Take THAT, Murphy!

When Hubby was in AIT one of our vehicles had a flat tire, and I tried to change it myself.  I failed miserably. 

When he was at JRTC, Murphy (of Murphy’s Law) tried messing with our truck, but HE failed.  I can only chalk that one up to a true miracle.

Now that Hubby is deployed, Murphy tried messing with my truck AGAIN.  He almost slowed me down.  I thought I was going to miss a trip I had planned to see a friend.  I thought I was going to have to spend lots of money to get it fixed. 

But I was wrong!  I beat Murphy this time! With a lot of divine intervention and help from Hubby & a good friend, that is.

Our truck has been acting funny for a while, but this last week it started getting MUCH worse.  I’ll spare you the details, but driving a truck should NOT feel like you are riding a bucking horse.  I ended up getting the error code from the truck which told me that the problem was with the Throttle Position Sensor. 

What? You don’t know what that is?  Neither did I, but I do now.  Here, I’ll show you.


I consulted our trusty Haynes manual which gave me instructions on how to test and replace this faulty TPS.  They made it sound a lot more complicated than they needed to, so when I read it to Hubby we both decided that I should just take it in and let the Firestone people fix it for me.  Stuff about electrical currents and all.

Thankfully, I mentioned it on Facebook where one of our good friends saw it.  He has years of experience fixing his trucks, so when he found out what the problem was he was sure it was something I could do and gave me some pointers.

This morning, I dropped Lovebug off at camp and then headed to Autozone for the $30 part I needed.  I came home and got to work! 

First, I needed a screwdriver because I was going to need to remove 2 screws to get the part out.  Hmmmm, only these weren’t phillips or flat-head.  They were a star tip.  I’ve never seen that before, but I do remember Hubby asking for a set of star tips for his birthday, so I looked in his well-organized toolbox and found them. 

Great! It had a hole in the bottom, so I assumed I needed to attach it to something with which I would actually turn this thing.   Yep, laying close by I found the ratchet.  Cool, I can do this!

The next step was to use these tools and get the old part out of the truck.

FIRST – disconnect the negative terminal from the battery.  No electrocuting myself!

SECOND – I was supposed to disconnect the electrical connection of the TPS.  I pulled.  I tugged.  I wiggled.  I looked for a secret latch. It was NOT coming off. 

At this point I was doubting myself and giving myself a pep talk all at once.  I was NOT going to let this little thing beat me, but I also wasn’t sure how hard I could pull.  I have NO experience working on a car (other than removing a battery and putting it back in once), and I was a little concerned about messing with the electrical wires.   I was already thinking ahead that I might have to call a friend to take me to pick up Lovebug from camp.

Then I got an idea!  God bless Al Gore for inventing the internet (HA!) because I Googled my problem and found someone suggest prying it a bit with a flat tip screwdriver.  Well, I had considered that, but like I said I was concerned about breaking something.  However, now that some perfect stranger on the internet suggested it too, I figured it was a good idea. 

It worked!

Great, now all I have to do is get the 2 screws off and take the old part out.

Here is the old part, and all the tools I needed to do the job!



Well, almost all the tools. 

As I was in the middle of removing the screws, I dropped the star tip down inside the hood somewhere.  OOPS!

Thankfully, one of the other tools Hubby had requested for his birthday was a Magnetic Tool Retriever


It’s like he knew I would need these! 

Using the retriever and a flashlight I quickly recovered my dropped tip, and held on tighter the remainder of the time.


Next, I put the new o-ring and TPS on, tightened 2 screws, and reconnected the battery.

ALL DONE! In just 20 minutes, without paying $100 in labor charges, and I only got a little dirty.

2011-08-11_09-05-55_461    2011-08-11_09-05-46_526

Maybe I should be a mechanic when I grow up.  They make some good money for knowing how to fix things and getting dirty. 


It was actually quite fun and made me feel good to be able to fix this.  If Hubby had been here, he would have fixed it himself and I would have made him an iced coffee.  But, when you get thrown into the fire, sometimes you find out how strong you can be.  It felt good.   I’m so so thankful to God that this was a simple, inexpensive repair!  Sometimes God uses these challenges in our life to show us that we can, in fact, do all things through Him who gives us strength.

Note to Parents:  Teach your kids about tools and how to perform minor repairs on the car.  My dad always came to my rescue and fixed my flat tires and while that was awesome, I never learned anything about tools or taking things apart as a kid.  As a result, I now get a little timid around things like this because I’m worried I’ll break something.  Hubby was the kid taking apart the toasters in his free time, and is awesome about encouraging me to try.  That’s what I want for Lovebug – to know her way around tools and to experiment like that.  Maybe not with MY toaster, but I’ll gladly buy her one at Goodwill to play with. 

7 thoughts on “Take THAT, Murphy!

  1. You are AWESOME, Ta Ta! What a triumph.

    Oh, and I really love the pink cup hanging out amongst the parts and tools. 🙂


  2. Congratulations! I hope you are enjoying your day of self-empowerment. The next time I need car repair advice I am calling on you and your Facebook friends.

  3. SOOOO proud of you Love!!!! You did a great job working through that and not letting the difficulty disconnecting the wires stop you. I’m even glad you got to use my tool retriever before me. 😉

    Love you!!!

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