Monday, August 18, 2014

Back in the shop ...

I left work a little early to get the Daytona back in the shop to fix the oil leak.  I'm thinking it might be a valve cover gasket as oil is tending to pool in the indentions of the transmission bell housing and then running down various hoses and brackets to make interesting patterns on my garage floor. 

I told my mechanic that it was leaking worse now than ever.  Also, when I got it back the radio, CD player and cigarette lighter had stopped working.  I checked the fuses but they were all good so something happened when they went in the dash (remember, NEVER go in the dash!).  

I showed my mechanic the puddling oil on the transmission and he said that they would just clean up the engine really well and then see where it was leaking so ... bonus.

And speaking of bonus.

While I was cleaning out my gear from the car and waiting for my wife to pick me up I managed to go through the glove compartment ... surprisingly in the two months that I've owned the Daytona I've never gone all the way through the glove compartment.  I took out the owners manual and my proof of insurance (both of which I have been through) then found some local maps of Michigan, a Michigan lottery ticket (long since out of date) and ... the original window sticker, folded up neatly and stacked between the maps!

Wow!  I was wondering how I would ever get a copy of the original window sticker and here it was, folded up in the glove compartment all of these years.

So ... it's back to the Honda and the Trans Am for my daily commute.  Life could be worse.  When I get the Daytona back maybe, finally, everything will be fixed, it will stay dry and everything will work.

Fingers crossed.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Still leaking ...

Sigh.  Still leaking.  I'm driving the Daytona to work every day.  She's dripping oil and I've got to find out where but today was busy so I didn't get a chance to jack her on the ramps and get under her ... I did get a picture of some of the strange oil droppings in my garage and the new cheapo shifter handle.

Here's the weird oil dropping pattern along with the patches from the previous days.

Side by side, each from a different day, same leak, I just parked the Daytona not exactly in the same spot so hence the oil leak moving a little to the right.

This one baffled me (still does).  It's a horizontal oil leak.

Generic "genuine leather" shifter knob from Walmart ... $8 and some change and ... it fits!  Thanks to three small screws which crimp down to hold it.  Hex wrench included.  I had to leave the dress cap off the bottom (bare metal) so that the reverse lockout ring would work.  This thing feels like a pistol grip, it's big, full and makes rowing and resting on the gear shifter a lot better than the factory shift knob (which I took off because I didn't want it getting worn).  It's amazing how a 8 buck shift knob from Walmart will fit but a $35 "universal fit" aluminum T-handle from Hurst wouldn't.

Out of all of the aftermarket shifters, I liked this one the best.  It just seemed classy.  The current trend is towards skulls (chrome and bone), grenades, and other weak stuff.  I wanted something functional and good looking and seeing this for $8 I took a chance.  What do you know?  It works and looks great!  Gripping it lets you not have to reach so far down to row and throw gears plus it feels a lot like the old MOPAR pistol grip shifts from the '70's.  Glad I got this.  It takes a little getting used to, the first few miles and you think you're driving a school bus but after a few miles you'll wonder why you didn't switch it out sooner.

I'm going to paint the bare metal black so it's not so noticeable ...

I've got to fix the oil leak, get the interior and underhood lights working (bulbs) and the radio / CD player / cigarette lighter working but right now I think I'm just going to take a day off from anything on my To-Do list and just do what I feel like / want to do.  I need one of these days.

The Daytona can wait another day or two.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Minus two ... plus three ... then minus one.

I've had my car in the shop the last few weeks to fix a pickup coil in the distributor, rebuild the AC from the dash forward (including going into the dash and replacing the evaporator core) and replace both a leaking oil sending unit and I'm guessing the oil line on the turbo (replaced the rubber hose part between two hard lines with a hard line). In that process, the mechanic had to go back in and replace a (brand new) bad expansion valve on the AC when the AC stopped working 20 minutes after I picked the Daytona up. When I got the car back, the radio and CD player / cigarette lighter / power port no longer worked. I'm thinking something got left unhooked under the dash (or a fuse) for the electronics part but that's not the bad part of the story, just background to catch you up. 

