines, they didn’t even have these, yet. I was aware of the EGR valve’s function in newer vehicles, but not as part with a name to it.

Gosh, I suddenly feel old.

He told me the co-op gas stations have the worst quality fuel available. This is something I’ve heard others saying, too, but I didn’t seem to be having any problems, so…


It turns out he sees this a lot, and every time he does, it’s people who buy their gas at the co-ops. The crappy fuel leaves behind a lot of carbon, and these valves end up completely clogged. He said they can sometimes be cleaned, but usually need replacing. I figure, by the time he sees the vehicles, they’re long past the stage where the valve can be just cleaned out!

This is in line with my brother’s thoughts when I described what the van was doing, though he hadn’t specifically mentioned the EGR valve. It might even be why our van sometimes doesn’t want to start at all – something it did with the mechanic one time, as he tried to drive the van into the garage when I had the winter tires put on. That was a problem we’ve had every now and then, since we got the van. Whoever owned it before us did not maintain it well, and we spent an awful lot of money getting it fixed up after we bought it. Considering we got it at a price low enough, I could use my debit card to pay for it, I suppose we can’t really complain!

So while it’s only been a little over 3 years that we’ve been buying this gas, if there were already a build up in the valve before, it would have gotten a lot worse, a lot faster.

As I think about it, I realize that if we weren’t in the habit of doing a monthly shop, with the van being so heavily loaded, we probably would not have noticed it was becoming a problem, and likely would have kept going for months, if not years, before catching it.

The part is being ordered, and I am bringing the van back on Thursday morning. It’s going to cost $425, plus taxes.


I won’t be getting my new chainsaw this month! 😀

While we were in his office, booking the next appointment, he saw someone coming in and quickly put a mask on, so I quickly put my Mingle Mask on, too, so as not to get him in trouble. We were both muttering under our breath about not being able to breath without a mask, never mind with one. I think he he’s medically exempt, too, but is being forced to wear one when customers are around. This town has an awful lot of Covid Karens that would eagerly phone the snitch lines, or the police, on anyone they deem non-complaint. At least he’s alone in the shop, most of the time, and can take it off to breathe.

(Which reminds me; my doctor is going to refer me to a respiratory specialist. The puffer he got me to try has made no difference, and this is now something for the specialists. Hopefully, I will get someone better than the last respiratory specialist I saw, when we lived in the city. His conclusion had been, I’m fat, so that must be why I’m coughing, and he would react with open surprise when test after test came back showing me normal and healthy. :-/ Then he just gave up and sent me back to my regular doctor.)

Meanwhile, the van should be okay to drive, though I will be avoiding heavy loads until after the valve is replaced. He assured me that, while it might keep stalling on me, I would be able to restart it and keep on going. Once it’s replaced, that sluggishness I was noticing should go away, as well. It seems quite a few little things I was noticing, including the fuel economy dropping and the idle starting to sound rougher, were probably all warning signs of this problem.

Now I’m wondering about my mother’s car. She always bought fuel at the co-op, too, and I’ve noticed it has terrible mileage.

After booking the appointment and loading up the groceries, I filled the gas tank on the way home.

At a different gas station!

Dang it. One of our favourite places to stop on the way to the city was the co-op gas station in my mother’s town. There are such wonderful people working there, plus they’ve got an excellent convenience store. But getting a few bucks a year back isn’t anywhere near enough to make up for having to pay over $400 to fix the damage it causes. :-/

We’ll probably still stop there, just to go into the store for snacks, home baked by one of the gas jockeys. ❤

So that’s where we are at, with the van situation. It’s going to be an expensive fix, but knowing what’s wrong is actually a huge relief.

I must admit, though; I’m getting really, really tired of vehicle problems. It’s a lot more stressful, when living in such relative isolation, because we depend on having a vehicle so very much. That’s one of the more major downsides of living out here. 😦

The Re-Farmer

11 thoughts on “Problem found

  1. $425??? OUCH!!!
    I used to routinely let my tank get empty… till I stalled out going over a major pass. I learned that had caused tank crud to get sucked into the fuel filter. Back then, it was a cheap fix.. and I wasn’t dealing with snow or a pandemic!

    Here, masks are required everywhere outside your home. I’d estimate 2/3 comply. I usually wear one for simply things out front, in case people are walking around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t thought of that, with the tank. We try to never left it go below half a tank. Especially in the winter.

