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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Fouined Again!

When last I wrote of an encounter with a fouine (Martes foina), I mentioned their proclivity for chowing down on the ignition wires and rubber hoses of automobile engines, and that Fourmilab vehicles had been “fouined” three times.

Well, make that four.

On my last mission in shuttle craft Bernoulli, it just didn't seem to have the usual pep and really struggled when climbing out of a gravity well. After shutdown, I noticed the distinct odor of unreacted propellant around the stern. Inspection of the engine room revealed the obvious and usual cause for these symptoms: firing on three cylinders courtesy of a fouine! Note that the circled ignition wire in the picture to the right (which you can click to enlarge) ends several centimetres short of the spark plug, the missing part having served as a gourmet snack for some mustelid malefactor. I will hook up the severed end of the cable to the spark plug with Barney clips and proceed to Shuttlebay トヨタ for a new distributor cap and ignition wire set (since they are cleverly engineered as a single piece which must be replaced as a unit). And I'll probably pick up another can of fouine repellent (for all the good it does), as the one on the shelf is nearly empty.

Update: In the original posting of this item I erroneously stated that the distributor cap and ignition wires were a single unit which had to be replaced in its entirety. In fact, the ignition wires can be detached. The gotcha is that you can't buy original equipment replacement wires individually—only as a harness of four wires. When you get “fouined” it's wise to save any intact wires for subsequent repairs, and I had done so. Naturally, the darling furry gnaw-monster invariably severs the longest wire of the harness, so none of the ones you have on the shelf are long enough. (2007-02-15 17:10 UTC).

Posted at February 7, 2007 00:45