Thursday, September 26, 2013

More bodywork and a trip to a real mechanic

Sorry kids, no pics of this just trust me that it was a horror show.
If you look back you'll see that I replaced about a 1 foot portion of the rocker under the driver's feet just aft of the front wheel. Well this time I cut from the rear of that part nearly to the rear wheel (and that wasn't far enough) and over the course of two days spent four hours each day welding back in.

In the course of the work I managed to cut a hole through the rusty floor under the driver's seat which required the removal of said seat (so I wouldn't burn the carpet) and produce some of the best (and not so best) body work I've ever done.

It still needs just a couple more inches at the rear of the car but I ran out of time, with luck I'll finish that side on Saturday. Not looking forward to the fact that the other side of the car needs equal time...

Tuesday I took the car for its longest single run to date, all the way to work. It behaved perfectly other than the sloppy shift bushings that prevented me from finding 5th gear. I was real worried about the timing belt (which turned out to be a good worry) so I wanted to keep the rpms down, thus I commuted 56 miles at 65mph which is about 3,000 rpm. The car acted perfectly even in heavy traffic and drove pleasantly.
The reason for taking the car to work pre-inspection was to drop it over at KMH Motors in Lowell. On the fixing list for Keith:

  • Timing belt - plus the tensioners and seals right by it
  • Water pump - this is not technically required but the pump lives behind the timing belt and if the pump failed I'd essentially need to do the belt again...
  • Coolant flush and fill - important since after the water distribution pipe job its mostly water
  • Shifter bushings - get 5th gear back!
  • Diagnose Check Engine light - I went over to Autozone and they pulled a P1550 code which is a pressure differential, could be a vacuum line, worst case could be the turbo
Today I got the call from Keith, most everything had been done, the CEL is probably the N75 valve which controls boost. They're known for crapping out and aren't too expensive. Interestingly when I dropped off the car the CEL was out, Keith said that kind of behavior was stereotypical for the N75, I said to do it. He also noticed a big oil leak from the oil pan gasket. I'd noticed a bunch of oil down there when I did an oil change (forgot to write about that, oops, next post!). I told him to go ahead and do the pan gasket too, I want to start my ownership of this car with as few problems as possible!

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