Will Bueché

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I've got a bird trapped in my dashboard

Posted in Personal by Will on Sunday, August 31st, 2008 ~ 3pm

So I tore into my car’s dashboard today looking for that damn air vent squealing sound and found a few things. One, WD-40 smells bad. Two, WD-40 had soaked the inside area of the vent where I’d sprayed it last week but that area, I learned today, has no fan in it. So I wiped up as much of the WD-40 I could. Three, I found a sort of vent-like area under the glove compartment that flips between sucking in outside air or sucking in inside air — and the inside air it sucks in, is sucked in through where the passenger’s knees are. So if your car smells like knees, that would be why.

I tried spraying some WD-40 into that area, since it appears to be a straight drop down from that into some kind of turbine, and my hope was that the WD-40 would fall down into it and miraculously hit the right parts. But the squeeling continued. I could have sprayed more, but I don’t want to spray so much WD-40 that my car will forever smell of WD-40. And I recall that some kinds of fans continue to squeak even if you lubricate them — if they are ball-bearing fans, WD-40 cannot stop worn ball bearing fans from squeeking because the liquid simply can’t reshape the worn flat surfaces of a ball bearing into a smooth surface.

I think I touched a round metal thing that might be the outer casing of the fan or might be part of the air conditioner, hidden even lower behind the glove compartment. I don’t think I should take off the glove compartment in the hope to get better access to it because that round metal thing felt like it was firmly bolted together. It felt like something an actual mechanic would have to remove and replace or remove and clean and put back in.

And maybe I can have a mechanic try to wipe up as much WD-40 as he can while he’s at it.

I’m worried that when winter comes and I turn on the heat, the WD-40 will burst in flame in the vent. Think that could happen? I suppose I should run my air conditioner a lot to dry it out.

All this was done with a flashlight that had less of a glimmer than a child’s nightlight. This house has needed a real flashlight for a couple years now.

Oh yeah, and three: I now smell like WD-40.

Update: Another day, trying to make the squealing stop. Sprayed more WD-40. Gave up. Went online to check prices for blower motors — they’re about $75. So figure labor of an hour, and this is fixable. And I really really need them to wipe up as much WD-40 as they can, now.

Honestly, these kinds of problems make me want to cry. The not knowing if there is a risk of fire due to the WD-40. The not knowing when I can take the car in. All the uncertainty really makes me feel lost. I will call Dinstuhl’s on Tuesday, ask them to be prepared to order the part, etc.

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