Here I am, sitting in a coffee shop on Division, a block over from what, so far, is turning out to be a pretty good automotive repair shop. You see, yesterday, just as Kim and I were about to go to Bill's for his fourth of July party, my car stalled in a “was that a sudden release of pressure I just heard from the engine compartment?” sort of way. I was able to locate a hose that had slipped off and fortunately the clamp was still there, so I was able to reattach it. I later discovered that this was “Air Hose B” (as opposed to A or C) and had something to do with the turbocharger.
After that, the car ran…sort of. It drove well at speed, but when idling, it would swing wildly between a little below 1K and a little above 2K RPM. Not good. After debating a number of options to get to Bill's, including: bus (the hour+ trip and holiday schedule would work out so we could be there about an hour or so), bike (that is a LOOONG trip), taxi (very expensive for the trip, much less the round-trip), Flexcar (almost as expensive as a taxi to reserve it for the evening), hitching a ride with a friend (everyone was already there).
At any rate, we were both in foul moods. I ended up hobbling my car home because I had to take care of stuff there–kitties, laundry, preparing for car and work stuff today. After a grease-removing shower, I ended up missing Plan B: Eric's trip to the fireworks, which further pushed me into a bad mood. Fortunately, he randomly showed up on my doorstep and we had a few beers, a cigar, and some good conversation on my front steps, which improved my mood tremendously.
At any rate, my car is sounding better this morning–I am not sure if it because “the car computer fixed itself” or if it is just cold. The guy at the mechanic shop was absolutely wonderful. I am not sure if he explains that well to everyone or just to me because I came in and was able to throw around the right terminology and concepts. His initial thoughts are that the car is fine now–the funny idling is often the car computer. The computer keeps a history of engine performance and uses that to adjust fuel and air rates. With a vacuum failure like “Air Hose B” popping off, it gets lots of bogus values, and even after you fix it, it is still trying to run with the recent history of the failure. He said it usually takes a few engine starts before the buffer gets cleared out and things run fine. He said he would take a look at it, but it was probably fine by now, and I asked him to double-check the hoses, since it is hard to tell if they are pinched or cracked through their insulation.
In retrospect, I believe the same thing happened in 2003. I am not sure whether it is the same hose, but the initial stalling was about the same, only I was on the freeway back then and the exact conditions at the time made me initially suspect something else.