Tibby loves road trips. She goes back and forth between Nashville and Cincinnati all the time and is now best friends with my mom's cat.
If it's from Japan, I'm probably interested. The smaller the better.
Natural aspiration is just wasted displacement.
2003 MR-2 Spyder. 2ZZ turbo on the way.
1992 Autozam AZ-1 Mazdaspeed. HT07 and all that jazz. VVT K6A swap eventually.
1992 Autozam Scrum Turbo RZ Super Multi Roof. EV conversion probably never.
1998 Eclipse GSX. HTA68, MegaSquirt, built everything. Finally fast enough to tackle the winter commute.
1996 Suzuki Jimny CC. 3.73 diff swap, VVT K6A eventually
2017 Chevy Bolt. No longer catches on fire.
Best posts made by DSM_OR_DIE
I can't keep this picture of my sister's cat to myself
DSM or: How Ruining My Life Was The Best Decision That I ever Made, Part 1: Catching a disease
I guess it's time. This was a series that I wrote on the original Oppo and I keep getting requests to put it back online. Unfortunately some of my pictures didn't survive but I'm working to get as many of them back.
I grew up with Need for Speed. Every kid my age did. My sister and I put more hours into that series than any other in our collection save maybe the Harry Potter PC games (we have eclectic tastes). The one that stood out in my mind the most, though, was the original Underground game. I never put any thought into the actual vehicles available and chose cars based on those sweet sweet blue stats bars. So I grew up getting familiar with the Dodge Neon, Peugeot 206, NB Miata, and Nissan Sentra on a visual level, but nothing deeper than that.
Enter the mid-2000s, however. My mom sits me down and tells me that I am required to get my temporary license as soon as I am eligible because I am required to get my license on my 16th birthday. I am required to buy my own car and I am required to get my own insurance for it. And these tasks are necessary because her car was so unreliable that I would need to drive her to and from work and do the shopping while her own car (Jaguar S-Type R) was inevitably in the shop. At the time of this conversation, it was at the dealership after having been towed because it wouldn’t start.
My own car. I hadn’t put any thought at all into what I might want beyond the fact that I would be getting a car and had been saving up. And here’s how I chose my first car: I wanted that one car from Need for Speed Underground with the tail lights that go all the way across the back. So I fired up underground.exe and checked. 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse. Alright, done. I began searching.
I knew that it needed to be a manual. It wouldn’t be green or purple. I found out pretty quickly that I only wanted the facelift, so 1997-1999. Those were pretty much my only requirements (I didn’t know that there were trim levels that didn’t have a turbo) and it still took me three months to find one that matched them. My mom was rather unhappy with this delay because it meant that we forced into four people sharing my dad’s Integra R and my sister’s badass manual Volvo 240. The Jag had needed a new transmission.
eBay Motors. Wouldn’t recommend it. But I found one that I liked. A red 1997 GS-T Spyder. It didn’t have great paint but otherwise needed nothing according to the listing. I placed a bid and won. And that was when I discovered that the car was at a dealership in Florida. So I went to the bank, withdrew most of my savings to pay for the car and the trip back, and then bought one-way plane tickets from Indianapolis to Sarasota for my mom and me (Indianapolis was cheaper than flying out of Cincinnati). I was still 15 at the time and didn’t have my license, so the second plane ticket was a necessary expense.
We woke up at 2AM, had my dad drive us the two hours to Indianapolis, got on a plane at 6AM, were in Sarasota by 9:30, had the dealership pick us up in a black Focus SVT, and were checking out the car by 10:30. I started going down my checklist in my head. The top is in great shape. It runs and idles well. AC works. Cruise control works. No CEL or other warning lights. The clutch caught right at the floor, but that’s a common complaint with these cars. The underside looked like it had just rolled out of the factory, so I knew that I must have it. My mom was less enthused, however. The body was in much worse shape than the pictures showed, with several new large dents and very little remaining clearcoat. She “stepped inside” to “have a nice conversation” with the guy running the dealership.
And at this point I should clarify that term. These guys had a dealership license and were able to provide their own financing and temporary tags, but the “dealership” was their house and they just had a driveway full of shitty and mostly riced out cars. And apparently I was lucky to have purchased the car when I did because the sellers had already installed underglow and had just received the body kit that they had purchased for the car. If I were to leave without purchasing the car, the stock bumpers would be scrapped and replaced with the most ill-fitting aftermarket bumpers that money can buy. After having stood up to the likes of my mother (a task that few have ever achieved) they decided to make up for the undisclosed damage by offering to include said body kit with the car. I firmly and almost violently declined.
