The week after I replaced the hood on the CR-V, it decided to show its appreciation by stranding Jen in Baltimore City, on the way to pick up a friend for dinner. She said the clutch locked up, and she was unable to shift into or out of 2nd gear. She was able to pilot it safely to a side street and call me; I arranged for a tow truck through USAA and they picked it up a little over an hour later. Our mechanic can’t seem to find the problem but did find that the gear oil was very low. There’s no noise coming from the box and two short trips I’ve taken since then have been painless; this could mean nothing or it could mean the clutch is about to shit itself. Only time will tell, I guess. The mechanic hinted that it would be wiser to buy a new car instead of fixing this one, but we have a large amount of loyalty for this car and I’d much rather keep it on the road than absorb a new car payment.
I’ve had a Flickr Pro account since 2005, when I decided I’d use it for my image hosting CDN. It’s been very useful over the years, even as it’s been bought and sold, and as they’ve added useful features and then taken them away. I’ve found, however, that I’m not using it all that much anymore. The last photos I uploaded there were from the camping trip in June, and everything after that I’ve uploaded directly into WordPress. I’d guess there are a couple thousand photos I’ve linked to over the course of 4,672 posts, and for now that’s fine. I am thinking about the future, however, and at some point I’m going to have to go through each post and update the photo with a local version (as well as fix a bunch where the links have broken). Not today, though.
My IPA stopped fermenting on Thursday evening, so I have to rack it into a secondary fermenter as well as dry hop it. My neighbor picked up another kit for me yesterday and hopefully we will be brewing this evening, but he hasn’t nailed down a time yet. It feels good to have a batch in the works, and it would be even better to have two in the kegerator by Thanksgiving. It also got me thinking about some of the gear I’d like to update next year–a better burner, a slightly bigger kettle with a temperature gauge, and maybe some upgrades to the kegerator itself. But for now, what I’ve got is working well and I’m just happy to be brewing again.
Meanwhile, the crops in the greenhouse are winding down. There are still many black and red cherry tomatoes on the vines, and there’s a second wave of Indian Stripe and Paul Robesons growing slowly, but the whiteflies have really damaged the plants. There aren’t a lot of green leaves left on anything so I don’t know if any of the remaining fruit will ripen at this point late in the season. I’m going to replace the back wall in an effort to keep the heat inside and start winterizing things.
I took Finley out and scored a new hood for the CR-V Saturday morning. It’s no surprise Jen was feeling self-conscious about the old hood; it was really ghetto.
The clearcoat had begun delaminating a few years ago and it’s gotten so bad at this point that there’s only a little bit of it left on the hood itself.
The area in the upper right is the original clearcoat. Everything you see below that and to the left is bare paint.
Finn and I jumped in the CR-V and drove through glorious Glen Burnie, through trailer parks and high-end estates, and found ourselves at a quiet auto salvage yard fronted by tall fencing and a tired trailer. Inside we talked to the salesman who directed us back outside to the hood they’d pulled that morning. It was in OK shape but had obviously taken a ride in the back of a yard truck and gotten scraped up along the way. We placed it next to the fender of the CR-V and found it was almost indistinguishable–the only difference being the greater amount of metal flake in the used hood. I got the guy to come down $25 on it and stuffed it into the back of the car.
Back at the house replacing it was a matter of loosening 4 10mm bolts. I had Finley help me pull it off, and together we had the new hood on in minutes. After a quick scrub, it looks presentable:
I have to pick up some rubbing compound and polishing discs for the buffer my Dad gave me a few years ago, and hopefully we can get the scratches out of the hood and some other areas along the sides of the car. I’ll have this hoopty shining in no time!
Our trusty CR-V is back from the shop, sitting in the driveway with the pod bolted to the roof, ready for adventure. It started making grinding noises at the beginning of the year that I thought might be the clutch or transmission slipping, and they were getting much worse this past month. The week before the parade I poked around to see why the muffler was getting louder and found a pinhole leak in the resonator pipe. This is our vacation vehicle, so we needed to address the issues before shipping out next week. Our trusty mechanic down the street chased the grinding noise down to the serpentine belt and diagnosed a failing water pump, which cured the grinding noise, and replaced the resonator pipe underneath. The ‘V sounds like a new car again. At 117K on the odometer we’re moving into the nickel and dime phase of ownership to fix the stuff that’s beginning to wear out, so it’s not like this is unexpected. I’m just glad it wasn’t the transmission, because that would have been a catastrophic repair bill.
