Friday, August 29, 2014

For Want Of A VIN

Neither Moses nor Maggie could find the VIN, either.

If I ever find the idiot who decided where to stamp the vehicle identification number (VIN) on a Honda small engine, I swear I'll strangle him.
I have an 18 horsepower Honda engine in my EZ-GO ST 4x4, which is a golf course utility vehicle. The oil fill cap disappeared a couple of months ago. Without it, oil gets slung all over the engine, causing it to smoke, sputter and die at the most inopportune moments, like when I’m pulling one of the many hills on my property. I tried stuffing a rag in the opening. That lasted about 10 minutes. 
      I tried various bottle stoppers and duct tape. The stoppers weren’t big enough and the duct tape came off when the engine got hot. In desperation, I emailed EZ-GO. The reply stated the engine wasn't in their purview, and that I should contact a Honda small engine shop. I went online and found a small engine parts house, called up and talked with a customer service rep. I was told that I needed the engine's VIN, because there are 84 different Honda engine oil fill caps in their database, each belonging to a different engine. Who would have thought?
So I contacted Honda to find out where the VIN is located.  "It's stamped near the bottom," the Honda rep said. "You've got to be kidding me!" I wailed. So my engine repair friend, Calvin, came over and crawled under the 4x4  with his flashlight. The only numbers he could find were the engine model and capacity numbers. "That should do it," Calvin said. Nope, said Honda when I called back. There are several engines with that model number. They must have the VIN, and suggested I take it to a small engine repair shop to get someone to find it. Yeah, I'll just drive it onto my non-existent rollback truck and haul it in. IF I COULD DO THAT, BUDDY, I WOULDN'T HAVE CALLED YOU IN THE FIRST PLACE, I snorted.
So back outside I went, with flashlight, cleaning rag and exercise mat in hand. I cleaned a few areas on the engine, discovering to my surprise that it has a red housing on it.  I also found a couple of metal plates with numbers. I used the mat to lie on the gravel while I peered up at the engine from beneath it, trying to read one of them. Mission Impossible, as it turned out.
A nice lady at a small engine repair shop in nearby Oneonta researched the   model number for me. She thought she had found the part I needed, but it turned out to be the oil dip stick, which is a separate entity from the fill cap. She said she would keep looking. I haven’t heard from her in three days. If she does find it, I'll dance at her wedding with a cow bell on, as my mother used to say.
While pondering my next move, I’ve stuck a wine bottle cork in the opening. It worked for the short trip to my barn and back. But with my luck, it’ll either fall into the oil well or swell so large that it won’t budge. I can just picture myself using a corkscrew to get it out when I need to add oil.
Meanwhile, I'm looking for the guy who decided that the VIN should be stamped beneath the engine. I have fantasies about choking the life out of him while Calvin whomps him up side the head with an oil can.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post Elaine. I was searching For that VIN with you.