I drove the Daytona today, runs fine, AC blows cold, no oil leaks. However, it starts to stumble a little going into boost with the AC on and it doesn't like more than half throttle let alone WOT with the AC on ... no, not at all. It falls flat on its face somewhere around 3500 to 4000rpm. I shut the AC off and stepped into her WOT to see if maybe it was just something with the AC. It ran WOT a little better but still definitely a problem here.

Here's the problem in sequence (and it wasn't doing this before I put it in the shop to have the AC worked on).

Boost dumping.

I'm dumping boost.

Go to WOT in first gear.

Boost builds normally (I'm thinking there's a delay, it feels different than before ...).

Car accelerates seemingly normally (maybe a little slower than it did before, like it's struggling a little).

Boost gauge climbs and spikes to the far right of the gauge.

Car pulls strong to 4500 to 4800 rpm.

Power builds to 4500 to 4800 rpm and then rapidly falls off like it hit a dead spot.

Boost falls from 15psi (stock gauge) to 10 psi to 5 psi rapidly and needle just bounces on 5psi spastically.

15 psi?

It shouldn't be going into overboost like that.

Engine physically feels like it falls flat on its face and stumbles.

Car doesn't like to pull much past 5psi after that or pull towards redline. 

If you do a power run (WOT, all gears) then the car's performance starts to suffer towards the top of second gear and by third gear you're having real stamina problems with boost.

Driving the car like a grandmaw and it's fine. No shuddering, no hesitation. Try to drive it fast and it starts to stumble and have problems. I'm thinking something got left unhooked ... a vacuum line maybe. Wastegate?

So, am I dumping boost or building too much boost and with no way to get rid of it the computer is retarding everything to keep me from launching the head through the hood and into low earth orbit?  I'm not sure ...

A few hours pass and ... problem fixed.

It was my fault.  

I think.  

I think I out-thought myself.  

There's a pair of vacuum nipples on the passenger side fender well.  When I got the Daytona I noticed these were uncapped, at first I thought maybe a vacuum line was missing and I put it on my To-Do list counting it off to "deferred maintenance" and "25 years worth of catch-up".  

After that, the Daytona went into the shop for the next six weeks so I was without the car for nearly a month and a half.  When I finally got the Daytona back late last Friday night all I did was drive it home, put it in the garage, popped the hood, put a trickle charger on the battery and saw those uncapped vacuum nipples.    Remembering that they were on my To-Do list I reached over to my tool chest, grabbed two vacuum caps and stuck them on.

Problem solved, I thought and mentally marked it off of my To-Do list.

I never thought capping those two lines would vastly affect or degrade the performance of my T-II.  I kept the Daytona over the weekend but the AC quit working and the oil was still leaking so I didn't drive her very much and I put her in the shop late Monday (again).  Almost all of the week went by I didn't get her back until Thursday late at night.  Friday she ran fine (I never got into her, no real need to with the daily commute) and I was more concerned with the AC than any performance issues but I did notice that she was starting to show drivability / performance problems at anything other than grandmaw type driving.  Today, finally having some time at last to really spend with the Daytona I took the Daytona out and played with her ... and she started having problems, real problems when I stepped into her.  I took her home, lurked, studied, went from computer to garage to computer to garage, lurked and studied and ... I couldn't find any obvious problem.  Frustrated, maybe a bit desperated, I got on here and posted a thread.

In following the advice in this thread I traced the vacuum lines from the boost control hardware back to ... the block I had capped off a week ago.  No way.  That couldn't be the problem ... could it?

Could I be that lucky?

I reached down, took off the two vacuum caps, hopped in and took her for a test drive.  A hard test drive.  Once she warmed up to normal op temp I stepped into her and started rowing gears ... everything was back to normal.  In and out of boost, each gear, just like factory stock.  She boosted to normal levels, the wastegate worked, everything sounded normal, acceleration was back to spirited and she took me to 100 plus on a long barren straight away with no trouble at all.  Boost held at below 15 psi according to the dash gauge and everything seemed just like it was before.  All in all, she ran like she was supposed to so ... 

Homer Doh!

Here's the culprit.

And the weapons of choice for my own detriment

Take two ... and have lots of problems in the morning.

So any TD newbies out there, don't cap these off.  SBT (seriously bad things) happen.

