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“Blazer? Is That A Chevy?”

LongRoofian September 14, 2016 All Things Hoon 18 Comments


So based on the comments received from my fellow Hoons in my Sunday post requesting assistance in troubleshooting an HVAC issue with my longerroof, this olelongrooffan headed back over to my local Irish Auto Parts supplier to check into the availability of a Blower Motor Relay for the HVAC system. When the request for a “blower motor relay for a 2001 Blazer” was presented, the parts dude in front of that computer monitor across the counter from this olelongrooffan responded with the title of this post.

My first thought was :”This Is Not Going To Go Well.” Well, actually that mid 30s year old parts dude had just started at that cloverleaf store and did a ‘jam up” job of getting this olelongrooffan fixed up with that much desired relay and twenty five dollars and five cents later I was on the road back to me casa to install that new relay.

Or so this olelongrooffan thought.


I had just left that purveyor of fine auto parts and and about 1/2 mile away at an intersection stoplight, I felt a “stumble” in the power of my longerroof. A quick check of the dash gauges showed no issues so I turned the corner and went up one of the big hills the Ozarks possess round these here parts and at the top of that hill, I noticed one of the few idiot lights my longerroof possesses had lit up, and it was the battery. I checked the gauges once again and noticed the temp gauge was abnormally high. I also noticed I had no power steering. The first chance I got, I pulled off to the side of that byway, thankfully, a place in the shade of an old oak tree. I popped the bonnet on that blue Blazer, only to find the above shown serpentine belt wrapped around the cooling fan. It was at that time this olelongrooffan knew that I was fucked.

Turning Heinz 57 in a couple weeks and here I am broken down on the side of the road with a busted up serpentine belt and never having encountered this problem previously. So, of course, a call to thejeepjunkie was in order. Upon connecting to that cellular inquiry, his response was “Whatcha doing brother?” And I told him and then lamented into a bit of self pity relating to him how my life has gone to hell in a hand basket over the last year. As always, thejeepjunkie told me that all is cool, nothing is thrown at us we can’t handle. We then got into a discussion about the many things related to the catastrophic failure of a serpentine belt and its causes. He mentioned that this olelongrooffan needed to make sure all of the pulleys and such were still spinning freely. “I hope it is not your A/C compressor cuz then you have big problems.” He also thought the longerroof “should” make it safely the mile and half back to that blarney of an auto parts store, “but let it cool off for a while.”


So as this olelongrooffan was sitting in the pilot’s seat of my longerroof, I realized this would be an excellent opportunity go ahead and replace that suspectedly irate blower relay. I got out and headed about the ass end of my ride to put on some of those disposable gloves we all seem to have these days and went under hood to remove that old busted up relay. I couldn’t seem to get it to release from the clip and headed back around to get a screwdriver for the assist and noticed a two man lawn crew exiting a water treatment facility after having done their business there. We were no more than ten feet apart and made eye contact. I said hello and mentioned to the foreman (I presume he was as he was driving and his teammate was locking the gate to that municipal area) my forlorn situation. Well Hoons he sauntered on over and asked this olelongrooffan if I had any pantyhose? I looked at him aghast. He laughed and said he thought I might have a girl and could use her pantyhose as a substitute for a serpentine belt in the short term. Yeah, my fellow Hoons, here in the Ozarks, Ozark ingenuity is wonderful.

Well, I mentioned that I didn’t but that thejeepjunkie thought I might make it back to that auto parts store okay. It was during this discussion that thelawndude asked me where I was coming from and I related to him the story of the Hooniverse and my blower motor relay and how I couldn’t get the old one released from captivity. Well, that kid took a hold of that relay and did release it. I looked at him with appreciation and mentioned that when I was was his age I was able to do that equally capably. We laughed and he said we gotta go and I thanked him for his generosity and wished him well.

So this olelongrooffan installed that new relay switch and got back into the cockpit of my longerroof only to test the HVAC switch system to only have it work on the #4 switch speed with speeds 1-3 still inoperable. Well, I am confident that this olelongrooffan doesn’t need to share with my fellow Hoons that my spirits were at a near all time low.