I hand over the cash, they print a temp tag and sign the title, and we’re on our way. Yes, there was a test drive, but it was consumed entirely by my mom screaming that I wasn’t allowed to put the top down anymore because her hair had been destroyed. So we hit the road with the top up and head North. My mom whips out a disposable camera that she had secretly bought to capture my reactions to driving my first car.
I drove the car into the night, trying to both get a feel for my new purchase and to get as far as I could before we had to stop for the night. Having only ever driven my dad’s Honda, I was not used to the torque from this 4G63. It felt infinitely faster than the Integra, so I was happy. I had test driven only one other Eclipse by that point and this one was obviously slower, but that one had been modified so surely it was supposed to be faster than this one. However, by the time we stopped in northern Georgia the CEL was solidly illuminated and we had averaged 19mpg across the few tanks of gas that we had used. I pulled out what remained of my cash and bought a hotel in the Middle of Nowhere, Georgia.
In the morning, the car was reluctant to start and was a little rough idling in the parking lot. Being 450 miles from home didn’t leave us many options, though, so we pressed on. The second day of driving was consumed entirely by complaints from my mother about how horrifically uncomfortable the seats were. The 19mpg trend continued despite my sticking to the speed limit (I still didn’t have my license, remember?). And despite all of the above, I was quickly falling in love with the car. Sure, it needed work, both to correct the body and to correct these unknown mechanical issues, but come on. How bad could it be?
DSM or: How Ruining My Life Was The Best Decision That I ever Made, Part 2: No Symptoms Yet
Previously I bought a car that I knew nothing about and drove it 1000 miles home. Find part 1 here.
I thought the car was doing well. I was wrong. The car was down on power. There were several engine codes covering misfires, oxygen sensors, solenoids, and others that I have since forgotten. After trying to clean it up with a can of Seafoam I discovered that the exhaust manifold was cracked and leaking in numerous places. The lifter tick was really bad and an oil change hadn’t helped. The tires (Futura 2000) were an unknown brand and were completely bald. I replaced both oxygen sensors, spark plugs, air filter, and plug wires; replaced the tires with the best all-seasons that I could find; and ordered a new fuel pressure regulator solenoid from the dealership. The dealership sent me a fuel pressure regulator instead, but everything else had worked to bump fuel economy up from 19 highway to 27 city.
I thoroughly cleaned the car, inside and out, and found some remnants from the previous owner. Her name was Marianne. She had owned the car since new. She liked hard candies, particularly those ones whose wrapper is colored like a strawberry. I also found her obituary under the rear seats. For an old lady who only drove this car to church and back, she sure put a lot of miles on it. But it had cleaned up well and I was finally happy with it. The only two things left on my list, lifter tick and fuel pressure solenoid, would be taken care of in short order. I left for the summer to work at a camp in Kentucky so I asked my mom to take my car to the dealership to have the solenoid addressed. When I came back I was greeted by a $550 bill. Instead of telling them to fix the solenoid, she told them to “just fix it,” and handed them my credit card. And I am sure that that service technician’s eyes lit up because he replaced my brand new plug wires, plugs, air filter, oil, and oil filter, and also “cleaned the fuel injectors” and conveniently ignored the CEL and FPS. And also spilled oil all over my engine bay and paint. With my wallet $550 lighter and my spare keys permanently removed from my mother’s possession, I focused on the lifter tick.
The internet says that you just remove the lifters, drain them of the old oil, clean them out, and then reinstall them. Easy enough. The valve cover came off easily and the lifters came out without much effort, but the friend that was helping me with the job managed to break the plastic diverter valve while wrestling with one of the rockers and so it began. If I’m going to replace then I might as well upgrade. I still hadn’t addressed the exhaust manifold, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity for some modest modifications. I bought an exhaust manifold from an EVO III to replace my cracked stock one. I ordered new black leather seat covers to replace the worn and ripped grey stock ones. After finding a metal diverter valve from the 1st generation Eclipse in a local junkyard I ordered an aluminum charge pipe kit that had the appropriate flange. Power was back up to stock levels and my engine bay was a little shinier. Success, I guess.
