You can’t get there from here

Roland looked up at me with a big grin and said, “You can’t get there from here.” His T-shirt was already soaked through, he was holding up the seventy-nine cent 0-ring that should have cost five cents, shaking his head because he knew that most of the front of the motor would have to be removed to expose the throttle shaft so he can slip the little 0-ring on, so it stops leaking oil on the engine which drips into the bilge making a big, and I’m told stinky, mess.

You can’t get there from here without a lifetime of experience working on every type of engine there is. He knew several tricks used to avoid tearing apart the guts of the fuel system, but nothing worked. He also knew when it didn’t work that it wasn’t going to work and he smiled and said, “it is what it is.”

Parts came flying off that stubborn engine so fast it made my head spin. At one point he held up a little circlip and said, “Do you know why they call this the Jesus clip? No? Because if you drop it that’s the first thing everybody says. You’re going to need this, and that and this little cotter key. You can buy them and they’ll look like they fit but they won’t work right.”


The first mate made noises about how the skipper just might be able to change out a little O-ring. Changing an 0-ring is nothing, getting to the 0-ring is everything.


Everything was back together in minutes and with the engine cranking over we waited with bated breath for the Volvo to catch, as Roland bled the fuel system. Finally after 45 minutes of turn it on, turn it off, turn it on, turn it off, accompanied by horrible noises and no small amount of SPARKS finally traced to a bolt that didn’t get the full Roland treatment, our Volvo was purring again and not leaking.


It wasn’t cheap but it was the right call.

1 Comment

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One Response to You can’t get there from here

  1. David Strife

    Reminds me of the time I checked out the “how to” manual for my 914 Porsche on replacing the windshield wiper motor: “Step 1, remove the fuel tank.”

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