When the green Escort got totaled, I bought it back for the salvage value of $75. I proceeded to take:
- Entire drivetrain (minus AC compressor)
- wheels and tires
- rear strut and spring assemblies
- rear speakers
- exhaust system
- a seat belt retractor assembly
- HVAC control panel
- gauge cluster and surround
- steering column
...all of which would end up costing a hell of a lot more from a boneyard than $75; the engine alone would be $300 or so.
And then I bought three used tires and rims from a friend for $45, stuck them in place of the removed aluminum wheels, and left the donut spare on the fourth.
Total cost: $115.
I had an "auto recycler" come get the hulk, expecting that they'd haul it away for free; and they surprised me by giving me $30 for it.
Total cost: $85
Assuming that I get $75 for the catalytic convertor, now, I'll have gotten all those parts for ten freaking dollars, and I know what kind of shape the engine and transmission are in because they came from a car I owned from new!
You can't beat that kind of deal. You just can't.
The rear strut assemblies went into the red '95 Escort, because its rear springs were broken and the struts were shot. (Escorts seem to break the OEM rear springs for some reason.) Cost for one strut, new, is $30, and the springs--well, the assemblies from the green car had about 20,000 miles on them; they're good as new, and the bad ones on the red car would have taken about $100 worth of new parts to replace if I hadn't kept the ones from the green car.
Eventually I'll sell the wheels and tires, I expect; after that, I'm in the black.
The red car cost $400, used. I used parts from the green car to make it drivable; then when I was able to drive the thing, I did other repairs and maintenance items (such as installing the strut assemblies I mentioned above). It still needs some other repairs, but it's a usable car and most of the repairs it needs are cosmetic. The HVAC panel needs some repair; it needs a good cleaning, and I've been thinking about doing a leakdown test on the engine to see if the oil burning is due to valves or rings. If it's valves, I can have the head done without going through too much trouble (it'll run about $300, though, plus parts). If it's rings, I'll just live with the oil burning until and unless it becomes problematic, eg the car fails to pass emissions. Then maybe I'll do a ring job on the thing, and maybe I'll just find another engine.
Because, as mentioned in several other entries, I want to put the green car's engine into the '86 Fiero.
My brother, when told of my plans, scoffed at them. A mechanic friend of his--an engine machinist, in fact, not just a mechanic--tried putting a Buick V6 into a Mercedes, struggled for six months to make it work, and eventually failed.
I didn't have a chance to explain to my brother why that didn't mean I couldn't accomplish this project.
First off, the mechanic was trying to mate a Buick V6 to a Mercedes transmission. Special parts had to be ordered; you can get just about any part you need for any Mercedes from the manufacturer, but they can be hideously expensive.
Second, I know how mechanics work: they move forward until they meet a problem; they solve that problem, and go on until they meet another road block. (Rinse, repeat.) This algorithm works beautifully when you are repairing something, but when you are doing something like an engine swap, it fails.
But doing an engine swap on a Fiero is a different story, even when you're putting in a drivetrain from another manufacturer. Yes, there will be problems to face, but I've gone through the process step-by-step and I have considered most (not all) of the issues that will arise.
Of course I can't consider all the issues, since some things will not be obvious until they happen. But I can consider the known roadblocks and formulate strategies for solving these problems, and then deal with the others as they arise.
The Fiero has had a bunch of different drivetrains swapped into it. There are several examples of Fieros with the Quad 4 engine; the Quad 4 uses different mounts, a different control system, and a different transmission bellhousing than any other GM product, yet it's not particularly difficult to manage.
My "Fordero" project differs from a Quad 4 in two major ways: the shift mechanism; and the transmission side of the drive axles are "innies" rather than "outies".
Otherwise? No difference. A Quad 4 swap requires building a wiring harness, just as my project will. A Quad 4 swap requires the making of engine mounts, as my project will. A Quad 4 swap requires adapting plumbing such as fuel and exhaust, just as my project will. None of this requires any particularly special skill beyond the skills I already have.
I'll need custom axles, and it's going to take some time and effort to build a shift adaptor; but other than these two issues--neither of which is a deal-breaker--none of the problems I face are any different than the problems faced by the myriad of Fiero engine swaps that already exist.
Unlike my brother's mechanic friend, I am not treading virgin territory.
* * *
When I was in the Philippines, whenever the ho's brother would drive us somewhere, he'd turn on a Christian rock station. I heard a song that I, ten months later, still get stuck in my head. "The Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns.
I just bought it from Amazon.com for five "Pepsi Points". I would worry about that, but for the fact that I've got at least 4x that many on my desk right now....
Generally speaking I am not into Christian rock, even though I am a Christian. There are a few exceptions, and until this song, all of them were written by Kerry Livgren (of "Kansas"); in general the music is cheesy and I don't like it.
But it's an interesting thing to note, that somehow that one song stuck with me, when none of the others did. My personal beliefs lead me to conclude that it's not an accident; but any deeper meaning to this eludes me, because I'm a dumbass.
And I thought of the song today because I was thinking about being there last year, and I think the issue that I have do much trouble getting over is how happy I was while I was there. Søren Kierkegaard said, "The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly one you can never have." And ain't it the truth. Jesus. Everything that the ho and I discussed, the plans we made, everything has been made utterly impossible, and even though I know this I still find myself wishing that it was different. Not just wishing but desperately wanting it to be the way it was when I was there...and it's impossible. Whatever we had is gone, and it's gone because she wanted me for money. (For money I don't even have.)
It sucks. Especially because I, for some insane reason, can't get my head around the fact that she was using me or, at least, was planning to use me. Where there should be righteous indignation is only more aching regret for what's gone.
"Gone"? Hell. NEVER EXISTED. I had only an illusion, carefully crafted by a freaking prostitute.
In some ways it would actually make me feel better if I could take responsibility for the situation. If I could point to X and Y and say, "See how badly you screwed up, douchebag?" But I can't do that because it was never about me; it was about money, and that's all it was ever about.
It makes me mad; but it also makes me mad that I can't seem to get my head around the facts and move on. In fact, that infuriates me worse than being played by bitch-ass-ho.
Well, if nothing else, I got a good song out of it, I guess. Awfully expensive fuckin' song, though, when you factor in the cost of air travel and heartache.
* * *
...the preceding segment was the "O GAWD IT SUX 2 B ME" quotient which is contractually required of all LiveJournal members. (Particularly the cheapasses like me who are "free" members.) Sorry about that.
* * *
Jalopnik weighs in on the efficacy of E85 fuel:
"Because gas engines burn the typically corn-based fuel less efficiently, the adjusted cost of E85 is $4.321 per gallon compared to gas that averaged about $3.962 on Friday."
* * *
At not-quite 11 PM it's still in the low 70s outside. I guess I should have put the AC in today, because it'll probably be in the high 80s or low 90s tomorrow.