Sadly, mein Schatz has two problems that I can't overlook, and I don't know exactly what's wrong. Let me see if I can explain them well.

Problem one: Here's the simple one. I got a slow leak in my right front tire a couple months back, not long after I went out to East Coast Bash down at Englishtown Raceway. The tread was good, but I got a new tire at some place up in Harlem. Actually, here it is:

In any case, not long after I got another slow leak in the exact same tire. It holds air for a full day, but overnight it will drop from maybe 30 to 20 psi and if I leave it longer it obviously goes flat.

Is the problem with the tire, do you think, or with the wheel, or maybe with how the tire was mounted?

I have a spare tire (literally, just a spare extra tire, not attached to any wheel) and I could have it put on the wheel and see if it goes flat by itself, I suppose, which would let me know for sure if I just need a new tire, or if I need a new wheel.


Any thoughts?

Problem two: The shifter on the baja has always been vague to say the least, and other people driving the car have sometimes been totally unable to find first gear. I've always been able to slot it in after a little caressing, or by clutching out and back in again (a trick jbh taught me), or with a little throttle, or just by muscling the shifter into the slot.

In any case, today the car refused to go into any forward gear at a stoplight. I muscled and muscled. I clutched and I clutched. Finally the car banged into first just before the light went from green to yellow.


Then it refused first again at a stop light. I gave it a little gas and it went in and off I went.

Then it refused first again, and no matter what I did, it would not go. I tried second - nothing. I tried third and when I tried clutching out I got the hideous scream of mashing gears. The light had gone red by now (thankfully I was on an fairly empty street this time), and I slotted the car very easily into reverse, pulled over by the side of the street, then tried again. After a heavy shove, the car finally took first.

The rest of the drive back to the parking garage (in stop and go Manhattan traffic, of course) went ok, but shifting into first or second was always unpleasant and always came with effort and a clunk.


What's wrong?

Is my clutch wearing out? Once the car is moving, it shifts like it normally does with or without the clutch.

Are my synchos worn out?

Are there some bushings or something in the shifter (that guide the shifter into place) that need replacing?


Maybe I've ground some teeth off of first and second?

Any thoughts would be appreciated. The car is always a work in progress, so I'm not bummed about any of this, I just wish I knew exactly what's wrong.

The engine, it will be said, is still running like a dream. Whenever I feel bad, i can always run it out to the 4.5k redline and get a smile back on my face.