Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Parts and Service and Flameout!

I call my mechanic and ask about the Daytona.  He says that it's going to need a new hose for the AC and that he's got one ordered but it's going to be a few days before it comes in.  He asks me if I want to pick up the Daytona and drive it until the part comes in.


I tell him to leave the Daytona outside the shop and I'll pick it up after work.  I get off work, go pick up the Daytona and realize just how fun a car this turbo Dodge is to drive.  The Dodge is showing about an eighth of a tank of fuel left.  I decide to test the fuel gauge and see how accurate it is.  I know the Daytona has a low fuel light on the dash so I'm going to trust that and see how far it gets.  The CBR (bought new) is dead on accurate on its fuel gauge.  The Trans Am is super very close on its fuel gauge (never ran it dry yet and I've come oh so close on more than a handful of occasions, down to the wire with the needle touching the "E" and well into the red).  The '91 Vette I had used a digital dash to estimate range, etc.  I ran it dry one afternoon when it told me I still had 15 miles of range left.  I like to run my newly gotten cars down to the wire to see how accurate the fuel gauge is and now is my chance to do so on the Daytona.

I'm hoping it's at least as accurate as the TA ... considering that it's been a one owner, garage kept car.

I'm not that lucky ...

I leave my mechanic's shop and head over to O'Reilly Auto Parts to see if my struts have come in.  They should be in today.  As I back out of my mechanic's lot the low fuel light comes on.  Okay, no problem.  My gas station (Ethanol free, 93 octane) is literally just down the road, maybe one single mile from where I'm at now.  If the low fuel light just lit then I've got at least a mile of range left in the tank, right?  Right?  The low fuel light goes off almost immediately so I think that what little fuel I have left is just sloshing around the pickup and triggering the fuel reserve light.  The needle on the fuel gauge goes back to showing a little more than an eighth of a tank.

I've got plenty of gas.

I drive over to O'Reilly Auto Parts and check on my lift struts.

The struts have not arrived.



I'm tired of using my "lift stick" to keep the rear hatch open.  The guy behind the counter assures me that the struts will be in tomorrow and explains that while they were in stock at the warehouse, it was a different warehouse than he told me so there was an extra day of travel involved.  We talk about the Daytona for about 15 minutes, in fact, soon I've got three O'Reilly employees talking about and looking over my Daytona.

A bad storm is coming soon.  I need to get some gas and get home so I say bye to the employees, hop in the Daytona and back it out of the parking spot in front of the store.   My fuel center is about three quarters of a mile down the road from here, I can basically see it from where I'm sitting in the Daytona.

I don't make it halfway out of the parking lot before the Daytona dies on me.


Clutch in, restart.




I try to restart her again but it's no good.

The fuel gauge is still showing about an eighth of a tank of gas.

As Henry Rollins once sang ... "Liar!"

The low fuel light is not illuminated but I know that I've run the Shelby dry and with me just three quarters of a mile from where I was going to fill the Daytona up.  That's irony.

No problem.  I'm at an auto parts store.  There's a Texaco across the street.  I'll just borrow a gas can, walk across the street, get two or three gallons of tainted Ethanol fuel, do a roadside refueling, restart the Daytona, drive it down the road and fill her with the really good stuff.

I walk inside, explain the situation and ask if they have a gas can I can borrow.  They did but someone didn't bring it back the last time they let someone borrow it.  Great.  This is why we can't have nice things.  Okay, I'll buy a small gas can.  I've got like five gas cans at home, various sizes, but they're at home and I mean, really, what can a two gallon gas can cost?  Five bucks?

Fifteen bucks.


I thank them but refuse.  Fifteen bucks for a two gallon gas can?  I bet it doesn't even come with a tube of KY or a "Thank you" either.

I call my wife, explain the situation, wait until she stops laughing then tell her to go and get one of my gas cans, run by Jack Morris, fill it up with 93 no Ethanol high octane and bring it to me.

I wait.

Fifteen minutes later my wife pulls into the parking lot with the gas can and I dump two gallons of 93 octane no Ethanol into the bone dry Daytona's gas tank.  The storm is coming now, I can see the sheets of rain to the west.  Solid.  I've got maybe fifteen minutes before I either have to have the Daytona in the garage or start building a big boat made out of wood and timber and fill it with two of every animal.  I finish doing a roadside refuel, hop in the Daytona and ... she sputters, coughs and starts to life.

I look at the fuel gauge.


Okay, I know the limit on the Daytona Shelby now ... never let it get below a quarter of a tank of gas on the fuel gauge or else you're really going to be running on borrowed time, borrowed luck and fumes.

I thank my wife, hop in the Daytona and she follows me down the road to the fuel center.  I top off the Daytona and start it up.  It starts fine.  She leaves, headed for home.  I pull the Daytona away from the pumps and she coughs, sputters and dies.




I manage to wheel her back around, rolling dead, under the shelter of the overhead canopy.  I try to restart her.




She sputters, coughs and relights.

I drive away from the pump, headed home.  I give her extra gas along the way, just to make sure she doesn't dehydrate from fuel starvation and ... she does fine the rest of the way home.  It's been years since I've run a car dry but at least now I know how close I can run the Daytona to empty and not have to worry about using my thumb for a ride or doing the walk of shame somewhere.

I head home, put the Daytona in the garage and close the garage just as God decides to drain His bathtub.

I have to wait on the AC hose.

The rear hatch lift support struts won't be in until tomorrow.

I ran the Daytona dry today and had to do a roadside refueling.

I sigh as I look at the Daytona one last time and turn out the garage light.

Maybe the rest of this week will get better.

Somewhere off in the distance Henry Rollins whispers "Liar!"

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