Where to even start? The last few weeks have been busy, and last weekend was pretty eventful in itself. We made it to New Hampshire and back with no issues, 2664.9 miles in 42 hours. That’s just what was tracked on the GPS, so there’s a bit of time missing. We even stopped by the Niagara Falls on the way back as it only added an hour or so on to the trip back.
I’m going to stick with the Mazda as far as work and repairs so if you’re seeking a Laser update you’ll need to wait until next week. Unless it’s already been posted, then just go there. On the Mazda front, I had to fix the window chip I mentioned in the last update before we left for New Hampshire. I also wanted to upgrade the aux cable since the one that comes with the GROM module keeps tripping the “headset” mode on my phone so Google keeps asking what I said. I don’t like my music interrupted.
On to the window chip! This was an easy one, I’ve been through this before with one of my Buicks. I picked up a cheap Blue Star fix it kit on Amazon and went to town. Here’s the chip I had to work with.
Clean the area you need to fix and stick the little pad on so that the inner circle of the pad is over the chipped area. Plug in the syringe, load it up with some of the sealant, and pull up on it until it latches. This is supposed to suck out any water that may have slipped in, works pretty well.
Let it sit for a bit and then pull the pin to let the pressure out. Put the pin back and push the plunger down until it locks in to push the sealant in. Let it sit for a bit and then pull the whole thing off. They give you plenty of sealant, so you can drop some into the chip and cover it with the UV cover. Let it sit again, peel it off and then scrape the excess off. Boom, all better.
The cracks that had formed were sealed up and the chip was much shallower. I did the chip fill part again to help try to smooth it out.
While this was all sitting and setting up, I went ahead and took my center console apart again to swap in the new aux cable. I chose an Anker piece since they’ve got great reviews and the price is right. They have a pretty nice packaging experience, especially for the price point. I also picked up a magnetic phone mount for music and GPS if needed (though I picked up a dedicated GPS as well) but I haven’t used it since I don’t use phone cases and I refuse to put a magnet on the back of my phone. Maybe we’ll use the ladies phone at some point, she’s rocking the Otter Box.
Swapping the new aux cable in was as easy as the original install. I had to drill out the hole I ran the original cable through to fit the Anker end as it’s larger. Once that was done I just put it all back together, easy peasy.
Now to the more recent stuff! I noticed yesterday that the Mazda had developed a sort of hesitation, it almost felt like a mis-fire, but was only noticeable when sitting at a stop light. It only happened once or twice Monday, but I didn’t really catch it. Today it happened at the first stoplight I hit after pulling out of work, I felt it “mis-fire” a few times. I could feel it in the brake pedal, and when I took off from a stop it hesitated a second before pulling away. Once the car is past the initial acceleration there aren’t any issues, I can run it up to redline without any hesitation. My initial thought was spark plugs, so that’s what I checked first.
The first plug came out clean, and all of the plugs are in good shape, but plugs two and three had some oil in the plug well. Plug four is also clean, which leads me to believe that this is simply from my shaky handed oil changes and top-offs. There was definitely enough oil leaked into the coil area that it would account for the oil in the plug wells, but I’m not sure it would have made it past the coil seals. So for now my diagnosis is “stop spilling oil you idiot” but I’ll be making sure I pay attention to how the car feels. I’ll probably pull the plugs again in a week to see if the oil has made a come-back. For now I just cleaned the plugs up and put them back, making sure they went in good and tight. Not too tight though, this is an aluminum head after all!
If the issue persists, then I’ve got bigger problems. Likely a piston ring leaking oil past which is no good (see my Laser build). If everything looks good on the plug front but I still have the hesitation issue, then it’s time to check for vacuum leaks and possibly look into a new crank or cam position sensor. Hopefully it doesn’t go that way.
Other events! Last weekend was our annual Brat Fry at the fire department and AutoMotion was going on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Sam & Ashley brought out their newest toy, a 54′ Chevy. The interior of that 54′ is crazy clean, total time capsule.
We also stopped by a friends place in town, they were working on a Bel-Air doing some undercoating work. That’s another good looking, clean car that is going to be awesome when it’s rolling around our Wednesday cruise night. By the way, tomorrow is the first of the season!
We headed out Saturday after the brat fry to check out AutoMotion as I’d never been and I don’t think my brother or his lady had either, Ali was working so she missed out on the “fun”.
AutoMotion is… something. We didn’t make it to any of the actual shows, but people cruise the strip in the Dells all day. One of our friends was staying at a hotel along the strip and said they were going past until well in the wee hours of the morning, at least 4am Saturday morning. I did spot some interesting cars; 3 Lamborghinis, 3 R8s, a Ferrari, an FD RX-7, MKIV Supra, a few 3000GT VR-4s rolling around, and plenty of others. The problem is that trying to get across the strip is crazy, it took us 45 minutes to get from one end to the lot we parked in.
It’s hell for anyone driving a manual, the 54 didn’t quite cope to the high stress and the Scavenger ended up pushing it into another parking lot about half way to where we wanted to be. Strike one. Sam and Ashley carried on in the Scavenger (now with awesome C3 side pipe covers, because police). On a side note, I got to check out an awesome Scout with a load of work done to it. My brother does some work at Hoffman Autobody when he has time, they do some really cool stuff!
Back to AutoMotion! The Benz started doing this odd “smoke like crazy because this is stressful” when we were climbing the final hill to our destination. I’m not worried about it, I’ve been waiting for the engine to go anyway, just feed it some more oil and it’ll be fine.
I got a close up look at a first gen R8 with the gated 6-speed, pretty much my dream car. That’s my highlight of the event, that and the fact that there wasn’t a single person who saw the Scavenger and wasn’t delighted or confused. People were standing next to the aforementioned Ferrari and taking pictures of the Scavenger instead, it’s that kind of cool. So if you enjoy watching cars roll past then it’s not a bad time with friends, and we had some great pizza too, so overall I’d say it wasn’t too bad.
However, the 54 had a dead fuel pump (probably) and we were ready to head home. It’s easier to go with the flow during this event, so we headed out and away from our destination as crossing the flow would not go well. Once we’d turned back and were headed the right direction, the Scavenger decided it was time to kick some weight in the form of it’s serpentine belt. All of the mandatory engine revving probably didn’t help.
Naturally, all of Sams tools were in the 54 and all of mine were in the Mazda. Luckily, Sam was able to use a tire iron to pry the belt into place while I bumped the engine over. Viola, serpentine back in place. Still, strike two.
We eventually made it back to the lot where the 54 sat, the plan was to flat-tow it back home. Sam decided a fill up was in order, and stopped for gas. Now, normally this is uneventful, but the Dells do indeed have a magical way of making ordinary things suck. This time; Sam dropped $45 on accident and someone grabbed it, did a “hm, should I give this back or not” sort of thing, and walked off with it. According to another person filling up nearby. Not cool, and also strike three.
We made it back to their place with the 54 around 11:30 and I headed home and hit the sack. We all spent the next day just enjoying the sun and resting, AutoMotion was alright but ultimately I’m not sure it was worth the stress.
That’s all for this week! Hopefully that’s at least somewhat coherent. Maybe next week I’ll reveal some of the (admittedly small amount) of work I’ve got done on the Laser. Maybe.