2018 has been a terrible year for our vehicles.
- W8 Passat hit a pothole and ripped the bottom of the engine out. It’s still sitting in the lot at Tom Wood. May have to look at seeing if I can install a 1.8T into it, providing it can mate to the transmission and 4 motion in an acceptably working fashion. I can probably eek more power out of a 1.8T anyways, and I believe it’ll be more reliable and less expensive to maintain.
- Next came the BMW X5, with the 4.4l, that I bought from GT Autosports in Westfield, with “123,xxx” miles on the car. When I received the title weeks later, I realized the car had the mileage not only rolled back once, but twice. It has been plagued with transmission issues, that I have dealt with until it broke the timing chain a month ago. It’s sitting in a half tore down state, and appears the VANOS system on the drivers side bank came apart and tore the chain up. It’ll be a hefty bit to get it on the road again, I’m sure, as it will need both the VANOS systems rebuilt, the timing chain replaced, and that is only after I have the ability to check to see if we didn’t trash the pistons or valves when the chain broke. I’m assuming it is the original timing chain, and with the roll backs, it likely has close to 225k-250k miles on it. Not happy with that, as I was told the car has 123k miles on it when I purchased.
- Recently scrapped the Tahoe, it was enough to pay for the designated summer car, which was needed when I realized the BMW was going to be down.
- Summer car, I found a 1999 VW Golf GL Coupe (as a coupe, it’s basically a Rabbit). It has the AEG 2.0, and a 5 Speed Manual. I bought it running/driving, but would shut down after 10 minutes of driving until cool, when it would start right back up again. I’ve had enough AEG based engines to know that is a Crank Position Sensor going bad (~$100 from Autozone, $35 from Amazon). I replaced the CPS, and all was good, until I found the 10mm socket the previous owner dropped into the timing belt cover, which chewed the belt basically 1/2 as wide. In replacing the timing belt, I didn’t pay enough attention to the crank bolt torque. When I started the car the next time, it ran for about 30 seconds until the crank bolt came loose, slamming the valves into the pistons, which of course bent the valves. I’ve got another head sitting herewith good valves, and a top end gasket set, I just haven’t had the time to deal with it, between life, and um, life. It’ll also need a water manifold, as it broke during removal, and there is a vacuum hose port that broke off the intake runner after the MAFS.
- Porsche 1 & Porsche 2 remain down, haven’t had a chance to look at either of them as well.
- Finally, the GTI, the one reliable car we have. Last brake change, the pad with the sensor broke the wire, so we have the brake light on. Jennifer apparently hit a parking block, and ever since, we have had the check antifreeze light on, and no matter how much we add to the bottle, it still drops to the bottom of the bottle, with the light coming back on. The A/C doesn’t seem as cold as well, so I am sure there is something going on there.
Luck needs to change this summer…
I hate potholes…
That’s all for tonight, I’m tired..[Update: 3/3/2018 – tj]
Ugh, it’s been quite an evening. Let’s just say I’m tired of potholes. Both the kind that craters the road, and the kind that are the crew down on the other corner of the block, remodeling a little house. One of those “potholes” tonight . , and his wife, were flipped out, tried to block me into the road with their vehicles, got into a screaming match with my car doors (and my car windows), “something about their dog died” and “I’m an asshole and looked like I was going to run a yield sign” – someone please explain that one to me. When he noticed I had my hand on a baseball bat on my front seat (with my thoughts of how to swing a baseball bat inside my car to protect myself). Those of you who know me would understand that I try my best to not escalate things, but when he told me he was going to go to his truck and get his gun and shoot me, I realized this was not a situation that will calm. You can tell he was wigged out on something. So, when that pothole started making these declarations, I did the right thing, threw my car in reverse, and backed up the 4 houses to get to my house, and called 911. The wife decided it would be prudent to follow me home, and get out of her car, onto my property, and cuss me out royally, bang on the window, and kick the side of my rental car.
Saw an ad on Facebook tonight for Rubbr.com, a mobile tire service that comes to you. This is a brilliant idea that is much needed during the time of year in which out roads look to have been a bomb run, riddled full of craters and potholes, big enough to swallow a mid-sized car and just spit out the leftover road salt.