The next thing I’d like to find is a used silver hood to replace the one we have. The clear coat has been peeling off for years now to the point where it’s almost all gone, and it looks shitty. Jen and I love the ‘V and plan to keep it on the road as long as possible, so we gotta make sure it looks good. I haven’t found a decent replacement inside 500 miles yet, but I’m on the lookout every week. If the right one comes up, I’ll go get it.
I’ve got a big box sitting on the porch downstairs, a present for the CR-V. It turns out, after reviewing train, bus, and plane schedules, that there is no inexpensive, direct way to get from here to Syracuse in under 12 hours for less than $400. After boring my sister on the phone for a half an hour while I priced out travel options, she suggested buying a hitch and renting a trailer. Which will cost less in total than any of the other alternatives. Such is the state of public transportation in America. So I have to borrow a pair of ramps from my neighbor and get the hitch installed this weekend (I’m told it’s a 20 minute job, but I don’t have ramps), get an oil change, and she’ll be good to go. This way will also allow me to strap a ladder on the roof of the ‘V, something I wasn’t sure I could do on a 10’ box truck.
I think I’ll also hit up the Harbor Freight for a cheap moving dolly and a 100-pack of bungee cords.
After a sleepy morning, Renie and I returned to Grampy’s barn to go back through the available wood, and we wound up filling the CR-V until the springs compressed. After gearing up for a 20° decrease in temperature and battle with burrdocks, we waded into the weeds with saws and clippers. We made some surgical cuts with an arbor bow saw and walked out with about five 8′ lengths of siding board. Then we dug into a pile leaning up against the silo and found a door and about five more lengths of siding still painted red, with hinges, latch, and striker intact. SCORE. Then we grabbed another 30 or so dry lengths of tongue and groove flooring from under the stack. I pulled the CR-V around through the mud in the cornfield and got it as close to the barn as I could, and we loaded it full in a gentle flurry of snow. AWD for the win!
The 5×5″ beams are still there, so we’re headed back in the spring to grab those, as well as anything else worth taking before Uncle Brian bulldozes it up to the treeline. Renie’s car is loaded tight with flooring and the CR-V is strapped with boards inside and out.
And speaking of Brian, he invited Finn up to his barn for another tractor ride! She got her fill of dogs while waiting for Renie and me (a poodle, a shepherd, and a boxer) and then climbed into a big Deere dually for a spin around the yard. Then she asked to see the combines and he gleefully took her back through the shop to climb around on the equipment. He’s the best, and I don’t know who enjoys those visits more–he or Finn.
…I still can’t get photos off my camera so I’ll dump them all when I get home.
To the asswipe that sawed the catalytic converter off the CR-V today while it was parked at the train station. And thanks to the local PD for patrolling the area so well.
Saturday morning we took Finn to soccer practice in a new facility close to our house; what used to be a 7-Up distributor’s warehouse is now filled with two indoor soccer fields for rental and two teams’ worth of sweaty high school lacrosse players. We signed her up for a kids’ intro class, and it turned out that we have several friends who had the same idea, so we got to stand around with other parents we know while the kids ran in circles. She took a class at her last school, so we were proud to see her kicking and actually dribbling the ball—until she got bored and decided to go off and do her own thing. Hopefully we can get it through her head that practice will make things more fun for her down the line.
After we were done with soccer we hit the IKEA to pick up one more bookshelf for the den, with the hope of consolidating all of the toys, art supplies, and other stuff that’s been clogging the living room, office, and den. With the big bookcase in the living room free of toys, we were able to uncover the entire collection of books we’ve collected from the library liquidation at her school. It’s really amazing how many good books Jen was able to save, and I hope that Finn takes to reading as much as I did as a kid.
