Very interesting day.
Headed out to work this morning (“Hey, I cleaned up cat piddle, nothing worse can happen to me today!” heh.) and as I was crossing Grand, heard a little grinding/growling noise from under the right front side of the QX4. Traffic slowed, I tapped my brakes, and the noise grew to a full on metal-on-metal squeal. I got the car over to the right and turned off the main road, and parked with a lurch – felt like something seized.
Preliminary inspection showed the brake caliper assembly wasn’t in the right place – looking closer, the bottom of the caliper had dug a groove into the magnesium rim. If that had happened at highway speeds …
Called the boss, called the wife, and then started looking even closer. The bottom bolt on the caliper was missing. Plain not there. The top bolt was loose. Hmmm – maybe back where I heard the noise? I walked back the way I came for a bit, but didn’t find anything. TMBWitW pulled up, and we headed for the house. (sat at the railroad crossing for about 30 minutes as a train was switching back and forth, and I think they were building the train for departure).
Got home, changed clothes, headed up to the dealer (‘cuz I knew, in my heart, that the bolt was a dealer-only item. I was right), found out that the bolt only cost $4.74. I could pick it up on Monday.
Monday? Yup – the nearest copy of the bolt I needed was sitting in a warehouse in Tennessee and they would Fed-Ex it to the dealer and I could pick it up Monday afternoon. My mind was already racing, worried about transportation with only one vehicle and long commutes to work.
I couldn’t leave the QX4 where it sat – I needed to get it home. I called a member of boss’s networking group to have it towed, and they told me it would be about an hour to an hour and a half. I headed out after an hour, so I wouldn’t be rushed getting there when they called. As I drove along, thinking about how to get the transportation stuff done, something in the road caught my eye.
I though to myself “No way.” This was several blocks before the noise had started, so I didn’t think it was possible. I turned around, parked, waited for traffic to clear, and walked out to pick up the object – because it looked a lot like the bolt off my caliper.
When I got to the QX4, I checked it against the other caliper bolts – and it sure looked right. It fit in the hole, and threaded into the exposed rotor mounting point. I called and canceled the tow truck, drove home, grabbed the tools I would need, (cancelled the part order from Tennessee) and drove back. A little bit of mechanical work later, and the assembly was back in running order. I drove home, got TMBWitW and MEG (and Cinnamon, because she had an appointment today and TMBWitW was going to be taking her) and headed back to the QX4. Once I got the car home, I headed for the hardware store to get a new washer – hey, I found the bolt, I was more than happy to spend 30 cents on a split ring washer – and then tore the assembly apart again so I could put it back together.
30 cents instead of $4.74 and a tow bill? No problem!
Anytime something like this happens, that prevents me from going somewhere or doing something I had planned, I always wonder what God was keeping me from. I had extra toys in the car that were headed for the warehouse; that prevented me from switching cars with TMBWitW – and prevented her from being the one stranded with the broken down SUV. The caliper came apart on a fairly calm stretch of road, instead of on the stretch of highway in my commute, keeping me from having a more catastrophic event. If the caliper assembly had dug into the magnesium rim at highway speed, I wouldn’t have been able to stop before it sliced all the way through, possibly causing a loss of control and the resulting incident afterwards. Not to mention how much more expensive a rim is compared to a 30 cent washer …
All through this, TMBWitW and MEG are recovering from or headed into a stomach bug – MEG was throwing up last night, TMBWitW is feeling nauseous tonight – and the rest of the crew at the store stepped up and picked up my sudden absence.
Chat ya later…
Thanks for stopping by, In GOD We Trust, and Wear Red on Fridays!