This uncovered a new problem, however. Now that I was back up to the full 210hp, the clutch started slipping. Having little experience with other vehicles, though, I didn’t correctly diagnose the problem. I thought that I was just driving it incorrectly and tried to be even less aggressive with the throttle during shifts. While at work one day, however, it got much worse. The timing was really inconvenient because it was the day before move in day at college. I needed to drive the car to Indiana in the morning in preparation for freshman year. When I got off work I took it to the mechanic across the street right before he closed and asked him to take a look at it. I described the problem and the urgency to him and he understood. He immediately acquired a clutch kit and called in a friend to work through the night to get it installed by morning.
I showed up the next morning expecting to find it still in pieces, but the car was completely back together. The mechanic showed me how there wasn’t any friction material left in the old clutch and how the old pressure plate had deep scoring in it from the exposed rivets in what was left of the pressure plate. He had been able to salvage the old flywheel and get everything installed, so I was good to go. Except that during the removal of the engine he had accidentally sheared the speed sensor off of the transmission. A new one was on the way (at his expense) but it would be a few days. So I loaded up my Eclipse and headed toward Terre Haute with no speedo.
College was a wild time, but it also triggered a transition from the positive, reliable DSM experience of my high school years into a nightmare that still pains me six years later. And it only took two months to show.
Freshman year. The auto club was going to an autocross and I was very excited to participate. The venue was 90 minutes away and we were all going to caravan there. I filled up my tank and took my place right in the middle of the pack as we drove out of the parking lot. Thirty minutes later I was taking a left to turn onto the highway and was met with nothing. In fourth gear with my foot on the floor, the car was only maintaining speed downhill. It sounded like my intake had come off. I pulled over and popped the hood. No visible damage. No leaking fluids. Nothing was out of place. Keep calm and carry on, then. Except that the engine wouldn’t start without applying pretty significant throttle, and it wouldn’t stay running unless I held the engine above 3000RPM. I was less calm, but I was still carrying on. The other club members had left me behind but the guy driving the trailer full of team cars had stopped to check on me. I assured him that my car was perfectly fine and perfect and that I was going to win the autocross today. We set off again.
Drafting closely behind the trailer with my foot all the way to the floor, the car could maintain 65 mph. Which was enough to keep up, but if the trailer switched lanes and I started to fall behind, my top speed dropped below 60 mph. In this manner I was able to make it to the autocross but had consumed an entire tank of gas during the 95 mile trip. While everyone else was having their cars inspected, I was messing around under the hood of mine. I found that unplugging the spark wires from the left coil pack had no effect but doing the same from the right coil pack would kill the engine. So I had lost a coil and was running on two cylinders for most of that drive. At least I knew the problem, but the solution wasn’t clear since I didn’t have any gas, my car didn’t really run, and the nearest auto parts store that had the coil in stock was 25 minutes away. I meekly asked all of the other club members if I could borrow one of their cars for a “quick” trip into town but was met with a lot of blank stares. I had been a member for three weeks at this point and didn’t know any of their names. They certainly didn’t know me. Even so, I managed to acquire the keys to a BMW and went on my way.
After much frustration and a lot of burns all over my arms, I got the coil replaced just as the racing was coming to an end. I thanked the friendly Corvette driver for letting me use his tools and drove home with a smile, surprised at the success of my first autocross.
The engine held together for less than two months before the turbo died. It’s sort of impressive, really. The original turbo had managed to survive 12 years and 130,000 miles before exhibiting the telltale shaft play and oil leaks, but that didn’t change the fact that I needed to purchase a new one. And again, if I’m going to replace it, I might as well upgrade. For no logical reason whatsoever, I took the more expensive route and bought a Forced Performance Big T28 over the more common, cheaper, and more powerful EVO III 16G. It was a parking lot turbo swap in a snowstorm in December and I may have permanently lost some feeling in my fingers.
I also fell victim to a college prank that involved stealing all four of my wheels and hiding them around campus which got ME in trouble with campus security. Who, of course, refused to help me locate the stolen property.
After that was a bad ball joint that required the assistance of the not-so-friendly neighborhood 426lb classmate. Two surprisingly soft pickle forks later, the suspension was good to go. I then bought ECMLink and a wideband so that I could tune the car for this new turbo but found the stock injectors significantly lacking. I acquired some new ones and installed them the week before the first autocross in the spring, but in my haste managed to mess things up. I overtorqued the PCV valve and cracked the valve cover in half. $90 later, I had a shiny red valve cover from a 1G DSM. A few small mishaps later and it was summer again.