Still not repaired HVAC system and now a busted up serpentine belt and, as I determined after my discussion with thejeepjunkie, the idler pulley on the top end of that 4.3 engine had seized. This looked like an expensive proposition. Yeah, just last year, Bus_Plunge mentioned to this olelongrooffan he thought I was just a flat tire away from being homeless. As I had just replaced the shoes on my longerroof, I hoped this belt was not my flat tire.


Well, after adding the several 1/2 empty bottles of water found on the floorboard of my longerroof to the cooling system, we did make it back to the that aforementioned auto parts store. I parked on the shady side of the building and popped the bonnet to remove that frozen up idler pulley. Upon entering the store once again, the same guy was the only one behind the counter.

Crap, I thought.

But man was I mistaken, once again.

He checked and double checked everything he had in stock, showed this olelongrooffan images of everything he had and even brought parts out from the bowels of that store to confirm that what he was proposing to sell me was correct for what was needed to get my longerroof back to a healthy demeanor.

It was while this was going on…I was standing at the end of the counter looking at thepartsdude’s monitor…that I looked up and made eye contact with a shaved headed dude wearing a Corvette golf shirt with the “Corvette Museum” embroidered on the sleeve. As thepartsdude was doing his stuff, I mentioned to theCorvetteDude my current lot in life as it related to my serpentine belt and the idler pulley as well. He chuckled and said, “you may as well replace the tensioner pulley as well. They are the same age and it will be going soon.

As it appeared theCorvetteDude was a regular in this place I inquired of him the practicalities of replacing a serpentine belt in the parking lot of a NASCAR famous auto parts store. He shared this with me as well as the schematics of its routing.

We also had a chat about the Corvette Museum, his 2013 Corvette convertible, the Corvette Museum, the Corvette track in Bowling Green, the 24 Hours of Daytona, the NASCAR experience at Daytona and other nonsense such as this.


So as this olelongrooffan was checking out, theCorvetteDude told thepartsdude to charge me but put it under his account. Yeah, that $115.96 worth of parts came in at just under ninety-six bucks thanks to that dude. Gotta love that.


Not only that, as this olelongrooffan headed out to the longerroof, theCorvettedDude was following and when he saw that Extreme, he commented on it and mentioned he always like that look.

Well, my fellow Hoons, this olelongrooffan replaced that serpentine belt and thepartsdude even came out to check out my work, provided a few pointers and gave it the a-okay.

And see that bright bit just in front of the firewall near the passenger side of my longerroof? That is the shiny new bracket for the newly install blower motor relay that works just fine on all four speed of that fan when my longerroof is in full operating condition.

Thanks to the Corvettedude, thepartsguy, thejeepjunkie, Bus_Plunge (who doesn’t even know he helped out) and once again to all of my fellow Hoons.

Images Copyright Hooniverse 2016/longrooffan

  • P161911

    Just dealt with a similar serpentine belt failure on my 2004 Trailblazer. I wasn’t really thinking and kept running the heater at full blast to try to keep it cool. That doesn’t do much when the water pump isn’t spinning. Turns out the water pump was the cause of my troubles. Hard acceleration and a wobbly water pump bearing don’t go well together. This is the second water pump replacement in 168k miles. Found out the last time that you really only need 4 out of the 5 bolts to hold the water pump in place the last time that I replaced it. This time I was smart and got new bolt to replace the stretch to torque bolts and used a torque wrench. When mine failed I was about 5 miles from home. I made it a mile or so, waited a half hour and made it another couple of miles. Finally gave up and ended up just walking home for the mile and half or so. My wife met me about a 1/4 mile from our house and picked me up.

    I too am unemployed for the 4th time since March 2014. I feel your pain.

    • 0A5599

      My Yukon had gone through a couple of water pumps for leaks about every 70,000 miles or so, but most recently, its pulley came apart where it had been factory welded to the impeller shaft. My wife was on the freeway when it came apart, and apparently it was her first experience at losing power steering, power brakes, and air conditioning while simultaneously being blinded by every light on the dashboard. My son was able to diagnose that it needed a new belt, but missed the mangled pulley, so I wasted some time at the late-hours parts store buying a new belt I thought would get them back on the road.

