A long, cold winter for warm weather car 

Jack Frost leaves the motorman with no time to waste

Procrastination is an age old malady I thought I had put behind me. I ardently listened to the self-improvement tapes, you know the ones, surf and sea gulls with subliminal messages to reorganize your previous programming. I soon found myself accomplishing more in less time, getting things done.

That was many years ago, and consequently today I found myself shoveling the previous night's snow from the walks in front of Motorheadquarters immediately after my arrival. My mind began to wander, as is its tenancy when I undertake no-brain tasks, to the procrastination of many of my clients regarding the preparation of their vehicles for winter.

It seems to me a relatively easy chore to check the vital things that your significant auto will need to weather winter:

Good tires, antifreeze protection for subarctic temperatures, fresh engine oil and oil filter, an acceptable state of tune, good wiper blades and little things like a couple of blankets or sleeping bags tossed in the back seat. No big deal.

Suddenly, I flashed on a letter that had been emailed in October, and I still hadn't addressed. So much for procrastination being behind me.

Dear Wise and Wonderful Motorguru,

I read your column avidly for new tips on how to keep my 1977 Ford Granada, dear old Emily, running. You always have such great information. My husband has been fixing cars for 30 years and you keep coming up with stuff he's never heard. (I tell him the stuff you say, and he thinks I'm the smart one. Thanx!)

Anyway, about Emily. Now that it's getting cold again, and ice is forming on Emily's windshield, the blower fan on the heater is not coming on. It's not broken, it works fine when it's not cold and frosty out. Matter of fact, after I drive her about two blocks it usually comes right on. I've tried warming her up for about 20 minutes first (we all like a little foreplay), but that doesn't help. She has to move a bit first. The switch is fine and the fan seems fine; it doesn't start up whiny or anything.

Perhaps, poor Emily is just getting contrary in her old age.(She has almost 200,000 miles on her.) She runs pretty good cause my husband keeps her tuned up and all. He's taken her dash off two winters in a row and looked inside her (poor thing), and he still can't find what is wrong. The connections are all good. No burned fuses or anything.

A very helpful salesman at the parts store said to add some antifreeze. I checked that; it's full. He also sold me one of those cute little lights to test to see if the fan is getting juice. It is.

I don't know what else to do. I thought I'd better write. You can figure it out, I know you can. You know everything there is to know about cars, and then some. Please tell me how to fix Emily's fan. I just can't drive around with my windows all iced up and no heater, too. Last winter I tried driving with my head out the window, but that was too cold and dangerous.

I just have to make it through this school year, then I'll graduate and be able to make some money to get her fixed up. But for now what can I do?

Your true believer,
Emily's Mom.

Mom, no, stop! I cannot let you carry on mindlessly about striving for a financial position that will allow you to comfortably dump wallets full of money into a 1977 Ford Granada.

Who cares if the blower doesn't work? Granadas rank among the very worst vehicles Ford Motor Company ever foisted on the world's unsuspecting motoring public. Face it, Mom, Emily was a piece of shit when she was brand new. Did you ever wonder what kind of automotive engineering goes into a car whose entire dash must be remove to access the heater blower motor?

No matter how good Emily has been to you, no matter what the emotional attachment, park her behind an outbuilding and walk away. Catch a ride to school, or walk or ride the bus. Study as hard as you can and propel yourself into a fast-moving, high-paying job. Treat yourself to a shiny new car, and cheerfully erase all memories of the Granada you once knew.

If, however, for whatever unfathomable reason, you insist that Emily can be salvaged, this year when your old man rips the dash out, have him replace the heater-blower motor. Don't accept any arguments. The problem will be solved.

Guacamoto and Narleen are in Jamaica for Guac's traditional month-long Christmas holiday. I dread the thought of their carryings-on. In the interim, please send your automotive quandaries to Motorhead at 115 S. 4th W., Missoula, MT 59801, or e-mail motoguru@aol.com.

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