A long known about problem in our car is the accelerator cable. Unlike new cars, in our Toyota an actual cable connects the gas pedal to release the gasoline. So the gas pedal has a cable connected to it with a screw that connects to the carburetor. When you step on the gas pedal the cable is pulled and opens up a little flap to allow gas into the carburetor.
We have often had problems with the cable fraying. Once the cable frays one of two things will happen. One, you step on the gas pedal and it doesn’t pull the cable because it is completely frayed through. Or two, you step on the gas pedal and it sticks open because the frayed parts of cable are keeping it from returning to its normal position. In the first case, you have no gas and can’t go anywhere. In the second, the gas going into the carburetor doesn’t get cut off so the car keeps driving even when you don’t want it to.
We have prepared for this by having extra cable on hand so when the cable frays we just stop, cut the frayed part, feed more cable through, attach it to the pedal with the screw, and voila, good as new.
A few weeks ago my mom, sister and I were traveling to a town two hours away called Canoa. My sister was concerned about the car because in the former weeks little things had broken down on the car. We were following some friends, so I felt secure that even if our car did break down we would be able to resolve it.
As we approached the edge of the town the gas pedal was getting stuck open, literally hitting metal. Mom used her foot to pull the pedal back to its original place. My first guess was that the cable had frayed. After looking at it we thought that maybe the screw at the pedal had become loose making the cable slack. My sister laid on her back, very uncomfortably, underneath the pedals to tighten the screw. I laid in the passenger seat and held the pedal its proper position. After tightening the screw, however, the pedal still did not return to its proper place.
Continuing our search for the problem and the solution we looked under the hood at the end of the cable connected to the carburetor. There is a spring that pulls the cable and the pedal up when you release it. My sister asked “Where is the spring?” My mom responded “Over there.” Our eyes followed her pointing finger to a spring dangling unconnected to the accelerator cable. “Why isn’t it attached?” my sister asked. So, all we had to do was reconnect the spring. And then we had to loosen the screw at the pedal. So a twenty minute fix could have been a five minute fix.
That is what having an old car is like, though. Little things go wrong, and it takes time to find out what it is. But we are happy to have our car. Old cars are easier to work on, and our Landcruiser does awesome here, in Ecuador.