Now, with the boost / driveability fixed, it's back to seeing what it's going to take to get the radio / CD player fixed.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Minus two ... plus two

Woke up this morning and got the Daytona out of the garage.  No oil leaking, not a drop.  I'm still cautious, though.  If a few days pass and she's not leaking I'm going to be happier.  I've still got to jack her up on some ramps and try to get several years worth of caked on oil / grease off the bottom side of the engine.  I kind of wish I had my pressure washer back ...

I took the tops off, rolled the windows down, hooked up my cell phone, started up Waze, plugged the phone in (Waze and GPS eat my battery up with a quickness) and ... no power.  Okay, the radio didn't work when I picked it up but now the cigarette lighter / power port is dead as well?  I'm hoping it's a fuse because that would be the really easy fix.  If not, I've got to go in the dash, Indiana Jones style, and see what's come loose to cause the radio / cd player and lighter / power port to stop working.

I took the Daytona to work, ran the AC hard till about half way and it seemed to work.  It's not as cold as I'd like / am used to but it's basically a new system so I'm thinking it's got to stretch its legs a little and get into the routine.  

I took the Daytona out to lunch and it was pretty hot and humid.  During the day the AC blew cold but the Daytona has nearly as much  glass all around as an AMC Pacer and with the tops off and windows down, the AC couldn't overpower the heat and humidity.  On the way home, however, the Daytona, with the windows up and the tops on, blew ice cold so I'm happy.  

Now if I can just get the radio / power port fixed without much fuss I'll be really happy.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Minus two ... plus one.

Well, it's been a pretty good day.  Things that went right today:

First day of school for my two daughters.  I took some time off from work to take them to school, meet their teachers, see their classrooms, etc.  My oldest is now "too old" for me to do that so I just dropped her off in the car line.  My youngest still wanted me to take her to school so I did.  The three of us loaded up in the '86 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, tops off, windows down.  Like I said before, you can't be a cool dad if you don't have a cool car and I have two cool cars ... and a cool motorcycle so yeah, I've got all of the bases covered.  I am so blessed to be able to take personal time to be with my children during important parts of their life ... like the first day of school each year.

I go to work about 8:30, load up and hit the road on a high speed / low drag mission to install as many wi-fi units at my site locations as I can.  I take one of my employees (and friend) Jason with me.  We stop at the local Sonic on 4th street and I discover that Sonic can produce this wonderfully heretofore unknown concoction called simply "blueberry (flavored) sweet tea".  I am instantly in love with this and vow to drink my weight in it as I can.

Sometime during the late afternoon I get a call from my mechanic.  The Daytona is ready.  The problem with the AC was a bad expansion valve ... they put one in when they did the initial work but it was apparently bad out of the box so they replaced it with a new expansion valve and the AC is blowing icicles ... again.  The oil leaking problem was a rubber hose that was fitted between two metal hard lines and fed the turbo.  Yikes.  This was the hose that I was going to get replaced in the near future because I was worried that at 25 years old it would probably start to leak or crack and I really, really didn't want to have engine temp oil splash all over a cherry or red hot turbo while I was going down the road.  Can you say "fireball?"  Another point of fact, I *always* carry a fire extinguisher with me in my toys ... especially the turbocharged toys as they seem to have a higher percentage chance of catching fire if not properly maintained.  I was going to replace this (often) troublesome line with a metal line but my mechanic did that for me, taking the failure prone rubber pressure line out of the design and simply installing a piece of metal tubing with a pair of expansion ends to seal it.  Bonus since that's what I was going to get done to this part sometime in the near future.

My mechanic says no charge for these fixes and I tell him to just park the Daytona outside, that I'll pick it up later tonight.

I get home and wait on my family.  

I check the mail for the day.

My replacement title for the Lincoln has finally arrived.  Now I can sign the Lincoln over to the buyer and get that car off my insurance.

When my wife and daughters get home they take me to pick up the Daytona.  As soon as I sit in the Shelby and crank it I can tell that this air conditioning is working.  Icicles indeed ... or at least icicles compared to what it was blowing.  I'm hoping that the oil leak is fixed as well but since it is dark now I can't tell.  I'll just have to park it in the garage, take it to work tomorrow and when I back her out I'll see if there's any oil underneath where the sat parked all night long.  I'm expecting maybe a little residual oil, maybe, but I'll know if it's more oil than it should be.