And if you’re reading this and thinking, why is he telling us this? This is about the most tame DSM story ever, then you will be delighted to know that this is where the story starts getting interesting. The car was still burning a small amount of oil. I could have gotten by continuing to ignore it, but it was summer. I had the time and a job to pay for the parts, so why not tackle this issue? How hard could it be? Assuming that the oil was coming from either the piston rings or the valve stem seals, I decided to tackle the piston rings first. I placed an order at the beginning of the summer with a company called TheDSMGraveyard for ARP head studs and rod bolts, bearings, a complete gasket set, piston rings, an oil pump, a timing belt, and everything else needed for a full tune up on this car. The rod bolts were on backorder and will be in by the end of the week. No big deal. Fast forward two months.I had been calling them every single day. The parts are in the mail from ARP and we will have them tomorrow, they would say. We have your order together and it will ship out in the morning. I heard that for weeks on end until one day I heard a different response. “It looks like we aren’t going to be getting your main bolts in any time soon. Would you like us to go ahead and ship everything else?” I didn’t order main bolts. The crankshaft isn’t coming out of the block because the block isn’t coming out of the car. I have been waiting for two months for the rod bolts that I will have to replace when I remove the pistons. The guy on the phone was very confused. They had never, at any point that entire calendar year, been out of rod bolts. The good news is that they could ship out immediately. The bad news is that I was now a week away from needing to return to Terre Haute for college. They would overnight the parts for free and gave me a decent discount on my next order. Sure. Fine. Whatever.
I had three days to disassemble the engine, hone the cylinders (you’re a bit young to be renting a hone tool, the Autozone guy had said), install the new parts, and get the car running again. Long story short, that didn’t happen. The friend that was traveling with me showed up at my house right as I tried turning the engine over for the first time. Lots of cranking but no firing. No compression. We left for Terre Haute, disappointed, in his car.
It turns out that DSM cam gears each have two timing marks, so simply aligning the marks on each gear only has a 50% chance of being correct. It took several days of frustration to realize this, but not long after my return from Terre Haute my Eclipse was running again. Poorly, because timing was still off by one tooth, but it ran! Time to seat the piston rings with a friendly autocross competition with my dad.
I covered that parking lot in thick billowing clouds of smoke. Also my shifter cable snapped during my first run, so I had to pop the hood, fiddle with the transmission to put it in second gear, and sacrifice my launches a bit for the remainder of my runs. Also on the way home the oil pressure light would turn on at idle, but it would turn off once I started driving. I remembered that, in my haste to reassemble the engine, I had left the oil pickup tube bolts hand-tight and the oil pump must be ingesting air. A quick fix, but one that I had to do ASAP.
I fixed the oil pickup tube but found that the oil consumption issue remained, so I went forward with a head swap. Using my comparatively small credit from TheDSMGraveyard, I ordered a rebuilt head. When it arrived, however, I was less than enthused. Several of the valve cover threads were stripped. There was still used oil in places from the head’s previous life. The whole thing was completely covered in sand. I called to complain to TheDSMGraveyard, but they told me to go pound the pile of sand that had accumulated on my workbench. I cleaned it as best I could with the aerosol solvents at my disposal, installed my original cams, and put it in the car with no drama. I shipped off my OE head to recoup the significant CORE charge that had been levied against the new head, at least satisfied that the oil consumption issue had been resolved.
Unfortunately for me, in the three months between the parts order and the head order, TheDSMGraveyard decided to stop honoring all responsibilities as a business. Their BBB rating had dropped from a B to an F. They happily sold my head as-is to another unsuspecting customer and stopped answering the phones in order to avoid having to address the mountain of complaints against them. I filed grievances against the company but was never able to secure the money that they owed me. As this coincided with a significant medical bill, I had to take a break from having a well-maintained car for, well, the rest of the life of the car.
Potential tragedy thankfully averted
A well-respected local shop failed to torque some stuff and I lost some suspension nuts and bolts during a road trip. Things got funky around Louisville and I had to emergency stop in Nashville when the direction of the Autozam stopped corresponding to my steering inputs.
Corrective action with a borrowed scissor jack, adjustable wrench, and hardware store bits was not great (to say the least) but at least I didn't die, I guess?
I long for my garage, tools, and giant bag of automotive nuts and bolts.
No pictures. Fixed my sister's Corolla's AC. Bad compressor clutch. Fixed my MR-2 AC. It was only charged halfway? Measured the van's headlights for a projector retrofit (my mismatched H4s finally burnt out) and did a coolant flush. Fixed the Jimny's inop tail lights and cleaned the engine bay. Two trips to Harbor Freight, two trips to O'Reilly, and one trip to Autozone later, the alley looked like a Scooby Doo episode as I packed all of my cars back into the garage.
