The Serpentine and the Sweet Fruits of Abilene

Coming into Abilene I heard a Bad Noise I couldn’t ID from under the hood. A small pulley on the serpentine belt had broken off, and Junior’s torquey 3.0 liter turbo diesel  gleefully shredded the belt in tiny strips that proceeded to wrap around the crankshaft like some kind of 80’s Doctor Who special effect.


This belt drives the alternator (can’t charge battery), the AC compressor (no AC in Texas summer), the power steering pump (suddenly 5 times harder to steer) among other things. Luckily the water pump and fan are on a different belt, so I can still drive the van as long as I have battery power. Here I can use my solar setup to rescue myself, and I’m at this very moment wiring it up to the main battery to keep it topped off until I can repair the belt.

It took me about three hours of bouncing back and forth from above to below to pry off this shredded mess:

I *had* a spare belt with me, but the pulley is way too obscure a part. None of the local auto parts stores stock anything like it, so after spending the night at the local 7/11, I broke down and ordered a replacement kit. A super friendly local named David generously allowed the parts to be shipped to his address. They’re coming by Priority Mail, so I’m stuck in Abilene at least until Thursday or Friday.

I’ve experienced several local phenomenon here, including The Endless Cavalcade of Good Samaritans, The Social Scene at the Local 7/11, And Fishing for Beer. I’m enjoying my stay more than I thought I would.

David, who’s been nonstop help this whole adventure! Thanks David!


I was physically abused in the process:


After cleaning the oil, grime, and blood off my face, I was grateful to have some of Mom’s meatloaf on hand for dinner. Thanks Mom!



This entire process was “enhanced” by my skillful choice of parking, which, while shaded, also turned out to The Birdshit Capital of Abilene.




20170724_083336.jpgIn the meantime I’m rustling up the rest of the tools I need for the job, installing the new backup camera I got from Costco (the van has *no* rear windows), installing the alternator relay that will allow me to charge the batteries with the engine, and re-packing and organizing stuff so it’s easier to live in the van and get to things. I might even get as far as getting the sink installed, which would rock.

Despite it’s other shortcomings, my cargo bed with 11 ” foam mattress was very comfortable when I finally collapsed some point past midnight.

I need a fucking beer.

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One Response to The Serpentine and the Sweet Fruits of Abilene

  1. Karen J Mauer says:

    I bet your 5 gallon water supply came in handy too. Good luck with the fix. Did you find the Mercedes tools you needed?

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