And as I'm driving home I turn on the radio ... 

And the radio doesn't work.


It worked three days ago when I dropped the Daytona off.

Never go in the dash.

Bad things happen when you go in the dash.

Nothing is ever the same after you go in the dash.

The radio lights up with the headlights and dash lights but doesn't turn on.  I'm sure that the power plug for the radio is just undone behind it.  I'll see what I can do myself when I replace some of the bad interior bulbs this weekend.  So, end of the day and the (tentative) score right now is two problems fixed and one new problem created.  Maybe this weekend I'll stop by the local audio shop and see if they can modify the stock Infinity II stereo / CD system and maybe replace the factory speakers with better, 21st century speakers to enhance the sound.  I've got to do that for the TA as well.

Tomorrow I'm going to take the Daytona Shelby to work and give the AC a real workout there and back and I'm going to get some more blueberry flavored sweet tea at Sonic.  If tomorrow is half as good of a day as today was, then it's going to be an awesome day.

And the Daytona is in my garage now, locked down, hooked up to a trickle charger to top off the battery and sharing the space with my '04 Honda and '86 TA.

Monday, August 4, 2014

And like that she's gone again ...

Back to my mechanic's shop.  Meatloaf used to sing a popular song called "Two out of three ain't bad" well this time I got one out of three and that ain't good.  The Daytona is back running strong and hard but the AC isn't working (I got maybe 20 minutes of somewhat cool air out of the new equipment before she just started blowing ambient air) and now the Daytona is leaking three times the oil it was before.

Monday afternoon I dropped the Daytona off and told my mechanic about the oil leaking and air conditioning problems.  He did agree with me that the fluxing from dash vent to defroster and back to dash vent on acceleration sounds like a vacuum line problem.

I guess he'll call me when he sorts the problems out.  I'd really like to have the Daytona back by Friday so I can take it to my car club cruise-in on Saturday (along with the TA).  I don't have high hopes, though.  I'd rather get it back with the problems fixed instead of getting it back early.

And like that it's just me and the Honda and the Pontiac again.

"Hey, Shelby?  Weren't we just here a few days ago?"

That's a 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible (2 seater) in the background.  Hard to believe that both of these cars now wear "antique" car tags on them, both are 25 years or older which qualifies them for "antique" car status in Mississippi even though the Thunderbird has a good 23 more years on her (and probably a lot more under the hood though my money goes on the Shelby in a hands down race).

Looking at these two cars it's amazing what just 23 years worth of engineering, technology and design made in the industry.

Oh, and while I was waiting on my wife to pick me up the lock cylinder for the passenger side T-top popped out.  The cylinder landed in my hand and the spring landed in the seat.  I guess I'll add that to my list of DIY repairs for when I get the Daytona back.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Red Bluff!

I wake up Saturday morning, early, and decide to go get some breakfast at McDonald's which is cheap and fast (like a lot of my ex-girlfriends were).  I start up the Daytona and pull her out of the garage.  She's filthy, covered in dust and dirt and mechanic tracks from working inside of her.  I find a cigarette ash near the driver's side door and another ash down between the center console and the passenger seat.  That's not appreciated.  I almost go through the T-top when I find what looks like a small cigarette burn on the passenger seat but it turns out that it was probably there before.  John took care of this car and I take care of my cars which means I don't smoke in them and no one else does.

I let that go after I get my blood pressure back down under control.

The Daytona is covered in dust and dirt.

Time to wash her and get six weeks and then some worth of neglect off of her.  I go into the garage to get my cleaning supplies and notice fresh oil under the Daytona where I parked her.


I squat and rub a finger through the oil.  It's fresh, last night, and it's from the Daytona.


Why is she still leaking oil?

I close my eyes and sigh.

Maybe it's just old oil falling off, maybe they got some oil on the Daytona when they were changing out the oil sending unit and it's just now dripping down and off the motor.  I keep telling myself that because it's what I need to tell myself in order to keep my blood pressure from vein popping levels.