I'll sleep well tonight.
RE: Reader Rides Thread
Winter DD duty is a 1998 Eclipse GSX. Obligatory DSM.
Convertible duty is a 2003 MR-2 Spyder
Kei sport duty is an Autozam AZ-1
People hauling duty is an Autozam Scrum Turbo RZ Super Multi Roof. Roof is critical for feline enjoyment.
Off-road/tow rig is a 1996 Suzuki Jimny
Putzing/medium road trip duty is a Chevy Bolt
DSM or: How Ruining My Life Was The Best Decision That I ever Made, Part 3: The Sadness Will Never End
Last time you got to hear about living with a DSM (as a first car, no less) and getting screwed by a supplier. Unfortunately for me, those were the least of my worries. Hopefully the thumbnail doesn’t give it away...
After the head swap, the car was doing surprisingly well. It had become reliable, and with my crazy working schedule I had saved up enough money to start thinking about fixing the atrocious paint. I got a quote for $4,100 to do the entire car, then set about trying to save up that much.
I was home from college for Christmas break and, with the paint job in mind, was back at my old high school job. I had stopped by the bank to deposit my paycheck around noon on Christmas Eve and while waiting at a light to turn left to get home I got hit head on. A guy in a brand new Cadillac had seen the light turn red and instead of slowing down like the car in front of him did, he jerked over into the left lane and floored it. The abrupt unsettling of the chassis combined with the additional power sent to the rear wheels caused the back end to come around, and the driver quickly lost control of the car and crossed the double yellow into the lane of oncoming traffic. He remained in that lane, slid through the intersection, and hit my Eclipse head-on. Thanks to modern crumple zones his Cadillac was completely destroyed, littering the intersection with innumerable fragments of GM engineering, whereas the Eclipse seemed to have fared quite well, with only a broken headlight and a scuffed bumper and hood.
The fact that I had a left turn signal on at the time of the crash meant that it was entirely my fault, the officer at the scene had told me. Despite the fact that the other driver (allegedly) ran a red light. And despite the fact that I was not moving and entirely in my lane and waiting at a red light. Insurance gave me a rental and I went back to college in Terre Haute while the aforementioned body shop in Cincinnati promised to fix the car in two weeks. I told them to go ahead and respray the whole car, since insurance covering half of the paint job would make the rest of the work affordable. I returned to Cincinnati to fight the ticket in court and got it dismissed because the police officer didn’t bother to show up, but the car was not done as promised. In fact, paint had not been sprayed yet. I warned them that my insurance would only provide the rental car for another two weeks and they promised that the work would be completed well before then.
I called them at the end of those two weeks and to my surprise, they claimed that the car was done. I went to pick it up on the 1st of February and found no shortage of things to complain about. None of the body panels were remotely close to lining up, with panel gaps varying from more than ⅝” all the way down to actually touching. Orange peel, runs, chips in the paint. They had painted two black trim pieces at my request and the paint was already starting to flake off. Several other trim pieces were missing including the front Mitsubishi badge, and the shop’s excuse for leaving off the metal bracket that supported the bottom of the front bumper was that they had thought that it was a lip spoiler. Because that somehow makes it optional. They had lost some of the trim pieces that weren’t even damaged in the crash and had also forgotten to reattach my fuel cap. The biggest shock, though, came from the invoice.
The bottom line was $7,400. I asked them what the total was after insurance and they told me that that was it. Nearly double their original estimate for the entire car, and I was only paying for the rear bumper, trunk lid, quarter panels, and one door. Armed with my original $4100 quote, my mom and I fought that bill for several hours but the most that the shop would offer was a 5% discount on the total. Just like she had done with the dealership repair back when I got the car, my mom threw that on her credit card without my approval.
She set up a balance transfer to get a 0% interest rate for 12 months then handed me the bill. Once again, thanks mom. I made the drive from Indy to Cincinnati every two weeks or so for additional repairs or to collect the parts that they had left off the first time around. It was June before the job was finally finished.
