I had a funny experience recently. At least one close friend, good old Eddy, witnessed it, which confirms that it wasn’t just a misinterpretation.
It started last Wednesday night when I was running on an almost empty fuel tank. The evening was too hot and balmy, and I was just too tired for a trip to the gas pump. The warning light on the fuel gauge was running on.
Waking up on Thursday, I was already late for a meeting. I rushed off into town and it was only during the return trip, realised that I had forgotten to top up the fuel. The warning light on the fuel gauge was still on, but I hadn’t noticed it in my haste. I swung over at the nearest opportunity and pumped in a just-enough resupply to get the car to office.
Later, on the way home from office, the warning light was still on. I stopped at a pump, but after a few seconds of pumping, the gas tank spat out the fuel. Several more attempts to pump failed, I told the pump attendant to check his pump and drove home.
During the evening, I had a meeting to attend with Eddy. The warning light was still on and we stopped by a gas pump along the way to refuel. Again, the gas tank spat out the fuel. I tried to force pump the fuel in until it was draining off the side of the car. I told Eddy that I wasn’t able to pump any fuel, showed him the emergency light and told him to brace himself for an out-of-gas situation along the way. Eddy wasn’t feeling well that night, but he decided to get on with the meeting instead of turning back home.
We drove by another pump and stopped. This time, Eddy got out to watch. Again, I tried pumping in fuel until it jumped back out of the inlet. We got less than a liter into the tank. Eddy (who knows cars better than I) told me to just have faith. When we started the engine, this time the fuel gauge swung all the way up to Full Tank. Just like that, jumped all the way up from Empty.
Three other things happened that night that made it a long trip for us. First, the rendezvous was changed but only another party, not us, was informed. Second, when we were finally informed about the change, we lost our way to the new meeting point. Finally, it was really a tough place to reach, with lots of U-turns and one way streets. We drove and arrived more than an hour late.
On the way back after the meeting, the gauge dropped back to Empty Tank and the warning light was back on. We stopped by another pump but again the tank spat out fuel. Considering the length of the journey, Eddy thanked the Lord profusely.
The following day, Friday, I drove out on errands with the warning light on and attended a follow up meeting during the night in another part of town. During the meeting, I received a call to attend to some emergencies which was in a laboratory at a hospital in another town in another state. It was late, and with no staff around I will have to go alone. It was going to be a long haul test of whatever-was-happening during the darkest and loneliest part of the Night.
First, I drove back home and got some food for the kids to fast on the morrow. Then I caught a short nap to catch up on much needed sleep. Finally, I drove off at 3PM.
I stopped at the first pump along the way but the tank rejected the fuel again. It was getting quite predictable by then. The warning light was still on. I was getting convinced of whatever Eddy had said.
It was a long drive. When I reached the other town, my first action was to drive into another pump. Another rejection. I had a meal and went to the hospital.
At the hospital, which was relatively empty compared to the day, I took photographs of corridors and corners known to be spiritually inhabited. Nothing showed up. Anyway, just for fun.
I stayed on for about 4 hours, and when things are clearly more stable at the lab, I went home. On the way back, I stopped at the first pump around, and later on, at the last pump on the route. In both places, the fuel rejected as expected.
The next day, a Saturday, I drove into a workshop where 4 mechanics checked the car. They jacked it up so that we could walk under it, and checked the fuel tank plus ancillary systems like fuel hoses, pulled out the rear seat, checked the electrical wirings and the fuel gauge itself.
We found that the tank was really full. This was demonstrated by loosening the backflow hose, an action which could not be completed as it caused fuel to drain out off the tank where the hose was loosened. Also, nothing was wrong with the electronics.
There was one more thing to be attempted, which was to replace the fuel pump to which the fuel float is attached. The workshop owner, with an alert eye for opportunities, had by then found a host of other problems that must be rectified, not related to the fuel situation. These things, including changing the wheels, replacing the disk brakes, etc., had earned him more than a grand, and we have not yet replaced the fuel pump. He told me that the pump and the gauge comes in one inseparable set and will be “just half a Grand One”. So I told him that I’ll just work on the pump with a prayer.
As soon as I started the car, the gauge worked and showed a full tank.
This was to last another day, which, being a Sunday did not involve much travelling, and on the morrow’s evening, with Eddy in the car after another round of visitations, the fuel pump gave one reject kick but when I removed and then put the nozzle back in, it started to take in fuel. So that last rejection marked the end of the funny episode lasting three days.
I got some pictures of this, but they don’t prove anything in any foolproof way. Suffice that I know this happened, and so does Eddy. I’m recording this as advocated by AC (he actually advocated a higher level of documentation but there’s a laziness I need to overcome) – for the sake of records. And I am sharing this only with Close Friends (see the yellow star on the post) who are guiding me and with me along this path. Just so they’d know.
N.B. Just to put things into perspective, these did not happen in a vacuum. They happened during a period of relative intensity in studies and practices.