I take my washing and detailing supplies and get to work on the Daytona.


That's better.  

Much better.  

Washed, wiped down, vacuumed out, tops off, windows down and purring like a kitten.   The wheel wells are going to have to have some major TLC and that means that one Saturday morning, when I have the time, I'm going to have to jack the Daytona up, take off the wheel and tire and just get medieval on those spaces.

Picking up my cleaning supplies I look under the Daytona to see if she's still leaking oil.  Yeah, she's made a small piddle of fresh oil under her since I pulled her out of the garage and parked her in the driveway.

So, she's running but she's still leaking oil and I'm not exactly blown away by the AC repair.  I'll have to get her in the shop again Monday to have them look at the oil leak but for now I'm going to enjoy having the Dodge back.

I grab my youngest daughter and we head off to McDonald's for breakfast. 

Still a good looking car, still fast as hell.  I took off from a stop sign this morning, first gear, then stepped into it just a bit and she broke rubber on the front tires for about ten feet, not a real burn out, just the front wheels barking.  This Shelby still has a lot of guts left in her.

After breakfast, I run my daughter and the Daytona out to Morgantown and Red Bluff.  

During our trip to Morgantown we start to pass a train running parallel to us.  I point out the train and my daughter is excited.

"Can you catch the train?" she asks.

"I think I can catch it!" I tell her.

"In this car?"

"Oh, yeah." I tell her, downshifting, putting the loud pedal to the floor and letting the boost spike to 14 plus PSI on the gauge and I hold it there.

I keep the boost in the Daytona Shelby and soon we're racing the train, side by side on the old two lane.  We pass car after car, pulling steadily on the train as the Daytona eats up real estate with a quickness and then we're passing the two engines pulling the train.  The engineer looks over and we match eyes for half a second.  The road curves to the right up ahead and I see a crossing up ahead.  He sees it too.

He blows his horns loud because he probably thinks I'm going to do something stupid.

I know I'm going to beat the train to the crossing by a good half minute to a minute so I let the Daytona really buck and ... I pull up to the crossing ahead of the train and slam down hard on the brakes, dropping to lower gears, stopping the Dodge a good car-length and a half in front of the crossing signals.  The Daytona Shelby rocks to a stop at the railroad crossing.  I could make it across the crossing no problem but I want her to see the train and since there's nobody behind me I can stop here and let the train catch up to us.

Being a cool dad is a lot easier when you have a cool car.

"Daddy!  Where's the train?" my daughter asks, looking around.

"It will be here any second." I tell her as I whip out my cellphone, calling up the video option and start recording out the front window.

Just then the crossing signals start clanging, the red warning lights start flashing and the train comes through the intersection all thunder and steel.  My daughter's eyes are lit wide and she's staring, amazed, at the train as it blows by us in front of us.  We see the two engines pulling the train, the engineer looks out, waves again and blows his air horns.  My daughter's laughter is amazing and she's all "Whoo!" and "Cool!"

The graffiti covered 32 car train soon rumbles past us, it takes about two minutes, the signals go dead and silent and, looking both ways, I ease the Daytona Shelby over the tracks.

"Did you like that?" I asked her, looking over my shoulder.

She's all smiles.

"Yeah!" she shouts back.  "That was cool!  I've never seen a train that close or loud  before."

The road to Morgantown and Red Bluff is twisty and curvy, perfect for the competition handling package that the Shelby has and I have some fun on the turns.  My daughter is having a ball strapped into the back seat, wind from the open tops and windows blowing her long blonde hair all around.  I don't really break the speed limit ... but I don't slow down in the curves either and this Daytona hangs curves like she was on rails.  The only thing I have to do is work the gear shift on the curves, low going in, high going out.

Fifteen minutes later we got to Red Bluff and walked around.  Here's a picture of the Daytona at Red Bluff on the back side, near the old two lane that is long ago crumbling into the bluff.

