Today was a very long day. I drove my '67 Mustang (pictured above) to work today, because my carpool ride had to leave work early. I try to avoid the freeway in this car whenever possible, but I was like MY CAR AINT NO BITCH and headed out. I notice I need gas, but I have enough to where I can fill up after work.
5:00 rolls by, I'm out. I get in my car, and turn the key. I hear a strange whirring noise. I try once more, just to hear it again. Same noise, whirring. I get out to look under the car, only to find that one of the bolts that holds the starter in place is gone completely, and the other one is still in place...only the little metal bit where the bolt goes through has broken completely off the starter, and is completely stripped. The starter must have been resting on the steering rack while I was on the freeway.
So I'm like fuck fuck what do I do? I'm learning how to fix things as I go along, but I'm no mechanic, and have limited tools. I'm parked on a hill, and I only have an ancient mechanical jack. This jack does not lift very high, and is 47 years old. I am shitting bricks while under the car, it's freezing outside, and all I can think about is that dude's story about his VW landing on his head.
My 95% of my coworkers are women (call Jezebel) who do not have mechanical know-how or tools. My AMAZINGLY AWESOME coworker Donna drives by and sees me. She gives me a ride to Autozone, and I buy a new starter. I get back, and discover that I won't be able to make the new starter fit past the trans cooling lines, since it's physically bigger than the old one. So I decide to take the remaining bolt from the old starter and try to bolt the old starter up using the other hole that isn't broken off. The hole in the bellhousing is completely stripped.
My last resort was a wild idea that I thought of; to physically grab the old starter with both hands and a rag, shove it in the hole and hold it in place while Donna starts the car. She cranks it, and it starts! She keeps cranking it even after it starts because she drives an X5 and has a fancy push button, causing the starter to spark like a motherfucker in my face. I had to pull it halfway out and rest it on the steering rack again, just far enough out so it's not hitting the flywheel.
So I'm on my way home on the 15 freeway, with less than 1/4 tank to make it home, roughly 23 miles away. I pass gas stations and stare at them longingly, knowing that I can't stop and fill up. I'm watching the gas needle like a hawk, as it goes up and down depending on if I'm going uphill or downhill. I'm wincing with every bump in the road, terrified that the starter will become dislodged and drag along the ground by the power cable. The whole time I'm yelling like Kimi COMEONDONTLETMEDOWNYOUCANDOITCOMEONCOMEONGETTHEFUCKOUTOFMYWAYPRIUSCOMEONFUCKTHATWASABIGBUMPCOMEONCOMEON
Somehow, I manage to limp home, with only vapor left in my tank, and a starter still where I left it. I'm covered in grease, and as I walk in my parents are like wtf happened to you? I take my greasy shirt off and think "hey that's kinda Jalop". I will NEVER get rid of it. It'll remind me of today's adventure every time I wear it.
Today I learned a few things:
-How to change a starter. I knew how to in theory, but had never actually done it. Even though I didn't end up replacing the starter, I know how to do it now.
-I love my car, a LOT. I refused to leave it overnight, and I didn't have money for a tow truck, so I found a way to get her started and get home.
-Even when my car left me stranded, and I'm underneath it on a sketchy ass jack, freezing, covered in grease and dirt, I learned that I love this stuff. I love learning about my car, how it works, and how to fix it. I wasn't angry at the situation or the car, only my lack of expertise and tools.
-Things can go wrong on a classic car that you would never think of. I think of things like the points going bad, or the fuel pump giving out, or maybe needing a trans flush. Not the starter bolt holes on the bellhousing being stripped.
-My coworker is the nicest person ever. While we got along great, we didn't know each other too well. Despite that, she stayed with me while I worked, and for that I'm grateful.
I realize that my solution doesn't require a lot of know-how to come up with, and I'm not looking for praise; just sharing some of my thoughts and experiences on classic car ownership.
What a way to wrap up the year; here's to 2014 being good to us and our cars! Happy New Year everyone, thanks for reading if you got this far!