A medical issue left me with an additional $2000 bill, so by the time the next Christmas break rolled around, more than half of the balance from that paint job still remained. I was headed back to Terre Haute at the end of break and was leaving early in the morning to get to college before a storm rolled in and dumped snow on the highway, but the storm was ahead of schedule and snow started falling just as I left my boyfriend's apartment in Indianapolis. And because that’s how the Midwest functions, people started to drive erratically as a result. I was driving in a parade of vehicles in the cleared right lane and was approaching a lefthand turn when a seemingly abandoned vehicle on the shoulder decided that that was the opportune time to pull into traffic. I swerved into the unplowed left lane and managed to avoid hitting the silver Dodge Caliber, but the sudden transition to an inch or so of accumulated snow caused the back end to come around, and rather quickly. The car rotated nearly 90 degrees, hit the outside guard rail nearly head on, then rebounded and crossed the highway backward before colliding with the inside guard rail and coming to rest in the left lane at the beginning of a bridge.
The airbags had failed to deploy and blood was running down my face from a gash that resulted from my head hitting the A pillar. While I was reporting the crash, one of the other commuters stopped to offer me a warm place to wait for the authorities, even providing a scarf to help stop the bleeding from my head. When the police arrived they once again cited me for the crash since no other vehicle had stopped and neither did any of the witnesses of the crash. If a crash is unavoidable, they told me, at least bring the other car down with you. I declined a trip to the hospital since I was painfully aware how much I couldn’t afford it, then asked the police if they could take me anywhere to wait out the storm. They dumped me at a nearby McDonalds, where I started the process of contacting my insurance company.
It took two hours for my boyfriend to get from his apartment downtown to this McDonalds on the West side, a drive that had taken me 15 minutes just an hour or so earlier. When we eventually got back to his place I realized that my clothes, schoolwork, and Christmas gifts had been left in the Eclipse and the clothes that I was wearing were quite bloody. He had to go to work so I aimlessly trolled Craigslist while hunting for someone that could get me back to Terre Haute, devastated by this turn of events.
It was three days before I eventually managed to convince someone to give me a ride to Terre Haute. The car was totaled, unsurprisingly. I lived off-campus and was stuck with a 30 minute commute by bike. In January. Miraculously, my insurance company gave me exactly what I had paid for the car five years earlier and let me keep the car, so I used the money to pay off the paint job and the medical bills and, with nothing left, began parting out the non-performance parts of my Eclipse to hopefully fund the replacement car. And, unfortunately for my wallet, after entertaining a slew of Volvo 240s I had become dead set on the replacement car being an AWD DSM.
After five weeks of being the star employee at my on-campus job, I had enough money to pick up an incredibly rough 1995 Talon TSi AWD that had been listed for sale in Storm Lake, Iowa. Clear neglect from the moment it rolled off the lot, a slew of horrific non-functional mods, and a fair amount of ignorance on the part of the seller meant that it was perfect for my wallet. I convinced my boyfriend to accompany me on an adventure, then rented a car in Terre Haute early Saturday morning and drove the 9 hours out to Iowa.
The car was pretty horrifying in person. Mismatched colors on the body, solid motor mounts, a straight pipe, a seizure-inducing narrowband AFR gauge, strut towers showing a failed repair attempt, and rust perforations on nearly every part of the car. The rear wiper and spoiler had been deleted but the holes had not been filled. Knowing that the powertrain on its own was worth more than the seller’s asking price, I bought it and began the drive back. It was already dark and we had a long drive ahead of us, but there were no Enterprise locations along our route home or within 100 miles of Storm Lake, so we drove south separately to Des Moines to drop off the rental before turning back East.
That solitary drive was plenty of time to learn about why I should not have bought this particular DSM. The engine was so rough through the solid mounts that the vibrations made all three mirrors completely unusable. The seller had hidden some air fresheners that my roommates later dubbed “lemon squares” all over the car, and we would eventually make it a game to find them all. The radio had some kind of short in it that would periodically cut power to the entire car. If I cruised for too long between 65 and 70 mph, the car would drop down to two cylinders, an issue that I later traced back to a botched 6 bolt swap, the engine from the 1990-92 Eclipse. Though the seller insisted on the presence of AC, it had been removed by the previous owner and defrost didn’t help to clear the windows. The windshield was cracked in several places. The roar from the lack of exhaust was deafening. The cigarette lighter didn’t work so I couldn’t keep my phone charged, which would likely spell trouble since that was my only form of navigation.
