Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our Engine Starter Adventure!
Roberto the auto electric mechanic lives an interesting life. However, maybe not an unusual life according to customs in Mexico. Although Roberto owns a home, has a family, and is married, he presently lives and sleeps in his auto electric shop. Roberto told me why he does this twice, but the translation did not dribble thru.

We are going out to shop for the rebuilt engine starter. We cannot phone around to ask which auto parts store has the starter needed, because Roberto does not have a phone.

Roberto's own car was not running this morning. The car was driven a bit too fast over a topo [speed bump] and bottomed out on the transmission. It will take awhile to save up for those repairs [$500US]. It may be that Roberto's wife was the one who drove the car too fast over the topo, and that event led to Roberto sleeping in his shop.

We borrowed a car that was being repaired at the next door mechanic in order to go look for MsTioga's rebuilt starter. Robert says that the customer who owns the car would not mind. I chipped in $2US for the $5 gas that we put into this car.

We had gone to three auto parts stores and not found exactly the right starter. The starters had the wrong bolt mounting plate. Apparently four or more vehicles use the same basic starter and different mounting plates. Roberto asked if I would permit the switching of the old mounting plate on to the new starter. I gave approval.

When we returned to Roberto's shop, he removed the old starter and showed me why it was important to replace it. The old starter shaft was flopping around sort of loose inside the main starter motor bearing. In fact, it looked to me as though the main bearing was somewhat destroyed.

Roberto switched the mounting plates quickly. It was clear to me that he had done this job many times before. When the new starter was installed, it was then Roberto noticed that the electric cable connection was different now. The stud for the electric cable was on the opposite side from before, and the new stud was much larger than the old.

Roberto borrowed one of my drill bits to enlarge the cable connector to match the starter's stud. Then it was found that the stud had no nuts for which to secure the cable. One nut was found in Roberto's shop after dumping a five gallon bucket of old parts out on the floor. The other nut was found in the shop of Roberto's friend, next door.

Together, Roberto and I re-routed the cable so that it would reach the top of the new starter. The cable was secured to the starter, and the new starter now works great. Sounds nice and tight too!

My impression of the work that Roberto did replacing MsTioga's starter was very good. He took great care with every detail. I watched everything and was underneath MsTioga all the time. I had been a bit watchful about Roberto's quality, because Roberto has many missing tools [ie; wrenches, drill bits] and also his electric charger though working, is in pieces on the shop floor.

Cost: $90US for the rebuilt starter. $35US for the labor.

Little Mavicito took a pic of Roberto's Auto Electric shop as we were driving away. Do you see all of those guys? They hang around the shop all day. One of them owns the shop next door but doesn't have a job to do right now.
Auto Electrico Beto.


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