Slow, Slow Progress

I suppose any progress is better than none at all but I am thinking that glaciers are moving a little bit quicker than my progress on Elvira.

Since the last post about Elvira, we managed to get the engine mounting T-Bolt straps corrected, the engine/transmission and rear end coupler aligned, the chute checked out and repacked, all new mounting for the transmission cooler and a few pieces touched up with paint. I am actually excited about the transmission mounting as it allowed me to reduce the amount of stainless steel hose used for the fluid connections. I probably saved all of 5 ounces but anytime you can take weight out of a racecar, it just seems like such a huge achievement! Once we get some room in the garage – more on that later – I hope to work my way forward on the car completing systems as I  go along. Next up would be the fuel and cooling systems on the engine.

On the other hand, we made a trip to the beach house to make a few repairs there as we decided to do some minor renting of it this summer. My youngest son recovered his rental house in Wilmington which was trashed and we spent several days there pulling out carpet and padding, a destroyed bathroom door, made multiple truck load runs to the dump with “their” trash, repaired a sliding glass door and went shopping for replacement stuff. A lot of cleaning products were used up trying to get the place back to a decent state. It’s sometimes amazing how inconsiderate people can be just because they do not “own it”. Another trip is coming up to re-do the bathrooms and lay tile for those areas and the foyer entrance. I also started opening the pool at home but immediately ran into several problems with the pump and water lines. Even though I insulate the piping every off season and do so by wrapping it down to ground level with thick insulation that is then covered in plastic and aluminum foil, either a deer stumbled into it or the low temperatures we had for a day or two this past winter snapped some of the plumbing. So it was fix all of the plumbing first only then to find that the pump was screaming its guts out when I powered it up. Normally this is the ceramic pump seal that is making the noise so I pulled the pump, replaced the seal and of course that didn’t fix it. So right now I am in the middle of replacing the pump bearings and should have it back in place today. Hopefully that takes care of the pump and I can get back to completing the pool opening.

And of course that’s not all that has happened. Our little rocket ship the MR2 Spyder that my wife keeps at the beach decided to take a dump on us. It has now thrown engine codes several times resulting in the replacement of various sensors but this last time I decided it needed to come back to my garage so that I could go over everything. We have had a mysterious engine sound since the end of summer and I really want to determine what that sound is. I had to take the open trailer down to the beach, pick it up and bring it back here which sounds easy enough but it never is. The car sits so low that it was a bit tedious to get it loaded and unloaded without tearing anything up on the chassis or body. It will also be getting a new convertible top once the repair work is completed. Of course I can’t get the repair work done because my garage currently is home for 3 cars (MR2, Monza, Elvira) along with a nice quantity of my youngest son’s stuff which we have yet to find other storage space for at this time. To say its cramped in there doesn’t come close. And the reason the Monza is here is that on its last trip to the track, it destroyed its transmission again. Seems the stator decided to rotate slightly in the brand new pump cutting off a large amount of the transmission fluid that normally gets pumped through the transmission. The pump was covered with a warranty which was helpful and our buddy James Smith at Mountain Road Transmissions helped us out with the rebuild. While re-installing the transmission, I discovered that we had an alignment issue with the aftermarket bell housing. This housing had been cracked and repaired in the past, it bolted up okay but depending on the converter being used, either gave us a minor problem or none at all. I took some measurements and found that it was off from one mounting side to the other by almost an 1/8 inch. So we decided to replace the housing which in itself turned into a multiple week event. With the new housing in place, everything looks good and now we are just waiting for the transmission fluid and trailer to show up and take the Monza out of here.

On another note, my littlest guy Theo (he’s our little Yorkie) has been fighting a very bad skin infection for months now. Multiple trips to different veterinarians, multiple drugs, baths and hair cuts later, he’s still dealing with it although it looks like we are now turning the corner on it. The last 24 hours have been pretty good for him which is major progress and I know he is glad to get some relief. We all hope it continues and that he can get this behind him.


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