Broken Clutch…Unearthed the Stump

This weekend was uneventful until the clutch died on my 2002 Hyundai Elantra GT. The clutch had been slipping for a few months, so we decided to stop driving it until we could afford the repairs. Because I was scheduled for parking lot duty at church, I needed to drive the car to let my wife and daughter sleep in.

The clutch sounded the worst it had ever been, but it made it to and fro church. I was to meet my wife at Home Depot so we could purchase some fence posts, so I turned back on the road. On the ramp to 80 west, my clutch got stuck trying to go from 1st into 2nd. I pulled to the side of the ramp and turned the hazard lights on and turned off the car. What a bad feeling. I was able to get the car started, but couldn’t engage into 1st. It then got to the point where I couldn’t apply pressure on the pedal because the pedal became hard as a rock.

So, I figured I would just back it down the ramp. Amidst my distraction of watching out for traffic, I landed on the guard rail. Thankfully, no damage. I gave up and put the emergency brake in place and walked the half mile to my house. Both cell phones were missing, (we don’t have a land line yet), so I walked next door to my neighbors house.

The neighbors were kind enough to allow me to use their phone to make some phone calls and while on phone, he mentioned that he could probably just pull the car with his tow cable and truck. Sounded good to me. We headed over the the ramp, and decided that we should first roll the car down the ramp and back onto 46.

While I was rolling my car down the hill, a guy stopped right behind me and told us in so many words that what we were doing was illegal and that we should get a tow truck. I told the guy no thanks (and it turned out he owned a wrecking company).

Once back down the ramp, we were getting set to hook the cables up when two black and whites showed up. These cops weren’t the brightest, but obviously I was going to have to get a tow truck now. So, they called their buddy who tows (and I’m sure they got some of my money lined in their pocket). The tow for .5 of a mile cost me 85 bucks. Shoot.

Because of this, I was in the mood to injure something. So, the family piled up into the other car and headed out to our local Ace Hardware. I bought a 3′ ax, a post hole digger, some metal fence posts (for the garden, not the yard), and a metal rake. There is a stump in the yard that is calling my name.

The stump was an evergreen last year that was ugly, and in the wrong spot. The same neighbor came over with his chainsaw and destroyed the thing. So, last Sunday I began to dig around the perimeter of the stump and using my spade, hack at some of the roots. I found that this tree was deeply rooted. So, the ax was useful. After about 1.5 hours, I finally got the stupid stump out. Buried a pile of leaves where it once stood, and leveled off the dirt.

Ah, nice satisfying manual labor. Nothing else makes a man feel as good (well…).

I have a second stump that has a date with my ax and shovel next weekend.

UPDATE: My neighbor on the other side heard about my dead car, and offered his assistance when the time comes to replace the clutch. He’s a full-time truck mechanic, and has all the required tools. God is great!


7 Responses to “Broken Clutch…Unearthed the Stump”

  1. Dan Says:

    The police are there to “help” you. I guess there’s a law agaisnt everything these days; I’m glad I live in a rural area in the upper midwest. There is much less regulation to deal with here. Another reason I don’t want to move back to Mass. I hope everything goes ok with your car.

  2. Leah Says:

    hey if you guys ever need a tow again, give me a call. i have aaa and the first 3 or 5 miles or something are free, regardless of whose car it is, just so long as SOMEone with the car has aaa.

  3. metaljaybird Says:

    Hi Leah,

    Thanks for the offer. Hopefully I won’t have to take you up on it :).


  4. eric Says:

    This harkins me back to a time when I was but a wee lad. Not about the car so much, although I did own an MG for a time, and it spent more time with the hood up rather than on the road.

    but to a time when my dad and I would butt heads over anything, I’d go out in the back yard and chop wood. It accomplished 2 things at once.

    First: I’d be able to vent my frustration in an outward manor…something I don’t do much any more.

    and second: My dad would get his wood chopped and stacked.

    Frankly I still think I got the “thin end of the wedge” …a little wood chopping analogy.

  5. Some Harkening… « eric has issues Says:

    […] 3, 2008 by eric I was reading from the Arrogant New Englander about his recent car trouble, and the subsequent way of venting his frustration. It reminded me of […]

  6. Noah Says:

    Something very similar is what ended up nudging me into the world of bike commuting. Glad you have friends who can help. On Front wheel drive cars, the clutch is my least favorite thing to replace. To date, I’ve done about 5 of them.

  7. metaljaybird Says:

    Hi Noah,

    Believe me, I am getting closer every time I have to repair something. Automobiles are the least dependable machines.

    I just have to get past my laziness and fear of the road traffic (rush hour can be busy these parts) and hop on the saddle.

    I am going to rely heavily upon my neighbor for this repair. The quoted 800.00 is just too much for me to swallow at this point.

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