Wrenches, Grease, and a Blond Mechanic

Lydia has a 2005 GMC Envoy that has a couple hundred thousand miles on it and it all the sudden started running a little rough and the engine would die while she was waiting in the Dutch Bros drive-thru.  She said it also dies in the Burgerville drive-thru but that’s not as critical as a failure at Dutch Bros. This has been going on for some time and I’ve encouraged her to bring it to our house so I could help her change the spark plugs, as a start, in an effort to resolve it’s issues. Today she found some time in her busy schedule to drive it up the hill with her dad, Daniel, so we could get busy.

The first order of business was to remove Diane’s truck from the garage so Lydia could insert the nose of the GMC to get it out of the rain. It was one of ‘those’ days here. Spotty rain with an occasional flake of snow, and some sunshine. Pretty typical prelude to spring in our neck of the woods.

Once the hood was up we spent some time looking at the engine trying to figure out where the spark plugs lived on the engine. They weren’t very evident no matter how hard, or long we stared at it. Finally we gave up and came into the house and looked for help on the internet. It turns out that the engine is an in-line 6 cylinder, not the V-6 I presumed, which accounted for the reason I couldn’t find the spark plugs on the side of the engine. Funny thing. All the spark plugs reside on the top of the engine which would make one think they would be easy to see and remove. But, this is no ordinary engine. You see, each spark plug has it’s very own Ignition Coil that sits on top of the spark plug so there are no wires running from a distributor like a normal engine. Very interesting.

After watching a YouTube thing about how to remove the coil to access the plug, we went back to the garage. At this point in time Lydia had figured out that she was going to be doing all the work so I gave her a pair of coveralls that Jack gave me that I can no longer wear. They shrunk, it seems. But, the fit Lydia pretty good.

I got my tool kit out and we (Lydia) went to work taking things off the engine to gain access to the coil.


Although Lydia is a girly girl, she’s definitely not afraid to get dirty and she loves to learn new things. She also figures things out very quickly. She dove right in and dismantled all the necessary ‘things’ and swapped out the plugs like she’s done it a hundred times. She only needed to be reminded that removing bolts you turn counter-clockwise.

The number 6 cylinder was up under the dash-board and needed a stretch to get to the necessary bolts and things. She tried standing on a stool but that didn’t work well so she just stretched as far as she could and it turned out to be just the right amount to gain access to #6.


Here’s the door I made for under the Walter’s house the other day. I told you about it, but didn’t have the photo. Just found it.


Finally, all the plugs, which cost about $30 at O’Reilly’s, were installed and Lydia fired up the engine. It ran, but it was still rough which means that at least one of the ignition coils is bad. We’re hoping it’s only one because those things cost around $40 each. Lydia is going to get that info from her friend, Justin, who just happens to have recently extracted failure codes from the Envoy. Lydia thinks Justin may have mentioned that #1 and/or #6 were bad, but she couldn’t remember.

Without that info, and the fact that it was getting dark, we called it a day and got cleaned up. I offered her rubber gloves but she declined.


Then she and Daniel headed home. Armed with the proper knowledge I know she’ll get it fixed without any more professional supervision from me and the internet.

Here’s a plate of nachos I ate the other day that I forgot to share. They were quite tasty but I should have held off on a few of the onions.


That pretty much ended the day for us except for the old iMac that I was going to donate to our church. It’s back on the Man Room floor running like a top, but it wouldn’t even power up when plugged in at church. I found that a mystery that must be solved tomorrow. In the mean time, I loaded some software back on it so it will be useful for the Church Ladies. Specifically, Jeannie, our Treasurer. She needs something reliable. What she currently uses is an old Windows XP computer loaded with QuickBooks Pro. Sadly, it’s Windows only software so I can’t transfer it. But, I found some interesting free Accounting software, and some Excel spreadsheet templates that may serve the purpose. We’ll see about that.

Jeannie grew up in Modesto, California and went to High School with George Lucas. As far as I know, George is not related to our friend Larry although they have the same last name.

While working in the garage Ziva started sorting the contents of my garbage can and was a bit upset when I told her it was only Sunday night and the garbage doesn’t go to the street until Monday night.


Since she couldn’t do the garbage, she took a nap.


Actually, that photo is from yesterday when we were watching TV. Ziva watches TV like my brother Jim.


And this one is just for fun …


I forgot to mention that Diane drove me and Jean, her Mom, to Longview after church today where I ate a Senior plate of shrimp & fries as well as nine pieces of chicken, a salad, and an ice cream cone. I didn’t eat as much as I normally do because I’m on a diet.


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