4,500 miles ago, my dear Tucker experienced a catastrophic oil loss and overheating, followed by what appeared to be a fire. The engine wouldn’t run on any more than 1-2 cylinders.

After swapping the plugs multiple times, swapping the coils, flushing the coolant, giving him a real oil change, and dropping some Marvel Mystery Oil in (MMO seems to have a rather astounding effect on damaged smart engines), the engine came back to life with the only reminder of the event being some cooked wires (fixed) and an oil pan leak (pending repair).

He then continued to be my daily-ish and my project car while the new smart (Phil) was saved from getting a billion miles. I plan to keep him purrfect like I did Tucker before the crap hit the fan in my life.

Over the past few days, I noticed something was amiss. The car vibrated so much more than it usually did. It almost seemed like the engine was misfiring...but I couldn’t confirm if it actually was the engine and not me being a drama queen. The smoking gun was the reduced amount of power coming from the engine, though I blew that off as me being too used to the new car. Well, turns out my first assumption was correct.

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I ended up concluding that the car must have leaked out a quart or two of oil through the oil pan. Checking the dipstick revealed the car to be “full”...that said, the dipstick in a W451 is woefully unreliable (the tube has oil in it, so when you pull the stick out it’ll almost always read full) so last night I put in a quart anyway. I mean, it has had a slow leak (a few drops a day) for almost 3 months now, so it’s gotta be down at least a quart by now.

This morning saw me needing to race to work faster than I have in a very long time. I was working the little car so hard that I was peeling out at most lights.

Well, Tucker didn’t like that and the car shut down one of the cylinders right around 5k RPM as I merged on the expressway.

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No problem, I’ve been through this before, I can just restart the engine and keep plowing on. And that I did. The car spent 20 minutes of the drive running just fine. Then again, I wasn’t pushing the car hard either...but I was even able to do a WOT start without issue.

Hmmm...perhaps my “fixes” were contingent on me not pushing the car too hard?

Well to test, I decided to push Tucker hard again. Single cylinder shutdown occurred within 10 minutes.

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It seems the prediction made a few months ago may be correct. My engine has a compression leak going on. However, the leak is only prevalent when the engine is being pushed when it’s running hotter and pushing more pressure.

And, none of this scares me. I’d even be delighted to tear down the engine if I knew how. :) I also wonder how much an engine swap would cost. :D

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Update!

Miss Tesla once said that the only way Tucker would ever die is by a crash or a mass extinction event. And well, Tucker is soldiering on!

Well once again I’ve solved the misfire! So, one of the contingencies about my original fix was that the car wouldn’t accept less than 91 octane without misfiring. I got 93 this morning, filling up at 0.0 gal. It took a few minutes, but the car got back its performance and the misfire skipped town.

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I tested further by pushing the car very hard. The darn thing was an engine that could!

Final verdict? The tiny cute little petrol station I went to last week may have had either contaminated fuel, or the 93 octane I bought from them was actually 87 being sold as 93.