The rental car (a 200 mile Chevy Cruze) broke down twice on that drive, overheating and shutting down on the side of the highway. We spent so long dealing with that awful car’s temperamental constitution that a winter storm that we had not expected to encounter rolled over in front of us. By the time we finally dumped those GM keys into the after-hours drop off chute in Des Moines, the roads had become nearly impassable. Semis with chains were only able to go 40 mph and my new Talon, riding on completely bald summer rubber, could only wish to maintain that speed over the snow. At one point we were both exhausted and I finally gave in, pulling into a rest stop to try to get some sleep. We folded the back seats down, moved our snow shovel out of the way, and laid down to get some rest. Just as the sun came up. The return trip ended up taking 16 hours and we arrived back in Terre Haute after noon the following day.
Okay, so I lied about hearing about all of my mechanical mishaps with the Talon in this installment, but I promise that Part 4 will include the two engines and two transmissions and a certain dumpster in Indianapolis.
DOTS Husband Edition
Look what my husband found while he was out doing inspections!
Some of you may know that I have had a lifelong dream to own an orange car, planning to paint whatever I was driving at the time but I could never afford it. When I finally got the opportunity to buy an orange car of my own, it was taken from me almost immediately.
I thought maybe I'd leave my MR-2 the factory color (it is a very nice blue) but it does need paint and this has gotten me thinking...
2ZZ Impressions from a 4G63 enthusiast
I have an Eclipse.
I have an MR-2 Spyder.
I picked up a 2ZZ from a random bloke in Illinois.
I have started tearing down the 2ZZ for install into my ZZW30.
My thoughts. Bolts into bosses have become bolts through bushings. Things that were just a matter of torquing down properly have become it doesn't really matter how tight you torque it it will bottom out and there's a bushing to take up the slack. These are the worst looking bolts I've ever seen in terms of corrosion and they were also the easiest bolts I've ever removed from an exhaust. Having a dynamic tensioner is a gift from god. The harness tie downs being reusable shouldn't be something that I'm praising. Why do the flywheel bolts go all the way through and have the ability to weep oil? Parts are surprisingly cheap and I'm shocked that everything has been a very available and very affordable. The coolant line clips are incredibly well thought out. Your parts catalogues may suck but the ease with which I can buy OEM parts online is commendable.
It feels clear to me that the ZZ series is decades newer than the 4G6x, but Toyota's experience with DFM (both design for manufacture AND design for maintainability) is decades ahead of where Mitsubishi was in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Toyota doesn't exactly have an AWD manual turbo liftback platform (in the US, Toyota I will buy a GR Yaris in cash) but this initial experience has me a little jealous if Toyota enthusiasts. Even of there hasn't been a successor to the 2ZZ (in the US).
I get pretty damn tired of "Shut up and take my money" when it comes to cars, but this is yet another prime example. I guess I'll keep my Eclipse and continue with the 2ZZ turbo swap in the MR-2.
More thoughts to come when my parts arrive tomorrow.
Renn faire costume status 2: Results, Six Flags, and someone bought a car
Finished product first:
My last update was pretty early on, with nothing but the hat complete and some fabric for everything else, so I slaved away at that sewing machine for about two weeks getting everything together for the Georgia Renaissance Festival on the 16th. I started with a simple sketch and component list for the corset.
Then it went together pretty quickly.
I tried my hand at making some jewelry because I wanted an absolutely gigantic purple stone around my neck. I bought the biggest amethyst that my local wiccan shop had and impressed myself with the result.
For the cloak, I used to make these in high school and college because they're super warm and fashionable, but I lost the pattern when I graduated. Or so I thought. Turns out my mom saw it when we were moving out of the house in Terre Haute and nabbed it for safe keeping. She mailed it to me and I was back in business!
Loki had to be involved and was quite unhappy when I told him that he needed to get down.
I'd never done a liner before AND I was using outdoor furniture fabric for the cloak AND the folded neckline is 12+ layers of fabric. After poking the eye of the needle into my fingers a few times I had to break out the thimbles to help me force the needle through the fabric. The 22" neckline took an entire day. I hate hand stitching.
But then it was done and it was time to get to GA. The wheel bearings for my van got lost in the mail so I had to take the MR2, which meant lots of intelligent packing and planning.
I was picking up the bard in Knoxville so I had to fit my costume and all of my
alcoholtoiletries in the MR-2 as well as the same from the bard, plus a sword and a mandolin. But 1. I am an expert packer and 2. EVERYONE (including ZZW30 owners) underestimate the amount of space in this thing. We had room to spare, which meant free reign to buy shit at the festival! The necromancer, killing it as usual.
