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My car died recently. I almost broke into tears, and should have when I realized the price for parts to fix the damn thing.

Here’s my facebook post from June 18th

Last night, I gave myself the goal of getting my car leak-free and ready to really drive. I wanted to hang out with my dad for his birthday today and show him my accomplishments in the car. I finished working on it around 3am on the 18th and passed out. Drove the car to work all pumped as hell, and was working only half-heartedly since there was only one thing on my mind (guess what).

I drop back home for lunch and about 3/4 of the way there I hear a


I think, “Oh hell, the timing belt” and drop the thing into Neutral to ease the engine’s passing. I ended up pushing the car about 1/2 mile (mostly downhill, thank God) and my other DSM bud down here (the dude with bmharris’ old car) zapped by to help me get it on my curb. I almost cried.

SOOOOOOO….time to do one of two things:

*look for places in ABQ who have experience rebuilding DSM heads,

*get-er-done myself, or

*find an online merchant who will do one of those quick head swap deals (one out, mine in) a la Slowboy.

Right now, I’m leaning toward the third option, as I’d like to have something to drive to the meet in July and not have to jack with my own handiwork.

It’s been up and down for me lately, as I struggle to buy parts and convince myself to save cash for school as well (gotta pay the whole thing myself this semester, since I wanted no help from the parents this time around)! I’ve invested around $800 in the engine since the day it died in the form of better-quality replacement parts and things I shoulda bought in the first place (Kevlar timing belt, new oil pan, new gaskets and seals, some rings that don’t fit [fixing that issue soon though], and a million other bolts and small things that have added up to tons of cash…all of it unnecessary if I would’ve only bought a new timing belt). Such is the price of experience. This endeavor has taught me something important, though: Not only is hindsight important, but advice from those who have experience is extremely valuable (Kristen and others told me NOT to get that used timing belt from that guy and buy new instead…and what did I do?) This is not in any way showing me that DSMs are junk cars, not by a long shot; they need to be cared for just like any other vehicle, with more care going to something you build yourself.

Yep, she’s without a heart now, but when I’m done with surgery, the engine on the stand will jump back in the fray twice as strong and even more ornery than before. That’s a fact, and I’m sticking to it.


Items left to purchase:

  • A working head
  • MLS headgasket
  • New pistons and rings in 0.040 size; failing that, total seal rings in 0.040 over size
  • A full set of new bearings

After these arrive, she will run again.

Any ideas what else I should do to the car while the engine’s out and in my kitchen? Leave me a comment and I’ll get you back.


_Nick C


One Comment

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