Over the course of our Saturday errands in the CR-V, it became loudly apparent the passenger’s rear brake pads were grinding on the rotor, so I hit the parts store to buy a new set for the back half. It’s just enough of a project that I didn’t want to attempt it this afternoon with 6-12″ of snow on the immediate horizon, so I loaded the parts in the back and parked it behind the Accord until we can dig out this week. On my way to the store I guesstimated the amount of gas in the Scout and came up about 50′ short, stalling out on an incline within spitting distance of a pump. After borrowing a gas can, priming the carb, and standing on the brake, I got her started again. This being the second time it’s happened in two months (the first being directly across the street from our driveway in the middle of the road), I’m getting impatient to sort out the fuel gauge and tank problems in the spring. Hopefully, a long-awaited hydro boost brake conversion will give me more than 10′ of stopping power (both brakes and steering are powered, so when the engine cuts out so do my options for direction and stopping).
Over the last couple of weekday evenings, I got both speakers rewired, mounted, and tested. Sunday I cut out and glued in 1/2″ corner supports around all the seams, then sealed the front edges and nailed them into place. They sound good! I’m still unsure as to how I’m going to finish the outsides off; I could wrap them completely in Tolex or speaker carpet, but I’m not sure yet.
Our soccer player was on the couch sick today, after waking to an upset stomach and then throwing up several times over the course of the day. She got to spend the day in front of the TV, which was good for her, but hasn’t eaten a thing all day, which is unlike her. At about 7:30 she turned on her side and fell asleep on the couch next to Jen, something that is VERY unlike her. She’s running a fever, so we’ll keep a close eye on her tomorrow.
Tonight we’ll hunker down, tuck the girl into bed, watch some good TV (Downton Abbey and True Detective), maybe sip a beer, and wait to see what the weather brings us tomorrow morning. Just when the lawn was almost clear again too.
This post is one in a series based on a format at another website; much like music, I can measure much of my adult life with the cars I’ve driven.
Ate Up With Motor recently did a comprehensive history of the Honda CRX, a car I owned for a brief while and the sale of which I still regret to this day. Which leads me to the next chapter in my automotive history…
My CRX was a hand-me-down silver HF model from my girlfriend’s father, who had driven it, given it to her, and then let her brother rag it out for a while before parking it in his driveway and then offering it to me. My B2000 was blowing oil and beginning to get expensive. I had a desk job as a designer, having gotten out of the contracting business a few years previously, so I did what any 20-something male with disposable income would do: I sold the truck and bought a beat up sportscar.
It had about 90k on the odometer when I got it, the CV joints were already bad, the brakes were shot, it needed some muffler work, and it smelled like cigarettes and feet. I put some money into repairs, got it running reliably, and, unbelievably, got three years of dependability at 40mpg. It was a stick, and first gear was a dog. But once it was at speed, it was a blast to drive–nothing like the pickup.
It was beat up, sure. Her brother had obviously tried to drag faster and lighter cars, played tag with trashcans and mailboxes, spilled coffee, ash, fast food, and bongwater over every inch of the carpet. It rattled and squeaked. The wiring behind the radio was a rat’s nest, left over from multiple hack installations. The AC worked as long as the car was in motion, but the minute it stopped I had to turn it off. This foreshadowed future problems with overheating in Baltimore traffic and a pattern that repeated itself with several other cars until I bought the CR-V.
But, I could fit two mountain bikes under the hatch, park it in a shoebox, and the money I saved on gas more than offset the thirsty V-8 of my first Scout. Where was the downside?
In its third year, it began to show its age by leaving larger and larger clouds of blue smoke behind, and soon it was burning through a quart of oil every two weeks. The rings were shot, and I was living in the city with no tools and no garage to effect repairs. Regretfully, I placed an ad in the paper and sold it to a guy who told me he was planning on setting it up for SCCA racing against MR2s.
Had I been thinking smarter, I would have driven it up to my sister’s house and parked it in the chicken barn out back until I could have afforded a rebuilt engine, but hindsight is, as they say, always 20/20.