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TinotopiaLog → Car Trouble! (25 Jul 2002)
Thursday 25 July 2002

Car Trouble!

I have not been writing much lately because I’ve been busy with other things.

A couple of weeks ago now, I was driving along, minding my own business, when I heard a loud BANG from the rear of the car, followed by a bunch of (slightly) quieter BANGs. Kind of like BANGbangbangbangbangbangbangbang etc.

I pulled the car into the AOL parking lot , BANGing along all the way. Turns out the car had rid itself of the #3 spark plug, forcefully. This spark plug is difficult to get to, and at some point in the past, someone had screwed up the threads. About a year before I bought the car, it had blown out the same spark plug, and the damage had been repaired by G&W Motorwerkes. G&W is a very reputable place, but for some reason they did a lousy job on this repair. An insert was put into the now-larger spark plug hole, but it was not sealed to the cylinder head; instead, it was sealed to the spark plug. Sigh!

Anyway, when I changed the spark plugs a while back (and in the process discovered this problem), I did more damage to the new, larger threads, and it was only a matter of time before the thing needed repair.

A trailer was hastily rented, the car was popped on it, and the whole assembly towed back to the ranch. I tried a temporary fix in the AOL parking lot by liberally slathering the blown-out insert with red Loctite, screwing it back in, and waiting a few hours; this held just long enough to get the car on the trailer.

The car was towed back home without incident, except that it was impossible to get the trailer turned back around in the driveway. In the end, it was necessary to use the lawn.

The engine was disassembled, and the head spirited off to be repaired properly.

With the engine out of the car, it only made sense to clean the gunge off of everything. This resulted in one of the messiest experiences of my life. This thing hadn’t been cleaned in 35 years; the shiny aluminum transmission case you see in the photo was solid black; and when I decided to clean up the engine tin — this is the shrouding that directs cooling air to the right places — I discovered that, at some point, it had been repainted. Whoever had repainted it had not, however, troubled to first remove the grease. So the cleanup process went like this: degrease; sandblast the paint off; degrease the grease that was under the paint; sandblast some more; etc. Eventually I got everything down to bare metal and repainted.

Now I’m waiting for the return of the cylinder head. This was originally supposed to take “a couple days”, then it’d be ready “the middle of next week” (i.e. yesterday). So I’m hoping to claim the thing today or tomorrow, and return to the world of the motorist once more.

Posted by tino at 12:30 25.07.02
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Eeeeech!!!… Had a small truck ordeal also. Oil Change and a lower radiator hose with a cooling system flush…..not too bad but later that same day….battery light comes on and volt meter is sinking towards 6 volts. Indications are another alternator. Back to the shop, alternator, battery cause it was over two years old and a new serpantine belt…..lovely $600.00 day off…Hope all is well… and I’m glad your back ! Bryon

Posted by: Bryon at July 31, 2002 03:23 PM