On the way back from Morgantown and Red Bluff is when the AC stopped blowing cold completely.  No amount of profanity, logic, persuasion, coercion or flattery could get the old girl to blow cold again.  I also noticed that when I gave her some gas with the AC on that the air stopped blowing from the dash vents and started to blow from the defroster vents.  When I backed off the throttle, the air flow went from the defroster to the dash.  I'm thinking that there's a vacuum line left undone or reversed up in the dash.  Never go into the dash.  Bad things happen when you go into the dash.  Things don't work the same after you go in the dash.  Never go into the dash.


So, six weeks in the shop and $1400 later and the AC still isn't working the way it should.  Life.  What can you do?  Getting mad doesn't do anything and you have to be nice to the people who fix your stuff.  Okay, so the AC still has a problem or two. 

Looks like she's going back in the shop on Monday.  

I take my daughter back home, run to O'Reilly, buy some cheap gray floor mats (Kraco) and put them in the Daytona more to save the carpet and as placeholders than as replacements for the well worn originals.  I'll have to find some better mats later but that's kind of low priority now.  $9.99 for a set of front and rear mats, yeah.  Can do and they almost match the carpet and interior color so bonus.  I also bought some pretty bad ass aluminum wheel cleaner in an attempt to at least do something better for the wheels that are on the car.  I didn't like these "pumper" wheels at first glance but they're growing on me.  I liked the C/S "crab" wheels but they're actually smaller than these wheels so ... love what you got.

I take the Daytona home and wipe her down again.  I don't know why but after being without her for so long I just want to spend time with her so I really clean her out.  First up is trying to clean up 25 years of neglect on the factory aluminum wheels.

The factory aluminum wheels aren't damaged or scraped or scuffed but they are still pretty rough with years of brake dust baked into the inside rim and heavy oxidation on the outside.  I tried to clean them and brush them down but it was a lost cause. Two applications of the aluminum wheel cleaner and I realize that this isn't going to be the "you just spray it on and wash it off" kind of cleaning.  (I did find a mobile aluminum wheel repair / refinishing service operating in MS so I think I'll give them a call and see if they can bring new life to the old wheels.)

Giving up on the aluminum wheels for now I go for the interior.  I use a furniture beater on the rear carpet to get out the stubborn stuff.  It takes about ten minutes and two or three going overs but I finally get the rear area looking a lot more factory new than it did before.  I take out the T-top harnesses and lift up the rear to check on the spare and look for any rust or corrosion.  It's the first time that I've been this "deep" into the Daytona ... never had the time or opportunity before so I'm excited and nervous.

What will I find.

What did I find?  The factory spare has never been on the ground.  I doubt it's ever been out of the car.  There is no rust under the carpet or in the spare tire well which is a really good sign.  I took some pictures, cleaned up the area with a damp cloth and put everything back the way it was.

Here's a neat option that I don't remember my '86 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z having ... rear sun visors.  These may be a T-top option only and they're for use by the rear seat passengers as even with my long arms I can't reach behind the driver's seat and raise or lower them.

Here's the sun visor lowered.  Neat feature.

This was neat.  I found the original Cars and Concepts notification of modification. Daytonas were shipped to C&C to have the T-tops installed because Dodge didn't do their own T-tops like GM did ... they used an outside / aftermarket contractor. This Daytona was built in 9/88 and shipped to C&C in 10/88 for the T-tops to be installed.

This matches what John told me about the history of the Shelby.  From what I've come to read, finding a Daytona with one of these stickers is kind of rare since most of these stickers wore off a long time ago.

The original info on the driver's door.  Build date 9/88.

The hood latch could use some cleaning up.  Might as well.  Two bolts and some elbow grease ...

Steel bristle brush and rattle can to the rescue.  Begone, surface rust.

The hood latch area cleaned up.  Now I've got to replace the underhood light bulb there and maybe find a new heat blanket as this one is getting a bit tatty.  I may just make a custom one out of some aircraft grade firewall material.

There.  Much better.  It's the little things that add up in the end.  Total time spent ... 15 minutes.  That's fast dry rattle can, by the way.  Flat black.

New AC lines (the old ones were literally rusted and splitting apart), new compressor, new evaporator core, new cycling switch, fresh R134A, switched over to the newer refrigerant ... and she's still got AC problems.  As you can see, I've still got a lot of cleaning and detailing to do.  

