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alaric: Myself as Wolverine, complete with blades (Default)
Alaric

August 2010

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Saturday, March 27th, 2010 03:22 pm

The Volvo:  New exhaust system installed.  When the original muffler came off all the way, it turned out the system was in even worse shape than we'd realized; large parts of the muffler outer heatshield had completely rusted away.  We bought all the parts from SwedishAutoParts.com, formerly known as VolvoSite.com.  The rear muffler was an aftermarket part from Starla, the rest of the system OEM Volvo parts.  The local Midas shop installed it for us for an hour's labor.  (I'd have done it myself, but I'm short a few necessary tools — I don't have a welder, and they had to torch-cut the pipe off the old muffler to get it off.) With the disintegrating tailpipe, the Volvo's fuel mileage had dropped abruptly to around 14.5mpg from the 18.5mpg or so we had been averaging; now, with the complete new exhaust system, it's not only recovered, it's better.  I got 22.5mpg calculated average, per the trip computer, driving home from the muffler shop.

There was a shipping SNAFU with the main part of the exhaust system, which is a single piece from the back end of the cat all the way back to the aft muffler, and which includes the forward turbo muffler.  As a result, the (VERY oversize) package arrived at the Laconia post office with $45.80 postage due.  I queried Swedish Auto Parts about whether this was expected, and Tony, the proprietor, immediately replied saying that no, that was not supposed to happen, and he was refunding the additional shipping cost to the card we paid for the parts with.  So, kudos to Swedish Auto Parts, and a recommendation from us.  We'll be shopping there again.  (First up, for new headlight wiper blades, which turn out to be otherwise a dealer-only part.)

As a footnote, the site also offers free technical support from a Volvo-certified master technician.

The washing machine:  God alone knows how, but it took the US Post Office four days to get a 2lb Priority Mail package from Memphis, NY to Gilford, NH.  For cryin' out loud, they could almost have gotten it here via Pony Express in that time.  It took them two entire days just to get it from Syracuse to Nashua.

The good news is, the new pump (which, by the way, was a newer, slightly revised model compared to the original, with a complete waterproof jacket around the motor) is here, it took me about half an hour to install it (most of which I spent fighting with those accursed balky bent-wire hose clamps), and the washing machine is now back in service and working fine.  I just need to put the lower front panel back on — with new, non-rusted screws.  (I had to drill out the head of one of the original screws, because the Philips head had rusted into more or less a conical pit and, being a pan head screw, I couldn't get a grip on it with pliers or Vise Grips to remove it that way.  The other screw's not much better.  Fortunately, I have two nice corrosion-resistant zinc-chromated screws scavenged from the original pump that will do nicely.)

The original pump motor was still working fine, by the way.  It's just that the pump itself doesn't work too well when all the vanes have broken off the impeller.  (And while on the subject, let me mention that it's the most horribly crude impeller I've ever seen.  They pinched every last fraction of a cent.  It's working purely on centrifugal effect; vane shape is contributing nothing.)