I can tell you quite certain the potholes are worse this year, moreso than others. A few weeks ago, my W8 Passat Wagon disappeared in one rather obnoxious one that destroyed 3 Blizzak snow tires, put a hole in the oil pan, and cracked the windshield. Yep, it was bad enough it cracked the windshield.
We’ve even actually already lost 2 of the Pirelli tires on the GTI, one even to that same car eating pothole, and it made every attempt to rip the front bumper cover off, tearing up two of the fastener holes.
So, yep, the roads suck, and, yes, I’m gonna need to replacement at least 2 sets of tires real soon. I’ll be giving Rubbr.com a call, and see how their prices and services compare. I’m also interested in other “applications” for their business model. I can see someone having track tires installed, or balanced or multiple sets set up the Thursday before Putnam or Auto-X weekend. Just some food for thought…
Today I completed my 45th trip around the sun. Reflecting on the last year, I definitely see things as trying, and complex, ripe with injuries, illness bruises and scrapes, some physical, some mental and some – lots – emotional. Tomorrow, things started anew again, with a new celestial trip for the next 365 days, which I’m sure will continue to be fill of more trials and tribulations. There will be many posts dedicated to that for the next year, but this post is not about that, this post is about today, my birthday, and I want a birthday redo. I deserve a birthday redo.
Don’t get me wrong, my day started out awesome. My lovely wife made me French Toast, I got to play a bit with cars, I was looking forward to dinner with Mom and Dad.
Then, when I decided to go outside and de-ice one of the cars, things started to take a turn for the worse. I really hurt my right shoulder trying to scrape ice, and my shoulder is NOT happy. I should have just packed it in and called it a day right then and there. I mark up a big chunk of the following to the cold weather and the ice, which turned things to crap in a real hurry. Maybe even some bad juju I had to get rid of as well, before I could successfully start the new year. Here’s how my day unfolded after I hurt my shoulder more than it had already been.
1) I had someone coming by to look at the 318, so I went about trying to thaw it, and to cleaning the 1/4 inch of ice which caused the passenger window to shatter in a brilliant, surprising explosive fashion.
2) Whole going over the 318, we diagnosed the head gasket as “crap”. Or, maybe “crap” was what I was screaming when we found that fact out. Fortunately we have it parked in their warehouse, out of the elements, and in a good spot for now.
3) Getting in my W8, I immediately noticed the spider cracked windshield. No worries, that’s why I pay insurance a bit extra for windshield replacement.
4) Time to head to dinner – leaving house in my W8, heading to meet my parents for birthday dinner at Olive Garden, a mile down the road, I hear a thud, thud, thud, and found my tire uber flat. That’s the tire I replaced last week, and checked air pressure on before we left. It was an inside sidewall blow out, probably from a pothole. Grrr. Limp it back home.
5) We grab the wife’s GTI. 20 minutes after #3, trying to still meet my parents at Olive Garden, we found another tire flat, this time an inside sidewall blowout on the GTI. What are the odds? NO BIGGIE, let’s just put the spare on – wait, umm, keyed wheel lugs and we never had keys for the lug nuts on this car. I wonder how many times the wheels have actually been rotated when I’ve paid for them to be done?
6) Time to limp it to Tires Plus, the only shop open on Sunday. I’m so grateful they were able to handle busting the keyed lug off and putting on the spare. They fixed the issue, and said, “no charge!”. Looks like I need 2 sets of tires at this point.
I’ve never had issues at tires plus, and they are one of my go to shops. My day had turned into crap by this point, but their service AND their customer service, helped to turn my day a little brighter. Many thanks to them for their help tonight.
So, what was the outcome? We finally go to Olive Garden, long after my parents left. Had the best waiter I’ve ever had there, he was phenomenal, so I told the GM how lucky they were to have him on their team. Big bowl on salad, some ravioli, a glass of wine, and we made it home safely, with no more flats.
I guessed, despite the “crap”, I can honestly say this was not my worse birthday, not even in my top 5 worse. Sometime remind me to tell you the time I was stuck on a hill next to Lake Griffy, in -4° weather, or the time we went sledding in Martinsville in a 6′ kiddie pool. All those stories are for another party though, in the meantime, happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me.