      Have to wear masks outdoors boggles the mind. It is so counterintuitive. They are not required outdoors, here, but many people wear them anyway. Even when alone.

      At least they can claim it keeps their faces warm, like a scarf. Scarves can count as masks, though. Not that I can breathe with a scarf, either… :-/


      • It’s SOP here and doesn’t bother me so I don’t give it much thought unless I’ve gone out to move trashcans or feed cats without a mask and someone passes by. With our numbers, not wearing a mask gets a dirty look about 50% of the time. If neighborkid is over unmasked (she was POS back in Nov), I loudly tell her to move away from the sidewalk so people can pass unafraid.


      • That sad thing is that people are afraid at all. The virus is transmitted through sustained close contact, indoors. All those “stay home, stay safe” mantras did was create the very circumstances in which a virus – any respiratory virus – is most likely to spread. Children aren’t even a transmission vector for this strain. It’s like everyone just through out basic virology and common sense, out of fear.

        The politicians share much responsibility for this, but media is responsible for most. I remember when the media tried to create this atmosphere and panic during the last two or three pandemics. This time, it worked. And it’s done more harm than this strain of virus ever could.


      • The WHO instructed labs to stop doing high amp tests because the false positive rates are so high. The question is, will they be allowed to do it by the various government bodies?

        California is a case study of how restrictions have made no difference. If anything, they made things worse. The harder they locked down, the worse it got. The same pattern is showing up around the world. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, first of all… Like the weather? Don’t worry, it’ll change. 😀 Then the cats will really have something to be grumpy about, LOL.

    EGR Valves… Yep, bad gas will do it every time. It will cause carbon coking on the throttle, the idle control valve, the EGR, the spark plugs, Even the valves and top of the cylinders. Because it doesn’t burn as cleanly, you also get less miles per gallon out of it. In Georgia years ago and on the West Coast, I compared mileage on the cheapest vs the best gas in the area. In both cases, I was getting 10% more distance out of the good gas and my engine ran better.

    Funny related story; my hard headed spouse insisted on using Arco gas (complete crap) in the Subaru when it was new. At 6000 miles, I was told it needed a tune up because it was idling rough. I said “Nope, it just needs better gas, and probably a bottle of Techron fuel cleaner at this point”. Well, I was FINALLY listened to and the Subaru returned to normal within half a tank.

    As far as Costco goes… In the US, they have “Top Tier” fuel quality certification, which is supposed to mean their gas meets voluntary standards for clean air and engine efficiency. No idea what they’re like in Canada. FWIW, Arco managed to buy their way into Top Tier accreditation also however, so the rating is meaningless to me anymore.

    COVID… I’m mostly in agreement with you, BUT… California’s restrictions didn’t cause the problem, it’s the insane amount of exemptions from them, AND people flaunting the law (such as the people the police were constantly running off the beaches last summer). Literally EVERYTHING this side of massage parlors and strip clubs was declared “essential”, even nail salons. Some places like SF were a good bit more heavy handed however.

    As for it being hard to get… It’s easier than you think. My aunt in Arizona is in the hospital now with it. My aunt and uncle have been even more careful than me overall, but decided to go out to eat with two friends. Same restaurant rules as out here apparently; mask everywhere else, but it’s OK to remove it while at the table. Well, 2 of the group came down with COVID. I’m still not being paranoid, but I’m upping my caution some, particularly with these new, more contagious strains surfacing everywhere.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think Costco gas is also supposed to be higher end fuel here, but I’ve never looked into that before.

      One of the things I had liked about moving here was being able to guy has at the co-op again, and get a check every year for it. Ah, well. Live and learn. It could have been much worse!

      I didn’t say restrictions cause the problem. I said they make it worse. Not just in hospitalizations and deaths, which used to be the measure of severity, not merely testing positive in a flawed test. There are now some 30 or more studies showing they cause more harm than help. If we went by what the data showed, mandatory masking would end and people would be encouraged to get outside in the sun, get exercise, eat well, sleep well, take supplements and stay home only if actually ill. The most vulnerable would be target protected, and treatment would include the many common and inexpensive drugs that have been found to be helpful.

      Any job or business that puts food on the table and keeps a roof over your head is essential.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Hinge fix done! And so is the van. :-) | The Re-Farmer

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