      Good luck on landing your ideal job as your next job.

  • BigRedCaveTroll

    I always enjoy reading your articles, and this one especially made me smile. I’ve generally had good success with that Irish Auto Parts store you speak of. It’s good to hear that they’re maintaining that standard.

  • I don’t know whether it’s just standard corporate training, but about two weeks ago I had a remarkably similar conversation with someone at the local parts counter of that same chain:

    Me: “1970 International Harvester 3/4-ton pickup.”


    Response: “Is that a Chevy?”

    Me: “No, International Harvester.”

    (additional pause)

    Response: “Oh.”

    They didn’t have the part.

    • BigRedCaveTroll

      What’s really fun is when you ask for a part number and tell them you’re not using it for the original application, or say “Yes, it’s off of an X, but I’m going to put it on a Y.” I’ve had some people who didn’t quite get what I was doing and it either took a while to convince them or someone else who got the idea of what I was doing helped me out.

    • 0A5599

      Every once in a while, I’ll encounter a parts guy who can’t find my vehicle in the computer because it isn’t on the first screen of results. You would think “next page” would be part of their training.

      I miss the old assistant manager. He knew I usually had requests for parts not listed in the computer and would let me access the paper catalogs and roam the back shelves to match up dimensions on things that looked like they would fit, regardless of whether the computer knew it.

    • ptschett

      I grew up with an impression that the means of keeping an Irrational on the road was having multiple derelicts to borrow parts from (especially once the red ’73 1110 4×4 345/auto was the only one still drivable.) But, here’s 10 years of progress ~200 feet from my grandparents’ family-room picture window…

    • Dirty Dingus McGee

      For some real fun, ask about points and condenser for a 1960 Studebaker V-8. Parts kid will look at you like you have a hand growing out of your forehead.

    • outback_ute

      That can’t be a coincidence!

      The line “it’s got an adaptor” always helps for explaining the X onto Y situation

  • MattC

    Funny you mentioned this, me beater Ford Ranger with the 3.slow engine ate its tensioner pulley when I was driving to take care of some errands at my in laws. Thankfully, I was able to pull to the side of the road quickly without baking the engine. The following day, I changed the pulley, belt and large quantity of new antifreeze mix right before a massive thunderstorm and the truck runs fine.

    Good to see a positive outcome for you. Keep your chin up

  • Batshitbox

    The backstories of parts counter employees could probably fill a rather good bathroom book. At my local ‘formula retail’ motorCycle Gear supply house the parts guy admitted he was kinda new to this whole motorcycle parts thing. Asking what his main gig was, he said he’d been an acrobat in the circus for almost thirty years. Turns out the circus doesn’t have much of a retirement plan, and anyway acrobats retire at 40. Now he’s my go-to guy, not because he knows a whole lot, but because I want to support him in his new career as a parts monkey.

    Now I’m gonna go check my belts and pulleys on the 305 “Boat Anchor” before it turns 100K and before I drive to Mexico this winter. I can see me Christmas Day in the (closed for XMas!) In-N-Out Burger parking lot out on the I-5 in Kettleman City. Weeping.

  • outback_ute

    I had the steering get real heavy because the serpentine belt was thrown because the water pump had seized. Much better than a warning light really!

    The trouble was this happened in the mountains 2 hours from the nearest town. Long story short, already had a new pump but had to swap the press fit pulley without a press. Some sledgehammer action and a ride in a 327-powered Land Cruiser running on 7 cylinders later I was on the road again, about 6 hours or so.

  • dukeisduke

    Well, dangit! Do you still have only high speed on the blower?

    • BigRedCaveTroll

      I thought the second to last paragraph meant that he got it working? Maybe I read that wrong though.

    • longrooffan

      HVAC now work completely. Yes!

      • dukeisduke

        Did the relay do the trick? I posted your issue on a tech forum this morning, just thought I’d call off the dogs.

        Keeping you in my prayers, dude. Hoping you find the right job soon.

        • longrooffan

          It was the relay. Somehow during my initial troubleshooting, I didn’t realize there was an inline relay. I thought the relay was located in the underhood fuse box.

  • marmer

    Shoulda told him it was an Opel. That woulda helped.