First I used the new slide hammer to unbend some of the bent metal on the green car. Then I got to thinking: that metal is awful bent. I know that I--given time and energy--can straighten it into something approximating the proper geometry. It may not look factory original but it would work. And I could then spend money on getting the car painted to look right.
But you know...
What if I get the car fixed, and there's a repeat of the event which bent the car in the first place? The car cannot have full coverage insurance on it; it's been totaled. I'd essentially be out the $1,300 I currently have budgeted for repairing the car, plus the time and effort I spent repairing it. That's around $3,000 worth of labor right there, for crying out loud, according to the repair estimate.
On the other hand, I have a solid and straight car sitting there which has some mechanical issues. I could easily part out the green car and fix the mechanical issues with the red car, couldn't I?
My problem is that I am too sentimental. The red car is simply not my green car, which has seen me through thick and thin. And I don't really like the color, either. But I could take the green car's engine and put it into the red car, and have the same "heart", with a known service history. There would be other things that I would have to do, as well (such as a complete brake system rebuild, and some other things) but I was going to do something like that to the green car before it was totaled, anyway. I could do that, and end up getting a perfectly good, full-coverage insurable car for $400 plus the $75 salvage value on my green one, plus miscellanious parts and supplies and a buttload of labor. And have money left over to finance other automotive projects that I wish to complete. *cough* '86 Fiero *cough*
But today I did a compression check and found that all the cylinders were pretty close to each other, compression-wise. The #4 spark plug was fouled with oil, and when I ran it again today after cleaning that plug, the car smoked when I'd open the throttle. That's indicative of worn rings. The oil fouling would seem to indicate valve guides, though. It's hard to say. The engine has 147k on it, and I have no idea how well-kept it was.
With the green car's alternator in the red car, the battery charge light was still on--WTF--but when I disconnected the negative battery terminal to shut the engine off, it kept running; that tells me that the battery light is a lying sack of crap because that alternator is providing power to the car's electrical system. With the ignition switch completely FUBAR it would not surprise me that there was some kind of sneak path for the idiot light. So the next step is probably to finish disassembling the steering column and get that busted switch fixed.
But hell--if I fix that, and can start the car with the ignition switch (and shut it off) then I have a working car and can drive the sumbitch. The rest is just details.
The other issue is that the brake light comes on when the clutch pedal is depressed. I topped up the brake fluid reservoir so it almost has to be an issue with the under-dash wiring. I'll probably have to dive in under there to sort that crap out, too.
In general I'm thinking, more and more, that it should not be all that hard to sort out the mechanical issues with this car--and if that's the case, then it may behoove me just to let go of my poor green Escort and move on.
I get too sentimental about my cars, anyway.