This wizard needs stronger elixirs.
The plan had been to RennFest Saturday and Sunday and drive back Monday morning, but our AirBnB was within walking distance of Six Flags over Georgia and I don't deny fate. So Easter morning we knocked down the Six Flags gate when it opened at 10:30. And it was so dead that we did the whole park twice, hit our favorites again (Dahlonega Mine Train x5, Twisted Cyclone x6, etc) and were back in the air conditioning of the BnB by 2:30. And it had a grill so of course I cooked for everybody.
The next morning, the necromancer packed up especially quickly and ducked out before the rest of us. She had been riding around in the MR-2 and waxing nostalgic for her old Miata, so she stopped by a dealership in the 'burbs and bought herself a new roadster.
I had talked with the dealership a little bit before this and told him that she would be shipping the car back to Indianapolis, so he should include shipping in his out-the-door price to make things go more smoothly. But I also told him to ship her Corolla and give her the keys to the Solstice for the drive back. So she gets to row the gears and play with the turbo for the whole drive back to Indiana.
So I'd say an overall successful RenFest trip. Next is the Bristol festival in Wisconsin in July, plus more in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. And maybe Iowa if we feel like it.
Latest posts made by DSM_OR_DIE
RE: Filled up the Fit with gas yesterday…
@Manwich I've been splitting the driving between all 3 vehicles in hopes that fuel crashes before any of them run out of gas.
I tried that for a while, but between the five gas cars I only made it until May 4th. Apparently I still drive too much. My husband pays a flat $14/month for unlimited charging of his Bolt at work. I've paid more in "energy" so far this month than he has for the entire year, and he gets reimbursed mileage at above the federal rate!
RE: How does Oppo feel about dry aged steak
@MUSASHI66 my husband and I both got dry aged steaks at a swanky downtown restaurant recently and liked them but it was weird. We at half of them and just couldn't eat more. We weren't full. It wasn't bad. But for reasons unknown we just had to stop. We took it home and ate it the next day. It left an indifferent taste in our mouths.
Did we like it? Yes.
Was it better than fresh steak? Not really.
Was it worth the price difference to try something different? I'm glad I did it, but I probably won't ever get it again.
RE: Not a Fan of the Carrera GT
...it definitely seems like a nice progression from an MR2 or Viper, but both of those cars are infinitely more compelling.
I have an MR-2. Glad to know that I've already peaked.
I think I agree with you. As an engineering exercise it's impressive, but I can't imagine anyone ever having a poster of one on their wall. The front end is Factory Five meets homemade 911 replica and the rear is a prop stolen from my local laser tag joint. Not bad. Not ugly. But not pleasing.
Then again, the only cars I've ever had on my walls were a 250 GTO Concours d'Elegance poster and this. So maybe don't trust my opinions.
Found it! I wonder what happened to this poster...
RE: 4WD Honda
@DSM_OR_DIE 90, you're brave!
I didn't say that was my average speed; just that it could hit that if it wanted. The Sambar didn't really like exceeding 70. My Every, on the other hand, doesn't let physics tell it what it can do. Nor does it let the steering wheel tell it what to do, but that's a different story.
RE: 4WD Honda
I feel like I should be participating in this conversation but I don't have anything to add.
So I'll post this picture for the second time tonight.
Top speed around 90 mph. Road trips from Indy to Jacksonville, Nashville, Columbus, Michigan, etc. I'm not attached enough to where I live to continue paying taxes to a state that bans the vehicles that I imported legally. And which, by the way, pollute less than a 2017 Focus RS.
RE: Catch can update
@liam The oil in the pan is just fine. It only looks questionable in the catch can. And for reference, the can was around 2/3 full when I pulled this.
@atfsgeoff What do you mean? This line goes from the cylinder head to the intake just after the filter on a turbocharged car. I guess it's pretty rarely used for short trips. I emptied it after a 4.5 hour drive from Indy to Nashville, and most of my drives are longer like that. For example, this included a drive to Baltimore and back. I can only think of two drives in these past ~three years that were under an hour.
RE: I bought a Corvette!
@Bandit If the first digit of the price isn't a zero or a one I'd be incredibly surprised. Even the latter would be pushing it for something as mildly crusty as that.
DISCLAIMER: I have zero love for the C4. I only do odd numbered Corvette generations.
RE: Can Oppo guess what I test drove from a single picture?
@Snakesm13 well I was right, based on no knowledge except that it includes a factory strut brace to the firewall.