Right away you’re thinking I’m lying, nobody daily drives a DSM because it won’t run long enough to do so, will it? In my case, yes. However, when you live in a frigid state that’s been pummeled with some big snow storms, it has some unique challenges to say the least.
As of right this second, my 1990 Talon TSi FWD is my only operational vehicle. It has well over 300 horsepower and is front wheel drive. It’s on some performance all season tires. It’s slammed on Megan coilovers. It’s utterly dangerous in the rain, and suicidal in the snow. Yet, I’ve battled a 12-14” snow storm in it and survived. Barely.
Here’s The Story
I had stayed the night at the girlfriend’s house a couple weekends ago, the weather was bitter cold and we had been expecting a dusting overnight, except I woke up to over a foot of snow. I was 35 miles from home. At the time, I’d still had the old wiper blades on the car and literally had zero visibility. It was still dark and I was heading home to get to my truck to report to work.
As I hit the county road, there’s cars in the ditch everywhere. I mean seriously, accidents were absolutely everywhere and things weren’t looking really good for me. The rear end of the Talon was washing out left and right and it was a serious effort to maintain 20 miles an hour. I was slotted in fourth gear and even breathing on the accelerator would send the front tires into a spinning frenzy.
Traction was nonexistent, steering was virtually nonexistent and braking was laughable at best. With my four ways on, my asshole clenched, and my hands vice gripped to the wheel, I made it home in just under two hours.
The Big Scare
We had just gotten the tune really close, but when boost hits 25 psi around 6,000 AFRs dip into the 12s so it’s imperative to let off early. The car is an animal up until that point though, and it has some serious traction limitations even on a dry road. Once again, the roads are snowy and I’m a few cities away visiting the girlfriend and heading back from the gas station. I get stuck at a red light and when I take off in first I short shifted into second and rolled into the throttle. The car spun hard and hit rev limiter and instantly started misfiring and sounding like a Subaru. Instantly I thought I’d broke a ring land, lunched a piston, something...
I immediately contact my friend Andrew and he tells me to do a log, except my MacBook is back at home. Eventually realization sets in that I have to drive 35 miles home again, and a check engine light is active and I’m down a cylinder. The car was hard to start on this 5 degree day and off I head towards home. The car is backfiring on the highway and cutting out really bad. I notice while cruising AFRs are at 18 and I pull over. Through some stroke of genius luck Andrew tells me to check my connectors on the injectors since they were missing the retaining clips. I’d left the car idling and sure enough #3 was all the way off and #4 was barely on. My theory is when the car broke traction it wheel hopped and jarred them off.
The good news was that nothing was wrong, and the car was back to healthy and the first big scare it’s given me. I ordered some clips and quickly realized how important they truly were. That really was one of the scariest moments I’ve had in a very long time.
A Joy, Always!
If the car had proper snow tires, it’s obvious that it wouldn’t be nearly as dangerous as it is right now. Being very low doesn’t help matters either, but the car is hilariously fun to drive no matter what’s going on. Getting almost 30 miles to the gallon while having a boat load of power on tap is a pretty great feeling. When the roads are dry and the temps are cold, the turbocharger rams 22 psi of base boost into the healthy 4G63 and being pinned in the seat is the usual sensation I’ve become accustomed to at this point.
Knock on wood, it’s been as reliable as death and taxes since I’ve owned it, even when the mercury reads below zero. Granted, I despise driving the car in the salt, but I’ve been staying on top of keeping it washed, and my options are limited since it’s my running car. Funny world when DSM is your dependable daily driver.
Time For A Replacement
No worries, the car isn’t going anywhere, I just need a good daily to park the Talon for work I want to do. I have a few ideas up my sleeve, so be sure to stay tuned folks!