Monday, October 12, 2009

From desperate hope to plausible deniability

Yesterday, we got back to work and installed the hitch on the Tahoe for future towing purposes. Since the Brava was running (it took me a while to get used to the concept that I could easily move the car as necessary) I pulled it out in the street to make room for the Tahoe. After that job was finished, I went to pull it back in, and in the lightness of my heart, decided to take a spin around the block.

I started off and turned left at the first street, and just then my temporary fuel line patch let go with a rush and sprayed gasoline all over my feet. I killed the car instantly, and ran back to the house in the rain to tell Erroll. We went back to the car and tried to push, but the sticky emergency brake locked the wheels again, so we went back and got the truck and a chain and hooked it up to the new hitch. I hopped in the Brava and Erroll pulled me down the street to circle back to the house. As we made the first left turn, to my utter horror the steering wheel locked. I reached to turn the key but realized it was still in my pocket, and the car was now swinging wide to the left. Erroll, unaware of my predicament, was still driving slowly ahead. I shouted and honked the horn (in a tiny, logical part of my brain I was quite surprised that the horn worked) as the car careened toward the curb and someone's back-yard fence. Finally as I came abreast of the rear of the truck, the taut chain yanked the front end of the car away from the curb, and Erroll, feeling the jerk, stopped and peered out of the window in astonishment. I found the key in my pocket, unlocked the wheel, and we got it back in the garage with no further incident.

The first thing we did was to completely remove the stupid fuel line and reroute the whole thing with new tubing under the car, where it couldn't do any more harm. I clamped it down and then we rerouted the vapor lines under the rear deck, and fixed a few other small things. Erroll began ripping out the rest of the interior and I cleaned out the horrible trunk. I installed our fancy racing pins in the hood (required because the latch had stuck shut a few days before and I had to rip it out with a crowbar). We also found that the accelerator cable was fraying, so that will have to be replaced. I tried to adjust the idle but there are still a few vacuum leaks that need to be capped. However, it runs pretty well, just idling high and missing occasionally, probably due to the old plug wires.

At the end of the day, it was just about done. The interior was down to the metal except for the dash, all the huge problems had been fixed, and we can race it as it is (although it drives like a truck with the bad shocks), after the safety stuff has been installed. We hooked it up to the hitch and Erroll and Kendra took it back to Dallas for the cage and seat, so I won't see it again until the Thursday before the race.

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