Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sanford and Son Revisited

While most of you were spending your Saturday on mundane tasks, like frolicking naked in vats of scented baby oil or bungee jumping into silos of Dexedrine, I was involved in far more glamorous activities -- like hanging out in a junkyard. The reason for my visit is that I need a new windshield washer reservoir for my car. The top of the existing reservoir has deteriorated in such a manner that chunks of the reservoir fall inside, clogging the pump strainer and washer jets. Thus, I am forced to hold down the washer button for a protracted period to generate enough line pressure to get any fluid dispensed. When I do obtain a moneyshot, it is usually a single, disappointing squirt -- not the blue ammonia/methanol bukkake extravaganza that I desire. The bottom line is that cleaning the windshield has turned into an elaborate exercise in fluid mechanics:

As you might imagine, coordinating the above process requires the utmost timing. This can pose a real challenge while simultaneously performing other common driving tasks, like passing in the exit lane, petting TFD, or applying Preparation H. Thus, I concluded that this situation was intolerable. It only took 2 years to reach this conclusion, which gives you a little insight into how much a despise working on automobiles.

After nearly excreting zinc twinkies when I heard the dealership's price, I looked up several local salvage yards. I was hoping for a U-Pull-It yard, but these are apparently nonexistent in Maryland. I settled for Smitty's on Baltimore & Annapolis Blvd, because they are located about 20 minutes from work. I called them and was assured that they had the part in stock, as well as Saturday hours, so I left work and headed for Smitty's. I will confess a filthy, redneck secret here: I am not a stranger to salvage yards. As I soon as I entered Smitty's, I knew things were amiss. For one, the counter guy had teeth and no facial tattoos, which is unacceptable by Midwestern junkyard standards. I should have left right then, but I was a man on a mission. He gleefully informed me that I was $7 short and they didn't take credit cards. I told him I'd have to find an ATM, so I asked him again, "Are you certain that you have the part in stock?" He replied indignantly that he was certain. I went to fetch the additional cash, thinking that he would have the parts pulled in my absence. I returned to find that, even though there were no customers, he hadn't lifted a finger. Then he tells me that he would call his yard guy and I'd have to go into the yard with him. Here is a Google Earth image of the yard:

The junkyard is the yellow shaded region of the picture and the office is at A. Between A and B, the yard guy showed me a Subaru, a Honda, and a '98 Toyota Tercel. You don't really have to be an automotive aficionado to realize that none of these vehicles are remotely Camry-like. Once we got to B, he announced, "Well, I don't see any Camrys. We must not have any." As this was less that 10% of their holdings and I'd already wasted the afternoon I replied, "What in the hell do you mean you don't have any Camrys? Show me your map." He then revealed that they don't map the cars, so nobody really knew what they had. I found this hard to believe, so I continued on. I did find several resevoirless Camrys and a set of replacement jets, but without a new tank they will quickly clog. I surrendered to the yard worker's laziness because I knew that without someone who actually knew the vehicle locations, I was wasting my time.

In closing, I did learn some valuable lessons on Saturday:

1. MD salvage yards are to be avoided like a dose of the clap. Apparently, the business from auto repair shops is so good, that they don't need to mess with individuals. Now, there is a little something to think about the next time your mechanic charges you for "factory" parts.

2. After-market car parts should only be purchased from genuine rednecks. MD rednecks haven't quite mastered the gearhead aspect of the lifestyle, although I bet they can kiss a sister with the best of them.

3. If I have to get a part in MD, U-Pull-It is clearly the way to go. No bumbling inbreds to get in the way and you can get exactly what you need when you need it. Of course, I have no intention with dealing with any more MD junk yards or after-market dealers. So, if you have a '93 Camry and like to park on the street, let me know.


At 8:15 PM, Blogger elcapitanhink said...

What you need is a good old-fashioned daytrip to a little slice of heaven called Brandywine, Maryland. As far as I know, the city fathers (also the city brothers, natch) have seen fit to forbid any businesses that aren't
junkyards, biker bars or repo lots.

If you really get desparate, drop me an email. My current neighbor has a 1992 Camry (and frankly, if at any time he was the victim of spontaneous combustion, I'd make it a point to wet myself within his field of view) so perhaps I can scare one up.

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous fool said...

What the hell is a U-Pull-It? That sounds dirty.

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Cham said...

A U=Pull-it is a junk yard in the midwest where you drive into the yard and the junkman's sister pulls anything inside your car that want pulled. I wouldn't venture there unless you have a hearty supply of antibiotics on hand.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger tfg said...

Sometimes I forget where I am. A U-Pull-It yard is where the customer pulls the parts. And then the junkman's sister pulls anything else that you require.

At 1:28 PM, Blogger Broadsheet said...

I don't think I'm going to be able to use my windshield washer without getting aroused from now on.

At 8:48 PM, Blogger Kira said...

you ARE the diagram man.
and I agree with fool, it sounds like something you'd hear in a pull-my-finger joke.

At 11:00 PM, Blogger John said...

A U Pull It is a special kind of party in San Fran.

check this out bro


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