While I was at it I took the build plate off, sanded it free of the invading surface rust, painted it flat black, sanded the plate home free, and put the plate back.  It looks nice, painted flat black, contrasting with the red.  That's bare metal there, the real skin of the Daytona.  I sanded the surface rust off of the hood bolt hole / catch as well and off the striker plate.  That odd black square is part of the factory installed (extra cost option) comprehensive vehicle alarm system that the original / previous owner ordered.  I'm not sure that this part is hooked up since it looks like it takes a hood pin of some kind and the empty spot along with the drilled holes in the leading edge of the hood lip tell me that something used to be there but that it's long gone now.

My toys in my big boy toy box which I call a "garage".  

That's the 97% restored 210 horsepower 5.0 liter Tuned Port Injected 1986 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am (Recaro factory interior, WS6, T-tops, 700R4).  Next to that is my '04 115 horsepower, ram air, PGM-FI, liquid cooled, DOHC, 16 valve, six speed Honda CBR600RR.  On the far right, of course, is the 174 horsepower 2.2 liter turbo intercooled 5 speed '89 Dodge Daytona Shelby.

I've got to free up some more room because it's a bit crowded in the garage right now.  All my toys go inside when they're not being used because that keeps Mother Nature (and God) from doing bad things to them.

The posters on the wall are classic Pontiac advertisements (including one for my TA) blown up from magazine size to poster size.  There's a few more posters on the side wall (you can't see them unless you're in the garage).  The '86 TA ad is to the left and the '87 yellow Formula 350 ad is to the right.  Since you can't really see them, here they are.

I want a yellow '87 Formula 350 but where would I put it?  

Where would I put it ...

Friday, August 1, 2014

She's back!

My mechanic calls me at work and says that the Daytona is ready.  I ask him about the AC and he says that it is blowing icicles inside.  Great!  I tell him I'll pick it up this afternoon then I ask him how much the final bill was.

There is a pause on the other end.

I don't like it when my mechanic pauses because that means that he's about to tell me something that's going to scare me and probably put my wallet in the ICU on life support.  He tells me that the bill he quoted me the other day wasn't "exactly" right because he had forgotten to put some things on there.

Okay, I think.  We're probably in the $900's by now.

He tells me that the repairs ... getting the Daytona running, changing over the AC, new compressor, new evaporator core, new lines, and fixing the oil leak ... grand total is $1400 and some change.

There is a pause on my end.

That probably scares him on the other end.

Okay, that pretty much wipes out all of my Murphy buffer on this car.  Gone.  No more cushion but at least it's all fixed and she's blowing snow out the dash so it was worth it.

I tell him I'll get my wife to run by and settle up with him and then I'll pick up the car later that evening when I get off work.



So, now my $1800 car is a $3200 car.  Still worth it.  She's worth it.  I keep telling myself that so I don't have to hear the screaming and wailing and gnashing of teeth that my wallet is giving me from my back pocket.

Later that night I get off work, take the TA home and I'm happy.

I've got my Daytona back.

It's running!

Fist pump.

It's not leaking oil any more in my garage.

Wave your hands in the air.

And it's blowing snow out the dash.

Slow death sentence averted.

I park the TA in the garage and go inside to greet my family.  My wife hands me the repair bill and I look it over.  It's what I figured, half of the cost was in parts and half in labor.  I'm okay with the bill because the Daytona is back to fighting and running shape.

My wife, daughters and I hop in her car and head over to my mechanics.  I see the Daytona parked outside.  I take my keys, unlock her and climb in.  My wife has an errand to run then she'll be back home.  I crank the Daytona, switch on the AC and it blows ... cool.

Not cold.

Not ice cold.


Kind of ... cool.

Okay, this is R134A, not as good as Freon and the Daytona has been sitting outside for a few hours so maybe it will take a bit to cool down.  The TA is that way and my mechanic converted it a year ago so ...

Don't worry so much.

She's fixed.

I drive the Daytona home, take the long way, and she never really does blow snow out of the dash.  No icicles.  Just kind of ... cool.

My family and I go out to dinner late, we take the Daytona and even my family is somewhat disappointed in how not freezing the new $1400 AC is.  I'll give it the weekend and see what happens.