Minding your own business, having a good day….

You know how sometimes you have pretty much everything in order, I mean, it seems like you have everything in order? You wake up, there is nothing negative that you can tell on the horizon. Bills are bills, but you have them so they are manageable. You are going along having a pretty nice day, and ……..damn if something “out-of-the-blue” doesn’t land right on your face. Well, welcome to my week 😉

Here comes a small story so spray some whip cream on that chocolate frappuccino, turn on some music, Not Too Loud, and sit back in that oil changers chair 😉

I own a 1998 Jeep Wrangler with a 4.0 6 cylinder engine ( this comes into play later in the story), I bought it in 2008 from a woman in Aptos, Ca.. The Jeep has passed smog every time we’ve tested it. When I took it down to my usual smog place a couple of days ago, I was pretty confident that my “low mileage” vehicle was going to have no problems passing.

I take it to a small radiator shop which is known for being very fast, and fairly priced when it comes to smog tests. The waiting room is what you would expect from a radiator shop and there are two people already waiting. As I fill out my paperwork they call out one of the persons names with, “You Passed” and you can hear a small sigh of relief. While I’m waiting with the gentleman that was there before me, two more people come in.

One lady, a young Mother with her 6 Month old strapped to her front in some kind of cocoon, mentions that it smelled kind of dank in here. “Well”, I reply, “Everything smells like that right now”, in regards to all the wet weather we are having. She continues on to mention that her Mother’s road and driveway had washed out and before I could ask what street she was on, she continued with, “Down in Livermore”. I replied, “Really? We’re from Livermore” and we then struck up a conversation of who we knew, where, what high school, etc.

Another Announcement , ” Who ever has the Mustang,….it’s done!”. The gentleman who was already there says, “Boy, that’s two people that have come and gone since I got here, I hope that’s not an omen”. I reply with, “Well you know that the State of California has tightened up on the rules especially on early 90’s vehicles,..what year is yours?” “91”, he says, and with that, the room became silent and we all went to watching the walls again. “BMW! Who had the BMW? It’s Done”. “The 91, who had the 91? It’s done!”

So, now it’s just me. Two more people come and go, they PASSED and I still wait,….still confident and not having a clue. Two more people come in, it has now been about 40 minutes and I am up looking at my Jeep in the garage bay with that smog thing hanging out of it’s wazoo. Finally I hear, ” Hey Buddy, this your Jeep? Come here, I need to show you something”.

Sadness came over me like my girlfriend had just lowered the boom and broke up with me, without ever giving me a clue that something was wrong. I walk, defeated and disgraced that MY CAR did not pass, over to my lifted hood. “See this?”, as he points to a code on a sticker, “That means you have to have 3 cats (catalytic converters) and you only have one”. ” They welded out the other two from the exhaust manifold, we can fix it if you want”. “No”, I said with my head now hanging low, “I can do it”.

I called two repair shops just to get an estimate, both were around $600! A Six hundred dollar bill Right-Out-Of-The-Blue. Well, I am half way through the job, and like everything else on a Jeep, it has been very difficult,… but….. being that the Jeep is a third vehicle,….I’LL NON-OP IT IF I HAVE TO!!

Moral of the Story: Not only has the DMV made the emissions more stringent, they have also made the visual inspection more stringent. I asked the mechanic how this was missed before and he was adamant that he has always caught this type of problem and while he was looking up in his computer who had tested it last I hear, “Oh, it was me”  😉


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