It’s all about Buttercup, really

The saga continues. Like her namesake, Buttercup, in the Princess Bride book and movie, our dear Buttercup has got to be the most self-centered entity we know. Buttercup to the rescue? Not. Sadly, she is incapable of helping out when help is needed.

We returned from DC, ready to take Wesley’s transmission out and up to Paul for another re-build. Oh, but we forgot that we’d actually have to count on Buttercup to, ah-hem…run properly. Sure enough, the bad clutch hydraulics problem seemed to be intermittently back. And, a quick look showed that it was the slave cylinder throwing out a little spurt of fluid every once in a while. Not the master cylinder. It seemed that Buttercup’s slave cylinder was bad even though it is brand new. I called Chip, a SAAB guru on the East coast to ask what he thinks of the problem. That was a big mistake. Living a couple hours North of Chip, when we were in DC, we used to buy parts from Chip all the time and always enjoyed his various car stories. I called Chip a couple months back when Buttercup was needing a (used) part as I searched across the country for a solution (blog post here) but he couldn’t help at that time.

I’d completely forgotten how Chip has a low regard for SAAB owners–thinks we’re all cheap and always short-cutting things. There could be nothing further from the truth with Buttercup and Wesley’s care, but, such is life and Chip’s opinions. He also has a chip on his shoulder (pun intended) about people getting advice from him but not purchasing parts via him. Since, in the past, we’ve purchased numerous parts via Chip–indeed entire parts cars!–I keep forgetting about this issue he has. I suppose he thinks “they’re across the country, they’re not going to buy anything from me.” I know for a fact that the man really doesn’t know how loyal we are to businesses that have supported us in the past.

Well, the important part of the call to Chip this Saturday morning went like this, Me: “have you ever heard of an intermittent slave cylinder problem when the cylinder is brand new?”
Chip: “you bought a cheap part from someone else and now you’re calling me for free advice?
I don’t appreciate it and you get what you pay for.”
Me: “do you have the part? Send it to me.”
Chip: “I’m busy, call me back next week.”

So much for calling Chip for help OR PARTS in the future. Geeze. I’d thought it was OEM…but I’d bought it from an online vendor, Pro-Tech and I could be wrong. Anyway, we bought a replacement cylinder from a local SAAB repair shop in San Diego and that shop’s owner confirmed that there were Italian-made slave cylinders out there in commerce that were faulty. However, if the casting had an “H” cast on it, it was OEM. Saturday David did a quick job of replacing the slave and rebuilding the master on Buttercup and…drum roll…it had an “H” in the casting. We’ll be returning this part for a refund since it should be a quality part. I feel like calling up Chip and saying “so there! I’m not as cheapy as you think I am!” But, rather, I suppose I’ll just leave him and his little neurosis about this matter alone. Everyone has their issues, after all.

Buttercup’s issue certainly seems to be that she absolutely MUST be the center of attention and care. After the clutch problem was all squared away, David pulled the engine out of Wesley in record time Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. However, we discovered that Buttercup has decided to have a little hissy fit and not run unless the hood is slightly ajar. Seriously. Luckily the SAAB hoods open backwards so there’s no risk of accidentally opening all the way while driving. It seems that something–likely the high tension wires going to the distributor–may have a short or some problem such that when the hood presses against them (as it does with those wires) they allow Buttercup to, not so gracefully, rather emphatically state “cough, cough, sputter, oh POOR me…I shall expire!” and then cease running. Lucky for us, we quickly figured it out while troubleshooting it Saturday evening on the drive to the boat from the hobby shop. Unlucky for us, we haven’t picked up a new set of wires to fix it. In the meanwhile, Buttercup just has to deal with being driven around with her hood ajar. Embarrassing, for us, of course. But, it allows Buttercup to think that she remains the center of attention–or so she thinks. Perhaps we’ll leave it that way for a while and she won’t try any further shenanigans.

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